At What Point?

by MARKIE

I have to ask this question. When are people going to realize that there are bigger problems in the world than the petty things which our society seems to be focusing on lately? If foreign countries could read our headlines or watch our news coverage (cancel culture? What is that!), they would probably turn away in disgust. No matter your or my political beliefs, there are certain things happening right now that are simply outrageous.

Who cares about Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head? They are toys which help teach children motor skills. That’s it.

And why is Dr. Seuss under fire? He wrote books that rhymed, which are fun and entertaining for children. Nothing more.

Now I’m hearing words against another children’s book, curious George. Because it’s about a white man who has a monkey, and the word ‘monkey’ has been used by some as a racial slur against black people. News flash: a monkey is an animal. It’s not the author’s fault that some low class people have chosen to use that word as an offensive word against other people! At what point do we draw the line between what is, and is not, offensive? I would argue that we’re already past that point, because people are condemning this book in which the word ‘monkey’ is used in its original, correct context! Come on, America.

Why would anyone want to remove the police officer dog from Paw Patrol? It’s not only a cartoon, but the favorite cartoon of millions of children! This cartoon teaches children to respect our men and women in uniforms of all kinds. There is not only a police officer pup, but pups who represent construction, aerial rescue, coast guard, and others. The point is, are we going to boycott the construction pup because we’re fed up with having to take detours? Or the aerial rescue pup because it’s offensive to those who are scared of heights? Where does the madness end!

PAW PATROL

It is imperative that society stop swaying with the crowd, and know our own minds. And it is okay to go against the majority. Just because one or two people raise a stink about something does Not mean that the whole country needs to go into an uproar. Likewise, just because a group of people- even if it is the majority- agree on something, doesn’t mean it’s right.

In listing the above examples, I’ve noticed a common denominator: it sounds to me like it’s our children who are under attack! Because believe you me, they listen. And they hear all of this craziness. Children are extremely impressionable, and it is scary and confusing to them when the adult influences in their lives start talking about gender neutral toys and systemic racism, and asking them what sex they want to be . The list goes on!

Generations of people have grown up reading these books and playing with these toys. Think of it this way: everything is offensive to somebody, somewhere. You think I like having to press 2 for English when I live in America? No!

But I digress.

Like I always tell my stepdaughter when she’s frustrated with the rules: people are adults for the majority of their lives. Childhood is just a fraction of it, and she should try to enjoy being a kid while it lasts.

Let’s let our kids enjoy being kids, and stop taking away their innocence!

SAGACIOUS SERAPHINA



Do not let Seraphina’s bold, showy appearance lull you into dismissing her sound judgment, keen perceptions, and passion for discernment!

SAGACIOUS, SOPHISTICATED, EMBOLDENED,
QUIET &
CONFIDENT LADY

She is a wise woman who does not flaunt her knowledge, confident within herself. It is that very wisdom that allows her to do her work with those less fortunate.

Her birth family was simple people with low self-esteem and little education who took pride in working for affluent families as servants and laborers during summer playtime at their ostentatious “cottages” in Maine.

Seraphina went forth into the world to make her future prepared only with these values at a very early, determined, and independent age. She did not realize the importance of a “master plan” but rather prided herself in achieving by increments the more minor victories over changing her world.

She recently returned to her home to discover that she has stepped over the threshold between naivete and knowing the secret through her experiences. She found that she has alienated herself from her family of birth, who has chosen to remain faithful to the elder family’s beliefs of dignity through servitude.

Her heart broke, discovering that she created distance from her family, yet she rejoices, having reached another level of awareness and has the insight to realize that much is yet to discover. She knows that she can visualize whatever brings her true happiness, and her determination will open doors towards achieving her goals. Obstacles cannot keep her from finding the good in her life and following where it leads. She believes nothing can get in the way of this unless she allows it.

