Stop Author Abuse! | The BookChick


Stop Author Abuse! | The BookChick.

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Heartbreaking


Today, a four-month-old infant died after a crash yesterday involving her mother, a sixteen-year-old girl, who ran through a stop sign while talking on  her cell phone.  The mother was wearing her seatbelt, the baby was ejected from the vehicle while in her car seat. 

A tragic reminder that we should all be careful of not getting distracted while driving.

EDIT 11/20/08: The young mother died this morning. http://www.amarillo.com/stories/112008/new_update.shtml

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Yesterday, while I was on break, a little brown-haired girl, maybe six-years-old, came into the breakroom and slid into one of the booth-type tables.  She proceeded to fiddle with her Lunchable, and another co-worker and I initiated a friendly inquiry as to who she belonged to,  just to make sure she was okay.  Turns out, her mother works there, which is what we figured.  The mom, a recent transfer to our store, is a tall, solid woman with dyed jet-black hair with perfectly drawn on eyebrows to match.  She looks to be in her mid-to-late twenties, and is, as some might describe, course. Her style of conversation is rough and abrasive, though not confrontational. Unless, I suspect, you cross her. She is also one to over-share, which I have avoided as much as possible. I did learn one thing during one of our down-time conversations.  That her kids have been in foster care before. 

So, as my other co-worker and I  are talking to the little girl, who seems leery of talking to strangers (which is good)  her mom comes in obviously cross, and yanks the Lunchable from the child’s hand. The child begins to say something, not disrespectful or anything, and the mom slaps her face.  My other co-worker and  I flinch as the little girl sits back and bawls.

‘We’ve had issues today,” the mom says with a chuckle as she looks at us.  She then tears open the Lunchable and situates it in front of her daughter, gives the teary-eyed girl a kiss on the head and tells her she loves her before directing her to eat her lunch.  She then disappears back into the store to do some day-off shopping.

My other co-worker and I exchange a glance. “Some people don’t need to be mothers,” she says under her breath, just loud enough that I could hear.

I look at the little girl, and the angry red mark on  her cheek, and my heart aches for her bruised spirit.  I drain my can of Diet Coke and stand.  I can’t leave the room with out saying something.  As I approach the little girl’s table on my way back to the main floor, I glance down. “Have a good day, sweetie.  You’re a good girl.”

I ignored the impulse to say anything else or, even more, give her a hug because ONE: She’s someone else’s kid, and it wouldn’t be proper to do so in this situation, and TWO: She was obviously embarrassed enough.

I know children need discipline.  I’m even someone who doesn’t frown on  spanking–not beating–but spanking.  I don’t like it, and the only time I spanked Toddler, I think I cried almost as hard as she did. But when we signed on to be foster parents, we agreed to a no physical discipline policy. And, in our training, we learned the reasons why, and they made sense in regards to children who have faced abuse.  That would be a whole article, so I won’t  go on about it, but suffice to say, we learned a thing or three.

But, I think children deserve respect as well as discipline.  Respect, Guidance, Discipline and Love should walk hand in hand. Children are a gift from God, a blessing not to be thrown away, abused or disregarded.

I know that what I saw doesn’t mean that this mother doesn’t love her daughter.  It was the first time since our training that I clearly saw one thing we were taught: Sometimes, parents who abuse their children just don’t know any better.  It doesn’t excuse it, it doesn’t make it any less  heartbreaking, and in too many cases this isn’t true.  Some people are just mean. But I think, in this case, I can see where a mediator who steps in in the child’s best interest can be beneficial in reuniting the family unit, and make families stronger.  Not just swooping in to the rescue of a child, but the rescue of a family. 

That’s not our place right now, as we are still in the early and transitional phase in this journey, and still have a lot to learn.  But it seems I did learn something important with this particular incident.


Publisher’s Office Closes Over Security Concerns…


NEW YORK —  The U.S. publisher of a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad closed its offices as a “precautionary action,” but emphasized that no threats had been received and that “The Jewel of Medina” would be released as planned. (Read whole article HERE.)

