Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloweeeeeeen !!!!!

October 31, 2009

With Halloween upon us, let us acknowledge and revel in how far we have progressed since last year’s Halloween.

Often times, it is therapeutic to look back and take stock of just how far we have come.  Last Halloween, I dressed up, props and all,  as our Sarah, evoking laughs but also some dread and fear of what could come about.  For this Yo Mama, the past year has been nothing short of spectacular.  Our Sarah is not in any public office and for the meantime, we are safe.

The campaign was full of emotional ups and downs, election night was one of the most exciting times I have ever experienced, and Inauguration Day was so historic and euphoric.  Hope is morphing into real change, even though the process is not as easy as we thought it would be.  Time will be the judge but overall, I think we need to just take it all in and celebrate all that has happened since last Halloween.

Enjoy the photos, then take a minute to appreciate where we are today and give huge thanks for the way things turned out since last Halloween.

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Remember the good old days?

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A more sedate fall this year .....

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Still full of hope .....

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And golden dreams .....

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Yellow splendor .....

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The audacity of orange .....

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Burning bush .....

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Aptly named .....

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Gorgeous gourds .....

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Screaming meanies .....

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A Halloween lineup .....

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With love and thanks from:

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HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!!!!!

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The Wife App

October 29, 2009

My husband got an iPhone this past weekend.  He is acting like he died and went to Heaven.  Maybe he has.  I have been instructed to stop talking so much to him and just send him an email.  This could be the end of a beautiful relationship.  Thirty five years of marriage down the toilet.  I have just turned into an app.  The wife app.

Can you imagine an app such as myself that holds down a job, does her domestic duties, manages the household accounts, raises children and cares for the dog?  A dog, through all of her almost ten years, has benefitted from the cushiest of assisted living.  Not to mention that my husband has done likewise.  All of this plus keeping my spouse’s ego intact.  I am the best app available, no?  Plus, just like the real deal of wifedom, the wife app is totally free of any fees.

There is even a Republican app:

But this state of affairs was to be expected.  Remember the adage from “Field of Dreams”?  If you build it they will come.  A prime example of this attitude is our building — and then USING —- the atomic bomb during World War II.  What?  Who in their right mind would have thought we would build the bomb and NOT use it?  Surely our current techno-advanced world is a prime example of that thought.  We keep on devising new technology which  makes person-to-person contact irrelevant.  At a doctor’s office, if we are not in their computer, we do not exist.  At our  stock brokerage office or bank, if the computers are down or just slow, we cannot even begin to ask for help with whatever problem we were calling about.  Further, our assets no longer exist, as they are caught in the netherworld of downed technology, for the duration of the techno failure.  If the technology is some way defective, we have no recourse.  The word “service” is immaterial today.  We have built such a user-friendly, yet personally vacant business model that we have become our own victims of isolation.

But I will continue to buck the system.  I am bugging the daylights out of my husband by calling and emailing him incessantly.  He is going to rue the day he ever got that iPhone and made me an app.

The following video is a refreshing reminder that human contact is necessary, and pleasant.  I will look forward to the day when a doctor actually touches his patient, a banker greets a long-standing customer by name and remembers that that customer never bounced even one check in over 25 years, and a husband has a seat at the dinner table and wants to hear about his wife’s day, face to face, up close and personal.  Until that time arrives, I will be the best damn app I can be.

Here Comes The Judge!

October 28, 2009

This being my 400th post, I am going back to my major premise for speaking up in the first place: adherence to a code of ethics, personal morality and the expectation of doing the right thing.

Call me judgmental.  PLEASE DO SO! After almost thirty years of parenting and taking offense when others, including my own children, have labelled me judgmental, I now take that as the ultimate compliment.  So thank you very much.  It means that I have done my job.

True: to judge others harshly has, as a probable pitfall, the creation of a bottomless pit of negativity.  However, within the scope of reason, having an opinion on things moral and ethical is the main ingredient of successful parenting.  To do otherwise is an abrogation of parenting duties and a disservice to your children.  In order to instill values in the next generation, one must take a position.  To just stand by and accept all options as equally correct, and further, to thrust the final decision on the maturing child and saying “Good job”, no matter whether the decision is moral, is not parenting.  It is trying to make friends with your child instead of being a moral compass for his or her development.

