Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lost Opportunities

Today, on my way to church with my husband, I mentioned (as we drove past Potowatomi Casino) that I wanted to go and place a bet that the Packers would beat the Jets. He told me that was a foolish bet, and we would not be going to High Mass (Bloody Mary's at the Pot), but would actually be going to real church, which was fine, since church was inspirational this day.

However, I was truly inspired for thinking of making that bet, even though I didn't make it, and now I'm no richer, since the Pack did come through with a win. It is my husband's fault. I think my husband should pay me a $100 curb my enthusiasm penalty. Furthermore, I will no longer wait for my husband's approval when thinking I should make a sports bet. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts or you will lose an opportunity.

For anyone who has ever been discouraged from trusting your instincts, let this be a lesson to you. Husbands are fine and well but should have no say in your inspired gambling inclinations. I'm going to bug him so much he will pay me $100 just to shut me up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knowing When to Walk Away

Sometimes interpersonal situations are out of control and they can't be reigned in or rectified. Knowing when this is the case is difficult, because some of us are intent on holding on to relationships, situations, beliefs, etc., no matter what the cost. We hold on because we believe that is the right thing to do, and to do otherwise is wrong.

I'm here to tell you that not always is that the right thing to do. When people are deliberately hurtful, mean, abusive, detrimental to positive interactions, then holding on can only hurt you, and it only invites more of the abusive behaviors. If you have stated your frustration and honestly tried to maintain a relationship with someone who is far less vested in the relationship's value than are you; like any wise investor, it is time to sell short and cut your losses.

But this is not easy. Making the decision to walk away is very difficult. And once the walking away has occurred, it is a constant source of sadness that one must learn to live with.

I have had to do this for self-preservation. My family is completely dysfunctional, from drug abuse to prison sentences, and everything in the middle. Analytically, I know what has happened to these people, and I can feel enormous sympathy for them. But I just can't participate in their lives any longer because to do so means I get caught up in some strange game of "Let's Pretend We're Not Freaks Despite our Freakish Behaviors". Frankly, no one in my family is normal or mentally stable, and I don't think I am either, having lived through so many horrendous behaviors with these people. But I think walking away has put me on the path toward a much more normal life and I hope I can stay on it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tonette Walker Is Alive

Ooooppps, in the essence of journalism accuracy, I just saw my first television commercial featuring Mrs. Walker, which means my earlier blog was inaccurate today. Although I still can't speak to her being a flesh eating zombie or not (they are so cagey), it does appear there actually is a Mrs. Scott Walker.

She was blathering about abortion laws, and how her husband is not unsympathetic to victims of sexual assault crimes (although if they turn up preggers-oh well, no abortion for you). That, actually, is pretty unsympathetic. I am, however, not surprised by the Walkers inability to understand sympathy.

By the by, and I think all enlightened women out there will have some level of agreement with this statement; abortion would be a highly personal, terribly difficult decision to make for most women of integrity. But it is the women's decision. No man should have a thing to say about it, be allowed to enact laws governing it, or attempt to keep women in a controlled state because of it.

Watch out you guys. I may JUST come to power and you may JUST be losing one of your testicles, because I've had enough of your testosterone fueled attempts to suppress women's rights.

Erlaichda -- Election Fun

1. We have never seen a picture of Scott Walker's wife, nor has she appeared on television or in political ads with him.

Possible Reason: Scott Walker's wife may be a flesh-eating zombie. It's a reasonable explanation of what the Walker Administration did with all those security and housekeeping personnel who were laid off. If you are missing a janitor or a security guard, please contact me. If you know a janitor or a security guard with a chewed up hand/foot/ear, please let someone know.

2. Rebecca Kleefisch's wide-eyed look is indicative that she is constantly surprised. Well, small wonder. I'd be surprised, too, if I was an ill-advised, under-educated nobody who found herself in serious competition for an important elected office. I have problems with hypocrites like Ms. Kleefisch. She denounces a public health care policy, while helping herself to a cafeteria health care plan funded by taxpayers. So, one can say Ms. Kleefisch's recovery from cancer is based on socialized health plans. Yet she is against socialized health care plans. I've got an idea, Kleefisch. Drop dead next time.

