Bald Faced Idiocy

Thanks, Jay. Surely I needed the rise in blood pressure.

You clicked over, right? Good. No? Make with the clicky! I’ll wait.

Now then.

What kind of brain addled idiot suspended a 9-year-old girl from school for shaving her head in support of a friend with cancer?!?!?!?!? Are you freaking kidding me?

“I didn’t realize that hair was such an important aspect of a child at school,” Campbell said. “For a little girl to be really brave and want to shave her head in support of her friend, I thought that was a huge statement and it builds character in a child,”

In a statement to 9News.com, Catherine Norton Breman, president and Chair of the academy’s board of directors, said the dress code “was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted.”

Delaney said she was happy to have her friend’s support.

“It makes me sad because she was really happy to go back to school and show people what she did, but now that she didn’t get to, she’s kind of sad,” Delaney told 9News.com.

Source

Dude. Duuuuuuuuude. You made a little girl with cancer feel sorry for her friend because you are a dumbass. You fail on all the levels.

Like cockroaches, the school retreated from their position once the press shined a light on the story. Kamryn was invited to return to school today.

Let me tell you something about being a 9-year-old girl. It’s a mess of confusion and an over-whelming desire to be liked and accepted by your peers. Fitting-in is your Holy Grail. The popularity lines are being drawn and you want nothing more than to be on the right side of them. You’re starting to worry if you’re pretty enough to be one of the cool kids.

Shaving your head at this stage? Damn, girl. You are a rockstar.

There’s this idea that femininity and long hair are linked. Balking that tradition is intimidating. Ask me how I know.

punkingI didn’t really tell you how completely freaked out I was. I asked Michael to do it quickly before I chickened out. Which was a distinct possibility. There was more than a little bit of anxiety about leaving the house the next day. (Although the time saved in morning primping was nice.) Sure, I’d already told the internet, but then I had to go out into the general public. Yikes! I was 33, a long way from hitting all the levers on the hormonal soda fountain, and it was scary.

Or, I thought it was anyway. It turned out just fine and honestly quite liberating, but I didn’t know that until well past the point of no return. If and when I do it again, it won’t be so bad. No way 9-year-old Jennifer was that brave. Not a chance.

Kamryn, I salute you, and I’m praying for your friend. She’s lucky to have a friend like you.

 

This Is Why Those Videos Aren’t Funny

To all you YouTube jackasses that think it’s a real hoot to hand a big gun over to some inexperienced little lady in hopes of catching a laugh.

This is why that isn’t funny.

Yes, that is a worst case scenario, but there is really no good done with these stunts. In the best of cases, you alienate someone from the sport. You might even turn them into an active crusader for gun control. Or, like in the story linked above, your negligence could kill them.

Don’t want to share your hobby with your girlfriend? Try using your words like an adult rather than scaring her away from your little bromance.

If you are working with a new shooter, it is your primary responsibility to make sure they come away from the experience unharmed. Hopefully, they will enjoy it and want to learn more. Film that new shooter grin, it’s far more entertaining.

ETA because is seems applicable: This is me shooting a 500 Magnum just like the one in question

I absolutely agree that starting a new shooter with 22LR is best, but if one is not available, it can be done. First gun I ever shot was a S&W 629 loaded with 44 Magnum. I’m not going to claim I shot it well, but the only thing in danger was the target hanger. An instructor assured me that I’d be fine because I was heavier than the gun. He then explained how to grip it and instructed me to lean in. I was fine.

 

I Am A Bad Person

At least, some poorly educated twit writing for Slate thinks so. (No really, she says right there in the article that she’s poorly educated.) I was planning a brilliant take down, scorched earth style. And then Larry Correia went and did it. The nerve of a New York Times Bestselling author to pull content right out from under this bloggers frantic fingers ;)

Bygones. Really, no hard feelings. Because that was an awesome fisking in the way that only Larry can fisk. You should really skip the original article which I’m not linking and just read his. I have very little to add.

For the record, no, we don’t send our kid to private school, so maybe we aren’t all the hypens bad. Or we might actually be worse. You see, our kid goes to a virtual public school. Which means our tax dollars, that would normally go to fund our local public school, are diverted to a virtual charter school in a different district. He attends classes in his bedroom via computer. Guns in school? Hell, he gets PE credit for range trips. There’s a holster studio down the hall.

