Thomas Hardy Can Bite Me

One of my ongoing life projects is to slog my way through “the list” of classic books. Also I’m working my way through a list of 100 books one should read during their life that I found somewhere, don’t remember, but it doesn’t matter. Thus Tess of the D’Urbervilles came up on my mental jukebox and I wasted a day of my life reading it.

My overly brief summary is a poor young woman who is voluptuous for her age is brought to shame by a rich man who is supposed to be helping her family. As a result she has a baby and is shunned by her village. The baby dies. Later Tess runs off to get away and takes work as a milk maid on a farm far from her home village. She meets, falls in love with and marries a man she idolizes and thinks is a virtuous and beyond reproach kind of man.

On their wedding night he confesses to her that he had a fling with a woman who tempted him beyond his ability to resist. (poor men,  they just can’t handle us women) Tess is relieved by this revelation and unburdens her sordid past to her groom. He is shocked, horrified, repulsed, decides he doesn’t really love her after all, and leaves her to her own devices. He runs away from England all together to try his hand at farming in Brazil. Yea, yea, finding out your wife is not a virgin on her wedding night can do that to a man. At least it did in the 1800s according to Thomas Hardy. Although today it can still be a death sentence to a woman if she lives in some places in the Middle East.

Tess spends the next few years descending further into poverty and degredation, fighting off the advances of various men who find her looks overwhelming, claiming to be married, but no one believes her. For some reason known only to the author she continues to defend and be true to the husband who abandoned her. She eventually ends up homeless with a mother and sisters to care for and gets so desperate that she finally gives in and  hooks back up with the guy (D’Urberville) who brought her to shame in the first place.

Meanwhile, the husband, after years of illness and failure in Brazil decides that he loves Tess after all and comes back to England to reclaim her. Alas he finds her living with the evil D’Urberville. Tess is so undone by this and wants to be with her “true” husband so bad that –get this- she stabs D’Urberville in the heart with a fruit knife and runs off to be with said husband. He dies and the landlady discovers this fact by noticing that blood is dripping through the ceiling from their room upstairs.

Tess tells her husband what she did and they wander the country side for days hiding in various bushes and abandoned houses. But justice must prevail you see. She is caught of course. The final scene is Mr. Lily White husband and Tess’s sister are standing on a hillside looking at the prison. A black flag is raised indicating the Tess has been hanged for her crime. THE END.

I’m outraged by various things about this book. The main thing being it is yet another book written by a man who seems to think that he knows how the secret heart and mind of a young woman, or any woman for that matter, operates. Another thing that bugs me is that this book is given to our young women to read and touted as a classic. The main message being “see this is what happens to bad girls.” I’m still seething and I read the book over a week ago.

Discussing Politics Makes Me Rip Out My Hair

Tweedle Dee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Alice in Wonderland

Ever find yourself embroiled in a political discussion that has morphed into a battle? Now  your morals, intelligence, and even your right to exist on the face of the earth are called into question.

The last few days I’ve been attempting this fruitless activity on Facebook. First with my ex-husband and then with my son. Once again I remember why I hate Facebook and question my sanity for attempting to have a public discussion about anything more emotionally charged than which way the wind blows.

No I take that back. I say the wind is coming out of the east someone will attempt to rip my head off and say “the wind used to blow from the west and this means you don’t care about global warming. Therefore you probably put your cat in the microwave on a regular basis, and when you’re not doing that you spit on homeless people.” Say what? I give up. I usually end up thinking “I know you are trying to make a point, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.”

First my Ex fires a shot across the bow when I commented about how I don’t like how our government spends our tax dollars. “I think we should tax the rich until they bleed.” Oh come on. That’s a rather violent response, don’tcha think? This is coming from a man who used to work for the Internal Revenue Service and knows first-hand how convoluted and crooked the whole tax system is. At this point I murmur to myself, “Now I remember why I divorced your ass.”

Next comes my son. He was raised by his dad. His comments left me wondering “what the hell did your father read for a bedtime story? The Communist Manifesto?” He actually said something to the effect of “I don’t like how the government is spending our money, but I think there should be more taxes.”

I just don’t get it. I feel a migraine coming on. I must refrain from such useless and frustrating attempts to talk about politics. But dammit, sometimes I just can’t help myself. I have a brain and sometimes I like to use it.

