KNOWING WHEN TWO THINGS AREN’T THE SAME

If a guy grabs your ass and you remove his hand, tell him he’s a jerk — and that’s the end of the story — is that the same as a 32-year-old attorney-general groping and threatening a 14-year-old child?

I have been raped. I have been groped. I have been propositioned. I have been abused. Despite this, I can differentiate between these events. All things are not the same thing and they shouldn’t be to anyone else, either.


When everything is the same, nothing means anything.


As an adult, getting groped — sometimes by guys too drunk to remember what they were doing — and telling them to cut it out  — was not a life-and-death issue for the young adult me. Getting raped was a lot more serious, but I got through it. Abuse as a child was entirely different and it took me the better part of a lifetime to get over it, if indeed I really have.

You can’t make everything the same without ultimately making it all meaningless. If we are going to punish equally for every inappropriate,  thoughtless move, or bad joke by any guy to any woman, it all becomes a meaningless jumble. Men won’t know what’s okay and what’s not — assuming they know it now, which many obviously don’t — and in this case, not unreasonably. Punishment is supposed to fit the crime. And that means, there ought to be a crime involved. A stupid joke in bad taste is not the same as a threat — and most assuredly is not the same as rape or attempted rape.

Let’s make some meaningful definitions. Let’s agree that something any normal adult woman can handle on her own, probably isn’t criminal. Stupid for sure. Embarrassing, no doubt. Annoying? Absolutely. But when no one is threatened, no one’s job is in peril, there’s no harm implied or done — you can embarrass the guy, publish the story on your Facebook page. Confront him and give him a piece of your mind — but I don’t think you need a jury and a prison.

All activities by men that aggravate, annoy, or disrespect women are not the same. Bad taste and bad jokes may be disrespectful, but disrespect isn’t criminal. Poorly worded comments are also not criminal. We have all said things that came out wrong and which embarrassed us — even when we weren’t trying to say anything much at all. If you use that as a gauge, the whole thing becomes ridiculous and in the end, no one will take any of this seriously.

I know the difference between criminal and not criminal. So do you. Use your brains. You have to leave room for people to be people. To make mistakes, to say the wrong thing, to make a bad joke, to have an embarrassing scene. That’s just life.

There has got to be room for people to be just plain silly or stupid without it being a felony — thus leaving room for actual crimes to be taken seriously.

FACTS, FAKE NEWS AND FACEBOOK – BY TOM CURLEY

As the drip, drip, drip of the Russia investigation is turning into a torrential downpour, the news cycle has been diverted to another story.

It appears the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama is a PEDOPHILE! A guy who had, or tried to have sex with CHILDREN!!

The facts are damning. The case against him is solid. So solid, in fact, most Republicans in Congress have come out against him and said he should drop out of the race. So, who isn’t denouncing him? Well, SCROTUS of course. What a surprise. Plus a whole bunch of Alabama Republican voters. The excuses some of them have come up with are mind-boggling.

How about: “Mary was under age. Joseph was much older, so Roy Moore is just being biblical.” Yes, that is real. I did not make it up. They also said “He might be a child-molester, but at least he’s not a Democrat.” That’s real, too.

My first thought at this was, is there no line that can’t be crossed with these people? Is there nothing this guy could do that would make them say “Enough. I’m out!”  Kill a puppy? Torture a kitten? Eat a baby?

But then I realized that the most probable reason they think the way they do is because they don’t believe the news reports. It’s all “fake news.” We live in a bizarre world where if people read news they don’t like, they refuse to believe it. Why?

Well, I think it’s mostly because of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Most people get their news these days from social media. Not newspapers, not cable news, not network news, not local news. Just Facebook.

And where does the news on Facebook come from? Mostly from people on Facebook. All those folks sharing and sending stories they see on Facebook to their friends. Email is also a popular way to propagate “the new News”. I think the reason that this new “News” delivery system has been so successful is because you get the stories from your friends.

People you know.

There is only one small problem here. YOUR FRIENDS DIDN’T WRITE THE STORIES!

They just pass them along. 99.9% of them don’t check to see if they are actually true. It only takes about 30 seconds to go to snopes.com to see if a story is true, but almost nobody ever does it.

