Saturday, September 27, 2014

Of "Once Upon a Time" and "Frozen": Where Should They Go From Here?

**UPDATE AT THE END OF THE PAGE**

Earlier today, I made on a comment on Facebook about the upcoming Season 5 premiere of ABC's "Once Upon a Time," a show my family is utterly addicted to. It got me thinking...where could OUAT go after Anna and Elsa are gone? What storyline is left unfinished? What mysteries have yet to be solved?

If you couldn't already tell, I wholeheartedly love the show and am eagerly awaiting the premiere. It feels like this hiatus has taken forever...


...but I am somewhat disappointed that they chose to do "Frozen" at this time and I hope it doesn't take up the entire season. 


What would I like to see happen instead? Need you even ask?

After seeing Lancelot in previous episodes...


...and being a huge Arthurian fan, I have been hoping that the next new world we see in "Once" is Avalon: learning about the fall of Camelot and how Lancelot ended up being one of the Enchanted Forest's last defenders. 


Not to mention the mystery surrounding the Lady of the Lake.


Who is she? What happened to her after the curse destroyed the lake? 

And wouldn't she naturally blame a certain someone for it?


Morgan le Fay would be an excellent foil for Regina (and it's certainly possible that the Lady is Morgan.) Or perhaps a better rival could be found in the infamous Madam Mim from Disney's version of "The Sword in the Stone." 


I've brought this up in other forums only  to be told that the SITS is "just not a popular Disney film." Well, neither was "Robin Hood," and we have Robin & Marian anyway. But I digress. 

Let's say the show abandons the loose threads Lancelot left in his wake...for now. Would it be too much to ask for one of the live-action films in Disney's vault to make an appearance? "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," which also centers around a powerful sorceress and a magic book, would be a great addition. 


I have often wondered what happened to the bedknob-holding child in that story...as he still has magic he never renounced entirely at the end of the film. Perhaps the bedknob is in Rumple's vault of powerful magic...and its owner wants it back?


Exploring a "Bedknobs & Broomsticks" storyline would also give the series a chance to bring back a fan favorite: Ariel. 


We know (thanks to the Wicked Witch's confession to Hook in the last season) that Ariel finds her Prince on an island untouched by the curse. Could it be the Isle of Namboombu? Is that perhaps where her friends like Flounder and Sebastian are from? 


And there's even a dangerous magic afoot in that film...an object that either could be or should be in Rumple's vault. An object that completes the awesome spell of Substitiary Locomotion: 


It has potential, no doubt about it. And while I'd certainly love to see that story arch develop, I am first and foremost an Arthurian fanatic...and thus I want to see SITS make a Storybrooke appearance above all else.

We've seen Lancelot, and been given some tantalizing clues that beg to be resolved (his assertion that his downfall was due to the love of a barren woman; when asked if he was a Knight of the Round Table he answered, "Not anymore.") And this is a show that loves foreshadowing...leaving those threads loose seems atypical of this program.

But as much as I love Lance, and want to see his story unfold...I love Merlin more. So where is the most famous wizard of all time? How would he fit in to the "Once" world?


Merlin is known for prophecy. Perhaps HE wrote Henry's book? 


That fifth book does look awfully familiar...


The book and its origins are already one of the fans' favorite mysteries. It's spawned many fan theories, such as this very popular one:


That would be very much in keeping with Belle's personality. It would give her a chance to be a heroine in her own right, separate from Rumple, and would give her job as Storybrooke's librarian a much-needed purpose.


Belle is, after all, known for her love of books and her formidable research skills. 


It's difficult to believe that she would take over the boarded-up collection and yet never yearn to find the answer to the question staring her in the face: "Why was the library closed for so many long years...and what happened to the former librarian?"

Could he be...


And beyond the mysteries of the book and the library, what else could Merlin have up his famous blue sleeves? 

Perhaps Merlin sent the former Dark One to Rumple...his replacement? 


We even have an idea of what Merlin would look like in Storybrooke...


...and is it just me, or does he look like the kind of man who might draw one particular woman's eye? 


Not that she'd make it easy on him...


Madam Mim could fit in here quite nicely: as a rival for Merlin's heart. My money's on Granny. Mim may be a powerful sorceress who can turn herself into a young, purple-haired beauty...but Granny was a changeling herself, and in a fight a giant wolf beats a Suicide Girl any day. 


But substitute Mim for the Lady of the Lake? That one just might give Granny a run for her money! 

Disney's "Sword in the Stone" was primarily based on the T.H. White classic, "The Once and Future King." I hope that if a Merlin DOES in fact make a visit to the "OUAT" world, that the writers make use of an interesting aspect of that version of Merlin: he's traveling backwards in time. 

While his living-in-the-opposite-linear-fashion is always good for a much-needed comedic break...in this case, it could also be a major plot device. After all, SOMEBODY wrote Henry's Book of Happy Endings. Endings that even a powerful curse from the Evil Queen or her Wicked Witch of a sister could not re-write.

It's almost as if someone knows exactly how all of this would end...in the future...

And finally, we come back yet again to Lancelot. A hero whose heart is broken, and whose heart needs to learn to love again. 

That is the central, recurring theme of OUAT, and I cannot believe for one minute that Lancelot would be the one character for whom true love doesn't provide a much-needed cure. 

Maybe he could find someone to rescue? Someone who, in turn, could rescue him? But who still needs rescuing at this point in the series...?


Come on, writers & producers for OUAT. Make this happen. It's high time we had a little more Camelot in our Storybrooke! 

**UPDATE**

Today's Season 5 premiere was interesting. They show Rumple and Belle on their honeymoon in a beautiful manor house...whose owner is unknown. "No one as yet has claimed it," according to Belle. 

We quickly forget about this mystery because OMG THEY ARE WEARING THE OUTFITS AND DANCING TO "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!" 


The main room of this most unusual Honeymoon Suite is round and full of books, which Belle naturally sees as a "perfect setting." 

However, Rumple is immediately suspicious, referring to the as-yet-unknown owner as having "interesting taste." He seems to be drawn to a certain interesting box. When Rumple uses his infamous dagger of magic on it, he finds....a long light blue Wizard's hat.

Now, whose could that possibly be? 


Also of note: the narrator makes a point of telling us that Rumple is "the greatest bearer of dark magic in any world." 

Leaving us to wonder just who is the greatest LIGHT magic bearer.


And what is Regina doing during all this? Trying to find out who wrote Henry's book. She sees the book as "immutable," and thinks a trip to the past will circumvent Maid Marion's happy ending. She's got a newly-imprisoned Sidney on the case, and at some point she will likely contact Storybrooke's resident bibliophile: Belle. 

As for Anna? She's trying to find out what happened to her and Elsa's parents...who vanished on a body of water while searching for a magic land called Misthaven. She then takes a ship (perhaps the Jolly Roger that Hook sold last season in order to save Emma?) in search of the answers. 

A land in the mists...now where have I heard that before....?


Storybrooke may be frozen...but Avalon could save the day! 

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Hi! I'm Officer [Illegible] of the Ferguson PD

I was reading an article* today about the Ferguson police. Apparently, quite a few members of the force have taken to wearing "I am Darren Wilson" bracelets (similar to signs used by Wilson's supporters at protests) on their uniforms in support of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The Justice Department has ordered them to stop doing so, as it is "exacerbating an already tense atmosphere between law enforcement and residents of Ferguson, Missouri." 
I agree that wearing these bracelets is a bad idea that will only contribute to the high level of distrust of the Ferguson police and to the overall negative view that many have of that particular police department. In turn, this is also extremely likely to make it even more difficult for these officers to do their job. And it will also mean that victims or witnesses of crimes will be less likely to report it and/or cooperate with a police force that they don't trust and that doesn't trust them.
Not to mention the implied breach of command structure and lack of unity in the department this situation makes, as the act of wearing these bracelets while in uniform sends the message that although their chief of police has apologized**, these officers don't support said apology. At the very least, it undermines Chief Thomas Jackson's promise that "all those things that are causing mistrust are being evaluated and we are going to be making changes." By wearing these bracelets these officers are saying, "We are not sorry. We did nothing wrong. We will not change."
I don't know why these officers have decided that sporting a piece of "I Am Spartucus!" type of jewelry is the correct approach here, but it's hard to imagine why they thought that this was in any way appropriate given the serious breakdown between the police and the citizens they are supposed to serve and protect. 
While reading the article, a single sentence jumped out at me and demanded my attention: 

"They [the Ferguson police] also need to wear legible name tags." 

The DOJ asserts that police in Ferguson need to wear legible name tags, identifying themselves to the general public. That seems reasonable. Beyond reasonable, really: it's just common sense. It's something that should be taken for granted in police departments throughout this country. But apparently that isn't the case in Ferguson, Missouri. 
The DOJ's directive raised a number of questions. The first being: they need to be told this? It isn't just a routine part of the required uniform? Or is it not so much a requirement across the board as it is a policy that is left up to various departments to decide whether or not to implement? If so, who makes these decisions and why have they decided that the same sort of visible identification that is essential in order to sell a Big Mac isn't a priority for the men and women whose job it is to enforce the law? 
I don't think I have ever seen a uniformed cop without a name tag. And they have always been machine-printed and thus easy to read. They are not unlike the ones I wore as a bartender at an international airport. So what are these officers doing that makes their name tags "illegible" and/or are they just not wearing them at all? 


Obviously, more information is needed than was offered in this one article. Information that the DOJ has and which led them to instruct the men and women in blue of Ferguson to rectify this situation. 
So in essence, if you were pulled over yesterday in Ferguson there was a good chance that the only name displayed on the officer's uniform is not the name of the person asking for your identification...but that of a man accused of executing an unarmed teenager. 
Contributing to the dissension, indeed.
I remember speaking to an officer years ago who told me that he was required to have business cards on him at all times...and had to pay for them himself from the not-exactly-huge paychecks he earned as a beat cop. I was surprised, because I was a bar manager at an airport at the time and my name tags, ID & cards were provided for me. Can we not do the same for our police officers, who surely need visible & reliable identification more than a person pouring beer for business travelers? 
One of the reasons this name tag issue jumped out at me: I often counsel people who are new to the unpleasant world of being stalked to ask for an officer's business card each & every time they have to call. You then write the date/time on the back, save them, and take them to court. It helps you remember when and where the incident took place, and judges can then call the officer or even just take the card as evidence that the police were involved. If the officer doesn't have cards, or has run out, I advise them to jot down the officer's name (and ideally their badge number as well) and add it to their incident report (a log kept by stalking/abuse victims for use in court.) 
I have never had anyone tell me that the officer did not identify themselves and either didn't have a card or refused to give one, in the 20 years I have helped fellow stalking victims. Again I ask...is this a thing?!? 

And if it is...I get the feeling it might have more to do with corners being cut in police budgets than any desire at subterfuge. Perhaps this can be a catalyst to a much-needed nationwide discussion on said budget cuts? And further, on the need for trust and transparency between police and citizens?
Food for thought...



*Source:

**Source: 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nutbag Boss Fires a Woman For Getting Cancer

I read an article recently on Huffington Post and was outraged. The title: "A Woman Told Her Boss About a Devastating Cancer Diagnosis. He Responded By Firing a Her."*

The woman in question is named Carol Jumper had worked for an oral surgery center for the last 12 years...and was fired for being diagnosed with cancer (which is illegal under the ADA). To make matters worse, she was fired via a handwritten letter. She was not even given the courtesy of a face-to-face discussion of her condition. 

Her former employer, Dr. George Visnich, now believes himself to be a victim because that letter of dismissal has gone viral, with an understandably negative reaction. He claims she was always welcome to come back, but this is never said or even hinted at in letter to her.



What a contrast to my mother's employer, who did everything he could to help her work as long as possible after being diagnosed with breast cancer. This includes hiring extra help and allowing her to work from home. During her final hospital stay, her co-workers brought food for her family to the hospital and were just an amazing source of support. Her pallbearers were co-workers, right beside her son (her employer would have done so, but had a recent quadruple bypass.) They closed the office for the day so they could all attend the funeral. They have my everlasting appreciation and admiration. 

People like this nutbag oral surgeon are the reason why so many people with disabilities and illnesses are afraid to wheel out of the handicapped stall (our version of coming out of the closet.) It's an all too common topic in support groups, websites, workshops and publications for people with disabilities. 

I know this fear firsthand: I worked for years after my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis. I never disclosed to any employer or supervisor that I had MS. As I gradually got sicker, I found tricks & made excuses to keep my employers and co-workers from discovering my secret. Even after a terrible bout with  pneumonia and a series of accidents (including burns and dislocating my thumb), I kept mum. Only when my daughter's physical therapist told me my child required more attention than a day care could be reasonably expected to provide did I finally leave the job market. In my letter of resignation, no mention of my illness was ever made. 

I understand completely the fear that should your medical condition be made known, your job will disappear. At the time, being let go (or given "busy work" out of sympathy) was frightening and repulsive to me. I was certain they would treat me differently, and not in a positive way. I was very much afraid of being Too Sick To Employ. So are millions of my disabled brethren, hiding in our disabled stalls, unsure of what the impact would be if we dared wheel out. And as we see in this case, this fear is all too reasonable. 

"But that's illegal! What about the ADA?" you say. 

Well, you're right: it would have been illegal to fire me based on my disability. It was most definitely illegal for Dr. Nutbag to fire his cancer-fighting employee. Unfortunately, it happens with alarming frequency. [STATS] 

The difference between those many cases and this one, is thus: most employers will NEVER tell you that your disease is why they are firing you/laying you off. They will find another excuse. And in states with at-will employment?They do not even have to go to the trouble of making the excuse in order to show you the door. 

"But you can sue!" 

Yes...if you have the money to do so. And what with medical bills and now no job, good luck finding someone who can afford it. The sad fact is that many, many disabled and temporarily ill persons cannot afford to not work. They certainly can't afford a lawyer to boot.

"But does this particular woman have a case?"

Absolutely. But only because the nutbag boss in question not only fired her for her diagnosis, but put it in writing. In his own hand. On his professional letterhead. His lawyer probably had a full-blown conniption over it. I'm talking a hire-an-exorcist-the-demons-of-dumbassery-have-clearly-taken-up-residence-in-this-doctor's-hand type conniption. 

For almost everyone else, suing under the ADA for being fired due to illness or disability becomes your word against your employer's. 

Dr. Nutbag contends that he fired Ms. Jumper in order to make it "easier" to apply for some sort of government assistance. The problem with that excuse is twofold:

What was she expected to live on in the (on average) three to six months before her case was approved (and that's just assuming it will be, which is not a safe assumption to make here.) 

2) When did Ms. Jumper ever ASK to be fired for this sort of "help"? Dr. Nutbag never had the decency to inquire as to what her plans were or, heaven forfend, what his office could do to help. 

I personally rate this "I fired her for her own good" excuse on the Bullshit Meter as being somewhere between "I thought I fed the meter" and "I had no idea that oral foreplay was considered sex, my bad." 



Is it unreasonable for medical professionals to understand the particulars of the ADA?** Does Dr. Nutbag not have an office manager who would be reasonably aware of the guidelines? Or an attorney he could call to bounce off the whole "she's got cancer can I give her the boot" idea? For crying out loud, a simple Google search would have shown this man that people with cancer (or a history of it) are protected from employment discrimination by federal law! 

Everything Dr. Nutbag did in this situaton shows his true colors so clearly even Cyndi Lauper could not improve upon it. He had zero regard for Ms. Jumper's condition or her needs. There were no flowers sent, no card passed around the office for co-workers to sign, no offers of help, not the courtesy of a phone call or even a Facebook status. How she felt and what she needed never crossed this man's tiny mind. His only thought when told an employee of twelve years was now fighting cancer was, "Cancer? Nope, can't work here anymore. Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you!" 

