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Do You See What I See?

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  It has taken me until my sixties to become completely self-aware and to realize that I’m just a little bit nuts.  I don’t mean that I’m bat-shit crazy like my mother who was paranoid-schizophrenic; I simply mean that I finally recognized that I see the world from a different angle than the people I used to hang with and I now realize that’s okay—either that or I’m lying to myself which would be self-denial and not the same thing as self-awareness at all.

Pinned by Cassandra Bond on Pinterest

“Self-Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self-Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.”—Gary van Warmerdam  (pathwaytohappiness.com)

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I’m getting ready to make another major life transition in the next six months (retirement), and it is imperative that I have a “clear perception” of who and what I am—warts and all—if I am to successfully turn the page to the next chapter.  I haven’t always been in a place of prime self-awareness.  I mean I thought I was one of the most self-aware people around when I was younger, but I had hoodwinked myself into believing that because I was religious.  Now that I am old, I have found that religious people (people who follow a specific set of stringent rules to define their lot in life) tend to think they are better off than they are—that the people they hate are more sinful than they really are—and it usually takes a spiritual or emotional earthquake to shake off the cataracts from the “holier than thou” person’s eyes to plunge him or her into a deeper level of self-awareness.

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I’ve found that sometimes it’s hard to tell self-denial and self-awareness apart.  There’s nothing like the obese woman who visualizes that she’s the embodiment of the Right Said Fred song and thinks she’s “too sexy for her shirt, too sexy for your party, too sexy for Milan, or too sexy for her cat.”

Cartoon version of “self-awareness fail” by Collins||image from networkedblogs.com

Real life self-awareness fail|image from blogtosh.comedycentral.com

And for God’s sake don’t even get me started on the man who sports the Tea Party hat, screams the Tea Party epithets as he commits his life to take back America for God from the socialists, the baby-killers, and the fags but treats his wife and kids like shit.

Carl Jones Cartoon from the Free Lance-Star||image from loonpond.blogspot.com

But the best self-awareness fail was the one that woke my husband and me up from our right-wing Christian stupor and probably saved our destinies and our souls—it certainly saved our minds.  There’s nothing like getting up every morning, looking in the mirror and confirming to one’s self that you are the epitome of a great father and mother while handing out the WWJD bracelets to your kids before they march out the door to high school (“protect those choices, babies”).   There’s no greater Christian turn-on than reminding your offspring of their D.A.R.E. pledges (taking a stand against drug abuse) they made at the beginning of middle school and calling to mind their abstinence letters still to be signed on the dining room table.  However there is no deeper despair than to later find out that all the platitudes you believed in were a bunch of shit and none of it worked.  There’s absolutely fucking nothing like having one of your kids temporarily lose her mind that forces you to reexamine what you believe, why you believe it, and how your life should change to properly demonstrate that new belief system.

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich for the Atlanta Tribune-Constitutional

Fortunately, if you wake up in time (which we did), your self-awareness brutally course-corrects itself (it did), and the errant kid gets to correct her destiny before it capsizes (which she did) and you continue as a family, stronger and more loving than ever.  As the parent who thought I was “all that and a bag of chips,” I gained a self-awareness that made me more compassionate, more loving, and more tolerant toward others—walking along side them without judgment as they try to overcome the vagaries of life.

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The only people who seem to have unadulterated self-awareness seem to be small children, but it has to be because they don’t know anything except “what is.”  The “smalls” have an amazing ability to be comfortable in their own skin and this doesn’t change until they are made to feel “less than” or “other than” by ridicule and abuse.  The other day my three-year-old grandson was walking with his mother to the subway station via a rather rough inner-city street in New York.  As they passed quite a few nefarious looking characters that my daughter didn’t plan on giving the time of day, each one broke into a smile of recognition and greeted my grandson with a high-five and a—“Hey there, little dude, how’s it hangin’?”  “So little man, what you been up to—long time no see!”  “Where you off to today, buddy?” To which my grandson graced each person with a beatific grin that could melt the ass off a snowman and saluted each greeter with a miniature toddler high-five.  As he walked on down the street while holding his mother’s hand, he said rather matter-of-factly and without the least bit of irony:  “You know what, Mama—people luv me!”

Image from thepunch.com.au

The good news for our “little dude” is that we have shielded him from the people who won’t love him for quite a while, and that is a good thing.  But children soon leave behind their naïve self-awareness and grow into adults who see a false image of themselves in their mind’s eye, and start believing their own press, where they project themselves in such a way that they lose touch with the reality of what actually “is.”  Consequently, we have to constantly be on the lookout for epic self-awareness fails—not only in our personal lives and our family’s lives but in the greater arena at large.  Learning to recognize self-awareness bombs will keep us sharp and give us the tools to adjust our own growth.

SELF-AWARENESS FAILS IN THE NEWS LAST WEEK

SELF-AWARENESS FAIL ~(Republican party the true bastion of morality and ever the guardian of the WWJD slogan): Black CNN reporter gets pelted with peanuts by Republican Conventioneers who proudly boast of being ‘church-goers’ and told the devastated reporter, “This is how we treat the animals.”  IMP. NEWS FLASH QUESTION:  Republican, Christian Tea Party members—Are you shittin’ me?

SELF-AWARENESS FAIL ~(Good Catholics uphold the 10 Commandments, especially the 9th Commandment because “bearing false witness” is a major character defect):  Staunch Catholic, PAUL RYAN, Republican VP Nominee, receives the “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Award” for what the New York Times calls a “litany of falsehoods” in his convention speech.  He is accused of lying about everything from President Obama not requiring “Welfare recipients to work anymore” to his final speed of a marathon (said he ran it in 2 hours and something when it actually took him over four hours).   Joan Walsh of Salon.com in the article titled: “Paul Ryan’s Marathon Lie” says that this was no slip of the tongue.  Ryan “boasted about the feat with specificity and swagger.”  (Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, go wash your mouth out with soap and come back and write on the blackboard 1,000 times: ‘I will never, ever lie again because I am a Christian and I must never, ever break the 9th commandment’ because in doing so, you’re making the God you supposedly serve a laughing-stock.  Dude, do you really think you’re going to get away with this?)

