Get A Life…

…or at least some perspective.

I just read a follow-up article that stated that Disney has buckled under the pressure from upset parents regarding changes to the princess, Merida, from the movie Brave.  You can read the article here, and it has a picture of the original version and the revamped version, too.

Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss was about in the first place.  So Disney made some cosmetic changes to the appearance of one of their characters.  What is the big deal?  I am the proud dad of a soon to be seven year-old daughter, and she loves the Disney princesses, and all things Disney.  I highly doubt she was going to be too upset about the changes that Disney was making.

The same parents who created all the fuss are probably a lot of the same parents who think nothing of watching programs on TV with their kids in the room that are way more controversial than a change to Merida.

Oh, and some made the argument that their kids look up to Merida because she is outdoorsy, etc.  Are they saying that the new version is somehow less outdoorsy?

They also were against the change because their daughters idolized Merida.  I’m sorry, but if your daughter idolizes a cartoon character, I think you may need to rethink your parenting strategy.  I will happily share with you who my daughter idolizes….her mother, my wife.  That is who she should idolize and look up to, not some Disney princess or some celebrity, just like it is ridiculous to allow your son to look up to an athlete or actor.

Instead of wanting Disney to provide the moral compass for their daughters, maybe these parents should take time out of their oh-so-busy days and spend it with their daughters if they are that concerned about messages they are receiving.  Here’s an idea, instead of parking your kid in front of the TV for hours on end so you can flip through the pages of Shades of Grey or Playboy, take your daughter outside to play.  Go to the park, go get ice cream.

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Remember What’s Important

It took me a while today to figure out exactly what I wanted to write, and I kept coming back to a conversation I had this morning with a friend of mine.

We were talking about some changes at her current employer, and how some of the transition they are going through really negatively impacted staffing to where it was also impacting the way they could serve their customers.  To say that it was not well-planned would be an understatement.  She brought up to me how she was going to be going in late today because she was on the way to pick up her son at the airport.  He is a Marine who is coming home on leave, and she has not seen him since November.  When her direct manager reported up the chain that they would need staffing help this morning, he was basically told to inform her that this morning was “blocked off” for people being out; he responded to her in the about the same way I would have, and told his boss that, “life goes on.”

And that’s when it hit me.  Too often, we all tend to forget what is really important in life.  To my friend, seeing her son for the first time in four months was the most important thing about today, and rightfully so.  I would have done the same thing.  To her employer, her family was at best secondary to them.  That is not how she operates, and that is not how I operate.

Anybody that knows me, or has worked with me, knows one thing about me, and that is that my family comes first.  I live by that rule, and I expect those who work for/with me to live by that rule as well.  As a supervisor, that is probably one of my top 5 rules, and it is one that is not subject to negotiation.  Ever.

I was telling Amber about my conversation over lunch today, and she mentioned that she knows of a person who would not work well for or with me.  That is the case for several reasons, but one of them is that this person does not seem to understand the importance of family.  They get to work at 7am, and stay until 8pm, and make their family secondary to work.  That cannot be a key to a successful family life.

One of the key factors for me on the occasions where I have been searching for a job has been how they view families.  There has to be a sense that it is known that family comes first.  For as long as I can remember, one of the deciding factors in where I work is how comfortable Amber felt with where I was working or where I was thinking about working; if she did not get the sense that I would not be working somewhere that understands the importance of family, I would start the search for a new job (I think part of it for her is knowing that I am working with people who will “keep me in line” during the day.).

I am happy that my friend stood by her belief that her family comes first, and the most important thing about today was that her Marine son was coming home.  I can only imagine the scene at the airport (even though she claims to be tough, I know better, and I know she cried a little), and I also know she would have lived with regret if she had decided that her job was more important than her son.

 

Ridiculous Editing

Every time I forget for a minute why I prefer to listen to a CD over the radio when I am in the car, I get a little bit of a reminder.  Mind you, this is not the only reason I prefer to control what I listen to in the car, but just one of a few reasons, including way too much talking from DJs and too many commercials.  I understand that the DJs have a job to do and that commercials pay the bills, but I really do not care for that much non-music coming out of my radio unless I am listening to ESPN Radio or The Dan Patrick Show.

Probably the biggest reason I prefer to control the tunes is because I really cannot stand all of the editing that stations do to songs.  It is ridiculous.  And frankly, I think they completely destroy songs.

Whether it be “Toes” by the Zac Brown Band or another song, if they don’t want kids to hear the real lyrics (for “Toes,” it is always changed from “ass in the sand” to “toes in the sand,” so it comes out as “toes in the water, toes in the sand,” which makes no sense), then don’t play it on the radio when kids are going to or from school.  Easy enough.  It is not like that is their only song.

Our local stations here like to edit songs to include a plug for their station, like one of them did on Craig Morgan’s “Bonfire.”  I know that song, and I know it well, and nowhere in that song does he mention 103.1 The Wolf.  It is pathetic.

