Stuff I Love, Part 1

Gill, who has been cranking out lists like crazy lately, has made another one to help you get to know her better.

I have talked a lot lately about things people frown upon, and you might be asking Ms. Gillie, what makes you happy? What do you love? Well from curries to cheater snacks I’m going to tell you some of my personal favorite foods.

  • 1 Soup – this is a tough one to be honest with you out there reading this. I would say my favorites are tomato, broccoli, leak, and chicken rice {homemade} but when it comes to more unique ones I like Spanish garlic soup, squash soup, apple curry soup, and pumpkin.
  • 2 General snacks – I would have to say that I love these deep fried snap peas, the plain ones are ok but the best by far are the wasabi ranch. Other things I like are rice chips, sour cream and onion, and kettle corn.
  • 3 Comfort foods – Again with the tough ones. My mom makes this stuff called taco pie, it has beef, tomato, cheese, spices, in Bisquick.
  • 4 Burgers – The best by far is when my dad throws some Kobes on the BBQ. The best non-homemade was at this Memphis style BBQ place near where I grew up, it was a portabello mushroom cap burger smoked and coated in BBQ sauce.
  • 5 Going International – If there’s some kind of South or Southeast Asian grocer you can bet I’ll be there. I love a good pad Thai, and Indian curry.
  • 6 Stuff I love making – I love traveling the world with out the expensive plane tickets and passport requirements. Right now I have made a Mexican inspired quinoa dish with peppers, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes. On any given week you might see me whip up a Bolivian rice and corn dish or a Pakistani curry.
  • 7 Desserts – I am normally not really a dessert person, but if someone even mentions icecream of the chocolate, Carmel, or mint variety, I’m there.
  • 8 Cheater snacks – I have type 2 diabetes and must be careful with what I eat, but sometimes I just have to indulge. My favorite indulgences are chocolate anything, cookies, and licorice.

Question

What are your go-to foods for anytime, whether your chillin at home, or out?

Gillie telling you not to be afraid of adventure

And Now, Your Periodic Reminder Not To Be Asshats To Blind People


Lord knows if it does any good (judging by what happens when we have the temerity to go outside and try to live normal lives it’s often tempting to say it doesn’t), but now and then I feel it’s good to post one of these things in the hope that this time, maybe, just maybe, some of you will start catching on. Maybe you’ll stop yelling into our ears. Maybe you’ll stop asking complicated questions and then moving on to the next shiny thing after four seconds. Or maybe, as the one guy so eloquently puts it, you’ll “get your fuckin’ hands off me!” You probably won’t, but we can dream.

There He Goes!

Update:
On the Jeff Blair show earlier this week, they spent two hours with Jerry, talking about his career and retirement. There are guests, there are phone calls, there are memories, there are emotions. You can listen to it here.

Original Post:
I heard my first bit of Blue Jays baseball on the radio sometime in 1985. Don’t ask me what date it was or who was playing. I have no idea. All I know is that I found it the same way I seem to find most things, just by messing around. Oh, and that once I found it, I kept listening. I can think of three reasons for that.

  • The Jays were really good then.
  • Tom Cheek.
  • Jerry Howarth.

Tom has sadly been gone for 13 years (Has it really been that long?), and today comes word that after 36 seasons, Jerry is calling it a game.

I’ll be honest. For a while now I’ve been wondering how long he might keep going. In the past couple years he had missed a fair bit of time due to voice trouble, there was the cancer scare, and there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. He just didn’t seem like himself, making more and more uncharacteristic mistakes. It was to the point where Carin, who cares not much for baseball, asked me if he was ok.

But even a somewhat diminished Jerry Howarth was still one of the best in the game, and I’m sad to see him go. I don’t remember a time before him, and though I’m sure that Rogers will find a more than capable replacement (give the job to Mike Wilner assuming he wants it, guys), the future without him isn’t going to sound quite right for a very long time, if it ever does.

“I had every intention of continuing my career into the 2018 season but my health and stamina and continuing voice issues dictated otherwise,” said Howarth. “Who knew that I would spend more than half my life in Toronto with my wife, Mary, and our two sons, Ben and Joe, doing what I love to do most, reaching out to friends and fans alike across our great country to talk baseball?

“I am blessed and I am grateful. I thank everyone who has made this journey of mine so rewarding in every way.”

Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Inbox Full Of Angry Mail

Oh for Christ’s sake.

Peter Rabbit filmmakers and the studio behind it are apologizing for insensitively depicting a character’s allergy in the film that has prompted backlash online.
Sony Pictures said Sunday in a joint statement with the filmmakers that “food allergies are a serious issue” and the film “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.”
In Peter Rabbit which was released this weekend, the character of Mr. McGregor is allergic to blackberries. The rabbits fling the fruit at him in a scene and he is forced to use an EpiPen.
The charity group Kids with Food Allergies posted a warning about the scene on its Facebook page Friday prompting some on Twitter to start using the hashtag, #boycottpeterrabbit. The group said that allergy jokes are harmful to their community and that making light of the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”

If we must interpret this somehow, why not look at it as a lesson about problem solving and resourcefulness? Or maybe we could shut the hell up and let the kids enjoy their movie. There’s also that.

The Lost Art Of Fun

And now, Gill is here to remind us of the good old days, A.K.A. that time when children were still allowed to and wanted to do things.


With most traditional activities for kids frowned upon due to safety, kids are shying away from the bigger elements of fun. With the obesity pandemic this will be the first generation where parents will outlive their children. What can we do? We can look to the times when we were kids for inspiration.

  • 1 Saturday Morning – After a certain year Saturday morning cartoons were no longer shown on most TV stations. Before that depending on where and when you were a kid you probably got up early, ran out to the living room, and started out with Thom and Jerry or Bugs Bunny. Once your parents came in or down Merry Melodies would be on and you’d go eat breakfast. Following that you would get ready for the day just in time for Speed Racer or Spiderman, and if you lived in the suburbs or city your friends would be knocking.
  • 2 Things you probably did – If you lived in the country like I did you would have to be driven places to meet or bring friends over. If, like I said, you lived in the city or suburbs you might go to the neighborhood park, or riding bikes with your friends. If your parents were first generation Canadian, American, British, or Australian you might have been enrolled in cultural schools.
  • 3 Rainy Day Stuff – If it rained the night before or that morning you didn’t have to worry, you would find something cool to do. Maybe one of your friends parents was an artist and had all the cool art supplies, or maybe you needed new shoes, so you would go to the shoe store and then for lunch somewhere.
  • 4 Winter Fun – Like I said in the things banned from schools article I was lucky enough to live in a school district that allowed students to experience some outdoor activities. If you were not however, and you lived in a place that got winter you would probably have found some fun. E.G. you might have had an uncle who had a pond turned rink on his property.

Question

Did you know tobogganing was banned in the city I now call home? They have now reinstated it, but only on two hills. What fun activity from your childhood would you like to see kids put down the devices and go do?

Gillie telling you to enjoy the sunshine, unless they frown on that

FoldiMate: The Overpriced, Half-assed Laundry Helper You’ve Been Waiting For


Normally I would start off a post like this by wondering aloud just who is the target market for our friend FoldiMate here, but you know what? Not today. There’s no need. I know exactly who this is aimed at. Idiots. Idiots with way too much money and nothing to do with it. Seriously, what other answer can there be? Who but the most well-to-do of morons is spending nearly $1,000 on a copy machine sized monster that can fold some but not all of their laundry?

That’s right, some.

“Regular shirts?”

“Sure.”

“Pants?”

“You bet.”

“Blouses?”

“The button-up ones? Yeah, we got you.”

“Towels?”

“Yup, we’ve just figured those out.”

“Pillow cases?”

“Nailed those down in the new version, too.”

“What about socks or underwear or sweaters or hoodies or anything in my baby’s wardrobe?”

“Uh…well…you see…here’s the thing…it’s like this…erm…No.”

And not only can it not handle that many things, but you have to stand there feeding the ones it can into it individually instead of, gasp, folding them your goddamn self.

For what you get for the price, why not just hire a maid? I know they might want a day off here and there and the odd one is going to rifle your jewelry box, but at least they know how to fold a friggin sleeper.

Spirit Airlines: Less Hamsters, Oh No!

I don’t have a lot of words. I am really trying to think of a circumstance where I could see where this woman was coming from, but it’s not working. I’m really really trying.

Belen Aldecosea had to fly home, and she wanted to fly with Spirit Airlines. In the recent past, because of anxiety over a medical diagnosis, she decided she needed an emotional support animal, and chose a hamster. She even got a note from a doctor saying this hampster, Pebbles, was her emotional support hamster. As I said in this other post about emotional support animals on planes, emotional support animals aren’t trained and don’t do anything for the owners except give them a warm, fuzzy feeling by being there. She probably could have gotten the same effect by buying a plush toy.

