Archive for September, 2012

NCIS season premiere

September 29, 2012

My husband and I love NCIS. It is one of our activities we do together. Ever since the cliff hanger, I’ve been waiting to see if my least favorite character actually dies off the show. Please God, let Ducky be off the darn show, it would SO improve it…… but that was not to be. He lives through his heart attack and even becomes a freaking hero on the hospital bed, “As soon as they get the stint in, I’ll be free to travel. Get me there even if you have to drive me, THEY NEED ME!” Oh, break my heart.

Unfortunately, the entire episode was melodramatic and a big let down. However, that is not why I am devoting a blog entry to this episode. It was also rather disturbing. 

I think it is disturbing when a Federal law enforcement team, even if it is “for the Navy,” no longer acts like a law enforcement team, and it becomes a personal vendetta, especially by the leader of the “team” to go get this guy. And not only go get him, but murder him unnecessarily. After this psycho-maniac bombs the whole team’s work headquarters and tries to kill them, the President of the United States makes a phone call to the FBI, telling them to proceed “with full prejudice”. We learn that this means the team goes on the offensive. The entire show had many flaws. One, they have an FBI agent undercover convince the psycho to come home with her. There she lies across the bed, the psycho goes into the bathroom, then a swat team comes charging in and blasts the bathroom door with gun shots. But psycho gets away. Really?? Why didn’t they just shoot him when she lures him into a car. Why not as he enters the hotel room?? Why not arrest him as he stands at the store window where she walks up to him & starts a conversation? They certainly wouldn’t WAIT TILL HE GOES INTO THE BATHROOM behind a closed door. 

At the end, Gibbs declares it’s “personal” because “he went after my family”, meaning his team. Okay Gibbs, we know you have no life at all, but really, there’s a whole world out there you are defending every show. Your team is always threatened, always in danger. This guy is no different. Your JOB is to stop him and bring him in. But that is not what happens. Since “full prejudice” has been declared, Gibbs goes off to find him and kill him. He convinces his supervisor to send him ALONE (as if that would really happen ever). Then he finds psycho at the house he said he’d be at. No one else goes along. Gibbs has a brief conversation with Mr. Psycho, refuses to have a drink with him, then watches as Psycho-bomber stands at a window where there is a gun lying on the window sill. Obviously it is there for him to either kill Gibbs, himself, or both. I keep waiting for the house to blow up because he is an expert explosives guy. But no, he grabs for the GUN, which frees Gibbs to block it and knock it out of his hand, and in the same INSTANT, STABS this guy to death. The guy falls down & that’s it. Break to Gibbs at a cemetary while we hear Mr. Psycho’s son’s voice talking to his dad about loving America & that’s why he wants to be part of the Navy. His son had been killed, which is what set Mr. Psycho off to kill people in the Navy for revenge.

The underlying theme is that sometimes you have to take the law into your own hands. You have to go “get the bad guy” and the rules about preservation of life no longer apply to you. You just kill the guy. Even though you could have arrested & brought him in, you take the law into your own hands and take his life. But only because, this time, he “went after Gibbs’ family.” The lesson here is that when you have to protect your family, it’s okay to commit violence yourself. Go after the bad guy alone. And take him out. Well it doesn’t work that way in real life. Lots of times people don’t quite have their story straight, or they are drunk, & they go after someone who is not really guilty. And they commit murder and go to prison. Not a good thing usually for any citizen to go after someone and take revenge into their own hands. But this was Gibbs.

As much as we want to be able to do this, it is not right. If we believe it is, then society has lost its heart. Society has lost its civility, and the system of justice doesn’t work. I disagree. It is not okay to go after someone, even if he has hurt you, taking his life or taking him “out” all alone, with no repercussions. Gibbs stabbed someone to death and is perfectly fine afterwards. Happy. Satisfied. Not a good message. Hopefully he would at the very least be torn up inside for doing it. He’d be at least a little torn as to whether he should have done it that quickly, and that easily. They didn’t have a scuffle and the gun go off. Gibbs knocked the gun out of the guy’s hand and then stabbed him to death. It was planned, deliberate. Necessary.

I think this is a disturbing message of murder and violence with no repercussions. Next week, Miss Happy Face Gabby is dealing with serious psychological problems due to the bombing. We can be sure that it won’t be Gibbs going to talk to the psychologist. I hope the whole new season is not as superficial and disappointing as this.

what happens to a dream deferred?

September 14, 2012

When talking about the American Dream and how some people feel who work dead-end jobs for years on end, in Social Problems class, I often have them look up “What happens to a dream deferred?” by Langston Hughes. It’s a short little poem, easily googled and found, and we read it out loud in class. How does it feel to live in America and never reach success, to spend a lifetime struggling to get there but never quite make it?

This morning I realized why I can so easily relate to that poem. It’s not that I am stuck in a dead end job. I most certainly have a challenging and rewarding job that fulfills me in many ways. I have a good salary, twice what I earned at a university library before going back to school and achieving my PhD. I get to work with young adults, foster critical thinking, think and talk with them about how they would like to shape and affect society. I have a chance for advancement in the form of promotion.

