Author Archive

Mansplaining, Defined

Saturday, June 19, 2021, 16:49 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Just a Little Reminder to the Rest of the World

Monday, May 31, 2021, 14:51 EDT Leave a comment

Today is the American holiday of Memorial Day. It’s the equivalent of the day observed on November 11 in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and some mainland European nations to commemorate their military service members who died in war. The date reflects the armistice ending the first World War. So why does the United States honor their war dead every year almost six months earlier?

For one thing, Memorial Day predates World War I by several decades. It is believed to have been first observed on May 30, 1868, three years after the end of the American Civil War, at the direction of Gen. John Logan, Grand Army of the Republic (the organization of Union veterans of the Civil War). It was originally called Decoration Day because women would use the occasion to decorate the graves of dead Civil War soldiers, a common practice going back centuries. While other Civil War remembrances took place in both north and south before the first Decoration Day, May 30, 1868 marks the first organized observance of what would by 1890 become a holiday in every northern state.

By the time a 1967 act of Congress officially named the holiday “Memorial Day,” the observance had come to include the military dead of the two World Wars and the Korean War. In 1971, the official observance of the holiday was changed to the last Monday in May in order to create a long holiday weekend. (The law also moved observance of Washington’s birthday, Labor Day, and Columbus Day to Mondays; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday would join the Monday holidays in 1986.)

Not that the United States failed to commemorate the end of World War I. On the contrary, November 11 was celebrated as Armistice Day unofficially from 1919 and became a legal Federal holiday in 1938. Following the second World War, the end of which was also noteworthy, Congress renamed the holiday Veterans Day in 1954 and left the memorializing of war dead to the end of May.

All of which is a long way of saying that we celebrate Memorial Day instead of Remembrance Day because Memorial Day was established first. And that’s how it came to be that we Americans remember our military countrymen and countrywomen who died in war on the last Monday in May and honor all our mitary veterans on November 11.

The Plague!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2020, 16:35 EDT Leave a comment

[05/18/2020: Minor text edits for clarity and image edits for size. -DM]

It took a global pandemic to get me back here, so first things first:

I’m coronavirus-free, as is every member of the Den family. That’s the good news.

On the downside, I feel like a hostage, and an increasingly broke one at that. All but one of my assorted self-employment ventures have been shut down, and IT SUCKS.

Now that I have that out of the way, allow me to share a couple of memes I made in the early days of the lockdown.

Yeah, it feel like this.

Unfortunately, still true two months later.

On the TP front, I’ve been able to buy it three times: twice from the supermarket (4-roll packs, one per customer) and once at BJ’s Wholesale Club (24-roll pack, one per customer). So we’re actually doing OK. Ditto with tissues and paper towels. I’ve even managed to get my hands on some bleach (store brand, two per customer).

What I can’t seem to find anywhere is rice pilaf, specifically Near East. When did I miss the run on rice pilaf? And don’t get me started on some of the prices, including $4.49 for a pound of store brand butter.

Speaking of prices, one thing that has gone down is gasoline, simply because of the law of supply and demand. Many people are either out of work or working from home, so no gas-guzzling commute. Those who have to drive to their “essential” jobs aren’t going anywhere else. And hallelujah to that, because the last four times I filled up, I paid US$2.09⁹, $1.87⁹, and $1.81⁹ (twice). For my readers north of the border and east of the pond, that’s a price range per liter of US$0.48-$0.55 or, using today’s currency exchange rates, CA$0.68-0.78, €0.44-0.51, or £0.40-0.46. Which I’m pretty sure is less than you’re paying. God bless America.

On the CoVID-19 death front, I feel like the United States should break down their numbers between New York City and everywhere else. But since that isn’t how they’re doing it and I have math fatigue from those gasoline conversions, I’ll go with the national death rate of roughly 271 deaths per 1,000,000 people. Not great by any means (f*ck you, NYC!) but a lot better than France (431), the United Kingdom (511), Italy (528), and Spain (589, ¡madre de Dios!).

I have a LOT to say about who is dying, but that will have to wait for another post. I have to run to the grocery store and buy a lobster for supper ($5.99 for a one-pounder at Price Chopper) and maybe find some rice pilaf.

Oh, who am I kidding? They’re won’t be any rice pilaf.

Email and Alternate Universes

Monday, October 21, 2019, 21:51 EDT Leave a comment

Just dropping in to share a ridiculous exchange I had recently via email. But first, the back story.

