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Two little dickwads threaten to gang rape my daughter and have the worst weekend of their lives.

22 Apr

Talk about the rubber hitting the road!  You may have noticed a curious silence from me this weekend – allow me to tell you the reason why. walking So, Friday afternoon, PinkyPinkyPie, who is 11, was walking home from school with her little brother LittleDude and a few other kids from the neighborhood, as per usual.  The school is on the dividing line between two neighborhoods, one to the East and one to the West and kids generally set off in one direction or the other.  On Friday, two boys from the East neighborhood decided to follow the kids going West. Pinky and her group didn’t think much of it, but when Pinky left her other friends at the street corner, the two boys Dickwad1 and Dickwad2 started talking to LittleDude, who is seven years old!!  He’s in Grade One! They offered him crack. crack What the fuck? These boys are in the fifth grade, although not in the same class as Pinky.  She knows their names, but not where they live. “What’s crack?”, asked LittleDude.  How would he know? Pinky intervened immediately and told LittleDude that crack was a kind of drug and that he should not talk to or trust either of the Dickwads. She held LittleDude’s hand and they started towards our house. That’s when Dickwad1 yelled “we’re gonna break into your house and rape you in your sleep!”, with Dickwad2 chortling his agreement. angry Well, those boys picked the wrong kid to fuck with.  They clearly have no idea who Pinky’s mother is. I’m telling you this story because I want to discuss MY reaction, and not Pinky’s.  It’s a fine line between exploiting your children (oh hello, Shona Sibary), and referring to them as a useful illustration of an important issue.  Suffice to say, Pinky and LittleDude burst through the front door and told me what had happened immediately. principal My first call was to the school principal. My second call was to the police.  My third call was to Eddie the Barber.  I’ll go through each of these calls separately. The School principal is a nice enough man, and I’m sure his job is neither easy nor pleasant all the time.  Who’s is?  One of the more difficult things he has to do is integrate children from different social backgrounds into the regular milieu of the school.  As I’ve mentioned before, children from troubled or very poor families are integrated into regular neighborhoods in our town, rather than housed in some sort of council or ghetto. Often, but not always, these children are part of distinct racial minority that gets rather a lot of bad press, some of it deserved, and some not so much.  This group is plagued with problems of substance abuse, lots of single motherhood,  physical abuse and neglect of children and sadly, a lot of sexual violence against children. And yes, the two little dickwads were part of this racial minority.  In my conversation with the Principal, I suggested that he immediately investigate the school’s liability in a situation like this one.  And I assured him that I would pursue that liability to the ends of the fucking earth if it came to that, which didn’t surprise him all that much.  He kind of knows me. I let him know that he needed to have the boys names, addresses, dates of birth, all relevant information at hand as the police would be in touch with him soon.  Our conversation was curt, to say the least. He wanted me to just let the school handle the situation. Not fucking likely. police My second call was to the police, who took the threats very seriously, and once I identified the kids as being part of a particularly troubled social group, they moved my case to top priority and dispatched officers to take statements from the kids.  