Sunday, April 6, 2014

WOMEN WAGING WAR ON WOMEN

           
 Yes, there is a war on women, but it’s not being waged by Republicans, Democrats, Communists, Socialists, or Aliens.  It’s a war women are waging against themselves.  Some do so unwittingly; others for perceived personal gains… while many more contribute to the war by remaining silent, rather than standing up and being counted.    
These warring women come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  There are those in political circles who command a wide audience and use that podium to malign other women.  Take, for example, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema who has publicly attacked women who choose to be stay-at-home moms: “These women are leeching off their husbands, or boyfriends, and just cashing the checks … that’s bullshit.  I mean, what the fuck are we really talking about here?” says Sinema.  Political strategist Hillary Rosen condemned Ann Romney for being a stay-at-home mom.  Did anyone cross the aisle in order to support a cause larger than oneself?  And when presidential candidate Barak Obama said in 2007 that “…staying at home to raise children isn’t real work,” did you hear a public outcry?  (By the way, raising children is the hardest work I’ve ever done.)  
When Michelle Malkin was viscously attacked with racial slurs for her political views and threatened to the point that she had to move, where were her supporters?  Who came to Ann Coulter’s defense when she was called a transvestite?   Who confronted Whoopi Goldberg when, on national TV, she described Roman Polanski’s drugging and raping of an unconscious thirteen year old girl as “not rape-rape but something else,” In other words, “something else” not so serious.      
Another group of women waging a war against their own are the self-serving “good wives,” those camp followers who publicly support husbands who have trashed their public posts, violated their marriages, and humiliated their families.  To name just a few: Huma Abedin (wife of Anthony Weiner)

 ……Hillary Clinton (Bill), Silda Spitzer (Eliot, who had the hubris to violate a law HE had passed making payment for sex a Class E felony), and Bronwyn Ingram, fiancee of ex-mayor of San  Diego, Bob Filner (found guilty of sexually harassing eighteen women),
           Sociopaths like the above view such public support as a “green light,” which leads, inevitably, to more of the same.  What this country needs are more Jenny Sanfords, (ex-wife of Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina) and Lorena Bobbitts.     
           In 2012 Carlos Henriquez, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, was found guilty of beating and kidnapping his girlfriend.  He was sent to prison for 2 ½ years but served only six months.  Only this year did the Massachusetts House of Representatives decide to deal with Henriquez’ status: to vote him out of office…or keep him in.  The NAACP (with a half a million members) sent a letter to the House, requesting that Henriquez be kept in office. The NAACP president, Juan Cofield said:  “He was convicted of two misdemeanors – not felonies… every day people commit misdemeanors – like jaywalking.”  Beating and kidnapping is likened to “jaywalking”?  Hello women members of the NAACP!  Where were you?  In the kitchen making coffee?
           Politically ambitious women wage another kind of war against women. Take Sandra Fluke, for example, the law school student who just “happened” onto the scene when President Obama was being criticized for his contraceptive mandate.  She wailed like a baby that buying her own birth control pills would “financially tax’ her.  She wanted me (and you) to pay for her to play. 
This is the same Sandra Fluke who is currently traveling through Italy and Spain on spring break with her fiancé, Adam, the son of William Mutterperl, a “one-percenter”  who has contributed to more than fifty political campaigns.   I feel confident that if Adam would ask his father nicely, very very nicely, Mr. Mutterperl would give his little boy $9 to buy a pack of condoms down at the corner drugstore.      
        So thanks heaps, Sandra, for helping to promote an image of women as helpless and irresponsible little girls, so incapable of making life decisions for themselves that they need the Government’s intervention.  The Flukes of this country are not solving any Sisterhood problems.  They are the problem!
Another front on women’s war against women is being fought by the mothers of the 250,000 little girls entered into beauty competitions each year.  What these children learn early on in life is that what’s between their ears isn’t important.  What is … is how they look.   According to the American Psychological Association, “girls who are sexualized early will – when adults -- tend to measure their self-worth on their appearance.” 
        
            
Another warring group against women includes those who use their public platforms for personal gain – rather than for the public good.  Regrettably, one such woman is first lady Michelle Obama.  Note her recent statement to the Chinese press on her trip to China in March of this year: “It’s very rare that I have the opportunity to travel outside of the United States, and it’s even more rare to have the opportunity to travel with three generations – with my daughters and my mother…” 
Seriously?  This from the woman who has established the record for the most vacations taken while in public office, which include numerous trips outside the U.S and  -- most often -- with her mother and children. While in China, Michelle stayed in a 3,400 square foot hotel room that cost $8,350 per night.  This is the same hotel that Vice-President Joe Biden chose NOT to stay in earlier in the year because “It was too expensive.” (Thanks, Joe).  The Obama administration has refused to talk about the price tag for this China trip, but, when hard-pressed by reporters, the White House spokesperson replied: “We got a great bang for the buck.” 
The total “buck” has been estimated to be several million taxpayers’ dollars.  As for the “bangs”
... Michelle played ping-pong, took Chinese calligraphy  
and Tai Chi classes,  took pictures, visited the Great Wall, and operated a robot. 
           Michelle’s other recent and rare trips include her June, 2013 trip to Ireland  (I thought  Ireland was a foreign country, but what do I know?), where she stayed in a $3,000 a night room. This trip is estimated to have cost the American taxpayers $5 million. (Washington Times).  
Two months later, two generations of the Obama family took another rare vacation – this one to Martha’s Vineyard (estimated to have cost $1.2 million.) I hate to sound petty, but by my calculation, if Michelle hadn’t “needed” to return to D.C. all by herself on a private jet – although the president and their daughters were leaving on the same day – 30% of the bill (approximately $364,000 of the taxpayers’ money) could have been saved.       
Other recent but rare foreign-family vacations include Spain, a number of South American countries, and Africa, The three African trips alone are estimated to have cost the taxpayers over one million dollars.  Then there are Michelle’s skiing vacations in 2012 and 2013, which totaled $1,092,000, and the rare family Christmas vacation to Hawaii this year, where they stayed in a 7,000 square foot house and left the taxpayers with a bill of about $4 million. (Daily Mail, United Kingdom).  But seventeen days wasn’t enough for the first lady so she remained in Hawaii for another week after the family left.  This necessitated a not-so-rare need for a second Air Force jet to return her to D.C
 White House dossier, Keith Koffler, estimates that costs of the Obamas four rare vacations to Hawaii have cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of $20 million. 
First ladies can make a difference.  Many have, and although no one ever expected Michelle Obama to be another Eleanor Roosevelt, she’s demonstrated just how frivolous, entitled, and self-serving a woman can be.  Rather than setting a positive image for hundreds of thousands of young women – African American women in particular – she will be remembered as a “vacation junkie,” a first lady who misused the public trust (and treasury) to fill her private bucket list. 
        
           THE BOTTOM WHINE:  The next time someone tries to sell you a bill of goods about how this or that political party is waging a war against women, please tell them for me that this particular war is one women are waging against themselves.

                                                                 Whiningly yours, Carol

Saturday, March 15, 2014

WHAT'S IN A VOICE?


                             
There are some voices that make me want to run for cover. It doesn’t matter what they have to say. There’s nothing that can justify the headache I get listening to them – their whines and whimpers, sighs and highs, killer-fillers, squawking and talking, and I’m not alone. Research shows that listeners care twice as much about the quality of a voice than what the speakers have to say.


At the top of my “I’m outta here” list is the WHINER  (Note:  My whines are exempt because they’re non-vocal). Whiners sound like squealing pigs being led to the slaughter. And looking at them is almost as painful as listening to them -- the way their eyebrows crash into their eyes -- like they’re undergoing brain surgery.




Is it possible there’s an anatomical connection between Whiners’ eyebrow muscles and their voice boxes? Just a thought.

Another annoying voice is the falsetto of the LITTLE GIRL who lives in an adult woman’s body. Their high-pitched screams shrill for attention. “Aren’t I adorable? Don’t you want to pick me up and take me home with you?” No, I don’t, but what I would like to do is put them in a crib, close the door, and not let them out again until they’ve grown up. Another problem with purveyors of the Little Girl Voice is that the content of what they have to say is commensurate with the repertoire of a little girl. 


The good news is… sometimes, you can escape them. That’s because many come adorned with little girl bows in their hair… so, if you see one coming your way, run -- don’t walk -- to the nearest exit.

Have you met up with a WHISPERER? They’re the ones who talk so softly that even if you have 20-20 hearing, you have to crawl into their laps and stop breathing to hear what they’re saying. According to psychologists, Whisperers whisper because they need to control everything in their environment – including listeners.

First cousin to the Whisperer is BREATHLESS, but Breathless has a different objective. She thinks her voice is seductive (a la Marilyn Monroe) and uses it as linguistic foreplay. But when I hear Breathless speak, I don’t think sex. I think she’s in the throes of an asthmatic attack, and I offer her my aerosol spray.

UPTALKERS (akin to the Valley Girls) end statements with upward inflections, turning them into questions. Even statements of unquestionable certainty, such as “My name is Carol,” becomes: “My name is Carol?”

We expect Uptalking from teenagers who are generally too insecure to make definitive statements and are desperate for validation, but now the virus has spread to adults. Fathers of Uptalking daughters have also become Uptalkers, apparently to make themselves appear more friendly and non-assertive to their daughters and the daughters’ friends. This Uptalking disease has gone transgender and transcontinental, having spread from the United States… to Canada… and now to England.

The public, at large, perceives Uptalkers to be empty-headed, uninformed and lacking in confidence. Who would hire an Uptalker? Imagine one addressing a potential customer: “You’re going to like Product XYZ?” This affectation may explain why Uptalkers, when looking for a job, rarely get past the interview stage.

We’ve all been corned by FILLER KILLERS, those speakers who can’t get through a sentence without embedding a number of “huhs, uhs, likes…I means…or …you knows.” I was recently subjected to a FILLER at a 90-minute workshop. After fifteen minutes, I stopped listening, and for the next 75, I clocked the number of fillers in every sixty second segment. The result? Nine per minute, which means an “uh, huh, you know, you mean, or a like” every 6 2/3 seconds.

VOLUMIZERS kidnap a conversation and hold you hostage by talking louder than everyone else. Occasionally a determined but naïve listener will challenge the Volumizer by raising his or her voice, but Volumizers have no intention of giving up their bully pulpits. They respond by ratcheting up their own volume and increasing their speed of delivery, thereby making it near to impossible for a challenger to get a word in edgewise.

If you make the mistake of suggesting to a voice offender that he or she consider working on his/her speech, be prepared for: “That’s my voice. I was born with it, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” True, your voice is, in part, dependent on your DNA, but by the time you reach adulthood, your voice (along with much more) IS your responsibility. Most offenders can fix their impediments themselves … or with the help of a professional.

Remember: you will be judged by the voice you project. Speakers with high-pitched, loud, breathy, upended, whining, or whispering voices are judged to be weak, passive, nervous, empty-headed, insecure, and bullying; whereas speakers with attractive voices are viewed as successful, secure, and attractive.

                                                                  Whiningly yours, Carol

Thursday, January 2, 2014

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS


                 
Once upon a time I could sit on the edge of my bed, touch the floor, and tie my shoelaces.  Our dog could jump from the floor onto the mattress in a single bound, the TV was at eye level, and my king-sized contour sheets hung snugly to the corners of the mattress.  That  was before we bought our new mattress (which I named Mt. Everest) from one of the three mattress retailers, all lined up together in a neat little row on a street as scary as Elm Street (as in “A Nightmare on…”) 
At the time we thought that the line-up of retailers was conceived as a convenience for would-be mattresses buyers -- so we could more easily compare mattress quality and prices. But it turns out that comparative shopping is impossible because each retailer gets a different proprietary name for the same mattress. Retailers can then tell us that they have an “exclusive.”  What’s exclusive is the name on the mattress  -- not the mattress.
 Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late.
So we innocently went from retailer A … to B …to C, and listened three times to the same mind-mashing mumbo-jumbo about generic foam, space-age foam, memory foam, super-soft foam, medical foam, proprietary foam, cotton batting, latex, wrapped coils, unwrapped coils and padded coils.  The more we heard, the less we knew.  Sellers of mattresses can put car lot salesmen in their back pockets.  How I yearned for the good old days when we had only once choice: soft, medium, or hard.   
As for mattress “testing” on the showroom floor – that’s a farce.  How a mattress feels then … and how it will feel three days or three months later can be significantly different.  That’s because cheaper foams break down very quickly.
Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late!    
           We never thought at the time of the purchase to ask how high the mattress would rise above ground level.  We should have.  Mt. Everest rises 35 inches off the floor.  That’s approximately one-third the height of the typical 8’ wall -- well into the nose bleed section if you’re on blood thinners.  Thirty-five inch high mattresses also present a challenge getting in and out of bed.  I wonder what short people, the physically handicapped, the elderly and other lap dogs do.  The first time our dog tried to climb Mt. Everest, she almost killed herself. We had to buy her a doggy stairs.  That ran us nearly $100.     
  
There were other problems.  Our contour sheets constantly popped off the corners of the bed.  Gone were smooth, tightly fitted streets – unless we wanted to fork out $200 for a set of deep fit sheets. Then we discovered bed bands (only $15), which promised to keep the sheet corners in place. Snugstraps, sheet grippers, and sheet suspenders all do the same.  
 


Then there was the problem with the headboard.  Pillows kept falling off.  And the old bedspread now hung about 18” off the floor. 
Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late!
And talk about the mattress weight.  It took two strong men to carry this 125 pound behemoth into the bedroom.  We’ve only had the mattress for three months now, and I’ve already broken four fingernails trying to lift it to change sheets and tuck in the blanket.  Now we understand why retailer “B” included two men to come to your house four times a year to turn over your mattress, but now it’s too late.
Eventually, retailer B will have to send three or more men to turn over mattresses.  Recent research at Ohio State University found that because mattresses absorb body oil, moisture, and dead skin (which attract dust mites) a ten-year-old mattress is likely to have accumulated 100,000 to ten million mites.  Consequently, between the mites and the guck we exude, mattresses could easily gain 30% of its original weight over a ten year period.  This means that ten years from now our 125 pound mattress could weigh 145 ugly pounds.
Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late!
I was on top of Mt. Everest the other night and wanted to read Vogue Magazine, laying on the night table some distance below me.  I stretched over the side of the bed and grabbed it.  Apparently, after years of women’s plunging necklines and exposed cleavage, necklines are now on the rise. 
That’s what they do, you know – the dictators of fashion.  Once they think a product has saturated the market, they change directions on us.  That keeps buyers buying and the economy moving.      
That’s why I don’t need my tarot cards to predict that in the next few years mattress makers -- motivated by the upcoming market of aging baby boomers and their predictable aches and pains -- will develop some revolutionary new product that gives sleepers better body support without the coils, the foams, the padding and all the rest.  This ground-breaking material will lighten the weight and lower the height of the current mattress, and all makers of ancillary products will cheer them on.         

THE BOTTOM WHINE:  What goes up must come down.

                 Whiningly yours,  Carol 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

PRIVATE VS. UNCLE SCAM'S

                            
     Some scams have been around for years, like paying upfront for a job that doesn’t exist or for training sessions and work materials that never arrive.    There are phony lottery and sweepstake scams, fake retail stores on the internet which look like the real thing, and the ubiquitous “I’m stranded in Timbuktu without any funds. Wire me money!” There are calls from scammers claiming to  represent legitimate philanthropies, asking for money.  One such scam recently netted thieves more than $20 million. 
There are scams using internet re-sellers, such as E-Bay and Craig’s List, wherein a  “buyer” makes a purchase, deliberately overpays, and asks you to wire the difference.   Their check bounces, but your money transfer doesn’t.   





Have you heard about the scammers who copy the code numbers on store gift cards, call the 800 number or check online to see when the card is activated, and when it is, go on an on-line shopping spree.  By the time the legal card owners try to use them, they’ve been maxed out!   
Newspaper and magazine publishers scam you, too.  Say you subscribed to XYZ magazine, and at the end of its subscription life, they renew you without asking (Your credit card is on file.). On top of that, your renewal is oftentimes at a higher rate than the previous year’s. The way to prevent this from happening is to use virtual cards.
Dayna Morales, a gay New Jersey waitress, gets an “A” for originality.  She complained on Facebook that a couple she had served wrote on their credit slip: “I’m sorry, but I can’t tip you because I do not agree with your life style.”  Ms. Morales collected thousands of dollars from sympathetic Facebook friends -- until the maligned couple showed up at the local radio station with the controversial receipt in hand.  There was no note to Ms. Morales on their copy, but there was proof that they had left her a tip – a generous one at that!
There are dozens of ways you can be scammed into accepting malware on the internet: via e-cards and e-invites, holiday apps, screen savers, “fun and free” software, and by contacting friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter who have been hacked into.  Please don't think that scams are the exclusive domain of the private sector. Our government is a major scammer, though their scams – once uncovered – are called “scandals.”  For the last two years alone, we’ve been scamdled a lot (not a typo).      
In 2012 the General Services Administration (GSA), whose mission is to manage the Government’s resources with “the utmost care...allow for no waste,” spent $800,000 of the taxpayers’ money on a four-day Las Vegas retreat for themselves.   Did they make restitution?  If you think the answer is “yes,” I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
             
Then there was the National Security Agency’s (NSA) scam, which gave one man, Snowden, unlimited access to unlimited amounts of classified data, in violation of I.T’s golden rule.    That’s the same NSA that tracks five billion cell phones daily.  With all the snooping they do, you’d think they’d know enough to snoop on their own snoops, especially when everyone knows more accidents happen at home.   
Beginning in 2010, organizations petitioning the IRS for non-for-profit (501C) status and had the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names were deliberately targeted – their paperwork stonewalled for years. Why?  To prevent them from functioning until after the 2012 presidential election. Were the victims compensated for IRS’ criminal behavior?  Yes – in fascsinista fashion.  Petitioners’ names and personal data were “accidentally” released into cyberspace, putting them at the mercy of private and public sectors identity thieves.    
Then there’s the ObamaCare scamdel.  Rather than “Buy American” and create jobs for unemployed Americans, ACA contracted CGI, a Canadian firm with a known poor track record in the development of healthcare websites to do the job.  It’s now $678 million later, and what have we got?   Guess ACA never heard of Amazon.com, which handles 800,000 users a day. 
More jobs for Americans were lost when the Defense Information Services Agency also contracted CGI to the tune of $871 million.  And add to that the $143 million deal between CGI and Homeland Security and the Coast Guard.  Who gets the kickback?     
How would you like to be scammed and bullied all at the same time? In May of this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought a suit against the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), a non-for-profit made up of 22,000 music teachers whose shared goal is the promotion of music study. So why is the FTC going after them?       
 
Because in MTNA’s code of ethics, written 137 years ago at its founding, it says that members cannot “actively recruit students from other teachers,” a common agreement in many professions.  The FTC discovered this odious phrase and screamed “Anti-competitive! Price-fixing!”  
The MTNA agreed to edit the offensive language from its code, but that wasn’t enough for the bored and bullying bureaucrats at the FTC.  They wanted more, much more.  The FTA mandated that MTNA must:
1.     send the FTC all their records going back twenty years.
2.     read aloud a statement at every national meeting stating that the anti-free trade clause had been expunged.
3.     ensure that its 500 mafia affiliates sign a compliance statement.
4.     create an anti-trust compliance program which would include annual training.
5.     appoint an anti-trust compliance officer to send regular reports to the FTC for the next twenty years.
The FTC treats the country’s music teachers like they’re part of a drug cartel.  Is there no one to stop them?     
Yes, sort of.  Back in the seventies a cadre of watchdogs – called Inspector Generals (IG) -- was created to oversee Federal agencies and offices to prevent mismanagement, government waste, and criminal behavior. There are currently six vacant (not permanent) I.G. positions, vacant from between two and five years): State, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Those six agencies account for 58% of the Federal budget. . 
For many reasons, Acting I.Gs are frequently ineffective, ultimately functioning like sleeping dogs  -- with little bark and no bite – rather than watchdogs.  You have to wonder if the Benghazi massacre would have happened if a permanent State Department I.G. had been in place.   
But in my opinion, if you want to oversee the public sector, the best watchdogs come from an independent private sector.  A good example of such an organization is Judicial Watch  (www.JudicialWatch.org). As of December, 2013, Judicial Watch has processed and is pursuing more than 1,200 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and a record number of lawsuits (95) against various branches of the federal government.
The Bottom Whine: Scams abound in both the private and public sectors ...   