 

Is the Desire for War a Form of Collective Mental Illness?

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
Lyrics – Country Joe and the Fish

I went to see that movie American Sniper last night. It was a rather sobering experience. But how much more sober can you get than stone cold? Who knows? If you haven’t heard about this movie it’s based on the biography of Chris Kyle, a sniper who did 4 tours in Iraq. He is known as the most lethal sniper in American History with 160 confirmed kills. He made it home alive and was murdered by a troubled veteran he was trying to help.

I’m not even going to go into the nasty debate about whether he was a hero or a coward. My opinion is that he was a soldier doing what he thought was the right thing to do to protect his family and country. He didn’t start the war – he just did what he had to do.

That being said, I’ve been pondering the whole war conundrum. I laid awake much of last night thinking about it. In a way we treat our returning warriors the same way we treat people with mental illness. We sweep it under the rug and pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

Those caught up in the war machine seem have the same mental kinks as people who are mentally ill and/or have mental illness or substance abuse problems. “Oh this is just affecting us, no one else has to deal with it, and we’re handling it just fine.” Hogwash!

As I look back over my life I can see that war has tainted my entire life. I was in my mid-teens when the Vietnam War was going on. I faced the fear that if it continued for a few more years that my brothers would have to go. I was the oldest in my family and female, but my girlfriends had older brothers that were sent off to Vietnam. They came home in a box. One of those brothers was the first boy I ever kissed. He kissed me the night before he went off to boot camp.

During that era teenage trouble making was a death sentence if you were boy from a blue collar family. The judge gave them a choice “jail or Vietnam.” Stupid boys chose Nam. I would have much rather they went to jail, but I was a 14 year old girl, my say didn’t matter much then. It probably doesn’t matter much more now. I just have a wider audience.

After my girlfriends lost their brothers, we three musketeers decided to wear black arm bands to school. We got in all kinds of trouble for it. Being teen aged innocents we didn’t know we were protesting, we just knew that our guys died and we were sad and very angry. We had to stay after school for detention every day that we wore those arm bands. Funny thing was no one ever tried to confiscate them. If this happened in the present they probably would have them confiscated. Can’t wear or carry anything to school that might offend someone nowadays. I don’t remember how long we wore them and when we stopped either. How odd. We drifted apart, life goes on I guess.

Fast forward to when I was 18 years old. I fell in love with a Vietnam vet who was one of those who made it home in body but not in mind. My mother hated him and knew he was trouble. She finally told me to not talk to her until I was finished with him. She was right in a way. He was trouble because he was troubled. When we walked down the street he was constantly scanning and looking around at trees, roof tops, alleyways. I thought he was just unusually alert. What did I know about soldiers and PTSD? My dead friends don’t talk about that. 6 months later he committed suicide by cop. Meaning they tried to arrest him, he said “you’re not taking me alive” and boom he’s dead.

So at the tender age of 14 I learned that I was not invincible. People die because of other people’s decisions, shit happens. Should children have to learn that? I don’t know but there are children all over the world in war zones learning this every day. Are we better for it? I don’t think so. But that’s just my opinion among billions of others.

Is There ANY Logical Reason to Throw Away an Empty Firearm?

Well, I know I’ve hit a rough patch when I go on a binge of reading Zombie Apocalypse novels to cheer up. After the death of a loved one there’s not much in there to scare you, and just like grieving – it goes on and on …and on. Zombies, here, there and everywhere.

Over the past week I’ve read about 15  zombie books on my Kindle. They are actually pretty funny. If you want to read about all the creative and almost hilarious ways people can screw up and be branded “too stupid to live” immediately before their inevitable demise, it’s all that and so much more. Sorry if I’m referring to death as funny, but come on. Check out the Darwin awards if you have questions. (The stupid ways that people actually, in real life, removed themselves from the gene pool.)

But back to my original question, is there any logical reason to throw away a firearm just because you’re out of ammo? If I’m out of food I don’t throw away my stove and refrigerator. I’m assuming that if you are on the run in an ongoing survival situation; war, extended riots, zombie or other kind of hair-raising apocalyptic situation, you would probably hope against hope to acquire more ammo at some point.

