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Monthly Archives: October 2013

I call BS

Bullshit!I usually watch the evening news with one eye and half an ear, because there is only so much nonsense I can stomach. If the American media weren’t so determined to give the idiots, miscreants, and sociopaths their fifteen minutes of fame, I would be more inclined to pay attention. But what I see most evenings saddens, disgusts, and embarrasses me, so I’ve taken to tuning it out.

But last Friday evening, one story snagged my hopeful attention. At the top of the broadcast, with that half an ear I normally use, I heard Anne Curry (sitting in for Brian Williams) mention “ancient treasure,” “Boy Scout leaders,” and “caught on camera.“ I was eagerly anticipating an uplifting, feel-good story for a change…possibly some previously undiscovered wonder that would now be known to the masses because of selfless action by the Boy Scout leaders.

Ten minutes into the program, that naïve expectation was literally crushed by a giant boulder.

Maybe you saw it, too. In the haunting landscape of Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park, scout leader David Hall sings, “Wiggle it, just a little bit” and rolls tape (okay, he shoots a cell phone video) while his massive friend Glenn Taylor throws his bulk around and finally manages to topple a boulder from the pedestal it’s rested upon for the last 170 million years. Hall, Taylor, and Taylor’s teenage son, proud that they have “now modified Goblin Valley,” whoop, dance, laugh, and exchange high fives after their blatant act of vandalism. Then Hall, ignorant heedless of the Boy Scout principle “leave no trace,” uploads the video to Facebook, and the men are subsequently baffled by the public outrage that ensues.

They claim that they are heroes because their action has saved some little kid from imminent death. “It’s all about saving lives,” they smugly boast.

I call BS!! In fact, fighting back tears of utter fury, I screamed it repeatedly at the TV screen Friday night (only I used the unabridged version). BS! BS!! BEEEE ESSSSSS!!!

They destroyed the goblin simply to prove they could. Why else would they record it and post it on Facebook?

That boulder has stood there for 170 million years. ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY MILLION YEARS!!!!! What are the odds that it was going to just fall over and crush some unsuspecting kid now? The deputy director of Utah State Parks and Recreation said in his 22 years on the job, he’s never known a goblin to roll off its pedestal. Ever.

Look at the video. Look how many times Taylor had to hurl his sloppy several hundred pound self at that rock before it finally broke free. No “stiff wind” was going to blow that sucker off. I suspect small children could have safely passed by that rock for another million years before it posed any real danger. If and when it was ever identified as a safety hazard, the park service should have been the entity to deal with it—its employees are quite skilled at erecting barriers around things you want to touch but shouldn’t.

I would have been angry about the vandalism regardless of who caused it. It’s just another example of how our society has gotten off track, with individuals so focused on their own wants and desires that they completely ignore common decency and disregard previously sacred norms of acceptable behavior. But, right or wrong, I hold Boy Scout leaders to a higher moral standard than the average dude hiking through a state park. Back in the day, my brother was in Scouts, so I know that they teach (or used to teach) the value of natural areas, and how to properly respect, conserve, and protect such treasures. How did these yahoos miss such an important tenet of Boy Scouting?

I cannot even bear to imagine the havoc these guys and their troop would cause on an overnight camping trip, in some ordinary woods that were not part of a protected state park. “See all this dead brush? Those poor neighboring towns are just one lightning strike away from being toast. It’s all about saving lives; this brush has got to go. Let’s light it up, boys!”

With “heroes” like these, who needs villains?

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Observations, What's She On About?

 

The Merciful Scar

I review for BookSneeze®A few months ago, I signed up at BookSneeze to receive a free book in exchange for an honest review, posted on my blog and at a consumer website like Amazon.com. So long as I read and review within the required time frame, I can continue to receive free books. I love to read, I don’t mind giving my opinion, and I adore free, so it sounded like a great deal to me!

Anyone who has a personal, public blog to which they post at least once a week and a minimum of 30 followers can apply to BookSneeze. Be aware, however, that “BookSneeze is a blogger review program owned and operated by HarperCollins Christian Publishing.” I missed the Christian part when I joined. This is not a genre I generally read, because the couple of Christian novels I’ve read in the past have been quite preachy, which interferes with the escapism I am looking for when I pick up a book. Nevertheless, I made a commitment which I intended to honor, so I tentatively cracked the cover of The Merciful Scar.

I’m not proud of how long it took me to get through my first book–simply a reflection on how many other things have been going on around here, and NOT the quality of the novel. I finished the story on Saturday, while babysitting pumpkins in the rain, and loved every page of it. Here’s my official review:

MercifulScarThe Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James & Nancy Rue

For Kirsten, cutting is a physical outlet for the emotional pain that seethes beneath her skin. When a meddling boyfriend and a slip of the blade lead to an especially serious injury, Kirsten finds herself in the psychiatric ward. She knows she does not belong there—she is certain that she is not suicidal, but unsure how to convince others and unable to promise she will stop the self-injury—so on the suggestion of her pastor, Kirsten chooses a former Anglican nun’s 30-day residential program at a Montana ranch. There, she finds the time, space, and support she needs to examine her painful past and reach towards a more hopeful future.

I generally steer clear of Christian fiction because the preachiness of the author’s tone often overwhelms any pleasure I would get from the story itself; therefore this is the first work I’ve read by Rebecca St. James or Nancy Rue. I have to say, this novel was a refreshing change from what I expected—though God, prayer, and spirituality were cornerstones of the storyline, I never felt like the authors were forcing their religious views on me. The characters were extremely well-developed and believable; neither their dialogue nor their interactions ever felt contrived. I was immediately drawn into their stories, and felt personally invested in the progress of their self-discovery and healing throughout the book, laughing and crying right along with them. The pacing of the action was just right—the authors revealed just enough detail at the right time to answer some of my questions, but concealed enough to keep me turning the pages. I would have liked an epilogue—I really wanted to know if the characters were able to apply what they’d learned, maintain their well-being, and perhaps even help others through future stresses.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Book reviews, BookSneeze

 

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Travel theme: Brown

Trolled the archives to play along with Ailsa’s weekly photo challenge at Where’s my backpack? Sure wish I had my box of Crayola crayons to correctly name all the shades!