I might or might not have mentioned at some point in the past that I get other people’s email on a semi-regular basis. That’s because, as an early adopter of Gmail, I managed to get the address “dmother at gmail dot com” (except with my real first initial and last name) before anybody else could. Since then, every other person with the same first initial and last name has had to add a middle initial or numbers to sign up for Gmail. Then they forget, and they give people their email address as “dmother at gmail dot com” (except with my real first initial and last name). I’ve gotten communications from the schoolteachers of other people’s kids, meeting minutes from other people’s condo associations, and appointment reminders from other people’s doctors. I get account confirmations from StitchFix, I regularly receive earning and leave statement notifications for some unknown military service member. I even once got some guy’s Atlanta Falcons e-tickets the day before the game.

Never before had I gotten into an argument with someone about an email I received in error. That changed on October 1, when I received a FedEx shipment notification about a package for J—–y B—–e of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from a H—–r M—-r at a company called College Chefs. Since I am not now nor have I ever been J—–y B—–e, and I’ve never been to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I decided to notify H—–r M—-r of her error.

From: d—–
To: h—–

You had this sent to the wrong person.

This is the exchange that ensued over the next two days:

From: h—–
To: d—–

What do you mean?

From: d—–
To: h—–

You set up my email address to receive delivery updates for a FedEx shipment. I don’t know who you are, so whomever you wanted to receive FedEx updates must have given you the wrong email address.

From: h—–
To: d—–

Nope… this is not a mistake… I get a lot of emails and texts and phone calls asking me if I have sent out chef coats… These are J—–y B—–e’s chef coats’, he’s the new chef in Alabama.  Moving forward there will be a note in the email that says they are chef coats.

Also, FedEx has a new policy about delivery where sometimes they hold the package at a FedEx location so I want to make sure that the person getting the package the REC and me all know where it is 🙂

Granted you are not one of the people that usually ask me if I sent out chef coats but I’m just gonna send it to everyone to be on the safe side 🙂

She was partially correct: I’m not one of the people that ever asks her if she sent out chef coats. Because what the hell is a chef’s coat?

From: d—–
To: h—–

I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know anything about chef’s coats, I’m not a chef, and I live in Massachusetts. Whoever was getting this shipment, I assure you it isn’t me.

That messaged seems to have convinced H—–r M—-r, and I haven’t heard from her since.

Now ordinarily, when I notify someone that they have the wrong email address, they say either, “Thanks,” or “Sorry!” Because those are normal responses. I mean, I could just delete the email and forget about it, but I try to be helpful, even if the people who give the wrong email address don’t deserve my help with their stupid error. The Falcons ticket guy, whom I was able to call because the email with his e-tickets listed his name and phone number, was exceedingly grateful that I offered to forward the tickets to his real email address. So I have to wonder, when H—–r was told that I didn’t know who she was, who the package recipient was, or what a chef’s coat was, whatever possessed her to argue with me?

Whatever. It’s over, and I don’t expect to hear from H—–r M—-r at College Chefs again. Now if I can only figure out how to notify the U.S. Department of Defense that I don’t need to keep getting some unknown service member’s earnings and leave statements.

Categories: stupidity

English vs. Leftish

Sunday, August 19, 2018, 22:54 EDT Leave a comment

If you’re fortunate enough (and smart enough) to be multi-lingual, you know how useful it is to be able to understand and even converse with people who don’t speak your native tongue. In this age of political insanity, it is especially useful to know a language spoken by those on the left end of the political spectrum. I call that language, which uses actual English words but gives them entirely different meanings, Leftish.

Leftish has its roots in the propaganda long used by people of all political persuasions. But it did not begin to form as a separate language until the 1960s, when leftists began losing their minds. That was the decade when they said that Barry Goldwater would start World War III and U.S. soldiers killed Vietnamese babies. The language developed further in the 1980s with dire warnings that Ronald Reagan, if (re-)elected President, would start World War III (yes, they were already running out of ideas and yes, some still thing he almost did). Fast forward to the 2000s, when the next generation of the loony left declared that George W. Bush was Hitler. Most recently, they insist that Donald Trump is Hitler and everyone who doesn’t #resist him is a racist and a fascist and a Nazi. But enough about the history of Leftish.

For your edification, you will find herewith a sampling of actual entries from the very first edition of The Den Mother’s New Collegiate English-Leftist Dictionary (with a hat tip to Merriam-Webster for English definitions).