The reason I can relate to the poem has more to do with the struggle over the years, just to pay our bills and get to where we are now. This morning I called our auto company, for the simple reason I wanted to make a payment online, and it did not recognize my account number and birthdate. It kept kicking me out and saying I had not entered the correct information. So I call the company.

We first have to give our address, phone number, account number, e-mail address, to check identity. That being done, I explain to the lady my predicament. Instead of understanding the screen I was on, she resets my login password. I had been able to log in but not to get past the NEXT screen, which asked for my account # & birthdate. I LIKE my old password and did not want it changed. However, by this time the deed is done. Then my phone accidently disconnects. This begins the process ALL OVER again, so I have to call their number, wait through the recording of all the things that do not address my problem, hit “6” for “other” and eventually get to a real human being. I go through all the identity checks once again. They have a new technique now of asking you some mundane question such as, “What are your plans for this weekend ma’am?” I have zero patience for these questions at this point and told him so, saying, “No offence, but I’m not going to talk w/ you about my plans for the weekend, I just want this issue resolved.” He resets my password once AGAIN. I now try to log in with his new password, sent to my e-mail account. It doesn’t work. From HIS end, it is letting him log in to the account. From MY computer, at home, it does not let me log in, even though I cut and paste the new password he sent me. Finally, we give up. I’ve spent the last 25 minutes on the phone with them and still cannot log in to my account. I have to go to work.

At the office later, they call me, because once you are late on a payment they have a system of total harassment that kicks in and they call you 5-6X/day. I explain to the lady my predicament. Suddenly she cannot HEAR a word I’m saying. She tells me I will have to call back but that I can ask for her, and will be transfered to her. She gives me her name. I hang up. I call back. The man I’m talking to with an accent from India says he does not have the capability to transfer me to anyone. I give up and make a payment by phone. I ask him to change my bills to send them to me in paper form instead of being available online. His response, “Ma’am, I cannot do that for you, you have to do that for yourself online.”  He tells me he will reset my password so that I can easily log in online. Have a good day, good bye. ———–???????????

The reality of paying bills and struggling to keep everything in line today is that you have to go through this tedious process, face this frustration and deal with people somewhere on the other side of the world trying to explain to you what you owe and how to log in to your account, over and over and over and over again, and eventually this whole struggle gets to you. You feel humiliated. You have people address you in condescending ways time after time, and not treat you as a full intelligent human being. “Ma’am, I need to tell you that your account is 14 days behind….”  “Yes I know, that’s why I’m trying to make a payment.”  “Ma’am your request for deferment was denied.” “Well your new password works for me, ma’am, I’m not sure why it won’t work for you.” “Well you can mail us the payment but then it will be late…………”

After many years of struggling through hardship, struggling through my husband’s unemployment that is not my husband’s fault, struggling through doing our best to pay our bills but running into hardships or medical issues and not receiving any understanding from people on the phone whose job is to placate you and (bottom line) just get the darn payment, it absolutely breaks you down. I feel the dream deferred feeling. I know it, it is a part of my being. I turn to God, take a deep breath, say a prayer, feel His ever-loving presence in my life telling me He loves me, and realize there is so much more to the meaning of life than this frustrating phone call. I appreciate the beauty of life around me. And I move on.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Health care in America

September 12, 2012

I’ve had an inner ear infection for 2 1/2 weeks. Waited through the 1st week because I already had a post-op appt. w/ my gynecologist. I asked if she could look at my EAR while there & she said yes. Okay by me, one less co-pay. She took one look & said, “OH. Inner ear infection & it’s pretty bad.” Prescribed amoxycillin. Took it for a week w/ no result. Ear still plugged. She then prescribed ear drops so expensive I thought they forgot to use the insurance card! $35. my cost. Took those for a week. The last 2 days it started to feel not so bad. The liquid rolling around inside was gone. But it still throbs and tickles sometimes, so I went ahead and went in to the specialist appt. they had made for me as well. 

The specialist acted rather huffy about my being somewhere else before him when it was an ear infection. Liquid all gone, basically said “you’re cured, drops did what they were supposed to do, quit taking them”. but take ibuprofen for pain. Does that make sense to you? Doesn’t really make much sense to me. Evidently it can take extra weeks for everything to feel 100%. He felt my jaw & said he thought the infection had gotten into my jaw & it’s still sore. I said, “Well it was a bad inner ear infection.” His response, “Well I never saw that so I don’t know.” 

Dear Specialist, people cannot come to you right away because for 1) Our insurance only allows us to be REFERRED to you AFTER we have seen our primary doctor. So get over it. And 2) When we DO call, or actually the primary doctor’s office help calls because we’re not allowed to call you ourselves, it takes ANOTHER WEEK to get into you! So please do not be offended I wasn’t here 2 weeks ago. You still got your extra $35.00 co-pay for you to tell me I’m cured, and I’m sure the insurance company has to pay you 5X more than that.