I also asked them to obtain social services records to see if the boys had ever been in foster care, had ever had contact with the police before, had ever been the victims of physical or sexual violence themselves.  I also wanted to know if any close family members had been convicted or charged with drug offences.  How do we understand offering LittleDude crack?  Is that for real? The police assured me those were the first things they would do. Okay, so police and school principal are on it.  I should just leave it at that, no? NO! barber Not a chance.  My third call was to Eddie the Barber.  Eddie has been cutting hair in this town for 52 years, and in all those years, he’s met a few people.  If Eddie doesn’t know you, he knows your cousin.  And Eddie has long railed against the town’s housing policy of integrating poor and troubled families for precisely the reason I was describing.  He doesn’t think it’s fair to expose children from more affluent, stable families to children who come from wildly different experiences, because children have no way to process that information or defend themselves against other children who have had a much rougher go of things. I can see both sides of the argument, but my principle concern was to do a threat evaluation.  Are these boys talking out their asses, or is there a real reason to be concerned? Within 30 minutes, Eddie knew the Detective assigned to my case, he had the boys records from Social Services, he had alerted the town council and called a few lawyers to check on the school’s liability:  it’s pretty high. The lawyers also had some suggestions as to what I could ask for in terms of containing any future threats or situations against my daughter. Cost of legal advice:  zero.  Unless you count all the haircuts Mr. JB has gotten from Eddie over the past seven years.  God, I love small towns. It turns out that the boys have no previous contact with either social services or law enforcement and have never even been in trouble at school.  There is no history of drugs or any criminal behavior in the immediate family. The boy’s parents were completely appalled at their son’s behavior and were totally co-operative with the police.  Two uniformed officers went to the boy’s homes and scared the shit out of them. Good. They have received suspensions from school, and they have to write letters of apology to my daughter (which she does not want and said she refuses to read, and I’m fine with that.  I’ll read them.). Their parents have told them they are not to be in the West neighborhood period, and the school crossing guards have been alerted and will watch for the boys trying to cross the street. crossing But to me, this is still not over.  No way.  I want a meeting with the parents and the boys and the school principal, but it will have to wait until Mr.JB calms down a bit.  He didn’t think any of my phone calls were necessary.  Mr. JB, JudgyAsshole and BigMike all responded the exact same way:  little boys who talk like men need to run into a few men and learn a thing or two about owning your words.  They seriously wanted to find the boys and beat the shit out of them. They still do. I’m pretty sure they won’t, but god help those kids if they show up in this neighborhood and any one of the guys see them.  Of course, once the police cars were in our driveway, the whole neighborhood wanted to know what was up, and I’d say those boys better steer far clear of this street.  It’s not just Mr.JB they have to worry about. Now here is where the whole situation gets a bit tricky.  I’m angry beyond belief that two boys from seemingly normal families would dare to say such a thing to anyone, not just my daughter. It turns out they HAVE made similar threats before, but none of the other girls told their parents.  They just shrugged it off. That’s unbelievably sad. I want to meet with the parents and the boys and the school to have one conversation in particular:  WHY WOULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING? 

