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“Time to Man up, Fellows” By Parker Menkin

It’s not a fun time to be a man right now, what with all the terrible behavior being revealed by #MeToo. It’s even worse if you understand that we deserve all those bad feelings and more. So. Much. More. We deserve it because we’ve behaved horribly, whether we’ve perpetrated the awfulness ourselves or told victims we don’t care about what’s happened to them.

Last week, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford went before the Senate Judicial committee to testify about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15 and he was 17. The whole thing was an avalanche of awfulness that included from a fairly detailed recounting of a sexual assault, a bunch of old men cowardly hiding behind the skirts of a woman brought in to do their dirty work and, finally, the realization that the Republican members of the Judicial committee and a not-insignificant portion of Americans don’t really care that a man who may well have committed a sexual assault could be elevated to the highest court in the land.

Right about now, you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with me? I don’t know anyone who’s been sexually assaulted/harassed.” I hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong. You do, they’re just not willing to tell you about it. And, I’m not talking about acquaintances, either. I mean, spouses, children, other family members, close friends, etc.  Think about that for a minute. People who are as close to you as it is possible to be are dealing with awful, demeaning, traumatic experiences and they’ve never mentioned it to you. Why do you think that might be?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s because you’ve given them a good reason not to. Now, you’re probably thinking, “What!? How did I do that?” You did it when asked what a rape victim was wearing/how much she had to drink beforehand/what she was doing in that part of town in the first place. You did it when you said someone who reported that they’d been assaulted was a liar because they waited (sometimes months, sometimes years) before coming forward. You did it when you said that someone telling the story of how they’d been assaulted had an agenda, that they were out to smear a good man’s name. You did it when you asked tried to dismiss victims by intimating that false accusations of sexual assault were a bigger problem than assault itself. Basically, you did by being a douche bag. Instead of wondering why they don’t trust you, you should be wondering why they continue to allow you into their life at all.

Like I said in the opening sentence, it’s not a fun time to be a man right now. But, know this: the way you’re feeling right now is nothing compared to the way people who have been victimized sexually feel.  It is, at most, a tiny clouded window into what those folks live with every day. And, as a man, you should be looking for ways to lessen that awfulness for them, not doubling down on it so your side “wins”. To put it bluntly, man up and stop being a douche bag.

Google Translate Poetry: “You Oughta Know”

“You Oughta Know”

Original:

I want you to know, that I am happy for you

I wish nothing but the best for you both

An older version of me

Is she perverted like me?

Would she go down on you in a theater?

Does she speak eloquently

And would she have your baby?

I’m sure she’d make a really excellent mother

‘Cause the love that you gave that we made

Wasn’t able to make it enough for you

To be open wide, no

And every time you speak her name

Does she know how you told me

You’d hold me until you died

‘Til you died, but you’re still alive

And I’m here, to remind you

Of the mess you left when you went away

It’s not fair, to deny me

Of the cross I bear that you gave to me

You, you, you oughta know

 

Method: English – Spanish – Bulgarian – Zulu – Maltese – Zulu – Bulgarian – Spanish – English

 

Result:

I know I’m happy

I do not want anything better

my version

Is that like me?

Can you ever miss the theater?

Good phrases

And you can still have your baby?

I’m sure they really will be a true mother

Because we like it

He could not afford to do it enough

external openings

And every time you say his name

You know what to say

Worry about me, I do not remember

While you die, you are still alive

And here I want to remind you

Because of the shock he leaves when he leaves

It is good to lose

Since then,

You want to know

Listen: The Betafiles Have Come Unstuck In Time…

STAY TUNED: Tomorrow, 9/28, The BetaFiles Podcast returns with new segments, new commentary, and the return of Dr. J. The Daily Files return next week, along with more Google Translate Poetry, White Board Confessions, and fresh articles from our staff.

