I woke up this morning to messages from cyclist friends of mine asking what in the hell is wrong with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club (TWBC) and what their beef with the Cascade bicycle club is.
It didn’t take long to find a news article about the president of the TWBC, Darrell Eslinger, with all the civility and grace of a GOP presidential candidate on the debate platform throwing a tantrum because Cascade Bicycle Club is holding a ride on the new 520 bridge and he feels that he and everyone else should be able to ride it for free (which they can at any other time once the bridge is opened to the public for cycling)
As the alleged leader of an organization that hosts paid rides such as the Daffodil Classic which are also held on public roads, he of all people should understand the cost of liability insurance, port a potties, security and staffing for such an event. I don’t think he, or the Daffodil committee would appreciate someone from another bicycle club in another town demanding to be able to ride it for free.
Seriously? Are we in middle school?
This pathological need for the TWBC to perpetuate an inferiority complex in the name of Tacoma is embarrassing and insulting.
I’ve looked the other way for years as TWBC has hosted “anti Chilly Hilly” and “anti STP” events. Offering less expensive alternatives closer to home is a great idea, but does it have to come with such immature snark and intentionally creating animosity?
My membership is up for renewal, but I am not renewing it this year because I do not want to be associated with a group who promotes this sort of antagonistic agenda.
It’s time for the TWBC to grow up and focus on making positive contributions here in Tacoma, instead of worrying about what someone else is doing in another city and creating adolescent drama for no good reason.
It was pretty difficult (OK, impossible) not to know that there was a “big game” going on yesterday afternoon for anyone who is plugged in to social media (or who left their home)
Over the course of the day (well, the short amount of time I was either at home or plugged in on my smart phone) I saw many internet memes regarding it…
While I don’t care to waste my time/energy by acknowledging things I have no interest in and actually have disdain for, I did think a couple similar to this were cute and posted one (cute owls and a play on words, what’s not to love)…
I was tempted to post this one, but didn’t feel like expending all that much negative energy since several football fan friends of mine were getting quite upset at the “posers/intellectuals/pretentious folks” posting anti-football rhetoric online.
But to be honest, it’s pretty much the way I felt.
I wasn’t going to speak of said spectacle because I’d prefer to spend my time and energy thinking/talking about other things, but I’ve been seeing a lot of interesting things online today.
In addition to the advertising (much of it extremely sexist if not downright misogynistic) I discovered that Super Bowl Sunday is the number day for sex trafficking; I’m not talking about prostitution here between consenting adults making a business transaction, I’m talking about the sex slave trade including minors. You can read about sex trafficking and the superbowl here
While that sort of horrific thing is going on, I’m reading posts from people who want to boycott GoDaddy.com and have their ads banned because the are “offensive”.
Really? Are those ads as offensive as selling 12 and 14 year old girls as sex slaves?
Even if some of the ads are so offensive as to make banning them and boycotting advertisers something worth doing, the issue runs much deeper than that.
The problem my friends, is not any one advertiser; it’s the culture that surrounds this event.
This is a primitive, testosterone laden ritual where badly behaved “men” are paid obscene amounts of money to play a game and held up as heroes.
Hey, here’s an idea, lets pay/hold up as heroes those who are actually deserving of such praise such as teachers, emergency workers, etc…).
This stuff starts in college, when boys are given scholarships to colleges, don’t do the work and instead get passing grades handed to them because they can throw a football.
What does that tell the kid who is working hard to get an education and be a contributing member of society whose place/scholarships if they need it are being used on someone who could care less about an education?
Even worse, those who engage in criminal activity are often excused from having to pay the price because it’s so much more important to throw that ball around and make the team owners big bucks.
What on earth kind of message does this send to our next generation? Crime pays? You can harm anyone anything you want as long as you can throw a ball?
Not only are these guys paid obscene amounts of money to play a game and often be a bad example, but have you seen the price of advertising? 3.8 million dollars for a 30-second spot.
Imagine if all that money was put towards job creation or social structure…
Women of course, are relegated to prancing around in costumes that are barely there for the pleasure of the men both on the field and in the advertising. (great message to send to your daughters guys… “go fetch daddy another beer sweetie and don’t worry about picking up your dignity or self esteem on your way to the kitchen.”