Word English Leftish
choice noun : a range of things that can be chosen noun : abortion
democracy noun : government by the people; especially rule of the majority noun : government by leftists, regardless of who constitutes the majority
fascist noun : one advocating strong autocratic or dictatorial control noun : anyone a leftist doesn’t like : synonym of Nazi
hate transitive verb : to feel extreme enmity toward : to regard with active hostility intransitive verb : to disagree with a leftist
immigrant noun : a person who comes to a country to live there noun : a person who comes to a country illegally to live there
journalism noun : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media noun : the process of deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on leftists*
justice noun : the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals noun : the process or result of doing whatever leftists want
morality noun : beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior noun : something you can’t legislate, unless it involves
Read more…
Categories: language, politics

Battling the Evil Foe

Monday, August 13, 2018, 23:34 EDT Leave a comment

I do a fair amount of reading and posting on social media, mostly Twitter and Facebook, with an occasional post to Instagram or Snapchat just to pretend I’m hip. One thing I’ve noticed on Twitter is that there are a lot of leftists who have gone, shall we say, batshit crazy since Donald Trump was elected President.

Examples of said lunacy could (and will soon) fill another post. My point here is that most of them, while nuts, probably aren’t actually evil, with notable exceptions including the ironically self-titled “antifa” fascists who promote violence against Trump voters, the Bernie Sanders volunteer who attempted to assassinate Republican legislators at a baseball practice, and the actual member of Congress who encouraged her minions to stalk members of Trump’s cabinet and “create a crowd […] push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Because nothing says “Democrat” quite like excluding, by force, huge swaths of the nation’s population from public life.

Almost without exception, these more extreme leftists post their incitements to vandalism, assault, and homicide on Twitter with impunity, while mainstream consesrvative users get suspended for insulting someone. In response, some right-of-center folks migrated over to a social media site called Gab which was started in mid-2016 as a censorship-free alternative to Twitter. The trouble is that the promise of a totally open platform also attracted the far-right’s version of far-left eliminationists: neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists, and others who, for unfathomable reasons, consider themselves superiod to blacks, Jews, and others they imagine to be “lesser races.”

I can’t explain why, but over this last week I decided to get myself on Gab and confront the haters. I included in my profile that I wanted to challenge anti-semites. After less than a day, I was so rapidly and viciously attacked with the vilest racist sludge that my instinctive response was, “These people are possessed.” And I don’t mean that figuratively. Here’s a sampling of some of the tamer posts that came my way:

Jack Parsons @JackParsons
It’s okay, just remember that the (((Holocaust))) is a hoax.

James Herzog @TheRealJamesHerzog
The holocaust never happened but I wish it did.

jerry huxley @lestermacgurdy
“I was tired of the far-right anti-semitism I saw on a daily basis.”
Me too. it’s not as bad as the fucking niggers and kikes though.

One individual, in response to a post in which I quoted scripture regarding Jesus’s command to love one’s neighbor, claimed that this verse at the end of the parable of the ten gold coins (Luke 19:11-27)…

“Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.”

…proves that Jesus wanted the Jews gassed during the Holocaust.

The only other time in my life I felt so strongly like I was in the presence of true evil was back in the early 1990s when a Planned Parenthood abortionist, picketing a campaign event I was attending for a pro-life Congressional candidate, screamed in my face that “the best thing that could happpen” to me was to be raped and get pregnant.

Now, I’m an active Catholic who believes that the devil is real and at work through people here on earth. But I’ve never been one to confront troublemakers with shouts of, “The power of Christ compels you!” I’ve never even said an audible “Amen” in the middle of an especially inspiring homily. That’s why even I was surprised by my response to the attacks: I wrote that, in the name of Jesus, I rebuked Satan and prayed the love of Jesus to enter the hearts of the posters. Literally, that’s the kind of language I used. I went all exorcist on their bigotted asses. And as anyone who ever saw The Exorcist might expect, my invocation of Jesus’s name only riled them up more.

It might sound strange, and it’s certainly out of character for me, but I really do feel like I’m being asked by God to pray for deliverance for these people and to continue confronting them with scripture. Which is bound to be more effective than trying to reason with people who reject evidence and logic by simply claiming they are part of a worldwide campaign of misinformation by “the Jews.”


