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Today is the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Today is also the day that the Federal Government has shut down, which is historic because the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. In a way it’s fitting that this has happened since President Trump had promised to run the country like a business and he has had a long string of multiple bankruptcies and failed businesses. President Trump had definitely kept his campaign promise to run this country like his businesses. LOL!

Today is also the day of the Women’s March in Washington, DC, which I’m going to attend. (After I finish this post, I’m going to take a shower then head to the nearest Metro and go downtown.) With this government being completely shutdown as of midnight last night, today is going to be very interesting indeed.

I’m going to end this post with a video from last year that’s really appropriate for today.

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Back on Inauguration Day in January I made this prediction where I said that Donald Trump would not last past his first term in office while also saying that it’s possible that he may not even finish his first and only term. Each day I find that my prediction is inching just closer to becoming a reality.

A couple of days ago I came across this video by Keith Olbermann where he’s reporting that, after serving less than a year in office, President Donald Trump has finally realized that “people really fucking hate me.” Here’s the video where you can hear about this for yourself.

But I really don’t need Keith Olbermann to tell me this. As a Washington, DC-area resident, I’ve seen this lack of love for The Donald first-hand ranging from hearing frequent cracks about President Trump from various locals to seeing some of the stores in DC create signs and store windows openly mocking the president.

I even have new evidence showing how unpopular Donald Trump has become since he occupied the White House. Last Saturday there were two major political rallies both occurring on opposite sides of the Mall and the local media were speculating that it might turn into a total street brawl between the two different groups that would be similar to what went down in Charlottesville. One was being put on by Donald Trump supporters and it was called “The Mother of All Rallies” (or MOAR, for short). The other was being put on by the rap group Insane Clown Posse and this group was holding this event as a protest against the FBI classifying its fans as a gang. To be fair, I read that the ICP had planned this rally for over a year—long before Trump was elected president and Barack Obama was still in office. (Which means that it was an Obama Administration FBI who had made the gang proclamation against the ICP’s fans.)

There was so much hype in the media over this so-called “clash of two different groups” that Metro had decided to close the Smithsonian Metro station that day, which turned out to be a totally bone-headed decision. (That’s not to mention that I had to do more walking than usual because I had to get off and on at stations further away from the Mall because Metro had closed down the one station that is actually located right on the Mall itself.)

It turned out that more people turned out for the Insane Clown Posse than for Donald Trump. That’s right, there were more people who were willing to openly proclaim that they are a Juggalo (which is how the ICP dubbed their fans) than people willing to openly proclaim that they still support Donald Trump.

I shot a short video comparing the two events where you can clearly see how lopsided the attendance at both events were. Don’t let the anti-Hillary Clinton “Lock Her Up” chant at the beginning deter you from watching the rest of this video. Just marvel at how the Juggalos outnumbered the Trump supporters.

I also shot a bunch of still photos as well but I’ll make a separate post featuring them sometime next week. In the meantime, you can check my recent posts on Instagram or Flickr if you’re dying to see these pictures right now.

Even though I live just outside of Washington, DC, I have no intention of going anywhere inside that city today. I’m not going to attend the inauguration of President Donald Trump in person nor am I going to watch it on TV or on the Internet. Nor am I going to listen to any radio broadcasts of the inauguration. I’m going to do other things besides that, such as cleaning the bathroom or working on some creative arts and crafts project. I’m just heeding the advice in this video.

I had thought about going to one of the many counter-inaugural protests that are being held today but then I decided against it for a number of reasons. First, the weather forecast is calling for periods of rain, which is a perfect metaphor for Donald Trump’s swearing in but I don’t feel like protesting in the rain. Second, I had heard rumors that those in Trump’s camp are planning on counting anyone who’s anywhere near the parade route or the inauguration itself as being among the “attendees” even if some of those “attendees” are actually protesters. I have no desire to be counted as an “attendee” because I would really love it if Donald Trump’s massive ego gets totally bruised due to low attendance. So far ticket scalpers are literally taking a financial bath because they are having a hard time unloading them on people, which I think is totally hilarious. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Donald Trump. (/sarcasm)

Instead I’m going to the Women’s March on Washington with people from my Unitarian Universalist congregation tomorrow. Not only is that march projected to attract more people than the inauguration itself (which I think is totally hysterical) but I’m taking advantage of the fact that I live so close to DC that I can take part in that march.

A couple of nights ago my Unitarian Universalist congregation hosted something called “Bystander Intervention,” which was sponsored by a local group. I attended that workshop and I learned a few tactics on how I can help if I see anyone being harassed by some pro-Trump asshole because he/she is a Muslim, person of color, immigrant, LGBTQ person, or some other minority without resorting to violence. The workshop was open to the general public and there was a Jewish man in attendance who reported that his synagogue has been receiving death threats. This is very disturbing. It’s almost like Trump’e election has revived the ghost of Nazi Germany or something.

Last Sunday I added fare money to my SmartTrip Metro card because I know from previous experience that most events of that magnitude always lead to very long lines at the farecard machines at nearly every Metro stop on the day of that event so it was way easier for me to go to the Greenbelt Metro station on a relatively slow day and add fare without waiting in any line at all. All I need to do is pack a lunch and drinks along with a portable folding chair and I’m all set for tomorrow’s march. Plus I need to make sure that I charge my smartphone along with an extra battery.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow nor do I know how my life will change in the months or even years to come. I never expected anything like what happened last November. My life is going to change in ways that I never expected. It’s bad enough that I had to deal with hip problems and a divorce over the last five years. Now seeing President Trump assuming the Oval Office is making my already difficult life even more difficult and I resent this. It’ll be a miracle if I emerge from this completely and totally unscathed.