SELF-AWARENESS FAIL ~Ralph Reed (Former Christian Coalition head WHO USED TO ATTEND THE SAME CHURCH AS WW AND ME—YIKES!) IS BACK—living an upstanding stellar Christian life (NOT!) by initiating and underscoring a plank on the Republican platform that is trying to defeat the minimum wage in the Mariana Islands [territory owned by USA since WWII] again.  Reed’s epic fail that almost destroyed him in the past was a “partnership” with the lobbyist crook, Jack Abramoff, to defeat the Federal Government’s effort to clean up the sweatshops and bring in minimum wage in those islands, thus cutting into the profits of factory owners and shareholders.  Reed convinced Alabama residents to urge their Congressmen to vote for no restrictions in wages on the premise that imposing minimum wage on the imported Chinese workers would keep them from getting hired by the Mariana Islands’ businesses, and that would mean (horrors!) the workers wouldn’t hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, wouldn’t get Bibles to save their souls and they wouldn’t take those Bibles back to China to save the rest of their peeps’ souls.  What Reed failed to mention to his Alabama pawns is that the Chinese women worked in horrible conditions and were “forced to have abortions, forced to engage in prostitution, and forced to produce garments for pennies that said ‘Made in the USA.’”  The revelation of these truths cost Ralph Reed the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006 and now “he’s back!”  Oh God, deliver us from your people! (Ralph Reed, where you gonna’ run, where you gonna hide, sinner man?  Did you ever hear the slogan:  God is not mocked?)

“Reed’s was a monstrous lie by one of the monumental hypocrites of our time. Yet he marches on, Christian soldier to the end, turning the temple of faith into one big ATM. There’s a word for this in the Bible: Abomination.”— By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, BillMoyers.com [THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY REPORTED ON BILLMOYERS.COM.]        http://www.salon.com/2012/09/01/ralph_reed_rises_from_the_ashes/)

A Mike Keefe Cartoon for the Denver Post||Punditkitchennews.icancheeseburger.com

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I am discovering that being self-aware is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.  Unfortunately, it isn’t a one-time deal; it is a constant and diligent examination—kind of like a yearly breast examination of the soul.  Every new crossroad in life demands a poking and prodding and an x-ray of who we are to see if what we think we are is what others see.  Without that revelation, there is no successful move into the next phase of life—there’s just one giant epic fail.  Stay tuned—retirement transition to be posted in March 2013.

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“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.”—August Wilson

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”—Carl Gustav Jung

“[I]t doesn’t matter whom you love or where you move from or to, you always take yourself with you. If you don’t know who you are, or if you’ve forgotten or misplaced her, then you’ll always feel as if you don’t belong. Anywhere. (xiii)”― Sarah Breathnach, Moving on: Creating Your House of Belonging with Simple Abundance

“We judge others instantly by their clothes, their cars, their appearance, their race, their education, their social status. The list is endless. What gets me is that most people decide who another person is before they have even spoken to them. What’s even worse is that these same people decide who someone else is, and don’t even know who they are themselves.”― Ashly Lorenzana

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
29 Comments

Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Warning to Mittens and the Gang

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I don’t have much to say this week because I’ve been partying with a three-year-old who could care less about what is going on in this nasty political world except how it affects his chicken nuggets, juice boxes, MeMa kisses, and his Shrek and Donkey doll needs.  In fact, I asked him yesterday where he was off to in such a hurry as he raced past my office while I was banging my head against my laptop keyboard trying to eke out a blog for this week, and his toddler worldview response to me was pretty matter-of-fact:  “I’m going anywhere!

I don’t know what in the hell that meant in my grandson’s toddler musings, but after spending all my writing time taking him to the water park, to the aquarium, and watching cartoon marathons, I had no energy left to do anything but collapse into bed each night when he did, and I finally decided that “going anywhere” simply means, I’ll let the wind take me where it will and discover what it has to offer later because my brain is fried.  In other words, this week’s blog post is going to be a quickie and when in doubt, bring Big Mama out!

Writer’s block image from clucluz.blogspot.com

Dear Mitt (“Mittens”) and the Gang:

It’s Big Mama givin’ you a shout-out, but you probably don’t remember me because I left your party a while back when the crazies started taking over with the Pat Robertson and the Pat Buchanan types.  But I used to be one of your few black conservative peeps—not the hook, line, and sinker type, but enough to get my toes wet as a supporter of one or two of your candidates when the Dems were the Party of the “South will rise again, but this time without any Negroes” political party.   I used to wander in and out of your ranks as an independent when you still appealed to fiscal conservatives and socially kind-hearted people, and some of my good friends are
Republicans (the sane Repubs, not the nasty-ass Tea Party types).  But you’ve been really actin’ the fool lately—so much so, that I barely recognize you as the party of Abraham Lincoln that helped set my people free from slavery.

Racist Poster from 1850s||Google Image

But now the coin has flipped and y’all have just gone plum crazy!   I read that the former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and God were sending down some last-minute messages to Tampa to get your attention, and I thought maybe I’d add my two cents as well.  Your buddy Jeb is concerned that your rhetoric might be just a “tad bit” off-putting to the people of color outside your tent and Gov. Jeb thinks it is going to come back and bite you in the ass in the future.  At the printing of this post, God is barreling down on your behinds in the form of hurricane Isaac (hey, if one of your main loud mouths can prophesy that the Haiti hurricane of 2010 was a storm of their own sinfulness, then the same reasoning can be laid at your feet—I didn’t make this shit up, go after Pat Robertson).

