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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

~Brown Thursday, My Ass. It's Thanksgiving. (If We Can't Stick WIth That We Should Start Calling It Greedy Thursday)

From the time I still qualified as a Little Brown Girl holidays were often a lil' sketchier than those of most of my friends.  Because my parents were Police Officers (Mom later became an RN) holidays tended to happen when they did.  Dinners were held early, or late to accommodate someone's work schedule.  Presents were opened on Christmas morning some years and Christmas Eve on others depending on the presiding shift rotation in our house.  I was always flexible to the somewhat helter skelter nature of our holiday celebrations because I knew my parents had important jobs.  Literal life and death jobs that required staff to man the posts for the greater good of our community 24/7/365.

One of my first 'grown up' jobs was working the desk at a downtown hotel.  Those years frequently found yours truly working holidays.  Not because I was low (wo)man on the totem pole, but because I'd had a long ass history of fluid holiday celebrations and family gatherings so I would volunteer to work 'em.  While hotel work is not life and death (99.44% of the time, although I have stories that would prove that wrong) it does require being staffed every day. 

I'm certainly no martyr by anyone's measure.  Seriously.  No one's.  I say, 'no' and manage to do exactly what I fuckin' want more than any 5 people you know combined.  ...But I'm also not a complete dick so if I could very easily work so that some co-worker had the opportunity to drive across the state to their familial homestead to gather with their loved ones with again, no skin off my nose?  Of course I'm gonna volunteer to do just that.  My family and I can have a holiday like any other--  maybe on the day, maybe not on the exact holiday being celebrated.

So, I don't come to my views on holidays as someone workin' a cush job that always has such days off.  Nor are they based on some long history of bein' bitter for havin' to work them.  My views are rooted on the simple premise of; is it necessary for certain people to be ripped away, or prevented from participating in holidays due to their job?

Obviously, there are a ton of yes's.  (City snowplow drivers, flight attendants, soldiers, firefighters, people who answer Poison Control, NFL refs, etc.)  But ya know what else there are?  A shit load of no's.  One of the easiest no's is retail workers.  I mean, honestly?  I don't know about you but I've never heard tell of some retail emergency.  "...Ya know, cousin Cooter was so spry.  (shakes head)  Until he couldn't go to Macy's back for a flat screen on Thanksgiving '13, that really took a toll on him.  He was dead by 9 Thanksgiving night (single Native American by a littered road tear drops)..."  Why?  Because there are no retail emergencies.  ...There's retail poor planning.  (I forgot to buy potatoes for mashin'.)  ...There can be lack of retail access discomfort.  (My TV broke before Santa finished the parade.)  But there is no necessity for immediate, unfettered ability to purchase a waffle iron at 4pm on Thanksgiving.

Given that we've established there isn't a necessity for retailers like Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Best Buy et al to be open on Thanksgiving, ya gotta ask yourself, 'how fuckin' greedy are these places that 4am on Black Friday isn't enough?'  A:  Greedy enough to take millions of Americans away from their families on one of the few pretty much everybody-gets-off holidays left. 

It's funny that you don't have talk with anyone very long, about any subject, that something along the lines of, 'breakdown of the family' isn't offered up as an excuse or reason to explain something away.  Yet, those same people will have no compunction about not only leaving their family Thursday, but about contributing to having some other person/worker leave his/her family. 

Personally, I don't want to play any role in  people not being able to have their holiday. 



So you won't find me at any of the plethora of places opening Thanksgiving Day.  I will however make a concerted effort to girlcott (wouldn't that be the opposite of boycott?  [...Yep.  *You* just witnessed a word being born.  Congratulations!]) retailers who opt to keep their doors closed and their workers with their family and friends on Thursday.  I'm not suggesting what you should do.  The Golden Rule really covers it, so why should I? 