It may sound tacky for me to post this on Inauguration Day, although it’s very fitting considering who is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Heck, I found out that the BBC plans on carrying this event live because this newspaper in Scotland has this hilarious description of the event in its TV listing.

I know I’m going out on a limb here by making this prediction. But I think it’s an educated prediction that I’m qualified to make because I graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. degree in Journalism and a minor in Government and Politics and I try to keep up with the news as much as possible. I am well familiar with Donald Trump because I’m old enough to remember when he published his first book (The Art of the Deal) and he had the news media portray him as some kind of a business genius. I also remember the first of his multiple bankruptcies. I even watched the first few seasons of both The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice. I still remember that one episode of his reality show where one of the challenges took place at the same Trump Taj Mahal (which The Donald hyped on that episode as being “state of the art”) that filed for bankruptcy just a few weeks after that episode aired. (So much for “state of the art.” LOL!)

Based on what I know about Trump and U.S. government in general, I not only believe that President Donald Trump will not last past his first term in office but there’s a chance that he may be out of office before his first term is up. Here are the reasons why I feel this way, based entirely on facts.

1. Donald Trump has never held any kind of public office before in his life. He has spent his entire career in the private sector where he never had to deal with things like checks and balances or negotiating compromises with lawmakers. To instantly become President of the United States with no public office background will involve a much steeper learning curve than usual for The Donald.

2. Donald Trump has only worked for his family-owned businesses. His first job out of college was with one of his family’s businesses and his father was the ultimate boss, unlike the vast majority of Americans who have to work for bosses who aren’t related to them. Being President of the United States means that he’ll have to learn to deal with Congress, lobbyists, and a whole bunch of other people who aren’t family members and that’ll take a huge adjustment on his part. He’s also going to have to adjust to not always getting his own way, unlike being the head of the Trump Organization, because of the whole checks and balances thing that’s built into the Constitution.

3. There are people who are openly questioning whether Donald Trump is even a legitimate president before he even takes the Oath of Office. Usually when a new person is elected president, everyone, including the opposition, have traditionally provided respect for the person until a few months after Inauguration Day. Considering the fact that Trump’s approval ratings have sank to a historic low before he has even begun occupying the Oval Office is very telling. Unless Trump can focus on doing what it takes to earn the respect of all Americans, and not just white heterosexual men, he will not last long on the job.

4. Donald Trump seems reluctant to live in the White House. He somehow didn’t realize that moving to Washington, DC and living in the White House is one of the requirements of being President of the United States. There’s no way he can govern from Trump Tower in New York City since everybody else that’s even remotely connected to the Federal Government is in Washington, DC. Heck, he can’t even live in his own Trump International Hotel in DC while he’s in office. Nope, he has to live in the White House and that can’t be negotiated.

5. He was the subject of a civil lawsuit over his failed Trump University until he settled it soon after he became president-elect. This settled lawsuit could give Congress a way to possibly look into criminal charges, thus paving the way for impeachment.

6. There are his recorded admission that he had forced women to kiss them while saying that he had to grab them by the pussy along with the numerous allegations of sexual abuse against Donald Trump ranging from sexual harassment to rape. One woman dropped her lawsuit over the allegation that Donald Trump raped her when she was 13. But it has been replaced by a defamation lawsuit that has just been filed by one of his accusers, a former Apprentice contestant named Summer Zervos. And that’s not to mention the incredibly disturbing things he has said about his own daughter, Ivanka, which The Daily Show has compiled into Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Own Daughter and Again, Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Own Daughter (which is why so many eyebrows were raised in DC when reports surfaced that Ivanka will serve as First Lady instead of The Donald’s own wife, Melania). Trump’s past behavior could be a White House sex scandal waiting to happen, especially if he does anything to any of the female White House staffers and interns, which could possibly bring on impeachment.

7. There is the reported conflict of interest between the new President Trump and his continued running of the Trump Organization, which could be another way for Congress to consider impeaching him.

8. Donald Trump is also prone to having major Twitter meltdowns, which could easily bite him in the ass at some point in the future. There are already questions about whether those Twitter tweets he continues to issue around the clock are an indication of some kind of mental health condition that The Donald is suffering from, as explained in this video.

9. There is the speculation about Donald Trump’s very cozy relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Recently BuzzFeed posted this report claiming that the Russians have some embarrassing evidence about The Donald that they could potentially use against him. This could cause Americans to wonder if Donald Trump really has the interests of the United States in mind and would his relationship with Russia be construed as treason.

10. While the Congress will be dominated by Republicans for at least the next two years, there are plenty of Republicans who aren’t so enthusiastic over President Trump (especially those who supported Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries). More recently, Republican lawmakers have voiced disdain after Trump went on Twitter to announce that he has more faith in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange than in U.S. intelligence agencies. If Trump does things that further alienates his own party, I can imagine that they would be willing to throw him under the impeachment bus in the hopes of being replaced by President Mike Pence, who’s way more palatable to the right-wing than Trump is.