Apparently she called ahead to check that she could bring Pebbles on as an emotional support animal, and was given the incorrect information that this was possible. When she arrived at the airport and started the process of checking in, she was told that this was not going to happen. Then, according to her, she was told that she could either release Pebbles into the wild or flush her down the toilet. After a lot of “agonizing”, she flushed her.

I don’t even know where to begin here. This feels like that story where the woman put her guide dog in a cabby’s trunk, only way worse. At least that poor guide dog lived. I would hope that, God Forbid if somebody told me that Tans couldn’t get on the plane and actually physically prevented us from boarding, that I would possess greater problem-solving skills than this. I would hope that I would choose not to go on that flight so I could work something out. I would make some calls. I would figure something else out that wouldn’t result in an outcome so final for Shmans. It’s not like anyone had a gun to her head or anything.

Her lawyer is trying to say that this isn’t her fault because she’s only 21 so didn’t know what to do. I remember being 21, and although I was just learning about advocating for myself, I’m pretty sure I would have done something other than this. At the very least, I might have called my folks and got some more ideas. I would have never tried to take psych rat Hope on a plane, but if I did, I can’t even begin to picture a scenario where I would flush her if I was told she couldn’t fly. Maybe I would have called a vet to figure out how to board her somewhere. Maybe I would have asked for help finding some other officials in the airport to get more ideas.

This line kills me every time I read it.

“She (Pebbles) was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody,”

And that was how she repaid the poor thing.

She has a new hamster. God help Pebbles 2.0.

I guess I had more words than I thought.

They Banned That From Schools? Part Three

Because way too many adults are determined to be fun vacuums, Gill has returned with a third list of things frowned upon by the educational institutions that are supposed to be in charge of churning out functional human beings that are capable of coping in the world.

Here we are again, yes I’ve found more stuff that the fun ruiners frown upon.

  • 1 Halloween – A Pennsylvania school district banned Halloween due to the fact that some religious groups objected.
  • 2 Homemade lunches – In Chicago schools can decide for themselves what will or won’t be banned. One such school banned homemade lunches. Those poor kids! Give me a turkey sandwich on ancient grain bread by my mom any day.
  • 3 Cartwheeling and other flips- For this we head down under. What if you want to show off your mad gymnastics skills?
  • 4 Bake Sales – New York city not only banned big gulps but bake sales. I understand there’s an obesity thing going on, but how else will they raise funds to go to Orlando on the school band trip?

Question

What do you think will be banned next?

Gillie going off to do some flips and bake and sell some five chocolate cake

Delta And United Could Be Rolling Out Kind Of Bad Service Animal Policies

I have been meaning to write about this for a while, but I was hoping to disentangle everything and be able to have a very coherent response with a clear way forward. But that isn’t happening, and it still needs to be written about.

Back in mid January, Delta Airlines decided it had had enough of the disservice animal problem, or the problem of people bringing animals onto planes, saying they were for service and support, and then the animals freaking out because they were not trained, having accidents on the plane, injuring flight crews and passengers or being a general nuisance and hazard. They decided to tighten up their policies in the hopes that they would be able to filter out the ones abusing the system. United Airlines has decided to tighten things up as well, but they went about it slightly differently. Both policies are to go into effect March 1. Here’s an article about both airlines. Also, here’s Delta’s policy (.pdf format) and United’s policy.

First of all, I totally understand why they need to try and make sure animals that aren’t trained to be good public citizens don’t make it onto planes. They could hurt people and other service dogs because they are not well-socialized, and a plane is a rather confined space. Once you’re flying, it’s kind of hard to open the door and kick out the bad one. So, I applaud them for wanting to deal with the problem. Unfortunately, at least Delta went about it all wrong. I’m still holding out hope for United, although upon a quick read, I’m afraid there’s a lot of wiggle room.