Retailers Not Bein' Scrooge-y Assholes Closed Thanksgiving Day Include:
Bloomingdales
Dillards
DSW
Costco
JoAnn Stores
Marshalls/TJ Maxx
Menards
Nordstrom
Radio Shack
Stein Mart


I have to admire the companies above who have made the decision to put workers (and their families) above grabbing for profits, if only for a few hours on the fourth Thursday of November.  Although I also must admit that I think, 'we didn't shackle our staff to their work stations on Thanksfuckin'giving' is a pretty shitty standard to have to serve as a litmus.  But here's where we are...   

If anyone understands that any day can be a holiday, it's me.  I'm just never going to be the excuse of why someone else is required to spend Thanksgiving away from their important people when it's completely unnecessary--  when the only life and deathy-ness is self made consumer mobs trampling each other for a this year's Monchichi.   I'm not inclined to reward a company with my benjamins when the real cost isn't a cheaper item, but the separation of families on a day set aside to be THANKFUL for the things we have... Things like families and people who love us.  No deal.  No sale.  No thanks. 

Since obviously I can't volunteer to work in place of every retail worker in America in order to allow them to be at home tomorrow, the next best thing I can do is share the sage and reasonable thoughts of an Iron Chef, and fellow Ohioian: 

"My restaurants are never open on Thanksgiving;  I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can.  My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner." 
                                                                               - Michael Symon. 
 
My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/michaelsym443475.html#ifFUasYD3HPFRyPd.99
My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/michaelsym443475.html#ifFUasYD3HPFRyPd.99
And have an extra helping...
 
My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/michaelsym443475.html#ifFUasYD3HPFRyPd.99

My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/michaelsym443475.html#ifFUasYD3HPFRyPd.99
My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/michaelsym443475.html#ifFUasYD3HPFRyPd.99



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Monday, November 25, 2013

~A Small Ripple Can Make A Big Wave. I Wacthed It Happen.

A million years ago I came up with a movie idea, 'cause ya know, why wouldn't some chunky chick in middle America with no ties to the film industry, or the skill set to write a screenplay not be comin' up with movie ideas in her spare time?

The esteemed Grady Wilson from Sandford & Son
My idea was to was to bring back the faded glory of Grady's favorite drink of choice name it 'Ripple' and have it chronicle in whimsical and tragic ways how our most innocuous decisions ripple out and create ramifications and rewards we could never fully imagine or anticipate in the moments we make them.  (aka:  BBG lives too fucking much in her head)

Without a doubt it would have been a Oscar winning success ushering in the new era of com-dramaties.  Alas, before I could fulfill this destiny I saw sumthin' shiny, heard someone say the word tiara or started flirtin' with some cute boy...  But I digress.  Surfuckingprise.

I was reminded of the impact of the unwritten ripple-ing this weekend when a friend (who doesn't have a BBG Official code name, but for the purpose of story time will be called 'The Beagle') Facebook-y alerted me to the existence of National Adoption Day.  It was a brief post on The Beagle's page, an acknowledgement to his parents who had adopted him as a baby.  Yep.  A small cyber ripple put out into the universe.

Normally this would seem like the kind of thing a girl like me, who wasn't adopted and hasn't adopted would gloss over.  I've been called a lot of things, but normal isn't frequently one of 'em.  But with all of the shitty stuff in the world I like to take make the opportunity to acknowledge and participate in all kinds of good that on the surface doesn't seem to have squat to do with me.  

What The Beagle had no way of knowing when he made that post is that I have a cousin who was adopted.  

(Weird BBG family news side note;  I look very much like my mother.  There's hardly a time when Mom and I are together that some stranger doesn't comment on the fact that there's no denying that we are mother/daughter or inquires if we are siblings [which is a far sweeter deal for her than it is me].  My adopted cousin looks more like my Mom than I do.  In fact, if my cousin didn't know her birth parents, and I wasn't older than her [meaning I would have remembered my mom gettin' chunky for nine months], I would drag them off to Maury for a DNA test so fast their heads would spin.)

He doesn't know how often I think good thoughts for my friends who went though literal hell to be parents, including losing an infant child to cancer, prolonged patches of infertility and multiple miscarriages, who after a decade + were recently blessed with not one, but 2 babies they adopted in the course of 6 months. 