Seraphina reviews her travel photographs to remind herself of the many exciting places, ideas, and people she has embraced in her new world, her new home, her new family of choice. She is always the first to take candid shots with her digital camera at any gathering. Many times, she enjoys sharing the ornate and embellished photo albums she creates with her new friends. The photos, laughs, and stories shared, discussions, and memories help her stay focused on her goals.

SAGACIOUS SERAPHINA

Do not let Seraphina’s bold, showy appearance lull you into dismissing her sound judgment, keen perceptions, and passion for discernment!

SAGACIOUS SERAPHINA


She is a wise woman who does not flaunt her knowledge, confident within herself. It is that very wisdom that allows her to do her work with those less fortunate.


Her birth family was simple people with low self-esteem and little education who took pride in working for affluent families as servants and laborers during summer playtime at their ostentatious “cottages” in Maine.

Seraphina went forth into the world to make her future prepared only with these values at a very early, determined, and independent age. She did not realize the importance of a “master plan” but rather prided herself in achieving by increments the more minor victories over changing her world.


She recently returned to her home to discover that she has stepped over the threshold between naivete and knowing the secret through her experiences. She found that she has alienated herself from her family of birth, who has chosen to remain faithful to the elder family’s beliefs of dignity through servitude.


Her heart broke, discovering that she created distance from her family, yet she rejoices, having reached another level of awareness and has the insight to realize that much is yet to discover.


She knows that she can visualize whatever brings her true happiness, and her determination will open doors towards achieving her goals.


Obstacles cannot keep her from finding the good in her life and following where it leads. She believes nothing can get in the way of this unless she allows it.


Seraphina reviews her travel photographs to remind herself of the many exciting places, ideas, and people she has embraced in her new world, her new home, her new family of choice.


She is always the first to take candid shots with her digital camera at any gathering. Many times, she enjoys sharing the ornate and embellished photo albums she creates with her new friends. The photos, laughs, and stories shared, discussions, and memories help her stay focused on her goals.

NOTHING SCANDALOUS ABOUT MATT GAETZ, AND THAT’S THE SCANDAL

This happens all the time.

by Jessica Wildfire

So…

Florida representative Matt Gaetz has been sleeping with 17-year-old girls and sharing private nudes of women with his pals in congress.

Here’s the thing:

No woman on earth is surprised.

We’re just pissed off.

The scandal is that it’s not a scandal. We’ve encountered worse than Matt Gaetz. I’ve watched 30-something men try to pick up 15-year-old girls at gas stations. There’s thousands of men out there who don’t care what’s right or wrong, just what they can get away with.

What’s surprising is that Matt Gaetz might actually face some consequences this time, but probably not severe enough to deter him. Like so many others, he’ll go right on doing the same thing he’s always done, and setting a low bar for men everywhere.

It’s almost a given.

This happens all the time.

The problem isn’t what Matt Gaetz did. It’s that what he did happens practically all the time.

Men learn early on how to pressure young women into all kinds of sexual acts, including nude photos they share with all their friends later, like it’s some trophy. When these teenage boys grow up into 40-year-old men, they still try to date women half their age.

It’s downright normal.

We let it happen, just slightly out of sight.

It’s not unusual for wealthy, powerful men to spend their free time grooming underage women for sexual service. It’s almost expected that some men will use their positions and privilege to lure young women into relationships. There’s no shortage of Hollywood celebrities and recording artists who’ve managed to get away with it for years.

Almost every single university has at least one professor who treats their graduate TAs like groupies, promising favors and career advancement in exchange for sex. Then they get bored and discard them. The woman winds up hurt, and often vilified.

Don’t believe me?

Ask around.

This happens all the time.

Here’s the simple truth about gender dynamics in America. Men are still allowed to destroy women’s lives.

Some treat it like a sport.

I know professors who’ve been assaulted in bathrooms where they work. Their own students have propositioned them for sex. I know professors who’ve had students expose themselves in classrooms.

When they report these crimes, they become the subject of an investigation into their credibility. The police meet with Human Resources to sit her down for recorded interviews that feel like interrogations. They cajole her into signing a transcript under penalty of perjury. They go through all of these steps before even questioning her attacker.

