The XXX High School will hold a vigil in memory of “Kevin Smith” on Friday, Feb. 15.

The 15-year-old Smith passed away tragically during the weekend in a house fire.

Participants are asked to wear red to the vigil. Students may donate $2 for dress-down day. All proceeds will go to the family.

This is a horrible tragedy and I feel stupid for asking questions. But I really want to figure out what this means.

Why are people asked to wear red? To symbolize the fire? Isn’t this really crude?

What is a “dress-down day” and why do students donate money for it?

Are these cultural traditions I’m not aware of?


Stop using the “wives, mothers, & daughters” rhetorical frame that defines women by their relationships to other people.

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama said: “We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence.”

This “our wives, mothers, and daughters” phrase is one he routinely employs, but it is counterproductive to the women’s equality the President is ostensibly supporting.

Defining women by their relationships to other people is reductive, misogynist, and alienating to women who do not define ourselves exclusively by our relationships to others. Further, by referring to “our” wives et al, the President appears to be talking to The Men of America about Their Women, rather than talking to men AND women.

Please embrace inclusive language, Mr. President.

P.S. These are not “just words.” Words define the reality of human beings.

Obama’s Epic Fail on Women Continues

Yes, no other presidential candidate could have done this better than Obama, but, still, women handed the vote to this guy and he still doesn’t get it.

Here is a statement after which I stopped reading Obama’s State of the Union address:

We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence.

Hopeless. This is just hopeless. The guy just goes and excludes the key constituency that put him in the bloody office from the “we” in whose name he is speaking. He simply told every single woman in the country that he doesn’t represent us. He represents our husbands and fathers who might or might not decide whether we should be discriminated.

Now please concentrate and tell me how this is so much better than Romney’s infamous 47% speech? Do you see a difference? Other than Romney not owing any election to the 47% he dismissed as not being his constituency.

And what’s with the endless pounding on women as purely relational beings whose only role is to be somebody’s wife, mother, or daughter? What about women who are not anybody’s wife, mother, or daughter? Do they deserve to become victims of domestic violence and workplace discrimination?

What do we hear from the progressives on this subject, though? Well, Melissa McEwan protested. Others are lost in La-La Land, dreaming about all of the executive orders Obama is about to issue, as if these dreams had any relation to reality.

What if Bush Jr. had given a speech saying that “We need our Latino gardeners, drivers and maids to live their lives free from discrimination”?

Have You Ever Seen a Good HR Department?

The HR department insists that a pregnant colleague will not get a single day of her maternity leave before her due date. Keeping in mind that due dates are always approximate, this puts her in danger of going into labor right in the classroom. I’m sure the HR department sees some educational value in a professor’s waters breaking in front of students, but I’m not sure what it is. I also have no idea why one of the six weeks of the paid maternity leave cannot be taken before the due date.

HR departments suck something fierce everywhere. Ours, for instance, is really horrible.

But hey, at least my colleague gets those six weeks. Her husband will not get a single day off work for the birth of his child.


Freudian Spam

With his analyst, N. is discussing how much it hurts him to be fat-shamed by his mother and sister. They are both obsessed with his weight and keep telling him he is fat (even though he is not even remotely fat and he has asked many times for them to stop doing this.)

In the midst of this therapeutic process, I get an email from him titled, “Tired of carrying around all that extra fat?” The email tells me that finally there is a remedy that will “end my life-long battle with extra weight.”

Thank goodness, I have a healthy body image, so I realized immediately a spammer must have broken into N.’s email account to send out this garbage in his name. So I warned him about it.

The funniest thing, though, happened during N.’s session with the analyst.

“So,” the analyst said, “in view of what we have been discussing in our sessions, it was curious to receive the message about weight-loss remedies from you. Would you like to discuss that?”

N. had to spend the rest of the session explaining that sometimes a spammer is just a spammer.

Or is it?

I’m publishing this because N. asked me to as a way of warning people about spammers who break into gmail accounts.