Still a Hot Mess, Nail Repair on the Fly and Mr. Murphy is Alive and Well…

I’m proud of myself, sorta. I broke off both my index and middle finger nails getting in the car this morning and couldn’t find the pieces to glue back.

Fanfreakingtastic… so I go back in and pack up new plastic tips, the fiberglass roll, scissors, glue, all the nail polishes I used on this full set- that was just completed Friday night. So in about 20 minutes here and there and in between, on the way to work and for a bit once I got here, I removed the last of the broken nails, put on new tips, re-did the fiberglass overlays, ground them down smooth, and painted them using the three different colors, glitter coat and top coat, so now they look like nothing ever happened. It’s good I could remember the color combo and sequence I used Friday. I’ve been doing acrylic nails for the better part of 20 years so I should be able to do it under pressure.

It’s a trivial and venial thing but I can’t stand my nails looking like shit.

Mr. Murphy is alive and well.

Next week I am supposed to go on vacation. I need it…desperately, but it’s hard for me to actually do it.

I don’t like leaving the dogs. Steve-o is going to look in on them as he is one of the few people who can come in the house without having Mr. BooBoo remove body parts. BooBoo only really likes a handful of people. He likes Mom, but he is 80# of dog. He is immaculately well behaved 99% of the time, but the rare behavior malfunction could happen. Steve-o can handle him if he decides to get unruly. Steve-o is also less likely to set off the alarm getting in the house to begin with.

No, he is not a “strange looking Labrador,” a Pitbull, or even a German Shorthaired Pointer. Brutus (aka BooBoo) is a Catahoula Leopard Dog. He is one I think of about -five- in all of Ohio. Strange breed…and the glass eyes take some getting used to, but he has been a most excellent dog. Not as excellent as Clara, but very, very close. Clara was the crown jewel of all Belgian Malinois, which are the very most excellent and intelligent of all dogs. There will never be another like her.

I am thankful that he is intelligent and healthy and just a good dog. A good dog is a priceless thing.  Lucy, of course is herself.

Lucy is queen of the resting bitch face, and of puking in the worst possible places on the hardest things to clean. Brutus loves her and does look after her. It’s not good for dogs to be alone. Especially Lucy, because she is stupid.

Lucy is 8 years old now which is amazing considering all the stupid things she has done. Dogs age so much faster than we do.  It sucks, even for the stupid dogs like Lucy.  She’s still endearing, just not very smart.

A lot has changed in the past three years. Mostly for the better, but I still manage to stay a hot mess. Always some kind of crisis. But life goes on.

Unpredictable Grief, Hopelessly Whitebread, and Only by the Grace of God

It’s probably a sad commentary on my current mental state that I really miss my dogs today. I’m ashamed to admit it but my heart aches so much more for these guys than for my late husband (hard to say, and sad- but true.)

It’s been almost three years since Jerry died and mostly when I think of him I guilt trip because I really don’t feel sad about it. It’s like I should…but I don’t. It feels like when Mom dragged us to Confession and I knew I should confess all the unforgiveness I held on to for all the shit my sisters and their friends did to me, but I just didn’t feel the remorse. I was going through the motions because I knew I was supposed to.

This condition of knowing- you- should- feel- bad- but- you- really- don’t caused me a lot of theological cognitive dissonance, (i.e. Catholic guilt…) until I realized that it is God who grants the gift of repentance, and it is God alone in Christ who forgives my sins. This is fantastic news, because in and of myself I just can’t do it. I can’t force myself to regret or feel sorry or to forgive. Back to Lutheran theology and Christ Alone. I get the sufficiency of Christ alone, if only because I am so pathetically weak and emotionally and spiritually impaired. Luther’s explanation of the Third Article of the Creed states it pretty clearly:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. – Martin Luther

Most of humanity, quite honestly I can do without, which may not be right, but I freely admit it. Clara and Lilo, I miss them both, and painfully at times. Even though they were dogs. I love the dogs I have now (Brutus and Lucy) and I am incredibly thankful for them, but there are days. Clara, especially, was my heart.

Emotions are just so damned complicated. Then again no dog ever did anything to hurt me, and I can’t say that about any relationship I have ever had with other humans. Especially Jerry or my sisters, because, well because. The wounds are deep and the scars profound. Can I forgive anyone by my own choice? I can only forgive by the grace and intervention of God, and it’s a long, hard process. The old Adam fights that one with a pernicious tenacity.

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I know part of the human condition is that no one gets out of life alive, but knowing my vulnerabilities and blind spots it is almost impossible for me to be open with anyone because I don’t know what weapon they are going to use against me. I don’t read people well at all. I’m fine with keeping everything on a superficial level but the deep dark secrets? I don’t mind letting others confide in me, but the converse is most certainly not true. I don’t want to rely on anyone because people use me and let me down.

I can’t say I understand what “normal” people think or feel. I’ve never been “normal” or anything close to it. All I know about “normal” is what I can see and script for navigational purposes. I put up a good front, but that’s exactly what it is, a front- a stressful and draining, but necessary, front.

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I don’t think I would have done well with the 1950s housewife gig.

I can only see where I have been and I can only navigate through the mechanics of my own wiring, which has got to be skewed. I am sure that a psychologist would have a field day with me at this point in my life. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve seen a counselor (that probably would be a good idea, but I don’t have the scratch to afford it, nor can I take time off work.) There’s been a ton of crazy shit that has gone down in my life since then.

Oh, yes, crazy shit. Living with an alcoholic and the insanity and crazy-making that goes with that for 20+ years does wear one thin. Then he gets a terminal disease on top of that…which makes him even meaner and more irrational, even though at first he does try to do the right things to a degree. Add having to watch your best friend die, then having to dig her grave, (and I am referring to Clara, who was a dog, so don’t get any macabre ideas) then having to move in a fire sale, desperate sort of way, all while my terminally ill, alcoholic husband is screaming and raging as much against me as he is his inevitable death.

It’s hard to write that. Maybe the delayed reaction is kicking in after all. PTSD – the gift that keeps on giving. We can add in all the other right psychological terms too- learned helplessness, chronic anxiety, and our miserable old companion major depression, who is always camping out on the door mat waiting for the slightest opportunity to slip in the door and come in to stay for a good long time. It doesn’t help that anxiety and depression go hand and hand with autism, and there is mental illness galore in my family history. I even took one of those genetic screening tests for shits and grins (as if I didn’t already know my ethnic ancestry…oh yeah, living advertisement for the Most Whitest Anglo Saxon Ever…)

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The ethnic info was no surprise. It also showed I carry specific genes that increase one’s chances of being bi-polar, and of suffering from major depression and schizophrenia. That explains Mom’s family…and her to an extent, which is scary as hell because there are days when I seriously doubt my mental stability.

Sometimes I want to scream, cry, sleep, run or stage a twisted combination of all of the preceding. I’m afraid to even mention some of the good things happening in my life (and there are a few, and I thank God for everything with everything I can) because I’m not convinced it’s really real…and I’m afraid I’ll jinx it if it is.

There is something deeply sweet and undeserved about being able to be safe and loved in one’s home, and that is both majestic and terrifying because I have never been in such a place before.

There’s still a LOT of pain- emotional, spiritual and always, physical, and I don’t know where that’s going to go. I think it wants to translate into fear. I don’t want to give in to fear. The panic attacks are thankfully getting less frequent and less severe but they still happen. As for the arthritis flares, medication usually keeps it down to a dull roar, but when the fire is on, it’s on, and not much will touch it.

I spend a lot of time in sacred music and Bible reading these days even though I know that forgiveness and healing are not things I can do- but what God does for me.

Kyrie Eleison…

The Dismality of February, and This Will All Thaw Someday

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Oh, the dismality of February yet again.  There is a reason why February only has 28 days (at least for three out of four years,) and that’s to put a lid on the number of people who die in February.  If February were 30 or 31 days, half the damn population would die in February, and that would just be weird.  We have to spread the death throughout the year better.  Not that everyone should die from heat stroke in July, but jeez.  I can understand losing the will to live when it is 90° and 100% humidity if there’s no air conditioning, perhaps a bit more than most, because I am not at all equipped for high temperatures.  I can abide cold a far sight better than extreme heat.