Let me cite some examples.  Mind you,  these three incidents occurred in just one family in the span of one night’s dinnertime.  There is a family of four: a mother, a father and two grown children.  The daughter is living in her own apartment and one night heard screams from a female neighbor and then watched the male companion hit the woman twice.  This daughter did not call the police because the male neighbor saw her observing.  Her parents agreed, or at least did not fault their daughter, that she took no action, i.e. she did nothing.  Then, this same family’s son has a fiance who recently quit her fairly lucrative job because she just didn’t want to work.  Really and truly.  Her soon-to-be father-in-law then put her, in name only, on the payroll of his business so she could qualify for health insurance.  This young woman does not work at that place of business.  Furthermore, the intended father-in-law also plans to make a killing in the real estate market (dream on: “best laid plans, etc………) by using this fictitious employment record to buy some property in the intended daughter-in-law’s name.  Tit for tat.  Finally, the mother of this family was just fired from her job and got her psychiatrist to sign off on disability providing a whopping $4000 a month of your and my money to a adequately healthy person who just thinks she should be paid for doing no work at all.   I wonder why this woman waited until she got fired to ask her doctor for a disability request.  Do you think  that perhaps her “disability” is no such thing at all and that the task of job searching and her probable new salary would not match up favorably with the amount of the the disability payments she could expect?   Whew!  All of this in one family.

These kids do not stand a chance of growing up and doing the right thing because look at the role models their parents are.  Monkey see, monkey do.  I will be the first (liberal) person to admit that there are many citizens who need our social and economic safety net, i.e. unemployment and disability benefits.  But to those, however few or many, who abuse the system because they refuse to take a job that does not net them as much money per week as unemployment payments do or claim fraudulent disability benefits because it sure beats the grind of a nine to five job, I say you are damn well correct is thinking me judgmental.  Somebody has to be.  And I maintain my sense of right and wrong in condemning those medical professionals who approve such disability diagnoses.  The chain of blame is long, the red tape-laden system is conducive to such abuses, but it begins with the person who thinks they can game the system for their own delight at the expense of all of us.  Do they not have any pride at all in making an honest living?

As I have grown older and wiser, I have come to the realization that many use the term “judgmental” as an epithet to prohibit me from having an opinion, especially one that is critical of their corrupt and often illegal choices.  The bottom line is that they just do not like what I am saying.  Perhaps they cannot handle the truth.  Instead, they call me arrogant.  Damn right.   I was brought up to call them as I see them, and when I see outrageous behavior that affects all of us, I certainly am going to be arrogant.  I will call on the carpet that horrible behavior every single time I see it.  Some idiots would advise me to just keep quiet for the sake of peace.  In fact, these benefit abusers are actually banking on that hope that a confrontation is actually worse for the judge than their abuse of the system.   Somewhat twisted, no?

Why are we so shocked at the ethical and moral vacuum of our corporate and political world?  If such behavior is so ingrained in us as individuals, our group ethos has no chance of reflecting higher principles.

So thank you for calling me judgmental.  I accept that as a very high compliment and will continue to rise to the occasion.  They don’t call me “Yo Mama” for nothing.

Thanks for sticking with me for 400 posts.  My next one is going to be a doozie!

Say It Ain’t So, Joe

October 26, 2009

The New York Yankees took the American League pennant last night —– for the 40th time!  In my lifetime, the Yanks have won the pennant 21 times.

It has always been a thrilling ride.  When I was growing up in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. my father would manage to get tickets to each of the World Series in which the Yankees participated.  There was never any question as to whether or not I could justify skipping school to attend the games.  No contest: Yankee baseball was heads and tails more important, more enlightening, than my junior high school classes.  My father never questioned this, nor did my teachers.  I would have had to be out of my mind to give the choice one iota of consideration.

Can you imagine the euphoria I felt watching Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Joe Pepitone and Mantle and Maris performing?  Even at my then young age, I knew I was watching history.  My devotion to the Yankees was signed, sealed and delivered during those impressionable years.

Then this season, I ran into a huge dilemma.  Perhaps my very favorite Yankee was Joe Torre, under whose capable managing skills the Yanks took home six pennants.  I frequently say that Joe Torre is the only man on this planet for whom I would leave my husband.  It is not as if Torre is a looker, or a trendy media darling.  He is simply a man fulfilling his employment duties in a solid manner.  His understated personality and abilities speak volumes to me.  So when the possibility of Torre’s Dodgers winning the National League pennant this year crossed into the realm of reality, I almost lost my baseball compass.  If the Dodgers would have won the pennant and then faced the Yankees in the World Series, who would I root for: Joe Torre or the Yankees?

Thankfully, that is a decision I do not have to face.  However, I daresay that I would have gone for Joe Torre in a heartbeat.  Over the years, I have been so impressed with his downright managing capability coupled with his understated public persona.  And, every time, I will back that person, one individual, who shows a respect and responsibility for his job.  A job well done is to be admired and supported.

It is absolutely not my intention to minimalize the talent and team effort of the current Yankees, nor to underrate Joe Girardi’s managing skills.  You can bet your sweet bippy that I hope the Yanks wallop the Phillies in the Series.  I just miss Joe Torre.

So Joe: say it ain’t so.  Don’t tell me that you just lost the pennant.  But find some solace in the fact that you would have had Yo Mama’s wild and crazy devotion if you had wound up in the 2009 World Series.

Hope, Yes; Audacity, Not Yet

October 25, 2009

Dearie me!  Is it just a slow news day, so Huffington Post leads its website with the story that President Obama is NOT in support of a public option, or is this supposition actually true?  Should my dander be raised even more than usual, or should I accept this pronouncement as merely Huffington Posts’s shot at creating dander-raising news to fill its 24/7 entertainment cycle?  Here is the article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/24/leaderless-senate-pushes_n_332844.html

Let us consider the possibilities.

1.  Regarding health care reform, President Obama has always tossed the ball into Congress’s court.  They, after all, are our elected legislators, the voice of the people.  Further, the President doesn’t want to suffer the political fallout if the public option should fail.  Having the public option as the mainstay of reform is imperative, but it WILL fail, or at least be meaningless, if a STRONG option is not part of the bill.  To pass reform with a weak, wishy-washy public option is worse than no such program at all.  So Mr. President, public option or not, the reflection will still be totally focused on YOU.

2.  Maybe President Obama’s ultimate goal is to let a weak (or none at all) option pass, so that the writing on the wall, i.e. what we REALLY need, namely universal, single payer, government-run health care, will eventually pass.  This same CNN article reports that the President is actually in favor of the trigger in place of the public option: give the insurance industry five years to make changes and then, if they do not step up to the plate, an automatic trigger of a public option will fall into place.  PUH-LEESE! That is identical to caving in and allowing the insurers five more years of  their greed, corruption and self-serving policies.  The President has a fair shot of still being in office in five years, so maybe he figures that by allowing an inadequate reform bill to currently pass, he will have more ammunition in five years for the real deal  if the trigger is activated.  WRONG. Oh so wrong!  We do not need five more years of this insanity to ultimately prove that President Obama is correct in his initial belief that we need universal coverage.  That would be five more years of cutting off his nose to spite his face.

3.  I am trying to make sense out of the fact, that according to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, we are only a couple of votes away from a decent public option yet President Obama has not firmly gotten behind this provision.  Wasn’t the public option his idea in the first place?   Where is his allegiance to getting help for our people rather than fulfilling his political agenda?  We have the hope, now where the hell is the audacity?

So please help me out here.  I have more confidence in President Obama than my above objections would lead you to believe.  I do not think that he is really gaming the system.  However, if what Huffington Post reports today is true (and I honestly must admit that I have not seen any similar stories on any other news site), what could possibly be the rationale behind the President’s behavior?  Am I being just as premature, inflammatory and wrong as Huffington Post is in reacting to their “story”?  But if Huffington Post does have the goods on this, Man oh Manischewitz: we are only one or two votes away from a viable public option and the President is not going after securing those votes?  What is really happening here?

Weekend Words

October 23, 2009

Word has it that the Senate has the votes for a public option.  It will be interesting to see if this proposition pans out and then, who amongst our august lawmakers, can make a better deal and sell out.  Politics as usual.  But what is an upcoming weekend without the required reading?  Here is an informative overview of the good, the bad and the ugly about a possible public option; I just hope that by getting some sort of bill enactment, the whole concept is not so watered down that yes, we wind up with the votes for the public option, but not with the meat and substance that would actually offer the benefits of such legislation:

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/public-option-playing-field-in-two.html

But weekends are also for having fun, so play your hearts out and enjoy the following:

Show Me

October 21, 2009

Well, well, well!  Finally, President Obama has gotten hot under his collar. This was publicly announced today after his nine months of striving for reconciliation, unification and bipartisanship hit the ever-constant brick wall.  Kind of like having a baby: nine months of patience at last followed by a delivery.