Cartoon by Horsey||image from LA Times

Looks like both Jeb and Jesus are telling you, my wingnut brothers and sisters, that if you don’t straighten up and fly right, you’re going to have hell to pay.  Well, while I’ve got your ear, I’d like to add a few of my own warnings listed under the heading of “Oh no, you de-en’t.”

“OH NO YOU DE-ENT:

 BLOW A DOG WHISTLE OF RACISM TO YOUR TEA PARTY BASE, MITTENS!”

“I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born,” Romney said, naming the local hospitals where he and his wife were delivered. “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where we were born and raised.”—Mitt Romney to a Michigan audience on the campaign trail.” ||BY KRISTEN A. LEE/NY DAILY NEWS

WARNING TO MITTENS:  Seriously, Mr. Smart-ass, was that necessary?  Cause it looked to me and my peeps like you just wanted to be a hater.  That “joke” just told any Independent African-American voters that you don’t want their vote and you just told the Hispanic population that you may have lived in Mexico (are you sure you’re an American citizen, by the way?), but your heart was born in racist Jerks Ville where everything is white and rich like you.  Big mistake—huge!

Image courtesy of stephanbc.wordpress.com

“OH NO YOU DE-ENT:

 PICK A VP WHO IS AN AYN RAND DISCIPLE, MITTENS!

DIDN’T YOU GET THE GRAND POOH-BAH OF CONSERVATISM, CHUCK COLSON’S,

 WARNING ABOUT RAND BEFORE HE DIED?”

“. . . (Chuck) Colson condemned the strong support of Rand in Republican and conservative circles and urged his followers not only to stay away from the new film of Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged, but to “stay away from anyone who intends to watch the film.” Colson goes on to say Rand and her followers were precisely the types of “cranks” and “crypto-cultists” that his friend Bill Buckley had fought to purge from conservative ranks. He says the “real problem with Rand is the world view her novels and other writings sought to inculcate in her readers… it’s hard to imagine a world view more antithetical to Christianity.—Eric Sapp (The GOP Must Choose: Ayn Rand or Jesus/Huffington Post)

WARNING MITTENS: God is not mocked, boy!  Remember the name of the God in the title of the “Latter Day Saints” of your church’s title, Sugah?  Well, I have it on good authority that Jesus loved the poor, served the needy, and required that we shun the evil of the love of money if we didn’t want to lose our souls.  Ayn Rand preached that greed was good, altruism was bad, selfishness was to be celebrated, the poor were parasites, and money was to be glorified and worshipped.  Just to show you how nasty Rand’s philosophy was, one of her worshippers who is a writer in NYC once said that when a homeless person asks him for a little bit of money or food, his “Ayn Randian” response is:  “I could, but then you might live longer, so you see my dilemma.”

Rand’s “Dominance” of Alan Greenspan and Wall Street which caused our country’s financial demise||Andrew Corsello’s “The Bitch is Back” from GQ

And yet . . . and yet, Mittens, Baby, you picked a running mate, Paul Ryan, who was one of Rand’s disciples and claimed to have based his budget plan on her principles, and in a 2005 speech he stated that “I grew up reading Ayn Rand, and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”  Mittens, what have you done?  Didn’t you read Alan Greenspan’s own words, about his fierce devotion to Objectivism and how he was Ayn Rand’s bitch?   Because I sure did, and it scared the shit out of me, especially when I realized Greenspan’s enslavement to Objectivism tanked our economy.  Good God, Mittens, what were you thinking when you chose a mini-me Greenspan to be your VP?

“OH NO YOU DE-ENT:

DRAG YOUR FEET BEFORE CONDEMING ‘HURRICANE TODD,’ MITTENS?”

(Yes you did, Mittens—no need to deny it—and now Hurricane Todd is arriving in Tampa with Isaac
and since Akin’s pride seems to be the size of an actual hurricane—you and the
party are in real trouble, boy.)

Mittens, if you get a chance to chat with Todd Akin at the convention, tell him to go and visit the Congo and interview the nearly two million women who have been raped as an act of war (nearly one rape per minute).  Be sure and let Mr. Akin know that 5% of those women got pregnant (thousands of children have been born as a result of forcible rape in the Congo), the same percentage of women who get pregnant when having consensual sex anywhere else in the world—there is no difference.  According to the New York Times, this is a country where abortions for rape are not permitted, where the women are ostracized, and sometimes the babies themselves are raped by the attackers (if the babies haven’t starved to death) when the monsters return to recommit their atrocities.  Make the Congressman understand that his “legitimate rape vs illegitimate rape” science is a piece of shit and as a woman, a rape survivor, and a Christian, there is only one kind of rape, and I’m praying for a pox on both your houses for your stupidity in all of this!

Signed:  One Pissed Off Big Mama!

Image of funny-pictures.feediio.net

I am discovering that the Republican Party is severely tone deaf and a dollar short and a dime late.  By the time the Party comes to its senses, purges the Rand Objectivism from its blood, drains the racism from its arteries, flushes the anti-scientific crap from its mind, and exorcises the cold-heartedness from its heart, there will only be two classes of people left:  the haves and the have-nots.  The middle class will have slipped into the permanent realm of the working poor—stripped of all safety nets and supports by the Romney/Ryan team—and the rich will be sporting I AM JOHN GALT license plates on their luxury cars as they zip by the 99% on the Lexus lanes on the highway of life telling the have-nots that “the rich have their bountiful goodies, too bad it sucks for you.”

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”John Rogers

Stephen Colbert

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
23 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Sucking Out My Brains

Do you know what I’ve discovered in my old age?  There are only three appropriate responses to things that happen to us in life: “hallelujah” (heart full of gratitude), “WTF” (incredulous bafflement), or “shit, the zombies done sucked the brains plum out of my head and that’s why I do what I do” (excuse for becoming a nasty individual).

