Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Lush Life & The Not So Lush Life

Yesterday marked the third day that my picture(s) part of my posts were food related. Today is the third day that they come from the site

In this set of pictures we have two items that are a little bit "luxe". One is a fancy-schmantzy version of a old college dorm stand-by. The other is truly unique. When I first looked at the picture and read what this everyday item (actually a two-piece item) was made out of I wondered for a second if it was for real. It is!

So, as you can see, the upgraded college dorm item is a genuine leather bean bag chair. Snazzy isn't it.

I can see it in someone's dorm at some Ivy League college like Harvard. Maybe even a set of them. The only question there is where to find all the usual college accoutrements in deluxe form. Although if you came from money I'm pretty sure you or your parents would have a lifetime of knowing where to find it.

Hammacher Schlemmer perhaps. Or Neiman Marcus. These are two that I just thought of. I'm sure there are many, many others. After all even if they are only the "1%"  there are still lots of wealthy people to supply.

Next up is this bamboo computer keyboard and matching mouse. Have you or have you not seen everything now.  I wonder if you could get splinters from these. Probably not. That wouldn't be very deluxe now would it. Speaking of bamboo, it you can believe it, I actually was given a bamboo/cotton towel. That's right. A towel that is partially made of bamboo. Crazy huh. The craziest thing is it's quite soft.

So would you buy either of these items?

Myself, I would have to say given the choice of one or the other I'd pick the keyboard/mouse set. Yes, the leather chair is nice but remember ... I'm a fat girl. Fat girls (and presumably fat boys too) have a hard time getting "low to the ground". Besides, leather is more common. Pedestrian even. Deluxe sure, but not unique. Bamboo hardware. Now that's unique.

So on to other stuff. Two things in the news today caught my eye. The first is more of a light item. The second definitely much more weighty. I put this paragraph in after finishing the entire post but before posting it when it occured to me that with the two items from the news added to the "main" posting of photos of deluxe consumer items, and in particular the second one, deals with such important subjects a title change from "The Lush Life" to "The Lush & The Not So Lush Life". As luck, and maybe serendipity, would have it while the original title was completely wrong for what this post became in its entirety it was not a bad place to start or wholely off the mark.

First off, let's start with the lighter item since it will directly be following the picture portion which isn't exactly hard news. LOL. The parents of the show 19 Kids and Counting, Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar are having, get this, their 20th kid next spring.  In April, I think. Originally the show was 17 Kids and Counting, then 18 Kids and Counting, now since late Dec.2009/early Jan 2010, the current 19 Kids and Counting. Presumably, if they don't get cancelled like Kate Plus 8 (formerly Jon & Kate Plus 8), by the middle of next year it could be, assuming all goes well, 20 Kids and Counting. And counting they may very well still be because in an interview I saw with the parents and all their kids with them on either the Today or the Good Morning America show they said that they were open to the possibility of more if it happens. Yeesh. 

That said, I am in the minority I guess when I say leave them alone to have as big a family as they want. It may not be the most responsible thing to do when it comes to population growth but then I've heard that it is primarily nations like China, Japan and Africian nations that are the problem when it comes to world over population anyway. Apparently white people are actually supposed to be dwindling.

And while I wouldn't make a spirited argument on their behalf based on their religious beliefs (which it seems is a primary reason why their family is so large - they don't believe in birth control anymore after losing one child to their one time decision to use it) because I am not really religious myself and much has gone on that gives religious freedom a black eye such as the FLDS sect and their alleged treatment of women and children or Christian Scientists who would let a child die rather than seek conventional medical treatment, I still do support them.

Aside from the fact that this seems more of a harmless religious choice where it is simply a matter of where do you draw the line, 5 going on 6 or 19 going on 20 or more, I have to admit that I actually inwardly gave a little cheer when I first heard the news. The biggest reason, and maybe the only one, is that when I was younger (about 13 or so) and was given a a couple of old trunks by my grandmother and grandfather when they moved into an old folks home shortly before they died I found inside the one that was my grandma's a scrapbook or two that was devoted to old movie stars, various royal families around the world, and finally oddities like quintuplets like the Dionne sisters or sextuplets/septuplets like Kate Gosselin and even a woman who had octuplets (I don't think they all survived) way before the world ever heard of Nadya Suleman.

I loved this stuff. It seemed so far removed from everyday people's experiences. Like a chance for regular people who weren't celebrities or royalty to have a chance to be unique, special and in the news. I know this is silly and some would even say irresponsible but I disagree. After all, for even one couple like the Duggars (are there actually any - lol - well probably) there are probably at least 10 others (couples &/or singles) that don't have, either by choice or by chance, any kids. So it balances out is basically what I'm saying.

As for the argument that they, and others who are in lesser degree like them, can't possibly properly look after that many kids I say, what a load of ^(*$#. What about parents of previous generations when having many kids was much more common. Yes, it was before birth control but then as we all know birth control is not everyones choice. Some would even argue that it is a little like a very early abortion. I don't know if I'd go that far but I guess it has some merit. Anyway, parents back then did the best they could, including having the other children help out, and that is what this family is doing too I would guess. I don't think having the kids help out, as long as it's not to the exclusion of getting to be "regular" kids too, is such a bad thing either.

