In Regards to the Punched Shopper

Story here. 

Long and short: kid throws epic tantrum in the store. Aggravated shopper asks the mother to quiet the kid down. Gets punched in the face for doing so. Mother is arrested and charged with assault.

My opinion? GOOD!

This may get me flak on many levels, but it has to be said. Yes, my staunchly childfree leanings play into this quite a bit, but here’s the thing: I also didn’t get born as a fully-grown adult, and was raised. So kindly do not come over here with the “You don’t have kids so you don’t know anything!” line. Seriously. Don’t put that here.

In my opinion, the mother should not only get charged with assault but be forced to pay for the dental work now necessary for the woman she assaulted. Yes, assaulted. I don’t know about you, folks, but no one deserved to be punched in the face. Under no circumstances, nothing, no way, no how.

This incident overall is actually a symptom of a much bigger problem, and that is the absolute entitlement that this woman has displayed by virtue of that punch in the face, and the same entitlement that the parents who supported her action display.

If you’ve not been out in public and seen a child acting like a hellion for no reason whatsoever, relax: it’s only a matter of time. And for anyone who may want to argue autism, please don’t go there: I’ve seen and heard autistic children and believe you me, I can tell a meltdown/distress scream very quickly from an “I’m screaming because I feel like it and think it’s fun” scream. And again: I’m not a parent. And I can still tell the difference. The thing about autistic kids is that they do have parents who are very firmly aware of their kids’ patterns, and know how to arrest a meltdown.

Herein I am referring to perfectly healthy kids whose parents need a heavy-duty reality check.

Here’s the thing that these parents really don’t want to acknowledge: the world is not child-friendly, and it’s not, nor will it ever be, baby-proofed. Nor should it be. The world is not a playground, and nor should children or their parents – especially their parents - behave as though it is. As members of society, we have a basic expectation of behavior in public, and when it comes to children who are not in pain, or in danger, or autistic, absolutely no one has ever rescinded the saying, “Children should be seen and not heard”. Perhaps it’s a bit harsh, but it ensured behavior in public while we were kids.

There is absolutely no good reason for a perfectly healthy child to scream bloody murder and run around in public unless they’re in an environment where such a thing is accepted. A Nordstrom’s is not a playground. Perhaps that behavior is allowed at Chuck E. Cheese, but not every place in the world is Chuck E. Cheese, and nor will it be. If a person wants to go out and do their shopping, or go to a restaurant with a per-plate price of above $40, they really shouldn’t be subject to someone else’s child screaming and running around. It really isn’t that difficult to teach, either; our parents had taught us to be quiet in public, and if and when we acted up, we got the consequences.

It’s the sole and primary responsibility of the parent to make sure their child behaves in public. No one else. But in today’s day and age, it seems that the parents are much more keen to foist their kids off on the television as a disciplinarian, and do everything int heir power to not actually do their job. One of the things I’ve seen most is the idea of a parent being their kid’s best friend as opposed to their actual parent. Worse, they try and treat the kids as miniature adults, which is something that makes me laugh in the, “You’ve got to be kidding me” way. Kids are not adults. They do not have an adult’s grasp of logic, nor an adult’s self-control. Their mentality is “I want what I want when I want it and I want everything right now”, and they will continue only right up until someone tells them no and enforces it.

“It takes a village to raise a child!” Really? So then why is it that when the village tells you you’re doing a shitty job as a parent, your reaction is to either scream, “Don’t tell me how to raise my child!” or, like that woman in the article, punch them in the face?

Already, the village – that is to say, everyone around the parent – does a lot for the kid in question, and on a much grander scale. Education is paid for by our tax dollars, its quality aside. Parents get the child tax credit, the tuition credit for private schools, and the childcare tax credit. We all keep an eye on the kid traveling alone on public transit. We all see the “kids eat free” days at restaurants. We all look the other way when the parent comes into work late and leaves early, and take up the slack when the kids get sick and parents miss work altogether. Mind you, the rewards for doing that are very few in number.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then the least the parents of said child can contribute back to the village is their kid’s best behavior in public, but if this article and that incident is any indication, then it seems that even that is too much to ask. And you know something? ENOUGH. If we are investing in the future, as people are very keen to say, then I think it’s high time we actually set some expectations for the return on our investment.

I am sick and tired of having to cater to the child-centric attitude, and seeing only an increase in misbehaving brats as a result. And I am doubly sick and tired of the parents’ entitlement in allowing their kids to act that way and copping an attitude with anyone who disagrees. As though we are the ones with the problem if we don’t think it’s adorable when their kid is laying waste to a restaurant or a store.

