Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the danger of the internet, which might become a lot more complicated soon

It's November, you guys.

So you know what that means. Half the people on Facebook will post whatever they are grateful for in the most saccharin way for the next few days, then run out of family members to mention and give up. A handful will make it to the end of the month. The rest of the people tend to just make sarcastic comments about whatever other people are grateful for. Some of us fall into all those categories.

Here's my philosophy...not that I think anyone cares.

I am doing it because I have to. November is a really hard month for me, and I need to look for the things in my life that I am grateful for right now, even if none of them are as simple or perfect as they seem. I try to make my posts real. I don't discount the struggles.

But, at the end of the day, my heart is filled with gratitude.

Sometimes it's for my children. Sometimes it's for my husband. Sometimes it's for vodka. Sometimes it's for ativan. Sometimes it's for therapy. Sometimes it's for my private groups on FB that save my sanity on a daily basis. Sometimes it's for the handful of people who don't ask me to explain myself, who just take me as I am and even if they don't understand, they love me anyway. Sometimes that gratitude is filled with hurt and pain. Sometimes it's filled with hope.

I can promise you one thing, if you're a friend of mine on Facebook, everything I write is real. My life is complicated, but I consider myself lucky to be where I am, even when it hurts. Feel free to roll your eyes at me if you must. If you haven't figured it out by now, you should know that I'm not explaining anything. Take me or leave me, but don't question my truth.

Incidentally, I've been deleted by a few people for that.

Incidentally, I'm fine with it.

Anyway, it's Tuesday. Let's go get angry.

The Asshole Response to an Asshole
I'm sure that by now you have heard about the young woman who dressed as a Boston Marathon runner for Halloween, complete with dirt and grime and blood and shrapnel. She's young, but not really young enough to pull the immaturity card. She was stupid enough to post the picture online, and it didn't take long for it to get all over the place.

I'm not telling you her name, posting a link or the picture on purpose.

I'm not doing it because the response of the people in the interwebs has been horrid. Like, worse than her costume choice.

She has received death threats. Her parents are being harassed. She lost her job.

She's stupid. She's impulsive and insensitive. She's lacking in the empathy department. She's all of those things.

But she doesn't deserve death threats, nor do her parents.  Should she have lost her job? I don't know. I guess it depends on what she does for a living. Some employers have rules about behavior outside the workplace, and I would venture a guess that this may have violated them...if she had a job with those restrictions. If she didn't, reality is that the vast majority of employers can fire you for any reason, and maybe they just couldn't handle the media attention, the phone calls. Maybe they are taking a hit in business because of her affiliation with them. I don't know, and I'm not going to find out.

I feel bad for her, but not that bad.

If we as a society want to preach about not bullying, about respecting other people, about all that stuff, then it can't be okay to harass someone just because they made a horribly bad choice. I'm sure she's learned her lesson. Sure, she shouldn't have done it in the first place and totally brought this on herself....but that doesn't give the internets a free pass to be an asshole.

The Internet is Free, Right? Not for long...
One of the most magnificent things about living in the times we live in is this thing right here. The internet. This virtual world that we can connect to from anywhere in the world, with a phone or a computer or a gaming system. All the knowledge in the world is at our fingertips. We can talk to people on the other side of the planet. We can learn and share things in a way that we never have been able to in history.

All we need is a connection.

Which we already pay for, for the most part. Unless you do all of your internet surfing in a public library, odds are you are paying for internet service in some form. You have a data plan on your phone, you pay for internet hookups at home and set up your own networks to connect your devices to.

It's not free to connect, but once you're on, the world is your oyster (unless you want to look at any of the subscription sites).

Enjoy it while it lasts.

The giant telecommunications companies are trying to figure out a way to squeeze more out of the internet than they are already squeezing from all the consumers of the world who pay for access. Until now, they didn't charge websites for levels of access, but because of a court ruling, that all might be changing. What this means is that they could demand that sites pay for levels of service. If you want your site to run fast, you have to pay more. If you want more pages supported, you have to pay more. If your traffic is so and so, you have to pay more.

Net neutrality as we know it may not exist much longer. 

The Reason I am a Mean Mom
My oldest son has wanted to play football for years. YEARS.

Most people we know have pushed me to sign him up for years. YEARS.

He is a big kid. He's always been a big kid. He would be an asset to a line, for sure.

He has never played football.

There are a few reasons. He had two consecutive years of hernia surgeries, then a few concussions that happened just because he isn't a graceful child. I told him for a while that if he could make it a year without a concussion or surgery, I would entertain the idea.

I encouraged him to go out for wrestling, using the guise (totally legitimate by the way) that wrestling would help him learn body control, to use his weight, to figure out his center of gravity, to give him core strength, to condition him....all of which would be useful on the line if he ever wanted to play football.

It's been a while, longer than a year, since his last concussion or surgery. He's still not on a field.

He's not on one because the game is a brutal one. It's violent. It seems to be getting more violent, even and especially at the highest levels. The NFL is under fire for the issue of traumatic head injuries, and recently settled with many former players, though the settlement stipulated that they don't have to admit any kind of liability for the injuries.   

A book just came out which goes even further into the issue, stating that the NFL has tried to hide to magnitude of the problem, even having reports published by the NFL League physician (who is not in the field of neurology or sports medicine, incidentally) stating that the concussions aren't as problematic as some say and that players can safely return to the field within days after a TBI. The PBS series Frontline has examined the issue in detail. 

All of this is well and good. The players in the NFL are adults, and should have some level of awareness of the dangers inherent in the sport, right?

They should, but their jobs are wholly dependent on putting butts in the seats, making the game exciting and raw, taking and throwing hard hits.

Kids, though, don't have the ability to reason through all the risks and benefits.

They want to play because their friends play, because their families want them to play, because they want to be like the guys playing on any given Sunday.

So they put on a bunch of pads and the latest and greatest helmets, and step on to a field, protected, we think by all that foam and plastic.

The problem is that the helmets don't help. A new study just came out saying that the protection they give isn't nearly enough.

This is why my son doesn't play football.

He'd be great at it, maybe, but protecting his brain is more important than a jersey.


  1. I don't blame you for not letting your son play football. He's too precious.

    Bah humbug to the internet getting more costly. That really sucks.

    And I'm glad you stand in defense of all the thankfuls, whatever they are. I'm doing them because at the moment, they're necessary. And because I need to remember. Not because I want to, or fancy joining in.

  2. Dang... these things are kinda pissing me off now too. =/ And I've been going back and forth feeling horrible about the whole not letting my son play football thing too. He's much too big for his age division and all of the above you mentioned about your son. Aside from all of that (minus the concussions) he has a deformity of his shoulder and a heart murmur. I don't have the heart to tell him he may never play... was hoping this may change in high school. But I have much more reason to not feel so bad about my decision not to let him play after reading this.


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