11. If President Trump really screws up his first two years in office, there’s a strong chance that progressive people can be elected to Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections—people who are more likely to oppose and obstruct President Trump every step of the way. This might give President Trump an incentive to either resign or decide not to seek a second term.

While there’s a part of me that hopes that President Trump will rise to the challenge of being in the Oval Office and actually do something for the large part of the population who are unemployed or underemployed, I am not going to hold my breath on this. I predict that one of four scenarios will happen to President Trump.

1. President Trump resigns halfway through his term in office.

2. President Trump gets impeached by Congress and removed from office halfway through his term.

3. President Trump gets assassinated. Which wouldn’t be a major stretch since he has gone out of his way to insult women, LGBTQ people, ex-POWs, disabled people, Muslims, and Latinos on the campaign trail. I could easily see some unhinged person deciding to take matters into his/her own hands and go after President Trump with a gun. I’m not the only one who wouldn’t be surprised if President Trump gets assassinated.

4. President Trump simply dies in office. At 70 years old, he is considered to be the oldest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office. Being President of the United States is the highest stress job there is and it tends to rapidly age whoever occupies the Oval Office at a faster rate than usual. It’s possible that this new job will literally kill him.

5. President Trump either decides not to seek a second term or he is defeated for re-election in 2020.

The only downside to the first four scenarios is that Mike Pence would become president and he’s a guy who’s not only an extremist when it comes to women’s reproductive health but he’s also very anti-LGBTQ rights. He’s less of a buffoon than Donald Trump, which makes him really scary. The best thing we can all hope for is the fifth scenario where a new President and Vice President can be elected and the Executive Branch can begin 2021 with a totally clean slate.

I would really love to be proven wrong about my low opinions of President Trump and he turns out to be the best president since FDR. I would be ecstatic if that happens. But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Things are a total mess. I’m at the point where I have to limit my time on Twitter and Facebook because I see so many posts from people that basically says this:

If you voted for the candidate I voted against—UNFRIEND/UNFOLLOW ME NOW!!!

It’s totally emotionally draining to read posts like that. I wrote last week’s post titled A Message to All Those on Social Media Who are Blaming Jill Stein Voters For President Donald Trump because I saw so many posts blaming Jill Stein voters for Hillary Clinton’s defeat when, in reality, that’s clearly not the case because Jill Stein only got 1% of the votes. Even if the Green Party had decided against fielding any candidates for this year’s elections, Hillary Clinton still would’ve lost.

All I know is that there is chaos in the U.S. There have been an increase in hate crimes ever since last Tuesday. I can only imagine the fear that a Muslim or even a person of color feels ever time he or she walks out the door and that person starts to wonder whether he/she will return home in one piece.

Last Monday I visited the Trump International Hotel in downtown DC. I remember the streets were relatively calm and empty. Now, as I look back on that day, I have to admit that it was literally the calm before the storm. Today one of my friends who works in the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building next to the Trump International Hotel posted some photos on her Facebook timeline of a protest that happened outside that hotel today. It turns out that the DC public school students staged a walkout and marched to the hotel to protest the election of Donald Trump.

Today’s protest is just one of many that have been breaking out all across the United States this week.

At one point I thought about fleeing to Canada if Donald Trump got elected. I’ve changed my mind for now. My Canadian friends have been urging me to stay and fight. (They are all spooked about what’s going on south of the border.) In addition I have to think about my mother, who’s struggling with multiple sclerosis and she has been in the hospital a few times this year with sepsis. There’s no way I can even consider taking her with me on an 8-12 hour drive to the Canadian border because I’m not sure if she would even survive the trip. And I would hate like hell to abandon her in the U.S. while I go off to Canada.

So I’m staying put while watching photos and videos of all kinds of protests. Tomorrow there’s supposed to be this new video by Keith Olbermann called The Resistance that’s going to premiere online at 8 a.m. Sounds kind of subversive to me. (LOL!)

Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday weekend so who knows what will happen.

UPDATE (November 16, 2016): Here’s the first episode of Keith Olbermann’s new video series called The Resistance.

Four years ago this video featuring a crying child named Abby went viral. She started crying because she had heard yet another ad on the radio urging voters to choose one of the candidates who were running and she grew tired of hearing such ads all the time.

Ironically the 2012 elections were tame compared to the hell that’s currently going on with this year’s elections. Tomorrow the Elections From Hell will be over. In some ways it will be a relief but in others it will lead to a divided nation that will take a long time to heal, thanks in large part to Donald Trump’s blatant maligning of everyone except for white Christian heterosexual men with no disabilities along with the DNC’s blatant siding with Hillary Clinton during the primaries at the expense of other candidates. (On a side note, I find myself wondering if the DNC was so enthralled with Hillary Clinton from the beginning, why did it even bother to run a state to state primary campaign in the first place? They could’ve just said “Hillary Clinton is our candidate—like it or lump it!” and saved taxpayer money on running the Democratic primaries.)

These days I only express my political opinions in this blog because social media has become such a toxic cesspool of political trolls trying to pick fights with people for the fun of it. Even then I try to keep those political opinions to the bare minimum because I didn’t create this blog for political opinions. (Besides there are so many political blogs out there—ranging from the alt right to far right to center right to center left to far left to socialists to communists to outright anarchy—that any political blog I write would probably get lost in the shuffle no matter how well written and well researched my posts are.)