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But at least in July there is sunlight, and Ohio winters are notoriously dark and sunless. I can go all week without seeing sunlight save for maybe a ray or two on the weekend-  unless there is a damned blizzard going on.  And even if the damned blizzard is going on and it’s 4° below, Target still has nothing but bathing suits, tank tops, sandals and sleeveless dresses on display.  If I need a parka, I will have to wait until July when they put them back out.

Here in central Ohio we have been enduring a rather harsher than normal winter.  Oh, yippee skippy, because I just adore driving in ice and snow.  I’m all about those below zero temperatures too.  There is simply nothing like one’s ass freezing to the toilet seat unless I break down and turn on the space heater in the bathroom.

“Spring” will arrive someday. Probably sometime in May there will come a day when my back yard will transform from frozen tundra into Dog Shit Lake overnight.  Oh, the smell of Spring in the air.  Temperatures will go from -4° to 90° and 100% humidity within the span of about 12 hours.  There is really no Spring in Ohio. There is just arctic cold and wind, followed by stygian heat, usually accompanied by torrential rain.

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This is Brutus, the Catahoula^ (Catahoula Bed Hog Dog)

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This was Clara^ (God rest her sweet soul) the Malinois

Note to self: the 80# Catahoula shits according to his size.  For those unaccustomed to dogs, for an example, a 65# Malinois has the strength to overpower a 300# man.  The 65# Malinois consumes, and disposes of about the same number of calories as a 300# man every day. Imagine that kind of waste load deposited in your back yard every day for six months from October until the May Thaw arrives.

In all fairness, since a Malinois is an ultra high energy, high metabolism dog, a 65# Malinois and an 80# Catahoula are pretty much identical in strength, energy consumed, and waste put down.  My paradigms have been pretty much the same for awhile.

There’s going to be a lot of dog shit to deal with.

Strange Song Lyrics, Walmart, Livestock, and Back to 1981 (or not)

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I was just thinking what an interesting world it would be if I wrote trivia questions for money. I have stored away too much esoteric and ephemeral knowledge for my own good over the years. Making it multiple guess would be too easy.  I go for fill in the blanks, which at least requires some thought and/or creativity.

The first question I came up with? It’s a real blast from the past.

Name a song with the word “guillotine” in it.

I am sure there are more than one, but the one I am thinking of is, “Bastille Day” by Rush.

Even cooler is the rest of the phrase: “the guillotine will claim her bloody prize.”

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At least I used a cartoon. Lighten up.

Imagine the lyrics police on that one today, although it’s better than all the sister raping and cop killing in rap music. If you could understand the lyrics in rap music, that is.

I am dating myself in saying that, especially knowing that rap has been around since before Blondie and her song “Rapture,” and that dates back to 1981, when Reagan was President, Steve Perry was the hottest thing in Spandex, and all was right with the world, except that the cars sucked.

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Some things really suck about getting old. Since my car was trashed almost 3 months ago (yes I am pleased with the new Corolla, but still residually pissed about the perfectly fine 2014 Corolla that got trashed) I am finally feeling somewhat normal again.  Therapy for my shoulder did actually work, which I am glad about even though I have had to fight the other guy’s insurance for bloody everything and I am still hashing over various things.  I didn’t ask to get rear ended by some moron with a history of seizures who should have known better than to be driving.  I didn’t ask to deal with four or five full blown arthritis flares along the way either.  Thanks, asshole.

Maybe I should have gotten a lawyer, but I hate the legal profession even more than the medical industry. I refuse to refer to the medical industry as “health care.” They don’t care, and the last thing they want for their pocket books is for anyone to actually be healthy. The legal profession, insurance companies and the medical industry are all rip-offs, and all are in cahoots.  Follow the money trail.