When I was young, I didn’t want to admit that zombies existed (as a child, I called them “demons” or the “bogie man”), but recently I’ve come to realize that I’ve always known they were real and have spent the last several years just trying to stay out of reach of their brain-sucking ways.

Bubble Girl Running from Zombies||courtesy of vowelmovement.com

But this past weekend, the zombies caught up with me and started attacking me in such an insidious way that I almost lost my soul and didn’t even know it.  On Friday morning bright and early I set out to take a trip to Minneapolis (most people go to Paris, London, or NYC to get their freak on, but I go to Minneapolis—that’s my “partying freak-on” not “doing the wild-thing freak-on,” so get your mind out of the gutter, nasty boys).  I had had a grueling week and was looking forward to some much needed R&R as I got together with family and friends and tripped the light fantastic in the city of “Minnesota nice.”

Have you ever had a day that rolls away from you from the moment you step outside your house until it ends at midnight?  My life went to Hell in a hand basket when I didn’t get home from work in time enough to get my packing act together and I just threw things into bags in the hope that all would end well.  I barely got two hours of sleep, and flew out of the house like a woman crazed when the phone rang and the cabbie announced he had arrived at 5:45 a.m. ready to transport my husband and me to the airport. But when I went outside, the cab was not in front of my house.  As I searched the dark street, I saw the taxi in front of a neighbor’s house with its emergency lights flashing and the silhouette of the driver kneeling on the ground in front of his high beams, presumably facing Mecca, while he unashamedly participated in his morning prayers to Allah.  Now I’m all for religious freedom, but when I’ve got a plane to catch and you’re my cab driver—WTF (incredulous bafflement)!  Whatever possessed that cabbie to call me, announce that he had arrived, and then drop to his knees for a chat with his god? Why didn’t he pray first and then engage in business with me—I would have never been the wiser.

To make matters even worse, WW was respectfully standing several car lengths away from the cab with our bags in tow as if frozen into place.  (Because WW knows everything, apparently, he knew it was Ramadan—the high holy fasting period for all who follow Islam.)  Agitated as hell, I tried to be as gracious as two hours sleep could grant me as I whispered to my husband:  “Why don’t we just drive ourselves to the airport; I don’t have time for this crap—I’ve got places to go, and things to do, and I’m exhausted, God dammit!”  But the dude had blocked our driveway with part of his car and WW thought it would be bad karma to run over a praying man with our car as we were trying not to miss a flight.  And so we waited and waited as I pondered about the tad bit of xenophobia growing in the back of my brain and seeping down into my heart at the thought of my cabbie imposing his religious rites on my busy schedule.  I mean whatever happened to a regular ol’ Black man who spoke English (thank you very much) picking me up like in the good old days without any of this dropping to your knees in the middle of a dark road stuff.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, like the flutter of butterfly wings, a random thought flittered across my brain that this was Ramadan season and the cabbie was just doing his thing like I am wont to do at Easter and Christmas, but my shitty attitude squished the thought like a bug. I didn’t realize it then, but a zombie of xenophobia was attempting to suck out my brains and love for my fellowman was starting to grow cold.

Zombie’s reason to live||courtesy of emergingmagazine.com

The airport was a zoo—more so than usual—and as I stood in line a very grumpy, over-the-top, fat slob of a TSA agent roamed the holding area and lectured all the passengers about making sure we had no illegal substances like hairspray, gels, racks of ribs, and apple pies in our carry-on luggage.  “That’s why the lines are so long, people, because you’re not obeying the rules and you’re trying to travel with all sorts of crazy shit,” screamed the TSA Nazi as he frantically pointed at the banned contraband poster.  Before my embarrassing TSA smack down which was inevitable given the way my day had started, I remember kibitzing with another seasoned traveler about how sad and humiliating it must be for a novice flyer who didn’t know all the rules of post 9/11 flying to encounter this TSA dude who seemed to have had a roasted jalapeno pepper shoved up his ass that morning or was being taken over by a zombie.  As I passed through the “orgasmatron” (imagining TSA agents FOTFL at images of my little fat naked body), dreaming about the steak and vodka gimlet I was going to consume at my favorite Minneapolis restaurant, Manny’s Steakhouse, bells and whistles began to sound, the conveyer belt with my stuff screeched to a halt, TSA agents came running from everywhere, and a Brunhilda agent barked commands into the walkie-talkie on her shoulder as she ordered me to step to the side for questioning and a body search as WW pretended he didn’t know me.

Cox and Forkum|image from authenticallywired.com

The long and the short of it was that I had inadvertently packed a Costco-size can of hairspray and wig detangler in my carry-on case.  As all the other passengers whose schedules I was holding up looked at me with death ray eyes of scorn laced with pity, the TSA Nazi with the roasted jalapeno ass held up my hair products above his head and shouted out my verdict to everyone from here to eternity:  “THROWING AWAY A LARGE-ASS HAIRSPRAY CAN AND WIG DETANGLER BOTTLE FROM THE WOMAN STANDING IN FRONT OF ME AND TOSSING THEM INTO THE CONTRABAND BARREL TO MY LEFT!”  As he slammed my precious hair products into the confiscated bin of no return, I remember screaming, “noooooooo, that shit costs a fortune and they don’t sell this in Minneapolis because there are not that many black people who need their hair detangled—how the fuck am I going to do my hair while I’m there”?   As the TSA Nazi gave me a look of complete and utter disdain, I snatched my bag from him with all the force I could muster and conjured up the fiercest “evil eye” that I could beam toward him as another zombie of mean-spiritedness began to chomp down on my brain and drain into my heart against another fellow human who was just trying to do his job.