A recurring theme in all the books I’ve read so far is this. The hero, heroes, heroine, etc. is/are in yet another fight for their life and run out of ammo, then they THROW AWAY THEIR WEAPON (???), and run away screaming, look for a blunt object, get in an argument with their companions, or lay down and die. What the hell is that all about? Excuse me, but if I run out of ammo for my revolver or rifle, I’m still holding a blunt object that I can brain someone or something with and hopefully am able to reload in the future. Maybe I’m just a practical gal, but I wouldn’t throw down my weapon like it was an empty juice box.

I guess if you are armed with some kind of weird antique revolver that only takes handmade ammo or something similar there would be a reason to lighten your load. OK, maybe if you’re running for your life, shooting it out has become a moot point, have an extremely heavy rifle and there is very little chance that you will be coming back to it with or without ammo I could see dropping it. However, in these zombie novels someone throws away their firearm every chapter or two without fail.

I think part of it is that in a zombie novel you pretty much invent everything that happens. It is total fiction and one has artistic license to come up with whatever whacked out unbelievable scenario that suits your fancy. In prepper, survivalist type novels the authors usually are a little more experienced in the weapons department or at least do their homework.

Another thing that the characters in these zombie novels do over and over that annoys me to no end is they drive right through the middle of a seemingly abandoned town at high noon, put their car in park, leave the vehicle unattended with the keys in it, running, cross their fingers, and plunge into a dark abandoned store. Chaos ensues, of course. Does anything go right at the end of the world?

Well, that’s a whole ‘nother rant so I’m going to stop here for now.

Confessions of a Sports Non-enthusiast

I’ve been re-inventing myself after the soul shattering and untimely demise of my grandson. As mentioned in my previous post I’m in the red lava angry phase of letting go. Fueled by this anger I’ve decided to be brutally honest about a subject that seems downright silly to get worked up about in the grand scheme of things. But so what? This is my one and only life. I’ve used up 59 years of it already and I’m not wasting any more of it doing things that I hate to do.

So here goes; I HATE “TEAM” SPORTS. To me it is a violent brutal activity witnessed by a crazed mob, similar to goings on in the old Roman coliseum. I’d rather crawl on my belly naked across a field of broken glass with a rusty spoon in my eye than watch it, talk about it, speculate on coming events, chose sports memorabilia, or give the tiniest bit of a rat’s ass about it.

Why don’t I just avoid it you may ask? Well here’s the deal. I married into a band of in-laws who are all sports fanatics and seem to think that there is something odd and unsavory about a person who is not interested in sports. They all seem to think that if they just explain how wonderful it is that I will eventually have some sort of epiphany, or personality transplant and see the light.

Also every year Mr. Husband and I are given tickets to various sporting events as Christmas presents so I’m supposed lie to myself and them and pretend to be all grateful and write thank you cards for something that I get the rolling heaves even thinking about. It seems like I’m participating in a big fat charade at my expense.

To me it’s a point of principle. I’ve been with Mr. Husband and his band of merry relatives for ELEVEN years now. One would thing that my ongoing statements that I’m not in to sporting events would have sunk in by now, but NOooOo. I know Hubman wants to us to have something that we like to do together. Violent seething screaming crowds of people foaming at the mouth about who stuffs a ball in some opening or across some line, or in a net, is just not my cup of tea. Now I’d be down for a punk rock slam dance fest complete with crowd surfing. But that’s too up close and real, can’t do that from your kingly EZ boy lounger, or sitting up in the bleachers. You gotta get down in there and do it all out.

To me there is a time and place for violence and “having fun” is not one of those times. The time and place for violence is reserved for a situation where actual violence is called for because it has actually erupted. Examples; suddenly finding yourself swept up in an angry mob that you have to fight your way out of, some idiot comes through your front door with an ax, a crazed car jacker tries to pull you out of your car by your hair, etc. (I actually experienced the attempt to drag me out of the car by my hair thing. It was not fun, but I got away – minus a hand full of hair)

So there ya have it. I hate team sports. So sue me. So sorry Mr. Husband, I know this is a big disappointment to you, but I’ve been trying to tell you this for 11 damned years. It’s not my fault that you don’t listen.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 401 other followers

%d bloggers like this: