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FTR

Posted by Stanley
on 07.31.10

Currently, the first Google-image-search result for "bea arthur" (nota bene, not including the quotation marks) is not safe for work, which was not the sort of thing I was grateful to learn at work.


 

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The Help

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.30.10

How do you all feel about housekeepers? I'm pretty sure no one here would take the position that underpaying anyone is a great ethical stance, so we can take it as given that the community here wouldn't pay someone an exploitative wage.

And yet, the concept makes a lot of us squeamish, no? And yet, I sure do hate cleaning. And a clean house is so nice. And employing people is nice.

This has recently come up in conversation with the death of Little Crazy Cat, who was a fairly prohibitive presence against giving new people free reign in the house. Then it came up even more concretely when a friend mentioned that she was thinking about hiring someone, and knew of a great person. Otherwise I find the prospect of finding a person totally daunting.

Right now I am just totally dazzled by the idea of regularly coming home to a clean house. The idea is making me swoon.

Update: More responsible and innovative way to keep your house clean, under the jump. However, life in less than a hundred square feet would be very, very hard for me to adapt to. I don't like facing walls.

Via Jammies


 

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"We regret your loss."

Posted by Stanley
on 07.29.10

Man, talk about some evil-sounding shit:

The package arrived at Cindy Lohman's home in Great Mills, Maryland, just two weeks after she learned that her son, Ryan, a 24-year-old Army sergeant, had been killed by a bomb in Afghanistan. It was a thick, 9-inch-by- 12-inch envelope from Prudential Financial Inc., which handles life insurance for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Inside was a letter from Prudential about Ryan's $400,000 policy. And there was something else, which looked like a checkbook. The letter told Lohman that the full amount of her payout would be placed in a convenient interest-bearing account, allowing her time to decide how to use the benefit.

"You can hold the money in the account for safekeeping for as long as you like," the letter said. In tiny print, in a disclaimer that Lohman says she didn't notice, Prudential disclosed that what it called its Alliance Account was not guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.

Lohman, 52, left the money untouched for six months after her son's August 2008 death.

"It's like you're paying me off because my child was killed," she says. "It was a consolation prize that I didn't want."

The article continues:

Lohman, a public health nurse who helps special-needs children, says she had always believed that her son's life insurance funds were in a bank insured by the FDIC. That money -- like $28 billion in 1 million death-benefit accounts managed by insurers -- wasn't actually sitting in a bank.

It was being held in Prudential's general corporate account, earning investment income for the insurer. Prudential paid survivors like Lohman 1 percent interest in 2008 on their Alliance Accounts, while it earned a 4.8 percent return on its corporate funds, according to regulatory filings.

"I'm shocked," says Lohman, breaking into tears as she learns how the Alliance Account works. "It's a betrayal. It saddens me as an American that a company would stoop so low as to make a profit on the death of a soldier. Is there anything lower than that?"

Millions of bereaved Americans have unwittingly been placed in the same position by their insurance companies. The practice of issuing what they call "checkbooks" to survivors, instead of paying them lump sums, extends well beyond the military.

How does someone even come up with a scheme like that and think it's a good idea?

Via


 

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The gift of gab?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.29.10

I'd like new established etiquette around gift-giving which doesn't result in me receiving so much stuff, nor me feeling obligated to give so much stuff. (For example: saying "Please no gifts" on a evite for your adult friends to attend a one year old birthday party does not result in anyone complying.) It feels like we're trapped in a "material goods are scarce" era of etiquette. The new rules can be different for kids receiving gifts vs adults receiving gifts, but both should revised.

I resent the mechanical dance of taking two minutes to pick out a toy on Amazon, One Click Buy! Ship as gift! Send to long-distance niece or whoever! Joins the mountain of presents and obligatory thank-you note from parent appears two weeks later. (Or never, if I'm the parent.) I'm glad it's so easy - I'd never get the presents out in the mail if it was any harder - but the sheer quantity of stuff everyone receives is overwhelming.

I can't figure out new guidelines exactly, but it seems like it should be the happy flip side of calling someone to take you to the hospital: rare, and someone you know well enough to intimately impose upon. (I know you shmucks would never ask someone to pick you up from the airport, but work with me here.)

Then there should be something sweet and easy for the next concentric circle of occasions - sending a card, perhaps a hard copy of a photo - something which took a bit of time and which I would fail to do, but whatever. I can to go to the motherfucking bank like an adult, barely.


 

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Theology

Posted by Stanley
on 07.28.10

I didn't know this story about Thomas Aquinas, but then I'm a bad Catholic. I'm also pretty sure I've never had herring.


 

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Respite

Posted by Stanley
on 07.28.10

One of my ongoing personal regrets is my seeming inability (or unwillingness?) to use vacation time for, like, actual vacationing. The time tends to get gobbled up in various band-related and other personal commitments. (That I even have some paid-vacation time is probably a fleeting luxury of early twenty-first century decline, but maybe that's for another, more-depressing post.)

Anyhow, in that vein I really appreciate this bit on the Canadian Civic Holiday:

Unlike most holidays, there is not much of a reason for the Civic Holiday to exist, other than its timing.

A fabulous reason to holiday: just 'cause.


 

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Help you help me.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.27.10

I lost all my bookmarks on my work computer. (Also my computer forgot all its printers, and forgot that it used Chrome, and I'm annoyed at the IT department who has been tinkering around here.) I don't have things on a feed because I like seeing different webpages and feed webpages that I've seen are ugly. So anyway, what are my bookmarks again? Who do I read regularly?

As a side note, I got into a conversation with an uncle about how I get most of my news online, and promised I'd send him a list of sites that I think are worthwhile. I want him to think I'm smart and get my information from good sites, although as liberal as possible, since this is the communist wing of Geebies. I had a list of five or six and realized they were all male, besides anything that was topically feminist. Any suggestions there?


 

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London Bears are Nice to Meet, Nice to Meet, Nice to Meet.

Posted by Stanley
on 07.26.10

A White Bear visits London July 27th-30th. The request for a thread to organize yourselves is hereby generously granted.

Update: The Fellow, the 27th, 7pm.


 

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Playing All The Hits, All The Time

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.26.10

When Tiger Wood's shit hit the fan, we had a big discussion about whether Elin was an abusive spouse or not, for going after him with a tire iron. I argued that (unless this was part of a pattern) she wasn't creating a climate of fear, and acting like a one-time volcano when you're reeling from one-time crazy upheaval does not make you an abusive spouse.

On the other hand, I have no experience with domestic violence, so really, what the fuck do I know?

This blogger does. She's making a slightly different point, but interesting:

In my opinion: My aunt was an abused woman. It's possible that she could have left, but she had nothing and no one to help her, and I believe that she feared for her life, and rightfully so... My mother was not an abused woman. She could have left, and she did but always went back. She wasn't in fear for her life. She started as many fights as she didn't. I was not an abused woman, I started it and finished it. I left, and I returned. I never felt forced into doing anything, I made decisions of my volition. I don't feel sorry for my mother, or myself. I feel sorry for my aunt, and for my cousins...

My view on domestic violence is the same as everyone else - it is incredibly wrong, it should never happen, and it must stop. But, beyond that, my view is slightly askew from the majority - it takes much more than a bruise for me to consider someone a victim. My sympathies are reserved for those that experience it and can't do much to change their situation - like my aunt. Not like myself, or my mother, or those that may not hit back but still do not leave although they are able to, without fearing for their life or how they'll survive because they have nothing and no one. If they can leave, but they choose not to, why should I feel exceptionally sorry for them? Are they not a adults, capable of making what they want out of their life?

There's the backstory on the aunt, mother, and author at the linked post.

Clearly it's futile to try to distinguish between situations like the mother and author were in, and situations like the aunt is in, unless you have insider knowledge of the situation.

So from a public policy standpoint, is it best to promote the message that all people in violent relationships are trapped and have tunnel vision? I generally feel strongly that when PSAs oversimplify their message, they lose their audience the moment the audience identifies the lies. (See Reagan, Nancy, and No, Just Say, and Geebie, Young Heebie.) On the other hand, domestic violence PSAs are really only targeting trapped individuals who need help, for whom the message isn't an overstatement.

It's also reminiscent - but not entirely parallel - of conversations we've had about overly stigmatizing child abuse, and how that creates its own ripple of consequences with children who are told they are victims.


 

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