These elections have had an effect on my life. Not only have I quit writing my political opinions on social media but, as I wrote before in this post, I have jointed the #DEMEXIT movement by re-registering as an independent because I’ve become so disgusted with the DNC shenanigans during the primaries. Thanks to reports that the Clinton campaign had hired professional trolls, I no longer trust anyone who writes pro-Hillary Clinton posts on social media because I automatically assume that they are getting paid to do so.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll support The Donald. He has become so odious and toxic that I would never vote for him even if his name was the only one on the ballot. Then again there are still those persistent rumors that he’s waging a fake campaign because he really wants to help his friend Hillary Clinton win as well as gain free publicity for this new venture called Trump TV that he plans to embark on after the elections. (Which shows that he is expecting to lose because, otherwise, why create a time consuming project that could potentially affect his ability to devote time to the duties of the Oval Office?)

These elections have turned into a freak show that’s more suited for an episode of The Jerry Springer Show than for something as serious as choosing a person who will become the leader of the United States of America for the next four years. When you have Donald Trump continuously spewing crazy stuff on a daily basis you know that things have gone wrong. But that’s not all, folks! Hillary Clinton enlisted Jennifer Lopez for her help at a rally and Lopez responded by doing a sexy gyration while wearing thongs. Clinton got on stage to speak after Lopez finished doing her thing. Madonna is also doing her thing to help Hillary Clinton by offering to perform oral sex on anyone who votes for Clinton.

What’s even more disgusting is that the media has not only played along with all of these shenanigans but it has even attempted to blatantly alter the elections as well. This headline says it all: This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism. This sketch from last weekend’s Saturday Night Live have further driven the fact of how journalism has become an incredibly big joke in the United States and it has become a detriment to coverage of this year’s elections.

All of these shenanigans are enough for an average American voter to feel tempted to just not bother with voting. I have a better solution than that.

Instead of focusing on voting for president, let’s turn our attention to towards the down ballot elections. This year there are plenty of people running for the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is one of those years where we need to focus on these other races mainly because the Congress serves as a check and balance on the White House. With Donald Trump’s outright disdain for the Constitution and Hillary Clinton’s pro-fracking policies (and that’s not to mention that her running mate, Tim Kaine, favors the TPP) we desperately need a Congress that will stand up to the president no matter who will occupy the Oval Office.

As to who to vote for president, that’s a tricky question. Both of the major party candidates have issues. My solution is to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party because I can’t stomach voting for either Clinton or Trump. I know it’s not an easy decision. If you’re leaning towards a third party candidate, you’ll be facing messages like this one from Keith Olbermann.

You’ll have people saying either “A vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump” or “A vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton” on the grounds that voting third party siphons votes away from the two major parties. That’s true to some extent but I think this automatic equation of voting third party equals voting for Trump or Clinton is total bullshit.

In reality voting for a candidate means that you’re voting for that candidate. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Donald Trump. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Hillary Clinton. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein. A vote for the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. A vote for any of the lesser-known third party candidates (such as Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party) is a vote for that candidate.

It’s stupid thinking that voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is really a vote for Donald Trump because 1) they don’t have the exact same policy positions and 2) if I was a strong Donald Trump supporter, I would personally prefer voting directly for Trump just so I would feel pride in voting for the candidate whom I’m the most excited about instead of this “let’s vote for a third party candidate and hope the elections will swing to Trump despite wasting our vote on not voting directly for him.”

I know that voting third party isn’t going to lead to Jill Stein going to the White House. What I’m hoping is that if enough people vote for the Green Party so it’ll receive at least 5% of the votes, it will qualify for federal funding for the next elections so maybe the Greens can use that funding to build a grassroots movement that will eventually grow to a genuine party with enough power that it can win elections on the state and local levels and, one day, it’ll field candidates to Congress and the White House. It’s past time for the American voters to have more voting alternatives than just Democrats and Republicans. Other Western democracies have more than two parties and many of them have smaller populations than the U.S.

I would advise people to vote for the candidate whom they feel is best suited for the White House. If that choice happens to be a third party candidate, then vote third party. The only exception I would make is if you live in the key battleground states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada) where the margins are very tight between Clinton and Trump, I would suggest holding your nose and voting for Clinton. That’s because a Trump presidency would be a major disaster for the U.S. and possibly the world. (Remember, this is the same man who has a history of multiple bankruptcies.)

In fact, there is a website called Trump Traders where people who live in solidly blue states (just like where I live) can trade votes with a person living in one of the aforementioned swing states. I’ve just signed up and I feel even better about voting for Jill Stein so the Greens can get the 5% needed and having my counterpart pull the lever for Hillary Clinton in order to keep Trump out of the White House.

As for me I live in a state (Maryland) that’s projected to go for Clinton so I have that luxury of choosing a third party candidate. If you live in a solid pro-Clinton or pro-Trump state then you have that luxury to do the same. Don’t let other people scare you into thinking that “a vote for a third part candidate is a vote for Clinton/Trump/the other side.”

I’m going to end what I hope to be my final political rant before the elections with this video of Kate Smith doing the definitive version of “God Bless America.”

Here’s a update to a post I wrote a few days ago. My mother was released from the hospital a few days ago. I’m pretty relieved because money has been tight for me and I had to use more gas to commute up to the hospital in Glen Burnie (where she was staying). I’m really hoping that she doesn’t get any more sepsis episodes for the rest of this year.

