Nice Folks 2.0

This is the follow-up story to the article “Nice Folks” which was published on March 9th. These stories are about a gang of seemingly average folks who are taking over multiple Facebook groups, in the guise of free speech, in order to push what very much looks like an anti-minority agenda.

Following the publishing of the first story, despite all pleas in contrary to the story by these people, that they are only exercising free speech of tastelessness – no real foul, they persisted in harassing people as usual. I was one of the people they contacted in an attempt to intimidate me into haranguing the AuntieThis writers to take down their story. True to their historical form, they seemed to pointedly revel in harassment toward people of color, in particular Indigenous women.

It was rather interesting to watch this reaction of concern for themselves, considering their own direct and very public harassment was seen by hundreds for sure, but more likely by thousands. In any case, there is nothing within these story details that has not been put out in the public realm by themselves and their friends.

I find it interesting that people continue to allow these people to fly with their vitriol. I have to wonder if this is in fear or with the view it’s cheap entertainment. Whatever the motives for sitting back, I am very glad to know there are other groups of people willing to step up and counter these growing voices of prejudice.

RL

auntiethis

Nice Folks 2.0
Last week we had a conversation about one of those “Nice Folks” problems: the kind you have when Nice Folks say the things that run around in their head out loud – and are surprised when people get mad.  Surprised and confused; cause they’ve been talking like that for years, and nobody said much about it.  If you need an update, you can find it here

Long story short: Margo pulled herself off-line; was in tears for days; worried about her kids – a lot; and went to the police.  Or not.

Because she stayed online the whole time – under one of her “alt” profiles, and just kept playing for attention; was laughing about it the day it happened – and ultimately had this to say:

Margos Wish

Because, ultimately, it was all about getting the attention.

What Margo was doing was using hate-speech to get attention; and that’s a big…

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Posted in Discrimination, First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, Internet Abuse, Racism, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

First Blog Resulted in 3 Unbelievable Opportunities!

Four years today… Blog Womaning bliss! The outlet for personal record became a portal of learning, teaching opportunities and making contact with the some of the greatest examples of human decency – and well, admittedly, an occasional dip toward the lowest. Luckily, those are very few, kind of like that deal I got to mull over not long after my first post back then…

teacher blackboard green irishI was really quite flattered when after I published my first blog, I received some attention from a fellow blogger with a message to follow his blog too.  I looked at his page and saw it was very well done. Quite sophisticated and up to date with all kinds of interesting media to flip through.  I liked, as in appreciated the post that was at the top of his published works. Nicely written, inspirational. Even more impressive was how young he was – only 18 yrs.  So, I hit the like button and even clicked on the blog ‘follow’ button.

Not long after, I started receiving inspirational emails from him that included ideas on changing my life, by changing my financial circumstances, by learning a really, super cool way to earn a living via my blog!  This guy did it and look, he’s only 18 and already retired in the Thai jungle of his retirement dreams – as demonstrated in his selfie-video telling me so.

The promo soundbites were right up my marketing background alley; though slight, the description sounded reasonable and plausible.  So, I followed the links as directed and got to a 45 minute video of two guys sitting casually in elegant chairs in front of a beautiful interior pool of an obviously expensive house.  My spidey senses began to web-out.

The guys opened their pitch with their personal histories and like young blog guy, they described their beginnings from nothing, with little prospects.  One had actually lived out of a van that cost less than the pen he was holding in his hand.  It was a pretty good looking pen.

The beautiful house was also his, and we wouldn’t believe that all he has now, was achieved after figuring out – are you ready for this – a simple, 3 step idea for making millions via the internet.

About 20 minutes into alternating the talk between how really hard life had been for them, yet so drastically changed with little effort into the still unexplained way they did it, another screen flashed up under their picture.  If I act now, for only $25, I will learn (finally) the secret 3 step plan for making millions – or as much as I am willing to work for, it’s all up to me – but I better hurry because there are limited spots left.  Ugh! Gut instinct confirmed, video turned off.