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Challenges, Photography, Sunday Best

 

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Looking out for Number 1

anger
ME, ME, ME!

Horns honking, birds flipping, curses flying, guns blazing.

Decency, respect, and compassion the exception, not the rule.

Selfless acts now worthy of the 6 o’clock news.

What are we becoming?

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Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, wrote, “It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you.” Inspired by the quote, this weekend’s Trifextra challenge is to write 33 words about something scary. 

Blogger’s note: I came across the above photo on several other blogs and websites, but have been unable to find the original source to which to give proper credit.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2013 in Challenges, Observations

 

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A mother’s worst nightmare

trolleysPhoto copyright Janet M. Webb

“Have you seen my baby? My baby? Have you seen him? Sir? SIR!? Did you see someone take my baby? He was right here in the cart. I just bent down to get a case of soda and now he’s gone. WHERE’S MY BABY?”

“Ma’am, I’m the store manager. You’re causing quite a scene. Other customers are frightened. What seems to be the problem?”

“My baby! He’s missing! Someone’s taken my baby! Please! Help me! Ryan! RYYYANNNN!!!”

Leanne sat bolt upright in the inky pre-dawn gloom, sweaty sheets tangled around her bulging abdomen.

I’m going to be a terrible mom.

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friday-fictioneers

Exactly 100 words for this weeks’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. 

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Challenges, Fiction

 

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A snack, a good book, and a place to lay my head

velmaIt’s Thursday, a day I’ve set aside on this blog to answer deep, thought-provoking questions. The idea was not only to allow readers a bit of insight into what makes me tick, but also to bring myself some clarity on certain issues. Well, tonight, I got nothin’ deep. The hubby and I just returned from seeing Captain Phillips and I am emotionally and mentally spent. So I’m doing “fluff” questions today. You still might learn something new about me, but don’t look for any deep philosophical revelations.

I found a great blog, This Is Me Challenge, that is encouraging followers to record their own personal histories by answering a few questions each week. I randomly chose question set #30 to tackle today, but I scanned some other entries and not all of the questions are this easy. If you’re a parent looking to preserve family history for your children (or a child wanting to find out more about your parents), you might want to check it out.

1.  What is your favorite snack right now?
Normally, I’d say Oreos (hey, did you hear on the news yesterday that they are as addictive as cocaine??). But I’ve recently found that my body feels better when I don’t eat wheat, so I’ve cut out most everything containing wheat flour. Which means my beloved Oreos are off-limits. So my go-to snack now is kettle corn. I tell myself it’s better for me than many other snacks like potato chips or cookies (although I’ve not actually compared food labels to confirm this). Salty, sweet, crunchy…it ticks almost all the boxes for an ideal snack food. Unfortunately, I don’t have an off-switch once I get started eating kettle corn, so it’s good that the brand I like best comes from a popcorn stand 90 minutes down the road.
2.  What is the last book you read?
Testimony by Anita Shreve. I’ve read four or five of her novels, and without fail, they leave me wondering what I would have done if I had been in the same situation.
3.  If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?
I’d be Velma from the Scooby Doo cartoons. We might not share many physical characteristics (I am not vertically challenged, she does not have 20/20 vision), but intellectually we could have been twins. She and I nearly always solved the mystery at the same time, regardless of how much the rest of the gang was hindering the process. 
4.  Where was the last place you spent money?
Walmart. I bought a new pillow this afternoon. I wasn’t expecting to spend any actual cash–I had a gift card that I won in a poker game last weekend, but the card wouldn’t scan at the register (card malfunction? register malfunction?). If this pillow means I wake up without a splitting headache or crick in my neck, it’ll be worth every last cent.
5.  Who was your first crush on?
Brad Weeks. He talked too much in class, and I never said boo to anyone, so our fifth grade teacher moved his desk next to mine. I was mesmerized by his freckles, brown eyes, and radiant brace-filled grin. My heart would flutter every time he’d lean his head next to mine and whisper, “Can I borrow a pencil?”

 
 

Hey this isn’t so bad after all…

I_Hate_ThisImage from Val Nelson

I had to put on my big girl panties today. My wingman bailed on me, leaving me to attend a networking event all by myself. An event where she had promised to introduce me to folks she knew (i.e. everybody). I hate networking events. I possess very few qualities of an extrovert (even under the influence), so venturing solo into a room full of strangers where I will be expected to initiate conversations generally makes me nauseous. But I need a job, and this expo of local businesses seemed like a good place to find possible leads. So I had to go. By myself.

And you know what? It wasn’t actually that bad. I don’t know whether this means I’m maturing, or whether extrovert tendencies rub off (my no-show wingman is a CLASSIC extrovert), or if I was temporarily possessed by aliens. But I introduced myself, I chatted, I asked questions, I joked. I collected information, business cards, boatloads of pens and notepads, and chocolate (whoever planned a business expo two weeks ahead of Halloween was a GENIUS). I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of being an extrovert, but I held my own.

I don’t know whether a job will come directly from today’s outing, but I’ve officially survived a solo networking event. I walked out feeling like I’d conquered a personal demon. Maybe my wingman’s desertion was actually a blessing in disguise. Those big girl panties fit pretty well.

big-girl-panties-xviiPhoto credit

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized