Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

You Just Scream

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Boston Women's March

What I found coolest about today was the respect and solidarity. I walked with a river of women, with everyone who came along because they understand what I've been saying for years: feminism is for everyone. Signs declared truth, everything from "Black Lives Matter" to "If You Cut Off My Reproductive Choice, Can I Cut Off Yours?" The gay guys, always THE BEST, came out with "Born This Way" and "You Can't Defund Love." One guy nailed it, his sign read, "TOO MUCH WRONG FOR ONE SIGN." Right? Everyone represented. Everyone came out in solidarity: old men, young boys, teenagers, grandmothers, young parents with babies in strollers, people in wheelchairs.

I saw women my age, marching with their friends. I was wearing the pin that Jenny gave all five of us, so I felt powerful.

I saw Glenn marching with his wife, and then he put his arm around his diminutive mother-in-law. *sniffle* I saw Rick Berlin walking with his young boyfriend. I saw Catherine and Jess, a couple. I saw Sarah with her two little kids (Marco had to work).

I saw some young women start a clap and like a "Hey, Ho!" to establish the beat, then amongst themselves they demo'd a call and response. Instantly, that got picked up by hundreds of people, on a surge of positivity. A rallying cry. Today, I finally understand "cheerleaders." Girls, you knock me out.

I saw grandfathers and fathers pushing strollers, and moms and dads with children up on their shoulders carrying signs. 

I saw people who know the trains helping those who didn't know, probably those people who came in from the suburbs.

I saw the cops being so cool. They kept everyone feeling safe.

I saw the old guard, women my mom's age who have already fought for this shit, led groups, and they know how to do this, but wish they didn't have to...and they marched with even older women, their moms, and that got me verklempt, just because it's taken women so many decades to get to this point, and yet here we all still are, you guys. ∎
Women's March, Boston Common
Because fuck this guy.

The pin on my purple beret is gift from my Jenny.
At our 20th college reunion (2012) she surprised our group of five by giving one to each of us.
My girls are always with me, but especially today.
Related: The Revolution Will Be Digitized

Friday, January 20, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Knowledge is Power. But So Is Power.

Coming from a working class Sicilian family, going to college was something of an ordeal. No one in my immediate family had ever gone to college. Mom got her high school equivalency when I was in 8th grade (I helped her with her homework), and my father went to work in the family waste removal business, National Guard and then painting/contracting. When I brought up college the first time, despite my good grades and a penchant for wordsmithery, they laughed in my face and scoffed, "YOU can't go to college!" It sounds cruel. It felt cruel. But living paycheck-to-paycheck means zero chance of ever saving a penny for my higher education. The very idea was ludicrous. "YOU can't go to college!" Ha ha, ha ha ha, hilarious.


After a brief bout of "what's the point" I regrouped. I applied to colleges by myself, I filled out miles of Pell Grant and loan paperwork by myself, I researched and applied and got a number of small scholarships and grants. I worked hard after school and on weekends (babysitting, working at a farm). I was tired all the time, but I wrote for the school newspaper, and I took extra classes, and stage-managed our drama club. Against all odds, I ended up attending a small, all-women's college in New York. There, I carried right on working 40+ hours (work-study, retail downtown) between classes, nights and weekends. You got a lotta energy when you're 19, and I burned a great deal of it...I learned to "power nap" because sometimes there's only 20 minutes between this thing, and the next thing. And the thing after that. Day in, day out.

Advice in Bold Type

Here's my advice. If you never considered your paid-for higher ed to be a power launch—say, like if you never even saw your tuition bills let alone had angst-ridden nightmares about the Bursar's Office—then you need to send a nice, handwritten thank-you card to whoever gave you a good, strong start. Do it today. Because that was important.

one carabiner
Here's why. It's not complicated: there are only so many available hours in a week. In high school and college, when a large number of those hours are spent working a variety of minimum-wage jobs between classes and on weekends, that means you're not focusing on your grades and activities. While you're at the store doing inventory at 6am, your college roommate is getting some good sleep that powers a fully functioning brain for the exam later that day, the one you arrive to sit for all tired and dusty from crawling around a retail warehouse counting carabiners. When you get off your shift at 11pm and stay up until 3am working on your research for the paper that will be your entire grade for the class, your friends, having finished their outlines hours ago, have been letting off steam at the Irish bar that doesn't check IDs. I didn't attend our junior year ring ceremony because I needed the overtime, not that I could have afforded the ring. I'm not in the yearbook either. I couldn't take any unpaid internships like my classmates did at cool New York magazines, some of whom got hired after graduation, after they breezily achieved that expensive degree that's pretty much, by the way, mandatory in order to get literally anywhere in a competitive workplace. That's a fact.

Fourth Grade Something

From fourth grade onward, I was definitely going to be an English major going somewhere. By 10th grade, I was sure that I really wanted Boston. The problem was the money. It was never gonna happen. There's not enough babysitting money in the world. That's just the truth, and it goes for anybody working retail, or clerking, or driving a truck. This BETSY doesn't get it, or she does and she just DGAF. I was a pretty good writer when I was a kid full of hope and opinions. I got a story published at 16, and I was in AP English and won a number of school awards for things like "Interpretation of Literature." Not that I could attend the awards banquet to receive my nerdy awards, because I was babysitting. I was always working, gladly...I was never a work shirker. That's a fact.

Lazy, Dumb and Wealthy, COME ON DOWN! 