Meet the Fockers/”The Evil Eye”|Image of Universal Pictures and Dreamworks SKG

Needless to say, when I landed in Minneapolis—the land of Garrison Keillor (one of my literary idols), Prince, Charles Schulz, and “Minnesota nice,” I was fit to be tied.  I drank too much and I ate too much and within 24 hours I had a zombie nightmare brought on by the meat sweats of the worst kind because that is how a 24-ounce rib eye and a triple-sized vodka gimlet will punish a person’s gluttonous ass.  In the dream I kept trying to get back home like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, only I had to go through airport security, but they wouldn’t let me back on the plane because they said I was possessed.

TSA AGENT:  Well, well, well, Mrs. Tomczyk—we meet again!  It seems you not only don’t know how to pack in order to get on an airplane these days, but it seems your name has now been put on the “no fly” list because you couldn’t keep your attitude in check.  It looks like your ass is going to be driving home, m’lady, and we’ll just see if Homeland Security even lets you cross the state borders.

ME:  I know I screwed up; I’m so sorry.  I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’m not the same person that came through the airport in DC a few days ago—I swear to you, I’m back to being the Eleanor we all know and love.  I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think a couple of zombies made me act the way I did.

TSA AGENT:  Zombies, heh?  What makes you think you have the ability to spot a zombie invasion?

ME:  That’s just it; I think I’ve always been able to see them ever since I was a little girl.   I just stopped paying attention.  But you know they’re in the vicinity when humans and animals start acting irrationally.  Zombienation.com told me that the definition of a zombie attack is “A living being stripped of its will, humanity, and normal behavior by outside forces either supernatural or mundane.”  Haven’t you noticed how there’s been a series of animal attacks over the past decade that just don’t make sense?  Remember the sting ray stabbing of the Crocodile Hunter from Australia?  Don’t you think it’s weird that he didn’t get killed by a vicious crocodile but bought the farm from a normally passive sea creature?  Zombie attack I tell you.  And what about Siegfried and Roy—a tiger they’d worked with since he was six months old ate Roy for lunch less than 24 hours after Roy’s 59th birthday celebration, and they still don’t know why Montecore, the tiger, attacked his master.  Well, I do:  It was a zombie attack!  Every day there is a story about a chimp or a shark or a crocodile chewing up a human or two.  It’s those damn zombies!

Monkey Attack|Image from funnydowntown.com

TSA AGENT:  So instead of using the age-old excuse, “the devil made me do it,” you’re blaming zombies for your shitty attitude and xenophobic behavior?

ME:  You know about the praying cabbie?  How do you know about him?

TSA AGENT:  We’re Homeland Security—we know everything.

ME:  (Slightly rattled and somewhat chagrined) Yeah, well I’m not the only one.  Have you been watching the race leading up to the presidential campaign, lately?  The Supreme Court unleashed a legion of zombies when they upheld the Citizens United request to allow corporations and unions to spend unlimited funds on political campaigns.  Because of that misguided debacle, have you seen the nasty shit we’re being bombarded with from all sides?  It’s enough to suck out your soul.

TSA AGENT:  So because the Supreme Court lost its mind, you have the right to do so as well?  I thought you were supposed to be a Christian—full of love, charity, mercy, and grace.

ME:  Wait a minute, here; I thought you were a TSA Agent.  You’re beginning to sound a lot like the voice of God.  I’m just saying that Americans are daily flooded with hatred and lies from the political campaigns and it is beginning to affect my mind.  It’s beginning to affect all of our minds.  Both sides share the blame in polluting the airways, although the Republicans should own the lion’s share of hateful ads and lies against our President because, thanks to the Koch brothers, they have five times the amount of money to waste on negative ads.  There hasn’t been a sitting president to encounter so much hatred since Abraham Lincoln.  To hear the Republicans tell it, President Obama is either a Muslim plant in the Oval Office or a bloody terrorist who shot up the theater in Colorado and the Sikh temple in Wisconsin to take away automatic rifles from “real Americans.”  Only people who’ve had their brains sucked out by zombies could believe that shit about our President, and if he’s fighting back, you can’t much blame him!

Obama, the Zombie Fighter|Image by rotflpictures.com

TSA AGENT:  What does that have to do with your attitude and making your way back home?  You’re responsible for you and you alone.  Why should I let you go home?

ME:  Because I’ve changed.  I had a “come to Jesus meeting” or should I say a “come to Garrison meeting.”  I ran into the writer, Garrison Keillor, when I was in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (at least I think it was him) and as our eyes locked for a brief moment as the clouds parted on a beautiful walking path one morning, I could have sworn I heard him say:  “Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.”   And just like that, my zombie oppression vanished with a little Prairie Home Companion wisdom and I regained my grace and brotherly love.  I asked God to forgive me when I realized that my horrid attitude toward the cab driver was pathetic and mean-spirited.  The cabbie turned out to be a really sweet man who was just trying to honor his god, and all I could see as the impatient, ugly American was that he was interfering with my schedule.   You see, I want to be a gentle person—not a mean person—but a gentle person who can still be a zombie slayer when needed.

******

I am discovering that we are all just one zombie brain-sucking moment away from being haters and murderers.  All it takes is an insipid lie to invade our gray matter about the character or actions of another human being, and then the next thing you know we’re dealing with another massacre or assasination.  If we want to kill the “anti-love zombies,” then gentle people everywhere need to continue to be vigilant of our attitudes and rise up and push back the darkness of hatred and racism with our tolerance, love, understanding, and grace.  By doing so, maybe—just maybe—we will all manage to make our way back home.

Zombie Sticker Alert|image from humorusonline.com

 “In my racket, there’s a serious occupational hazard: becoming a nasty individual. That’s because humor so often involves mockery and ridicule — you get your laughs at the expense of others. . . Controlling this nasty impulse is a constant challenge to the Modern Humourist, especially when under provocation.”—Gene Weingarten (“Gezundheit!” from The Washington Post)

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” ― Gene Roddenberry

 “Love is our most unifying and empowering common spiritual denominator. The more we ignore its potential to bring greater balance and deeper meaning to human existence, the more likely we are to continue to define history as one long inglorious record of man’s inhumanity to man.”― Aberjhani

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Bracket and Blog It!

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  March Madness—and Sarah Palin drove me to it!  What you need to understand is that I don’t know a damn thing about basketball (I mean, I’m black, so I KNOW about basketball, but I could care less about hoops in my old age).  I haven’t been to a basketball game in 45 years, not to mention that I pretty much hate all sports.  I’d much rather be attending a Broadway show or reading a book, so if I’ve currently lost myself in basketball madness, then you know I am close to losing my freakin’ mind.

Here’s what happened.  Recently I was going along my merry way—minding my own damn business—when I got a chance to check out the HBO production of Game Change.   I thought I knew what to expect; I thought I was prepared for the horror, but I was wrong.   The picking of Sarah Palin to run for vice president, who would be a heartbeat away from the presidency of a running mate who was 72 years old at the time, turned out to be one of the most reckless, cynical, and arbitrary things that has happened in recent American history.   I was once a fan of McCain’s (war hero and all; you know how much I love “true grit”), and had actually considered voting for him (a black woman voting for a white Republican male, right?—go figure), but I got to see enough behind the curtain of Ms. Palin to send me fleeing to the left before it was too late.  I had no idea that I had only glimpsed a token amount of what the writer, Richard Cohen, calls Palin’s “great talents to deny the truth,” her sheer ignorance about simple foreign affairs, and her petulant, childlike ability to sulk away, shut down, and go into a catatonic state, not to mention her arrogant hard-headedness when she didn’t want to study and absorb what was being taught to make her a viable candidate.   And since Game Change has been endorsed by most of Palin’s top campaign staff as accurate, according to Mr. Cohen, Miss Sarah can’t deny its veracity; she can only accuse them of being disloyal.   That is a very small price for her to pay to have awakened us all to the fact that we escaped a self-absorbed, celebrity seeking, clueless ex-beauty queen, ersatz Born-Again Christian who had heard “God say” she was called to save our country for the “real Americans” through her vice presidency because she “so didn’t want to go back to Alaska.”

Game Change/Movie Trailer (Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin)

“At some point while watching HBO’s absolutely smashing (and terrifying) movie “Game Change.”  It occurred to me that Sarah Palin has ruined America . . . With her selection as John McCain’s running mate, American politics lost its way—and maybe its mind as well . . . Après Palin has come a deluge of dysfunctional presidential candidates (Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum—parenthesis mine).  They do not lie with quite the conviction of Palin, but they are sometimes her match in ignorance.”—Richard Cohen (“Sarah Palin’s Foolishness Ruined U.S. Politics”The Washington Post)

*****

I couldn’t breathe.  I was depressed for days!  And when I thought about sorry-ass John Edwards on the left who had cheated on his cancer-ridden wife all during his campaign, sired a child with his mistress, lied about it, and even campaigned to be President Obama’s vice president until he was exposed (just in time):  I threw up!

Normally, when I am scandalized by things like this—white people acting the fool—I write about something absurd that will make me laugh at the sheer craziness of it all.  So I searched all my news sources and the only thing that was absurd, but not sad, this week (because absurd plus sad usually equals mental illness and isn’t funny to me) was:  mantyhose (a.k.a “brosiery”).

“This is the flagship men’s pantyhose style by Ohio-based Comfilon’s Activeskin Legwear for Men. The company, which has seen a steady increase in sales, uses the tagline, ‘This is NOT your mother’s pantyhose.’” By Vidya Rao (Today)

Oooooookay!?!   What?  WTF!  AAAUUUGGH!

Picture pinned by Eric Xiao Ming/Pinterest

As I went screaming into the night, it was at that exact moment (as it almost always is when one is being seduced) that two junkies saddled up to me and whispered in my ear the “fix” they could provide to break me out of my misery:  “Psst!  We got just what you need, girlfriend—March Madness.”   I put up a struggle—I really did.  But they told me “everybody was doing it,” and the more I fought, the more terms like “seed the field,” “bracketology,” “ratings percentage index,” NCAA, ESPN—to name a few—started sounding a little less foreign to me.  And the more things started making sense, the more I came under the March Madness spell.  Then the coup-de-grace, the hook, the manipulation: One of the junkies told me I could have “diva shoes” for the entire March Madness season if I just played along, and Lord have mercy, I lost my soul.

OH, SNAP!

…AND DOUBLE SNAP!

I found out about this new “March Madness” drug at 11:00 a.m. on March 15th (the final day to finalize one’s bracket), and I only had an hour to submit my choices once the junkies clued me in on the wonderment of getting high off bracketology.   I had no idea what to do, but like true junkies, my suppliers said they’d give me this year’s instructions for “free” and walked me through the process.  They said it didn’t matter that I didn’t know my ass from my elbow as far as the basketball teams were concerned, because that really wasn’t necessary to “get high”—I just needed to go with the flow to get hooked.  So I picked teams according to whether I liked the colors of their school (Syracuse), or if I didn’t like their state politics, or if they were an underdog due to extreme economic hardship (Michigan State), or if WW and I ever lived in the state.  With everything chosen and in place, I submitted my NCAA Bracket under the pseudonym, “Big Mama’s Picks,” and then I slid into a catatonic state of basketball euphoria.

 

BIG EAST ACC TOURNAMENT/clotureclub

******

BIG MAMA’S PICKS (as of 10:00 p.m. 3/15)

Big Mama’s Champion Pick:  Syracuse University

Why?  Because their school colors match a pair of my favorite shoes!

I am discovering that “sometimes a baby’s got to do what a baby’s got to do” and join in on the fun—especially where new shoes are involved and shattered nerves from movies about monsters almost taking over the White House can be soothed.   Whatever it takes, I say (within reason), and the ability to purchase kick-ass shoes is always a plus.

…AND TRIPLE SNAP, BABY!

When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team.” ~ George Raveling

“When it’s played the way is spozed to be played, basketball happens in the air; flying, floating, elevated above the floor, levitating the way oppressed peoples of this earth imagine themselves in their dreams.” ~ John Edgar Wideman

A special “shout out” to my “March Madness Junkies”:  Jean W. and Kathy P. (thanks for the title, KP)

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Big Mama Speaks

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  In quite a few instances and among people who should know better, we Americans are getting to a place in our culture where we’re demonstrating that we don’t have the sense we were born with.  On any given day, I go from one news stream to another with a mortified expression that says:  “Are you shittin’ me; is anybody sane paying attention to what is going on around here?”

In the meantime, I’ve been wondering whether I should get a part-time job to help build up my “mad money” fund, and after mulling over some weird jobs like calf catcher, watermelon thrower, and Chuck E. Cheese dresser upper, it dawned on me:  become a paid advice columnist.  Why not?  Maybe I can help one of the jokers who is screwing up so badly.  It certainly can’t hurt.  So I’m trying out my first column online (“Big Mama Speaks”), and everyone who writes to me for my advice ($9.99 per question) will get a relevant picture to hang in their office or home, or to imprint on a T-shirt, as an incentive to do the right thing.

MITT ROMNEY

Quotes by Mitt/Google Image

”I’m not concerned about the very poor.”

“Corporations are people, my friend.”

“I like being able to fire people.”

LAS VEGAS — Real estate mogul Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Thursday in a joint appearance — both theatrical and awkward — at a hotel Trump named after himself.—Philip Rucker, David A. Fahrenthold, and Amy Gardner (The Washington Post)

******

Dear Big Mama: 

I’m writing to see if you can help get me out of the mess I’ve created for myself with the 46.2 million poor people in this country.  I will readily admit that my words got all twisted around by my silver-tongued cluelessness, and now everybody’s got their knickers in a wad.  Apparently, 11 million of those poor people are African-American (who knew?), and I thought since you are black and used to be poor, maybe you could help me untangle the mess I’ve gotten myself into.—Regards, “Willard” 

Dear Mitt:

Oh, baby, you in more of a tangled mess than you can ever imagine.  I’m so glad you came to Big Mama for advice, ‘cause I got just the cure for you.  But first I need you to do something for me, Honey.  You need to repent about stashing all that money in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and those other off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes.  It just don’t look right, Suga’, for you to be payin’ only 14% in taxes when Big Mama had to pay 18% this year.  I’m doing my part.  You need to contribute your fair share and lead by example if you want to be our next president.  Secondly, why the hell did you let The Donald get anywhere within a 1,000 mile radius of you and your beautiful wife?  Are you meshugenah?  That’s the creepy gambling mogul whose raison d’etre is to self-promote and tell people:  “You’re fired!”  (Is that why you went to “kiss The Donald’s ring” in Las Vegas because you two both like firing people?)   This slime-ball is also a “Birther,” and I know you ain’t trying to get Big Mama’s advice if you’re down with that stupid shit—‘cause I don’t play that.   And poor, poor Ann—she looked as if she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her right then and there having to kowtow to that egomaniacal sleaze ball. 

Big Mama’s advice:  You need to show some empathy to the hurting peeps, my man, and you can’t show what you don’t have.  You’re too much of a “Richie Rich.”

Richie Rich (Harvey Comics)/Wikipedia

My advice is to get thee to a ghetto (we have plenty—any one of them will do), and for the rest of your campaign try to live with your wife and children on the 2011 poverty level of $22,350.  That ought to straighten out your heart and your words.  In the meantime, I’d like to give you this picture to paint on the side of your campaign bus so that people far and wide can see you’ve become aware of your uncanny ability to entangle yourself in insensitive verbal messes, but that you’re working on setting yourself free.  Oh, and don’t sing, Suga’.

NEWT GINGRICH

There’s something about Gingrich that acts as a repellant to women, like the electoral opposite of Axe body spray. As the Associated Press put it in analyzing the results of the Florida primary, “Some of the data from Tuesday’s exit poll suggested women’s votes were influenced more by a personal distaste for Gingrich than by liking Romney.”—Libby Copeland (Slate)

What women see when they look at Newt

Fat Mama:  Not that I need your advice or anything, but I thought I could get you to contribute as an unpaid “historian” to my campaign.   What do women dislike about me?  Why aren’t they supporting me as a candidate to become president?  I’ve had plenty of experience with women, but apparently they are not flocking to me as voters like they did as lovers.  I can’t imagine what it could be?  Personally, I don’t think you’re smart enough to advise me on this issue, but my campaign managers thought it might be a good idea to drop you a line and get your perspective as an African-American “woman-on-the-street” kind of thing, since I’m not getting any votes from the sistas—period.   Understand that I know all there is to know about this subject and all subjects, but I am somewhat open to a little input if it gives me a bump in the polls with women.  If you tell anyone I sought your advice I’ll call you a consummate liar.—Newt (President Gingrich to you)

Dear Newt:

Where do I begin—where do I begin?  White women can’t abide you because they know a washed up blob of a “player” when they see one.  Black women wouldn’t go near your ass because we can smell a racist a mile away.  Everybody else sees you as one of the most arrogant SOBs that has ever graced the political stage.  The author, Stephen D. Foster, Jr., has a seemingly endless list of some of your most egregious quotes, and I can see why even your own political party has become hysterical in sounding the alarm against you.