Every time I go to my neighborhood laundromat, I bear witness to at least five kids, all under school age, running around and playing tag. The floor is nearly always damp, especially between the rows of washing machines. These kids could get very seriously injured if they slip and fall, or someone else could if they trip over those kids. And I promise you, there’s at least one trip guaranteed to happen. Where are the parents? Why have they not taught their kids before leaving the house that the laundromat isn’t a playground? Oh yeah, they’re folding and smiling indulgently at their kids every scream, with an “Isn’t he/she cute?” expression. And yet, those are the same parents who will turn around at the speed of light and sue the laundromat if their kid gets injured – and, as a bonus, claim that it was the laundromat’s job to watch their kids.

I’d love to say something to the parents, but I never do. Why? See article link above. Because I don’t put it past these people to react in just this way. If they can’t be bothered to rein in their own kids, I am pretty sure that they won’t take kindly to someone telling them that they actually need to do so. I’ve come pretty damn close to being injured by a kid more than once, and frankly, a half-arsed “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it for me anymore.  As a result, my laundry time is getting earlier and earlier, because I figured out that if the kids stay home and watch cartoons, I will have fewer encounters with them. Not too surprisingly, there’s quite a crowd at the laundry at 9am on a Saturday. But the bigger problem here is why should I, or anyone else, have to adjust their lives and schedules just because some parents have never told their kids that laundromats aren’t playgrounds?

Parents need to seriously check themselves and their entitlement before they go off the handle on someone who remarks on their kids’ behavior. Just because they have children does not mean they have an uncontested right to let their children act whichever way they please in public. There’s 7 billion people in the world, and increasing; reproduction is not a miracle and should not be treated as the sacred cow that magically makes people immune from every social rule in the world. If they want to claim the village, then they should also put up with the village telling them when they’re not doing a good job. You don’t get the benefits with zero blowback, that’s not the way it works.

And don’t tell me how it’s no one’s business. Bullshit. When you’re in public, your expectation of privacy is zero. That’s not just me saying that, it’s been proven in a court of law on multiple cases. Expectation of privacy is exactly how surveillance cameras get mounted in public transit systems. When you’re in public, you are fair game, and the child’s behavior as well as the parent’s reaction speaks a lot to the parent’s capacity as such – and is, once again, fair game.

If they don’t want people telling them that their child is a hellion, then it’s their job as a parent, and their job alone, to make sure that the kid behaves in public.

When parents don’t parent, we all see the results later down the line. People need to know that kids don’t stay kids, and when they learn  in early childhood that they can act any way they want and their parents won’t say anything, that carries through to a disregard to consequences later down the line. What they learn early on is what stays with them for life. So when their kid screams bloody murder and runs amok in restaurants, it’s pretty likely that the same kid will continue acting out in much more escalated ways – why? Because they learned very early that that’s how they get attention, and they also learned that they’d get attention without being told no. So they’ll continue it, and it’ll be exponentially more difficult to undo that mentality later down the line.

At what point do we, as people, collectively say “Enough is enough”? There is a point where we clearly need to step up and set a standard for behavior, and I think this incident is a perfect illustration. Parental entitlement has gone entirely too far when someone thinks it’s perfectly justifiable to punch someone in the face for daring to point out that their child is not, as they believe, a perfect innocent special snowflake who can do no wrong, and, worse, other parents are joining into a chorus to defend that punch.

Bottom line: no person deserves a punch in the face, and especially not for wanting something as minor as expecting a child to behave in public.

K.G.

The Thing About The Ring

Michael Baisden’s new topic of discussion: does it matter if a guy doesn’t wear his wedding ring?

I ask: why does such a ridiculous question even need to be asked?

Warning – long-winded and personal. As usual, a disclaimer that not every situation is like this, but I write based on my experience and observation. Consider please I spent a huge majority of my time watching and photographing people; I get to see a lot.

Continue reading

The Obligatory NaNo Post

In retrospect, maybe I should’ve taken a break from writing this year.

I really don’t want to have to admit this, but there’s simply not enough time in the world to make everything happen the way you want to. I’m swamped with my photography work; I have not yet unburied myself from the cruise photos – still have to go through the 70s Night and comedy show shots, and that’s the second half of the cruise…so maybe, progress? – and I have two more post-cruise shows’ photos to get through as well. Next week I have two shoots. The week after I have another shoot. It’s also concert-planning season, so if I’m going to have gigs, now is the time for me to think about where they will be and send off portfolios and samplers to make it happen.

Where does writing fit?

Oh, and I’m still toying on that translation I’ve started last year. Yes, it takes a year to translate three books by hand from one language in another, and it’s something I love doing.

It’s not something I like admitting, when I can’t do something, but this year’s NaNo may well prove to be a bad idea in the regard of my overall creative workload. I won’t say that I don’t like it – I love every minute of it – but I simply do not have as much time to contribute to it as I have before, and that’s something I’m loath to admit. I love my series. I love my storyline. I don’t love not being able to give it the time and devotion that I want to allocate to developing it and making it grow.

The reason I love NaNo so much is because it motivates me to be industrious when it comes to the series. I do the bulk of my storyline exclusively during NaNo, and the wordcount requirement makes it imperative to get as much of the storyline down as possible. It’s absolutely fantastic for when I’m trying to get a big story out, such as what was with Books 3 and 4 of the series. Most of the plot was put down during NaNo, and it made for an easy edit job and an easier publishing down the line. I chose the two most complex characters to do a background on – Rhyssius and Morrhia – and this is going to take me a lot of time. I have set up the bulk of the story, but I need to put two and two together, and bridge them from two individuals to what they had ended up. The problem is, there is a lot of back story there, and there’s also a side-story to weave in about how the quaint semi-medieval world had ended up becoming connected with the rest of the universe. A lot of continuity that I had hinted at before needs to be brought to fruition.

It’s just…time! All of this takes time! And time is something I have precious little of. Taking on an incredibly complex storyline – hell, continuing it, all considered – is not an easy endeavor when you have a job, a business, and a backlog affiliated with the business.

How I’ve ended up with a word count that’s a full day ahead of schedule, I don’t know, but it’s good insurance because I would need to be ahead. One of my shoot gigs is actually an all-day endeavor, as opposed to me just being a weekend warrior for it and writing on the go with my laptop. So if I’m not writing for an entire day, I’d at least have a good cushion that will keep me on track.

After all, in the eight years I’ve done NaNo so far, I won all eight times. I want to continue the win streak, else I’d think myself extremely remiss. My entire life as I know it had changed ever since I wrote the first book – how much will it change if I keep at it?

K.G.

Way to go. /sarcasm

Some time ago, I’ve enacted a political moratorium for the sake of my own blood pressure. After this election, I’m doubly glad I did so, but I will break it just this once to let off a little bit of steam….

What. The fuck. Did you. Stupid. People. Do.

Yeah, I’m going right in there. Not only did an unsurprising and depressing majority not vote, but the voters that did turn out voted a majority Republican. Which means that the idiots who had shut down the government out of an anti-Obama temper tantrum are now in the Senate too and greater in number.

Did you people forget high-school history? Or did the television addle your brains? What is it? What the hell was it that convinced you to cast your votes for these addle-pated shills that will do absolutely nothing for your better interests?

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how many people in KY are on welfare. Then I beg you to recall that Mitch “Turtle” McConnell is a great supporter of ending welfare overall. Which will plunge a huge majority of his state into poverty with no hope of getting out. Oh yeah, he got re-elected. Why in the fuck would Kentuckians willingly elect the same person who would gladly see them thrown under the bus if it means his own pockets are lined?

Ask yourself if Arizona revenue was better off under Jan Brewer. Her successor is Doug Ducey, who is known to be 100% in the Koch bros’ back pocket. Let’s just remind y’all that the Koch brothers were great supporters of outsourcing and have made a mint on it. So why did you elect someone who will only support what he’s being paid to do?

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: when you don’t vote, when you stay home and turn up your nose and say “There’s no one to vote for”, you’re forever giving up your right to bitch about how things are run because you voluntarily handed over the future to chance and to the votes of idiots who can’t be arsed to think about what is actually going on in this country.

If you believe that both parties are the same, you lack basic civics and history education and need to repeat middle school. Even the now-super-redacted textbooks will not gloss over the fact that FDR, a liberal, was the best leader this country could’ve had after the Great Depression, and that there was absolutely no good Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower. History may be glossed over by the victor, but even under the finish, you can still discern some truths.

By not voting, and by tacitly allowing this deplorable result of more Republicans in control, you, the American citizen, have done more damage to this country in one day than what your grandchildren will be dealing with.

Watch what’ll happen next. Just watch. And know that I, and people like myself, who had stepped up to the polls and gone to vote, and voted against the Republicans, in any effort plausible to fight for the national better interests, will be on hand to tell you the four words you will hate hearing: I told you so.

This is what happens when you watch television, when you let other people think for you, when you believe the pretty ads and buy into a sales pitch. This is what happens when you allow others to dictate your opinion without bothering to think for yourself. This is what happens, and you have condemned the rest of us to having to live with the results.

I think I’ll send my health insurance bills to the Republicans. If they’re going to be the reason that the ACA will get repealed, then their asses better pay for it.

K.G.

More on Jeff Golub

If you have not seen his newsletter or his Facebook page, the diagnosis is finally in, after years of waiting… Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

*long sigh* I…am at a loss, I’ll be honest here. Digesting this is difficult. Last time I saw Jeff was in April of 2013, and I was watching over him with my friend Kelly at breakfast. And I knew that it was a tough adjustment to loss of eyesight, but I remembered Jeff from Jammin’ in Jamaica, and it was more than just the adjustment.

Kirk Whalum mentioned visiting him aboard CapJazz this year. Thank you to Kirk for taking the time out to make the journey to watch over one of our own. You’re a good egg.

This diagnosis is hard to swallow. PSP is aggressive. If you read the link in the disease name above, it’ll give you a summary of what it entails.  This is heavy reading, and even heavier thinking on the implications.

All we can do is hope for the best and that the condition will be managed, or treated somehow, or something. Jeff is family; he is One Of Our Own within the contemporary jazz circles; there’s hardly a person who hadn’t met him, heard him, or worked with him. To me, he’ll always be the guy who ran into the Q&A at Jammin’ in Jamaica in blue pajamas. Put faith in the doctors treating him, and in the progress of research and medicine; if there’s a way, it will be found.

If you want to send him some well-wishes, please do so through the JeffGolub.com website or his Facebook page.

And if you’d like to donate to PSP research, there’s a donation link in the article I linked above. I urge you to do so. Any new research will greatly help Jeff and others with the condition; if more is known about the condition and how to treat it, it goes a long way.

K.G.

VOTE.

I’ve said it before on Election Day 2014 and am saying it again now: get out there and vote, whatever it takes.

It doesn’t matter how long the lines are, bring a book to read.

It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside, wear an extra sweater.

It doesn’t matter how gerrymandered your district is, it’s still a ballot and you can still cast it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not sure where your poll place is, most of that information is online. If you don’t have a computer, use a smartphone. If you don’t have a smartphone, hit up the library computers, give the Board of Elections a call, whatever it takes.

What matters is that you vote.

Your grandfathers and grandmothers, and great-grandparents, and parents, had fought and died for this right. You do not have the right to vote by accident, the road to that right is paved with blood, tears, sweat, and more suffering than you learned about in school. You will be doing them a disservice by not voting.

Don’t sit home and say there’s no candidates that you agree with. Even if you don’t agree, by not voting you’re mutely accepting whatever the results are, and immediately lose any right to complain or protest about how things are run. If you don’t want someone elected, vote for their opponent. If you sit home, you leave it to chance and others’ opinions, and never have there been less reliable determinants than those two.

If you’re not voting, you’re surrendering. If you’re surrendering, you’re little more than chattel in the legislative arena, whatever its scope is, local, state, or federal. Don’t believe that you’re somehow better if you’re not casting a vote for someone you ‘disagree’ with – you’ve surrendered yourself to luck and the opinions of others by not voting, little more and little less. No one said you have to have total agreement in order to cast a vote.

If you believe both parties are the same, you’re lacking in civics and history education. Even the heavily-edited textbooks of high-school history classes won’t omit the glaring differences between the parties. And moreover, you’re not requires to vote for either of them – you have every option of taking a third party or writing in your vote. Open a book, and go to your polling place. Every vote is a vote, and votes add up.

The midterm elections will always influence the country more than the President. If the past six years hadn’t proven it more obviously, I’ll say it here: the Congress is behind most of the legislative activity – and in this case, it’s the lack thereof. Your local elections are directly responsible for your everyday life. You absolutely must vote in those, because otherwise, you will lose any and all say over what happens in your own neighborhood.

No one gets anything done by sitting on their arse.

VOTE.

I did.

K.G.

The Experienced Jazz Cruiser’s Post-Cruise Tips for Jazz Cruising

also known as…the reflections of a tired person. LOL, but true.

I utilized a lot of my tips from before, and also have to amend a couple. This trip has been good, and had its ups and downs, in more than a few ways. So, I will now tell you how it did or didn’t work.

1. The Two Suitcases.

I’ll be honest; I goofed here. I did save money on not paying the weight limit fees, but when it came to the basic reason of why I did the two-bag thing to start with, I goofed. Because instead of repacking and having the smaller wheelie as my carry-on aboard the boat, I did a stupid and checked both of them for delivery on board. I then proceeded to do another (albeit very beneficial) stupid and get a spa treatment scheduled for right after the muster station drill, which screwed me for attending the early show, which meant I went for the late show…which then meant I missed dinner.

This is where I discovered that everything food-related on the ship but for the cafe and the pizza joint shuts down at 9:30pm. Crap.

So let this be a lesson to you, lovely folks, unrelated to the bags: make sure you’re fed!

And the plan I had for wheeling off my second ‘case after the cruise? Yep, I goofed again. Guess who had both suitcases carted off.

Next year – well, I’ll likely still do the double-suitcase deal if I’m in danger of going over the weight limit again. I am extremely grateful to the lady working the bag drop at FLL, who let me slide on the pound coming back, but I’d like to actually be within the limit.

Needless to say, of course, that Delta rocks my socks, far as airlines go. This isn’t the first time they had let me slide, and they had come through for me majorly when it came to getting my friend on an earlier flight home. <3

2. Pace Yourself

On this one, I did reasonably well. While my friend, who’s a noob to the entire thing, crashed out on Day 4, I was A-OK. Until Day 6 or so, because even though I love and adore Lalah Hathaway’s music, I just couldn’t peel myself off the bed until 10pm, and even that took a late-night coffee to accomplish.

Oh yeah, there was a lot of coffee…a LOT of coffee. Know how I said coffee is your best friend? Oh hell yeah.

3. Comfortable Shoes

You know those “comfort wear” shoes? Avoid those. They’re comfortable for the first three hours only. Learned the hard way. Walked back to cabin barefoot. Spent the rest of the trip in flip-flops and glad for my super-super-long Old Navy maxi dress, which covers my feet completely even with my height. Not at all ashamed. Speaking of that dress, I want to see if I can grab a couple more of them on clearance; $8 for something that looks like a million bucks with the right wrap? Hey, I may not care for my looks, but I do know how to make magic happen.

4. Med bay = pharmacy = saving grace

Because my Eastern-European skin generally goes between Ghost and Extra Crispy as far as shades of tan go…I was firmly in the Extra Crispy department by about Day 3. Went to wipe the sweat off my face, and removed a skin layer – and usually, I don’t burn like that! My shoulder could’ve stopped traffic. This is with sunscreen. So I nipped down to the med bay and got lidocaine-infused aloe gel. Worth the $10 I spent on it, and again, a reminder: if in doubt, or in trouble, go to the med bay.

5. Have enough cash-on-hand!

This is a tip I learned the hard way. I generally withdraw $300 on top of my existing budget for all the souvenir shopping/local food, but I also pay down my onboard spending with what’s left. This was actually an underestimation. I came in way within my pre-determined budget for onboard spending, and very happy with the fact that I got that together, and this included all the folks whom I bought drinks for!, but I would’ve ended up strapped for cash when we docked at our last port. So this experience amends my usual withdrawal amount to about $500. Yes, I’m serious. Whatever I don’t spend goes against my onboard, so that this way, the grand-total that hits the credit card after the end of each trip is drastically less.

6. Mind Your Cabin!!!

Oh, did I learn that the hard way.

This was my first experience with a porthole-window cabin. It did not go as planned.

The good news: I had the sunlight in the morning, so I didn’t have my body clock thrown off the way it normally gets thrown off in an interior cabin. In an interior, you don’t have a window, so your body cannot tell the difference between day and night when you’re in there. On one hand, it’s great if you want to crash midday, because you will go right to sleep. On another hand, you are exhausted at the end of the trip because your circadian rhythms got all confused as to what time was what.

But the bad news… starboard side cabin. Starboard side is generally not the docking side of the ship, but in Ft. Lauderdale, when we docked back, I had the port lights through the window. Bad. I woke up at 5:30am when I was planning on 8:30. HELL no. I don’t take kindly to sleep deprivation. Worse, I chose a cabin that, as I discovered, vibrated when the ship would pull away from the pier. And I mean vibrated. Not pleasant. The fact that it was below the theater didn’t really bother me; to my surprise, I barely heard anything. But that vibration was not fun, and considering that I booked, unawares, the cabin immediately below for next year…. yeah, no.

I switched back to an inside cabin for next year, and got the same one I had in 2013, which is all the way at the nose of the ship. Extra room, oh hell yeah.

All in all, the trip was lovely. Worth the sunburn. :)

K.G.