“We’re going to break into your house and rape you in your sleep?”

I think it has to do with bravado, with seeming cool and strong and powerful, and while I want to put the fear of god into those boys about ever saying such a thing again, I do NOT want to shame them for wanting to feel powerful and strong.  What those boys need is a strategy for how to achieve those feelings without needing to resort to violence and fear and threats. I think they’re negotiating what it means to be a man, and they have received some incredibly powerful, brutally negative portrayals of masculinity from the media.  I would like to meet their fathers and have a frank discussion about how these boys are interpreting what manliness means.  And you want to talk about rape culture?  It seems that the ubiquitous depiction of men as rapists has sunk deep into our culture indeed. rapist Twelve year old boys are already imagining themselves rapists. Feminism blames patriarchy for that, but it isn’t patriarchy that claims all men are potential rapists and should be treated that way, is it?  Zerlina Maxwell says we should teach men not to rape, which presupposes they just might accidentally rape someone without this important training.  I suppose we should train them all not to rob convenience stores while we’re at it? How much of this is a self-fulfilling prophesy.  Treat all men as rapists, and make sure boys internalize that image, and guess what you get? Twelve year old boys threatening to rape their classmates. How fucking lovely. And now that I have some personal experience with the matter, it absolutely boggles my mind that feminists rail against teaching girls to protect themselves.  Under no circumstances did Pinky do ANYTHING to deserve those boys threatening her in a very frightening way.  But those boys exist.  They live in our city.  They go to HER school.  They are out there, and while these ones appear to be harmless, some of them won’t be. Between the school and our house, Pinky has many, many people who know what happened, and to whom she can turn.  She knows now that she should never walk home alone.  She needs to be with friends.  Mr. JB and I have installed a private texting app on all our phones and she is learning to keep us up to date on her whereabouts.  We’re not going to severely restrict her movements to keep her safe, but we are training her to recognize that bad people are out there, as well as many more good, and that there are things she can do to enhance her own security and safety. The boys are under a school suspension and they have been ordered to never speak to Pinky for any reason.  They are not to go near her, and if they do, THEY will be the ones to have their movements restricted.  If they violate the school’s mini-restraining order, they will be forced to remain in the office after school until an adult comes to escort them home.  I’ll bet that will make mom and dad really happy. This is still very raw for Pinky, but ultimately I want her to see that the boys were acting like assholes, based on images about men and manhood that they see depicted in the media and culture all around them.  I expect her to gain some compassion for them over time, but never risk her safety by deciding they might be harmless to be around. They might not be, and she has some responsibility to ensure her own well-being by never trusting those two boys in particular, and by always letting us know where she is.  Pinky is a rather cautious person by nature, so I don’t think that will be a problem. It makes me absolutely sick to think that twelve year old boys have internalized such awful images of masculinity.  What kind of media are they being exposed to? How are they being parented? I want to meet the parents and take my own evaluation, do my own threat assessment.  When I spoke to the police officers after they had visited the boys at home with their parents, they felt the boys had little comprehension of what they were saying, were remorseful and embarrassed and that the parents were humiliated and angry.  Okay, fair enough.  They should be.  But until I have made my own assessment, I will be walking the kids to and from school. Ultimately, Pinky is OUR responsibility.  As her parents, Mr. JB and I are ultimately accountable for her safety and well-being. We can teach her that she did not, and never will, deserve to be threatened with rape or any other kind of assault, while still teaching her some street smarts. That’s not victim-blaming.  It’s victim-preventing. We won’t be having that meeting with the parents just yet, as it will take very little to provoke Mr. JB into actions he will regret.  At the end of the day, he doesn’t care how those boys have been socialized or what kind of damaging stereotypes they have ingested from popular culture.  They threatened his baby.  And he would rather kill them than allow any harm to come to his daughter. daddy I don’t actually think it would hurt those boys to see a little righteous wrath from Pinky’s father. You can be strong.  You can be powerful.  You can be angry. You can even be violent.  But only when you are doing those things to protect the people you love.  You can be all those things in service to others. Those boys couldn’t find a better man to emulate than Mr. JB.  At the moment, they will have to observe him from the distance.  Up close, they might find that threatening to hurt a man’s daughter can have some painful consequences. Lots of love, JB

Rocket scientist figures out that a woman’s life isn’t rocket science. A truly brilliant lady worth applauding.

1 Apr


Yvonne Madelaine Claeys was born on Dec. 30, 1924, in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her parents had separately immigrated from Flanders, in Belgium. Her father was a carpenter.

After the University of Manitoba barred her from the engineering program, she studied mathematics and chemistry instead and graduated at the top of her class. Her lack of an engineering degree did not prevent her from getting a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Nobody had the right degrees back then, so it didn’t matter,” she told The Star-Ledger of Newark in 2010. “I didn’t have engineering, but the engineers didn’t have the chemistry and math.”

Yvonne Brill is rare example of female genius defined in traditionally male terms, and as I’ve argued before, when women of tremendous talent and ability and intelligence are born, the culture almost always makes room for them to rise. The University of Manitoba barred Yvonne from the engineering program because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp. Really? What kind of accommodations would she need? A menstruation hut? Her own tent? That kind of challenge was insurmountable for engineers? How stupid.


I’m guessing there was just very deep suspicion that women could actually perform in a discipline as demanding as engineering. These are some of the smartest people on the planet, and the higher up the intelligence distribution curve you go, the greater the gender disparity.

Men outnumber women eight to one on the curve after IQ measurement reaches 145.

Eight to one!

That’s not sexism. It’s biology. But it still didn’t stop Yvonne. She was the one, up against the rightfully suspicious eight.

Engineering is out? Well then, math and chemistry are in. Easy peasy.


“You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted,” she once said.

