Infamous "cheater" website Ashley Madison has been hacked. The website, marketing itself to those searching for intimate hook-ups outside their primary relationship, offer the tag line "Life's too short; Have an affair." They have their share of haters and as a monogamous woman, I'd count myself in that camp. You think I'd be laughing my ass off then that a group calling themselves "The Impact Team" claims they've gained entry into Ashley Madison's underwear as it were. The group says they now possess personal information stolen from the site's main database the likes of which could potentially ruin the lives of some "cheaters" and "adulterers." Many are cheering, saying the cheaters have it coming because turnabout is fair play, payback is a bitch, all that. But it's not that simple, and ultimately, the hacking of Ashley Madison will do more harm than good. Plus, it's illegal and wrong for about 37 million reasons - the same number of people Ashley Madison claim are enrolled to use their services.
So put down ye torches, angry villagers!
I know people have been hurt by affairs - hurt badly. I am not a person who would tolerate any outside intimacy or sexual activity well. I wake up after dreams wherein I only imagine my partner has been unfaithful and I start planning exactly how I'll commit arson on his property. Should I slash his tires or cut his brake lines before or after I scrub his toothbrush in the crack of my ass? My heart would be broken into a million pieces if he went outside our relationship and that's me only thinking about it. To be blunt, if I knew he participated at Ashley Madison I would lose my collective shit. I may defile his toothbrush after just writing this, that's how strongly I disapprove.
If you've been on the crappy receiving end of an affair then I imagine you know exactly - and better - the hurt I can only envision. Living this pain and being forced to confront it publicly would only add to the hurt and do nothing to salve it. Sure; cheaters may be outed, but at what cost to their families and employers? It's a prime example of shit running downhill - no one wins.
Before we meet in the village square for a good old-timey mob formation, we need to ask ourselves a few questions, the least among them why we are so invested in other peoples' sex lives. Frankly, I don't need your protection. I know what I like and what I don't and what I will accept and what I cannot and this was all formulated through years of being felt up in cars as a teen to finally feeling close enough to someone to discuss deeper things like preferences and fantasies. If memory serves, judgment over who does what with whom can be a slippery slope and my personal motto is do what you want with your underpants parts until it concerns my own crushed bits directly.
We gain nothing by knowing who signed up for services at Ashley Madison. If you have concerns that your spouse or partner may be a member, that is your business and can be dealt with as you see fit. This is a conversation you have the right to conduct privately, you being the cheater or the cheat-ee - except in the case of hackers disclosing private personal information like membership rosters, credit card information, personal photographs, and sexual preferences, you are not going to have the benefit of handling it privately. You're thrown to the wolves with your partner and you're in the spotlight. Why did your partner stray? Are you frigid? You don't satisfy them? It's on you now and you did nothing, Suddenly this is your problem.
Ashley Madison is a strange sort of victim because few will defend their business model, myself included. Again, my "go to" methodology upon the discovery of an affair would involve matches and a pair of scissors and lots of pants crotch-cutting. Ashley Madison said they would delete profiles from their database for a $19 fee and they did not. We don't know what brought people to that place. We don't know. Some are there no doubt with "permission" from a spouse or partner. Many were there with duplicity. But it doesn't matter. If it does matter to you, ask yourself why. Keep asking until you hit truth. Because I can't imagine why you care so much what other people are doing with their sex lives.
Hacking of personal information is illegal and a form of digital terrorism. What we think of Ashley Madison as a construct is of no matter in this case because having an affair is not illegal. It's not even a grounds for divorce in Canada, because the courts now recognize no-fault divorce. You can hate it, despise the concept, disagree vehemently with the idea of sneaking around on an unsuspecting partner and still hold the idea that what The Impact Team is doing is not okay. Apply the formula to other potentially controversial and private matters like health clinics who perform abortions or offer STD testing. We can be morally superior and actively root for the downfall of men and women who seek intimate or sexual relationships outside the bounds of their primary couplings because the fact is we don't know why they are doing so, and more than we are owed an explanation as to why some people choose abortion or require specific medical testing.
In short - if a person is fucking someone who is not you, and you are also not their regular partner, then this sex with another consenting adult is not your concern.
When we conflate morality and sexuality - and then throw in some illegal hacking activity with added privacy invasion sprinkles - we aren't just walking backwards in society, we are running.
RELATED: Can You Affair-Proof Your Marriage?
Tons of kids are fussy eaters - I've been dining with them since I was a child myself. There have been more tears shed over dinner tables in this land than over the last episode of M*A*S*H and that was a serious heartbreaker.
I gave birth to a couple of these fusspots myself, and I know many parents can commiserate with my dinner time feeding woes. But I’ve given up fighting because it was turning relaxed mealtimes into stressful encounters, and now all of my energy is expended by preparing meals which meet some pretty specific and very pointed culinary preferences. You know those kids who won’t eat a food if it touches another food, or who refuse to try something that grew roots at one point in its life cycle? My kids are nothing like that. They’re worse.
You may be nodding, saying, "Yep; I get it," but I'm not sure if you fully comprehend the severity of our mealtime woes, because my problem may not be quite what you’re expecting.