Unless your friend is an actual reporter you should take anything you read online with a grain of salt. Some with a grain of salt the size of a grapefruit.

That’s a lot of salt!


Here’s a sad fact. Almost all the stuff you see online is not true.


There is no pill, cream or exercise that will make your penis larger. There is no program from Bill Gates, Disney, or any other company that is donating five dollars to a cancer charity every time you forward an email.

You are not going to lose 50 pounds in two days using “This belly busting miracle food!” Nor is there a Nigerian Prince who is going to send you 25 million dollars. Did I mention there is nothing that’s going to make your penis larger?

Your friends mean well, but they’re your friends. They are not journalists.

The Russians managed to send fake stories to over 120 million Americans using Facebook. Mostly because people shared and tweeted those fake stories. Facebook is like the 9-year-old friend who knew everything about everything you had when you were nine. You believed every word he said. And he was always full of shit.

Babies come from Amazon.com

Try this as a general rule on whether or not the story might be true. If you read it on social media, check out where the story actually came from, not who sent it to you. 

News is news. It’s supposed to be factual reporting on what is going on in the world. It’s not supposed to be what you would like to be going on in the world.

P.S.: If you pass this blog along to at least ten people, absolutely nothing good or bad will happen to you, but it sounds like a good idea to me.

LIFE AFTER TRUMP? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

These days I live to trash Donald Trump and anything and everything Republican. I spend my days reading about politics, mourning the Republican successes and cheering the Democratic/Progressive victories across the country.

I wake up each morning, grab for my phone and hope that today is the day that Trump will resign, be indicted or that impeachment proceedings will be started. I check my phone obsessively all day, looking for signs that Mueller is ready to pounce on Trump and his family.

I follow every revelation in the Mueller investigation with the rapt attention I used to reserve for cooking competitions on the Food Network. I analyze and dissect each piece of new information to try to divine if and when we will be put out of our misery.

But that’s the problem. I’ve become dependent on Trump. My day revolves around Trump and Trump related news. I spend hours reading news and watching MSNBC. All because of my red-hot hatred of Trump and Trump Republicans.

Now I’m worried. What will I do to fill my days when Trump is gone? I know I had a life before Trump. I just don’t remember what it was. I never watched cable news until Trump was elected. Now that’s a big part of every day. So what did I do before? I DON’T REMEMBER! It was so long ago! Or was it?

Actually, it wasn’t. It just seems like forever.

Why can’t I remember? I had a life for 66 years before Trump. How can 66 years be obliterated in just one God awful year? What has happened to me?

Oh, right. I used to read things other than political news. I used to watch fictional television – just for fun. I used to talk to friends about our kids, our jobs, and our pets. Not just about today’s latest tweet or the latest indictment. I think I used to knit.

Will I be able to adjust to life post Trump? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!

A SINGULAR SENSATION

This has been a heavy news year and I can’t imagine anyone arguing this point. No matter where you stand, the news hasn’t just been The News. It has been … THE NEWS.

Giant hurricanes. Massive flooding, Russians trying to steer our election. A moronic president and his equally moronic cabinet. Destruction of everything we believe in or at least an attempt to destroy everything in which we believe.  Mass shootings. More mass shooting. Fires sweeping entire states. Sex scandals that will eventually include every man in Hollywood.

With all of that going on, there has been hardly any reporting of gruesome crimes and criminals. Usually we are demented about serial killers and torture … but we haven’t had anything that could top the mass dementia that has taken over our government. That’s why I was thrilled to find this headline from overseas:


Italian lodger tells police he is ‘guilty’ of cannibal murder. 


I bet our newscasters would be thrilled to have a shot at something really juicy. Since the demise of Jeffrey Dahmer, there hasn’t been an incredibly disgusting, gory serial murderer to liven up the news cycle. It’s been all politics, government scandal … and tweets.

TWEETS! Do you believe it? I don’t. It must be fake news.

That got me wondering. Who among the outside world would I like knowing was reading our stuff? I know a few of my favorite authors drop if I review one of one of their books. They are polite and send thank you notes. It’s good politics for them and it makes me feel all warm and cozy, knowing at least some of the things we write is getting read by people who care about it.