Exactly, Yvonne. Jezebel threw a spaz because Yvonne, who went on to marry and have children, planned her life around her husband and her children, and seems to have been very happy to do so. She preferred to be called Mrs. Brill, and when her children came along, she stepped out of the workforce for eight years to care for them.


Apparently, she also made a beautiful beef stroganoff.

Well shock and horror! The lovely Mrs. Brill, at home in an apron with her children, knowing that her genius wasn’t going anywhere, and that supporting her husband’s career was just as important as her own ambitions.


Mrs. Brill followed her husband around as he changed jobs, and according to her son, Matthew, she was perfectly content to do so.

“Good husbands are harder to find than good jobs.”

Amen, Yvonne.

Here’s what pisses me off about the Jezebel article, among other things: It should go without saying, but the problem with the original obituary is that a male scientist would never — NEVER — be hailed as a “the world’s best dad” before being hailed as an important scientific innovator.

First of all, although she sounds like she really was a wonderful mother, nowhere in the obituary does it say that Yvonne was the world’s greatest mother. It says she made beef stroganoff, took time off to raise her children, preferred her husband’s name and felt that a good husband was a far better investment than a good job.

Leaving that little sneering bit of contempt for mothering aside, it took me approximately two seconds to find an obituary for a male scientist that spoke of his family upbringing, what he liked to eat and the importance of his wife. Okay, he didn’t make a mean stroganoff, but apparently the rice and evaporated milk diet was important enough to mention.


Ah yeah, and he liked lizards and frogs, too.


And it took a further two seconds to find an eminent scientist who works cooking into his lectures.

michael brenner

In an article titled Ten Things You Need to Know About Stephen Hawking, the Mirror felt that four of those things should be about his upbringing, his family, his children and his hobbies.


These things are not buried in some deep, dirty, secret part of the internet that is almost impossible to access. It would have taken Jezebel ten minutes to find out that articles and obituaries that refer to male scientists are just as likely to talk about their family, their spouses, their children, their hobbies.

So what is the source of feminist bitterness about women, incredibly intelligent, accomplished, brilliant women who are capable not only of building propulsions systems that keep satellites in orbit, but ALSO of making beef stroganoff, being great moms and loving wives?


Personally, I think it’s the order of priorities that pisses feminists off. The feminist ideal is this:

More me
My cat
More me
Book club
Pissing and moaning
How much will I get if I divorce him now?
Should I fuck the new intern? He’s kind of hot.
I hope that asshole doesn’t think I’m making dinner tonight
Shit, I chipped my manicure
Should I get a venti or a grande?
My house
My kid
My husband

Women like Yvonne have an entirely different set of priorities:



In that order. You would be hard-pressed to find a lady smarter than Yvonne, and she put that intelligence to work in BOTH caring for her family and designing rocket propulsion systems. Because you see, you CAN do both. But not at the same time. The simple reality of women’s lives is that we are on a time line that has built-in constraints, and if we want children, we need to have a completely different set of priorities than men.

Oh, and we need men, too. And that’s the real burn. Fish DO need bicycles, and those bicycles aren’t free. Why should they be? It comes down to realizing that women and men are not identical, and in feminist theory, that means we are not equal. According to feminism, the only way women can be equal to men is to meet them head on, achievement for achievement, and to deny, in the face of all evidence, that there are real, measurable differences in terms of what we can accomplish.

Rather than embrace a woman’s special genius, feminism denies femininity altogether. A rocket scientist who was also a mother, wife and excellent home cook? Only one of those things is worth mentioning. By denying that even the smartest women on the planet are still women, feminism inadvertently (or perhaps consciously and deliberately) hates women.

Why would I embrace a theory that hates who I am? Why would any woman? Loving your husband, taking care of your children and making a terrific stroganoff are not things to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Nonsense. They are the very things that make us happy.

All of us.

It’s not rocket science.

Lots of love,


Valentine’s Day is bullshit. Except for chocolates. I’ll take those.