Jason Aldean (photo from http://www.jasonaldean.com)

This morning is when I got my reminder.  Amber and I have been listening to the new Jason Aldean CD “Night Train” a lot in our respective vehicles.  Kaitlyn knows the words to all of the songs, and she sings them at home, without music (her favorites are “The Only Way I Know” and “1994”).  Aldean makes references in a few of his songs to a few different adult beverages (Rocky Tops, Comfort, and Goose), and we honestly have no problem with Kaitlyn singing about them in the songs.  We are comfortable enough in our parenting to let her sing the songs and know that she does not know what exactly he is referring to.  If she heard an edited version, she would not be happy at all.  This morning, I heard his first single from that CD, “Take a Little Ride,” and in it, he references grabbing “a couple Rocky Tops,” but the local station here changed the words.  I didn’t catch what they were changed to, but that was because it caught me off guard, and it is unlikely that I will hear it again because I will just turn the song off when I hear it come on in the future.

Maybe I am making a big deal about nothing.  It is certainly within their rights to edit certain words or references out of songs they play on the air (and I refuse to get into a First Amendment debate on it.  Radio is private enterprise and can control what is played or not played).  I know that Amber and I are different from a lot of parents (read: we are probably considered more “liberal” with our parenting) in that we let Kaitlyn listen to the same music we do.  Maybe that is because we listen primarily to country music, and we can live with the occasional adult beverage or posterior reference.  If you are a parent and would rather your child not hear those references, more power to you.  Personally, I do not understand how or when it became the responsibility of the radio stations to parent our kids and make sure they do not hear references to certain beverages, but that could be just me.  I don’t know, maybe I am making too big of a deal about edited songs.  I just look at it as the artist records and releases a song with certain lyrics, and I find it disrespectful to either edit them on your own or make editing them a condition for air play.

Extreme

I just don’t get what drives people to be so extreme about things.  I am passionate about a lot of different things, but I don’t know that I would be considered extreme in any area (I guess I should have asked around first.  I bet the prevailing opinion is that I am extreme about some things).

I do not know of any single item that I need bad enough to camp out for a week or more.  I saw on Today this morning that someone has been camping out since last Monday (that’s right, a week ago today) for Black Friday deals.  At other Best Buy stores, people have been camped out since this past weekend (article).  Wal-Mart is running guarantees on certain products if you are in the store between 10 and 11 Thanksgiving night.  Some stores, Wal-Mart, Sears, and Target to name a few, are opening Thanksgiving night, anywhere from 8pm to 9pm, and will remain open through their scheduled close Friday.

I don’t know about you and what your Thanksgiving plans are, but mine do not include shopping.  I am running in our local Turkey Trot, going to enjoy brunch (a first for me) with some friends, then heading home to cook and watch some football.  Shopping is not on the agenda anywhere.

When I was younger, a lot younger, I would get up early on the Friday after Thanksgiving and go shopping with my aunt.  We didn’t go out looking for great deals, it was more just to hang out and people watch.  If we found something worth buying, we bought it; if we came home empty-handed, that was fine, too.

To me, Thanksgiving is about family.  Spending time with family and just enjoying the day.  Family, and close friends who may as well be family (we may even disagree like family sometimes).

Maybe I am the one with my priorities out of whack.  Maybe I should one of the ones waiting in line for that great deal.  I mean, family time can wait if I can save 10% on that one item I just have to have (although I cannot think of what that item is at the moment).  I guess my lack of dedication to the cause of saving a few dollars will end up costing me in the long run.  But I doubt it.  Prices will drop as Christmas gets closer, and I am fine with waiting for a little bit.  Black Friday is not my thing, in large part because I do not do well in large crowds of people who have lost all common sense (if you don’t believe me on that part, watch the news Friday night to see how many stampedes and fights there were).

 

A Lot Of Nerve

If you are anything like me, the amount of time you actually spend at your house is limited.  You leave the house early in the morning and get home when it is dark (thanks to setting the clocks back).  With that as fact, your time with your family is limited.  I know mine is.

The one thing that anybody that knows me well knows about me is that I absolutely cherish the time I get to spend with my family.  We can be with friends or it can be just the three of us, but as long as we are spending what little free time we have together, I am happier.  That’s not to say that we don’t have “me” time on occasion, but for the most part, we enjoy spending time together as a family.

When I am at work, or even on the way to or from work, when I am alone in the car, I am all about my job.  My staff knows they can call me for any reason.  They also know about what time I get home every night, and they know that they can still call me, but it probably should be an emergency.  Interrupting my family time is not something I take well to.

Now, that does not mean that I do not accept calls from anybody when I am home.  Not true at all.  I am always happy to hear from friends and family.  Other than that, there are very few people I will react positively to when they interrupt my family time.

And sales calls, clients of mine, and random people are unlikely to get a positive response at all.

Which brings me to someone who seems to have a lot of nerve, and reminds me of someone else who felt that they had the free reign to think they were the center of my world.  Over the last 12 hours, one person has called my phone 3 times and sent 4 text messages to see if I would stop what I was doing and head back to my office to retrieve something for them that was captured and could only be accessed under dual control.  I guess he did not get the message, or felt that I would jump to his request, if he kept pestering me.  Wrong.