  • “She isn’t young enough or pretty enough to be the President’s wife.” ~Newt Gingrich, talking about his first wife after divorcing her.
  • “It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.” ~Newt Gingrich, saying we should do as he says, regardless of what he actually does.
  •  “I have enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it. I am now a famous person. I represent real power.” ~Newt Gingrich, blowing his own horn.
  • “I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty. We encourage you to be neat, obedient, and loyal and faithful and all those Boy Scout words.” ~Newt Gingrich, advocating for hateful rhetoric and smearing opponents with lies.

Big Mama’s advice:  Newt—just stop talking.  No good can come of it—ever.   You don’t just have a problem with sane-thinking women; you have a problem with decent human beings everywhere.  I know you thought winning South Carolina meant you were “all that,” but South Carolinians are crazy and they are not representative of the norm—Praise God!  You see, here’s the problem.  You look in the mirror and see Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington while any sane man or woman sees you as Brain in Pinky and the Brain.

Pinky and the Brain/Warner Bros.||Google image

Newt, you’re a hot mess, boy.  I don’t say this often to people, but you need to repent, child.  Get thee to a monastery that has a vow of silence, and don’t come out until you’re no longer under the illusion that you should be “king of the world.”  I suggest you download the enclosed print and press it onto a hairshirt to take with you to the monastery.  It’s a reminder that in your mind you think you can, but you really can’t.

BISHOP EDDIE LONG

Megachurch leader Eddie Long is making waves once again after a video being circulated on the Web shows him being crowned “king” in an elaborate ceremony, the Associated Press reports. Other religious leaders have called the video “repulsive” and “inappropriate.” Melissa Bell (Blog Post) The Washington Post

Christianity’s “new king”—Eddie Long/Google Image

Dearest Big Mama:

As you may have heard, I was wrapped in a genuine “Holocaust Torah” (it may still have the dust of Auschwitz and Birkenau on it!) and crowned a king by a very famous Messianic preacher recently, and I can’t tell you how much better I feel about life.  All the lies of the haters have fallen at my feet, and I’ve trampled them into the dust.  Four of my elders lifted me up in the air on my new throne and paraded me before my congregation just like the kings of old while the congregation joyously applauded my coronation.  I can still hear Rabbi Ralph Messer shouting:  “He is a king. God’s blessed him. He’s a humble man, but in him is kingship, royalty.”  I feel on top of the world.  Thank you Jeeesus!  I am livin’ large, and as the song says, “I’m feelin’ good.”  I’m writing to you because I hear you’re quite the prayer warrior, and I need just a “little bit of help” getting my wife back and the congregation returned to its full attendance of 25,000.  I need their money.  God has a magnificent plan for me, and the devil is not going to rob me of my destiny now that I’m a king.  Glory be to God!

Dear Bishop Pastor King Eddie:

Repeat after me—“I have been accused of the following sins:  sexual misconduct with four students from my academy, an affair with Centino Kemp who has my name tattooed on his wrist with the words, ‘Never a Mistake, Always a Lesson.’  I settled out of court for an undisclosed sum to all five accusers.  As a preacher of the ‘prosperity doctrine,’ I admit I have been living an ostentatious lifestyle and ignoring my WWJD bracelet, because I own a $350,000 Bentley, a $1.4 million house, a private jet, and on any given Sunday my wrists and fingers drip with bodacious diamonds and gold.  My first wife left me years ago after accusations against me that she was the victim of ‘cruel treatment’ and a ‘violent and vicious temper.’  My second wife, the First Lady Vanessa, is divorcing me because she says our marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ and there is ‘no hope of reconciliation.’  I am a blatant homophobe and have engaged in hypocritical anti-gay rhetoric.  I have yet to publicly repent for any of these actions that fly in the face of the teachings of Jesus, whom I say I represent.  And now I have pissed off every Jew in every corner of the world and scandalized every Christian who is worth their salt.” 

Big Mama’s advice:  OH MY GOD!  What were you thinking?  Eddie, every black person in the world intuitively knows that “God don’t like ugly,” and one doesn’t EVER trivialize the Holocaust.  Your ass is grass, mofo.  I’d suggest you download this print and hang it in your church office in the hope that you would ask the world’s forgiveness (especially the Jews) for perpetrating a false representation of Judaism and Christianity, but I doubt you’d do that.  You’d have to acquire some common sense at the very least and a soul at the very best.

itsirrational.com

I am discovering that in the end, we can’t control the actions of fools.  They don’t really ask our advice, and they wouldn’t take it if we gave it to them wrapped up in $100 bills.   And YET most of them are trying to tell us how to live our lives even though deep down inside they can barely tolerate us, and so often they are living a lie!  (You can tell whether people—from politicians to preachers—genuinely care about your welfare or whether they are just “fronting.”)  I’ve been there—done that—and I don’t allow them any influence in my life anymore!

I almost lost the brilliance of who I was meant to be because I marched to the beat of a drummer that had nothing to do with the God who made me or his instructions about how I should live.   So I’ve sent pink slips to ersatz friends who didn’t have my back when I needed them and responded with nonchalance at best and judgment at the very worst.  I’ve walked out of churches and organizations that were a waste of my time because they were rife with intolerance and manipulation and staying in their midst would have meant the destruction of my soul, my mind, and my ability to love those who were different than I.  Dancing to the beat of their goose-stepping drums would have meant that I landed on the wrong side of history on so many issues near and dear to my heart.  I would have regretted that decision for the rest of my life.  I’m so glad I woke up.

So for the rest of my remaining days—be they one year or thirty, “I’m movin’ on down the road,” dancing to the beat of my own drummer and wearing my two-sided t-shirt that proclaims to the world:  “I’m gonna do me, baby!”

Front of Big Mama’s T-shirt

memegenerator.net

Back of Big Mama’s T-shirt

“Big Mama Speaks” column to be continued. . .

Thanks pinterest.com (and Baby-girl) for curing my writer’s block this week

All photos from pinterest.com except where otherwise noted

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 
22 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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