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Archive for the 'Rankled' Category

For the Love of God, People, READ TO YOUR KIDS!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Reading stats over at Reach Out & Read and am saddened (but not shocked) to learn that Louisiana ranks last (as in #50) in % of children read to every day by their parents and (no doubt as a small result of that, among other factors, of course - mainly our shitty & dismal excuse for "education" in this state) we are ranked #49 in "% Students at or above Proficient in reading, Grade 4" and #50 in "% Children age 6-17 who have repeated at least one grade".

Damn.  That is sobering and depressing, eh?

In other words, Louisianian parents, please read to your goddamn kids! Please?

Reading and books were so important in my home.  My Mom always read to us, always had us excited about books and stories, took us to the library, etc.  She made the world of books magical - she loved reading so much (inherited from my grandfather) that it just came natural to her to immerse us in the wonderful, imaginative world of stories.

The result?  Three smart kids that - as adults - have a passion for books and one that became a writer (that would be me).

It isn't uncommon for us to give gift certificates to Amazon as birthday/Xmas gifts; we all read, all the time, and we love books.  If we read a really good one, we tell each other to check it out, loan books to one another, etc.  It's awesome, really.  I can't imagine a life without books - without words and stories and all of the neat worlds I've experienced and characters I've met through reading.  The love of books and reading is one of the most precious gifts our mother gave to us and I am forever thankful for it.

Please, parents, take some time away from your busy schedules to read to your kids - it's more important than you know and you will be opening up so many wonderful, creative worlds for them by doing so.  Read to your kids.  Both of you will benefit from it and you just can't beat that precious time spent together.

Abuse of Power

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I have a dear friend that lives his life inside the walls of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.  He is serving a life sentence for past transgressions, and I have been witness to his growth in the past 10+ years spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  He is not the hot-headed, rash, and foolish young man that walked through those gates so long ago.  Today, he is a refined, retrospective, and calm man who centers his life around his spiritual devotions and in helping others.

His job at the prison is that of head baker; a position he loves and has worked hard to not only maintain but to excel in.  He is a model inmate, causing no problems, and who does his work from 1am until, often, 4 or 5pm the following evening without complaint.  He takes great pride in making the best baked goods ever tasted inside prison walls, and - from the compliments he receives - he just may be accomplishing this.

In the many years that I have been his friend and outside-voice, I have seen numerous abuses of power.  It is simply the way of prison life.  Saying it is a different world when you walk into those gates is a bit of an understatement.  It is not anything like the world we exist in out here.  There have been many times I have had to go to bat for him, to stand up for him and decry the unwarranted reproofs he was being subjected to.

Don't get me wrong.  It is impossible to be an angel and survive in such an environment.  Sometimes punishments were warranted, and he "took his licks", as he says, with nary a reproach.  It was the times that they were not that I am writing about.

Burl Cain runs a tight ship and, as far as prisons goes, Angola is a model that others often attempt to emulate.  Yet even with the most stringent of rules and policies, bad apples fall from the woodwork, worming their way through infrastructure and causing discord wherever they go.  To be a prison guard is a unqiue choice for occupation, let's be honest.  One could never call it "easy", and I can't imagine how difficult it must be to walk that fine line between being fair and tough; between doing your job and not losing your soul.  Inmates are not angelic creatures, and a great many of them are born con-artists.  How friendly and fair can you be without getting walked all over?  I would imagine it's a constant mental struggle.

That said, there are individuals that - I believe - go into the field of warders with less conscientious sets of mind.  Some enjoy the power; the authority over "lesser" persons that they can wield how they see fit while affecting actual lives with the bark of every order .  Others, natural bullies, relish the ability to constantly taunt people who cannot fight back.  There are more, but you get the point.

These types of people sicken me.  It takes a very lowly-type of person to kick others when they are down  and to hurt other human beings simply because you know they are powerless to defend themselves.  Can there be any good in such blackened hearts?

Do not forget; inmates are in prison as punishment.  In fact, that is their punishment.  It is not the guards' job to punish them further.  They are there to maintain order and peace; no more.  Regardless, there are those who set themselves into that very different world with its very savage rules and set about playing games as if it were all a giant chess board, and with the inmates as no more than pawns rather than the thinking, feeling human beings that they are.