Yeah, I’m starting to think we might actually get extra hyphens. Anyway, on with the show!

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

Right. Because if we give the future teachers a mediocre education they are by some miracle going to magically morph into amazing, engaged educators. Not to mention the future lawmakers! I can imagine the thoughtful policies devised after reading a single book!

Fetch me my flying monkeys!

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

As pointed out above, I’m not even remotely invested in my local school. Because it stinks and I did send my child there. Yes, it stinks. This is the last brick and mortar school that our son attended. Yes, that says criminal investigation at a middle school. This middle school is in a town that we scrimped and saved to live in. We bought a crappy house in an affluent suburb because of the “good schools.” Yeah, we totally “gamed the system” like “rich” people tend to do.

What people like Allison Benedikt fail to realize is that my responsibility is to my child, not the school. We are doing everything in our power to make his education better. One of those options was to opt out. A decision we have regretted not once. We tried joining the PTA. Our kid was miserable and failing. The best thing we could do for him, and for future generations was to find something that worked. I only care about other people’s children in the abstract; I’m invested in my own. If you aren’t personally flesh-and-blood invested in your own offspring, you are the problem. If the improving the system is more important to you than your child, you are a miserable failure as a parent and have no business giving parenting advice.

I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one bookThere wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

She’s doing fine? I suppose in Allison’s case, ignorance really is bliss. One book? No poetry? I thought you were trying to sell me on how sending my kid to public school is a good idea.

That really is bigger on the inside! A bookcase holds entire worlds.

That really is bigger on the inside! A bookcase holds entire worlds. (picture via Facebook)

Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation. Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

Yes, getting drunk before basketball games is exactly the kind of enriching experience I want to shape my child’s world view. Then maybe he can grow up and write for Slate and prattle on about how he’s just fine.

Language gets salty below the fold. You’ve been warned. (Yeah, I should have warned you before I sent you to Larry’s place too.)

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Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Kathy Jackson at the Cornered Cat linked to an important story from Limatunes. Both links are recommended, but they are difficult and potentially triggering reading. They deal with being restrained, abducted, beaten, and raped.

We all know that fear induces the fight or flight reaction, but we don’t talk about the third option.  Sometimes, we freeze.  We shut down. Lima was pulled out of a public place by her hair and couldn’t even cry out for help. And there was no good Samaritan that jumped in either. She was on her own in her nightmare.

This is why we hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  This is why we look at the very real violence that happens in our world every day.  We hope it never comes to visit us. But the only way we can prevent the freeze is to have a plan for the worst. This is why we scan for exits when we find ourselves in new surroundings.  This is why we learn to use the tools we carry. We hope to take flight.  Barring that, we want to be ready for the fight. We can do neither if we freeze.

Personal Security Tips

Kathy Jackson has an excellent post up with some realistic tips for staying alert in real life. Because really, no one wants to be that guy. And really, go read it.

I wanted to relate a story and give you one little piece of knowledge.  When I got off work today, we ran by the bank to make a deposit. It is unseasonably warm in our part of the world and so we had the windows down.  We generally shut off the engine when sitting in the bank drive-thru since our little car is LOUD.

So there we were minding our own business.  We’d already sent our little cylinder to the teller inside and were chatting about things.  I happened to hear the man in the next lane speaking to the teller.  He was sending his cylinder back because he wanted his cash “in hundreds.”

(insert record scratch sounds here)

Do. Not. Do. This.

Ever

Full stop.

He has no idea who I am.  I now know that he has at least $200 cash on him.  He is alone. I have a description of his vehicle.  I would have is tag number if I so desired. I could take his picture. I know what he is wearing. I am in a car. He would think nothing of it if I pulled in behind him immediately. He is not likely to notice if I follow him for miles.

I drive a black Sentra.  Were it not remarkably loud, you wouldn’t notice it because there’s about a billion of them on the road. And it makes perfect sense for the person in line beside you to wind up behind you.  I’m background noise.

What if?

What if that person in the next lane isn’t me? What if they hear you ask for that cash back/withdrawal in hundreds? How far will the bad guy follow you for at least $200?

Getting cash in the drive-thru is not a terrible idea. You are in your car already and can go where you want. You will not need to make the walk to a parking lot and it can be relatively private. You can do this in such a way that no one else knows.

Did you know I was a bank teller once? Worked a drive-thru even.

