Archive for August, 2011
You are the sum of a unique equation.
Sometimes I have an idea, but as I put it down it begins to morph. Such was the case recently, when I started to write my reaction to the verdict of the Casey Anthony murder trial. Before, I had even gotten to my opinion, I had veered off on tangents about juries and parenting.
I didn’t follow the case, but the few minutes of testimony I heard told me everything I needed to know. It’s a good thing I wasn’t on the jury, because after that isolated bit, I was ready to make new indictments, convinced of probable cause, and had no interest in hearing more.
The testimony lead me to believe that this was indeed a case of negligence and child abuse, that the parents of Casey Anthony were complicit in a crime with more than one victim. The question was who would pay?
Before I became a parent, I had ideas about parenting. Society, educators and other parents had lead me to believe children were raw material, like Play-Doh, which could be pressed into a mold, then extruded perfectly formed. They had succeeded in convincing me that doing certain things would produce a certain result. But kids aren’t all the same, and parenting is an inexact science, based on experiments which draw conclusions from very small samples.
There are great parents who can make almost any child behave well, but there are also children whose traits can defeat the efforts of the very best parents. Parents of those with learning disabilities, emotional and/or behavioral problems, or any number of physical or mental disorders will attest, there are some things good parenting can’t fix. Those parents often make heroic efforts for children who may never be like other children.
Then there are the rest of us. . . kids are the unpredictable result of their personalities as affected by those who raise them, but we do our best to raise good kids.
Which brings me to Casey Anthony’s mother, Cindy…maybe she read all the parenting books, and did everything right, but still ended up with a sociopath for a daughter.
The evidence suggests otherwise.
On Day 26 of the trial, I heard a snippet of Cindy Anthony testifying in her daughter’s trial. Despite being under oath, her answers were preposterous.
The prosecution had questioned the numerous searches about “chloroform” and how to make it found on the family’s home computer. Cindy told the court those searches were made by her–despite time cards which indicated she was at work when the searches were made.
She claimed that she was actually searching for chlorophyll. Apparently, she was so preoccupied with the lethargy of her Yorkshire Terrier, she had to leave work to determine if the compound, found in every single green plant, might also be in bamboo.
When she was questioned about searches for “neck breaking” and “chest injuries” she claimed she was looking them up because of a friend’s recent car accident. Seems to me if she knew of someone who had suffered chest injuries and a broken neck, she’d have been better served to be searching Hallmark for an appropriate card.
When questioned about the inconsistencies in her testimony, she blamed medications she had been taking. This was the only lie that seemed remotely plausible. Had I been on that jury, the bailiff would have had to remove me, for getting in the witness’s face, while exclaiming something like, ” Are you high? You can’t really believe this court is that stupid!”
It isn’t a big surprise when parents say they would die for their child, yet I am appalled that Cindy Anthony would lie to save hers.There was speculation, she had agreed to testify for the prosecution in an attempt to help her daughter avoid the death penalty, but it was still a death sentence case. Unfortunately, it was already too late for Mrs. Anthony to save her Caylee, from the sentence her daughter should have received.
The judicial system is blamed for failing to hold Casey Anthony responsible for murdering her daughter.
The prosecutors are blamed for failing to present the necessary evidence.
The defense did the job they were hired to do, even if in doing so, they aided a murderer.
The jurors take the heat for inherent flaws in our justice system.
I put the blame on the mother who closed her eye to her daughter’s evil, the mother who let her daughter get away with murder. Sometimes kids are bad despite their parents, sometimes they are bad because of their parents. I blame the mother who perjured herself in an attempt to protect her child from harm.
If only Casey Anthony had been as committed to protecting her daughter.
UPDATE ON THE
SEXY PERIOD PANTY GIVEAWAY
The best thing about writing de blog, is not having an editor.
The worst thing about writing de blog, is not having an editor.
I could really use an editor, but then I’d have someone telling me what to say or how to say it. No doubt, de blog would benefit from having an editor, but without one, when I don’t do a good job or miss a deadline, I am not at risk of losing my job, only my audience.
Not having an editor means, I can write, rewrite, revise, run an article, kill an article, or make changes without having to ask permission. Which is the case with the Sexy Period panty giveaway. Initially, I planned to post entries in a gallery format, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Trouble is many were reluctant to enter because they didn’t want photos of their skivvies on the internet. This modesty, surprised me, and though it’s charming, it doesn’t make for a fun-to-peruse gallery of panties. Considering how dull my own entry into such a contest would be, I abandoned my commitment to a gallery.
In other words, if you’ve been looking for panty pictures, you can stop looking.
This was de blog’s first attempt at a contest. Whether or not asking women to send in pictures of their panties was the wrong approach, I learned some stuff for next time de blog has a contest or giveaway. Among the things was the realization of how much repeated exposure is required to promote a contest. In this case, those repeated exposures featured a beautiful model from Sexy Period. The photo was used by permission of Sexy Period, and I chose it because I liked it, however, after a month of repeated use, I realized an image of a half-naked woman is received better some places than others. (Note to self: Next contest use photo of irresistible puppy.)
Reader Anna Frandsen is the lucky winner of some seriously fabulous undies from Sexy Period. Big thanks to Sexy Period for partnering with de blog on this. Their panties are everything they are advertised to be. They are silky soft, beautiful and they do what they promise. After I tried them, I knew I’d be ordering more. If you haven’t already, check out their site.
A new school year is beginning. It is a time filled with excitement, anticipation, fear or dread. While students may be anxious on the first day of a new term, parents can be full of anxieties as they send their children to confront unknowns, whether it be preschool, the new chemistry teacher or their first year of college.
From the time one becomes a parent, there is a desire to do everything right. From the day the first child arrives, parents are absorbed in the quest for the right pediatrician, the right food, the right diaper, the right schools, the right teachers, the right courses, the list goes on and on. Parents are committed not only to not making mistakes, but also to preventing their children from making any. It’s a noble goal, but it isn’t possible.
Before I became a parent, I asked advice of someone I knew who seemed to have been an exemplary parent. She had educated them and given them every opportunity. She had encouraged to study music, play sports and learn languages, yet she stated on regret. By focusing all her attention on how to make them the best they could be, she had forgotten to educate them in their own humanity. She had neglected to instill her values in them.
The term “values” means different things to different persons–mostly predicated on our religious or philosophical beliefs–but as I see it, somewhere between The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Godly Virtues are the often under-emphasized Seven Necessary Qualities. Cultivate these, if you want to give your child the best chance to succeed.
1. Integrity – The quality of being who you’re supposed to be. It is having and honoring your convictions. It is being honest, keeping promises and doing what you say you will do.
2. Perseverance - This is the quality that causes us to survive, when we’d rather give up. It is being able to accept adversity without giving up. It is the ability to see a job to its finish. It is continuing when you’ve become exhausted. It is believing, when you’ve lost faith.
3. Optimism Defeatist thoughts sabotage our dreams, desires and our ability to succeed. At times when nobody believes in you, you must be able to believe in yourself. It is impossible to believe in yourself or others without optimism.
4. Thoughtfulness – Not the kind that causes some to always remember to send a get-well card, but the employment of critical thinking to see both sides of people and situations. It is the consideration of the viewpoints of others, as well as the ability to separate truth from fiction.
5. Leadership – The ability to partner with and lead others, without losing their respect. It is recognizing the contribution and value of others. It is helping other people find their strengths, while while navigating their weaknesses.
6. Humility - It is knowing you are human and acknowledging your shortcomings and those of others. It is the art of balancing your failings, with your sense of self. It is learning the practice of not taking one’s self too seriously. It is coming to terms with being wrong.
7. Likeability – If you can practice the things on the list above with kindness & good humor; likeability is a quality you will acquire without additional study.
Each of us comes to the world with qualities that make us who we are–the recognition of this is vital to being a good parent. We may be able to change behaviors, but we cannot change ourselves or our children into what they are not. There are students who will never be athletes, and athletes who will never be students. There are children who are at the center of everything. and others who prefer to disappear into the background. The very best thing we can do as parents is teach our children to succeed because of OR despite their personalities.
Trying to do everything right is a good but unachievable goal (and it doesn’t guarantee a good outcome). Trying to do everything right guarantees you will make mistakes. If you want your children to be their very best, teach them how to be wrong.
In teaching them to take responsibility for their failings, they will learn responsibility and integrity. When you teach them mistakes are inevitable and they will learn humility, as well as understanding of others. Teach them how to make amends for their mistakes and they will learn both empathy, justice and leadership. Teach them how to move past their own mistakes, and they will learn how to move from discouragement to success. Teach them to learn from mistakes, and they will have an ongoing education with no shortage of teachers.
This week, in addition to my other obligations, I’ve been summoned for jury duty. I don’t like being called for jury duty, but I feel a responsibility to serve. So far, I haven’t been required to report, providing me a huge sigh of relief, by keeping both my schedule and my conscience unencumbered.
Theoretically, jury are intended to insure justice, by determining wrongdoing. By hearing different sides of an argument, they are expected to figure out which is right. It sounds simple, but jurors who fail to determine who is right and who is wrong, become a party to injustice.
In a courtroom, lawyers hope jurors will draw the right conclusions, even if they are intentionally suggesting conclusions which are wrong. Jurors are hoping they can see through deceptions to make the right decision, but the evidence of isn’t always clear. What is right or wrong can become blurred.
The recent murder trial of Casey Anthony is a perfect example. For three weeks 13 individuals sat listening to evidence of guilt or innocence. When their verdict was announced, the public was outraged. The public believed the jury got it wrong, that justice was not served. The media fires were fueled by outcries this was a case of jury nullification.
But jury nullification implies that jurors have some sympathetic reason or motivation to ignore their legal obligation or instruction. That wasn’t true of the Casey Anthony trial, in fact most of the jurors believed Casey Anthony was guilty, but they weren’t sure of exactly what it was she was guilty of. Their instincts and common sense told them she was guilty, but they didn’t feel it had been proven to them. They didn’t want to be wrong.
Though they knew laws had been broken, and wrong committed, the jurors had an obligation to uphold their oath to try to do right by upholding the laws that govern the courts. It was a very bad example of how The United States justice system is supposed to work, or a very good one of why it does. We should be grateful for a system that offers protections when the evidence fails to prove guilt.
The American philosophy of jurisprudence is based on innocent-til-proven-guilty. That principle is the best virtue and the worst flaw of American justice. By putting the burden of proof on the court, it is intended to protect the innocent from being wronged. Unfortunately sometimes it has the de facto effect of protecting the guilty from being prosecuted.
My worst fear is having to serve on a jury charged with such a grave matter. In matters of right and wrong, a juror hopes to get it right. There there have been plenty of times I was wrong, while convinced I was right. I don’t have a problem being wrong, but sometimes it’s impossible to know. A courtroom is one place I wouldn’t want to be wrong.
If you want to look good every day, three must-have items are: the right shoes, the right bra, and the right jeans. Since bras and jeans can make or break your shape, perfect fit is essential. If only bras & jeans were as easy to fit as shoes! Considering how much much less needs to fit into a bra, than a pair of jeans, bra shopping is easy by comparison. Despite this, bra experts say 85% of women are wearing the wrong bra. Not sure how they determined this, but it made me wonder ow many women are wearing the wrong jeans.
Think about it–the area from the ankle to the waist is at least 60% of the body, yet we‘re expected to find something something off-the-rack that mimics the size and shape of a body unlike anyone else’s with sportscar-like ability for hugging curves.
A jeans-buying expedition isn’t just a shopping trip,it’s a quest for perfection, as we search for a pair that will make us look and feel amazing.
There are hundreds of brands and styles, yet we all have days when it seems none are crafted for a body like the one we see in the fitting-room mirror. Even Levi’s, who should be the world’s foremost expert on jeans, recently came up with yet another line for those who can’t find good fit among their other 170 styles.
The good news is this season’s trends in jeans should make get the right fit easier, but the bad news is that this season’s jeans may not be very flattering. According to the trend-spotters, high-waists and wide legs are back–didn’t we just finish eradicating “mom” jeans? Is it possible the designers responsible are trying to sabotage us by reinventing unattractive? Or are they they just unnaturally attached to their “mommys”?
There are countless numbers of articles written on how to pick the right jeans, but in seasons with unfortunate fashions, the focus should be on NOT wearing the wrong jean. At times like these, a good mirror, a ruthlessly honest girlfriend and a few tips are helpful.
No matter your height or shape, the length and leg of your jeans is important. On their way out, are the recently popular” skinny jeans”. This trend was one an average figure would work, but they made the very thin look spindly and the more fuller figured appear to be in danger of toppling. Now it seems we’re going to the opposite extreme, with wide legs that should be reserved for pianos & pachyderms. Aren’t most of us trying to look as long and lean as possible? Is there anyone out there who has enthusiasm for jeans that will make them look shorter and thicker?
If you want to wear the wider styles this season, opt for flared legs cut a little closer to the contour of the upper leg, like flares or bells. To get the longest line, pair them with a delicately tapered or pointed shoe.
Now that jeans come in different rises, there is no reason to be wearing jeans that are too tight or too loose in the waist. Whereas having a small waist is almost always a good thing, when it comes to jeans a tiny waist with an ample derriere can be problematic. Brands like Apple Bottoms and L.E.I. are cut for more curve, but if a small waist is an issue, go for mid-rise to show off the booty without having it spoiled by a poorly fitting waist band. For those who have small waists with less curve, low-rise jeans can create an illusion of a curvier figure by accentuating the hip.
Pay attention to the cut as well as the material. There are many lines which use Lycra or Spandex to help minimize figure flaws. The days when “stretch” jeans were guaranteed to accentuate the wrong things or make ripples where you didn’t want them are long gone, the newer blends have just enough “give”, to cuddle your curves.
If you aren’t as cheeky as you wish you were, highly embellished pockets can work in your favor, by adding bulk while creating an illusion of more. Pockets placed lower can help downplay a butt that isn’t as high as it used to be. but unless you’re under thirty (or look like you are) over embellished or novelty pockets are best left in the left in the Juniors shop.
Trendy washes and finishes come and go. Whiskered, color rinsed, grunge wash, sharkskin, metallics–there’s always some new novelty, but when the trend is gone, those dated jeans should be too. Enjoy what’s current, but keep in mind smoother darker finished denims in less a trouser cut can go anywhere.
Finally, be fickle. Unless you have a brand of jeans that never fails, experiment. Don’t be so locked into what you’re used to, that you miss out on something better, and don’t be a slave to brands or styles that don’t work on you. Hot brands and high-priced designer tags do not guarantee of a better looking jean. Most importantly, don’t let vanity cause you to buy jeans that aren’t the right size. No matter what the tag says, if it doesn’t fit great, it’s not your size.
Your body is uniquely your own. No matter what everyone else is wearing, choose what makes you look and feel your best!
There is a lot of talk about gold right now. With the latest news from Wall Street, many have seen their portfolios take big hits. At least those who deal in precious metals, stand to benefit as more people begin considering buying gold. If the dollar continues to tumble like a kid pushed down a stairwell, it is likely that the price of gold will continue to rise, but while many are thinking of buying is seems there are others who are anxious to sell.
Selling your old stuff has always been one way of to raise cash, and the hottest thing selling now is gold. Over the last few months, I’ve been invited to a number of “Gold” parties. For those of you who have yet to be on one of these guest lists, gold parties are an an opportunity to turn unwanted gold jewelry, including broken chains, orphaned earrings and even dental gold, into greenbacks.
The gold party isn’t my thing. Though turning unwanted jewelry into cash may be tempting in an economy like this one, what little gold I have, I wear. Not only that, but knowing every piece of gold I own was purchased for a price greater than it’s actual value, if someone stands to make a good return on my jewelry, I’d prefer it be me. Despite this, I recently attended a gold party as a favor to a girlfriend who was hosting. Though I had nothing to sell, I was curious to see the items brought and the prices they would fetch. It’s an interesting scene as women (and some men) show up with odd bits of precious metals.
The purchasing agent assesses and tests items, weighs them and then tells what price he will pay. Most of the sellers seemed to be surprised (and pleased) by the amounts offered for their cast-offs. I too was surprised, in fact, it took all my self-control to watch as a gentleman sold his an exquisite signet ring for a paltry $75. I was tempted to commit the ultimate gold party faux pas, by offering him more. Instead, I swallowed a small lump in my throat as I watched the ring tossed into the pile with other scrap headed for a refinery. As I watched the assayer handing out piles of hundred dollar bills to the party guests, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of profit he stood to make.
The price of gold is high and still climbing, so if you’re inclined to sell this is a great time to do so, but you should realize you won’t be getting it’s real value, and there are a few things you should know. Gold parties are illegal in some places. This is mostly to protect sellers from unlicensed or unscrupulous buyers,and to prevent the traffic of stolen items. If you are worried about being taken advantage of or being party to illegal activity, consider going to a reputable jeweler, preferably one who deals in a high volume of metals, as they usually offer the best price. (The best prices is given by refineries, but refineries generally don’t buy from individuals.)
The real value of jewelry is often outweighed by its intangible value. After all, who can put a price on a piece of jewelry handed down from a long-gone family member, or a insignificant ring which reminds us of young love? So while some husbands may be home calling their broker about acquiring gold, their wives may be out selling the gold they’ve acquired, but I will be holding. If you aren’t ready to part with your jewelry, wear it and enjoy it knowing that even your cheapest pieces have gone up in value.
When it comes to travel, there are planners and there are wingers. Because travel should be an adventure, I am a winger.
Packing for a trip turns some into O.C.D. Girl Scouts, who attempt to anticipate and be prepared for anything from missed connections to zombie apocalypse. Wingers don’t have that problem, in fact we never pack diarrhea medicine or photocopies of credit cards. We know we can rely on other travelers to have a sewing kit, first-aid kit or rain poncho.
I came across a list of expert packing tips recently. Along with the usual, this list advised not to pack holes with socks when traveling to Japan. This made me wonder if there are countries where one should pack socks with holes. If that’s useful information, I have some of my own to share.
Getting in and out of an airport is often the most challenging part of a trip, so unless you are the type who always arrives early, never carry more than you can manage during an O.J.Simpson-like sprint through a crowded terminal. If you don’t have luggage with wheels yet, you might consider replacing the set you got for graduation.
Incidentally, when it comes to luggage, red is the new black. After baggage claim areas became a sea of nearly identical black bags, many travelers began choosing easy-to-spot red. Now the baggage carousels resemble checker sets–alternating red & black. If you are shopping for luggage, consider something distinctive, like chartreuse, sunflower, or puce.
If you have a black bag you’re not ready to replace, you can used colored masking tape for a low-budget customization. Shown here are some possibilities like, Domestic Flight Domo, Ghetto Gucci, or The Rasta-Wayfarian.
Vacation is supposed to be fun, right?
Speaking of fun, you know who needs to lighten up and have some? TSA. Just once, I’d like to fill my bra with something unexpected like a puppy or water balloons full of goldfish, or maybe put some Play- Doh in my pants to make that pat-down more interesting. Unfortunately, TSA is not known for its sense of humor, so I do my best to be humorless, I wear easy-on/easy off shoes, and save my best terrorist jokes for other venues.
Though some still prefer an over-sized shopping bag that won’t fit in the overhead bin, wingers need a more practical carry-on bag.
Mine needs to accommodate everything I’d rather not check, my laptop, camera, jewelry, toiletries and cowboy boots. Being a winger, I only carry an extra change of clothes when traveling for business, since the likelihood of having one’s luggage delayed or lost is relatively small. However, if you are a more cautious type, you can always throw a change of undies in your purse. In the event of a mid-air mishap, your mother will be comforted knowing you had clean underwear.
Getting ready for a trip can be hectic. If you don’t have time to do laundry before a trip, throw all the dirty clothes you’d like to wear in a suitcase. Take the suitcase to the nearest Fluff & Fold to be laundered. When you drop it off, apologize profusely that you don’t have a proper laundry basket. When you return, you’ll have a suitcase full of neatly folded clean clothes. Voila! It’s just like when Mom sent you off to camp.
No matter what kind of traveler you are, you can’t be prepared for everything, but you should be ready for anything. If you can’t travel light, aim for traveling light-heartedly. Leisure travel shouldn’t be stressful, so do your best to enjoy whatever unplanned adventures arise.
Guest post by The Perfect Male
There are few things in this world capable of disarming a man, the way a genuine smile from a woman can. That facial expression, which involves a tightened gesture around the eyes with an upward outstretch of the lips, has the inevitable capability of igniting a catalytic series of emotions. It is as if the symphony of muscles that are involved in such a peculiar look conspire to excite not only those who offer the expression, but also those who mimic it. We must be aware though, not all smiles are the same. Not all inspire the same feelings.
Sometimes they are given birth to, with raised eyebrows, when meeting and old acquaintance. Other times they surface as a result of an embarrassing moment. And some, less frequent times, they come into existence to please other people rather than ourselves. It is said that each of these smiles, which man could ever fathom to create, when tested through an MRI scan, light up different parts of the brain. Just because you smile, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will reap the benefits of well-being and positive thinking. One very important factor that must inevitably be a part of each expression to enjoy these beneficial sensations is, without a doubt, authenticity.
And what about the lack of a smile? What does that say? A recent study has proven that the ubiquity, or scarcity for that matter, of smiling can be associated with social status. Take, for example, the models of a diversity of high end brands. What do they all share in common? Models with straight, emotionless faces. Now, on the other hand, if you take a look at more average to low end brands, the faces are all in higher spirits. Why is that? It seems that by not showing emotion you could be evidencing a sense of superiority. As if, letting your emotions take control of your actions, is something seen by society as a weakness. At least, these days that is the way the public views it.
But what happens to those people that chose to suppress their feelings? In a study where subjects were asked to look at repulsive images while suppressing their emotions it was found that people who committed to this action performed poorly on memory tasks and completed word exercise with a negative outlook. It seems that “When the face doesn’t aid in expressing the emotion, the emotion seeks other channels to express itself through.”
In brief, we agree with Deb on many of her points. Smile when you feel like it. You harm yourself more than you think by suppressing it. Don’t fake a smile. You incite negative feelings to people other than yourself. And last, but not least, make eye contact (we forgot to mention this) when you smile. A smile is far more powerful when you look at people.
When was the last time you genuinely felt the need to smile?
Deb’s Note: What woman doesn’t desire a perfect male? And how could anyone not like a blog devoted to making men better informed or more desirable??? Covering everything from culture, grooming, and relationships, The Perfect Male Blog is always interesting. Big thanks to the guys at The Perfect Male Blog for sharing a little about the science of smiling.
The Perfect Male Blog can be found at http://www.theperfectmaleblog.com/