The right to bare arms (follow up)

Bonnie Fuller has a great blog over at Huffington Post. She asks, in her post titled, Michelle Obama’s Sleevegate: Why can’t America Handle Her Bare Arms?:

Is Michelle Obama supposed to wear a burka? Since when are a woman’s
arms considered an erogenous zone here in America? Why would it be
inappropriate for the First Lady to attend her husband’s address to
Congress in a beautiful, purple Narcisco Rodriguez SLEEVELESS dress?

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Ms. Fuller goes on to remind us that those who have raised the question of propriety, should check out a history book because one of America’s
most fashionable previous First Ladies, Jacqueline Kennedy, practically
made sleeveless looks her uniform, whether they were dresses or two
piece shirt and skirt ensembles.

Ms. Fuller also makes this observation:

sleevelessness conveys the fact that she is ready to get to work as
First Lady, doing everything that she can to help the American public.
It’s her variation on the look that men use to visually telegraph the
fact that they are hard at work on important business. When the
President is rolling up his shirt sleeves, we know we’re being told
that his job is far more than ceremonial. Michelle’s saying that exact
same thing.

Michelle’s also giving us another not-so-subtle message — she’s strong and tough. Those arms with their well-defined biceps 
(and let’s not fail to mention her beautifully sculpted shoulders) look
powerful enough to wrap around a distressed nation and lift it up.

Read the entire article here.

Related link:
Official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama


McNuggets 911 call

Photo courtesy The Smoking Gun

McNuggets enthusiast

A Florida woman called 911 three times after McDonald’s employees told her they were out of McNuggets.

The Associated Press reports:

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – A police report said
27-year-old Fort Pierce resident Latreasa L. Goodman told authorities
she paid for a 10-piece last week but was later informed the restaurant
had run out.

She says she was
refused a refund and told all sales were final. A cashier told police
she offered Goodman a larger portion of different food for the same
price, but Goodman became irate.

Police say Goodman was cited on a misuse of 911 charge. A current phone listing for Goodman couldn’t be found.

A McDonald’s spokesman says Goodman should have been given a refund, and she’s being sent a gift card for a free meal. Listen to 911 Calls

Bad customer service is not a reason to call 911

OK, yes. This is darn funny. But I have to say that I would be outraged too if I chose something to purchase, paid money for my choice of purchase and then was told that I could not have what I agreed to purchase — nor could I have my money back. What the heck?

If Ms. Goodman had taken food without paying for it, McDonald’s could have called the police on her. But McDonald’s could take her money without providing the item she intended to purchase, with no repercussions? Ms. Goodman did not even receive the goods she sought to purchase but her money, she was told, would not be given back to her.

Bad customer service is not a reason to call 911, but can you call the police for “McNuggets fraud”?

Maybe she wouldn’t have gotten into legal trouble if she had called the police directly instead of using the emergency -only 911 line. But really, what can a consumer do in a case like that?

What to do if you’ve been had

I came across a great article about 7 steps you can take if you’ve been scammed. The article is from Time Out New York, but the steps outlined are not limited to residents of New York and you could apply them to your own situation if you found yourself being scammed. Here’s a link: The TONY 311: What to do if you’ve been had.

Rules of return

McDonald’s is admitting that Ms. Goodman should have been given a refund. In doing so, they are in alignment with Florida law.

In Florida, where the McNuggets fiasco occurred, if the seller has a no-refund policy, such a statement must
be posted in a store. If a no-refund policy isn’t posted, you may
return unused goods in the original packaging within seven days for a
full refund.

You can read about the law here.

Related links:

The Smoking Gun’s account of McNuggets “Emergency”

Man calls 911 over displeasure with Burger King order

Pink dolphin photographed

Photo courtesy of The Guardian

Not sheer pink or light pink or blush pink or coral, but really pink — bubble gum  pink, cotton candy pink, Barbie high heels pink — a pink so pink it looks fake.

This pink dolphin has been photographed by charter boat Captain Erik Rue, 42, who has
been studying the dolphin since it first surfaced in Lake Calcasieu, an
inland saltwater estuary, north of the Gulf of Mexico in south-west
Louisiana. Rue originally saw the rare albino dolphin, which also has
reddish eyes, swimming with a pod of four other dolphins.

The Guardian reports:

A rare pink bottlenose dolphin has been spotted in a Louisiana lake.
The albino dolphin has been making a splash with locals and visitors to
the area since it was first spotted last year.

“I just
happened to see a little pod of dolphins, and I noticed one that was a
little lighter … I had never seen anything like it. It’s the same
colour throughout the whole body,” said Rue.

“The dolphin appears
to be healthy and normal other than its coloration, which is quite
beautiful and stunningly pink,” Rue said he had seen the dolphin 40 to
50 times.

