Department Of Sometimes It’s Better To Imagine The Answer
Dateline: Saturday the 15th; 7:50-ish am. While walking and listening to a podcast about All Things Chicken ®, moiself heard the following question, posed by the podcast host to the chicken expert guest:
“Well, what about their buttholes…?”
(Ologies podcast, Chickenology Part 1)
This picture shows one component of one of the best presents ever received,
by anyone, on any planet, in any galaxy. 
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Department Of I Don’t Know Who Lisa Norgren Is But I Love Her
Dateline: early last week. Perhaps this essay has been floating around social media for a while, but last week was the first time I saw it.  This essay is, well, powerful doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I have witnessed both of my offspring, when they were young, dealing with this issue  addressed by Norgren’s essay: family members “teasing” them and not accepting no or please stop from a child. In every case I witnessed I intervened and explained, but the adults doing the teasing never seemed to get it.
And I’ve seen with moiself’s own eyes/heard with moiself’s own ears, how it is the same people in this the same society who say Relax; lighten up, I was just teasing/playing, why are you so uptight, we’re just having fun/you’re making a big deal out of nothing to the uncomfortable young girl who will be the same people questioning the girl later – when she grows into a young woman and finally gets the courage to report harassment (or worse) which has gone on for some time – about Why didn’t you speak up? Why didn’t you say no the first time? Why didn’t you fight for yourself?
You  taught her to not “make a fuss;” you taught her to ignore her instincts and feelings when someone made her uncomfortable. You taught her to shrink and bear it.
The article in its entirety (my emphases):
“A grown man looms behind my three-year-old daughter. Occasionally he will poke or tickle her and she responds by shrinking. Smaller and smaller with each unwanted advance. I imagine her trying to become slight enough to slip out of her booster seat and slide under the table.
When my mother views this scene, she sees playful taunting. A grandfather engaging with his granddaughter.
“Mae.” My tone cuts through the din of a familiar family gathering together. She does not look at me.
“Mae.” I start again. “You can tell him no Mae. If this isn’t okay you could say something like, Papa, please back up—I would like some space for my body.”
As I say the words, my stepfather, the bulldog, leans in a little closer, hovering just above her head. His tenebrous grin taunts me as my daughter accordions her 30-pound frame hoping to escape his tickles and hot breath.
I repeat myself with a little more force. She finally peeks up at me.
“Mama . . . can you say it?”
Surprise. A three-year-old-girl doesn’t feel comfortable defending herself against a grown man. A man that has stated he loves and cares for her over and over again, and yet, stands here showing zero concern for her wishes about her own body. I ready myself for battle.
“Papa! Please back up! Mae would like some space for her body.”
My voice is firm but cheerful. He does not move.
“Papa. I should not have to ask you twice. Please back up. Mae is uncomfortable.”
“Oh, relax,” he says, ruffling her wispy blonde hair.
The patriarchy stands, patronizing me in my own damn kitchen. “We’re just playin’.” His southern drawl does not charm me.
“No. *You* were playing. She was not. She’s made it clear that she would like some space, now please back up.”
“I can play how I want with her.” He says, straightening his posture.
My chest tightens. The sun-bleached hairs on my arms stand at attention as this man, who has been my father figure for more than three decades, enters the battle ring.
“No. No, you cannot play however you want with her. It’s not okay to ‘have fun’ with someone who does not want to play.”
He opens his mouth to respond but my rage is palpable through my measured response. I wonder if my daughter can feel it. I hope she can.
He retreats to the living room and my daughter stares up at me. Her eyes, a starburst of blue and hazel, shine with admiration for her mama. The dragon has been slayed (for now). My own mother is silent. She refuses to make eye contact with me.
This is the same woman who shut me down when I told her about a sexual assault I had recently come to acknowledge.
This is the same woman who was abducted by a carful of strangers as she walked home one night. She fought and screamed until they kicked her out. Speeding away, they ran over her ankle and left her with a lifetime of physical and emotional pain.
This is the same woman who said nothing, who could say nothing as her boss and his friends sexually harassed her for years.
This is the same woman who married one of those friends.