I’ve written in the past about how unhappy I was growing up in Glen Burnie mainly because the other kids called me “retarded” and that label stuck with me not only all the way through grade 12 but even during my freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College the fellow students who knew me from school continued to look down on me in a condescendingly way like I was diseased. I ended up having to make friends with students who attended other high schools because they didn’t know me growing up so they weren’t exposed to seeing kids call me “retarded”. It wasn’t until I transferred to the University of Maryland in College Park that I was finally able to put my past behind me because most of the students there knew nothing about my past.

I don’t regret leaving Glen Burnie because my ability to lead a normal life would’ve been seriously compromised in terms of having friends or even being able to find jobs (especially if one of my old teasers had been a hiring authority at a place where I submitted my resume).

Where I live I see the occasional Hillary Clinton signs on the lawns but those are pretty rare. I have never seen any Donald Trump signs at all—until I visited Glen Burnie. When I was leaving the hospital after visiting my mother on Saturday I drove past couple of houses that actually have Trump signs on the front lawns.

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It figures that I would see pro-Trump people in Glen Burnie. Never mind the fact that Donald Trump has never given a rat’s ass about lower middle class/working class towns like Glen Burnie. I mean, look at what he has built in his career as a real estate developer. No one living in Glen Burnie could ever afford to move to any buildings that has Trump’s name on it unless he or she won the Powerball lottery.

And then there are the rape and sexual abuse allegations against him as well as all of the creepy comments he made about how he’d date Ivanka Trump if it weren’t for the fact that she is his daughter. I just only hope these homeowners don’t have wives or daughters but I have a feeling that they have women in their lives. If I was the wife or daughter of someone who supports Donald Trump so much that he has placed a pro-Trump sign in the yard, I would wonder if my husband or father secretly approves of rape and sexual abuse. If I was a daughter I would also wonder if my father also has secret desires to date me if I wasn’t his daughter just like what Donald Trump has said about Ivanka.

It would be pretty ironic if either of those homeowners were among those who taunted me all through school by calling me “retarded.” If that’s the case, it would be appropriate that they are Trump supporters given how Trump has made fun of a disabled man.

Keeping pro-Trump signs on the front lawn after every horrible thing Trump has said and done over these many months are advertising “I AM A DOUCHEBAG AND I’M PROUD OF IT!!!” Especially given the reports that Donald Trump refuses to say whether he will even honor the election results if Hillary Clinton wins in a few weeks. I’m sure these assholes don’t give a damn about keeping the U.S. a functioning democracy or honoring the U.S. Constitution. They probably will refuse to watch videos like this one showing Keith Olbermann expressing outrage over the possibility that Trump may not even honor the election results if he happens to lose.

I am so glad I left Glen Burnie years ago. At least I’m among people who have accepted me as I am and I don’t have to see any pro-Trump lawn signs.

This year is the fifth anniversary of this blog. For the first year I was unsure about how many photos I could actually upload because of the free WordPress.com blogging account has a space limit. So I kept photo uploads limited to just my arts and crafts along with any photographs that I actually exhibited in a show. Over time I learned such things as graphic optimization so I was able to upload more photos that way than I thought I could. So for the rest of the year I’m going to devote Throwback Thursday to photos from previous blog entries (along with links to the original posts) that I should’ve uploaded five years earlier but I didn’t.

In mid-June, 2010 my then-husband and I went to New York City to visit his father and step-mother. That trip was momentous because soon after I went there, I wrote this rant called I Don’t Love New York Anymore. I had an epiphany on that trip because I saw so many chain stores in Manhattan that it was unreal. I still have memories of an earlier time when there were more locally owned businesses than chain stores and these local businesses offered a more diverse array of items for sale.

Here are just a few of my photos from that weekend trip, which led me to write that rant.

I remembered I roamed the streets of New York City mostly by myself because my in-laws were busy with observing the Sabbath (my ex’s step-mother is an Orthodox Jew and his father converted to her faith shortly before they were married) while my then-husband was busy with watching the World Cup soccer matches.

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Day 1 (June 13, 2010) I walked along the city streets while I took these photos.

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I ran into the annual Puerto Rican parade where I saw people waving Puerto Rican flags while floats were driving along the streets.

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I shot a short video that featured just a small portion of that parade.

The parade was pretty crowded so I decided to head over to the nearest subway stop and take the next subway train to Greenwich Village. I found that the nearest stop was Rockefeller Center. I ended up at Radio City Music Hall, where workers were in the process of preparing for the Tony Awards that would be broadcast on CBS that very evening.

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Here’s a shot of Rockefeller Center from a upward angle.

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I made a brief stop at the MSNBC.com Cafe inside Rockefeller Center before I went into the subway station.

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I took a couple of shots of some interesting wall etchings on my way to the subway station.

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Once I reached Greenwich Village, I found this statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

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Here are a few more photos of the Village.

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On June 14, 2010, I began the second day of my solo wandering through New York City by making a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar, a place that’s best described as a candy store on steroids.

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Then I took some photos of what I saw on the streets of New York City.

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I visited FAO Schwartz when it was still located on Fifth Avenue. (Sadly that store closed its doors for good just a few months ago.) I took photos of this life-sized statue of Chewbacca made from Legos and this line of environmentally friendly stuffed animals that were sold exclusively at FAO Schwartz.

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I made a return visit to Rockefeller Center where I took some more external photos.