When the thick department store catalogue arrives each holiday season, most kids turn to the back where the toy pages are. My kids go to the kitchen section and start arguing over who’s asking Santa for the pasta roller and which one of them deserves the Henkel knives. We rarely participate in hot lunch days at school, because the basic order form for “Pizza Day” didn’t include artisan crust, smoked duck, or black olive options. It’s like our school hates kids.
You see then, these kids are serious about their food.
I don’t encourage it. I have remarkably few preferences myself – primarily I require that food arrive hot, and (preferably) dead. I’d be happy – delighted even – to prepare hotdogs or chicken fingers once or twice a week. I could use the break because I'm not a person who enjoys cooking. But these kids are still small and they love junk food as much and maybe more than the next person, but they take it up a notch when it comes to quality. My daughter could pick a Lindt from a line-up of Cadbury with her tongue tied behind her back, and when my son was taken out for “treat” lunch with a friend and his mother, he wouldn’t touch the pogo stick or French fries. When my friend was certain he was pulling her leg when he requested salmon and salad, she (understandably) refused. He then proceeded to everyone’s soggy tomato and romaine garnishes.
During the school year their teachers request that snacks come primarily from the fruit, vegetable, or protein food groups. This helps people avoid some popular allergens and also encourages kids to eat a healthier mini-meal twice a day. My son was almost granted an exception to that rule when he insisted on bringing tuna with roast garlic olive oil marinated tomatoes for his snack every day. His kindergarten classroom may have smelled like an Italian restaurant, but those kids were safe from vampires.
At any given time my refrigerator holds cold poached salmon, pickled white asparagus, and 6 year-old cheddar. None of it is mine. My daughter pores over imported food brochures from the European deli like other girls admire “Teen Vogue” magazine, and my son requested a Crème Brule torch for his fifth birthday. I blame it on their Italian heritage because their Nonna can create a Cordon Bleu worthy meal using nothing more than salt and pepper and an ancient pan she brought to the new country. She’s spoiled their taste buds with amazing fresh food - all in the name of "love" - and now I’m the one who’s paying for it. While I was attempting to dull their gustatory senses with tasteless canned vegetables and rubbery frozen waffles, she was undoing all my hard work with salads so fresh the rain still clung to them.
A few nights ago I put what I thought was nice pork roast on the table. My daughter took a bite and did all she could not to gag on it.
“What did you marinate this in? It’s horrible!” she asked.
“What? Nothing. I just cooked it in a bit of apple cider in the crock pot.”
“Apple cider? A CROCK POT?” she scoffed. “This thing…” she poked it with her fork…”this thing deserves a nice blueberry port glaze.” She shook her head. "Nonna would never feed us this."
“Yeah, and would it have killed you to give it a toasted pistachio crust?” my son added, heaping injury upon already bruised culinary ego.
I apologized and offered to make them some macaroni and cheese.
“Fine,” they conceded. “But could you at least add extra parmesan-reggiano like Nonna does?”
If you need me, I'll be crying in the imported cheese aisle.
Get your comfy “line standing shoes” polished and dust off that one man pup-tent! Pack a lunch and a soup can to pee in, because Charlie Brown the movie is coming to the big screen and there is gonna be a line-up for tickets the likes of which you won’t believe! This thing is will put the new Star Wars movie upcoming pre-sale to shame and I…I can’t do this.
The new Charlie Brown movie is all over the news right now and people are pumped. Not me. I was feeling pretty good the day I heard the news – maybe too good, in fact – and some deity somewhere in charge of my personal well-being decided I needed to be taken down a peg or two on the happiness ladder. Since nothing brings me down faster than a Charlie Brown Christmas Special it seems a full-length cinematic feature was called for to pop my happiness bubble.
Am I overplaying the sadness and despair of Charlie Brown special?
No; no friends. I am not:
It's just as depressing as I remembered.
My cousins and I watched it every year as children, trapped in my Grandmother’s small front room with a kitchen towel wedged in the door frame to prevent escape. I have no idea what possessed adults in charge of our well-being to inflict this torture on their offspring, other than maybe payback for horrific 36 hour labours and their stolen youth.
I hope he gets a “Hair Club” membership for Christmas
Even as a child I thought Charlie Brown television specials were likely the most depressing children’s programming to exist. To be fair, Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965, and while this was long before the concept of self-esteem for children was part of the parenting “toolbox,” I still think someone at the originating network was a kid-hater. Five minutes into my YouTube revival and the Peanuts kids had already called each other “stupid,” “hopeless,” and “dumb.” I’m pretty confident “asshole” and “douche-bag” sit reluctantly on the cutting room floor, due only to FCC interference.
I've read several of the articles outlining the upcoming movie and it appears creator Charles Schultz’s son and grandson will have heavy involvement with the production, which sounds like a lot of work until you remember that Charlie Brown consists mostly of depressing tuba music and sad, parentless children navigating a barren, water-coloured landscape.
Hopefully the new movie will explain some unanswered questions about the Peanuts gang. For starters, why do so many children on the block have only four greasy hairs on their head? Was having the hair of a retired plumbing parts salesman normal for the children of this era? Is there an unseen biohazard dumping area off-screen? Should someone call cartoon Erin Brockovich?
While my kids will likely want to see the movie, I think I'll send them solo while I do participate in something decidedly less sad - maybe knitting hats for orphaned kittens.