 

Google Translate Poetry: Penny Lane

“Penny Lane”

Original:

Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs

Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know

And all the people that come and go

Stop and say “Hello”

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar,

And little children laugh at him behind his back

And the banker never wears a mac

In the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes

There beneath the blue suburban skies

I sit, and meanwhile back

In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass,

And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen

He likes to keep his fire engine clean,

It’s a clean machine

 

Method: English – Norwegian – Yiddish – Macedonian – Catalan – Macedonian – Yiddish – Norwegian – English

 

Result:

Penny Lane is a golf show that shows pictures

You are happy to know each chapter

And all those who come and go

Stop and say “hello”

 

There is a bank in the corner by car,

And young children laugh at him

And the banker never carries a Mac

In the rainy weather, very funny

 

Penny Lane is in my ears and eyes

Under the blue sky in the sky

I’m sitting at that time and I’m back

 

In the “Penny Line” held a solemn ceremony with sand,

And in his pocket is a portrait of the queen

He wants to keep his fire engine clean,

It’s a clean machine

The Tone Police

I think it’s safe to say that, right now, public discourse isn’t at its loftiest point in our history. Up until last week, I told myself that things could certainly be worse, saying “Hey, no one’s taken a stick to a colleague on the Senate floor while a compatriot pulled a pistol to keep everyone else at bay. That’s something, right?” But, I’m not sure I can hold onto that slim strand of hope much longer.

Last Thursday, a man with a long-standing grudge against Annapolis, Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper walked into their office and opened fire on the staff, killing five and wounding two. You might be wondering why I would bring up mass murder in a discussion about public discourse. I get that, killing a whole slew of people in one go is pretty much the opposite of talking. In another world, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to bring up mass murder in a discussion about the community’s rhetoric. But, we don’t live in another world, we live in the “Trump-side Down“: A world where a thrice-divorced reality show huckster who said he’s never felt the need to ask God’s forgiveness and has paid hush money to an adult film actress over an affair that occurred a few months after his current wife had given birth to their son enjoys such massive support from evangelical Christians that they elect to the highest office in the land. Meanwhile, a devoted husband and father who has repeatedly demonstrated his faith through his actions is reviled by these same people as a “secret Muslim” who is mounting an assault on Christianity. Y’all know these folks make Jesus cry, right?

If the way Obama was treated while 45 is embraced isn’t enough proof that we live in a parallel universe where everything is twisted and warped, check this out: Thursday evening, on AC360, Anderson Cooper replayed a previously taped interview with two survivors of the shooting. In it, reporter Selene San Felice, said, “But I’m gonna need more than a couple days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers because it’s — our whole lives have been shattered. And so, thanks for your prayers, but I couldn’t give a f*ck about them if there’s nothing else.” Whether by mistake or by design, they didn’t censor San Felice and the expletive came thru loud and clear. In the normal world, the only way to respond to that is the way Cooper did: with sympathy and grace. However, in the “Trump-side Down”, it seems that tone-policing is an appropriate response.

I say that because, Friday morning, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) tweeted:

“Sign of our times… the F word is now routinely used in news stories, tweets, etc. It’s not even F*** anymore. Who made that decision?

Wow. Let me see if I understand what’s being said here: In the aftermath of a mass shooting that left five people dead and 2 wounded, Senator Waterboy is upset by the “F” word? I don’t know about you guys, but I can think of a lot of words that are worse than “f–k”, like murder, racism, famine and a whole bunch more. But, I suppose it is nice to know where Marco’s priorities lie.

Now, the cynic in me thinks that this really about all Rubio can say,  what with bought and paid for by the NRA. But, my idealistic side says that, rather than just making snarky comments, I should try and look at things from Marco’s point of view. I don’t know, maybe “F***” is worse than I think. So, let’s do a little research, shall we?

As a word, the “f” bomb has been around for a long time. The first attested usage dates to 1475 in a poem by some English friars (although it does appear earlier in a couple of names). It is probably a cognate of some Germanic words that have a sexual connotation. Or, it may derive from an Old French word that means “to f…” well, you know. Originally, it referred only to having sex and it’s hard to tell when it lost that happy association and picked up some of the more unpleasant and offensive meanings it has today. But, even with all its negative associations, when stacked up against violent death, bigotry, and hunger, “f**k” just doesn’t seem that bad to me.

Of course, Rubio isn’t the only person to use this approach. All of our social media feeds are full of “Trumpies” calling for civility now that everyone else has had enough of their crap and started giving it back. Sorry, snowflakes, that genie is out of the bottle and it ain’t going back in. Deal with it.

 

 

 

You Really Ought to Read it First: The Bible is Literally True?