“How chicken shit,” I muttered when Random House, Inc. dropped the novel The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones. The premise of the book is a fictionalized account of Muhammed and his child bride, A’isha. You would think a  powerhouse like Random House would stand up for freedom of expression if not for American principle, at least for  the sake of good capitalism.  I mean, come  on,  the controversy  generated by the press alone is guaranteed to be a selling point for a novel that might have otherwise gone quietly into a good  bookstore near you.  

Despite worries Random House cited over “offending Muslims,” (Do they take this much care in not offending Christians? Or other faiths? Honestly, I’m not sure, I’ll just stick to this example for now) (Beaufort Books, publishers of O J Simpson’s ‘if I DID IT’ (oh, come ON, he did it) apparently saw the potential.  Read their press release HERE. This press release also states Sherry Jones has a two-book deal with them. Way to go!

I’m not saying this isn’t risky.  Far from it.  It’s as tricky as tickling a Rattlesnake with a stick.  Extremists have already fire bombed publisher Martin Rynja’s home in  London.  He says:

“In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear. As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate.

“If a novel of quality and skill that casts light on a beautiful subject we know too little of in the West, but have a genuine interest in, cannot be published here, it would truly mean that the clock has been turned back to the dark ages. The Jewel of Medina has become an important barometer of our time.” (Read this article HERE.)

A very informative blogpost at GalleyCat says:

When Sherry Jones told her publishers at Ballantine that they should send a copy of her novel about the life of one of Muhammad’s wives, The Jewel of Medina, to Islamic studies scholar Denise Spellberg, she never anticipated that Random House, Ballantine’s corporate parent, would decide they were afraid to publish the novel after all. Instead of giving Ballantine a nice blurb, Spellberg called her own editor at Knopf and told her putting the book out was tantamount to “a declaration of war” against Islam and would probably lead to terrorist attacks on Broadway—and that was enough to put Random off the idea altogether. (Read entire blogpost HERE.)

(For the record, I take exception to the phrase ‘wasn’t just fluffy historical romance,’ Ms.  Jones.   But I’ll hold off on this fatwa.)

The article also states that:

(Amanullah, meanwhile, posted an article on his altmuslim.com website yesterday arguing that actions like Random House’s are a symptom of “the stagnation and increased misunderstanding that comes from a stifled discourse.”) (Shahed Amanullah’s article can be found HERE. )

He argues against censorship, and advocates using words to argue cases against more words, not prohibitive measures.

Some radical factions, sad to say, aren’t wired to think this way. But snakes react from instinct, terrorists are deliberate.  So perhaps I am hasty to judge.  I wasn’t in New York City, or D.C. or Pennsylvania on September 11. Though I can know the fear that grazed me the day America was attacked, I can’t really know the immediacy those people felt on location.  I do know I experienced that day the fearful uncertainty of what might happen next.  I can only hope that I can function in spite of that fear. That I can be outraged enough at the idea someone seeks to supress me by threat or intimidation that I react appropriately.  Those rat bastards, as Craig Ferguson describes them, won’t keep me down.  Instead, I will count on my optimism and most importantly, my Faith, to lift me up.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. — Ambrose Redmoon

Look, I don’t even know if I’d  be interested in reading this book, to tell you the truth.  But I AM interested that a major publisher backed off because they were AFRAID.


All by Myself…


I’m alone, I think as I drive home from an evening meeting.  I am looking at the softness of the night sky, where the three-quarter moon looks as if someone just squished a large yellow ball into an infinite black sponge. 

I’m 42, and for  the first time, I am in my city alone, no relatives to speak of anywhere within reach. (Well, except my in-laws, I guess I should count them.  But, you know, BLOOD relations I guess I mean.) Mom is still on vacation (She takes the last leg of her trip tomorrow, to see TODDLER!) Uncle B and Aunt D are at home down state, cleaning up after the Wrath of Ike. Of course, Brother, SisM, and Toddler are in OKC.  And  my precious Mr. Man was called to work overnight out of town.

