Pretty Senseless!

On October 3rd., 2018, I tuned in to the local ABC News Channel and heard the hosts citing statistics on how 1 in every 3 adults in the US – 85 million people, according to them – have Fast Food on a daily basis. This is probably a skewed marketing statistic, as many are. If true though, or even partially true, it is very sad, and probably why this nation ingests more medications than anywhere else on the planet. Statistics are useful when they make sense, not when they are slanted to brainwash, or when they become a corporate, or political marketing tool, as they often are. That is Pretty Senseless!

Here are some funny sayings from the goodreads.com website:

There are three types of lies . . . lies, damn lies and statistics.

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable. (Mark Twain)

99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story. (Ron Delegge II)

Therefore, whenever anyone tells me: “the statistics are . . . “ I take it with a grain – big grain – of salt!

Having said that, and, with all the talk that has been madly swirling around the Supreme Court and the Kavanaugh/Ford hearings, as well as the unending superficial hyperventilation of our so-called MSM, the horrific subjects of sexual assault and rape have emerged, once again, into national prominence. Moreover, the fact that Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for their work with victims of rape makes the subject even more internationally poignant. So here are some statistics from NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center) that, unlike most others, I truly believe:

1 in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.

1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.

96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of those are adults.

34% who sexually abuse a child are family members.

An estimated number of children who are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation per year is 325,000.

Average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14, and boys 11-13.

20% to 25% of college women, and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their college years.

These statistics are awful and infuriating. However, I have great respect for NSRVC and other such institutions that are informing us about the numbers of BOTH girls AND boys who fall prey to such traumatic experiences. And, even though females are abused at much higher numbers than males, Trauma has no Gender Preference. Moreover, when we take into consideration the rape and assault of boys in Catholic Schools and Churches; the sham “marriages” of underage girls to much older men, which are nothing but rape; the rapes and assaults happening in offices and businesses such as the television and movie industries; the girls and boys being raped and assaulted by their sports coaches; rape and sexual assault in our military; the cases of incest and the many, many other unreported sex crimes it makes me wonder what kind of a people are we? How truly “civilized” are we as every day, it seems, more scum is being revealed, and more scumbags are being exposed? And in attempting to change course and right the wrongs how many innocent boys and men will we be sacrificing because some woman lied, as some definitely do? And how many girls and women will we never even hear of because of their shame, traditions and/or fear? And how many men will be assaulting and raping vulnerable and trafficked women right this moment and across our sorry world?

And after all these decades and centuries of knowing all this we are still bringing up boys while overtly, or covertly, supporting a sick culture and its nauseating manifestation of a manhood that includes rape as an instrument of war and machoism; and of girls who behave like sexual objects willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder for money, for fame, for drugs, because of their low self-esteem etc. Whether you call them Tinderellas, call girls, mistresses, sluts, or prostitutes, the nomenclature is irrelevant, because the end game is one and the same. The US is the world leader in objectifying and sexualizing females in the service of a greedy and vile corporate culture that utilizes sex to sell anything and everything from food products, to pharmaceuticals to vacations, to entertainment of all sorts. Are we then surprised by the results this sick culture produces?

If only we can all be MeToo until we bring up girls and boys who have self-respect and respect for others in every sense of the word. And, as I have mentioned in a previous post, while the responsibility of overcoming this scourge is on each and every one of us, I truly hope that we could avoid clipping the wings of romance, playfulness and flirtation between the sexes as that would eventually turn us into asexual boring robots, wouldn’t it? Could we, perhaps, keep a balance and not go to zealous extremes as we are so very prone to do, especially in these unhinged United States?

What more proof of our extremism do we need other than listening to the political parties from the Left and from the Right? I feel as if there is no room for sensible discussions anymore, not on the subject of rape, sexual assault, poverty, gun violence, climate change or any issue. Shouldn’t we, at some point, put the interests of society above those of financial or political gain, mainly because this extremism is becoming a more dangerous game by the day? I am also so tired of politicians and journalists who speak from both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they support any and all wars – even those based on lies, as most are – for no reason whatsoever except profit and dominance. On the other hand, they trample and disregard justice, human rights and internationally accepted values whenever it is convenient for their sordid agendas. Double standards and hypocrisy galore, and it sure sounds like civility, common sense and reason are nowhere to be found inviting the anger and frustration we are witnessing daily and that ultimately lead to societal turbulence, and, yes, rape and sexual assault amongst other acts of violence. Pretty Damn Senseless!



Crossword Puzzles

I have been enjoyably doing Crossword Puzzles for about thirty years. I started with the ones in the newspaper, and later I graduated to buying books. Crosswords are a wonderful pastime that challenge my wits, dig into my brain-files for general information data and give me a smug sense of achievement by solving them. They provide me with the feeling that I am in control of this little black and white grid. There are no nuances within that space: no gray, dark gray, light gray, off white, ivory, ecru or, ebony, inky, or whatever other shades of these two basic colors that exist. Simply black and white! In a world that I am not at all in control of, except within the confines of my own living space, and barely that to be honest, the feeling that I can solve one little problem in a world that has so many of them offers me a small consolation that, perhaps, some of our myriad dilemmas, could also be solved one day. Once I look up, though, from my controllable grid to the television screen news, I realize that I am, quite possibly, delusional. Damn!

They say that Arthur Wynne, who hailed from Liverpool, England and later on moved to the US, was the inventor of Crossword Puzzles. He did that in 1913. Later on, and in 1924, Simon, of Simon & Schuster fame, published the first Crossword Puzzle book. I owe these two gentlemen a debt of gratitude for the immense amount of pleasurable hours I have spent enjoying the fruits of their labor!

The pastime suffered its few tragedies, though, as many inventions often do. In 1924, a woman in Chicago sued for divorce, because, she said, her husband was spending too much time solving Crosswords and hardly any working! The judge instructed the man in question not to attempt solving more than three grids a day . . . or, else! And, in 1925, a New York Telephone Company employee shot his wife because she wouldn’t help him solve his Crossword! Go figure! And, in 1926, a man from Budapest apparently committed suicide and left a suicide note in the form of a Crossword Puzzle that nobody succeeded in solving! Why am I not surprised at how inane and insane humanity can be? Maybe because I am an avid “Judge Judy” viewer? Other than the fact that Judy is fantastic, her program is hilarious in a way, sad in another. The litigants are a cross-section of society providing me with a bird’s eye view of how trivial, petty, vindictive, lying, thieving, nonsensical, and plain idiotic humanity can often be. This is not a problem of poor, or ignorant people, for, rich people, too, suffer from these same afflictions, if not worse, as one can witness reading some of Vanity Fair’s articles on such subjects and watching Dateline. It is simply our greedy, wicked and evil human nature.

I solve my Crosswords with a ballpoint pen. Most of them are perfect, some I get stumped on and find out that I had inserted the wrong word and then I have to smudge over that in order to correct my mistake, which irritates me like hell! Bill Clinton solved his grids with pen also. I remember reading this when he first became President. Of course, the writer of that piece (I forgot who that was) meant to portray how smart Bill is. Actually, he is a smart fellow if only he had kept his flyer zipped and spared himself and the nation all that salacious embarrassment! And, not that we haven’t seen much, much worse since then! Goodness Gracious!

Apparently, too, Queen Elizabeth at 92 still solves her Crossword Puzzles, as does Betty White at 96! I am in good company, it seems!

It is said that doing a daily Crossword Puzzle, or two, or three, keeps our minds agile and in good shape. Some have even gone so far as to state that this pastime will delay, or deter, dementia. Frankly, no one really knows the secrets of the brain and how it works. At least, not yet. Crosswords are one of the tools that might help in that regard, however, there is so much more to our brain-puzzle, isn’t there? Primarily, it must be our genes that dictate the machinations of our brains; then there is what we ingest into our bodies; the way we live our life; our experiences and what we make of them; our environment and so much more! The important thing to remember is not what pastime we choose to occupy ourselves with in order to remain alert, for there are so many to select from, but our attitude and our outlook. These are always the bottom line in any endeavor, aren’t they?

Crossword Puzzles present us with a set of Clues: Across and Down, and a grid with black squares and white squares situated randomly where we are concerned, but make sense to the designer of that grid. Our mission is to decode the Clues in order to arrive to words that will fit into the white squares, thus Solving the Puzzle. Our World, too, has always given us Clues on how to Solve our Problems. These Clues have come to us from Nature itself, from Seers and Wise Sages, Poets, Historians and Philosophers throughout time, and from our own Trials, Errors and Experiences. However, we are so Corrupt, so Vain and Arrogant that we are always arriving to a Word and moving the black squares in order to make our Word fit, rather than finding another Word that would do so without disrupting the grid. Ergo, we end up with a chaotic grid that renders a Solution Impossible. How Wicked is that? We do that in solving our personal, as well as our world problems in this flawed method, and, possibly, that’s why we have never arrived to any sensible solutions for our intractable difficulties. I am as flawed as the next person, and just because I have the gift of expressing matters in words doesn’t make me less flawed than the next person. Nevertheless, the sense of satisfaction I get when I arrive to that Ta Da! Moment after solving a Crossword makes me wonder if our corrupt politicians, greedy corporate heads and wicked media personalities ever think of life this way, or any other way that compels them to doing what’s right and not what is politically, or financially expedient. Frankly, and judging from the state of our Planet, and, especially, in these United States, I don’t think that they have, nor is there a shred of hope, at this point, that seems to hold promise! Ach!