Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yes, It Is Different

Unbeknownst to me, people have been waiting for me to defend Donald Sterling's right to free speech. Why in Her name would anyone expect that? Yes, I talked about free speech around the Mozilla-Brendan Eich situation. But guess what? Those are two vastly different situations.

1. When Eich made his (loathsome) donation, he was an employee of Mozilla. Not the CEO. Certainly not the owner. Just a guy with a job. He then proceeded (one assumes, somewhat safely) to behave in ways that were so in line with Mozilla's, thus (one assumes, again, somewhat safely) keeping his personal beliefs separate from corporate ones, to the extent that Mozilla was willing to promote him to CEO. His personal beliefs stayed separate from his professional behaviors.

Sterling, on the other hand, is the owner. His beliefs are far more influential, more formative, of the culture of the team. He is key. There is no separation between his beliefs and Clipper corporate.

2. If you read the post about the Mozilla-Eich situation in light of expecting me to defend Sterling, you will notice I didn't defend Eich. I didn't say he shouldn't have been fired. I said freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequence. In this instance, we can't dismiss freedom of speech and we mustn't use "no freedom from consequence of free speech" as a way to justify his firing. Mozilla could have used any number of reasons I would have backed. I don't even know what Mozilla's reasoning was for firing him. This paragraph:

Many, many, many people are "reminding" us that while we have freedom of speech, that doesn't mean we have freedom from consequences after expressing our freedom of speech. does. It's not really freedom of speech if we are threatened with losing our jobs, out homes, out livelihood, out security for speaking our minds.

is the key paragraph.

3. Sterling himself made it a part of Clipper corporate. Don't take pictures and post them publicly. Don't bring them to games. Don't put it out there. Don't make being seen with black people part of Clipper culture. His admonitions to keep it out of Clipper culture actually made it part of Clipper culture.

So, no, I don't believe we can justify Eich's firing because "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences." We can justify it in a ton of other ways, but not that one. And no, the Sterling situation is not synonymous. 

Both are repulsive. Both are bigoted and prejudiced. Both attitudes are worthy of losing one's job. One, however, was protected as free speech. The other, not at all.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

God Love Canada

They have vodka...

In a can...

How is this not the greatest thing ever, and why I can't I get it in the States?????

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and $10.99 will get you six vodkas in a can!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Perfect Day

NOLA has a zoo. I enjoy zoos. Very much. Lithus enjoys zoos. Going to the zoo has been on our list of things to do for as long as we've lived here. We have never made it to the zoo. Last Friday, we decided we needed to go the zoo. The weather forecast was supposed to be ideal: low 70s, low humidity, slightly overcast. Town hadn't gotten too crowded with the holiday weekend, yet. It should be nice.

It was so much more than nice.

It was the best time I've ever had at a zoo ~ and, again, I enjoy zoos, so I have had really good times at zoos before. First, it's a good zoo. The enclosures are appropriate. The animals are healthy and well cared for. None of them seem depressed or anxious (or drugged to avoid seeming depressed and anxious). The weather forecast was correct: ideal, with a chance of perfect. We arrived early enough that the holiday weekend crowds were just building as we were wrapping up. And, of course, the company was unparalleled. 

Do you see how alert this leopard is? Almost as if he is hunting...

Just outside the fence, but in his immediate line of sight, is this:

Also known as "lunch"
That cat tracked every single child climbing that tree. Ears up, totally alert, totally aware of every move they made. I admit, it was great.

Then there were the otters, that made us all mushy and romantical and shit.

But we got over that with the addition of actual shit:

Elephant poop!

There's a large pond in the middle of the zoo. Turtles and ducks galore. Every protuberance had at least one turtle sunning itself.

We bought turtle food and Lithus had a chat.

There were bears:

And primates:

And gators, of course:

But perhaps the highlight of the day was the giraffes. See, Lithus has never seen a giraffe, up close and in person. Only ever pictures and video.

Learning pictures don't do them justice...

...but you gotta take 'em anyway!

In fact, it was such a perfect day, that we did something we hardly ever do; we bought a souvenir ~

His name is ZeeGee
For more pictures, and a little more commentary, go here: Stilettos in the Outback. Otherwise, that was our perfect day.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

3 AM Hauntings

The other day, Lithus and I were talking about 3 AM hauntings. You know, the memories, replays, tapes and videos we all have in our heads that we are convinced are behind us ~ until they suddenly rear their ugly heads somewhere in the darkest of the night and keep us awake. They are different for everyone, but my experience is they tend to fall into one of two categories: The Worry and The Unchangeable Past. 

The Worry tends to be the thing that is current. Having enough money to pay the bills. A health concern. A troubled/sick child. A decision that needs to be made, but you really just want to avoid. At the same time, it doesn't have to be that important. It can be far more mundane than that. As recently it was for me: by choosing to be flexible this time, did Lithus and I just shoot ourselves in the foot for all the times to come? What if we had? What if we were able to see that this one situation was different, but no one else was and expected this to be the way it works from here on out? What if we had just set a precedent that we hadn't intended? What if being reasonably conciliatory was about to bite us in the ass? Because nothing is mundane at 3 AM.


The Unchangeable Past is, as the name indicates, dwelling on something that happened so long ago as to be a nonevent ~ except to you...unexpectedly...about 3 AM. These grab your stomach, or your throat, or your head, depending on where you carry regret, and don't let go. My first one of these was around a wedding. It took me 20 years to get past it being a Haunting. My current one is about a night out with a friend ~ the only night out she and I have ever had, sadly (and perhaps not coincidentally) ~ where I embarrassed myself when not only should I have known better, but I did know better. When Lithus once asked me why I don't talk with the friend about it, I had to laugh and explain it was almost 10 years ago, now. That ship has sailed. The good news is I figure I'm about halfway to that night no longer being a 3 AM Haunting...


But the reason I'm writing this is what surprised me the most ~ that just about everyone else does this, too. See, I knew most people dealt with The Worry. I had no idea how many people lock onto something out of their past ~ sometimes their very long ago past ~ and chew on it at 3 AM. Because since that initial conversation with Lithus, I've asked around. Other people do this too! This is not just the Pobble's brain being torturous. 

Now, this commonality of The Unchangeable Past probably won't make mine go away any sooner, or make me any happier about it when it comes up. It does, however, make it a little easier to know I'm not alone. Maybe we should form a club...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Told You She'd Kick Your Ass

ETA: If you'd like to read the article for more details, it can be found here: Man Pleads Guilty to Electronic Harassment.

Robin King, the horrible man who harassed Lori Stewart's blog for years....who drove people away from their own blogs...who tried to make me feel unsafe here at Pobble Thoughts...has been taken down. She did it. She won.

After months of trying to wiggle and squirm out of it, contesting and denying, making motion after motion to dismiss, he has finally plead guilty. He did this thing and they weren't letting him get away with it. This morning, he entered a plea of guilty to the charge of harassment through electronic communication.

Don't fuck with my friend, people. Not unless you want your ass handed to you.

Those are proud, smug, and strutting Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


The concept of being lucky has come up a couple times in my world, recently. From an online thing, to a friend telling me how lucky Lithus and I are in our lives, to a young person telling us how unlucky he is, there's been a lot about luck. Are you surprised to know I have an opinion on this?

First, let me start with the fact that I am a damn lucky woman. I have had things fall into my lap that other people cannot even imagine. I'm not even talking about the luck that had me born white, upper-middle class, to educated parents, in the United States ~ because that was entirely luck. That's privilege, plain and simple. I'm talking about the luck of being in the right place at the right time. Of meeting the right person at the right time. Of hearing the right statement at the right time. That kind of luck. Micro-luck, rather than macro-luck, so to speak. My entire writing career was built on micro-luck ~ being in the right place at the right time (and being a smoker, too, but we try not to think about that distressing aspect of it all). Lithus is lucky. He knows it, too. He has had micro-luck when he needed it. We are both deeply grateful for the opportunities we've had walk through our doors.

That being said...I don't just believe in luck. Luck has nothing to do with being able to take advantage when an opportunity (luckily) arrives. That's all about hard work and preparation. That's about making choices that will serve you later. That's about being willing to pay dues and put in your time so that when someone opens a door for you, you are ready ~ right then ~ to walk through it. When FE asked if I had a manuscript she could read, my answer was a resounding YES. It wasn't that I might get something written down eventually. Or even that I was working on something. It was YES. And the ball started to roll.

Lithus is frequently asked to fly jobs that are lucrative, or in exotic locations, or both. We're lucky when those opportunities come. But those opportunities come because he has worked hard to build the reputation that makes people offer him those opportunities. And when they are offered, he doesn't hem and haw; he doesn't stare blankly. He says yes. Which gets him his next offer.

Lithus and I don't live a relatively easy life just because we are lucky. Yes, macro-luck plays into it hugely. But being able to live wherever we want? That's not luck. Damn hard work got us the jobs we have that allow us to live wherever we want. We aren't "lucky enough" to get to go to Emeril's restaurants or see live theatre. We make the financial choices that allow us to dine at Emeril's and attend live performances.

It's easy to look at people and think about easy they have it. How lucky they are. But before anyone gets too jealous, take a step back. Are they lucky, or are they ready? Then decide which you're willing to be.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Really, Louisiana?

It was tax day here at Casa de Pobble. Apparently in Louisiana, making charitable donations to the local food bank and youth shelter causes your state taxes to go up. I'm not even kidding. Now, I don't necessarily need my taxes to go down because of my donations, but dude, being a decent human being and an honest resident of my state shouldn't cost me, either.

Those are grumpy Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you absolutely nothing; just hide it in your mattress and be a miserly, unhelpful, crotchety old fuck who doesn't care about your community.

Okay. Not really. Don't do that. Take care of each other.


Those are real Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Thing About Free Speech

The Free Speech Argument has come up recently with Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich stepping down. In case you missed it, back in 2008, Eich made a donation to help pass California's Prop 8 against marriage equality. Then, toward the end of last month, he was promoted by Mozilla to CEO. The dating/hookup site OKCupid put a statement on their website requesting, that in light of his promotion, people not use Mozilla to access OKCupid. It became a thing. 

Eich has "stepped down" and Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker has released this statement: "We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better..." She went on to say that Mozilla believes in equality and freedom of speech and "figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

And that, my friends, is the real problem. 

Many, many, many people are "reminding" us that while we have freedom of speech, that doesn't mean we have freedom from consequences after expressing our freedom of speech. does. It's not really freedom of speech if we are threatened with losing our jobs, our homes, our livelihood, our security, for speaking our minds. 

This is particularly difficult for me, because I so vehemently and passionately disagree with everything that donation stands for. But he made it as a private individual, not a representative of Mozilla. He exercised his right to free speech ~ and yes, in order for it to be free, he needed to be immune from sanction for it.

Now, it's possible that he really did choose to step down. That he and Mozilla sat down and realized they really weren't a good match, and he needed to go work for a more conservative company. It's possible it was a huge relief to him, as well as the company. But given that the donation in question took place almost 7 years ago and he performed well enough to get promoted to CEO during that time, I doubt it.

He was not acting on behalf of Mozilla. Mozilla did not make the donation. He did not (to my knowledge) combine his employment with his private actions in any way, shape, or form. And he lost his job for expressing his personal beliefs in a personal way. This information should never have been made public in the first place.

Freedom of speech is, in my opinion, the most difficult of freedoms. Because it means we really must be willing to let others hold opinions ~ and express them ~ that we loathe. That we are in polar disagreement with. Because freedom of speech does mean we are free from consequences, if we like it or not.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

I Bow Down

Everyone knows the phrase "Being a diplomat means being able to tell someone to go to hell and have them look forward to the trip." At least, I think all my readers know that phrase. If not, now you do. Digressing... Anyway...

In my family, I am known as the Queen of being able to tell someone to fuck off without ever saying word, at least, not saying those words. Ladies and gentlemen, I have been schooled. Yes, I am good at the apple core fuck you, but I have been outclassed ~ and happily so ~ by (get this) Honey Maid.

Yep, the graham cracker, teddy graham folks. Seriously. It started with this:

And then, as you probably expect, it got ugly. I won't link the hate, because that's not what Pobble Thoughts is about, but you can find it easy enough if you really want to. But Honey Maid responded. And responded magnificently. With this ~

And so, my friends, I bow down. Because that is how you do it.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ and may I suggest a tasty Honey Maid graham cracker to go along with that?

Friday, April 04, 2014


Yesterday, I went in for my quarterly heart internal loop recorder thingy reading. Every 3 months, I go in, they take a reading of everything it's recorded, we look at it, and I go home again. Every time, there has been...something. A missed heartbeat, usually, but once there was some ventricular activity and once there was a race for no reason. Nothing to be worried about. Apparently all of your hearts do those things, too. Normal, healthy hearts sometimes glitch a beat or two. The only reason I know about it in mine is because I am always ~ always ~ listening, paying attention, being AWARE.

Yesterday morning, there was nothing. That's right ~ nothing. I hadn't activated the recorder. It hadn't activated on its own. Nothing. A perfectly clean quarter.

They have moved me to every four months, instead of every three.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


AppsRUs is out of the country. Why does this matter? It doesn't. In a nutshell. I go weeks ~ occasionally months ~ without emailing the man. He doesn't text and I don't do phone calls. We are not a daily part of the other's lives. Plus, he has email during this trip. I can email him and say anything I need or want to say to him. Which is the kicker ~ I don't have anything specific I need or want to say to him. Life's pretty mundane right now. Not even any wry asides he would appreciate to share. So, that's not the point. The point is he's out of the country. 

I'm ready for him to get back to the States. I get this way with Dr. B. when she travels internationally, as well. Could I reach out? Of course! Either of them would scold me if I needed them and didn't email, regardless of where they are are. Which is also the point. I don't need them in an interrupt-your-vacation kind of way. Again, I have nothing that I need to say. I just want the option back.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Doing It Wrong - The Military

The US military has recently released new, approved hairstyle/grooming guidelines. Among them, regulations against black women wearing their hair in natural styles. While the regulations don't come out and put it in those terms, that's the end result. Wow, I wish I was making this up or that this was an April Fool's joke here at Pobble Thoughts.

Check out the pictures:

What I ~ and many other people ~ get from this is White women, be judicious about your accessories. Black women, look more like white women. 

I understand the need for discipline and unity. But to penalize an entire group of people because of what their hair naturally does, and to require them to bother with chemicals and other agents in order to straighten, "calm" or otherwise manage their hair when there are completely acceptable, natural, alternatives is ludicrous and yes, reeks of racism. Plus, you know, when a black woman is in the field, I'm sure her primary concern is making sure she's got relaxer in her ruck.

Come on, Uncle Sam. Be better than this.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.