Heartbeats


It seems too easy to point out the irony of a legislature so tone-deaf to the needs of their state -- refusing to hear the cries that are so much more important than protecting the unborn, like instead helping those who are here now -- trying to force women to hear a heartbeat.

And yet here we are, sonograms and all, and I'm thinking of all the heartbeats that, living in this state, I already must hear.

Zekarius is one of them.  His heart beats strong, but I hope he is stronger.  He lives in the housing project across the street from my house and comes over to see my dog, who he calls Charlie Brown.  He rides a borrowed bicycle and gets free lemonade at a nearby church on Sundays.  He usually has another little boy in tow.  I'm not sure of the other one's name but he can't be more than five years old and has never said a word other than "Charlie" in my presence.  The little one has a gaping smile that reveals only four silver teeth.  I'm not sure if the others haven't grown in yet or if the money just isn't there to put the other ones in. 

One day there was a knock at my door and a crew of neighborhood boys stood on my porch.  "Miss, do you have a Band-Aid?" one asked as he pointed into the street at Zekarius, who was standing in a daze on the sidewalk in a puddle of water.  I squinted at him and realized he wasn't standing in water but blood, dripping from a hole in his hand.  

This was not something a Band Aid could fix. 

I asked Zekarius where his mom was.  At home.  It was my first trip into the housing projects and as I walked Zekarius along the sidewalks that wound around the buildings, I noticed that no one seemed to look twice at a bleeding, stunned little boy.  

We got to Zekarius's house and he pushed open the screen door.  It became clear why Zekarius liked to come sit on my porch.  His home was a cinderblock room, where at least seven other kids sat on the floor watching TV.  I stood in the doorway, unsure of what to do, until his mom, not much older than me, came around the corner carrying a baby.  

I mumbled something about Zekarius's hand, over which he held a rag I gave him that was already soaked in blood.  I told her the story they had told me: he had fallen and a metal rod had gone through it, and that she should take him to the doctor.  His mom thanked me and I walked away.  

Zekarius was back in an hour, still bleeding, still looking for a Band Aid.  I tried to clean it, but it wouldn't stop bleeding.  I called my mom, and my sister who is a doctor.   I told Zekarius he needed to go back home and have his mom take him to the hospital.  He left.  In a fury, I called CPS.  I hung up.  I heard my heart pounding in my head and I sat on my couch and cried and cursed at people who believe in life but not in the living.
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Any questions?

I'm (still) sick.  My apologies.  There's not a lot of time to write when you go to work at 7 AM and go to sleep at 7 PM.  In the meantime, this paragraph from Gunabee pretty much sums up my sentiments on the Texas sonogram "emergency legislation":
So let us get this straight: The government should keep its hands off my money, but put it all over my uterus. We want all the poor babies to be born, regardless of whether or not their parents are able to care for them, and whether or not there are any people wanting to adopt them. But when those babies grow up and end up in the prison system, (that, incidentally, makes the government and big business a whole lot of money), we have no problem pressing the button on them in the electric chair. Got it.
Applause.
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On Whips, Spurs and Groupon's Super Bowl Ad

Back in my horse days, when we first opened our new stable's doors to the public, we had the idea to host a riding clinic: a one-day event where a notable "celebrity" riding instructor could be flown in to give lessons.  The idea was that riders from other stables in the area could come check out the new stable in town as well as get some professional advice from someone whose experience they might not otherwise get to tap.

The professional we chose was a grizzled, well-respected trainer from Virginia named Pam who was short, loud and weathered.  In other words, she was downright terrifying.  At one point during the day, one of the nine year-old girls was cantering around a course of jumps and her horse was going painfully slowly.  "Do you have a crop?" Pam shouted at the girl, referring to the small whip that riders sometimes carry along with spurs to coax their horses to move forward.

"Yes!" The little girl shouted as her horse poked along at a comfortable lope.

"Well, why don't you use it!" Pam retorted.  The girl's face turned sadly toward Pam as her horse broke into a trot.

"I left it back at the barn!"

"Well," Pam shouted back, turning her eye to the next rider, "I'm sure it's making the barn go faster!"

***

I don't own a TV but I do have an interest in brand sentiment, so during last night's Super Bowl I tried to see which ads generated most talk on Twitter -- both positive and negative -- and watched those ones first on YouTube.  Groupon was one of the first ones I watched and, at first blush, I had to agree with the negative reaction:  out of touch with today's bleeding hearts and poorly timed given recent world events in Egypt making people highly in tune to government turmoil.  Missed it?  Watch it below:



It didn't dawn on me until this morning that before he was Groupon, CEO Andrew Mason was the initial founder of The Point, a group-action platform that Groupon was initially based on.

The Point first came onto my radar in 2008 at Netroots Nation in Austin when I stopped by their booth.  They were giving out super-soft American Apparel t-shirts (that I still wear).  Their whole vibe was earthy, well-intentioned and philanthropical:  get together a bunch of people who believe in a cause, have them pledge money toward it and when the group tips over "the point," the money gets charged to everyones' credit cards.  

So even though Mason has got to be rolling in it, I've always had a pretty good attitude toward Groupon.  How was it, then, that I tossed all of that out the end zone last night and stewed about how insensitive their company must be to run that Tibet ad?  Mason issued a statement this afternoon explaining that Groupon ran the ads in order to benefit their "highlighted causes" on their other site, SaveTheMoney.org, hoping people will donate the money they save using Groupon.  Groupon (or is it Save The Money?  Unclear.) is also matching donations.

The ad does end with "Save The Money" dropping down on the screen, but there's no dot-com after the phrase or indication of the fact that Timothy Hutton just downed some fish curry and donated to a good cause.

***

So...what's the correlation between whips and Groupon?  The point is that it's fantastic that Groupon built these ads around philanthropic causes -- they just forgot their message back at the barn.  Save The Money certainly didn't translate into those ads and if their mea culpa was planned for the day after, then they're going way too slowly to save face in the way we live, spend and give now: real-time.

Giddy-up.

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Flu the Coop

Sorry for the lack of, um, blogs on this blog but I've been sick with the flu.  You probably already knew that though.

Hope to be back soon with some content.  In the meantime, here are some videos I distracted myself with once my fever went down.

Johanna Blakley's TEDWomen talk "Social Media and the End of Gender."



The Daily Show: Texas Speaker's Race
John Oliver asked "How Jewish is Too Jewish for Texas?"  Evidently he asked Rep. Elliott Naishtat but didn't bother with putting in his response.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jewish Speaker of Texas State House
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook


Bill O'Reilly Interviews President Obama 
They talk about Egypt, Obamacare and a tie-less Obama says cooly, "I know football, man." I loved every second of it.



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