Did you know that due to the combination of testosterone, aggression and alcohol, this day has one of the highest rates for domestic violence calls to local EMS agencies?
I cringed when some acquaintances tried to get me to join their “Women Who Love Football” group (which was pretty much just an excuse to drink) I had to explain to them (and the multitude of friends who invite me to Super Bowl parties every year) that not only do I not “love football” that being in a room full of alcohol fueled fanatics with a too loud big screen TV, eating crap food, glorifying these guys is kind of my idea of hell. I’ve been told by this specific “the women who love football” group, it’s not about loving football, it’s about meeting men and looking at cute butts. (which I can better find on any given day on a man who is out running, cycling, hiking, etc…)
I am perhaps most amused/perplexed by “the women who love football” group in order to “be cool and meet men” is that what they are supporting in an effort to attract men/get men to like them is so incredibly sexist. (and really, I’d rather attract a man who is out doing something healthy instead of one whose idea of a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon is sitting on his butt getting fat and drunk watching a game)
With that said, those who are on my side of the fence in thinking this is ridiculous and who have better things to do (and who have the audacity to defy social convention and say so), are also regularly accused of thinking we are “too cool” and being called “judgmental” (among other things). [edit-I have received more passionate/angry responses to a blog about not liking football, than I have to all the blogs I’ve posted about religion, politics, war, drugs, abuse, gun control and other hot topics, which pretty much makes my point about priorities in our culture]
As a woman, my disdain for the event can be written off as “Oh, the poor little girl just doesn’t understand the game (now go bring me another beer sweetie).”
It’s even harder for the men who don’t care for it, because face it. In this football crazed culture if you don’t want to get all testosteroney and root for your team, you are not considered a “real man” (oh, that man who doesn’t sit around watching sports on TV and is instead out doing something? that’s MY idea of a “real man”).
It does make me wonder how many people feel the same way I do, but are afraid to speak out, lest they be labeled “un-American”, “not a real man”, etc…
At the risk of sounding “pretentious”, I chose to spend my day with my trail running group (actually participating in a sport rather than watching), then working with youth on a community project and finally enjoying dinner and good conversation with a friend.
I refuse to pretend to like something that I actually hold in such disdain because it is primitive, sexist, misogynistic and sending all of the wrong messages to our youth.
If it’s your thing, enjoy… just please leave me out it, and don’t talk to me as if there is something wrong with me for refusing to waste my valuable time and energy on it when I have so much else I could be doing.
If you don’t like any one aspect of it, perhaps it’s time that you take a look at the entire culture surrounding it and decide if your support is part of a larger problem.
Since the nature of my employment involves being “the public face” of one organization and doing public speaking/outreach for another, and I don’t want to alienate any supporters of the organizations I work for, I’ve made a decision to no longer post things of highly contentious political/religious nature on this blog.
Let’s face it, Tacoma (Western Washington for that matter) is a small town, and it’s virtually impossible to separate one’s name from the organization/s they represent.
This is not to say that I won’t post about serious topics or things I feel strongly about; I’m just going to temper my passions in regards to issues that are highly volatile and divisive .
“But, I’ll miss your rants!”, “What about the Cheetos?” and “OMG, if I don’t vent, I’ll explode.” were thoughts spoken to me by many (OK, the last one I spoke to myself in my head)
I made this decision on Facebook some time ago, and when I just couldn’t stand it anymore because I found too many funny things to repost and things I really felt the need to rant about, I created a “pen name” (which sounds less crazy than “alter ego” 😉
This has worked out very well as my friends who want to read the rants just ask for that page url. I get to vent, they get to enjoy the rants and those who don’t care for it don’t have to see it on their feed.
So I’ve decided to extend that practice to my blog. I now have a second blog under my “pen name” where the fiery and potentially offensive rants will be written. (well once I find time in my crazy schedule to actually write some blog posts)
Oh, and I promised a friend that I would bring back WTF Wednesday and the Cheeto 😉
If you want the blog url, just leave me contact information and I’ll send it to you.