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At that time there were signs in one of the empty storefronts announcing the opening of a new Lego store located right in the heart of Rockefeller Center. (I would actually visit that store on a subsequent trip to New York City the following year.)

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The last few photos were taken at the MSNBC.com Cafe that’s located right inside the NBC Store in Rockefeller Center. That cafe had some pretty funky decor.

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I remember that the NBC Store sold bobblehead dolls of its biggest stars—Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann, and Jay Leno of NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Of those three bobblehead dolls that were on sale back in 2010, Jim Cramer is the only one whose show is still on the air at CNBC. Keith Olbermann’s show has long since been cancelled on MSNBC while Jay Leno has retired from his show and has since been replaced by Jimmy Fallon.

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While I’m remembering the final end of my marriage one year ago today (when my lawyer gave me the paper signed by a judge that officially announced that my marriage is officially over) I’m seeing the Internet explode over a couple of articles that recently ran in The Washington Post. First was this column by George Will who basically considered campus rape as a “coveted status.” As someone who knows someone who was brutally raped recently, I find that statement to be totally outrageous. If someone suddenly raped him (and, yes, men can be rape victims too), would he be celebrating and screaming “Wohooooo!!!!” because he received this so-called “coveted status”?

Just days later The Washington Post followed that offensive column with another offensive column written W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson this headline: One way to end violence against women? Married dads. It includes this choice quote:

Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers,…

Oh, yeah?!? If that’s the case, how come I ended being married to a man who only pretended that he loved me until one day, three days after Christmas and three months after I underwent hip surgery, he abruptly walked out on me without ever indicating that he was the least bit unhappy, refused to speak with me in person (he only sent e-mails and texts demanding that I adhere to this separation schedule that existed only in his head), refused my offer for the two of us to undergo marriage counseling, acted as if he always had total contempt for me, and ended up marrying a woman whom I thought was a friend of mine and who has long suffered from mental health issues a mere two months after our divorce was final? Being married to a man who only pretended to have loved me gave me a very false sense of safety that I didn’t even know was false until the day he suddenly walked out on me and he suddenly started acting like he really hated me all this time.

After reading these two columns, I’m very glad I had cancelled my subscription to The Washington Post a couple of months ago. I did it as part of a cost-cutting measure and also because the newspaper had gotten so thin on actual content that it really wasn’t worth spending the money. (There were some days when I could go through the entire paper in less than 30 minutes.) Yesterday I got a letter from The Washington Post begging me to re-subscribe. After reading those two columns online, I have to say “No!” to that offer.

I hate to be the one to say this, but marriage won’t protect or make a woman “safe.” I’ve learned that lesson the hard way because I thought I was in a “safe” marriage until the night my husband walked out on me without ever telling me that he was unhappy.

As I look back at the events over the last few years, I still feel like I’ve been blindsided by what happened. I should not have been divorced. I have never physically abused my husband nor have I ever cheated on him. I’ve always cooperated whenever he asked that I keep my financial expenditures under control and I used to feel pride whenever I found something really nice on sale, such as a choice cut of beef or some new bras for myself, so I could show my husband how I didn’t pay full price. (He was very tightfisted and controlling when it came to finances even though we weren’t poor and he works a well-paying job at NASA.)

I just can’t believe that this happened to me. He always acted like he totally loved me. He was one of the few people in my life whom I could easily share secrets with him and he seemed to understand me fully. There were times when I thought he was my best friend and my soulmate. This is why I’ve felt devastated when he left and there are times when I still feel devastated.

One complaint he mentioned in that note is that I kept a cluttered home. In my defense, I’d like to say that I was in physical pain for a lot of 2011 due to my hip problems that I’ll write more about in the next paragraph. My pain was so bad that I had a hard time walking around. Cleaning house was much harder with a bad hip. On top of it, we were dealing with trying to figure out what to do with stuff that came from my late mother-in-law’s estate that we inherited. (She was a notorious pack rat that stemmed from growing up during the Great Depression. I’ve met other people who also survived the Great Depression and they have this attitude: If there’s a 1% chance that something could be used again, one should keep it. Even if you don’t use it for a lot of years because one day you could need it so it’s best to hold on to it for decades no matter how much clutter it adds to the household.)

And one of the reasons why he said felt the need to leave me have also totally blindsided me. In that note he basically said that I was ill-tempered and did things that he found offensive. I want to say that, in my defense, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind back in 2011. You see, I originally underwent a hip replacement late in 2008 and I had to be hospitalized again just a month later because I developed a reaction to the blood thinner Arixstra that resulted in a blood blister that formed near my surgical wounds and I needed a second surgery to get rid of it. It took me the bulk of 2009 before I fully recovered. In early 2011 I underwent two falls in the same week that knocked my original hip replacement out of alignment. As a result, I had to undergo hip revision surgery in September, 2011 to put that hip replacement back into alignment so I could walk without pain again.

I was very depressed over having to undergo similar surgery and the same physical therapy that I went through in 2008-2009. So, yes, I had a less-than-sweet disposition because of it and there were times when I was angry. I was also in a lot of pain and I was put on pain medications like Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Percocet that whacked my mind out at times. I’m sure I’ve said and done things while I was strung out on painkillers and I regret any hurt I may have inflicted on my husband. Here is a video that shows what it’s like to be on painkillers. Keith Olbermann was taking pain medicines for shingles that are nearly identical to the ones I took in the aftermath of my hip surgery.

In addition to what he thought was my bad behavior, he also indicated in that note another reason why he left and it was all my fault.

Quite simply put, what I once tolerated has become unacceptable…the day before surgery bringing in a pile of shopping after I’d spent a ton of time clearing barely adequate space for you to avoid trip hazards…

If it weren’t for the fact that I still get upset whenever I see that hateful letter he left behind, I would just go ahead and type the entire farewell letter in this blog. But it still hurts to read it in full so I’m really not ready to do this yet. As for the supposed “pile of shopping” it was basically just one item.

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Here’s some background. I was under a lot of pain and stress because of my hip. My hip had grown so bad that I couldn’t walk without a walker. The day before my surgery, I decided to treat myself to a shopping trip to Tyson’s Corner Mall. At no point had my husband ever told me not to do any shopping or anything like that. I just wanted some fun time because I had not only surgery but more months of physical therapy and pain ahead. To make a long story short, I bought this doll at American Girl Place because she’s supposed to represent a historic 1970’s doll and she was wearing an outfit similar to one that I once wore during that same era when I was a child. I even had cash with me so I was able to purchase the doll without having to use the credit card. Here is what she looks like.

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I also bought a series of small paperback books about the era that the 1970’s doll came from.

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For the last few years I’ve struggled with my husband’s contention that my purchase of that doll had caused the breakup of our marriage. I offered to have the two of us undergo marriage counseling and he refused saying that he didn’t ever see the two of us reconcile. At one point I thought about selling the doll because I personally believe that no doll or any other item is worth sacrificing what was basically a good marriage. Had he said, “Sell the doll and I’ll return,” I would’ve done so because I really didn’t want to lose a husband over a doll. I believe that no inanimate object is worth sacrificing a marriage over—especially one where I was mostly happy and contented.

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I became ambivalent over the Julie Albright doll because I internalized my husband’s rationale that my buying that doll had driven him from our home. I had even thought about selling the doll on eBay but I decided to not do anything unless my husband decided to return home. Given my state of mind at the time, had he said “Sell the doll and I’ll come back,” I would’ve listed it on eBay the next day. Because I wasn’t about to sacrifice a marriage over a doll because it’s an incredibly stupid reason to sacrifice a marriage.

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I’m so glad I held off on selling the doll because it still would not have enticed my husband to return home. I later learned from friends that my husband was more than just friendly with one of the part-time volunteer barmaids who had mental health issues and who worked at this co-op coffeehouse we were regulars at. In fact, I had one friend tell me that my husband came by the coffeehouse on the way back from making a run to get my painkiller prescription refilled just a couple of weeks after I had the surgery and he stayed for a long time while he actively flirted with that barmaid. My friend later told me that she went over to my husband and told him that I was probably waiting at home in pain for his return with the painkillers and she was urging him to return home to me.

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After talking with my friends, I now know that this American Girl doll had gotten a bum rap by being unfairly blamed for breaking up our marriage when my husband was having an affair with that barmaid while I was recovering from hip surgery. Thanks to my friends who observed those two together, I now feel relieved that the doll had nothing to do with my husband’s walkout. Given the fact that he and the other woman were engaged just eight months after he left me (while he was still legally married to me) and given the fact that they were married just two months after our divorce was final, I’m now convinced that this poor doll was just a scapegoat and not the real reason why he left me. Looking back, I think I could’ve bought and brought home just a lollipop or a can of Coca-Cola and he still would’ve use that as an excuse to leave me.

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In addition, I later learned that my husband and the other woman were engaged in August, 2012—just eight months after he left me and he was still legally married to me at the time. I’m having a hard time believing that my purchasing that doll caused him to not only leave me but also to get engaged to the other woman.

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On top of it, he and the other woman were married just two months after our divorce was final. (Which means that the first anniversary of his second marriage is coming in August.)

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Then there was the hell he put me through. It was almost like he wanted to totally destroy me. The lowest point of the divorce came regarding health insurance. I was on my husband’s health plan through his NASA job. In one of his e-mails he said that after the divorce I could apply for Obamacare, which was scheduled to go into effect in October, 2013. If he had any feelings towards me and the years I was his loyal wife, he could’ve waited until after the Affordable Care Act went into effect before filing for divorce. But, no, he decided to file earlier in January after I refused to simply sign the .pdf document he e-mailed on Christmas Eve and send it to his lawyer. As a result of the divorce being in June, I had to pay $500 a month to stay on his health plan until Obamacare went into effect. I had to live off credit cards just so I could afford the basic necessities.

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It’s obvious that my husband did research on the separation and divorce laws before he left me because he seemed to know about what had to be done to separate everything according to a schedule that existed in his head. As a NASA employee, he probably researched the health insurance stuff at the same time as researching the divorce laws in the state of Maryland and decided to really screw me financially. Had he waited to file until July instead of January, I could’ve immediately gone on the Affordable Care Act but, no, he really wanted to prove how much he hated me as his wife by screwing me financially. He wrote it into our separation and divorce agreement that I would not try to sue him to increase alimony and I foolishly agreed with it because I had no idea what he had in store for me. He knew that since I recently had hip surgery, going without health insurance for four months would’ve been very risky for me so he decided to really screw me by putting me into a financial hole that I’m now trying to dig out of. That’s how I learned that he basically lied to me when he said he loved me.

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He put me through a hell of a lot of punishment that also included cyberbullying (while refusing to even speak with me in person) just because I bought a doll that he blamed for breaking up our marriage.

Occupy the Dollhouse: I am the 99 Percent

In the year since the divorce was final, I’ve been trying to move on with my life but it’s been a difficult process and I’m still seeing a therapist because of it. Sometimes I’ll see something in the news that still triggers memories of my husband’s appalling behavior towards me and that divorce, such as a series of  news stories earlier this year stemming from Woody Allen leaving his girlfriend Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter while being accused of sexually assaulting another daughter that he adopted with Mia Farrow.

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Had my ex-husband been more honest about our marriage and actually brought up some issues with me, I could’ve suggested marriage counseling. We might have broken up anyway but it would’ve been more civil than the cowardly hateful thing he’s done towards me where he avoids me yet he gives orders like I’m some subordinate and I had to do whatever he says and if I don’t, he’ll sue me. And I would’ve written nicer things about him in this blog while expressing how sad I was that we broke up.

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But, noooooo, he felt he had to do the things he’s done to me. Well, to quote Dr. Phil, “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.” He chose to leave me without telling me he was unhappy, he chose to treat me like I’m some horrible monster, and he chose to marry a mentally ill friend of ours just two months after our divorce was final. So, using Dr. Phil’s logic, he has chosen the consequences where some of our longtime friends have told me that they refuse to have anything to do with him (mainly because they were outraged that he left me just three months after I underwent hip surgery) and I refuse to have anything to do with him as well. He has also chosen whatever drama arises from being married to a person he knew had mental health issues before he even hooked up with her in the first place. Given the statistics I’ve read about both the divorce rates among people with mental illnesses and the divorce rates among men who married women they originally had an extramarital affair with and it looks like my ex-husband has chosen the consequence of one day going through a second divorce the day he abruptly left me for that woman then just as abruptly married her soon after our divorce was final.
2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Look I’ll admit that I’m not entirely blameless. I’ve made my share of mistakes but they weren’t done out of malice or abuse. I’ve even wrote about the mistakes I’ve made last December and the things I would’ve done differently had I chance to do it all over again.

That’s the way it goes.

I remember spending a frustrating Friday evening trying to upload a video that I finally uploaded successfully last night (see last entry for details) while stewing over a dispute that I had with someone about something (I don’t want to get any more specific because it was a personal matter and the person I was mad at has since apologized). When I finally returned home totally frustrated, I walked in on my husband while he was watching Countdown With Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and he said that Keith Olbermann has just announced that his show was ending. It was a shock because it came without any kind of warning and it shocked much of the media as well (other than the corporate brass at NBC and MSNBC). It even shocked one of the show’s guests, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. As he wrote in his online post, he appeared in the first segment of the show then he returned home where he received a press release from NBC about Olbermann’s departure and he had to pull up what he recorded to see the sign-off at the end.

Since I came home at the very end, I had to wait until the next day to see the show online and it was a totally shocking thing to see. The big irony is that Friday morning I shot video at a rally that protested the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruiling, which essentially says that corporations have as much rights as a person. That rally expressed fears about what could happen if corporations would be able to do whatever they want. For weeks I’ve heard concerns about the NBC-Comcast merger, which was approved by the Federal Government last Thursday, and how it could affect the diversity of voices and opinions in the media. Keith Olbermann’s sudden departure from a show that had been among MSNBC’s highest rated shows has added fuel to the fire about this controversial merger.

I’ve been doing some miscellaneous YouTube searches after I came back from church this morning. I know that, on the surface, Countdown With Keith Olbermann is just another television show. But I have a friend who was actually interviewed on that show twice. I know that yesterday I featured a video of the rally that included a speech from one friend of mine whom I met through my Unitarian Universalist congregation and I also posted a second video featuring her prominently that was actually embedded on Michael Moore’s site for a while.

Well, I have another friend whom I also met through the same Unitarian Universalist congregation and he was the one who appeared on Olbermann’s show twice. His name is Rob Boston and he works for the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. He first appeared on Olbermann’s show two years ago when President-Elect Barack Obama announced that he was going to have controversial Saddleback Church pastor and The Purpose Driven Church author Rick Warren participate in his inaugruation.

Rob appeared on the show a year later when Olbermann was discussing Glenn Beck’s upcoming American Revival Tour to re-establish the U.S. as a Christian nation. This show had an interesting backstory because Rob appeared live on the show the same night as the second of two major snowstorms that dumped so much snow that local officials throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area urged residents to not even attempt to travel unless it was a dire emergency. (Storm 1 dumped two feet of snow. Rob appeared on the same night as Storm 2, which dumped an additional 7-8 inches of snow.) Rob later told me that NBC’s Washington studio had to send one of those giant monster pickup trucks to pick him up from his home, deliver him to the DC studio, do the interview with Olbermann via satellite, then drive him back home in the same vehicle.

I was half-expecting to see Rob make another annual appearance on Olbermann’s show for the third year in a row but I guess it’ll never happen now. 😦

On a slightly different note, I found another interesting video. It’s well known that Keith Olbermann is such a fan of James Thurber’s writings and he even ended his last episode of Countdown With Keith Olbermann with a reading of Thurber’s The Scotty Who Knew Too Much. I found this really cool animation that’s based on another Thurber story called The Girl and the Wolf. Olbermann read this story on his show last April. This animated adaptation is very beautiful and very accurate to the original story.

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