Friday Firesmith – Our Sins

One thing you can count on when it comes to Social Media is if you write something controversial you’re going to get three kids of people to talk about it. The first are the hardliners from one side who agree, the second are the hardliners who disagree, and then there are the people who would like to know more. Letting the hardliners from either side slug it out on your Social Media platform is a sure way to rid yourself of people who want to talk about it.

A seventeen-year-old kid was found dead at Lowndes High School a few years back. He was found with his feet sticking out of the end of a rolled up wrestling mat, in a word, upside down, as the mat had been stood up on its end.

The original theory was this kid had dove into the mat to get his shoes, which he had placed in there to avoid having to pay a locker fee, which was common practice in the school, and he had gotten stuck, and he had died from being upside down too long.

His parents didn’t buy that story, and a lot of people didn’t. They got another autopsy performed which showed blunt force trauma to the kid’s neck, and from that point on, there were two factions; those who believed the first autopsy and those who believed the second.

From that point onward, Social Media lit up with those who cried “Accident!” and those who screamed, “Murder!”.  Now, other than the second autopsy, there was no evidence that anyone could be singled out as being involved but the family filed a lawsuit that basically accused nearly one hundred people in the school system, the FBI, and local law enforcement, of murder and covering up the murder. There were protests and counter-protests. There was a candlelight prayer meeting which the “Accident” side said was an attempt to heal the wounds of division while the “Murder” side of things said this was a Ku Klux Klown meeting in disguise.

The lawsuit has been dismissed. Both sides are still equally divided. And no one knows for sure how we wound up with a dead kid in a school. We have a dead seventeen-year-old.

Recently, someone who was on one side of politics shot someone who was on the other side of politics. Take the labels away; a person has been shot by another person. At some point in time, we have to stop demonizing people we disagree with. At some point, we have to back away from the edges on both sides as we have to sit at the same table, beside those who disagree with us, and we have to turn our cell phones off. We have to look at these people and see that we are the same. We have a dead seventeen-year-old and neither side is speaking to one another except to scream. We have people shooting people. We have to find a way to stop this. The building is on fire and we have to work together to put it out because if we cannot work together we are most surely going to burn together.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – The Coyotes of Hickory Head

Generally speaking, I won’t kill anything I have no intentions of eating. Fireants, roaches, and stinging flies are very likely the only living creatures I’ll take a shot at, unprovoked, and they go uncooked. As far as mammals go, I won’t give a rat or a mouse a second glance, unless they are in my home, in which case, they will die. Rodents chew wires and burn houses down. I’ve been in a house fire. I did not like it. My intention is not to be in another.

I’ve made peace with the idea that my dogs are going to come in contact with venomous snakes in general and the Cottonmouth in particular. In sixteen years out here in Hickory Head, only two dogs have ever been bitten, and only one had been bitten more than once. Tyger Linn has gotten zapped four times in two years. She’s partially immune to the bites now so I stopped worrying about her. If she tangles with an Eastern Diamondback, I fear the worse, but that’s the price to be paid for living out in the woods.

Recently, a Coyote got inside my fenced in backyard and couldn’t get back out again. I have a hot wire running on top of the fence that has quite a kick. I saw him twice, but for some reason, the dogs didn’t react to the intruder. Maybe they thought he was just another dog, or maybe the Coyote was a very submissive canine, but at any rate, none of my dogs showed up with war wounds and I’m pretty sure the Coyote wasn’t injured. He was living under a very large pile of brush and someone suggested that I set fire to it, and then wait for him to come out, and shoot him.

I left the gate open at night with dog food on the outside of it, instead.

A very good friend of mine pointed out that Coyotes are actually an invasive species and they’re not native to the Southeast at all, like fire ants and Jehovah’s Witlesses. They’re harmful to native species and I will allow I believe all of this is true, but human beings brought them here, and we have no right to wage war on them for being here.

I’m about to tell you something some of you may believe, most of you will not, but I’ll make my case for it in the end; I believe the Coyotes know who I am and I believe they mean me and mine no harm.

Most of the humans around here will shoot Coyotes on sight, and the Coyotes have gotten good, very good, at knowing where not to be and when not to be there. I’ve fired my shotgun before, twice, in the dead of night, but both times into the ground or the pond bank, and both times to let the Coyotes know they’ve come in too close. They backed off a bit for gunfire, but I’ve also gone out at night to do this without any light. A human who moves in the dark is as frightening to them as a human with a gun. Perhaps more so. Coyotes are creatures of the shadows and I’m not sure they’re comfortable with me slipping in.

Here’s the thing, and there’s no getting around it: When Lilith Anne and Tyger Linn got out of the fence they were gone for four days. They spent the night out in the woods, and every night they were out I heard the Coyotes. That was hard, really hard, to listen to, trust me. It’s a sure bet the two groups discovered one another in the wild. Why the Coyotes did not attack my girls I do not know, for surely two tame dogs in the dark woods would be no match for a pack. Yet for reasons I cannot explain, the Coyotes did not kill my girls or even fight them.

Do you think it is possible they recognize Lilith Anne and Tyger Linn as part of my pack, the Pack of the Human who does not kill Coyotes?

My girls came home alive, if not totally well. They Coyotes did not attack them.

I believe the Coyotes and I have an accord, unspoken but true. I believe that they will not hunt my pack and I will not hunt theirs.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – Hard Liquor and Liquid Choices

The NFL, always the bellwether entity for American morals and ethics, will begin experimenting with hard liquor advertisement next season. This means as well as being inundated with thirty-second ads that promote the virtues of such high quality 3.4% “beer” such as Bud Light, we will now have the chance to see ads for “Mad Dog 20/20”.

I’m joking about the MD 20/20. I hope. It’s actually some sort of wine. I think.

When I was in the Army we were not allowed to have more than one six pack per man in the barracks at any given time. We were also prohibited from having any amount of hard liquor. These rules were generally and universally ignored. No one, except for myself and a friend of mine, were every punished for having hard liquor in the barracks. Mark Collinger and I bought a quart bottle of vodka and drank it doing shots. We started early on a Saturday afternoon and when I woke up Sunday morning I couldn’t find the bottle. Surely, I thought, he and I did not drink an entire quart of 100 proof vodka. When Mark got up he didn’t have the bottle either. It mystified us as to where it might have gone.

Monday morning rolled around and our First Sergeant walked out in front of the company formation with a nearly empty quart bottle of vodka in one hand. As we all stood at attention he poured the last drops of it out on the pavement and then dropped the bottle. It shattered, of course, and then he went into the week’s business as if what just happened hadn’t happened at all. After his weekly address as to what was going to happen, he then asked for two volunteers to mow grass, pull weeds, and generally do a lot of hot and nasty yard work for ten hours a day for the next five days.

Oh, by the way, the first thing those two volunteers would do would be to clean off the glass in the parking lot. And, also, if you are drinking prohibited alcohol in the barracks, and the First Sergeant should arrive on the scene, you really, really, really, shouldn’t offer him a drink.

Collinger and I “volunteered” before things could escalate. And we knew damn well if we didn’t they would.

Prohibition has always failed and it always will fail. The rules of laws governing the use of drugs, alcohol, sex toys, or advertising have never been effective in stopping anyone from doing any sort of recreational drink, drug, or activity. Mostly, and this is a very broad generalization, the use of drugs and alcohol is a harmless activity that only affects the users and then for a short period of time.

I think the crusade against cigarette smoking has been so very successful because it targeted the pocketbooks of the users, and it pushed them out of public where they couldn’t smoke around nonusers. The NFL’s decision is pretty much a nonissue with me because it will neither create new drinkers or destroy any of the old ones.

Surely, someone out there has a drinking story that involves drinking something you should not have somewhere you shouldn’t have?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – Rush Our Homicides

Last Wednesday, someone tried to kill me, twice. To some of you, this isn’t a surprise, but it had nothing to do with politics, red headed women, or the Oxford Comma. Instead, this all came about from me doing something that seems to freak people out because it’s so rarely done in this part of the world, and no, I’m not talking about using complete sentences or enunciating three syllable words. I drove according to the laws and regulations of driving a vehicle. This will get you killed in South Georgia.

When I go to work I use a different route than when I leave work. First, there are us people who get up early, make coffee and breakfast, shower, shave, and then travel at a sane pace knowing we’re going to be early. We also know the Others, who get up seventeen seconds before they’re going to be late, put on yesterday’s jeans and a shirt that was hanging on something in their bedroom, grab two Twinkies and a warm coke off the table as they rush out and hope no one sees them putting their shoes on with no socks as they’re driving.

I actually left a little early. I wanted to listen to some Bach on the road and I also needed to get some gas. There’s a window of time, just before seven-thirty, where the only people on the road are those who arrive early, like me or those whose work takes them on the road. We are a hard working bunch, as is anyone who takes the trouble to get up and make ready for the day, but we will soon beset by those who hit the roads like jackrabbits cranked on meth who have 110-volt wires glue to parts of their bodies that I cannot mention in mixed company. Suffice it to say these people are a hazard to anything and everything on the roads.

One of them tried to kill me. Twice.

The gas station I like to go to is perfect for getting into and getting out of. It’s on a corner where there’s a traffic light. I have the timing of this light down to a science. If the light is red on the side street I know it will be green on the main road for a full minute. If it’s green on the side road I know I have about twenty seconds to hit it before it turns. I have to be quick, but I do not have to be fast. I got this.

I make it out of the parking lot and onto the main road perfectly. Smooth as silk and now I’m heading back towards the road I have to turn left on to go to work. It’s red as I’m leaving the gas station and all I have to do is maintain my speed and I can make that light when it turns green.

I’m in the inside lane, the lane closest to the centerline, where I should be to turn left at the light. A white minivan pulls out of a driveway, crosses over the outside lane, and pulls out in front of me. Near Death Experience Number One. I have to swerve over to the outside lane to miss her. She sees me in her rearview mirror, panics, and pulls into the outside lane, nearly hitting me again. NDEN2.

What the actual f&^%?

I have no idea what to do or where to go and this woman stops, dead still, blocking me from doing much more that changing the music from Bach to Frank Zappa’s “Apostrophe” title track from that album. We will now ride with some Old School Guitar solo as ammo for the cursing that will continue until my butt unclenches from the seat of the truck.

The woman pulls away and I follow her. The light is red when we arrive at the next intersection. She can hear the guitar stalking her from behind, She knows she has failed in her assassination attempt and the Ghost of Frank Zappa will haunt her as my revenge.

It’s not Rocket Surgery, people.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – The Little Red Haired Girl

It’s odd that I can remember the exact moment I first saw her. Moreover, if I really tried I could narrow it down to the day I met her, and even get the time down to an hour or so. It was the first day of school in my sophomore year in High School, 1976. I didn’t realize it but this girl and I would be drawn together, part, rejoin, part, and be drawn together again and again, until about 1982 or so, and then I would never see her again. Until this very moment, and this is really odd, I didn’t realize I only knew her for six years. In that time, I’m pretty sure we were together no more than a couple of dozen times. I cannot remember if we were ever together for any length of time longer than a weekend or something close.

The first words I ever spoke to her were, “Excuse me, but do you know you are barefooted?” and she did realize this, of course, but it was an excuse for me to speak to her, which was in and of itself pretty strange because I had a hell of a time speaking to girls that I did know, but even less a stranger. And so it began. She was a young freshman and I was an immature sixteen-year-old. We traded notes like little kids and stood close to one another when we talked. Our first date was the first time I had ever taken a girl to a real restaurant and then to a movie. I was so nervous in the restaurant I could have died. She kissed me on the cheek when we left. I still remember that.

Her hair was a golden reddish color, light in places, dark in others, and I remember being enthralled with the color of her eyes, which were a reddish amber color. I’ve never met anyone else who had eyes that color before.

High School was a blur to me. One class, one year, one bottle, one pill, it was all the same day, all the same people, all the same everything, all the time, and nothing changed. But it did. One day she and I walked to the end of the parking lot together. I had been on “restriction” confined to my room at home by my father for most of the school year and hadn’t seen her on the weekend in months. We had drifted apart. I was slipping out to the garage at night to steal liquor from my father and staying bombed most of the time. It was cold, incredibly cold, the wind was blowing and the day was overcast. We held hands inside my coat pocket and I felt her fingers tighten around mine, then she released me and stopped walking. “I’m pregnant”, she said and my mind tried to do math but couldn’t. “It isn’t yours”, she said and walked away, leaving me standing there.