11 Feb


So the mathematical wizards over at Jezebel have worked out a formula that determines how much money one has to spend on Valentine’s Day to ensure sex with a paramour happens. The ladies are not just handy with numbers, people, they are wordsmiths, too. Sex is described as “going to Poundtown”. How romantic.


This comes in the form of dinner and presents and presumably one should bring either a calculator or the receipts in order to determine if the correct amount of cash has been outlaid to secure sex.


And needless to say, this is the MAN buying sex from a WOMAN. Split the bill on VDay?!? Surely you jest. That’s not the kind of equality women are interested in. No, sir. On VDay, dudes spend their money and ladies spread their legs.

We should just start calling it Vagina Day and be done with it.

I’ve never been one to get overly excited about Valentine’s Day and not because I’m a cynical bitch who is too clever to fall for a commercial holiday crafted by chocolate makers, florists and greeting card companies. I think that’s a pretty stupid objection, actually. St, Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, hell even Christmas and Easter are pretty much just straight up commercial holidays, and who cares?

They’re fun!

No, my principal lack of interest in Valentine’s Day stems from the fact that to me, it feels like a children’s holiday. Cinnamon hearts and pink cupcakes and exchanging Valentine’s at school and making hearts out of doilies and red and pink construction paper. It’s lovely and fun and sweet and poignant, but it just seems like something CHILDREN do.


In our house, I’m not the one who gets in to Valentine’s Day.


I’ve already told you the story of how I came to be in possession of a diamond engagement ring, but I also happen to be the owner of several other pieces of jewellery, all gifts from Mr. JB.

pearl diving

True story: When Mr. JB was a young man, working in Japan, he went on a tour of the famous Miki Moto Pearl Diving Facility and watched the divers harvest pearls and ate oysters and had romantic thoughts about the wife he had yet to meet. He wanted her to have pearl earrings to wear on her wedding day, so he purchased two matching, glossy pearls and set them aside for his one-day bride.


We met in August, and by February, we both knew that we had found our life partners. So for our first Valentine’s Day, he had those pearls set and I found them under my pillow in the morning. Under his pillow, actually. We spent the night in his room. On a single bed. Christ, we must have been in love!

single bed

I did not wear them until our wedding day. I’m not good at keeping track of my things, so I gave the pearls back to him for safe-keeping, and I’ve only worn them a handful of times since. The thought of losing them makes me feel ill, so they live in my jewellery box, safe and sound.

At one point, Mr. JB ended up with Dr.K in Thailand, and he purchased a beautiful blue sapphire for this bride he had yet to meet, so she could wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. I found the sapphire under my pillow on our second Valentine’s Day together.


So much for the idea that men don’t spend any time thinking about their wedding day. The amount of minutes I have dedicated in my entire life to pondering my nuptials: ZERO. Never gave it a thought. I thought about being married, but the wedding didn’t capture my imagination at all.

Valentine’s Day just seems to bring out the poet in Mr. JB, and not the one that writes limericks.

And I suppose that’s how I feel about Valentine’s Day, in general. If it’s a day you genuinely enjoy, that feels romantic, feels like a celebration of love, then by all means, carry on and have fun. Caveat: the person who cares about the day should foot the bill for it.


But if it’s just a cynical, opportunistic and narcissistic way to cast yourself as the Princess in your own fairytale, then I’m not so much into it. If you’re going to be a sulky cow and insist that your boyfriend/husband ruck up that $218 dollars, you’re not celebrating love, you’re celebrating prostitution.

And hey, why not? Go for it.


Nothing wrong with a little VDay prostitution, but don’t pretend it’s about love, unless by love, you mean “$218”.


As always, I will find a thoughtful, lovely present under my pillow on February 14th and a romantic card with a handwritten sentiment. And in exchange, I will give Mr. JB his favorite present. The one money can’t buy.

Oh wait. Scratch that. Money can buy it. From this gorgeous lady, for one.


But Mr.JB prefers to get his at home.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lots of love,


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