Bulletproof Backpack


Remember when back to school shopping was simple? New clothes, notebooks, pencil crayons, lunchbox? Nervous excitement born of what to wear the first day, not consideration of random gun violence. Fear not – bleeding heart liberals can stop whining about gun reform, bulletproof backpacks are the back to school must.

Last May, Louisiana voted overwhelmingly to amend State law banning students from wearing body armor. How progressive! Little Dick and Jane are encouraged to wear backpack armor at school and all school sanctioned events. What’s this? Poor little Jane’s parents can only afford the $100 sheet of backpack insert, hope Jane is shot in the back by a handgun because her insert won’t stop rifle bullets. What self respecting mass shooter packs a pistol? Stay strong little Jane, when bullets fly use Dick as a shield, his parents had $300 for Dick’s top of the line rifle deflecting armor.

https://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2018/5/23/louisiana-legislature-approves-bulletproof-backpacks/

Ponder absurdity of this image – by what stretch of imagination does aesthetically pleasing placement of a shiny red apple make it okay to flog $300 armor for back to school?

How about this from https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2014/3/31/bulletsafe-bulletproof-backpack-panels/ – NRA froth extraordinaire….

“In fact kids have a higher chance of being hurt playing any sport, even golf, than from a firearm, thanks in no small part to the numerous safety campaigns of NRA such as Eddie Eagle. That doesn’t however change the ingenious of this idea. Parents purchase all manners of equipment to keep kids safe – gates, monitors, socket plugs – so why shouldn’t we consider an item that could protect them in the unlikely event of an attack”.

https://bulletblocker.com/bullet-proof-backpack-shield.html

Don’t mistake mention of Louisiana for isolated demand of bulletproof backpacks, the epidemic flourishes across America. My dismay reads like futuristic script of a 60’s science fiction novel, a cautionary tale chronicling collapse of social order leading to civil war, annihilation of a once dominant civilization.

Wake up people, nothing about bulletproof backpacks is okay, Children deserve better.

Nappy Appy


Today, Pampers introduced Lumi, a “smart diaper” scheduled for release later this year. In collaboration with Logitech and Verify (formerly Google Life Sciences, a research company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet ) smart diapers are designed to track babies’ personal information soon after birth.

Included with purchase of Lumi are two packs of diapers, two WIFI enabled reusable detachable sensors for monitoring sleep patterns and detecting urine or stool, a wide angle HD video monitor with night vision and two way audio to track room temperature and humidity. Translation – doting parents get an alert from Lumi when diapers need changing! Has the world gone mad?

Google subsidiary and Pampers launch creepy smart diaper which tracks soiled diapers, sleep patterns, and more

Anyone remember Tamagotchi? Handheld devices popular in the 90s, virtual pets whose “health meter” required constant attention? Meters compelling children to walk, feed or play with pixelated pets to maintain digital health? See where I’m going? The Tamagotchi generation is all grown up, older not wiser and ripe for diaper apps.

It’s bad enough people worship smart home technology, Alexa do this, Alexa do that. Now we need an app telling us when diapers are soiled? What’s next, text alerts warning time to feed, hug or play with your child? Analytics calculating optimum minutes of personal interaction with family? Smarten up people!

Ponder Trump and Obama Talking To Children


Call this the story of two presidents, a cautionary tale dedicated to children of America. Ponder how Trump, then Obama talk to children. Few tests of character reveal more about people than how they interact with kids.

Now Obama –

 

Never Open My Freezer


My daughter wanted small animal skulls for an art project. Naturally she asked my brother, a perfectly reasonable request none of us considered remarkable. “No problem” he said. We promptly forgot about it for several months. Out of mind until he messaged to expect a parcel sent Greyhound express.

If I could bottle my brother the label would read “Essence of  decency, character, work ethic, empathy, moral fibre and principles”. A man of few words, words saved for storytelling delivered with mesmerizing cadence matched only by the twinkle in his eye. Stories of thwacking a bear on the nose while witching for water, sticking his hand down a drainpipe to extract a rattlesnake, plunging through alone in the wilderness pond ice under the weight of fur bearing animals, once and for all riddance of Saturday morning Jehovah Witness interruption courtesy a half skinned Marmot passed off as his cat. Trapper, water diviner, nuisance wildlife problem solver, woodsman and yes – provider of small animal skulls for an art project.

Not wanting to hurt his feelings I kept an open mind to caution our Greyhound parcel was perishable. “Do tell” seemed appropriate. “Wow, thank you” was all I could muster on hearing its contents. It would appear ungracious to point out she wanted “small” animal skulls, how could I argue with news of several Lynx skulls (skinned but not free of brain matter), raccoons, skunk, marmot and squirrel similarly stripped but not purged and one cougar head skin intact. Not wanting to be a ninny, I heard myself calmly remind him I lived in the city. What were we supposed to do?

No worries he said. Put everything in a large pot, boil until bits start floating to the top. It might take a while, if it smells disgusting throw in some bay leaves and pretend you’re making stew. OMG!! I’ll spare subsequent details, suffice to say it involved extraction of soft boiled tissue.