... but if I’m going to be scammed, I prefer it come from the private sector.  First of all, they use their own funds – rather than mine -- to bankroll their scams.  They also don’t bully the scamee; if they did, the scam would collapse.  Also, in the private sector you are “invited” to be scammed, and, finally, there’s a (small) possibility that private scammers will be caught and punished, while with Government, there’s never anyone who’s responsible.   Oh, yeah, sometimes they find a scapegoat or two, but the worst that ever happens to them is they get ten lashes with a wet noodle, moved to a new position, and keep their pensions.
Give me a private sector thief any time!
Whiningly yours, Carol


Saturday, November 9, 2013

EMPATHY...DOWN // NARCISSISM UP

 


                                          
          A blind man was recently assaulted on a city street.  Rather than help him or  -- at the very least -- call 9-1-1, bystanders watched the event with the gusto displayed by ancient Romans witnessing Christians being thrown to the lions.       
Last year, a man was pushed onto NYC subway tracks. As he struggled to climb onto the platform, no one came to help him, but one man was kind enough to photograph him as he was hit and killed by an approaching train. The photographer later sold his photo to the New York Post, which published it.       
Unfortunately, these are not isolated events, and they are becoming increasingly common.  If you go to YouTube, you’ll find hundreds of videos of rapes, robberies, abductions, and beatings witnessed by people who did nothing to help the victims.  The public, at large, is becoming so indifferent to the suffering of others that there is now a name for this phenomenon: “Bystander apathy.”   
            Although researchers have found an inverse ratio between a person’s age and his or her empathetic rating (people in their sixties demonstrate three times as much empathy as do people in their twenties), empirical evidence shows that apathy is rising across all age groups.  Examination of videos and photos taken at public assaults shows do-nothing bystanders of all ages – young, middle-aged, and elderly.
         What is at the root of this growing epidemic?
In large part, our technology.   Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, have created an environment where quantity replaces quality as a positive value.  How often have you heard people bragging about the number of friends and followers they have – and not their virtues? Numbering has led to a numbing of what’s important in life.   
Another problem with the worship of numbers is that in order to stand out in the crowd, salacious content and self-promotion is required; in short, a wannabe has to become his own electronic National Enquirer, and who gets hurt along the way is unimportant.    
To that end: a fourteen-year-old student recently (and foolishly) sexted her then-boyfriend a naked photo of herself.  The boyfriend, subsequently, forwarded it to a friend of his, who, in turn, forwarded the photo to dozens of others with an added caption: “If you think this girl is a whore, text it to all of your friends.”  The photo went viral, and the girl was disgraced and humiliated.  Apparently those involved did not care a whit what damage was inflicted upon the girl.  It wasn’t about her. It was all about them.    
A male student posted a list of “sexually active” girls from his high school on Facebook.  Included with the names were descriptions of their sexual activities.  Within hours, over 7,000 people had “liked” the page and trashed the girls’ reputations.  Not only did these 7,000 people not care that reputations were ruined and pain and suffering inflicted, they also didn’t mind being identified as contributors; indeed, most probably never viewed their behavior as immoral at all.
Our daily exposure to violence -- at the movies, on TV, and on video games -- has also contributed to increased apathy. The more violence we see, the more desensitized we become to the pain and suffering of others.  There has also been a relaxing of moral standards and rules of behavior.  Relativists preach that there is no right and wrong; that all actions are moral, depending on the individual’s perspective.          