It is because of one such individual - not the first I have encountered, by any means, but the latest - that I sit down to write this.  He is known as Major Groom and is a major over Camp C at Angola.  He has, for weeks now, tormented my friend and others.  For reasons known only to him, he feels it his duty - or perhaps it is simply his pleasure - to play dangerous games with the lives of his charges.  As my friend goes about his work, concentrating only on the job at hand, Major Groom is there with is sly comments and veiled threats.

It's nothing new nor is his type and so we chose to ignore it.  That is until yesterday when Major Groom preceded to leak a bold-faced lie to another inmate and label my friend a "rat".  I need not explain to you the implications of such a label in a prison environment.  Major Groom informed this other inmate that my friend - known inside as Pencil - had told him that a rack of eggs left on a counter were his.  This is a problem, as an entire rack of eggs left out for an inmate to use as his personal issue is forbidden and if an inmate where to do such a thing he would be written up for stealing.  This other inmate knew the eggs were not his and that he had not put them there, and - most importantly - that my friend would never, not even under the threat of torture, rat on anyone for anything.

This could have been serious.  Had this other inmate not personally known Pencil, had he not known Pencil is no rat and would never have done such a thing, that inmate could have taken umbrage with being called out like this (and possibly written-up over it).  As it stands, Major Groom called another kitchen staff member who informed him that she had put the eggs there; it was not the conspiracy he was trying to make it out to be.  What if this other inmate had attacked Pencil for ratting on him?  It is not out of the realm of possibility; in fact, in that world, it is the norm.

What could Major Groom gain by concocting such a lie?  To turn the inmates against one another?  Does he not realize the danger he possibly puts his other co-workers in by such irresponsible actions?  What if a fight had broken out over this?  In his attempt to ruin Pencil's reputation - or whatever else he was attempting to do - he could have cause a great deal of trouble.  And this isn't his first rodeo.

Other inmates have similar complaints against Major Groom; and apparently - though I cannot prove it - at least one of them has already written an ARP complaint on him for the same thing.  What does it mean when such rogues are allowed to continue such reckless games, and are accorded such a high rank to do so in?  If wardens are aware of his behavior, why has something not been done?

These are the questions I am posing to Angola tomorrow morning as I call and wait for answers.  I will put in a call to the warden of Camp C, and I am ready to take this to Burl Cain himself if need be.  There is little that riles me quite as much as abuse of power, and playing games with innocent peoples' lives.  These men are simply trying to do their time and make the best of it.  It would be more than unfair - and even unjust - to see them brought down - moved to a cellblock or lose their jobs - over lies and trouble stirred up by someone such as Major Groom.  I, for one, will not sit idly by and watch it happen yet again.

Please check back.  I will update this entry with the response I get from the warden.

Dorothy Rabinowitz Blames Deepak

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Reporter and WSJ Editor, Dorothy Rabinowitz, took author and spiritualist Deepak Chopra to task in her piece, Deepak Blames America, in the Wall Street Journal this past week.  Her reasoning for the condemnation was that she simply disagreed with his views - and his offered solutions - on the terrorist problem gripping the Middle East and, in particular, the Mumbai terror assault.

In Rabinowitz's mind, Deepak wasn't contributing peaceful ideas on ending terrorism, but - rather - attacking America.  True though Mr. Chopra's statements may be, any negativity expressed concerning America is seen, by the conservative right, as an "attack" on the country itself.  Perhaps Dorothy Rabinowitz would do well to keep in mind that this great nation was built on the spirit of debate and opposing viewpoints; in fact, it is the heart and soul behind the creation of the First Amendment.  As is often said, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism".

One of the most unfounded and discreditable parts of the article - in my opinion - was this:

How the ebullient Dr. Chopra had come to be chosen as an authority on terror remains something of a mystery...

I fail to see how Mrs. Rabinowitz can so easily question Deepak Chopra's "authority" on terrorism. It takes little fact-checking to learn that Mr. Chopra has had quite personal experience with terrorism and knows, firsthand, the regions in which these conflicts are going on.  Let us not forget that he was, also, born in Pakistan to parents escaping the area now known as Islamabad.