3. Let's take some Behavioral Health Division patients on a field trip to polling places on November 2nd. It would be sort of like having Vietnam War vets with serious amputations welcome young men and women at the local military recruiting office, like Walmart greeters. At any rate, it would seriously hurt Scott Walker, and seriously hurting Scott Walker should be of utmost importance. Oh wait a minute. Maybe the flesh-eating zombie wife is waiting for the right moment to devour him. He has, after all, fattened up considerably in his years in office. Must be all those brown bag lunches. The question is......what is Ms. Zombie Walker putting in those brown bags?

4. Why doesn't Ron Johnson allow the press at his events?

Possible reason: Ron Johnson has his rhetoric down pat, but can't think and talk on his feet, simultaneously. Mr. Johnson would not do well when presented with some real issues and asked to explain his "solutions". He needs that extra hour, forty-eight to polish his spin. The secret to Ron Johnson's losing the election? Pay him in gum. Donate gum to him. Everybody send Ron Johnson a pack of gum. He is probably as physically uncoordinated as he is mentally uncoordinated, so he will chew and fall, possibly striking his head. This can only be an improvement for Ron Johnson's state of mind.

5. Get out and Vote!!!!

Because of the huge significance of this mid-term election; voter turnout is expected to be very high. For that reason, Democrats should go to the polls on November 2nd and Republicans should report on November 3rd. May some divine intervention/cosmic soup, wrap the polling places in intelligence and wisdom.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Passive/Aggressive Personality Disorder

Well, having taken a giant step back from some of my relatives has given me peace, serenity and complete freedom from severely dysfunctional relationships. It would be relatively impossible for me to feel comfortable in an environment where so much passive/aggressive interaction occurs. Limiting my interactions with people who aren't able to accept or understand me is far less isolating then trying to fight for my voice in a roomful of people intent on drowning me out.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior:

Signs and Symptoms:

1. Ambiguity or speaking cryptically: a means of engendering a feeling of insecurity in others.
2. Chronically being late and forgetting things: another way to exert control or to punish.
3. Fear of competition.
4. Fear of dependency.
5. Fear of intimacy as a means to act out anger. The passive aggressive often cannot trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone.
6. Making chaotic situations.
7. Making excuses for non-performance in work teams.
8. Obstructionism.
9. Procrastination.
10. Sulking

I have a few relatives that fit the criteria so closely, the passive/aggressive handbook could have been written about and for them.

Behaviors associated with passive/aggressive personality disorder are varied; but perhaps the one that consistently fits the people I used to try to deal with is psychological manipulation.

Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious and deceptive.

The following techniques are employed by passive aggressive sufferers.

1. Lying. It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time they do it although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimize the chances of being lied to is to understand that some personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating, doing it frequently and often in subtle ways.

2. Lying by omission. This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda.

3. Denial. Manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong.

4. Rationalization. An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behavior. rationalization is closely related to spin.

5. Minimization. This is a type of denial coupled with rationalization. The manipulator asserts that his or her behavior is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting, for example, saying that a taunt or an insult was only a joke.

6. Selective inattention or selective attention. Manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like "I don't want to hear it".

7. Diversion. Manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.

8. Evasion. Similar to diversion, but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague responses, weasel words.

9. Covert intimidation. Manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle indirect or implied) threats.

10. Guilt tripping. A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position.

11. Shaming. Manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle, such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, subtle sarcasm. Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim.

12. Playing the victim role ("poor me"). Manipulator portrays him-or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else's behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy, or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.

13. Vilifying the victim. More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.

14. Playing the servant role. Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause, for example, saying he/she is acting in a certain way for obedience and service to God or a similar authority figure.

15. Seduction. Manipulator uses charm, praise, flattery or overtly supporting others in order to get them to lower their defenses and give their trust and loyalty to him or her.

16. Projecting the blame (blaming others). Manipulators scapegoat in often subtle, hard to detect ways.

17. Feigning innocence. Manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or did not do something that they were accused of. Manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim questions his or her own judgment and possibly his or her own sanity.

18. Feigning confusion. Manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending he or she does not know what you are talking about or is confused about an important issue brought to his attention.

19. Brandishing anger. Manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage to shock the victim into submission. The manipulator is not actually angry, he or she just puts on an act. He or she just wants what he/she wants and gets "angry" when denied.