Saturday, August 11, 2018, 22:04 EDT Leave a comment

I just realized that most of the graphics (buttons, banners, etc.) in the sidebar are MIA. That’s because I recently got rid of my old web site, where those graphics resided. I still have them but have to upload them to WordPress. Bear with…

Categories: Uncategorized

Life Happens, But You Can’t Always See It Well

Saturday, August 11, 2018, 21:44 EDT Leave a comment

Yes, I know. Every time I post after a long absence, I promise to stick around. The trouble is that I’m always thinking, I’ll post as soon as I have more time. As if that ever works. Anyhoo, here I am, for now. The future is uncertain for us all.

What’s been going on in the Den world? Or more appropriately, what hasn’t been going on? I need at least a few posts to even begin to answer that question, but the most recent development, a mere nine days ago, was cataract surgery. Frankly, I’m horrified that I developed cataracts at my not-so-advanced age (50-something). Many moons ago, my ophthalmologist (now retired) told me that if I were lucky, I’d develop cataracts young. His reasoning was that my vision was so terrible that I should want to get lens implants that would also correct my nearsightedness, which by last January required and eyeglasses prescription of -14.5 OD, -15.0 OS to allow me to sort of see.

When I first got glasses at age 6, I had to wear them all the time from the get-go, which means I probably should have gotten them sooner, but if bad vision is what you’re used to, how do you know to complain? In high school, I moved on to contact lenses, which I’ve worn without incident until the last few years when my eyes started getting dry in the evenings. Another ocular symptom of aging, apparently.

The truth is that my vision hasn’t been correctable to 20/20 in decades, but eye surgery was never something to which I aspired. My eyes may suck, I reasoned, but they’re the only eyes I have and every surgery carries risks and did you just say they have to cut into my eyeball? Nope, I’m not going there.

That was before my driving was adversely affected by the cloudiness and refractory properties (read: triple vision) my particular cataracts were causing. (Don’t get me wrong, I continued driving, but only in familiar areas and I was extra careful lest I get into an accident that would obviously be my fault.) So yes, I did a complete 180° on the topic and looked far and wide for a surgeon who could do the job ASAP. In May, I found one, and due to circumstances I won’t go into now, I got in to see him in ten days and got scheduled for my first surgery less than three months later. Evidently, being unable to see is sufficient motivation to put my fear aside and go under the knife. (If you’re curious what cataract surgery look like, watch this, unless watching someone’s eyeball be cut into freaks you out.)

To say I was nervous is the understatement of the year. I had to be at the hospital at 7:30 for 9:30 surgery, and at about 8:45, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Richmond, came in to go over my surgical history and medications and all that. I told him I wanted to go to sleep, be oblivious for the 15 minutes it takes to vacuum out the old, cloudy lens from my left eye and put a shiny new artificial one in its place, wake up, and go home. So when he told me that wasn’t possible because I had to be at least aware enough to respond to the surgeon’s instructions (“Look right, look left, look straight ahead,” or whatever), I was not pleased. But I can bargain with the best of them, and I made him a proposition. (No, not that kind of proposition. Get your mind out of the gutter.) I proposed that if at any point I were too conscious to be comfortable, I would tell him, and that would be his cue to give me sufficiently more sedative drugs to render me only as conscious as absolutely necessary and not a bit more. He agreed.

So what was the surgery like? I can’t tell you, because Dr. Richmond, whom I now call Dr. Feelgood, is the BEST ANESTHESIOLOGIST EVER. All I remember is about five seconds during which the surgeon, Dr. Luna, said, “Den Mother,” (OK, he used my actual name, but you get the point), “I need you to look straight at the light,” at which point I looked straight at the light. And that’s all I remember. Thinking back on it, I should have been scared shitless, having seen Poltergeist AND read enough about near-death experiences to know that “Go into the light” is usually not a good thing if you’re not quite ready to join either the dead or the undead. But I was too stoned to be worried, because Dr. Feelgood.

When I awoke, my eye hurt like a mofo. All my friends and relatives who’ve had cataract surgery, not to mention the surgeon himself, told me I’d feel not really pain but just discomfort, like the sensation of something in my eye that didn’t belong there. The sensation I felt was indeed like something was in my eye, but that something was a fork that stabbed my eye every time I blinked. Turns out I have “very sensitive eyes,” which is the highly technical term the surgeon used. To prevent the fork-stabbing sensation, he made a pressure patch for my eye that kept the eyelid closed (as opposed to the regular rigid patch they normally give you to keep you from accidentally poking yourself in said eye). By the next day when the patch came off, I felt pretty good, and it’s been all uphill since.

Did I mention that I CAN SEE?????? Well, out of one eye, anyway. Monday I’ll get the date for my right eye. I’m hoping for As Soon As Humanly Possible, as it’s slightly disorienting to have 20/20 vision in one eye and about 20/60 (with a contact lens) in the other. Also, I’d like to have it done before I go to Hawaii in September (a subject for another post). Until then, it’s enough to know that I can actually get to 20/20.

In the course of this whole ordeal, by the way, I learned that there is an actual medical term for what I always called “really bad vision”: bilateral pathologic myopia. Basically, it means that I am severely nearsighted in both eyes, caused (I never knew this part either) by an elongation of my eyeball. Myopia (nearsightedness) is caused by a slightly misshapen eyeball, but pathologic myopia is caused by a more severely misshapen eyeball, less like a basketball than like a rugby ball. That also makes me more susceptible to retinal tears and detachments because the retina is abnormally stretched, though the surgeon I saw at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary for a second opinion told me my retinas looked a lot better than he expected. I also have something called bilateral posterior vitreal detachment, which is actually fairly common as we age; it’s what causes “floaters,” those little squiggly things that appear to move across your field of vision when you blink. I’ve had floaters for a while and have pretty much gotten used to them.

All of which is a long way of saying that I couldn’t see very well two weeks ago but now I can, if only out of one eye, and I am most thankful to God, modern medicine, and Dr. Luna. And, of course, Dr. Feelgood.

Categories: health/safety

Just Thinking…

Friday, October 6, 2017, 20:24 EDT Leave a comment

…about saying yet another good-bye to the love of my life last December. I did a few things immediately—deleted him from my cell phone, BlackBerry Messenger, and LinkedIn connections; changed the computer passwords that referenced him; put away the plaque he gave me for my 18th birthday (an Albert Camus quote, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”)—and resolved to move on once and for all. He was satisfied with the crumbs of our former relationship and I wanted the whole relationship. As the saying goes, when someone shows you who he is, believe him.

I haven’t written about it here, partly because I didn’t want to rip off the scab and partly because nothing worth writing had crystalized in my mind. But a song just shuffled up on my phone that hit the nail on the head back then. It was written by Stephen Stills, though it could have been written by me if only I had the songwriting talent of Stephen Stills. It’s comforting to know during challenging times that I’m not the only person who has ever been disappointed, and I certainly won’t be the last.

And so begins the task
I have dreaded the coming of for so long
I wait for the sun
To remind my body it needs resting

And I must learn to live without you now
I must learn to give only part somehow

Camping on the edge of your city, I wait
Hoping someday you might see beyond yourself
Shadows on the ceiling, hard but not real
Like the bars that cage you within yourself

And I must learn to live without you now
I must learn to give only part somehow

And I must learn to live without you now
As I cannot learn to give only part somehow

All of these cages must and shall be set aside
They will only keep us from the knowing
Actors and stages now fall before the truth
As the love shared between remains growing

And I must learn to without you now
As I cannot learn to give only part somehow

And that’s the end of that. Stay tuned for the next great adventure.

Categories: love

This Weekend, Remember: Memorial Day Is NOT Veterans Day

Sunday, May 28, 2017, 20:33 EDT Leave a comment


It happens every year. Someone, on TV or radio or just in conversation, calls on Americans to thank soldiers and veterans for their service during Memorial Day weekend. Some people will correct that error, or so they believe, saying that Memorial Day is a day to remember all deceased service members. I am of the opinion that every day is an appropriate day to acknowledge soldiers and veterans, dead or alive. And we have a holiday for specifically that recognition. It just isn’t in May.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, here is the history of Memorial Day:

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. […]

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

While Memorial Day is a uniquely American holiday, other nations observe a similar remembrance day. In fact, that’s what it’s called: Remembrance Day. Originally called Armistice Day, it takes place on November 11, the date the armistice ending hostilities in World War I went into effect. Remembrance Day is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, and other nations that were part of the British empire during World War I. The United States originally observed Armistice Day as well but later changed it. Again, according to the VA:

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

And how you know that Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor not veterans in general, but those members of our armed forces who died in war. The next time someone gets it wrong, you can set them right.

Categories: history, holidays, military