He may not be an "authority", but he certainly has more personal experience with what he is talking about than she does. Mr. Chopra's family grew up surrounded by this very terrorism, and he has lost family members and loved ones to its horrors. He knows the areas in question, the groups responsible, and the people it is affecting. Obviously, we owe some respect to Mr. Chopra's ideology with his being privy to such.

Personally, I would be more inclined to listen to Mr. Chopra's ideas on creating peace out of the hell and havoc that is there now than from someone like Mrs. Rabinowitz, whose only answer to ending the reign of terror is to attack someone who offers an intimately composed solution. Whether she agrees with Mr. Chopra's ideals or not, it is no reason to personally attack him in a public forum with a libelous and ostentatious headline.

For more reading on this, I urge you to read Deepak Chopra's response over at Huffington Post, and the beautifully astute and decorous rebuttal Deepak's son, Gotham Chopra, offered on Intent.com.  A more detailed rejoinder is A Fuller and More Detailed Response to Dorothy Rabinowit'z Attack on Me in the Wall Street Journal; a must-read where Mr. Chopra shares his painful and very personal lifetime experiences with terrorism and being born in Pakistan to refugee parents.

Local News Sites Need New Writers

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I have been increasingly infuriated with the poor grammar, bad spelling, and too-numerous-to-count mistakes that appear in local news stories on websites 2theadvocate.com (WBRZ News 2 and local newspaper, The Advocate) and wafb.com (Channel 9), but I believe I have finally reached my boiling point.

I have tried to take into consideration that this is the Internet and therefore a bit more "casual" than  other media sources; however, that does not even begin to excuse the apathy with which these media outlets put their content online.  They are supposed to be professional, but their writing - and mistakes - make them seem anything but.

I could perhaps let slip the fact that their writing is lackluster, contrived, and often unintelligible.  I might could even look over the writer's personal opinions often being thrown into what should be unbiased, professional news stories.  Hell, let's even excuse the complete lack of proofreading these pieces obviously go through - each article has, at the very least, one error that could and should have been caught by proofreading; most have more than one or two.  Yet I can no longer stand by when, added to that heap, these "journalists" do not appear to have the slightest grasp on grammar or even sentence structure!

As an example (and I could provide many more), here is an article - unedited by me, as is - that is currently running over at WAFB:

The Baton Rouge man accused of killing his two young boys to get revenge on his wife will be examined by mental health experts. Clayton Murphy junior appeared in district court Thursday and showed little emotion. This from a man who allegedly stabbed two kids and called his wife to tell her about it.

Clayton Murphy jr, will have a mental evaluation before his case goes any further. Prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty after Murphy was caught by police standing over the body of his own 2-year-old son Tayshaun. The other child,  8-year-old Juwan was laying dead in the other room. Prosecutor Aaron Brooks said, " this is horrendous, unspeakable, unforgivable." Defense attorney Margaret Lagatudda said, "something must have happened for someone whose never been in trouble never done anything violent before...something had to snap to kill children that he loved."

An East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy fired one shot at Murphy but missed him. After he was arrested, deputies say Murphy confessed to the killings. The mental evaluation will determine whether the prosecution seeks the death penalty or life in prison. Brooks said, " the evidence I've reviewed so far support the possibility of first degree murder indictment that will be there call but that is what we will present and we'll seek." But first Murphy has to be evaluated. Lagatudda said, " does he understand the court proceedings that's the first step. We have some information we believe theres gonna be some mental health issues. So before I get to the mental health I want to determine if he's competent."

The mental health report is due back to judge johnson December fifth. Murphy will be back in court December 11th.

Can you count the errors?  This sounds like a really bad blog post rather than a professionally-written article published on a valid news source.  Let's review - errors in bold, my corrections in italics:

The Baton Rouge man accused of killing his two young boys to get revenge on his wife will be examined by mental health experts. Clayton Murphy junior (Clayton Murphy, Jr.) appeared in district court Thursday and showed little emotion. This from a man who allegedly stabbed two kids and called his wife to tell her about it. (Superfluous, personal opinion - should be taken out.)