“As time has passed the young mammal has grown and
sometimes ventures away from its mother to feed and play but always
remains in the vicinity of the pod,” he said

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, a senior biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: “I have never seen a dolphin coloured in this way in all my career.”

is a truly beautiful dolphin but people should be careful, as with any
dolphins, to respect it – observe from a distance, limit their time
watching, don’t chase or harass it.”

Read the entire article here.

Tidal Wave
Annette Marie Hyder
Previously published in The Cayuse Press

Love was a goddess
a body of water
large and salty and brown.

Her surface puckered
dimpled and moved
in synchrony
with your hands.

She transfixed you
with her trident
and tsunami strength.

That she was brown,
muddy, from all of her
vast experience
her churned up depths
made you long
for muddiness too.

of her sucking whirlpools
and teeth like rocks,
her entangling seaweed hair
you hurled yourself
in a dolphin’s
or porpoise’s
perfect arching dive.

The fear
that you could drown —
a feathered lure —
ticked your fancy.

Your only wish
to be buried at sea.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Photo courtesy of ilovedrseuss

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.” — Dr. Seuss

Theodore Geisel, better know as Dr. Seuss, would have been 105 today. The Seussian universe he created, populated by whimsical  plants, improbable animals and rhyme spouting denizens is politically astute (the Butter Battle Book
is an anti-war story, and specifically challenged Reagan’s decision to
put defense ahead of social welfare programs during the Cold War), ecologically revelatory (The Lorax is an environmental fable that speaks out against the destruction of the environment), socially insightful (The Sneetches) and just plain fun.

Photo courtesy of ilovedrseuss

Who doesn’t love the ridiculous tenacity of Sam I Am in proffering green eggs and ham to his reluctant recipient? Who doesn’t love Horton’s heroism or the Grinch’s redemption? Who can resist Theodore Geisel’s crazy made-up words? Not me.

Theodore Geisel was descended from a long line of German brew masters on his father’s side. After being caught at a drinking party during the Prohibition era,
Theodore was forced to continue writing for Dartmouth’s paper under a
pseudonym. Thus, Dr. Seuss was born. Here are 5 more things you might not have know about Dr. Seuss, according to the National Post:

5:  Dr. Seuss rhymes with another epic figure in children’s literature: Mother Goose. Coincidence? No.

4: When presenting the dialog for the magicians in Bartholomew and the Oobleck,
Seuss employed the use of trochees (or chorues) which presents text in
an alternating pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables (“Shuffle,
duffle, muzzle, muff”. The technique was also used by Shakespeare with
his cauldron stirring witches in Macbeth (Toil! Toil!), by Poe in his poem The Raven and often in nursery rhymes.

3: After his career as a children’s author/illustrator began,
Geisel worked as an editorial cartoonist in New York during World War
2, which illustrated his rabid anti-fascism views. You can view a collection of his political cartoons here. They were also collected in a book called Dr.Seuss Goes to War, with an introduction by Art Spiegleman. Seuss also wrote several WW2-era propaganda films.

2. Theodore Geisel wrote children’s books under a trio of pen
names: Dr. Seuss, which was reserved for the books he both wrote and
illustrated; as Theo LeSeig, for books that he wrote without
illustrating; and as Rosetta Stone, for one book he penned called Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo!

1: Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat was born as a
response to an article which was published in Life Magazine in 1954,.
The piece criticized American school primers as intensely boring,
unchallenging to readers and responsible for causing harm to children’s
literacy. The article called for more primers to up the excitement by
energizing the language and including drawings like those of
“imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard
Pyle, Theodor S. Geisel.” Using the piece as a call to action, Geisel
and his publisher came up with a list of 400 “exciting” words, which
Seuss than narrowed down for the book, and included 13 more of his own.
The final product is 1626 words in length and uses a total vocabulary
of 236 words.

The tale of the Lorax was Seuss’ environmental fable published in
1971. In it, he speaks out against the destruction of the environment
through the Lorax, a sage figure who speaks for the trees, only to
watch his habitat destroyed by an unsustainable business. After the
plants are killed and the animals leave the barren wasteland behind,
the polluting Once-ler realizes the terrible mistake he’s made, and
urges a young boy to plant the last-ever Truffula seed to restore the
beauty of the land.

Here’s a clip of the beginning of the TV special based on one of my favorite Seuss books, The Lorax:

Relevant links:

Dr. Seuss poems

Fluffiness of soft toilet paper comes at a price to trees

Seuss-like sea creatures discovered

Dr. Seuss Wikipedia

Rihanna back with alleged abuser Chris Brown, hook, line and sinker

Photo courtesy of gallicwars

People Magazine is reporting that Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together.

CBS reports further:

The singers have reportedly reconciled less than three weeks after
Brown allegedly assaulted Rihanna the night before the Grammy Awards.