From what I understand, Delta’s new policy requires that every time someone flies with a service animal, 48 hours before their flight, they have to submit a special form with paperwork from their vet certifying that their animal is up to date on its vaccinations and is healthy. They also can only go to a specific counter so their animal can be visually inspected by an employee. United’s policy is better, but still has some problems. It seems that anyone whose service animal is doing a task to mitigate a physical disability doesn’t need to do more than what we already have to do to travel. For example, if I’m traveling to Hawaii, I have to satisfy the requirements of Hawaii. But I don’t have to give all this extra notice and go to special counters. But, they have lumped psychiatric service animals in with emotional support animals, which is not cool. Psychiatric service animals are still service animals. They have been trained to do tasks like giving a person with PTSD space between them and a crowd, or looking around corners etc. Emotional support animals give their owner that warm fuzzy snuggly feeling when they give them a pet petty pet pet. Who knows if they have been trained to deal with anything unusual, which…flying several thousand feet above the earth is pretty unusual. Who knows if they’re used to sharing small spaces with other people and service animals. To be completely clear, I’m not being a discriminating arsehole and saying that certain disabilities are less worthy of having a service animal. All I care about is the rigor of the training that the animal goes through. Nine times out of 10, the people bringing emotional support animals either don’t need them and are just trying to get Foofoo on the plane instead of putting her in cargo, or they have no idea what puppy raisers and trainers go through to ready their dogs for public access, and that is the problem.

To get back to Delta’s policy, the reason theirs is problematic, above and beyond what I just said, is that they are putting unnecessary restrictions on people who have legitimate service animals as well, some of whom already can’t drive so are down one transportation option. The 48-hour notice requirement basically makes it impossible to make an emergency trip, use Delta as an unplanned connecting flight if another one gets canceled, or use Delta if traveling very frequently. In addition, I fail to see how these requirements actually help Delta do more than cover their butts. How are they going to validate that the animal will be good? The only way they’ll find out is when we board. So, they are making it harder for people who already have barriers, and for no benefit. For example, I now would have to make my vet fill out a form, or complete a potentially inaccessible form and navigate a website whose accessibility may change without notice just before I travel. I probably will have to pay to have my vet fill out their special form. People who want to bring Fluff-Muffin won’t find these steps to be overly problematic. They don’t have to worry about inaccessible websites or limited transportation options.

And don’t even get me started on the whole requirements of going to a special counter for a visual inspection. I have had my dog referred to as an emotional support dog. My black lab whose mouth isn’t moving has been blamed for the barking of a yappy chihuahua-sized dog several feet away. These people have no idea what they are inspecting. It also excludes people from using kiosks or curb-side check-in. They might find these to be better options, and again, it is of no benefit. At the end of it all, the person is standing in front of someone who has had very little training to make them qualified to make a determination that this dog is healthy and socialized. It penalizes people who are already limited in their options, and the owners of emotional support animals will only be mildly inconvenienced.

I have 0 problem bringing my dog’s health records, but I should be able to bring a certificate that the vet already drafts up, which we can receive at the point of last vaccination. I should not have to make a special trip to the vet to fill out some proprietary form, and every airline will have its own form. I also don’t even mind signing something quickly upon checkin that says something to the effect of “My dog will not crap on the plane floor, run rampant through the plane or gnaw on my fellow passengers or flight crew.” It’s annoying, more annoying than having health records on hand, but if I can do it quickly, I don’t mind. I have no doubt that my dog will be fine. When I was in Vegas, I had to sign such a form at the hotel. They didn’t charge me pet fees, but they wanted me to assure that I would not leave her loose in the room and she wouldn’t leave any undesirable presents for housekeeping. Fine. Whatever the process, it needs to be as streamlined as possible and can’t leave room for misinformed people to make decisions that could prevent a person with a legitimate service animal from traveling.

From what I have read, the whole problem could be taken care of by tweaking the Air Carrier Access Act a wee smidge to tighten up on what is a service animal so we don’t get any more support peacocks et al, as well as making clear procedures on how to deal with an animal, service, support or whatever, that has become a danger, and we wouldn’t have to deal with all these different airlines and their different policies.

The fact is Delta started the ball rolling and now we have to get the ball rolling the right way, or flying is really going to suck for anyone with a service animal. Here is a post that states it well and has links on where to make complaints and make our voices heard. The links are in the comments of the post.

Now that I have written all of this down, maybe I can put together something resembling a useful and reasonable complaint.

Downward-Facing…Down boy! Down!

So I have talked about going to yoga, and of course Shmans is there. Thankfully, she lays very still beside me. Occasionally, when I have had to reach an arm out close to her, she has given me a quick lick, but that’s about it. Sometimes she lets out a deep sigh along with us, which is amusing. Now, imagine going to puppy yoga,where the puppies are basically playing with you as you try to do yoga. Imagine a dog running off with your socks. Imagine getting a giant snuggle while trying to do a pose. It would be pretty funny, and a rather huge test of your ability to concentrate. I would totally be the worst yoga student ever.

Don’t tell Shmans that these puppies get to play around during yoga. She might get some ideas!