Clayton Murphy jr (Jr.), will have a mental evaluation before his case goes any further. Prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty after Murphy was caught by police standing over the body of his own (Superfluous.  Obviously his son was his "own'".  Again, putting too much personal emotion into the news piece) 2-year-old son (2 year-old) Tayshaun. The other child,  8-year-old (8 year-old) Juwan (missing comma) was laying (lying) dead in the other room. Prosecutor Aaron Brooks said, " this is horrendous, unspeakable, unforgivable." Defense attorney Margaret Lagatudda said, "something must have happened for someone whose (who's) never been in trouble (missing comma) never done anything violent before...something had to snap to kill children that he loved."

An East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy fired one shot at Murphy but missed him. After he was arrested, deputies say Murphy confessed to the killings. The mental evaluation will determine whether the prosecution seeks the death penalty or life in prison. Brooks said, " the (The, no space before the quote) evidence I've reviewed so far support (supports) the possibility of (a) first degree murder indictment that will be there (their) call but that is what we will present and we'll seek." (Don't even get me started on the preceding quote - let's just say that sentence called, and it wants its punctuation back) But first Murphy has to be evaluated. Lagatudda said, " does (Does, no space before the quote) he understand the court proceedings (? Begin new sentence with "That's") that's the first step. We have some information (,) we believe theres (there's) gonna be some mental health issues. So before I get to the mental health I want to determine if he's competent."

The mental health report is due back to judge johnson (you're kidding me, right?  /sigh  Judge Johnson) December fifth (December 5th, especially since it is written this way in the next sentence). Murphy will be back in court December 11th.

I probably even missed some.  The main problem with this is that it isn't just one article or one particular "journalist" at either place; this is nearly every article that appears on both sites.  Either they don't care about the content they are putting online or they really are very bad writers.

I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I just don't know that I can at this point.  The problem has actually gotten worse instead of better - or even remaining the same.  Do these "journalists" give a toss about their credentials, their bodies of work, how they are going to look to the public at large?  Professionalism seems to be an afterthought; if it's a thought at all.

Every time I go to read an article at either site I find myself yelling out loud at the screen over the ridiculousness printed there.  I am simply fed up with their lack of professionalism and complete disregard for the very basics of writing (sentence structure, grammar, etc.)  It sickens me to think this is the future of our media, and with college graduates hardly being able to write their way out of a paper bag with both ends cut out, I don't see this improving in the future.

I want to believe these people can write better than this.  Perhaps they all just need much better editors and to hire some actual proofreaders; I really can't say.

Scotty Vanity – I Like Your Style

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

You might not have heard of Scotty Vanity, songster and fun-guy of MySpace and MySpaceTV fame with his hit Internet single I Like Your Hair, and that's a shame. Scotty is upbeat and fun, and his music is undeniably catchy - pshyeah.

Scotty may not be the next Justin Timberlake (yet, anyway) but he has a talent for making music and being himself in a way that is at once refreshing and amusing. He makes you laugh and sing-a-long. while you secretly wish he could become your new shopping buddy. He's down-to-earth and approachable while still being absolutely fabulous.

That's my take anyway, and there's no denying his legion of fans feel the same. Scotty is loved and adored, and even supported, by a small army of Internet fans. That's a beautiful thing.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, things are not so beautiful; in fact, they are terrifyingly ugly. For as many people that respect Scotty's individuality and funky sense of fun, there are just as many that hate him, revolt against him, and, according to their posturing safely behind a computer screen, claim to want him dead.

Pshyeah.

Why the hate? One has to believe it's because Scotty chooses to be himself - in a world that still, even after all the advances we've made, believes boys shouldn't love fashion and hot pink stilettos, or enjoy singing about the woes of clumpy mascara. If said boy does choose such ideals to be a part of his personal sense of style, woe to him.

Seriously, when Scotty Vanity chose to step out and share himself with the world - style and all - he was belittled as much as he was lauded. You'd think he was the anti-Christ with the pack of hounds circling his profiles and calling for his crucifixion.