Here are the character traits that make a person a prime target for passive/aggressive personalities:

1. Too trusting.
2. Too altruistic.
3. Too impressionable.
4. Too naive.
5. Too Masochistic.
6. Too Narcissistic.
7. Too Greedy.
8. Too immature.
9. Too materialistic.
10. Too dependent.
11. Too lonely.
12. Too impulsive.
13. Too frugal.
14. Being elderly.*

With the exception of numbers 7, 9, 10 and 13, I have certainly embodied many of the traits that have made me a prime target for the passive/aggressive types.

Supposedly, passive/aggressive personality disorder manifests itself in childhood, usually because of a problem with a parent, i.e., a drug addicted father, a mentally ill mother, etc. Therapy can uncover the cause and illuminate a road to a more integrated personality.

Probably all human beings have been passive/aggressive in their lifetimes, showing a few traits and behaviors somewhere in their personal histories. At some point, I believe people realize that their behaviors aren't working for them, usually when difficulties arise in interpersonal relationships. Faced with that reality, we either gain insight, get help or we end up with a fairly limited number of relationships. One thing is certain, emotionally healthy people avoid emotionally unhealthy people. Temperament and emotional stability tends to be the great equalizer of long lasting relationships and true intimacy.

*Reprinted from Psychological manipulation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Defense Budget - The Military/Industrial Complex and the Duping of the American Public

The United States of America had the following defense budget in 2010:

Army 243.9 Billion Dollars

Navy 149.9 Billion Dollars

Marines 29 Billion Dollars

Air Force 170.6 Billion Dollars

Intelligence (HUH?) 50 Billion Dollars (If someone had given me $50,000,000,000, I guarantee you, I would have known Arabs were in flight schools in America.)

Defense Wide 118.7 Billion Dollars

Now why is it that in this time of economic peril and being dangerously close to absolute collapse, no one, and I mean NO ONE in American politics, has brought up the incredible waste of defense spending. Maybe we just have too much testosterone out there to think there might be a way of settling a dispute that didn't involved blowing something to smithereens with a sophisticated, million dollar missile.

Easy fix, in my opinion. Remove a testicle at birth for all males born in the world. Testosterone drops, intelligence raises, potentially dangerous situations are defused intellectually and we still procreate at an alarming rate.

All right, I'm being facetious, although people wanting to enter politics should have to undergo this procedure. At least we'd know they were serious.

America is an ugly tempered kid, intent on being the biggest bully on the planet through defense spending.

Global Distribution of Military Expenditures in 2009:

United States 46.5%
China 6.6%
France 4.2%
United Kingdom 3.8%
Russia 3.5%
Next 10 countries combined 20.7%
Rest of the world 14.7%

A review of these numbers proves that we are outspending everyone on defense.....and for what? Russia is a non-threat. China is going to beat us economically. Yet if we even dare to speak about limiting our defense budget, that action is perceived as anti-American, unpatriotic, communistic and just plain stupid. The reason for that? Greed. Too much money concentrated in a military/industrial complex. America is not safer. America makes the world unsafe through arms sales. And the people who belong to this unholy alliance are getting very rich. No reason to dismantle what works for a few greedy people, eh?

The cost of one stealth bomber can equally educate (and I'm talking four years of college at a good school) every senior who graduates this year in America. Think about that. Wouldn't we do better to make our children smarter? Smarter than we are; less vulnerable to nuclear disaster, which will probably occur not because of any conflict, but purely by accident. That occurrence seems almost inevitable with all the fire power on the planet.

America is a land of stupid and greedy people. I'm not sure anything can save this country; but more importantly, I'm not sure it's worth saving in its current condition. So go wave your flag, promote the defense budget and just be patriotic and GO USA! It'll all blow up in your red white and blue ass eventually.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Uncreative American

Is American creativity truly dead --- the one thing that set us apart from the rest of the world? I'm starting to think so. The melting pot has boiled us down to a bland and uninteresting pablum, unfit for babies and the elderly.

I'm bitchin today, because I spent the afternoon trying to watch what turned out to be some of the worst television in existence.

How many good writers are out there and why doesn't their work get bought or produced in any great quantity? Why is everything a formula?

Here are my pet peeves today.