 I disagree.  There are some perspectives that have no redeeming points of view.   
Written standards have also taken a beating.  When Joel Stein accused Millennials of being “lazy, entitled narcissists” (Time Magazine, May, 2013), thirty-three year old blogger Tom Hawking responded: “horseshit… piss…asshole…and whoop-de-fucking do" (Flavorwine.com), substantiating Stein’s thesis.   
Today’s technology has not only desensitized us from the inside-out, it has dulled our senses from the outside-in. In October a passenger on a commuter train waved his 45 caliber pistol overhead for some minutes, but none of the passengers -- numbering in the dozens -- noticed.  They were all too preoccupied with their mobile devices, as evidenced later on security footage.  The gunman ultimately shot and killed a twenty-year-old student.  
The other side of the Apathy coin is the face of Narcissism.  As concern for others decreases, self-love fills the vacuum.  (The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement,” Twenge and Campbell). Contributing to the “It’s all about me” phenomenon are overly indulgent parents  --  “helicopter parents” and followers of “self-esteem childrearing,” where children are taught that they’re right – even when they’re wrong.  Failures equal successes, and an “F” is as good as an “A,” ignoring the fact that self-esteem comes as a result of REAL achievement -- not handouts.  In the self-esteem environment, children grow up with an attitude of entitlement...

... which leads to what I call the “Entitlement Walk.”  Drive across a college campus today and note that at every corner and sometimes between corners there are well-marked pedestrian crosswalks.  At least one-third of the students entering the crosswalks clutch mobile devices like pacifiers -- talking, tweeting, and/or texting,  never checking for possible oncoming cars. They believe they’re untouchable and that everyone is looking out for them; consequently, they don't look out for themselves.     
This entitlement walk doesn’t end at the crosswalk.  University professors report that there has been a significant change in student attitudes over the past four to five years.   It’s not uncommon today for students to not hand in required papers, to not attend classes, to fail exams; yet show up at professors’ offices complaining that they didn’t get an “A.” And sometimes, when the student gets no satisfaction, a parent will call later, explaining why his or her child must get an “A.”
The Entitlement Walk continues after graduation. 
What can we do about it?  How can we get the "me, me, me's" to think about "thee, thee, thee"?   Here's how: 

1.      Don’t accept rude behavior from others -- like those who treat public places like their living rooms.  If you don’t speak up, you are part of the  problem.
2.      Stop and help those in need and enlist the help of others.  You teach by doing.
3.      Relocate the “Turn your cell phone off” signs hung in doctors’ offices to the waiting areas.  Patients deserve as much consideration as do staff – maybe more.

The Bottom Whine:  Empathy is at the heart of morality, civility at the heart of civilization, and whining at the heart of change.
   
                         


               

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Correct Spelling of Perfume = POISON


                

Fragrance hypersensitivity has become the most common allergy among adults. Over two millions Americans suffer from a condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). This means they’re either allergic to the fragrances that go into perfumes, colognes and other scented products,  and/or to the additional twelve to eighteen toxins typically added from a cauldron of 5,000 chemicals.    
                            

These chemicals can cause a variety of allergic reactions, such as headaches, migraines, asthma, wheezing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, inability to concentrate, dizziness, raw throat, and skin allergies such as hives and rashes.

Diethyl phthalate (DEP) and DEHP (now banned in Europe), commonly used in fragrances, have been linked to breast cancer, liver, kidney, and lung damage, weight gain, diabetes, and hormone dysfunction. Other toxins affect brain function and have been linked to Attention Deficit Disorder.   Parabens, frequently used as preservatives, influence early onset of puberty in girls.

A study at the University of Rochester found that women who had used perfumes and other fragranced products twenty-four hours prior to a urine test had three times the amount of the phthalate MEP (linked to breast cancer) in their urine than did women who had not used any fragranced products.   