Oh, and tomorrow I’ll be posting about getting my glass on 🙂
Due to a surgical procedure which stopped the dangerous uterine hemorrhaging I experienced every month, I would have been at great risk for tubal pregnancy which would be life threatening for me and would not have resulted in a viable fetus.
So I chose to have a tubal ligation while the surgeon was “already in there”.
At nearly 50 years old with my ovaries showing no signs of giving up any time soon, this was a great relief. As my friend Joan told me almost 20 years ago, “It really sucks to be 47 years old and still worrying about birth control.” She had already raised her children and was in a different phase of her life.
I know other women who have had to go through similar or much more invasive surgeries for the same reasons, for whom losing the ability to have children is the loss of a dream, a tragedy.
We are all different, with different wants, needs and life circumstances. This is why we need choice.
This got me thinking about the still controversial Row versus Wade decision in 1973.
I was only ten years old at the time and it was several more years before reproductive rights and issues would be of concern to me.
I never had to worry about access to birth control or women’s health care. I never had to fear that I would be forced to carry a rapists child to term nor risk my own life should an accidental pregnancy be deemed dangerous to me.
Thankfully, with the availability of birth control, I never had to worry about any of that.
Had birth control failed, I had a choice.
I realized how blessed I was to have never lived with those fears, nor other horrors older less fortunate women had described to me.
I was ready to raise a glass and toast the fact that it was all over.
Until the current war on women escalated.
First, it was the Susan G Komen Foundation, under pressure from Anti-Choice groups and their own Vice President with an agenda, cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of womens preventive health care to uninsured, poor and undeserved women.
They didn’t fool anyone with their cries that it wasn’t political and have now hired a PR firm to assess the damage they did to their organization. So you guessed it, your donations to “the cure” (which is roughly 18-21% of what they raise with their high profile events depending on which reports you read) will be going to the high priced consultants they had to hire to get themselves out of this mess.
Immediately on the heels of that attack, the Catholic church began directing their obscene wealth and power to join with the GOP party to lobby not only to allow Catholic hospitals and universities deny birth control coverage to women, but to allow any employer who thinks birth control is immoral to do so.
Not only would the nursing student who works long hours at St Joe’s hospital saving lives not have the same right to decide when to start her family as a nurse working at Tacoma General, but the college student working at Taco Bell to get through school could be denied birth control coverage if the owner of that franchise didn’t believe in it.
I have heard Catholics say, “Well, they just shouldn’t work at a Catholic owned business if they want birth control.” What about the women who work where the only hospital in town is a Catholic hospital?
It’s not religious persecution to require that a business follow the same laws as every other business. Hospitals, clinics and universities are highly profitable businesses. If the Catholic Church does not want to obey the law, then they should get out of those business and stick to being a church. For that matter, perhaps they should spend the ostentatiously displayed wealth they are directing into politics and use it for the charitable work they claim is so important to them.
While all of this is going on, conservative states are attempting to redefine “person hood” as the moment of conception which leads to a very slippery slope as a miscarriage could be investigated and punished as murder should the woman have done something deemed by white conservative males as dangerous like going for a run or hiking.
You best just stay barefoot and in the kitchen young missy, lest you get yourself in trouble.
The supreme court in Washington State just ruled that a pharmacist can refuse to provide legally prescribed medications on “moral grounds”. This is in direct response to a mandate that they must provide “Plan B” emergency contraception (which is not an “abortion pill”).
So if a woman is raped or the condom breaks and she doesn’t have a choice of pharmacies in her rural area, she can’t get the medication she needs in the very short time frame required.
This is another slippery slope. Suppose the only pharmacist in town doesn’t think that any woman should be on birth control? Suppose they think that those who have HIV/AIDS are being punished by god and should not receive their life saving drugs?
If pharmacists don’t want to follow the rules/regulations/laws that apply their well paid profession, perhaps they should find a different line of work that allows them to “speak for god”.
Even more vile, the Commonwealth of Virgina actually tired to pass a bill requiring that any woman seeking an abortion submit to a trans vaginal ultrasound in order to bully and intimidate them in to not having the procedure.
Rather than the ultrasound most are familiar with where a sensor is moved across the abdomen, this requires that a rather phallic shaped object be inserted into the vagina.