He would have been proud. Stoic, unflappable determination opened the package, assessed the situation, put all but the far too large cougar head in a pot set on boil. Congratulatory back slaps waned relative to ever growing gray pot scum.I couldn’t say how long it boiled, I can attest to the moment gag reflex stench recalled adding herbs to skull stew. Big mistake! Rubber gloves – check. Soft tissue extraction implements – check. Why aren’t these skulls coming clean? Where did we go wrong?

Suddenly my daughter shouts “abandon ship” – we rationalize postponement not failure. “it’s ok, we just ran out of time, we’ll try again tomorrow”. We carry the pot downstairs intent on flushing skull scum water down the toilet. Nothing prepared us for the last swirling toilet gurgle ejecting a rogue floating skunk skull – a spectacle so absurd both of us collapsed in hysterical stress release laughter. Composure returned with dutiful bagging of drained animal parts. Bag of drained bits back in  pot, punctuated with the satisfying clang of lid containment. Cougar head wrapped in another bag – both problems parked in a basement chest freezer.

That was five years ago, it goes without saying our one and only attempt would be the last.We don’t talk about that day, it’s far too awful. Guilt of wimping out is troublesome. Worse still, I can’t bring myself to deal with contents of the freezer for fear of disappointing my brother. We no longer use the freezer, it serves to preserve a pot of assorted par- boiled skulls and one glorious skin intact cougar head. I need help!! Anyone looking for a frozen cougar head?

Hating Turkey


Hate is a big word, temper that to strong dislike. Strictly a holiday meal, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter demand roast Turkey and all the fixings. Nobody plans a dinner party in May with “hey, a Turkey would be great”.

The idea of Turkey eclipses reality. There’s a reason we say “I hope it’s not dry” – everyone knows it will be. Turkey requires gravy, cranberry sauce, or mayonnaise once it lands in a sandwich. Families believe size matters, holiday Turkeys linger for days. Soup is Turkey’s greatest gift, immersing that carcass in water means the end of Turkey for another year.

Restricting Turkey to once a year wasn’t easy. I blame myself, stuffing is practically a food group in my home. Nothing fancy, half bread, half sausage meat, onion, celery, and sage. Preparing copious amounts, even though the “cavity” only holds a few cups is lost on my family. I’ve tried to explain stuffing can be served anytime, pointing out almost all the stuffing is baked far from the demon Turkey. No good.

All day “don’t overcook it”, “I hope it’s not dry”, “are you watching the bird”. It’s a damn Turkey! Have you ever had one that melts in your mouth? Turkey is an obligation, if it rocked our world we’d be roasting them all year long.

Trouble


Trouble doesn’t necessarily mean “trouble”, it can mean sit down and enjoy the ride, hold onto your hat because the wind is picking up, or holy crap – this is unexpected. Trouble can mean the start of a very good day; a bat shit day of wild abandon – troublesome only for those who reluctantly find themselves in a ring side seat.

I knew it was trouble when I booked a flight to visit my sister in a few weeks. It isn’t that I’m trouble or she’s trouble; the truth is – we’re trouble. We don’t mean to raise our families eyebrows or make too much noise at 3 AM – we just do, we can’t help ourselves. We are polite middle aged women who inexplicably turn into giggling morons if left alone too long. We dance, call bullshit on each other and collapse on the floor in fits of laughter.

This may not sound like trouble, yet assure you it’s troublesome to those in our path; we become idiots for reasons only we understand. In all honesty, we can’t understand what happens; what’s important is – it doesn’t matter.

I’m the little sister by ten months – she wasn’t even walking when I was born. If I was oil, she was water; two people couldn’t have been more different. We started school the same year, were known as the “sisters” and secretly loathed each others presence. We were always fighting or competing; she – outgoing, me – painfully quiet and shy. We drifted apart to the point of not even speaking to each other for years.

I couldn’t pin point the moment our lives changed; the moment we opened our eyes and looked at each other again. All I know is she’s trouble; the kind of trouble that makes me feel young and stupid, the kind of trouble that leaves us feeling sheepish as we apologize for disturbances in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know who’s crazier, nor does it matter. Life is over in the blink of an eye; pondering irrelevant details is a waste of time – I’m perfectly content knowing trouble’s name is “sister”. Somehow, a week with her makes all my troubles go away.

Gift


A remarkable gift from Dad rests quietly on my desk. I didn’t tell him how much it meant, and doubt words could have formed a fitting sentence. Unwrapping it two days ago still feels like a dream, placing it gently on my desk provided a whispering pinch,  I was awake.

There I am on the upper left surrounded by my siblings. My beautiful older sister tilts her head cheekily, below her a brother whose faded image still shines with a “head up shoulders straight”  no nonsense approach in life. Below me little sister exudes mischievous joy as baby brother looks faintly down from above.

Dad’s gift took me home. Home isn’t where we live, it’s where we came from. A vine, twisted and permanent without demands of explanation or regret. Sometimes the greatest gift is a reminder of sinuous tendrils that bind us.

My gift rests where it belongs; a enchanted corner of my world that beckons without remorse. This is my family, thank you Dad.

 

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