Julie Dam, People’s senior editor and clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere talked to Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen about the apparent reconciliation.

“Julie, People broke the story that they got back together. How did it happen?” Chen asked.

“Well, you know he did reach out to her on her birthday last week.
And since then they’ve sort of been mutually talking. And as of last
week, they were together in Miami,” Dam said.

“I think it was sort of the big moment when he called her on her
birthday and they both care about each other, we’re told, and they want
to work out their issues,” Dam said.

“Jeff, does this surprise you that they’re back together?”

“Julie, it doesn’t surprise me at all because we see, in the cycle
of domestic violence, if, in fact, this happened and we think it has,
of course, that when the perpetrator, the abuser, finds himself in a
situation of he’s in trouble in the relationship, he’s on the outs in
the relationship, he will beg to come back. He will send gifts, and we
know gifts have been sent. He will say, ‘I won’t do it again.’ And with
the victim of the domestic violence, we find that they sometimes blame
themselves or feel that they’re responsible for what has happened,”
Gardere said.

Read the full article here.

Backhanded to the floor for being sassy

My grandmother Mary left her first husband, Earnest, because of abuse. Earnest raised his hand to Mary and backhanded her across the face.

But before Mary left Earnest, right after he slapped her so hard she fell to the floor temporarily dazed, she got back on her feet. She made sure to snatch his eye-glasses off his face, throw them to the ground; stomp on them and crush them. She then took a frying pan and chased him around the kitchen table with it until he fled out the door.

Earnest was bigger than her and stronger than her. He initiated the attack by backhanding her across the face. Mary ended it by breaking his eye-glasses and picking up a domestic utensil and transforming it into a blunt weapon which she wielded to defend herself.

Mary told me all about the many, many abusive acts that led up to that one time Earnest hit her so hard her head spun: he belittled her, he threw things at her, he used hateful language, he screamed so loud at her that her ears hurt. But that’s not all.

All her fault

He blamed her for the problems in their relationship and he provided proofs. He said she was a bitch, that she made him miserable. He proved it to her by getting drunk. He told her she was ugly. He proved it to her by cheating on her.  He told her she was stupid. He proved it to her by duping her. He blamed her for his temper and loss of
self-control — he said that she provoked him. He proved it to her by treating
her, and only her, in that violent way.

Bait and switch

Image of fish hook via wikipedia

Mary stayed married to Earnest for years of abusive behavior that stopped just short of being physical. Why would she have stayed with him after a pattern emerged of abusive behavior? Why wait to be hit before leaving? Why would any woman stay with someone like that? One reason is the old bait and switch. When Earnest was wooing Mary, he told her how happy she made him, how beautiful she was, how clever. He treated her special and she fell in love with him. His wooing self was the bait. Once he landed her she got the switch. And Mary kept looking for the bait-Earnest long after the switch occurred — right up until he backhanded her to the ground and she could finally see how sharp the hook was that he had caught her on.

Fiery temper

The story of my grandmother breaking Earnest’s glasses and chasing him with a frying pan has turned into a family legend. But it’s one that’s been told to show her spitfire ways and fiery temper. I think something got lost in the telling. I think it’s less about her temper and more about her indomitable spirit. Fighting back does not mean that you possess a temper of legendary proportions. It means you wont take things lying down.

Earnest never stopped trying to get Mary back. Years later he would still call and leave messages for her that he just wanted to hear her voice, “Nobody’s voice can touch me like yours, Mary.” Yeah.

Current events: grow some legs and walk away

Rihanna has me thinking about my grandmother’s story. Chris Brown is wooing Rihanna to win her back after his alleged assault. He sent her jewels and flowers and presents, lures to lull her to him. I see him putting himself on that hook. He is comfortably ensconced in the bend and making himself look like the only thing for her. But once she bites she’ll find the switch has been made –again — and that she’s on the end of his hook. Right now, it looks like she is caught: hook, line and sinker. I wish for Rihanna the same strength that my grandmother had — to grow some legs and walk away.

Image courtesy of

Annette Marie Hyder

Barbed kisses —
it can happen to anyone.
Don’t panic.
But don’t just flounder
leaving it there to fester either
because it must be removed.
There is the danger of infection
of scarring
and pain

but there is also the promise
that the person who has you on the end of that hook
is not going to be satisfied with anything less
than pulling you around against your will
pushing you to twist at the end
digging the hook in deeper with every move you make.

The barb won’t work its way out.
It wont disappear.
Band-Aids and kisses will not blunt its sharp tip.

I say remove it with care. I say have your hands clean.
But I say if there is no other way
then tear it out by any and all means.

Smack the water a hard goodbye
with the fin you will use to escape from your drowning.
Rip that fin in two to make yourself legs
so you can walk away.

Related link:
Rihanna alleged victim of Chris Brown