Even so-called “natural” perfumes or colognes often contain an additive called Geraniol, safe by itself but transformed into the allergen Geranial when in contact with skin enzymes and acids.

On October 3 of this year, a passenger on an air flight reacted to a perfume scent on board and blacked out.  The emergency crew that administered oxygen saved the man’s life.    

I began to wonder – was I putting dangerous chemicals on myself, endangering others, and polluting the environment?      
With the help of a magnifying glass, I read the label on the Lustre-Glo can, which promised to give my house plants “the glow of health.” Although no ingredients were listed, there was a warning to flush immediately if I got any Lustre-Glo on my skin, and if the discomfort continued, to call a doctor.

Lustre-Glo was apparently safe for plants but perilous for humans.  How many other ways was I killing myself?

My deoderant warned:  "Don't wear on broken skin and contact a doctor before using if you have kidney disease” (yup, in that order).   Of the 14 four-syllable ingredients listed, I understood only one -- “fragrance.”  

Now that was frightening; after all, if the manufacturer was willing to list ingredients that sounded like a prescription for chemical warfare, how much more perilous were the toxins that weren’t disclosed; that were hidden within the catchall of “fragrance”?   

My hair gel listed 24 ingredients; among them, Geraniol.  Remember Geraniol?  “…safe until it comes into contact with skin enzymes and acids…”  And my favorite perfume, Coty Musk, didn’t list any ingredients. I Googled “musk” and learned that all musks contain Galaxoide and Tonalide, two contaminants found to harm the endocrine glands.  I pitched the Musk.          

Neither my Revlon Powder nor Blush listed its contents, and the label on my nail polish was unreadable, written in pale white ink and in letters the size of a dot – this size: .
My hair spray listed 31 ingredients, and included the ubiquitous word “fragrance,” while the bathroom freshener contained Benzene and Formaldehyde, two chemicals linked to cancer. 

How can it be that hundreds of chemicals used in every day products go to market untested and that potentially toxic chemicals can be hidden from consumers under the guise of “fragrance”? Isn’t anyone minding the store?   

The National Academy of Sciences has repeatedly asked the FDA to fund research to study the long term effect of toxins on human health.  They have been ignored.  As for mandating that manufacturers list all ingredients in fragranced products on packaging, this isn’t going to happen; at least, not until the Federal Government rescinds the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which exempts manufacturers from disclosure.  Why?  To protect their “proprietary blends” and “trade secrets.”   

Nice!  Protect the potential killers but not the victims!

More people are using more fragrances and more manufacturers are adding more toxins to their products.  The longer a person is exposed to toxins, the greater the possibility that he or she will experience MCS.  Twenty-five percent of the U.S. population is currently projected to have fragrance-related breathing problems by the age of 65.  

But we don’t have to take it!  We can fight back by:

1.      Contacting our U.S. Congressperson and pressing for repeal of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act and demanding that all fragranced products be tested before going to market.   

2.      Boycott fragrance producers who do not list all ingredients (and let them
know). 
           
3.      Ask that your workplace and other public venues become perfume-free environments.  If your health is being compromised, apprise management of the number of successful lawsuits brought against offenders under the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

4.      Join one or more of the organizations fighting for a fragrance-free
Environment:  The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org), the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), and perfumestinks@perfume stinks.

5.      Ask magazines and newspapers publishers who deliver toxic perfume samples inside their pages to remove them before mailing to you.  If they refuse, unsubscribe. 

6.   Follow the tacit advice of perfume manufacturers who have created perfumes that replicate the smell of soap (i.e. Dia PerfumeGold, Happy Heart, Cal Che, Faer des 4, Clean Shower, and My Voyage) by throwing out your perfumes and showering daily -- with soap.  You will save your health, the environment and between $75 and $270 dollars.

                                     
7.      And, finally, always carry a mini-fan with you for self-defense.  Blow unwanted scents back to their offenders.  

THE BOTTOM WHINE   Breathing in fragranced products may be more hazardous to your health than inhaling second-hand smoke.                

                                                             Whiningly yours, Carol