Now, here I am, after wrangling  around with the format of my blog again (Did NOT like the other one;check out the new stuff in the sidebar) writing a blog entry, for pity’s sake.   At 2:15 a.m. Central.  When I need to be at work at 9:00 a.m.   Unfortunately, I often behave this unwisely.  But I’d been better at it lately.  I’m going to hate myself when the alarm blares. Again. (Oh, wait, a friend just e-mailed me.  Seems she got up to take a Tums, and checked her e-mail on the way back to bed. *Heh.* Excuse me while I answer her real quick.)

Okay.  I’m back.

It’s been a rather quiet week. 

Oh, until this afternoon.  A business man called me, and actually CUSSED ME OUT.  See, I’ve been working with this guy for quite awhile, unfortunately, he didn’t work back with ME.  So, I rated him on  Angie’s List.  I  gave him good marks on the quality of his company’s work, but I was frank about the lack of quality of his follow up work, and the honest fact about the inability to keep his word that he’d demonstrated to not only me, but others I’ve compared notes with.  So he calls me up (Oh, so he DOES have my number?) and proceeds to use some of the foulest language and terms directed at me in a very long time, tossing in words like “slander” and “lawsuit” and crap like that. Apparently, someone had read my rating and comments and he lost out on a $15,000 job.

Surprisingly, and I think only because God was bolstering me, I didn’t react in a hot-headed manner like I might usually have done.  Some of my “older” friends might say that it might be a sign of newly developed maturity, but I want reassure everyone that that accusation is NOT true.  🙂

I explained to him, in an eerily calm voice, the exact nature of my dissatisfaction, and he has a truckload of excuses and defenses…then I said I didn’t appreciate his calling to cuss me out.  Then he said he never cussed me out!  Seriously?! then he said that he was just angry, blah blah blah.  I said I knew how he felt.  He tried to guilt me into backing down by reminding me about how they financed us when our credit was less than perfect, and I countered by reminding him that not only did we make every payment to him on time, we paid him off early. I also pointed out that not only had I talked to many people about my issues with him who said they’d heard of or had the same problems and complaints, his own employees had confessed things of this nature to me, including his own nephew. He said I had no idea how busy they were and how difficult it was to tend to the small stuff.  I reminded him that the small stuff was what could trip him up when it came to running a business.

There was a lot of verbal push and shove, including me asking if he really wanted to hurt me by bringing a lawsuit about an opinion I’d placed on a public website geared toward that purpose, especially since it was the TRUTH, (maybe that is why I wa calm, because I knew I had Truth on my side) but in the end, he backed down, and even apologized–repeatedly. And I can’t believe I navigated this disagreement without losing my cool.   It’s so unlike me.  And he even called me back and said he’d checked into the things I’d mentioned, and sure enough, they’d dropped the ball. And he apologized again, and said he’d make it right.

I’m not holding my breath.  Except in the hope he doesn’tactually bring forth a lawsuit.  I don’t think he’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a judgement against me, but all the same…no one likes a threat like that leveled at them.

*sigh* What a world, what a world.

Maybe it’s a good thing Mr. Man was out of town.  He was not pleased when I repeated the words the man had spewed into my ear. At least when I lose my cool, I’m not filthy about it.  I may be a bitch, (sometimes, we just MUST be) but I’m not filthy. 🙂


The Beast is Back!


Don’t you hate those days when The Beast Within escapes and makes life miserable for whoever you deem has crossed you?  Mine came out today.  Admittedly, I’ve been running with all cylinders firing lately.  The two jobs…feeling like what I have called my primary career for 25 years dwindling to an end with a whimper, knowing that we have so much to do around the house that I feel overwhelmed and end up not doing anything at all.  Trying to catch up, only to fall about 20 steps behind again. I’ve felt a simmering impatience just beneath the surface for about a week now. 

PMS?

Too much on my plate?

My imagination?

I don’t know.

*sigh*


Okay, I give!


I wasn’t going to do it.  Nope.  Not give it the time of day. But come on, people, this Britney Spears stuff is bullshit.

I sit here watching Nancy Grace (I know, I know) and she’s going ‘in depth’ on this latest Brit-Brit news.  *sigh*

As far as I am concerned, there are no excuses here.  If she is mentally ill, well, in my opinion, she’s done it to herself with the lifestyle she’s led.  She’s done this in spite of the fact she has beautiful children she has done a terrible disservice to.  As far as the Papparazzi goes, yeah, they’re obnoxious, but she didn’t have to call them and let them know where she was going to be, either.  And people, PLEASE, stop with the Princess Di comparisons.  That goes all over me to hear that.

And Lynne Spears writing a child-rearing book?  Seriously?  Hello?!  Do I have to even write the reasons this is so ridiculous?

Tragedy?  Well, yes, because what she’s done to herself, what her family allowed to happen to her, the feeding of her perpetual need for any attention, the worse the better, and the fact that her babies don’t deserve to be dragged through this crap.   They didn’t ask for this.  If anyone needs compassion or sympathy, it’s those two little boys. 

And speaking of innocent children and the mistreatment there of, What the hell?  The toddler thrown off a bridge into freeway traffic last week, the four children thrown off a bridge into a river, the baby in Houston found on the side of a road…not to mention the countless others we don’t hear about.

How can people who do this heinous business have the ability to reproduce?  How fair is it that they can, and Mr. Man and I can’t? 

It breaks my heart.


Hoops, Hoops, and More Hoops!


So, for this new J-O-B, I had a mountain of paperwork to fill out. It’s been so long since I’ve applied for a job that I’d forgotten all the hoops you jump through just to get in.  Now, there’s even more.  All the Homeland Security stuff, confidentiality stuff, store policy and scheduling stuff, Are you legal to work in this country stuff.  Which really blows my mind, because you hear so much these days about illegals and undocumented workers and all that jazz. 

How do they manage it?  How do they get jobs, pull out wads of cash to pay for things, get free education, benefits and medical care, and get away with all sorts of crap, when people who try to do it honestly have to jump through these hoops like a circus animal?  All these shady employers and illegals and various dishonest people who lie, cheat and steal make it a real pain in the ass for honest people to wade though life in our own country sometimes.  The good news I guess, is since my new employer is making sure I dot all the i’s and cross my t’s, they are on the honest side of things.  I hope. No, I’m going to believe they are. 

Now, before you say that I’m a bigot, or racist or anti-immigrant or whatever, that’s just not true.  I don’t care if someone’s purple with yellow polka-dots, if you are going to come to my country, do it legally.  Don’t slither across a border and claim benefits and healthcare that America’s natural born and legal citizens pay for with our tax dollars.  Especially when I am doing good to pay for myself.  Quit having anchor babies that the government pays for too, when I have to work two jobs to even consider the possibilities of having enough money to adopt our own.

I know a great deal of our economy is fed by by the illegal community, and so many jobs that make our world goes round are filled by these individuals.  I was told recently that my favorite Mexican restaurant uses an illegal kitchen staff. So see, I’m not naive enough to believe that in ways I know and don’t know about, my life benefits from illegals. 

I wish there were an easy answer to this situation, but there isn’t. **sigh**

Oh, see what can happen when I have to wait in line, and run all over town?   It started with the social security paperwork. I had to replace my card a few years ago after my purse was stolen.   So then, I waited in line FOREVER to get my new card, in a dinky, over-crowded office.  When I got home with it, I put it up in a safe place, thinking there was a reason they say not to leave it in your wallet.  So, last night at orientation, I was okay with the paperwork since I’ve had the number memorized for, like, forever. But they needed a copy of the card.  EEERK!  See, I put it up in such a safe place that I can’t find it.  Screw it.  Next time, that thing is staying in my purse.  It’s worked for my Mom all these years, it’ll work for me, too.

Or, my young manager said, they could accept a birth certificate.  Oh, good, I thought.  I know where that is.  So I take it up there today, with a copy of the paper from my drug test (!) Later, at work, I get a call saying that wasn’t acceptable, it wasn’t a REAL birth certificate.    Read the rest of this entry »