Pffftt! The not so secret ‘secret’ was revealed; original flattery flattened, thrill about having blog skillz fizzled. Hell, maybe I even did miss an opportunity to ‘retire at 18’, but I trusted my gut and I’m sure I’m richer from not doling out those bucks.

What this did do, was get me thinking about all these pyramid or multi-level marketing schemes that come up over and over. Sometimes they provide genuine product offerings, but mostly they’re about the quickest immediate cash grab for the idea guys.

I can’t begin to count how many of these pitches/ads/infomercials I’ve seen and you know what they all have in common?  Vans.  Ever notice that too?  Almost every one of these self-made from dirt poor guys who luck-out on the answer to millions, start out by living in vans.  Really shaky rickety vans too.

I’m re-thinking plans for my son’s formal education after high school.  I’m going to just shove him into a van when he’s 18 and say, “Go forth, my son, and prosper”!  Bring me back one of those expensive pens when you’ve made it.

This lit up the third idea bulb – I’m going into the old van selling business.  Low overhead; at near break-down level anyway. We’ll sell ’em to these young guys who’ll eventually get rich. Win-win. Whose in? Time limited offer. Oh, and my son gets his half-price.

Top of the marnin’ ta ya, (sorry about that)

…and a round of green full-bodied gratitude with a heady froth of love for these awesome folks, each a very fine mug-O’-talent; thanks for the ongoing support and friendship over these years…

Cheers,
Ned Hickson
Le Drake Noir
Robert Hookey
Trent’s World
Joanne at My Life Lived Full
Lynne at Life After 50
Jill’s Scene
Dan Antion
Randall Willis

RL

Posted in Blogging, Junk Mail, Life, Lighter Side, Storytelling, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Nice Folks

A very worthy read; a must-see to the end: when “Nice Folks” act on racism… This could be Anytown, North America. I see the comments featured in this story every day on social media in various groups, within news story comments, even within the legislative assemblies of our allegedly finest citizens, as happened yesterday when one of Canada’s Senators let it be known in chambers that the horrific residential schools that tore Indigenous / Native American families apart and subjected them to the same horrors and deaths as the Jewish encampments, were ‘good for the children’ and why aren’t the ‘positive stories being the focus’?

I won’t expand on that now, but you can follow this link to read that story.

This story is about your everyday folks, healthcare workers, school volunteers, your neighbourhood mom and dads. These are the people that support the most vile of society, who desire to revel in racism in the lowliest ways to work at reinforcing their need for a sense of superiority… Oh, and they’re your neighbours too…

PostScript: Following my sharing this auntiethis blog story, and applying a comment to it, I was contacted on Facebook privately and publicly by members of the group featured. They insulted, denigrated and attempted to intimidate me into taking this post down and removing my share on Facebook. They threatened to use my public photos for their nefarious purposes to implying they would sue. The only reason I am caught up in this one is, the auntiethis blog republished about 4 or 5 of my previous articles and these Sherlock Holmes deduced that since I’m noted on their past publishing, I must be ‘the writer’ – of this story and of the auntiethis blog. I am neither, but I would have been proud to put my own name on the story. My response to their harassment is, I can’t wait for the next installment of their story to come out.

RL

auntiethis

Nice Folks

Nice Folks are a problem: usually because their greatest aspiration is to be nice.
To be “nice”, they are specialists in “going along to get along” – or is that “getting along to go along”?  They’ll literally join any crowd; go in any parade; accept anything that’s going on around them to – well, to simply make sure they don’t stand out.  They just run their lives based on something called “Common Sense”; which they think means the same thing as “Reality”, and practice like a religion.  The fact that their common sense is simply a mix of myths and legends that they learned in school – or the movies – or on TV – doesn’t seem to intrude on them.  Common sense is easier that Google, and serves them to get through their lives; walking with the herd; not getting into any kind of trouble.

The picture above is…

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Posted in First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, Internet Abuse, Native Americans, Racism, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

String O’ Tears

puppeteerFor a friend….