1. HGTV. If I see one more freakin' kitchen with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplash, industrial range hood and stone floor, I will scream and scream and scream. First of all, granite counter tops are real nice, but if your house is 85 years old, they won't look like they belong there. Stainless steel appliances are cold....I mean COLD. Plus, they feel yucky when you touch them, grating, like nails on a chalkboard. Range hoods are nice to have if your husband is a gourmet cook (mine is), but truly unnecessary otherwise, unless, of course, your cooking is a menace and fire hazard. My husband doesn't have one of those industrial sized hoods. So far, he's okay without this trend. Subway tile is nice, glass tile is nice, I confess to having a backsplash against my non-granite counter tops. However, there must be other options. Stone floors, I periodically scrub my floor on hands and knees. I do not need to bleed for a clean house, hardwood is difficult enough.

Seriously, can a kitchen designer come up with something else? Maybe a recycled Coke Can counter top; a packed dirt floor that can double as a garden. Something! Anything! I wonder how many of these "wonder" kitchens are going to be as passe as avocado colored appliances in another decade? I'm sure they will. Some new trend will take over. All that money spent to be exactly like everyone else. Dead creativity.

Here's a bit of advice. People should express their individuality in their homes; it is a reflection of your soul. If everyone has the same kitchen ---- duh. Too stupid to come up with a few fresh ideas?

2. LMN. Every terrible D actress in Hollywood has filmed one of these hideous movies. The movies stink, the acting stinks, the dialogue stinks, the plot is figured out in the first 10 minutes (if they bother to have one at all) --- I actually looked forward to the commercials to make it stop. Life Movie Network. If this is Life, freakin' kill me.

3. Formula Big Budget pictures. Yawn. With all the money studios spend on films every year, why is it that there are probably only 10 movies annually worth actually going to the theatre to see? The show house in my neighborhood has nice sofas instead of theatre seating. I cannot tell you the number of times I have spent $15 to take a nap in public.

4. I consider myself well-read, but it's getting harder and harder. Good writers are few and far between. Bad writers are everywhere and they get published, repeatedly. Publishing in America reeks of formula and formula sells. Formula does not sell in my house. It does, however, bludgeon the mind. American intelligence and the entertainment quotient is on a downward trend.

5. Reality television. Jesus H. The Kardashians? Really? What's real about them? My idea for a reality television show is to drop a white guy off dressed in a $4,000 suit with a Rolex watch, and a Louis Vuitton briefcase packed with gay porn, in the middle of East L.A. He will have no money, no car, no credit cards and no cell phone. Let's see how long it takes him to walk back to West Hollywood. That's an adventure worth seeing.

Or how about a show with ass boils and their subsequent lancing?

Cold sores and the healing process on big, pouty lips.

Anyhow, I'm just on a roll because I'm sick of how uncreative, almost dis-creative America has become. It's like George Orwell's Big Brother. We're all supposed to be the same and like the same things. If we don't, there's something wrong with us and we might be dangerous. Any step outside the current trend makes you eccentric.

I think I have to move to a land where someone has a fresh idea every now and then. This country is white bread and it helps kill brains in twelve ways.

It's Holloway or the Highway

Reading the local newspaper, I stumble across the article that County Board Chairman Lee Holloway threatened to fire county staffers who show disrespect to the County Board, if he temporarily takes over as county executive.

I guess the question is, what constitutes "disrespect". Or the bigger question, from what pool of ego is Chairman Holloway's edict coming from.

The bigger part of politics is calling on our electorate to do a good job. Sometimes, we have to shoot down policies and actions that are fundamentally stupid.
I guess I'm being disrespectful......but where I come from, respect must be earned, not commanded. Ask Hitler. His highest ranking officers tried to murder him.

What intrigues me is that the gubernatorial election here in Wisconsin is far from wrapped up. County Executive Scott Walker is not the Governor yet. However, Mr. Holloway is already planning for his takeover of Milwaukee County, and has said he will put himself in office for the interim. I have a vision of a spider, rubbing it's hairy, skinny legs in a cobwebby corner, plotting and planning for a victory attack.

Mr. Holloway needs to be reminded that "Interim County Executive" does not equate to "Red Queen" with an off-with-their-heads philosophy and management style. I think all citizens are sick to death of gangster politics, i.e., my way or the highway.