When my mother views this scene, she sees her daughter overreacting. She sees me ‘making a big deal out of nothing.’ Her concerns lie more in maintaining the status quo and cradling my stepdad’s toxic ego than in protecting the shrinking three-year-old in front of her.
When I view this scene, I am both bolstered and dismayed. My own strength and refusal to keep quiet is the result of hundreds, probably thousands of years of women being mistreated, and their protests ignored. It is the result of watching my own mother suffer quietly at the hands of too many men. It is the result of my own mistreatment and my solemn vow to be part of ending this cycle.
It would be so easy to see a little girl being taught that her wishes don’t matter. That her body is not her own. That even people she loves will mistreat and ignore her. And that all of this is “okay” in the name of other people, men, having fun.
But. What I see instead is a little girl watching her mama. I see a little girl learning that her voice matters. That her wishes matter. I see a little girl learning that she is allowed and expected to say no. I see her learning that this is not okay.
I hope my mom is learning something, too.
Fighting the patriarchy one grandpa at a time.”
~ By Lisa Norgren
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Department Of Everyone Should Read This Book
“As a retired brain surgeon, Henry Marsh thought he understood illness, but he was unprepared for the impact of his diagnosis of advanced cancer. And Finally explores what happens when someone who has spent a lifetime on the frontline of life and death finds himself contemplating what might be his own death sentence.
As he navigates the bewildering transition from doctor to patient, Marsh is haunted by past failures and projects yet to be completed, and frustrated by the inconveniences of illness and old age. But he is also more entranced than ever by the mysteries of science and the brain, the beauty of the natural world and his love for his family. Elegiac, candid, luminous and poignant, And Finally is ultimately not so much a book about death, but a book about life and what matters in the end.”
(book jacket blurb for Henry Marsh’s And Finally: Matters of Life and Death ).
An excerpt from chapter 16, the chapter wherein March examines issues brought up by both proponents and opponents of assisted dying (my emphases):
“It has always struck me as somewhat illogical that the most passionate opponents of abortion and assisted dying usually have religious faith, with a concomitant belief in life after death. Surely, if our lives continue after death, abortion and assisted dying are not absolute evils? If there really is going to be a heavenly banquet after death, why delay? It is as though they think that assisted dying is cheating – that we need to suffer when dying if our soul is to be reborn that there is something ‘natural’ about dying slowly and painfully….
Our fear of death makes it very difficult to look it in the face and see the manner of dying as a practical problem, as a question of choice, that can be regulated by the law, rather than as something divinely ordained, and which is not negotiable. We all fear death, but for people with religious faith there is the added fear that their faith might be mistaken, that there is no human soul or essence and no afterlife… ” 
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Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
( Ali Amjad Rizvi is a Pakistani-born Canadian atheist ex-Muslim and secular humanist writer and podcaster who explores the challenges of Muslims who leave their faith. He writes a column for the Huffington Post and co-hosts the Secular Jihadists for a Muslim Enlightenment podcast together with Armin Navabi. )
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May you teach children not to never ignore their unease;
May you not ignore your own mortality;
May you someday have cause to ask, “Well, what about their buttholes?;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 A few years ago, daughter Belle made us (MH and I, for a family Christmas gift), a “Chicken Hole” game board (plus bean bag filled chickens for tossing). Once you ‘ve played chicken hole you’ll never be satisfied with plain old cornhole.
 On FB, shared by a friend.
 ( in non-sexual-implications ways, but still… )
 And by you I mean we – all of us.
 I have read books by doctors who addressed this phenomenon and have personally talked with doctors about this very subject: how, in their experience, religious people are so often puzzlingly (to the doctors) ill-prepared to talk about their inevitable death – it is obvious to the doctors that these people have avoided thinking about death other than via the allegedly comforting idea of “going to be with Jesus.” Then, when faced with their death, they have so much fear and discomfort with making final care decisions. Unlike many religion-free folk who have considered the realities of their own demise as a natural (if not exactly anticipated) part of living, many religious folk have never seriously done so, and when they’re finally being confronted about their doubts (“What if I’m wrong, and there is no afterlife?”) they also have the added burden of being ashamed by having doubts, which they fear will be seen (by other religious folk) as a marker that they are less than stalwart believers.
 “free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.” Definition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, ffrf.org