I said that he reminded me of another bold person who took a while to get the message.  When I was at another job, one customer somehow got my personal cell phone number.  He called at 9pm, he called at 6am.  He called when I was on vacation.  It did not seem to matter to him that I was away from work and really could not do much for him, he called anyway.  He felt he should have access to my office, even though it was closed and locked because I had sensitive and personal customer information in there.  It finally got to the point where I had enough of the behavior, and I had to let him know how things went.  After that day, there were no issues at all.  I think that is where this other situation is heading as well.

If you are that person who feels like you are more important than someone’s very limited personal/family time, think again.  You should probably have a good idea if you are in a position where you can contact someone regardless of the time or the day; if you are not sure, error on the side of leaving people alone.

Disgusting

Much like nobody would have ever confused me for a Mitt Romney supporter, the same can be said of the governor of my state, Florida, Rick Scott.  I think that his politics are bad for our state, and I disagree with how he has run our state so far.

But, what I am mature enough to do is to be disgusted at some of the vile comments directed at him over the last few days, because I am smart enough to separate his politics from him as a person (this rule does not apply only to him, but also to people with whom I have had and do have political differences with.  Too bad more people are not that way.).  Governor Scott lost his mother recently.  She was 84.

I was reading an article on one of our local news sites, WCTV, regarding the statement he released regarding his mother’s passing.  It was a nice statement thanking people for their support and prayers.  And then I made the mistake, as I often do (the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so maybe I am showing signs of insanity), of reading the comments.  Most were nice, thoughtful, and supportive, as they should have been.  But one really stuck out to me:

Jhon Deo, Gun Nut, Men’s Rights’ Activist, Moderate, Submission Wrestler.                       4 comments collapsed                  CollapseExpand

I hope Rick Scott suffers over the death of his mother.  He deserves every bit of physical and emotional pain that comes his way!  Killing his mother was probably gods way of punishing him for all of the evil deeds that he has committed while he has been in office.

That is a very troubling comment.  The person who wrote this seems to me to have some severe emotional and psychological issues.  They are clearly troubled.  If nothing else, the comment is immature, but it is, of course, more than that.  It is insensitive.  It is rude.  It is heartless.  I am sure that commenter’s own mother would be very proud of him.  Probably not.  I know my mother would be disappointed in me if I ever showed excitement or happiness at the grief of anyone else.  That is not how I was raised.

I am still not a supporter of Governor Scott the politician, nor will I ever be.  But I am going to send my thoughts and prayers to him on the passing of his mother.  I hope that he finds comfort and solace wherever he can, and that he will honor his mother in whatever way he sees fit.

Gender Gap

Statistics show that since women have been given the right to vote that they tend to lean more Democratic and also more toward the incumbent. When the incumbent is a Republican, the Gender Gap becomes narrower. When the incumbent is a Democrat, coupled with more female democrats, the Gender Gap is much broader. This is not to say every woman votes this way, it’s just the trend. I do my research and even felt bad yesterday that I did not make an informed choice on the water commissioners because I missed that portion on my sample ballot, meaning I did not do any research on the candidates.
Women’s rights were a dominating force in this election. One thing is for certain, women made their voices heard. I will not speak for all women because we do not all think and vote the same way. Trends show more women lean democratic than republican but plenty of women are conservatives, I know quite a few.
Clearly last night indicated that choice, equal pay, and healthcare were not something women were going to back down on. Florida voted down an abortion law while Richard Mourdock and Todd Aiken, both outspoken against abortion, lost in their respective races. Looks like most women believe they can make their own choices when it comes to their bodies.
President Obama’s first bill signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Governor Romney refused to say whether or not he supported this bill. Excuse me for wanting equal pay for equal work. I wasn’t aware that was such a tough decision to make. Why this is still an issue is beyond me but I suppose suppressing women inflates some egos. To each their own, it’s your view and you should own it.
I support healthcare. Obama eliminated the lifetime cap on treatment. We are not on Medicare or Medicaid of any type. The money for my family’s healthcare comes out of my paycheck every month so forgive me for enjoying one less medical bill I pay out of pocket. I support Planned Parenthood. It’s my view. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I take contraceptives. Not many people know but I apparently need to be blunt about the fact that I had a life threatening birth so forgive me if I don’t want to experience that again. It doesn’t mean I’ll rush out to get an abortion, but that I have a choice if my life depends on it. If God intended for all of us to have children he would have created us to that way. Yes, children are his miracles but I don’t believe that means all women were intended to experience it, whether it is once or multiple times. The fact of the matter is that the Bible was written by men. It is their account of what their experiences were with our Lord. Like anything written by humans, it is flawed. I consider myself a Christian woman of Faith but I am also a realist. Realizing the Bible has been through years and years of translations and versions, I believe it is a guide, not fact. So, while I believe it is the right path for some to “be fruitful and multiply,” I do not believe it everyone’s path.
Statistics are showing that women are still making it very clear that they want equal rights and are not okay with sitting in a binder on a shelf. This isn’t about gender roles, it’s about equality. The Gender Gap speaks volumes.