But how cool to be followed by a cannibal? What a coup! That would definitely come with bragging rights!

While Garry was working, we occasionally got phone calls late at night from convicted serial killers, sometimes critiquing his performance. Turns out, they watched him on the telly. Who’d have guessed serial killers watch the news … and have phone privileges? They also sent Christmas cards and occasionally, letters.

Perpetrators of gruesome murders currently on trial used to wave and wink at him in the courtroom. I’m sure other reporters were jealous.

From my perspective, it was intensely creepy and occasionally, downright frightening. It also made me wonder if these weirdo’s fondness for my husband and his work might encourage one of these “fans” to drop by for an unexpected visit. They clearly knew how and where to track him down. And if they found Garry, they’d find me. They were his fans, not mine.

On second thought, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover I’m could be a big hit in prison. If seven or eight thousand of my followers are actually incarcerated, that might explain those thousands of nameless followers who never leave comments or even a “like.”

By any chance are one of you a big literary agent? Just asking.

IF NOW’S NOT THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT GUN CONTROL, THERE WILL NEVER BE A TIME – TOM CURLEY

I originally wrote this post when I was watching the mass murder in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. I’m now watching the news coverage of the most recent mass shooting  in Texas. It wasn’t as big as the previous one in Nevada. That was the biggest mass murder in US history. That one took the prize for body count, but this one is still pretty good.  The biggest mass murder in Texas. Go Texas! Many have suggested that offering prayers would be pointless since all the victims were already in church, praying as they were shot. Oh — and via the same gun, too. The fabulous AR-15.

Noticing a pattern by any chance?

 

Mass shootings are almost a daily event in the USA. Think about that. I just read an article from Newsweek that states there is a mass shooting in America almost every day.

This one was the largest and worst mass shooting in American history. And you have to work hard to get that kind of award in this country. The guy had more than 10 guns. At least one or more was an automatic rifle.

Another more accurate word for automatic rifle is A MACHINE GUN!! A machine gun has one purpose.  Kill large numbers of people quickly. It came into use on a large-scale in World War One.

It’s job was to mow down and slaughter hundreds of soldiers in a very short period of time. It worked really well. 50 to 70 THOUSAND soldiers would be killed in one single battle.

It worked really well in Las Vegas too. Over 58 people dead and over 500 wounded.

And of course, the first thing you hear from Republicans and NRA gun nuts is “Now is not the time to talk about gun control! We have to concentrate on the victims!” They said it when dozens of elementary school children were slaughtered in Newtown, CT.

They said it when a crazed right-wing nut job slaughtered nine black people worshiping at their church.

They said it when a nut job shot up a movie audience in Aurora.

And it goes on and on. And they’re doing it again. I have noticed that the NRA nut jobs haven’t trotted out their favorite piece of utter bullshit. “The only thing that can defeat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

That one drives me  bat shit crazy. Maybe they aren’t dragging this one out this time because even if every person at that concert had a gun (and it was a country-music festival so you have to figure more than a few might have been packing) it wouldn’t have been much good against a guy on the 32nd floor in a hotel across the street.

Both Ellin and I took a gun safety course a few years back. It allowed us to buy a gun legally and register it in the state of CT where we live. It also allowed us to go to a target range and shoot our guns legally. Ultimately we decided not to get registered and get a gun. Why? Well, first, we realized we just don’t need a gun. Second, we learned from taking the safety course that guns are REALLY DANGEROUS. People shoot themselves accidentally all the time. The statistics would amaze you.

And third, Ellin was way too good at it. (Do not piss her off).

So, I am going to say it. I am going to commit heresy. THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS FUCKING STUPID. This almost religious obsession with fire arms is FUCKING STUPID.

The second amendment was a concession to the southern states because they were afraid that the federal government wouldn’t come to their aid when they had slave revolts.  It’s not that commonly-known, but one of  the slave states’ biggest problems was slave revolts.

They happened all the time. I can’t imagine why. So, these states wanted to be sure they’d have their own “Well-regulated state militias” to keep their “property” in line.

But here’s the thing. We don’t have slave states anymore, even though a few states still seem to think it would be a good idea. Why, then, do we still have this stupid amendment?

Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the idea of the second amendment stopped meaning “A well-regulated state militia” and began to mean that you could buy all the guns you wanted — like hunting rifles, military assault rifles, silencers. Anything, with no regulation whatsoever.

Why? By the 1970’s the gun industry had sold all the handguns and hunting rifles they believed they could possibly sell. The market had been saturated. Sales were starting to drop. What did they do?  They started marketing assault rifles to the public.

After all, nothing takes a deer down better that an AK47 opening up on full automatic. You can pump forty rounds into that big bad buck in about 10 seconds.

That’s American!

The comedian Jim Jefferies does an iconic routine about gun control. He makes a lot of good points.

He mentions how about 10 percent of his audience is furious when he does the routine. One guy screamed at him after one show “You can’t change the second amendment!!”

To which he responds “Yes you can. It’s an amendment!”

He’s right. We had an amendment that made drinking alcohol illegal. Sixteen-years later, we added a new amendment to amend the amendment.

Now, the endless cycle will continue. Again and again. I feel sorry for the next mass murderer. He’s going to have to really step up his game to top this one. But this is America! I know we’re up to it.

Maybe gun control isn’t the solution. Maybe bullet control is. (Technically they are called cartridges. See? I told you I took the course.) Put a 5000% tax on every box of cartridges. If each cartridge cost about $100 dollars or more, it might help. A little.


After all guns, don’t kill people. The bullets coming out of the guns at 3,900 feet per second kill people.

Now is not the time to talk about gun control? Really? Bullshit. Now is exactly the time. And the next time it happens. And the next time after that.

Oh, and if anything I’ve said here has offended any NRA gun-toting “Merican”, or for that matter, anybody else? Fuck you. I don’t care. The first amendment gives me the right to say the second one sucks.

TRUMP IS THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR NAIVETY

Did you vote? Did you think if you didn’t vote someone would do it for you … like maybe a proxy? You know we don’t do that in this country. No democracy allows proxy voting. You can vote by mail, but you are still the person voting. No proxy. You. Always you. So if you didn’t go to a booth or mail it in, you didn’t vote. No matter how many protests you go to now, it’s too late. You blew it.

Was there anybody with half a brain who did not know the Democratic National Committee was firmly committed to Hillary Clinton long before the DNC convention? Was there anyone shocked by this revelation — especially one being made by someone who was part of the problem in the first place?

If you were shocked, what dark hole were you living in before the election? Did you really believe deals for huge amounts of money to run gigantic, organized electoral campaigns — which go on for years — are made on a wish and a handshake? Seriously?

I’m not saying this because I’m so cynical. This stuff is obvious. Of course they were committed to Clinton. Obviously. Of the candidates to whom they could be committed, I was okay with Hillary. She had earned her shot at it over the years. Hard work and 8 years as first lady and another bunch in the senate. And she is one smart cookie.

How naïve are you? If you are so naïve, maybe it’s time you get it together with reality. The one in which you live. We are never going to like all the stuff that goes on in our world. We will always be making compromises between the ideal — and with what we can live.

I could have lived with Hillary Clinton as president. I am having the devil’s own time surviving Donald Trump. It never crossed my mind for a moment that there weren’t a thousand deals in place to put her up as the candidate. Given the options? I was fine with the choice. I thought she could make a pretty good president. I didn’t think Bernie would accomplish anything much even if elected. An old guy with head full of ideas and ideals — with little or no research behind them. Ideas are great, but the presidency requires more than good ideas.

It requires leverage. Connections. Enough dirt on the people you’ll need to bribe, beg, and bedazzle if you want to accomplish any of your goals. Even had he won, he didn’t then or now have the stuff he would need to lead.

He also didn’t do his homework. The numbers he put up to go with his ideas were about as realistic as Trump’s, which is to say NOT. We liked his ideas better, but that didn’t make them more viable. Bernie had zero chance of turning his concepts into reality.

But hey, what do I know, right?

I actually don’t know how you can survive in a modern environment with so little understanding of how the world works. It boggles my mind.

You know what I do know? I could never be president. Of anything, much less the U.S. Forget about ill-health. I couldn’t make those decisions. I couldn’t survive the oval office. Moreover, I do not know anyone who could do it better than me.

I know people who want power are supposed to be the last ones who should get it … but would it be okay if the people who do get it have the wits to manage it? The intelligence to understand it? The presidency isn’t anything like being mayor of a small town. Being President is a big deal — except we have an incompetent moron as president. He knows nothing. Will never know anything. Doesn’t care that he knows nothing. It’s all about the money and the power. He wanted to be god and we made him one.

Now, we are trying to live with it.

If you still think (a) not voting, (b) voting for some a third-party idiot, or (c) voting for the Orange Moron to express your displeasure with the status quo, was perfectly fine? You’re a moron too.

GOOD NEWS STARTS WITH A BALL AND A BAT

Where have all “the positive” stories gone? Didn’t there used to be “positive stories” on the news?

Actually, the answer to that is “not really.” Even in the better-than-now old days, when the world was a little bit less insane, and calamities weren’t a daily (hourly?) event, news media focused their efforts on evil-doers.

Drugs. Murder. Fire. Car crashes. Plane crashes. Derailment. Financial disasters. Trials. Protests. Scandal. More scandal.

Garry worked in the news from 1962 until he retired in 2001. He didn’t do a lot of “positive” stories. He did a lot of murders, trials, drugs, fires, and blizzards. The theory of news stations is that death and destruction sells best. If you don’t have death and destruction, scandal and political protests can take up the slack. If, by some miracle, you run out of scandal … well … maybe you can add a feature about glorious autumn leaves or the new, improved zoo. Maybe there’s a hero somewhere getting an award.

That’s not just the way it is. That is the way it was and has been, as long as there has been “news.”


News isn’t good. It should be called “bad news” since it pretty much always is. Bad, that is.

They used to say “if it bleeds, it leads.” Carnage makes news sell better. If you can scare people to death, your ratings are sure to go up. We complain about the awful things going on politically and climatically, but news ratings are way up. The worse things get, the higher ratings go. Even people — like us — who used to avoid watching news find we watch at least a piece of it every night because we have to at least keep up with change.

The only other thing that sells news as well as murder is extremely bad weather. If, by some extraordinary luck, you get terrible weather that also results in deaths, bet your ass every news channel will be on it like ticks on a dog.

It is interesting to me that the same people who complain about how we don’t have any “good news” on the news, also complain that sports are a waste of time. Because essentially, sports are the good news portion of the news.

The point of sports is to have something entertaining and involving which doesn’t include politics, ranting commentaries, and piles of bodies. For example, you can get fully engrossed in baseball for decades or your whole life. The most tragedy you are likely to experience is a bad shoulder injury by a winning pitcher, a losing home team, or maybe a scandal. Even the scandals rarely involve death or destruction.

I have learned to enjoy sports. I don’t come from a sporting family, though I know back in the very old days, we listened to the Dodgers on the radio and rooted for them. We weren’t fanatics, but we were interested. For the past couple of years, the Red Sox and the Patriots have brought smiles to our faces even when the rest of the world was in a state of siege.

Say what you want about “overpaid athletes.” You try throwing a fastball 90 feet to get the batter out at the plate. It may be a game, but it isn’t an easy game. I bet you couldn’t play it no matter how much money they offered you. They pay these guys a lot of money the same way and for the same reasons we pay actors, singers, dancers, and other performers a lot of money. Entertainment matters. Why do you feel a great pitcher is less deserving of being well-paid than a movie or television star? You mean … pretending to be a detective on TV is so much more validating than playing quarterback on a football team? Because being a fake detective is inherently more enriching than throwing a ball?

We pay entertainers — including athletes — a lot of money because they do things we can’t do and which we enjoy seeing. Because we need something in our world that is interesting, involving, and fun. A place in our universe where we can go and just enjoy it. Whatever it is.

This doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in the arts. Or books, movies, music, television and other events humans enjoy when they aren’t fully absorbed in horrors of politics and war. But sports is more than just entertainment. It gives us something to root for. These days, we need that. I need that. I absolutely need something I can be “for” which isn’t life and death.

Sports has been our saving grace of the past few years as what used to be reality turned surreal — and sometimes became meaningless.

The next time you watch the news, consider that there is good news. It’s sports.