It wasn’t the last time she would be pregnant and not the last time I was not the father. She miscarried the first, married the father of the second, and in the meantime she and I drifted together and apart, as we always did. I never saw the drugs and the alcohol as an issue and I will always wonder if it was that. I will always wonder if it was that I never wanted children. I will always wonder why she bothered at all if she wasn’t interested at all, why she kept coming back, and why she never stayed.

I joined the Army and was gone for a while. I saw her once more, in 1982, and then…that was it. I know she remarried, had another child, and her first became a mother and she a grandmother. In 2014, a friend of mine moved into a house just a half mile from her parent’s home and I stopped halfway in between the present and the past. Someone had told me she was in the front yard raking leaves and I stopped myself from going to see her again. This isn’t a fairy tale of two young and innocent lovers separated by time but rather the reality of where we lived and who we were.

You know what I really wonder? I wonder if when I was very young, if I had any idea what love was, and could have expressed it in any way other than sex, if I had something, anything to offer her other than beer and sex, if I could have made a difference.

I think I turned around that day because no matter how much I loved her there still won’t ever be an answer to that question.

That was high school sweetheart. What happened to yours?
Take Care,
Mike

 

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – Origin of the Mutts

The Origin Of Dogs

In the beginning, somewhere around thirty thousand years ago, humans, who were one of the most violent and virulent predators who ever walked the planet, even then, decided to enter into an agreement with wolves, who were very large and very fast predators in their own right. No one knows how. No one knows why. All we do know is that it did happen and the end result was an entirely different species evolving; the dog.

There are two prevailing theories and both of them have enough fatal errors to be totally wrong, but then again, both have to have some truth in them. We’re blinded by the lack of evidence and the imperfect vision that we have of who we were back then.

Theory One: Wolves hung around human campsites and living places so they eventually got used to being around humans, and eventually they became dogs.

Problems with Theory One: Why in the name of Lassie’s left foot would a group of humans allow really strong, fast, and deadly predators hang around their campsites and living places?

Theory Two: Humans found some lost wolf pups and raised them as their own.

Problems with Theory Two: The puppies would still be wild when they grew up and they would still be prone to attacking small humans and returning to the wild.

Some issues here: Both theories take on a lot of water very fast because of one very simple and very fatal flaw inherent in both of them; the size of the wolf gene pool that would eventually breed towards domestication. When humans were out trying to domesticate cows they would have a lot of wild cows, pen them up, herd them with dogs likely, and the offspring would not be allowed to wander. That’s a herd sized gene pool. But with wolves, you cannot have a herd sized gene pool because wolves are predators. They compete, a lot, for food and they’re dangerous. Cows are dangerous but you can herd them and pen them. What kept the wolves in place long enough to become dogs and how did the gene pool stay large enough to allow the evolution?

Disclaimer: I do not know enough about this subject to present any facts or cite any material backing The Mike Firesmith Theory on the Beginning of Mutts. However, I am more than willing to allow anyone and everyone to present their own theory and poke at mine with sharp sticks.

To begin with, in order for the wolf to dog gene pool to be large enough to work you need a sizeable population of wolves. This means an even large population of human beings. I hereby declare that our early ancestors of 26,000 years ago, lived in much larger groups than we suspect they did. Instead of there being scattered group of hunter/gatherers living in small clans that wandered here and there, I think those groups must have consisted of hundreds of humans.

This would explain why every time humans arrived at a new island or continent, the megafauna went extinct fairly quickly. Instead of there being small groups of humans who hunted large animals into extinction it makes more sense there were larger groups of humans who did this.

Why this doesn’t work: There isn’t a scrap of evidence for it anywhere.
Why it does work: It explains the extinctions and it explains dogs.

Here’s the scene: You have a nomadic tribe wandering around hunting and gathering and raising kids. They kill to eat but they also kill to eliminate competition. Following in their wake of destruction is a pack of wolves who scavenge the animals the humans hunt. At this point, my theory doesn’t make sense unless there is something the humans are getting out of this. If the humans are eliminating competition and wolves certainly would be, then the wolves couldn’t hang around without the humans needing them for something.

Protection would be a good answer, but it’s been proven that 26,000 years ago humans were already laying waste to any and every predator that walked the earth and more than a few who flew and swam.

Yet suppose Tribe One had a pack of wolves that were following it and Tribe Two decided to move in and go to war with Tribe One. If the wolves defended Tribe One, or at least alerted Tribe One to the presence of Tribe Two, a symbiotic relationship could begin.

When wolves began protecting one group of humans from another group of humans, that pack of wolves became protected from humans. When one group of humans saw the wisdom in having wolves near, the Dawn of the Dogs was not far behind.

I welcome sharp pointy sticks and competing theories at this juncture.
Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – Unhappy Days

I never really liked the television show “Happy Days” but there never was one of those laugh track fueled sitcoms that did anything for me. I was never a television person, to begin with, because  books. Erin Moran was cute and she was popular but she fell into a downward spiral and one of the saddest things I remember seeing is when she got evicted from her trailer. That’s got to be an odd thing, you know, to go from being on a popular television series to being kicked out of a trailer. But Poe died both crazy and broke so writers take a hit on this sort of thing, too.

When Pete Duel killed himself in 1971, I was just ten years old. To me, it was totally unfathomable that someone who was on a television show might decide to end his life suddenly like that. But De Vinci’s last words were purportedly, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”

Hemingway drank a lot. I’ve got a pretty impressive scale when I say someone drinks more than average so when I tell you someone has an alcohol problem you can pretty much bet that problem is serious. Along with a host of other issues, Hemingway’s penchant for inebriation likely fueled his mental health issues which led to suicide. Hemingway was a damn good writer. I have a pretty high bar for writing, too.

I’m not sure where Kathy Lucas is right now, or if she ever became famous for painting, or if she simply gave up, like so many people do when it comes to creativity. Quitting is a form a self- destruction that leaves the body alive, you know. I can’t speak to what it does to the soul. Kathy and her boyfriend Tom lived with me for a while in the mid 80’s and Kathy was a painter, and in fact, the first painter I ever had close contact with. She created this massive piece of art. Seriously, it was four feet tall and six feet long, canvas on a wooden frame, and it was glorious. But the subject matter made it even more intense; it was a painting with the point of reference behind a blonde child’s head. You could see the reflection of the kid’s face in the window of a candy store, and that alone was impressive. But there were a dozen jars of candy, each of them filled with colorful striped candy, gumballs of every hue, and they were in glass jars that reflected the child’s face or the candy next to it, and that made it glorious. The sun was shining from behind the child and created a shadow inside the display of the store’s name which wasn’t readable, but the fact it wasn’t, was part of the draw of the painting. All of these things made the painting magnificent.

I walked in one day and found Kathy curled up on the floor crying like Judas. The sobs were coming like she was giving birth to her grief. On the floor near her was a razor knife. The painting lay in ruins, slashed into a hundred pieces, viciously, as if attacked by a pack of four-year-olds seeking the candy within. It took me a full ten minutes trying to talk to Kathy before I realized she had destroyed her own painting with that knife. I spent the next eight years telling people she was one of the most insane people I had ever meet. Then I started writing. Maybe I was right about Kathy Lucas. But not about why she killed the painting. If I have to explain it you wouldn’t understand. I didn’t for a very long time.

Creativity is the greatest gift in the world, no matter what your medium might be. But it’s also a form of madness. It’s a burden. It’s an alternative universe. You’ll never have any happy days that are not sandwiched between the peanut butter of doubt and sadness that you aren’t good enough and you never were and you never will be, no matter what happens.

Erin Moran died of the complications of cancer, we are told, but the drinking, the drugs, and the despair certainly didn’t help her body any. Heroin didn’t kill Erin Moran. Alcohol didn’t kill Papa. The stones didn’t kill Virginia. If I have to explain to you what did you wouldn’t understand it. Sometimes, I still don’t.


Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

 

Friday Firesmith – Unchain Your Heart – Unchain Your Dog

If you hate Facebook I can’t say I blame you but before you write the most popular platform for social media off completely let me tell you that without Facebook, Dog Rescue doesn’t exist in its current form. Lilith was found through Facebook when she ran away. Hundreds, yes, hundreds, of posts go out each year about lost dogs and every Facebook user is another set of eyes out there who can spot a missing pet.

But it goes deeper than that. There are a half-dozen or so members of a local rescue group who read through Craig’s List and the local Lost and Found sites online looking for people who are giving away dogs and cats. Why? Because some of these people who are trying to get rid of pets are actually trying to get rid of animals they found, and we in Rescue try to reunite the owners with their lost pets. There are people online who “flip” dogs and cats but taking free pets and then selling them. You do not want to know what happens to those who aren’t sold quickly. There are people who try to start backyard breeding factories and we find those too. Dog Fighters hate us with a passion because when we hear about someone looking for Pitbulls, and they’ve been looking before, red flags go up. Nearly every activity that Rescue does gets cranked via social media.

I can’t remember when it happened, but one day the call went out, as it often does. This wasn’t a lost dog, or a bake sale, or the photo of someone dumping a dog on the side of the road (yes, that has happened, yes, more than once) but something different. A local vet was trying to get a “No tether” ordinance pass and was slated to speak at the Lowndes County Commissioners meeting. Show up, and wear gray! I went and bought a gray turtleneck and went to the meeting.

It was awesome.

I counted one hundred people there wearing gray. It was standing room only and the County Commissioners were clearly stunned. For every person standing, or sitting, in that room, they were looking at ten more who wanted to be there. That’s 1,000 votes. Elections could be lost by that amount. Or won. But clearly this was not something they expected and just as clearly, this was something they could ill afford to ignore.

The vet spoke her mind and very eloquently made her case against keeping dogs chained. How it is it to live a life that way, with just a few feet of freedom, outside in the rain and the cold, never to know the love and comfort of a family. It makes dogs aggressive and it makes them psychotic. They don’t get to socialize and they feel isolated and abandoned. A woman was killed by a dog that finally lost its mind and broke its chain. You could see it in their faces. They had never ever considered it. They looked around and saw standing room only, and nearly everyone wearing gray.

The ordinance was passed.

It isn’t perfect and getting it enforced is another matter. But now we have people saying out loud, “Dogs are not lawn ornaments.” And other people are listening.

Unite with fellow animal lovers and go out and do this. Make a stand, get people involved, and stand up in public and speak the truth as you know it. Social media gets a nod here for helping with the win, certainly, but people who wanted to make a difference showed up, and the government listened.

Unchain your heart, unchain your dog, and get involved.
Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – The Sins of Elizabeth Thomas

To begin with, let’s get the facts out into the open here; a fifteen-year-old female human is a child, legally speaking. She cannot buy cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets, or a gun. However, there’s some legal trickery that goes on when it comes to little girls and marriage in Tennessee.

“Tennessee: The age of consent is eighteen. With parental consent, parties can marry at age sixteen. Under special circumstances, younger minors can receive a license to marry. Common law marriage is not recognized.

Marriage consent law by state  (note there is no lower limit to (“younger minors”)

“Special Circumstance” is a term to describe pregnancy, which means in Tennessee, it is illegal for a teacher to run off with a student to have sex, because she is far too young to understand what’s going on, yet it is perfectly legal for her to marry the teacher (with her parent’s consent and a judge who is agreeable) even though having sex with her would have normally gotten him at least ten years in prison.

Take a moment to consider what it is like to be a ffifteen-year-oldgirl in High School. You have to compete with all the other girls in the class, and the older upperclass females, and at the same time, the guys who you are competing for are testosterone driven young teenage boys whose view of dating is driven by porn videos and a president that says as long as you’re famous you can grab them by the pussy.

 “There is only one princess in the Disney tales, one girl who gets to be exalted. Princesses may confide in a sympathetic mouse or teacup, but they do not have girlfriends. God forbid Snow White should give Sleeping Beauty a little support. Let’s review: princesses avoid female bonding. Their goals are to be saved by a prince, get married, and be taken care of the rest of their lives.”