Not only that...he believes HE is the victim here because someone had the nerve to expose his shocking lack of empathy, his painful lack of understanding about the law, and his total absence of human decency to the world. 

And this man is a doctor. 

Ms. Jumper, you are in my thoughts and prayers. You deserved better. I am sorry you didn't get it from your employer. I sincerely hope you do get what you deserve: justice in a court of law, and a clean bill of health from a doctor who is far more compassionate and competent than your former employer. 

Ms. Jumper's friends have set up a Facebook group to support her. It's called "Bumper's Buddies," and the people there are just wonderful. I for one am glad to see that although her boss is not at all supportive during her fight with cancer, her friends and even complete strangers from around the country are. 

May G-d bless her and her family. 


---Angel 



**For more information on the Americans With Disabilities Act, please see the EEOC's website at: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm  or the Department of Labor's Myths and Facts About the ADA at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/ada.htm




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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Original "Problem Child"



Disclaimer: This post is about theology, about religion, about questions human beings have been asking for centuries and centuries. If you are uncomfortable with the subject, do not read any further. This post examines my beliefs. I respect differing opinions and ask kindly that mine be respected in turn.*

The other day on Facebook, a friend I will call "Ethan" had a question, something he had been confused by for some time. While I do not often discuss religion publicly, I felt compelled to make an exception for him. I have a great deal of respect for Ethan, and I knew his question came from his desire to understand his Christian friends better. So I answered it as best I could... 


ETHAN'S** QUERY: 

This is a question for my Christian friends:  If God knew that Lucifer (Satan) was going to convince Adam and Eve to sin (via the forbidden fruit), then why would he allow it to happen in the first place? He surely knew all the suffering that would be the result of that. Either God is omnipotent or he is not.


MY RESPONSE: 

I see G-d*** truly as a Heavenly Father, and I think I understand Him more now as a parent--and especially as a parent of adult children. I love my kids, but I have to let them make their own choices and their own mistakes. This is so incredibly difficult at times. You could swoop in and save them from themselves, but what does that teach them? We've all met people whose parents treated them this way even into adulthood...and none of us envy them. I have one such in my family: almost 40, her parents pay all her bills and bail her out of any trouble, no matter how small, and refuse to believe the cause of her problems is not that the rest of the world is "mean" to her! What will become of her when they are gone?

We also all know someone in our lives who is a "problem child," and we see their parents continue to support them and hope they will change, because they love their child. At the same time, they can't make the decisions for them. 

And we also all know someone who broke that final straw with their parents and were disowned. The parents are usually heartbroken over it...but they realize that A) at this point, the kid will not get better until or unless they hit rock bottom and B) you have to save yourself and your other kids from them. 

That is exactly what I think happened with Lucifer. G-d tried, gave him chances, wanted to believe he could get better. But in the end, like the parents of drug-addicted kids or kids with violent tendencies, He had to disown Lucifer for the good of the other heavenly denizens. I have no doubt it caused and continues to cause Him great pain and grief. But as any parent can tell you: parenting is not for the weak at heart. Sometimes, for their own good, you have to put your foot down. And when you do? You just hope those who love you will understand and show you the support and compassion you need.

And that's my two cents' worth. I hope that answered your question.





*For the record: I am a Christian and consider myself an adherent of the Native American Church (Big Moon.) 

**I have slightly altered the contents of "Ethan's" post in order to preserve his anonymity. The essence of the post remains the same. 

***Yes, there is a reason I spell "G-d" without the vowel. My husband is Jewish. In their belief system, it is a grave sin to erase or obliterate the name of G-d. This, they don't spell the word out completely to make erasing the full word impossible. Leaving out the vowel is therefore a sign of respect. Some time ago, I decided this made sense to me. Also, my husband admitted it made him feel uncomfortable when I would wrote it the "wrong" way. He insisted that I should do what I feel us right (and he would never have told me he felt that way...but I had asked, and he wasn't going to lie about it.) As I have no desire to disrespect either G-d or my husband, I now spell the word in line with the traditional Jewish tradition. I have yet to use it online, however, without bring accused of DISrespecting the Creator...thus, this footnote. 



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