This procedure can range from mildly uncomfortable to painful. I should know, I’ve had two of them which were used to help diagnose tumors in my uterus and ovaries. Of course, it was my choice to allow it to be done for my own health.
I can’t imagine how traumatic it would be for a rape or abuse victim to be vaginally penetrated in this manner, especially in an already frightening time.
Even in Virginia, vaginal penetration against a woman’s will is legally defined as rape.
And just to top off this latest rash of attacks on women’s rights, the GOP in the State of Wisconsin voted to end the protection for race and gender in the Wisconsin Equal Pay Enforcement Act.
After reading all of this over the last few weeks, I can not in good conscience celebrate the end of my reproductive years with the rights of sisters, nieces, daughters and granddaughters in such jeopardy.
Not since the 1960s has the fight for women’s rights been so volatile and so important.
The war against women isn’t over ladies; it’s only beginning and we are on the front lines; if not for ourselves, then for our daughters and their daughters.
Over the last few days, I’ve seen many of my otherwise intelligent friends promoting a “Gas Out” as a protest against gas prices. Some even have the tag line “It’s worked before; we can do it again!”
Gas strikes do not work and if they did, they would only hurt the small business person with the neighborhood gas station who wouldn’t have income to meet their expenses/pay their employees that day.
That local business person has no control of the price of oil nor the instability in the Middle East.
And all a one day boycott would accomplish is people filling their tank the day before and the day after; it will not do a darn thing to solve the overall problem of our conspicuous consumption and addiction to gas and oil.
What we NEED to do (what we NEEDED to do in the early 70’s if not sooner) is start the transition to renewable energy sources.
Like it or not, oil is a non-renewable resource and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Before it’s completely gone, the average person will not be able to afford it, and the price of products (including food) in which energy is generated by oil/gas or in which oil/gas is used in manufacture, harvest or distribution will skyrocket.
Protesting prices (even if it would make them temporarily drop, which it won’t) is not a solution, it’s not even close.
The real solution is to reduce (working towards elimination of) our dependency on oil and gas.
Why not start with walking, biking or taking transit to work one day a week (hey there’s 52 days where you’ll actually make a real difference) growing some of your own food and/or buying it a farmer’s markets or stands that sell local produce.
In addition to taking personal responsibility to reduce our own consumption, if we really want to make a difference we need to take part in the political process by voting for transit, research and development of renewable energy sources and those who will work towards this goal, as well as lobbying your legislators and letting them know that this is a priority for you.
“Signing” an electronic petition is not “taking action” it’s a warm, fuzzy feel good thing (although the circulation of said petitions can raise awareness)
To really make your feelings known (and have them be counted as more than pixels on ONE document), call, write (it has been suggested that due to security issues post card are more likely to get to your legislators than letters in envelopes) fax or even email YOUR OWN comment.
If you’re going to do something, do something that might actually help.
(author holds copyright on all material. Permission granted to link to original pages, please use contact link on webpage for any requests for reprinting or publishing)
An old woman is knocked to the ground and trampled as a crowd races past; one person turns to help her and is swept away in the mob, only to be injured himself. Two other men begin to beat and kick each other; soon the violence escalates into what has been described as a “small riot” as the pain and suffering of the injured seems fade away into a surreal sea of bodies.
Are people fleeing an attack? Is this a natural disaster? Are people starving and fighting for survival for themselves and their families? What crisis could possibly make human beings behave this way towards each other?
Sadly, the answer is greed.
This disgusting display did not happen in a third world country or a disaster zone. It happened in the affluent community of South Hill Washington where all people could think of was their own need for material things at the expense of the health and safety of others and even their own dignity.
Sadly, this scenario played out over and over again all across this “great’ country of ours, as people left their homes and families in the cold, dark wee hours of the morning in order to beat others to holiday sales and deals, resorting to violence when they deemed it necessary.
The Tacoma News Tribune decided to print an editorial about how stores should do a better job of stocking their shelves in order to prevent this from occurring.
Are the stores taking advantage of people’s most base instincts? Yes. Do they contribute to the problem because all they care about is sucking people in to spend money on other things? Yes.