The Beagle didn't know that making me aware that National Adoption Day was an actual thing would cause me to stop and whip this up meme and post it on the BBGW page:


What I didn't know was that anyone would see it would be responsible for helping to generate good in the universe. 

I assumed per usual, nine people would see the post and 2 would like it/comment on it and that would be fuckin' that.  However, 24 hours later discovered that it has actually been seen by more than 145,000+ people and more significantly that it's been shared closing in on 2k times.  ...Which in and of itself isn't the good.  The real good, the demonstrative good it created were the sentiments it elicited from the share-ers.  Adoptive parents telling their children how much they loved them and what blessings they are to their families.  Adopted children thanking their parents and sending love.  People in the process of adopting expressing the hope that soon they could make/add to their family.  A few birth parents who wrote in such loving tones of the decision they made to provide a different life than they could provide to their children.   It was, even by a non-mushy girls standards, a beautiful and touching thing to witness. 

I doubt that even now The Beagle has any inkling of the scope of the wave of gratitude and love he created in the world from the personal pebble he dropped yesterday.   But it's a valuable lesson to the rest of us to be mindful that our words and actions, even innocuous and seemingly unnoticed ones have ramifications.  That even when unbeknownst to us, our daily ripples are more powerful than they on initial inspection may appear.   



If having thousands of people sharing a lil' love can be the result of one single and small action and :30 seconds of effort from two folks, imagine the power you have to impact something or someone with your next decision or act.  It might make more of an impact than you know.  Choose wisely.

...Now excuse me, I have a manuscript to write.
(No, you're right that's never gonna happen.  But I am going to Google to see if Grady's Ripple is something I can get my hands on.  @Imcurious.com  And keep my eyes open for opportunities to help create some ripples of good out there.  Hope you will too.  The world could use more good waves.)


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

~Something(s) You Don't Know About Me?

 In no particular order, some random ass shit you may not know about the ol' BBG:
 
  • I once *had* to punch a Chicago Police Officer in the face.  ...What I didn't have to do but did fuckin' anyway was to look down on him in my tres ladylike pink and white skirt/jacket combo and heels as he laid sprawled out in the bushes while I super assily told him, "and don't get up" as I sauntered away. 
* He was warned that if he did X, Y ( Y = I will be forced to kick your ass) would happen. 
He dumbassidly decided to do X.  And what am I, if not a girl of her word?

  • I have never had Peptol Bismol.
  • When Uncle John (my dog [for Uncle John involved posts click here]) winks at me I always wink back.  Just in case this is the time he's trying to initiate meaningful communication.
  • I do not read fiction. 
  • Thousands of travelers have been woken up by moi.  A hotel I worked at used me as the voice of the wake up call greeting.
  • For some reason I think seeing a cab over is a lucky sign.  A good harbinger for the day. 
(A cab over engine rig, or as I always call 'em, a 'flatface')
  • Two of my friends since childhood, LEM and GinCat married guys who they met through me. 
  • My college roommate was killed in a car crash.  (No, one does not get automatic A's.)
  • I have never seen:    It's A Wonderful Life, Titanic, Gone With The Wind, the Sound of Music, or any movie containing Elvis, Steven Seagal or Wesley Pipes Wesley Snipes. 
  • I once asked George Clooney if he "wanted to take a picture with me"--  as if I was the prize in the impromptu photo op.  Things I still have?...



 

  • Like Magnum P.I., I have been up in a helicopter.
  • I am kind of a slow burn when it comes to people screwing around with me.  It takes a minute before I'm going to strike out over what someone is doing to me.  Fuck with someone who I love and/or is important to me?  Well, by the time the offending party can blink I'm already designing a plan to dispose of their body.
  • I was once named in an ad published in USA Today by my (at-the-time) company for displaying superior customer service.  And all of this time you thought I was nuthin' but a stone cold bitch.
  • As a kid I advanced to the State Science Fair.  Twice.  And all of this time you thought it was just looks.
  • Unless it's to see the worlds biggest ball of rubber bands or sumthin' equally as cracked out 'n crazy and amazeballs I do not believe in stopping during a road trip.  Except in dire emergencies all eating and peeing should be sync'd to gas tank fill-ups.
  • I have been a bridesmaid in 11 weddings. 
  • I sucked my thumb until I was?  10?  Maaaaybe older?  I had a spot on my thumb from where it rested on my bottom teeth that took years to fade.
  • The only reason BBG HQ has any level of neatness and order to it is because I am simply too lazy to let shit get so out of control that I'd have to spend hours to get things up to visitor worthy levels.   Based on my desk and/or car people usually seem surprised that it doesn't look like an episode of Hoarders over here.
  • I outside of straight up survival could never kill an animal.  But at least once a week some asshole makes me contemplate sitting down and makin' a list of some people.
  • An organization published the first ad/graphic/logo/whatever ya wanna call it I designed, when I was 16.
 
  • I don't like rice, or fish, really, but I love sushi.
  • When I see a man parked in an isolated parking spot I always assume he's wackin' off.
  • I still have my baby fork.  Much to my Mother's chagrin I still insist on using it two times a year.
  • Unlike Katy Perry, I have never kissed a girl.
  • I have a printed funeral plan that several key people know where to find.  I have already named pallbearers, who's reading what and who is in charge of various aspects of gettin' me in the ground.  (Spoiler:  There will be bubbles and beer.)
  • For some reason when I'm driving the words 'left' and 'right' mean nothing to me.  (Please point to indicate direction.)
  • I can still do the splits.
  • This is one of my all time favorite pictures of me.  I spied some horses walkin' down the road whilst hanging out in Megis Co. one weekend.  I don't know who took this picture.  Or more specifically why they fuck they decided to take it from this angle, but I love it.  I've since titled it, 'Asses'.
 
  • I can whistle a (any) song like nobody's damn business.
  • I can drive a forklift.  In a skirt and heels.
  • I would/could never drink Bailey's Irish Cream.  Not to be gross ( --the sure fuckin' sign I'm about to be gross:  You have been warned!) but it looks like a shot of jizz.  No.  Thanks.  It think it's probably what bukkake porn stars drink at happy hour.  


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Monday, November 11, 2013

~Supporting Our Troops: Saying It vs. Doing It

As the granddaughter of World War II Navy man and the daughter of a Korean War Marine vet, Veteran's Day has always held a special spot in my heart.  While as everyone who has ever seen my path cross with a vet (or active MOS) knows I treat every day ( --other than Memorial Day!!)  as you may recall from the BBGW blog post *My Beef With Memorial Day* as Veteran's Day.  I've always treasured that we, as a country, recognize the importance of our military members by setting aside an actual, formal, everyone observes day to acknowledge their service and sacrifice for this nation and our citizens.  

Obviously, I think having a Veteran's Day is pretty fuckin' outstanding.

But honestly?  I don't think it's efuckingnough.

Again, I am 100% all about thanking a vet.  Every chance I get, which is to say, anytime, any place & always if you're a vet and I haven't shaken your hand looked ya in the peepers and said, "thank you for your service", it's only because of two things:

A) We've never been in the same room.
II)  I am utterly unaware of your service status.

I'm a ardent adhere-er to taking making the opportunity to express my gratitude to a citizen who has raised a right hand and oath'd up in service to our country.  It is after all they've put on the line the least I can do.

It just so happens I don't feel my least is what our military men and women deserve. 

If you do?  Lemme say, good day, sir (ma'am)!  In what may make me the worst blogger ever;  Yes.  I have just invited you to leave.  As a parting gift, please know I think you're pathetic.


If you're still here I'm assuming you are the kind of person who'd like to do better than the very least for those who've put the most they have on the line for us.  (Psst...Congratulations on already puttin' a check into the *decent person* column today!  [I, BBG, do hereby bestow upon you -One Gold Star-]) 

There are a ton of things you can do to improve the lot of our countries bravest sons and daughters.  Charities and foundations addressing the plight of military members abound all across the land.  However, I'd suggest that one of the best things you can do to make a difference in the life of a vet is to pay some fucking attention.

Attention to the fact that there are more than 67,000 homeless veterans in America.  (For context about 1 out of every 4 homeless is a veteran.)

(Source:  PBS)
Returning stateside should be a welcome home,
not a welcome to homelessness for thousands of veterans
(increasing consisting of more and more women vets,
who are estimated to be at 4x greater risk of becoming homeless).

Attention to the fact that 900,000 military veterans live in households that rely on SNAP (Supplimental Nutritional Assistance Program) to put food on their tables.  I mean reeeeally?  What the hell kind of people are we who would allow our most loyal citizens to be on food stamps in the first place?  Answer:  Those who should have left a few paragraphs ago and (sorry if your feelings are about to get hurt) Republicans.  I know, I know that seems like a biased statement.  However, the total number of Democrats who voted to cut the $5 billion dollar program/safety net that helps ensure those 900,000 veterans and their families eat tonight?  Zero.

Attention to the fact that a veteran commits suicide every sixty-five minutes.  (That's an average of 22 military suicides each day.)  A shameful reality exacerbated by the 2005 cuts to the Veterans Administration budget resulting in, "of the 84,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by VA, only half, about 42,000, had their disability claim approved by VA. Instead of expediting PTSD claims, Bush's political appointees at VA actively fought against mental health claims." 

Attention to the fact that while unemployment among veterans is at a lower rate than it has been in years, that we haven't done enough to drop the figure more than it is.  Specifically, that in fall of 2012 forty Republicans prevented the passing of the Veterans Job Act which was written in large part by John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), and Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) ....who each in turn voted against it.  Yep.  That's right.  Against their own bill.  Meanwhile every Democrat and Independent voted for it.

In ideal circumstances (aka: how I'd like the world to be) Veterans Day wouldn't be politicized.  Ideally, there should never be a need for it to be.  (...Of all of the issues rife for true bi-partisan support you'd think veteran support would lead the pack, alas, thanks to one party, consistently the answer to that rhetorical question is, a big ass; nope.)  However,  just the few examples above prove that politics is germane to the oft recited 'support our troops' slogan and how it pragmatically plays out for our warriors.  The S.S. Ideally has already left the dock, kids.

Veterans should be treated well, and afforded a level of economic (as well as health services) security, comfort and assistance at home commensurate with their great sacrifice and service to our country.  But as it's all too obvious when one is paying attention, that's not the reality of our veterans' experience in far too fucking many cases.  Politics creates what our 'thank you' looks like, in practical terms, to our service men and women.  The "thanks of a grateful nation" should not look like 67,000 veterans living on the streets, half being denied treatment for PTSD, 900,000 military American Badasses having to need SNAP benefits and then having those cut, or losing 22 per day due to suicides.  But when we don't pay attention to politics it's all too easy to get mired down in complacency and apathy 'all politics(ians) are the same' and 'nuthin' can be done about it'-ness (a la ya can't fight city hall/my vote doesn't count mentality).  Which is the antithesis of what our service men and women deserve as our tangible display of (ahem) support.  

It's well pasted time we, as a nation start walking the walk of 'supporting our troops', instead of just talkin' the talk.  And the only way to do that is to be cognizant and diligent in holding the representatives we vote into office in to representing our views.  In short, (too late?) if your representatives are not helping achieve the support you'd like to see for veterans, it's up to you to let them know that they are not worthy of your support the next time you find yourself in a voting booth. 


As touching as I imagine a heartfelt "thank you for your service" is to a vet, I would gander that having food on the family table, a post service job and a decent post service healthcare from the government you put your life at risk to serve is also a pretty meaningful way to demonstrate our collective gratitude. ...It's called walkin' the walk.  And you owe them that.


I will always tell a veteran THANK YOU.

But today I will tell you to PAY ATTENTION.




Other Military-centric BBGW Posts:
- Support Our Troops & Screw The Five-O: (It's The American Way, But It *Shouldn't* Be)

- Veterans Day ('10)

 


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