Kids helping with kids, in age appropriate ways, can be a valuable lesson. If nothing else it can be a way to let the kids that would be helping out know, well before it's time for them to have their own kids, whether they actually want the responsibility. Because surely not all of the 20 or so kids this family now has or soon may have if all goes well is going to end up having the exact same beliefs as their parents. Maybe more families including smaller ones should include their kids in helping with the younger ones. If only to a small degree. Not enough to "take away their childhoods". Not only would it help let kids see what raising kids is about in small part so that they can tell if they want their own someday so that people who clearly shouldn't have kids don't but also it might do a little something to make kids think twice about having sex before they are ready to assume the ultimate potential responsibility for that choice.

The second thing that I wanted to mention is the Occupy movement. For the most part I would have to say I support it. It is supposed to be a loosely organized thing so saying that you support it is potentially a bit like stepping in dog shit. I say that because, if the police are to be believed, and that may be a big if, the protests are morphing into something less idealistic and more chaotic and hard to handle. That is to say other elements - vandals, troublemakers and even criminals are co-opting it.

While that is clearly a realistic possibility because there are always opportunists and it is hard to self-police a motley group not to mention that when big public groups get together often nothing good comes of it (eg. riots) it can really be hard to believe the police when I haven't so far heard of a lot of trouble and the police are quite well known for being over-zealous. I'd like to see the police leave the protesters alone. With winter coming soon it will be interesting to see if the protesters do, as I've heard some of the Occupy city groups to say, continue on through the winter.

These groups (which may in fact be and I hope are, all of them) that have said they plan to stay over the winter obviously will have greater or lesser problems dealing with the weather depending on where they are located. All I can say is good luck to Occupy Edmonton and other winter Occupy cities in -40. Hell, I wouldn't want to be out there at -10. For anyone who is that committed, assuming we get to witness that if the police don't move in to force them out first, I say you have my respect.

Speaking of respect, that brings me to something my oldest sister said at the dinner table this last weekend while we were celebrating a couple of family birthdays. Someone, very possibly me, brought up the Occupy movement and she was quick to state a rather ambivalent position in a nevertheless quite hostile way. She basically said that while she somewhat can see their point she doesn't really believe in the movement because anyone who actually has the ability to camp out or protest on a regular basis (especially in the mornings I would presume) is not really the ones that it is supposed to be all about.

That is to say she didn't say that they were all bums but instead that they, whether bums or presumably privileged types who took the time to be there alike, are not your average working person. Personally I disagree.  I really don't care who is there. That they are taking the time out from their regular lives is enough for me. If they are street people then they definitely are the disadvantaged. If they are more privileged then they have obviously given up comfort at the very least and some I have heard of have even let their apartments or good jobs go to be there.

Not to mention that even the average working people may be there in a lesser capacity. That is, they may not stay over night or may not plan to stay as long as others (including over winter) as it would keep them from work and bills. But there are always people, no matter how small that group may be, that make great sacrifices when they believe in the cause. After all, look no further than the civil rights movement in the 60's in particular but also the women's rights movement starting in the 70's and the gay (later LGBT) movement starting primarily in the 80's (but going back at least in one particular instance as far as the late 60's).

People who have been pushed to the limit & others who are not as personally affected but just of greater convictions than most and have seen things they can't ethically stomach have been doing society's "heavy lifting" during these times as well as, really, throughout all of history. They should be praised. Anyone who isn't terminally (and that I think is an especially appropriate word) naive realizes that protesting, even in a democracy, can get you blackballed/blacklisted, severely fined, jailed, seriously injured or possibly killed.  Just look up James Reeb, but one example of the high cost people pay to protest. The fact that he was privileged (by virtue of his white skin) didn't save him in Selma.

People with half a brain and possessing even the smallest measure of self-preservation don't take protesting lightly. That's why cowards like me count on people like them to do the dirty work of maintaining or creating some semblance of fairness in an unfair world. So I guess I would like to conclude this by saying think hard before condemning someone for doing something that you likely do not, but probably should, have the willingness to do, whether it be because of the emotional, financial &/or the physical risks involved. With Remembrance Day just two days away (look at my FB badge on which I have changed my profile picture to a white "Peace Poppy") consider please consider these things. 


P.S. May the bravest and most noble amongst us, whether they be the soldier or the protester, have the longest and happiest lives.

P.P.S. After editing in the first paragraph not dealing with the photos right after finishing the P.S. it occurred to me to that here would be the best place to add that even the Duggars should/could be considered in the "not so lush life" part of the title because, even if it is hardly as much of a sacrifice as those of the soldier or protester, committing yourself to raising that many children obviously requires many sacrifices both personal and financial.

That is another reason why I believe people should respect their choice. A choice among the many we have that was fought for, again by soldier and protester alike, and that people in China. for instance (although maybe with good reason there), don't have. As always, I look forward to hearing what any reader think - be it about the picture portion of the post or my written musings. Being, in part, more controversial I reserve the right to use the comment deletion feature but only if a comment is truly hateful. So far, I've never needed it.

The C.A.T.

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