But the fault lies with society and the never ending need that many feel to drive a bigger SUV, have a bigger TV screen and to show the neighbors how successful they are all the while driving themselves deeper into credit card debt. Yeah, it’s great for the ten minutes while the presents are ripped open, and people get “everything that they wanted”, only to be let down later, when the weeks (Oh wait, MONTHS, this started before Halloween this year) of anticipation and build up fade away with nothing of substance or resembling the intended holiday (s) left.
What ever happened to gathering with family and friends to share the joy of whatever holiday or tradition one celebrates and actually thinking about what the holiday means? Does greed and a mob mentality celebrate any of the miracles of the season? Does it celebrate the lamps that burned for eight days which is celebrated at Hanukkah or the return of the light at Solstice? Can anyone say that this has anything to do with the birth of one tradition’s Messiah at Christmas or the reclaiming of another groups heritage at Kwanzaa? No. This new “tradition” is as far from the sacredness of any of these celebrations as anything could possibly be.
No amount of product availability, rain checks or security is going to change the underlying problem of greed and complete disregard for anything other than instant gratification.
I am happy to say that rather than engaging in this disgusting display, I shared a day with many friends, (who will be receiving home made gifts), decorating a tree with hand cut snowflakes each visitor made with love and wrote wonderful messages on, sharing food, hospitality and spending another day being thankful for what we do have. Many of us also spend this day gathering clothing, blankets and food for those who have less. Yes, it is possible to be thankful more than one day a year and to give back to our community.
Don’t get me wrong, although I do make almost all of the gifts I give, I will purchase a small gift or two for those closest to me, something that will make them smile and that will decorate their home, help them enjoy one of their favorite hobbies, or keep them warm in the winter. They will be modest, purchased from retailers who care for their employees and contribute to their communities, and I will most certainly not behave like an animal in order to get them.
I pity those who are part of the Black Friday mob. They don’t realize it, but they are the ones missing out.
(author holds copyright on all material. Permission granted to link to original pages, please use contact link on webpage for any requests for reprinting or publishing)
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I am more than disappointed to learn that today there will be a Critical Mass ride in Tacoma.
I’m now going to feel LESS safe on the road with motorists that this event has (INTENTIONALLY) pissed off and made an enemy of cyclists.
Critical Mass has no structure, no leadership and most important no accountability.
There is an anarchist element in Critical Mass and I’m not going to be involved in illegal activity such as corking intersections and harassing motorists.
The rides have escalated to violence in many cities, notably this headline from Seattle not that long ago:
“Mob of bicyclists injure motorist”
It was (of course) a “Critical Mass” demonstration in Seattle. For those who are blissfully unaware, Critical Mass is a cycling group that rides (as a form of demonstration) once a month to “assert” the rights of cyclists to use the road.
There is a HUGE difference between educating or advocating and “asserting”.
The groups “cork” (block) intersections, ride illegally (not to mention dangerously) and intentionally disrupt traffic. They antagonize motorists and violent altercations often occur. That’s not only illegal and uncool but it does nothing to make life easier for law abiding cyclists.
Although the “ideal” of the group and event “might” be a good one (in theory), just like any other form of “protest” a certain segment of society has to get in there and make it unsafe, illegal and violent. That appears to be what happened last year in Seattle when a motorist had his tires slashed, windshield smashed and was struck in the back of the head (bad enough that he required hospitalization) with a pregnant passenger in the vehicle no less.
We cyclists do not need bad press and we certainly don’t need idiots like this claiming to represent us. One already takes their life in their hands riding a bike around here (I often joke that cyclists and pedestrians are a prey species in Tacoma) and we don’t need drivers having reason to hate us and want us off the road more than they already do..
This YouTube video, which was meant to show “Police Brutality” against the “poor innocent cyclists”, does exactly the opposite. It doesn’t show what lead to the arrest of the two riders, but it does show me that these are people I do not want to associate with.
These and other groups teach and promote safety and riding legally. They work within the law to create bike paths, trails and bicycle friendly communities. They teach safety classes, fit kids for bike helmets and encourage legal and safe riding on club sponsored events. They promote cycling as a healthy recreational activity and as an alternative to commuting through vehicle gridlock and paying through the nose for outrageously priced gas.
Critical Mass does nothing for the cycling community but make it look bad and undo all the hard work that legitimate groups do.