 

In this second entry of “You Really Ought to Read it First”, we’re going to talk about the Bible in general. There are a lot of people who, in spite of all the truly weird stuff that’s in it, believe the Bible is literally true. Like every word of it. Understand when I say “truly weird stuff”, I mean things like:

  • A talking donkey. And, when I say, “talking donkey”, I mean like in Shrek, only not as funny.  In the book of Numbers, there is a prophet named Balaam, whose donkey begins to speak to him. And, what did Balaam do when his donkey spoke to him? He had a conversation with it. Like it was the most normal thing in the world. Which could be true if the drugs are good enough.
  • God sending bears to maul 42 kids for making fun of Elisha. Yes, you read that right: The God that Christians continually refer to as a “loving father” sent a couple of bears to maul some kids after Elisha “cursed them in the Lord’s name” for calling him “Baldy”.
  • Stoning smart-alecky kids. That’s right, beloved, the “Good Book” says that if your child is consistently stubborn and rebellious, they should be stoned. And, not in the good way, either. To be fair, though, after raising a couple of teenagers, I can see where this one was coming from.
  • Moses checking out God’s butt. I mean, yeah, it says “back parts”. But, where I come from, that’s “butt” all day long.
  • Sheep that look at striped sticks while mating giving birth to striped, speckled, and spotted babies. Who knew you could genetically engineer livestock with a few sticks? I’ll bet all those egghead scientists feel pretty stupid whenever they read this one.
  • God giving the Philistines hemorrhoids for taking the Ark of the Covenant. That’s right, people, mess with God (or even God’s people) and you get hemorrhoids. I realize this may be TMI, but I’ve had hemorrhoids and, frankly, I’d rather be mauled by bears.

After reading all this, you probably said to yourself, “Why would any thinking person believe these insane things actually happened?” (they do) And, close on the heels of that, you probably thought, “Maybe they haven’t actually read it.” (they have, often and extensively) My take on the matter is that, while they’ve read it, they haven’t done a lot of thinking on the subject. Maybe this will spur them to spend some time in contemplation. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Family Matters

As you may have noticed over the last few days, it’s been rather difficult to turn on a news program without hearing about the White House’s latest policy debacle, the separation of families attempting to cross our southern border. This was a fairly big story before, but it really came to dominate the headlines last Thursday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to justify the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, setting off a crapstorm of negative press coverage.

Things haven’t gone well for Sessions in the wake of that comment, as people across the country have called him out about it. Even his own United Methodist Church (Sessions is a member) has condemned both the policy and the AG’s statement, saying “To argue that these policies are consistent with Christian teaching is unsound, a flawed interpretation, and a shocking violation of the spirit of the Gospel.” So, the UMC, a group that has been locked in a fractious debate over the status of people who are LGBTQ+ for years, thought one of their own member’s policy/statement was so bad it was worth putting all that aside and coming together to denounce it? Oh, I’ll bet that stings.

It’s not just Sessions who’s feeling the heat, though; the entire Trump administration is catching it. Of course, that’s due in part to their total ineptitude when it comes to governing. And, never has their incompetence been clearer than in the responses from various administration officials. Over the weekend, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.” Yet, back in May, chief of staff John Kelly said that tearing kids away from their parents would be a “tough deterrent” and wouldn’t call it cruel. And, the president himself has gone on record multiple times about the policy, usually to blame Democrats for this heinous practice. Of course, I’ve already told you about Sessions’ views on the subject. And, in line with her boss and the AG, Mouth of Sauron White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “It’s the law, and that’s what the law states.” Compared to these people, the Keystone Kops are the picture of competence.

On-air personalities at Fox News (aka Department of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) have been working hard to counter all the bad press and “inform” us about the “reality” of the situation. Tucker Carlson claims that public outrage over the policy has been ginned up by “the ruling elite” to accelerate “the collapse of the American family”. Co-host of Fox and Friends and ventriloquist-dummy-come-to-life Steve Doocy said that we’re not seeing concentration camps with cages for children, but “great, big warehouse facility where they built walls out of chain link fences.” And, last but certainly not least, Laura Ingraham told us that these detention centers “are essentially summer camps”. While the comments from Doocy and Ingraham are mind-numbingly stupid, they were a welcome change from Carlson’s dog-whistle-racism-conspiracy-theory-bs. Something we hear all too often from the fine folks at Fox.

I will end this: One of the goals of this zero-tolerance policy (the brainchild of human-rat hybrid Stephen Miller) is reducing the number of people seeking asylum. And, it’s working. I heard a news report this morning about an interview with a Honduran woman at the border who was reconsidering her decision to attempt a crossing and request asylum. Think about that for a moment: our government has created an environment that is less attractive than the horrific violence occurring in her homeland. So, have we made America great again? Because I don’t think I can’t take much more of this “winning”.

What I’ve Learned in 57 Years

Well, my friends, I had another birthday this week. And, as the title of this missive indicates, this one marks 57 years on the planet. My father taught me from a very young age that I had a responsibility to give back to my community and in an effort to do just that, every year I compile a list of all the things I’ve learned over the course of my life and share it with those closest to me. And, by “those closest to me”, I mean “anyone willing to click on a link”. And, this year, readers of The Betafiles get the benefit of my accumulated wisdom. Do you people know just how lucky you are?

Buckle up, kids. Here we go:

  • While you have to age, you don’t have to get old. “Age” is the chronological record of how long you’ve been alive. “Old” is a way of thinking; a mindset, if you will. You can be that old guy standing on his porch, yelling, “Get off my lawn!” or you can be that amazingly cool lady who’s been places and seen things and loves sharing those experiences with other, younger folks who haven’t. It’s your choice.
  • There is nothing like being greeted by a dog that hasn’t seen you in while. It doesn’t matter whether you were gone 5 days or 5 minutes, a dog is always ecstatic when they see you again. That is a level of gratification cat lovers will never know. And, I feel sorry for them.
  • Saying “I’m not a racist, but…” is a good sign that you might actually be a racist Or, at the very least, that you’re about to say some racist crap. If that phrase ever crosses your lips, you might want to reconsider what you’re about to say.
  • That every time I think it’s impossible for Lord Dampnut (anagram of “Donald Trump”) to make things worse, he finds a way to do just that. Like ticking off Canada. Seriously, how do you make the nicest, most polite people on the planet angry?
  • Adulting is like a dog going to the vet. At first, you’re all excited about it. Then, you realize what all it entails and you’re like, “Oh crap, this is what they meant?!?”
  • The American Revolution was born in taverns in a time when people drank a lot. Which means the idea for this country quite possibly sprang into being when Thomas Jefferson had one too many told the rest of the Founding Fathers, “Hey, y’all. Watch this!”
  • A group of giraffes is called a tower. There, that’s something you know now.
  • Being a grandfather is awesome. It’s all of the fun and none of the responsibility! If I’d known just how great it is, I’d have skipped being a dad and gone straight to granddad. Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way. But, it should.
  • That giving up certain things may add years to my life. But, it may not add life to my years. Once, I gave up caffeine because someone told me I might live ten years longer. Of course, giving up caffeine meant giving up coffee. But I did it, and it was the worst thirty minutes of my life. At the end of that span, I decided those years wouldn’t be worth living without coffee, so I took to that delicacy again. With gusto.

Of course, that’s just a portion of what I’ve picked up in journey up this five-terraced summit. There’s more, but I’m hanging on to that until I see what you people do with these bits. Until the next time, nerds!

Google Translate: The Jeffersons Theme

Original:

Well we’re movin on up, to the east side.

To a deluxe apartment in the sky.

Movin on up to the east side.

We finally got a piece of the pie.

 

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;

Beans don’t burn on the grill.

Took a whole lotta tryin’ just to get up that hill.

Now we’re up in the big leagues

Gettin’ our turn at bat.

As long as we live, it’s you and me baby

There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

 

Well we’re movin on up, to the East Side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Method:

English – Norwegian – Sudanese – Hebrew – Bosnian – Polish – Bosnian – Hebrew – Sudanese – Norwegian – English

Result:

Yes, we moved east.

luxury apartment in the sky.

Continuing east.

Finally, we have a piece of cake.

 

Cereals are the fish in the kitchen;

Beans do not burn on the grill.

If necessary, too, but try to get up the hill.

Now are our big leagues

Gettin ‘Tora is our home.

As long as we live, girl

There is nothing wrong.

 

Yes, we moved east.

luxury apartment in the sky.

Continuing east.

Finally, we have a piece of cake.