This is why so many women either don’t report sexual harassment or assault or retract their allegations.

They get intimidated.

This happens all the time.

I know students who’ve had to transfer to different universities because stalkers threatened their friends and family with a loaded gun, on top of terrorizing them on social media.

These universities often care more about the stalker’s rights than their victims. They hardly ever expel young men for the torture they inflict on women. They impose minimal penalties. Stuff like this has happened to me as well. Society teaches you it’s your fault. After forty years of calling out crimes like this, we still hear questions like, “What were you wearing?” and “Why were you walking on campus alone?”

Justice doesn’t happen for most women. It happens to them, on behalf of men who violate women and then portray themselves as victims whenever they finally get into trouble. The system teaches women that in order to go up against a white guy, they need a small army.

All too often, it’s a futile battle.

This happens all the time.

Nothing that bad will happen to Matt Gaetz.

Women will be shocked if he ever sees the inside of a prison cell. After all, we’re talking about the country that confirmed a supreme court judge days after an upstanding woman accused him of rape.

Powerful white men almost never pay for what they do to women. At worst, they lose a job and then find a different one. It’ll be no surprise that Matt Gaetz resigns his congressional seat and then winds up hosting a show on Fox News. He’ll probably make more money that way. No, white men often don’t suffer consequences for their actions.

The women do.

Every time a woman outs her rapist, she’s likely to receive death threats. She loses friends and colleagues. She has to relocate.

Suddenly, she’s toxic.

In America, rape isn’t a crime.

Allowing yourself to get raped, or making up a rape story, that’s what people are worried about.

This happens all the time.

Matt Gaetz isn’t a surprise.

He’s a republican.

If there’s one thing you can always count on republicans for, it’s a sustained assault on women’s rights.

The last president was a republican who openly bragged about using his celebrity status as a license to grope women. In this mind, letting a wealthy and powerful man grab them counted as consent. He’s been accused of sexual assault by 26 different women, with zero consequences. His daughter ran a sham organization that pretended to promote women entrepreneurs, but it was really just a giant publicity stunt.

He was pals with Jeffrey Epstein, a man who almost got away with running an actual underage prostitution ring.

Republicans have rejected legislation designed to pay women fair salaries or provide them with mandatory maternity leave. They’ve managed to shadow ban abortion in virtual every red state. Most recently, they voted against a bill meant to protect women against violence, literally in the midst of headline stories about violence against women.

They don’t care about women’s rights, just how they can use women as props to sell merchandise and spread fake news.

Even women in the republican party don’t care about women. They care about the power and prestige they get from throwing everyone else under the bus. They pretend to represent progress, when they only represent their own selfish, short-sighted interests.

So that’s how things go with republicans. Honestly, it would be surprising if one of them did care.

This happens all the time.

Women have learned to expect half of the men they meet to be something along the lines of Matt Gaetz. If given the opportunity, they’ll seduce 17-year-old girls (or traffic them) and then brag about it.

They’ll boast about their sexual conquests, even when they use power and money to coerce younger women into sleeping with them. They’ll interrupt women’s daily lives in order to hit on them. They’ll act like paying women unsolicited compliments is a favor.

They’ll pay women lower salaries and wages because they truly think women do inferior work. They’ll defend stalkers and rapists, and put women on trial for telling the truth, simply because it challenges the established order. They’ll scrutinize women’s achievements.

They’ll use their status as husbands and fathers to defend themselves, and it makes the rest of us shudder to think about what it must be like to live under their daily oppression.

No, not all men act like this. But half of them do.

So…

The most important thing you need to know about Matt Gaetz is that he’s not a scandal, not even close.

HE’S TYPICAL.

MY WRITING SUCCESS TOOLS TO HELP YOU CRUSH THE GAME

by Sean Kernan

These programs will help put your editing and content production on track.

Picture a woman writing marker notes on a glass door with post-it notes around it.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that writers have no use for tools or gear. I make my living writing and spend hours at the keyboard. I’ve found a great set of software and equipment that I still use every day.

The best writing tools are the ones you enjoy using and that are built to get things done quickly and efficiently. If you are serious about becoming a professional writer, it’s worth considering the following options.

Capturing and saving ideas for later

My best articles are usually the result of ideas that seemingly fell out of the sky. I can’t replicate how it happened. It feels random and it’s frustrating. I’ll agonize to myself, “Why can’t I think of a funny idea like that one from earlier?” I do know ideas come from a certain mode my brain gets into. I have a terrible memory and have found it’s of absolute, paramount importance to write down even mediocre ideas. They often evolve into better concepts.

I use a free sticky notes app on my phone. One sticky is just for random ideas. The other stickies are categorized for specific articles. I find that ideas surface when I’m doing something repetitive and passive, like walking, or cleaning. There’s also a voice-to-text feature that is good for jotting ideas if you are bad at writing on your phone.

Programs for writing articles

Grammarly is still a valuable resource for typos. The premium version justifies itself and sends you wordcount recaps each week to track productivity. I’ve also found one trick with their corrections. If it is trying to correct a phrase or word that isn’t actually a typo, that often means your wording is a bit foggy and inefficient. Consider rephrasing the entire sentence.

Grammarly won’t catch everything. You’ll still need to read the article out loud to maximize your editing. I’m introverted and don’t like talking a lot, even by myself. I lose my voice easily and get a sore throat. I often use text reading software, such as Natural Readers. I’ll put this in one window, paste my article in, then follow along making edits while it reads my article to me.

Help for writing and ghostwriting books

I’d heard so many polarizing opinions about Scrivener. People either despise it or can’t live without it. I’m a bit old-school and thought deviating from Word was a fool’s errand until I found myself on a project I couldn’t wrangle.

I was ghostwriting a novel for a high-paying client. I was getting input from so many different sources: friends, exes, bosses, employees. Every conversation was more chaotic than the next. I was left scratching my head thinking, “How in the heck am I going to string this together?” People assume that ghostwriting clients come in and know exactly what they want for their book. The truth is closer to, “I’ve had a cool life. I want to share it with everyone. You can write it.”

A writer told me the signature benefit of Scrivener: organization. You can separate your writing out into modules and sections and have all sorts of notes. This became unbelievably helpful while I was dealing with the chaos. Scrolling through a hundred pages of random stories was unsustainable.

Article and content imagery

Initially, I was using the popular royalty-free images on Pexels and Unsplash. The problem with these images is that they are common. When readers see the same image they’ve seen over and over again, they glaze over and move on. If you can’t afford to buy your images, I strongly recommend you scroll further down before choosing your image. The images at the top are often overused.

If you can spend a few bucks, I strongly recommend using iStock photos or Adobe Stock photos. I love having access to images that most people don’t use. The pictures are considerably better and more tasteful. It’s also a tax-deductible expense so it makes sense.

Office equipment and extras

I’m a rather tall guy and don’t like scrunching up so I bought an adjustable desk, PC, and giant monitor to write on. The idea of spending all day on a laptop makes me shudder. I also have great hardware on the computer so that I can run multiple tabs and programs while I write. Investing in a solid-state drive will make any computer instantly faster than you thought possible. There’s no reason to have a computer that sounds like a lawnmower as it groans to open a new chrome tab.

I also bought a very comfortable chair that helps my posture. Everyone’s body is different, but you should be considering your physical comfort while writing. Hunching over a laptop on your couch isn’t a way to live. If you have a backache while working, something is wrong. Much of this has to do with head positioning. I love having a massive monitor that is right at eye level so I’m not looking down or up and signing myself up for pain.

The key takeaway is that you should be mindful of the programs you are using while you write. There are very real ways to make your writing better and more efficient. Ultimately, your ability to continue writing, stay critical of your work, and get feedback from others will determine your success.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the value of extras.