Yesterday I saw another one of those displays of cross stitch patterns that are a bit on the dark side. I love cross stitch, but haven’t done it in a long time.  I would like to indulge in a nice cross stitch piece with a dark saying or two.  I saw one that had a cactus, then underneath it the word, “prick.” That one is funny. I am considering designing a simple one about being a sweetie and wiping the seatie if you sprinkle when you tinkle.  Then again, maybe a subtle DON’T PISS ON MY TOILET SEAT would serve me better.

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It’s been enjoyable being able to cook again- real food like beef and noodles or rotisserie Cornish hens, or grilled meat. Jerry was never pleased with anything I cooked, except sometimes bacon, and toward the end about the only thing I could get him to eat were chocolate covered mini-donuts. It was sad but there wasn’t anything I could do, and I felt like everything I did do was wrong.

I have said it before, and maybe it’s cruel to see someone’s passing as a relief, but Jerry’s truly was. He had been unhappy and ill and suffering for many years, and I bore much of the weight of his frustration and pain and sorrow.  When I see people who I’ve not seen in awhile and have to explain what happened I can’t pretend to be all grief stricken and weepy.  It’s not my personality anyway to be emotional and maudlin – yes, autistics get emotional, but not on cue, and not usually in any kind of “normal” appearing way.  I strive to keep my emotions private and sometimes I am so good at it I convince myself I don’t have any at all.  Then something taps the latch and the floodgate springs open at the most inopportune time.

I’ve had a few freaky dreams lately. The one about hanging out in a pen with a bull- yes, as in bovine-was especially weird.  Why was I the only one he would be docile around? Everyone else would just aggravate him and make him aggressive, but I could do anything with him.  Maybe it’s about boundaries or control issues- both are things at which I completely suck in the real world.  Being the bull master in dreams- not really the stuff power trips and fantasies are made of- but I guess I have to take whatever power I can get.

I’ve had that effect on dogs and a few cats, but I generally avoid animals larger than dogs. I have a healthy respect for horses.  It’s been years since I’ve ridden a horse.  I like them, but they are harder to read than dogs and there is a lot less margin for error with them.  You cheese off a dog and you get a warning snarl or raised hackles or any number of other warning signals.  Dogs are good at body language, even to the point of getting an autistic person to get it. Dogs normally want to help.   Cheese off a horse, however, and you are like as not to get kicked across his stall with little or no warning.  Horses don’t have to be nice.  They are only nice if they respect you.

Of cattle, I know nothing.

I never really had to hang out with cattle, except in Newark, Ohio.

There were, and likely still are, some Really Fat Cows there. Even 20+ years ago there was a stampede of heifers sporting too much cleavage stuffed into too small bras, and the parade of big butts hanging out of leggings stretched beyond reasonable limits was on.  It was when I worked in Newark that I could buy “dinky sizes” such as 10 or 12 on the clearance rack at the discount store.  I could also find 38D bras marked down which never happened in less ample parts of the world. It was also in Newark that I learned there is such a thing as women’s size 20 underwear, and that they could also serve as a car cover for my Corolla with room to spare.

Granted, morbid obesity is a thing in rural Ohio and it’s almost as bad as heroin or crack. People don’t have much to do other than watch TV, play on the Internet, screw, and scarf those dreadful greasy $5 pizzas from Little Caesar’s, unless they’re shooting heroin, making meth or smoking crack, that is.

There is Wal-Mart though. Wal-Mart is an endless source of entertainment.

Sometimes I think it would be funny to strap on a Go Pro in Wal-Mart and just see how it goes. What kinds of weird shit would I encounter?

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Death, Life, Mourning and Dancing

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It’s been a month and I’ve just gotten to where I can talk about it.  Yes, Clara was a dog, but there are some dogs who are more than dogs. Even now, just remembering her big, soft ears and deep brown eyes, and the way she would lean on me so hard she almost knocked me down at times, brings me to tears.  I know that the love of dogs has a price- their lives are far too short.

Everything I had learned of the Malinois breed indicated they are noted for health and longevity. Most of the 12 years she lived in our home she was happy, healthy and robust.  In spite of Clara’s difficult start as a rescued dog with a laundry list of physical and emotional issues, she healed and blossomed with us.  She mentored our other dogs.  She visited the nursing home when my Grandma was there, and offered comfort to many of the residents. Clara was a gentle, intuitive dog, who even took care to mentor Brutus, her final protégé, who she had a month to teach, until she got ill.  He has many of the same beautiful, intuitive traits Clara had.  His gentleness reminds me of her.