I want to take a moment to share with you some of the pure venom and hate, some of the horrible, negative, evil things people are saying to this sixteen year-old boy on his MySpace profile. It takes a real, big person to sit and spew vitriol behind a computer screen, don't you think? (God-awful spelling, grade-school grammar, and general massacring of the English language by these highly intelligent beings left as found)

God Damn ur such a Fucking fag, i fucking hate fag ass emo pussies. i wanna do girls not their fucking make-up. i fucking hate guys who look like girls what the fuck r u trying to be? a drag queen.? - Supreme Vampiric Evil {*}

Highly comical, isn't it? Someone calling themselves "Supreme Vampiric Evil" bitching about someone else being "emo". No critique of Scotty's video or music, notice - just a random rant about SVE's hate of "fag ass emo pussies".

umm...can i have the last 3 minutes of my life back?? really gay - Jill Unit

Jill's reason for not liking Scotty's music? It's "really gay". Whether Scotty is or isn't (he's sixteen - let's not go there), it's not a reason to dislike his music. It's fun - but apparently if you're snooty or have no sense of humor, it's just "gay" and, therefore, stupid. What a bigot.

wow your the BIGGEST fag i have ever seen you fucking fag...get a life wow suck a cock you fucking emo peice of shit - !~ChUcK~!

Interesting words coming from a man who puts little squiggly lines and doodads around his name, eh? You know what they say about those who "hate" something so intensely...

It's terrible, really. It's not that they aren't entitled to their opinions - as hateful as they may be - they are. But to write such horrible things to this young man, for no reason other than he's being himself...am I the only one upset by this?

fucking homo dont even come and put shit like this for society to veiw... - Wesley Gasper

Just...wow. This goes beyond not liking the music. This is hate, pure hate, for a group of people that they perceive Scotty to be a part of (gays, in this instance). It's hate for no other reason than fear and ignorance...but the venom with which it is brought forth is just sad.

woww you are the bigest homo ive ever seennn go have a parade or something, poop pusher - Mike.

I know, you can't take anyone with grammar that bad seriously. I just added this one for the laugh factor.

Ummm two things...... Get a job, and stop being a filthy degenerate. I see wierdos like you all day asking for change - Zach

Again, someone assuming - and then making all kinds of ridiculous, biased assumptions - because Scotty wears make-up and sings about dancing. So gay people (and again, I'm not saying Scotty Vanity is gay, but that is what these asshats are assuming) are "filthy degenerates" who become homeless beggars...wow. Who knew? Guess I better go tell all my gay friends they got it all wrong by being successful and providing for themselves!

Then there are the ones bringing his parents - and their either expected disapproval or their obvious bad parenting skills - into it...

i hope u kill urself or ur parents die from the pathetic excuss of a kid - Big Fuzzy-PANDA GOD OF PANDATOPIA

and

if i was ur dad i would cut your fuckin homo face off and feed it to the dogs. then i would leave you muther. - IF IT JAMS...FORCE IT

Charming. I have a feeling Scotty's parents are right proud of their son. At sixteen, he's not afraid to be himself and is already in the beginnings of a successful career. One wonders what the prodigies who left these bright comments are doing with themselves.

WTF is THIS! god did not want men to be this way you crazy confused ....... homo whyyyyyyyyyy yyyyyyyyyyyy yyy - Andrew™†

This kid has trademarked the cross, meaning, of course, that he knows what God intended for the world and what He doesn't like. Scary thought, isn't it?

This is far from all of the hate and cruelty spewed on Scotty's pages; it's just a sampling. Why even share it? Just to show that there is still a lot of work to be done in spreading love, tolerance, and acceptance in this world. Scotty Vanity should not be chastised because of who he is; it's just that simple. At the end of the day, he's more centered, happy, and confident in self than every one telling him he's "wrong", "going to burn in hell", and a "degenerate".

Scotty Vanity is daring to be himself in a world that prefers, and often demands, conformity. For that, I simply adore him - and also because I just can not get "I like your hair..." out of my head. As I said in my comment, "keep being fun, beautiful you, Scotty."

Pshyeah.

Bite My Ass, SOE

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

I have been playing Everquest as a paying customer since 2001; up until EQII was released I purchased every expansion pack and stuck around for every monthly fee increase.

When Everquest II came out in 2004, I was on the very first day and shelled out a few extra bucks to get the Station Access "full package". I have subsequently purchased every expansion pack, and every fun pack Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has released in the past two years.

After five years and hundreds of dollars, I consider myself a loyal, long-time customer. And how does SOE appreciate their long-time customers? Let me tell you.