Recently, we had a tragedy in rural Pierce County.
A man, angry at his wife for telling him that she was leaving him, murdered his 5 children in their beds. One child did not die in her bed, there were signs of a violent struggle in the bathroom. He drove back to another town to murder his wife, didn’t find her and shot himself outside a playground where some children found him the next morning.
As the story unfolded, people began to come out and say that they weren’t surprised because he was controlling and abusive.
He impregnated his wife when she was only 13 years old, and exerted unacceptable control over her ever since.
One would think that if anything came out of this terrible tragedy, that it would be awareness of domestic violence; perhaps someone would step up to help someone else, or seek help for themselves.
Sadly, rather than focus on the fact that this man was an abuser, and that this woman who lived with him a trailer park had no resources or avenue of escape for her and her children were victims of domestic abuse, the media (yes, this means YOU Tacoma News Tribune and KOMO 4 News among others) chose to sensationalize the story further (as if it needed it) by stating that the woman “had an affair” or was “going to leave for another man.”
The Pierce County Sherrif’s Department was no better, they released speculation to the media that there may be evidence that she had an affair.
Way to blame the victim you neandertals. (remind me never to get murdered, raped or abused in unincorporated Pierce County where those that are allegedly there to serve and protect will find a way to blame me)
I’m sorry, no matter what this woman did or didn’t do, does not excuse murder, not of her, nor innocent children.
This situation brings to light the true tragedy of how many women are abused every day in this country.
*yes, I know that woman abuse men as well; as a matter of fact, about a year ago I ended a (thankfully only online, she was easy to block) friendship with a woman who physically and emotionally abused her husband and not only thought it was OK, but thought it was funny.
But more women die at the hand of their husbands and boyfriends due to cultural and physical reasons (often the husband is bigger, stronger and has more violence inducing testosterone).
The bottom line is:
“Domestic violence and abuse should not happen to anybody. Ever. Period.”
For those who don’t know, I have my own history of being abused and stalked, It can happen to anyone even a former federal law enforcement officer who is an athlete. I can’t think of anyone who knows me who would have ever considered me to be a potential victim of any type of abuse because I appear too strong both physically and emotionally to allow it to happen.
My ex-husband, a former Army Ranger, trained to kill without question or remorse, and not coping with his alcoholism and other addictions (which he hid very well in the beginning), stalked and harassed me continually during the divorce. (it was so bad, the judge held him in court for an additional 20 minutes so that I could get out safely)
To this day, I sleep with my 40 caliber pistol within reach.
I learned in my attorney’s office (thankfully not in the emergency room) that his deceased first wife (who conveniently died of a drug overdose,some of the drugs belonging to him after she filed for divorce from him) was a victim of repeated spousal abuse.
The second time he got off on deferred prosecution for spousal abuse, was the same week he “graduated” a year long court ordered domestic violence program. (can you say, “deferred prosecution did NOT work”?)
He was investigated in her death, but got off because she had engaged in “drug seeking” behavior. (after being abused by him for four years myself, I can understand why) and there was no “proof” that he killed her. (I made sure that he knew that I had changed my life insurance beneficiary to my mother, and that if anything “conveniently” happened to me that the insurance company as well as many other people would call the police and have him investigated)
Yes, the court gave him deferred prosecution a second time when it was apparent that no treatment was going to stop him from being a violent abuser and addict.
The system failed his first wife, and later it failed me
Another reason that no one would have guessed the situation I was in, is because on the outside, the marriage looked perfect. I, like so many other women (and men) worked hard to make everything “perfect”. (we think that if we just work harder at it and are “better” partners, that the anger won’t be triggered)
I always had an excuse for his blowups; his boss was a jerk, he was tired from work, his former wife treated him badly/cheated on him, stress of buying a home, etc…
People who are in abusive relationships fool their friends, families, co-workers, and most of all, themselves. Women are often natural caretakers and try to “fix” things, and many men feel that they will be ridiculed if they admit to being abused, so they hide it.
My point being, everyone reading this blog likely knows someone who is being abused (maybe they are even being abused themselves) and is afraid to leave for varying reasons from not being able to make it on their own financially to threats being made against their children if they dare leave.