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I am thankful her final illness was brief.  It took only a week from the time I noticed she was getting a bit melancholy and slow, then she stopped eating, and by then she was displaying all the classic signs of congestive heart failure.  We took her, and for the first and only time, I had to lift her in and out of the truck- to our long time family vet.  I hoped the vet would have a different answer than what I knew to be inevitable.

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Our vet knew the labored breathing and heavy plodding of a dying dog all too well though. One look at a dog who used to be vibrant and alert and active, but now was struggling just to breathe and move a few steps, was enough for the vet to conclude that given her age, and the signs of heart and probably multiple organ failure, that Clara was, indeed, dying. We agreed that letting Clara go in peace without pain would be far more humane than heroics that may or may not buy a week or two. I held her in my arms as she passed, so she would know how much she was loved. We buried her near the gate she used to guard.

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Clara was 14.  I was blessed to have her for a little more than 12 of those years.

Unfortunately there is more impending death around me, and it will cut even deeper than losing Clara.  Jerry is getting more and more ill from the pulmonary fibrosis.  He keeps getting put on more meds. He tires easily and is spending more and more time on the oxygen box.  The only hope for him to improve- and hopefully not die right away- is to get him on track for a lung transplant.  He will have to go on disability to do that, which will be at most optimistic, the very least a month or two away.

To add more to the chaos in my life, we will be moving as we are buying my grandmother’s old house.  Dad is selling it to us, and I am glad to get the strangers he’s been renting it to gone. They are supposed to be out tomorrow, then I can assess what needs to be done before we can move in.  I will have a lot longer drive to work for me, but it will get him into a quiet neighborhood out of the city.  The house is small but the yard is huge and there will (soon) be a large fence so the dogs can go out safely.

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Talk about the psychological maelstrom that I am trying to navigate.  I want Jerry to stay healthy enough for a lung transplant but the reality is that I may lose him too.  Yes, he is difficult and high maintenance, and he takes out his frustration on his health issues on me, but contrary to logic and reason, I am in this regardless.  Death, life, mourning or dancing- it’s all part of the drama of life.

I am looking forward to moving if only because it feels like I’m going home.  I will finally be able to be in a home I will own, that nobody can arbitrarily throw me out of, and my grandparents’ house will stay in the family. I’ll also be closer to my parents, my son and my granddaughter.

 

Now Is Not the Time for “Civility,” and the Eloquence of Stating the Obvious

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It’s sad that in this politically correct world, that young adults are encouraged to cling neurotically to “safe spaces” where they won’t be hurt by cruel (though often true) words.  It’s bad enough that these poor kids grew up believing that everyone gets a trophy, but to believe that everything is OK just because you can’t or won’t face reality is simply cowardice and stupidity.

Ignoring the present Muslim invasion is ignoring history.  Of course, history isn’t taught as it should be, for if it were, the Western world would  not have forgotten the lessons of the past.  One would think that the relatively recent rise and fall of Nazism and the end of Soviet Communism would serve as stout warnings against totalitarian and/or collectivist movements, but apparently stupidity dies hard.  Islam, in spite of being a false and counterfeit religion, has been around much longer than either Nazism or Communism.  It’s been in the death and deceit business a very long time.

Radical Islam vs_ the west

 

As the world has witnessed over the past few decades of so-called Arab liberation, Islam is anything but peaceful. Islam does not seek to co-exist with other value systems, nor does it seek for its adherents to hold hands and sing about living in harmony with everyone.   It is more of a brutal and archaic socioeconomic system than it is a religion, even though in its barbarity it hides behind the worship of an ancient Arabic moon-god idol.  Islam deifies a false god that is most certainly NOT the One True God that Jews and Christians worship.  At best, Islam should be considered a nihilistic death cult that should be shunned and condemned by the civilized world.  Until just the past few decades, this was the position of the Western world.  Why we have felt the need to defend or protect those who belong to value systems that want anyone outside of that value system dead is beyond me.