As mentioned in a previous post, I've lost my credit card. I finally got the new one in last night and was going and changing the credit card on all of my automatic withdrawal accounts (World of Warcraft, Everquest, Sirius, GoDaddy, etc.). It was a simple matter, obviously, until I attempted to change the billing information for my SOE account. I couldn't find where to do it.

Finally, a Help section informed me that if I had Station Access I would have to cancel my subscription and then remember to start up a new subscription at the end of the billing cycle. *blink blink* Wah...?

I wouldn't lose my characters, but I'd better remember to get in there and set it back up at the right time! I couldn't understand it; it was so stupid. How hard could it be to allow me to change my billable credit card?

I griped about it all evening and when The Worm heard me, he stated, "You know why they do it that way, don't you?"

I shook my head, figuring their web developers were just idiots.

"Remember, Station Access prices went up a year or so ago, but it didn't affect those who already had Station Access, like us."

And it dawned on me; they were forcing me - a longtime customer, obviously, if I was paying original Station Access fees - to take on the new fee. Yes, it's only $3 more a month, but that isn't the point. It's the principle of it. It's shitty. It's underhanded and sneaky. And it's sure as fuck not like SOE needs the money!! From Everquest alone they're raking in millions.

A July 2003 article I found has the original Everquest with 430,000 subscribers. EQII may be somewhat less, but, trust me, they aren't hurting.

It's a dirty, really-fucking-shitty way to treat your customers, imo. And if I didn't love the goddamn game so much, I'd of left and stopped putting up with their bullshit years ago. SOE, you fucking suck.

Dancer For Money

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Saturday night, I and a group of friends (two guys, three girls) made a jaunt out to Baton Rouge's premier strip joint, The Gold Club. It wasn't even close to my - or any of ours - first time.

See, I enjoy going to strip clubs - with or without my man. I always have a good time, and it's something different to do than just going out to a regular bar or club. I won't lie; I'm a fan of t&a and I can appreciate a good lap dance as much as any penised member of the species. The female body is a beautiful thing; simple as that.

It isn't something I do often because who in the hell can afford to? It's just a "sometimes" thing, and I usually have a blast. This time, however, was awful; I have never had such a terrible experience as I did at this outing to The Gold Club - which is why the manager of the Baton Rouge Gold Club is going to get a very long and querulous letter from yours truly.

See, the BR-GC has always allowed women, but, up until a few years ago, women didn't make up a large percentage of the club's patrons. These days, women seem to enjoy strip clubs a great deal more and, realizing this, the BR-GC decided to cash in. Women were no longer allowed to get in free, but had to pay a cover just like the cock-sporting group.

The women-get-in-free thing was obviously a ploy to get more women into the club; men like to see available women at strip clubs because they know there's no chance they'll be bringing one of the strippers home. That was all fine and dandy. But once the women started coming and became regular patrons - as much as the men - and began being charged, things should have changed.

As a woman who is a paying customer, I expect to be treated with the same respect and toleration as the men are. That's only fair, right?

Apparently, the BR-GC thinks differently. We were not allowed to stand up; if we did so for too long, they brought us a chair and told us we had to sit. Men were standing all around us. We were not allowed to dance - and we weren't gyrating and shakin' our groove thang as if we were at a dance club. I'm talking swaying to the music while standing or sitting in a large group of your friends. They actually told my friend that she needed an exotic license to dance while she was standing at the bar waiting on her drink. She wasn't taking her clothes off and humping the bar; she was just enjoying the music and moving her body to it a bit while she stood there.

They claim these things take away business from their strippers. How this is possible, I'm not quite sure. I'm fairly confident that the men in the club have their eyes glued to the naked and half-naked women walking around in stilettos and aren't even noticing the fully-clothed, drunk women sitting with their boyfriends.

And it isn't like we weren't spending money; a lot of money. Three of us got lap dances (two of the women, mind you), we bought loads of over-expensive beer, and tipped many dancers on the stage.

I am a paying customer, and just because I happen to be female, does not mean I should be treated so differently. Men stand up and around, and even move to the music all the time. Sure, I have tits - but mine are covered, and no one is attempting to stuff dollar bills down my pants instead of your dancers'. I'm not there to steal the limelight; I'm there to have a good time, but that's difficult to do when I'm constantly being fussed at for enjoying myself.