All that empty space on the withdrawal slip? You can write there.  It’s okay.  Perfectly normal and acceptable for you to tell the friendly bank teller how you’d like your cash back by writing in that space. You get the cash you need in the manner you request, and the person in the next lane doesn’t know whether you made a deposit or a withdrawal. Easy as that.

Slipping notes to bank tellers is not always a bad thing.

 

Over Heard This Morning

Me: I get to put out fires today!

EvylRobot: So how is that different from any other day?

Me: These are literal fires.  The fire fighters are going to light them.

ER: Oh yeah! You’ve got fire training today.

Alas, a cold front has rolled in and the fire department has declared it unsafe to set our parking lot on fire today and hand extinguishers to high-heeled accounting types.  Just another day at the office…

Fun fact, when you light a large pan of diesel on fire, there is a lot of smoke.  Almost enough smoke to obscure the tears of Al Gore.

It’s A Zoo In My Freezer!

As I’ve mentioned before, there are 2 squirrels in my freezer. They are accompanied by the standard beef, pork, and chicken and also some squid. Until last night, there was a lovely piece of speed goat (prong horn) generously provided by a new friend. Yes, give me game meat, we become friends.  It’s that easy, folks.

So that’s all well and good, but it really not a meal yet.  Sure, I could just pull it out of the freezer and start gnawing on it, but really there are better ways to enjoy it.  Personally, I am pretty fond of having an adult beverage while EvylRobot mans the grill, but not everyone is so lucky as to have a creative cook that will both pour the beverage and prepare the meal.

Last night, for instance, EvylRobot and TeenBot browsed the freezer and pantry (ok, so it’s a box on the kitchen floor right now).  They eyed the pronghorn back-strap and the pre-measured, vacuum-sealed packages of forbidden black rice and hatched a plan.  (Buy the big bag of rice, measure it out, vacuum-seal bags, throw in box on the floor.  I call it unstructured prepping.) By the time they were done, they served up pronghorn medallions on a bed of black rice.  Sorry, no pictures.  Too busy eating.

This weekend is youth deer gun season so hopefully TeenBot will bring home some venison for culinary adventures.  Might have to hit up a specialty food store for inspiration and supplies.  If successful, this will be the first game he has taken, a milestone his mother has not yet reached.  Wish him luck!

We’ve taken on this task of getting closer to our food as a family.  Not only has it changed our perspective on where food really comes from and what goes into it, but it has allowed us new ways to bond and grow as a family.  It’s pretty amazing what you can learn about each other as you sit silently in a blind. Besides, how many moms get to gross out their teenage sons while skinning a squirrel in the kitchen? We’ve had laughter and learning and just time together away from the usual distractions of modern life.  (Although, we do still have the internet in the woods.  We aren’t completely barbaric.) And that next biology lesson is right there in the freezer!

This post is brought to you by FoodSpring. All thoughts and opinions belong to the author.

 

Turning Critters Into Food

At the beginning of this year, I set out to get closer to food.  It’s far too easy to think your vegetables come from the produce department and meat magically appears in Styrofoam and plastic wrap.  So I planted a garden and set out to shoot tasty animals.

Well, I got a few tomatoes, some cucumbers, spinach, carrots, and a lovely opportunity to bond with my son while we froze in the woods. Notice the lack of of tasty animals? I know, that’s why they call it hunting.  Besides, my permit is still good and deer season is upon us. I’m old enough that the Hunter Safety course isn’t required, but it is available online for many states. Try HunterCourse.com California, or select from many states. Even though the course isn’t required, we’ve been lucky enough to have guidance from friends.

But just because I didn’t shoot it, doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat it.  And there is a pretty substantial difference between pulling your meat out of packages and pulling it out of the skin of a squirrel.  Also, a fully skinned out squirrel is very strange looking indeed. (Links not for the squeamish.) So there are 2 gutted, skinned, and sectioned squirrels in my freezer ready for cooking. And a squirrel pelt in my bathroom (Again with the squeamish warning).  Right next to the Tannerite. What? Where else would you keep your skins and explosives?

Like Jay, I’m hoping to do my part in varmint eradication this weekend. We’ll see if that Rifleman patch I earned translates to prairie dogs! Should be good practice for deer season anyway.  We’ve seen them on the game cam. Wish us luck in getting them to the freezer!

This post is brought to you by HunterCourse.com California. All thoughts and opinions belong to the author.