I never want any female relative or descendant of mine to have to be enslaved by Islam- hidden behind a burqa, and beholden to the whims of “men” who think it perfectly acceptable to behead anyone they disagree with, and to fornicate with anything that has a hole in it.  Unless perhaps that something is a pig or a dog?  In a way I find it interesting that Islamic law considers dogs unclean.  There’s something about calling something good evil that smacks of irony here.

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Clara is actually very clean for a dog.  And she doesn’t wipe her ass with her bare hand.

I can’t help but see a very clear lesson from the past.  Neville Chamberlain thought that if he appeased Hitler that appeasement would bring peace.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  Ann Coulter has her usual catty and spot on insight on this here.

Obama (and with far less noble aims than Chamberlain) either thinks that he can buy peace from radical Islam by allowing their invaders to settle here freely, or he knows full well that he is opening the door to a foreign and hostile army by settling “refugees” in this country.  Considering Obama’s actions and affiliations in the past, he is most likely aiding and abetting Islamic terror with full purpose and intent.  Either of those above choices is a bad choice, because there is no brokering peace with an ideology hell bent upon war.  Inviting them in only makes the war all the more inevitable.  One does not appease alligators by feeding them.  Feeding alligators only makes them stronger and hungrier, as we should have learned from Hitler.

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This is not the time for civility.  It is the time for blunt honesty no matter who gets butt hurt about it.  There are people who follow an ideology- Islam-  that calls for the death of everyone outside of that system.  Even though this ideology hides behind the façade of religion, in truth, we ignore the evil of radical Islam to our peril.

 

 

Whatever I Fear, the List is Long

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I do believe in a literal hell, even though this rendering sort of reminds me of a mosh pit backlit with a red light.  Jesus talked about hell frequently in the Bible, and I don’t think He was being allegorical.  This being said, thankfully, I have neither the authority nor the desire to consign anyone to that realm.  There are enough horrors right here on this earth to convince me that I don’t want to see such things escalate or continue.

I’m sure that the way I’m wired has something to do with the fact that I tend toward fear most of the time.  Now that I’m older and have the life experience and scripts to be bit more rational about my fears, I don’t always appear to be a deer in the headlights, but those fears are far closer to the surface than I would like to acknowledge.

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I’m not necessarily talking about dreams one has while sleeping.  I almost never have the vivid and terrifying dreams I had as a child, but neither do I have the wonderful, majestic visions in “good” dreams I once enjoyed either.  If I remember my dreams at all, they are usually rather banal and bland.   Whether the neutralization of my dreams is a side effect of the medications I take, or this numbing occurs because I seldom sleep soundly, or this graying effect can be attributed to the cumulative grimy jadedness of age, I don’t know.  I am thankful for the dearth of terrifying nightmares, but I could use a really good fantasy or two to savor these days.

full mourningWhy does Victorian mourning garb remind me of burqas?

I am terrified of the prospect that some day my granddaughter could be forced to wear a burqa and be subjugated to the barbaric laws of Islam. Maybe I am over reacting to what I see and read, but history has much to teach us about Islam and what happens when radical Islamists find their ways into civilization.

burqa-banNot here.  Not unless it is a personal choice and 100% voluntary. And who would voluntarily choose this?

I remember as a child being afraid (and this was during the Cold War) that the Soviet Union would randomly nuclear bomb the entire world into kingdom come. Of course my childhood was filled with fear around-the-clock,  fear of pretty much everything apart from dogs and books.

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Historically speaking it takes pretty dire situations to wake up the American people.  We like to stay quiet and peaceful and complacently bucolic.  For the most part that is not a bad thing, except when change is necessary or a great adversity needs to be overcome.

We have dealt with an ever increasing degree of corruption, graft and cronyism in our government at all levels.  Obama is arguably the very worst and most corrupt president this country has ever seen, so much so that his very ineptitude and disdain for this country and disregard for the people is waking people up. We are pissed. We are afraid for our future, and we are realizing the need to do something about it.

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