We can only hope that the gubernatorial election will hinge on thoughtful consideration of the candidates and their records. If it does, Mr. Barrett will be living in the governor's mansion. So, let's not put the cart before the horse's arses. Mr. Holloway would do better to find some solution to the budget woes facing Milwaukee County, rather than letting dreams of power and glory cloud his judgment and effectiveness. It's easy to be seduced by the thought of political power and retribution; a little bit harder to grind out an economic policy that might actually work. Mr. Holloway seems to be so caught up in his potential career upgrade that he has lost sight of what he is actually supposed to be doing. I implore Mr. Holloway to focus on his current job and let the chips fall where they may on November 2nd.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scott Walker Kicks Dog; Ron Johnson Swings Cat

Alright, maybe that's not literally true. But I don't think the two politicians, one part idiot, one part millionaire, would enjoy such a rosy image if it was. And on some level, it is.

I am always amazed at how many people respond when they see a wounded or abused animal on a news report. The switchboard lights up with people wanting to adopt and give the poor critter a good home.

Residents of Wisconsin, some of you are these poor critters. In one example, many employees of Milwaukee County have had no pay raises for over five years. No private sector company would have the audacity to not give their hard-working employees some kind of appreciative compensation. Scott Walker hates public employees; it is reflected in every move he's made and every interaction he has had with labor unions.

As a former Milwaukee County employee, I know that some County employees are worthless, long-term, lazy, entitled and embittered. But they are a small minority hopefully on the verge of retirement. Scott Walker kicks all Milwaukee County employees constantly; employees -- you are the dogs. Wake up and vote for Barrett. Mr. Walker talks incessantly about creating jobs. Do not apply.....any job Walker would create will have the stamp of idiocy all over it....and likely, come without benefits.

Ron Johnson is laughable. He must be on a power trip to have spent millions of his own dollars on his campaign. He says he's going to go to Washington and make a difference. Not bloody likely. Keep Feingold in office. Mr. Feingold is a truly dedicated politician.

Like most Republicans, Mr. Johnson lies about his integrity. He also talks about creating jobs. Government does not create jobs, entrepreneurs create jobs. Unfortunately, there are no tax incentives to inspire entrepreneurs because all the money to inspire new business enterprises is ear-marked as tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. Like Mr. Johnson. And...Mr. Walker's campaign contributors.

Mr. Johnson is strolling down the street like the rich guy in Monopoly, but instead of twirling his walking stick, he's swinging a terrified cat by the tail. That cat is anyone who is not a millionaire, in other words, you.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Autumn of My Discontent

I hate winter. A Wisconsin winter is about as joyous as a colicky baby with two heads. I am going to really have to draw on my personal survival resources to get me through five more winters -- the magic number in my husband's head before he is ready to give up his practice and move somewhere reasonable.

I have a sense of foreboding about this winter. I am already sick with some bug that has kept me coughing, sneezing, head achy, feverish, fatigued and ornery. This started in September. After three weeks of symptoms, I've finally made a doctor's appointment. The point is, it's not a good way to kick off the change in season.

I used to cross country ski, which helped pass six months of cold, snow, ice and other assorted miseries. Maybe I should take up skiing again. Except everything I take up now, athletically, seems to hurt a great deal two days after the fact. Hmmm.. Maybe I could get pain medicine and pass the winter in a narcotic haze. This sounds appealing. Then again, not being able to follow the plot line of The Andy Griffith Show probably won't help preserve any of my brain cells. Pretty sure I'd like to retain the intelligence left to me.

I desperately need some winter survival ideas. I could join AA -- just to have someplace to go. I don't really drink much. I don't knit, crochet, sew, or any of that fun hand stuff to keep me occupied. My hands get in trouble a lot, opening doors to shopping malls and boutiques. It's good the roads are icy, which makes me think twice about going out.

I have tons of art supplies, which I hope will help me be creative. Sure wish I had talent, as well. Most of my art endeavors end up half done or thrown out. I have fun doing them, but the end result is, well, hideous, usually.

The thought of being house-bound, even though I love my very charming house, is weighing heavily on my mind. We are one month away from the mid-term elections, and since I live in a state where a lot of interesting issues are at stake, I'm sure I will have fun deriding the good citizens of this state if my candidate picks don't happen to win. But what if my candidates do win???? I need someone new to pick on. Send me suggestions.