― Peggy Orenstein, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

 So we teach young men that young women are prey animals to be taken and bragged about. We teach young women that other young women are the enemy and that they need a male to rescue them from…themselves? Their parents? Everyone else?

Elizabeth Thomas clearly bought into that idea, and she bought into it hard.

The law taught Elizabeth Thomas that marriage could save her lover from the crime of pedophilia because it’s okay to have sex with an underaged girl if you’ve gotten her pregnant and then marry her. Pay attention to this because it’s telling very young women it’s illegal to violate and prey upon a young woman, unless you’re married to her.

Take a moment to consider how young women feel about this sort of law.

Elizabeth Thomas was a prey animal for the young men at her school. Elizabeth Thomas was the enemy of every girl in that school who competed to have the prettiest dress, the most revealing outfit, the best make-up, the skinniest thighs, the best bathroom selfie, and sexist smile, and none of this, not one damn bit of it, speaks to her self-worth as a human being.

The only sin of Elizabeth Thomas is she was born female in our society where her self worth isn’t measured in intelligence or skill at craft or service to a cause but rather in her ability to be the princess.

We failed to protect this little girl.   

Take Care,

Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

Friday Firesmith – The Sins of Mike Firesmith

The reason Internet Trolls exist was brought into focus very sharply for me back in 1997 when I became one. This was back when there wasn’t an overwhelming number of internet sites that allowed interaction between people who didn’t know one another and there was little or no way to track down a person when they appeared. That was back in the days when I was a militant Atheist, and I would appear on some Christian message board and tell the people there they were going to go to Hell for spending so much time on their computers and so little time out in the real world saving souls. I discovered that almost any passage from the Bible I quoted would work, because there are always going to be those people who can figure out a way that it makes sense, no matter what’s going on at the time.

Here’s how it breaks down: You have a small group of people who react favorably. These people will believe the Troll is real and the message the Troll brings, and they will defend it. There will be a minority of people who realize the Troll is a Troll and attack the Troll. The people defending the message have to defend the messenger. A flame war breaks out and each side gets more polarized with each message sent.
There are a majority of people who are alienated and leave. The Troll wins by destroying the site totally.

Needless to say, I am no longer a Troll or a Militant Atheist. Mostly, I’m a writer with an opinion and with a friend who will let me write in public.

Now, here’s the tricky part; I do know a lot about three things, even if you do not agree with me, you have to admit I know the subject matter; American Politics, World History, and Dogs. I see American Politics as a function of the process of history. No president has ever operated outside of the system and none ever will. The same factors that act upon the Great will also act upon the Less Than Average. The same goes for both houses of Congress, and the nation as a whole.

When I write about Dogs, or Snakes, or things that happened in my past, or things I have witnessed in my life, I can count on getting maybe ten hits on the article. Five on them will be mine.

When I write about American Politics, no matter how badly people claim they hate it when I do, the numbers climb upwards around fifty, and about ten of them are mine. Commenting to tell me you hate me is the same as commenting to tell me you love me, in that it’s two pages hits that feeds Gus and Trixie.

As long as Friday Firesmith keeps getting more hits than any other funny photo or interesting video on the site, I’m more than willing to bet Jon isn’t going to boot me, no matter how loud the howls may get, and I’m also willing to bet those who like me outnumber those who hate me, because I’ve met some of these people in real life, and they love my dogs. As an aside, I don’t give a damn who you vote for as long as you treat your spouse, your children, and your dogs well. I can like you and maybe even drink with you if you treat other people well.

I’ve been paying attention to American Politics since Nixon. I was eleven when he resigned and even at that young age I thought he was the most evil person to ever hold the office and I still do. The war in Viet Name ended when I was fifteen, and even at that young age, I had no desire to go over and fight that war. I still have no desire to go to war, and lacking the impetus for war, I also lack the hypocrisy to wish it on others.

So, until the masses start showing more love for dog essays and my reflections on a red-haired girl I was in love with in High School, I’m going to keep doing what works for Gus and Trixie. To prove my point, I’ll post something on her next week and see what happens.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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