Nearing high school graduation, I was floored when this one designer jeans-wearing party boy, the offspring of a world famous surgeon, said he was going to Boston. To be an English major. Wait. What? Nice enough kid, but dumb. Some people are dumb, it's fine, the world needs all kinds. He just didn't KNOW he was dumb, because his idiocy earned rewards. He never had his homework. He cheated on tests. He horsed around through every class. He got a Volvo when he turned 16, hey, how about that? By contrast, I didn't even have a bike...just that stupid published story and those useless "Interpretation of Literature" awards. Again: nice enough kid, but that dude did such dumb things with his dumber brothers that you wouldn't believe what you can get away with...as long as your parents are rich. Those boys did things like ditch for the day, but come to the school anyway, to ride around the grounds on their motorbikes and ATVs "buzzing" the classroom (riding up to the windows and flipping the bird). Everybody laughed. Even the teacher. This idiot was in zero of my AP classes. In all four years he'd demonstrated no particular talent for either reading/interpretation, nor for writing. Now here comes Lazy McJokester, and he's suddenly an English major? At a top school? But HOW. Who the hell wrote your essay for you, son? Like I said, nice enough dude. Just...I mean...so...that guy went to my dream school because his family had the tuition right handy, that's all. Nothing to do with brains, hard work, nor merit. That's privilege. And so, by the way, is this BETSY getting this government job, with this ass-backwards attitude of hers. Wow. Really? We're just all letting this happen? Sure we are, because why the hell not, at this point. I give up, guys.

Gimme a break, will ya?

Here's the thing about Gen X, Betsy. We're all nearing 50 now, and you know what? Nothing has changed. The affluent still get white glove escorts past all these moving goalposts, they still have keys to all the secret hidden back doors. These same exact kind of people are STILL skipping out on work and gallivanting around thinking they have all hit home runs, having too much of a good time to realize they were born on third base. And ruling elites are STILL laughing because oh, what fun, such a delightful caprice!  And these people STILL get a new fancy car when they haven't earned it, and everyone is STILL so impressed by the diploma from Boston University or some other top school.

It Matters

Now, over the years several individuals who in youth had tuition easily paid for, to the point that they never really even thought about it, have informed me that one's access to, and ease of getting, a higher education degree has zero impact whatsoever to do with their success in life. That it "doesn't matter." What? It's actually weird how many times I've had that said to me, quite smugly, if I'm honest. If anyone wants to see up close what "privilege" looks like, ask one of these lucky people, while he is in the middle of a stern Republican-y lecture about "entitlements" and "handouts," who paid for HIS college education? The expression on his face? That's privilege. The self-congratulatory rebuttal he'll then mount? That's bullshit. That's one thing about working class folks. See, we learned early when you're pissing on our heads and telling us it's champagne, so 'dafuk outta here with that noise. We also tell the truth. Here it is. Folks, for those who would seek higher education, the relative ease of tuition means everything, actually. It matters.

You understand that high-paying jobs don't even want to talk to you unless you get the expensive degree, even though the system is rigged to make it as hard as humanly possible to achieve. Try applying for your next dream job without that degree that "doesn't matter." Call and leave me a voicemail on the Gen X number, tell me how "it doesn't matter" as they're showing you the door. Assuming they ever call you in for an interview in the first place. (They won't.)

Listening to this old fart privileged white snob administration's twisted punditry prattle on about "handouts" and "entitlements" shrivels me to my tired old bones and hollow me out to my very soul. Dude, I worked so hard, and I'm so tired. Hey, I just finished paying off my student loans last year. That's 25 years later. Just when I've crashed and burned, broken in body and mind, and I'm sitting here wholly unable to explain myself. I can't do it anymore. Just a smoky husk of my former self saying now what. Now what. Now what? I can't afford asparagus. Again. Jesus. what a load of fetid donkey ballz these assholes are, you know?
Y'all, I guess what I'm saying is: this dumb rich bitch can bite me. 🖕

Monday, January 16, 2017

FB Questionnaire: Top 10 Records of My Teens

This latest Facebook questionnaire asks you to name the top ten records of your teen years. This one sparked more than a few, shall we say, enthusiastic discussions amongst my social network.There may have been some near-unfriending incidents. Granted, mine is a particularly musically-charged gang of misfits. Most everyone in my life either plays, curates or writes about music, or is what you would call a SuperFan. So this lot possesses a deep well of knowledge that enables close, dear friends to absolutely demolish each other over hot button issues such as whether or not Billy Squire got robbed.

That's another thing, the average age of my people puts them squarely into Generation X. That means we are old enough to have found our musical heroes before video killed the radio star, we know how to dig for info (we HAD to), we rode the MTV wave back when that channel actually featured music, and we are a snarky bunch. We may have invented the eye-roll because of people who said things like "Did you know Paul McCartney was in another band before Wings?

Oh, and one more thing about this latest Facebook questionnaire: it's got a brief instruction that did not escape the wrath of Generation X: in part it commanded, a little bossy-pants-ish if I'm honest, that you don't give it too much thought. Oh, the humanity!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Home Depot Thrilled!
QTY: 570
*Free Shipping! Expect it Jan 18*

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought The Office Of The Leader Of the Free World

Sunday, January 1, 2017

FB Questionnaire: Holiday Games

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
I am glad that I saw this after breakfast and not right when I woke up. Because a tangerine, then...

Currently Reading

Forged: Writing in the Name of God
it was amazing
tagged: currently-reading