A message, a song, prose of awareness to carry to your fair-weather friend

That really great one who utterly love-bombs you, repeatedly – if not ceaselessly
Bombards you hard enough to make you forget your own fugging mind
The mind that used to have instincts that automatically waved red flags
Those inner stirrings of wariness that led you right from wrong
When you weren’t the puppet you became in order to earn more ear candy
Those sweets that plump your heart and keenly sink into your under-nourished psyche

Enough sugar to make you think you are the brightest, funniest, loveliest star ever found
And he will always assert with that add-on: …“and I have known many a crispy star”
And so he enlists you to spy, cajole, and/or keep an eye out for reporting purposes
Ah, soon we learn a puppeteer’s affinity with clowns runs more extensively than skin deep…
He uses you to mark his territory, share his dirty deeds; you’re his unique ‘love in crime’
& if reports are interesting enough, he will even step out from behind his shield of breasts
To poke his nose out gingerly, which counts as brave for this completely scar-less ‘warrior’

You do it because, sigh, someone has finally or fully seen how really special you are
And, no real harm, just a bit of fun, just messing a little with idiots & low-lifes after all
‘Cause beneath it all, he’s a nice guy, so alone & a little scared, mostly misunderstood
Your maternal instinct will fill in all the excuses he hints at to make you both feel better
In gratitude, he’ll toss you more necklaces hand-beaded with extra-honeyed accolades

He’ll gift you amusing anecdotes and witticisms du jour and you’ll both laugh and laugh
Or he’ll wax on spiritual depth, prophet-like and it’ll be like you’ve bathed in enlightenment
So many days in a year, so many appropriated lines to unveil, so many toys available for play
Oh, to be free of those strings, to dance around and around a stage, firm and stable
Where the feelings and thoughts and words fed to your soul are unfeigned

Oh, to live, only where love is real and the only strings attached are honestly heart to heart

RL

Posted in Life, Pain, Poetry, Prose, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Friday Funnies; ‘Cause We Took a Vote and the Electoral Meme College Carried It

So, so many memes, so, so little time…

Hey look, we survived the overwhelming jolly, holly season, the January blues, the February blahs and election seasons that never seem to end even when they’re like, finished – officially and everything… So sometimes we get to kick back and revel in a little super lazy; it’s like normal lazy, but we’re wearing a cape. Just another super power to revel in.  OK then, let’s go! What’s in the wind this week?  Saddle up!

ranch-dressing

Yippee ky Aaaaaa… giddy up there,         ranch dude.

Wheeeeeeee... when you really wanna keep the kids quiet. What? Too dark?

Wheeeeeeee… when you really wanna keep the kids quiet. What? Too dark?

surprised-cat-3

OK then, moving on…

Oh com'n... look for it

Oh com’n… look for it.  My ex’s twin.

Send for the full instruction video for only $29.95, S&H extra.

Send for the full instruction video for only $29.95, Genuine NRA approved     S&H extra.

spiders

I love spunk! Don’t we all love spunk? Someone give him a little pat…

sup

Fair number of us see similar when we turn on the bedside lamp.

this-is-angry

Yeah, that’s some real Hulk skillz right there.

testing-lab

Yeah, I generally throw in a PSA about here. Be safe out there, kids.

Oh, WTH, we'll give you 2 PSAs this month...

Oh, WTH, nothing wrong with throwing in a helpful hint too.

sleeping

Wild life game park safari

Continuing the wild life safari...

You should see them rev up during mating season…

And the reason we've reached this level of lackadaisical journalistic effort...

…And the reason we’ve reached this level of lackadaisical journalistic effort…

Sigh…

That’s it for this week and in all honesty I’m not sure what’s in store next. I have no idea whether I’ll be back to railing at politics, detailing social issues, or releasing steam through haikus. So, like the tagline implies, come back for what you think you’re gonna get, stay for the surprise!

Have an awesome weekend!

RL

Posted in Humor, Laughs, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

I Know What You Did Last Summer; We’ll Speak No Evil

No, I don’t really know what you did last summer nor the summer before. Not even the summer I originally wrote this, but although circumstances changed for some of us, I know it still speaks to what someone is enduring today. We all cope with painful events, but is it also necessary for them to be hidden, secreted away for whatever sake?

I live in an average nice community of nice families. We’re privileged to send our children to wonderful schools and numerous extracurricular activities.  We live in a flurry of motion around those needs, our work, and the occasional indulgences for grown-ups.  We live a life of wonderful.  At least, from all appearances that’s what it seems like.

The truth behind this peaceful picture is that life is really not unlike the quiet drama worthy of Wisteria Lane, the street belonging to the now defunct TV show Desperate Housewives.

see-no-evil-speak-no-evil-hear-no-evil

Of our group of housewives, two have just got diagnoses for severe diseases. One is being supported ideally, the other enduring the painful lesson of learning who her real friends are and terribly embarrassed about it. One of us is managing stage 4 cancer. That’s dismal enough, but what’s not so well-known is that she is also enduring painful loneliness caused by friends too afraid to visit anymore. One of us left a husband who drank too much and another got away from her abusive husband. Of course, nobody would ever have guessed that about either of those husbands.

Still more, there are a few of us living in quiet desperation while trying to find ways to re-kindle the strength of our relationships, and there are at least five of us in serious financial jeopardy. Another, utterly crushed by the tragic news that her father, who was out on a stroll, was killed by a stranger for no apparent reason.  Another average year in the neighbourhood except that, unless you’re one of us directly involved, you wouldn’t know it.

We talk easily about certain subjects, other people who are fighting illnesses, etc., but there are other aspects even within that topic that aren’t talked about. These are the subjects that are too awful or too personal.  But what does too personal really mean?  Is ‘too personal’ a masked phrase for ‘must be kept quiet in order to preserve a comfortable, but false, image’?  What is the image? What is the reward for preserving it?

Over the years, life has progressively got just a little more real for many of us.  We all know that happens on an intellectual level, but when it happens to us, we aren’t comfortable talking about it. We may very selectively choose whomever to unburden ourselves to a point. The trials of something breaking down are uncomfortable, often thought to be some kind of failing.

We don’t talk about these ‘failings’ beyond a certain level because?  You fill in the blank, but I’d bet all the answers will boil down to the fear of being judged.  If it’s about inability to cope with discussion, that’s another story, but maybe that’s a walk down the same road too anyway.

All of the events I noted are supposedly out of the ordinary, but I’ve been reconsidering this idea because they are all circumstances that happen every day somewhere near and far. What isn’t obvious, because of pretenses, is that there is virtually no household that hasn’t, or isn’t dealing with something they don’t want the neighbours to know about.

That’s a whole lot of judgment to put to bed. That’s a whole lot of excellent support potential, and think of the amazing advice waiting to be shared. That’s a lot of unrealized hope.

I’m open about my own issues because I’ve been shown that my stories are not unique. My problems are not special, not even the very worst of them. My friends have heard loads about the divorce that never ends, and myriad woes before & since. Whatever feelings I may have had in fear of judgment were, and are, wasted heartache. Secrets degrade every level of our being. The shame and fear I once had, claimed far too much of the precious time I could have had learning and moving on.

I’m not the circumstances that I’m in at the moment.  I am an entire lifetime of experiences that contain many highs in the light with the lows in the dark and murky.  Which ones do you think I’ve learned the most from?

Maybe we need to take it to heart that, when life is getting real with us, we need to start getting real with it.  Let’s stop pretending that we are only as good as our image.  It’s a terribly weak foundation to learn from, or teach how to overcome struggles. We really are all in the same boat, and once in a while we have to share the rowing.

When we share our perceived weaknesses, we learn so much more than we can ever imagine in fear. As we become genuine, we end up twice as strong, and eventually life does become genuinely lighter for us, and in all the places that secrets diminish.

We shall overcome.  Together.

Incidentally, if I ever look like I’m in need of a soothing hot beverage, would you make it the kind over ice, with a twist? Then, let’s talk.

RL

Posted in Community, Coping, Inspiration, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Gabriel Called, Michael Slayed; When Dreams Haunt

When dreams haunt…

gabriel-and-michael-2

The wolf howled as Gabriel neared with message of purpose

Michael circles fiercely, commands, demands adherence

Know thyself

wolf-bear-spirits

Bear shields warily

Wolf brings message of purpose

Reclaim your power; believe your instinct

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yin-yang

The visions turn and turn

Messages cross like swords

Renewal is imminent;  Michael defends Gabriel, Clan Mother and Wolf  lead to win …

RL

Artwork credit:
Bear: :Clan Mother, 2012″ and
Wolves: “From the Shadows”, by Jordan Thompson, mohawk-art-design.com
ArchAngel Michael by Unknown
ArchAngel Gabriel by Howard David Johnson
Posted in Poetry, Prose, three line poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Light Support; Shaped by Haiku

Awakened white seas
Clocks ring loudly, finally
The brown been waiting

Dipping polished toes
Safety check for measured calm
Mustn’t stir too much

Awareness; fear roused
Voted for chains for years
Emergency now

Must rally a spine
Refined emancipation
Is it safe enough

White seas mostly safe
Standing Rock, Africa; not
Still crushed in between

Witnessed lunch ladies
Sounding bells to wake; small fights
Hopes to be movements.

Fear shakes up the bobs
Their voices speak out, lightly
A real enough shift?

trump-images-around-the-world

I’d witnessed a couple of semi-‘ladies who golf and lunch’ having a discussion surrounding Trump’s upcoming policy changes. They were Republicans, one of which presumably, after some consideration and perhaps listening to news sources outside of Fox News, did not vote for Trump.

It was she who brought up the legitimacy of his changes. The other challenged her with a certain level of strength (not in policy knowledge, but in force of voice). This caused the non-alpha to step her point back and re-frame it as a statement akin to, “I was just sayin'”…

Yep, I thought, some of them have started to see the threats aren’t just about the formerly conveniently distant folk, but neither the threat, nor these ladies, were anywhere near the levels of marching for change just yet.

Although, perhaps we can give points for non-alpha later deleting that conversation and replacing it with several feverishly forwarded messages of those who dare to speak first, followed a week later with some test-i-fyin’!  Howah, look at girl go now!

RL

Posted in Controversy, Equal Rights, Haiku, Micro Poetry, micropoetry, three line poetry | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

With Lois, For The Win

I determined I’d open  2017 with a gratitude post, but to be honest, and this is no complaint, there were so many avenues I could go, I wasn’t sure where to start. I’m privileged enough to have most of my needs met and most importantly, I have pretty amazing family and supportive community.  It was in this, that I felt inspired to say how writing has played a role in winning me some of that love and support.

Years ago I reported for newspapers, later side-lined for an opportunity to make a bigger splash by managing the start-up of a non-profit foundation.  After that, a similar turn in the private sector, and then onto the biggest job ever, motherhood.

Throughout those years, I continued to write – scads of your basic business letters and mountains of personal journals. Then Facebook came along.  Once in awhile I’d wax on, and on…. and on and fill my status box with a full-page of opinion. I’d get pretty good feedback, but more likely, I’d hear from Lois.

loisWe’d met at a performing arts studio where our kids attended.  Lois was smart, an English major and she was a writer. A real one; which she practiced with a business blog.  I enjoyed her replies to my status comments – witty and smart. Sometimes, she intimidated me. Not in a bad way, she made me want to try harder.  Then she brought up the idea of starting a blog. She’d simply suggest it now and then, until one day after yet another of my Facebook essays, her inner- warrior firmly tapped out the order, “Blog, woman”!!!

And thus a new blog was born.

Lois continued the encouragement through my spotty and rough start. I do know I’m not above some clunky writing here and there. Anyway, she was always very kind about it all and this was just an extension of her amazing generosity and wonderful, thoughtful presence.  Our shared connections always gave her the highest marks for decency.

Yes, it’s a cliche’ when I say it feels like only yesterday, when I got that Lois smack-down to work up to something. it’s especially so now, because we lost Lois last October.  A brain tumour discovered a couple of years ago overcame her.  I was out of town when she passed and I wasn’t able to attend her service.  Not unusually, I struggled about what to say to her family, especially from a distance.

I wrote her daughter, Kathryn, a friend also and within that note, I ended up explaining how her mother’s influence affected my life in ways that I’d never told Lois. I asked for permission to print parts of that note here.  I thought my 2017 gratitude for writing couldn’t begin without my 2013 re-start from Lois.  What writing has done for me over the last nearly four years is inextricably tied to her…

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Kathryn… I’ve tried so many times to write something to you about your mother.  It’s hard to admit a loss for words, but it’s especially frustrating when you want to tell someone how sorry you are for their losses of such significance…

I want to tell you what a wonderful person your mother was… is.  But you know that – and I am so glad about that for you and your family.

I want to tell you how much your mother influenced my life.  I want you to know how she actually changed it.  I want you to know that her insistence, with that boot to the butt,  that I write for real, introduced me to a world I had no idea existed and yet there it was, waiting for me to meet dozens of amazing people who would then move me along into opportunities I never could have dreamed were waiting for me.

Even love was there in that new world.  I found all sort of love and that too changed me and grew me up some more.

I would never have found new work that challenged me to use every creative thought I could muster. I would never have found friends that stand like sentries whenever I need.  My whole world would not have been so beautifully enforced.

Initially, I think I found it hard to believe that a writer really thought I was a ‘writer’.  I was once a reporter, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost the idea that what I’d write in my journals could possibly be readable, or understandable, or maybe even helpful to someone else.

Your mother gave that gift back to me. She made me take a chance by offering a glimmer of confidence that I could claim for myself.

So, I want to say, I am so glad and I am so enriched in so many ways to have met Lois Wasstrom.

I thank God for, Lois.

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I’d also mentioned to Kathryn I was certain her mother would always be a guiding force for her family. I can only hope that maybe now and then, she’ll continue to lend a hand to this very grateful writer.

RL

Posted in Blogging, Cancer, Gratitude, Life, Storytelling, Uncategorized | Tagged | 10 Comments

Hey 2017, I’ve Been Waiting For You Forever!

Last month I was sent a note reminding me about the kindness or kick-in-the-ass power of Karma. Interestingly, it was a topic I ended with last year. I guess I was meant to review it again. However you want to define Karma, mostly it’s believed to be the energy of all-knowingness and balance, equalizing all wrongs with a right, etc.

2016 made me witness that, regardless of how intense the attempts to rationalize the most self-serving of behaviors, the real underlying motives are already and always, known. In other words, we can run, but we can’t hide – not even from our own very best designs of delusion.

Regardless of how open and honestly we enter a situation, we may not be received in the same vein. Trying to find or understand how anyone can talk themselves into believing their own good motives, while they take advantage of someone, is futile. It’s an infinite circling of crazy.

The sort who act in these ways may never capitulate. Contrition is a game of supply and demand. They demand you supply it, even when they’re blatantly exposed. Twisting falsehoods into acceptable fact for themselves and anyone willing to believe them, is fair play (flattery is their best friend). …Pffft, no matter for the all-knowing Karmic eye.

We don’t always get to see this, but this year I did; regardless of how things seem on the surface or in public, the course correction energies are always at play. Where I was devastated that I’d lost something amazing, I found I’d been absolutely rescued from the lowest of possible futures. Yes, it hurt, all the way to that final understanding, but when the smoke cleared, it was obvious that a few months of pain could have easily been an engagement in years of agonizing misery. Well, what can I say? Things are looking up.

I hope for the same for any others who have struggled to keep heads and hearts above water. Fight for what you have to, but be bold; bravely look at its truths too, then hold the faith that you’ve got what you need.

Thank you, so very much, to those who saw me, heard me, and stood by me. Thank you for your strengths that allowed you to gently hold my heart even through my (most definitely miserably) worst. Thank you, for teaching me and healing me, and most of all, for the love in 2016.  

Wishing the very best for all souls in 2017… Cheers!

RL

Happy New Year - 2017, here's to those of us who are more than ready for different and definitely more uplifting experiences this year. Cheers to all!

Happy New Year – 2017, here’s to those of us who are more than ready for different and definitely more uplifting experiences this year. Cheers to all!

Posted in Christmas, First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, Life, New Year's Eve, Photos, Reflection, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 16 Comments