Many people have the sense that President Obama’s laying back on such hot-button issues like finance and health care reform is exactly why they voted for him: they admired his efforts in trying to create a more unified political system and government.  However, there are many other voters who are breathing a sigh of relief at his new, tough stance on the issues.  Unfortunately, our political system does not reward conciliatory behavior as politics is just another battle for power, influence and  money.  It is a dog-eat-dog world and certainly our elected officials would even eat their own young to get re-elected and obtain all the perks associated (but actually not prescribed) with holding public office.

President Obama has demanded that those banks that benefitted the most from the federal bailout  drastically reduce their compensation bonuses.  It appears that many of these financial institutions gladly accepted the nation’s funds, but never used those assets as they were meant to be used, i.e.  as mortgage relief to those people temporarily under water to their mortgage lenders, to provide capital for new mortgages and to infuse small business with loans to survive.  The banks then used those federal monies to inflate their current earnings and finally, used those inflated figures as the basis for huge bonus payouts.  Talk about the emperor’s new clothes and Ponzi schemes!

Our President has also, at last, criticized the insurance industry for their dastardly policies such as capping benefits, denying coverage for actually getting sick and inventing ridiculous pre-existing conditions.  And for the insurers lording over all of us in their corrupt manner, our government has blessed them with an anti-trust exemption.  Not only is the insurance industry responsible for price fixing, being the absolute judge in life and death decisions with no timely recourse, and holding our physicians over a barrel by charging them with exorbitant medical malpractice premiums, but also the industry, as we speak, has the government’s approval for such twisted and warped policies.  President Obama has finally called these thieves on the carpet for their irresponsibility to their policyholders in lieu of their own profitability.  Making nice and ethical business practices will never be a part of our current insurance industry nor, for that matter, our entire corporate ethos.  The only strategy to correct such blatant abuses is to talk their talk, walk their walk,  i.e. to force viable competition in the form of a hefty public option.  A weak public option would act as a mere slap on the wrist to the industry.

On the international scene, President Obama asserted his belief of honesty in government by forcing Afghanistan President Karzai’s hand in capitulating to an election runoff after significant fraud had been uncovered in the initial election.  No more of our troops will be committed to that war front until Afghanistan has negated its election fraud and a viable, duly elected government is in force.  Bravo Mr. Obama.

I do believe the true Obama is emerging.  In my post of May 6, 2008 called “A Promise is a Promise”, I set forth my case that, if elected,  Barack Obama would be the biggest bastard our Office of the President has ever seen.  I wrote this with very positive intentions.  Well folks, the true Obama has come out of his cocoon just this week.  Further, Andrew Sullivan has also reached this same conclusion:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/that-mushy-steel.html

Go for it, President Obama!  You have been more than patient on all fronts and now show us the stuff of which you are truly made.  I always knew you had it in you.  I am waiting for the next, deliberate step in your wise leadership.  Make believe I am from Missouri: show me.

Obstructing the Obvious

October 20, 2009

Am I just a simpleton, an intellectual featherweight, who looks for patterns and explanations, reasonable justifications, for truly ridiculous situations?  Or perhaps, I am able to see what is so obvious that it takes my breath away to observe how the powers that be and the general population cannot see the forest from the trees?  Is the obvious so damn obvious that people just ignore it?

Let us examine some specific examples of this delusion.  The Redskins, Washington, D.C.’s football team, has been a losing, floundering proposition ever since Dan Snyder bought that franchise in 1999.  The team has gone through so many different GM’s, coaches and players, still and yet with a losing record.  The only consistency during the last decade has been the ownership.  Could that ownership be the cause of the Redskins’ lethargy?  Seems like the most logical assumption to me.  Despite having had on board many talented players and truly experienced coaches (mind you, coaches who previously and subsequently to their Redskin tenure have been the top leaders in the NFL, e.g. Joe Gibbs, Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner), the Redskins are a pathetic excuse for a football team.

Dan Snyder’s objectives throughout his ownership seems to be for fulfillment of his ego first, his pocketbook second,  his win/loss record third and obligation to the fans dead last.  Eventually, the fans who make Snyder’s personal take from the team possible, will pull out their support and Snyder will either sell the team or make some overdue changes.  It is a repeat of the survival of the fittest: when the franchise can no longer reap the rewards of overpriced tickets due to their dreary, losing record, the owner will be forced to exit.  This is a form of natural selection, and I daresay that Snyder will be selectively ousted.  The only Redskin constants over the last ten years have been a losing record and Snyder’s ownership.  Is this as obvious as I think it is?

Another example of the “Duh! Phenomenon” involves the recent refusal of a judge in Louisiana to marry an interracial couple.  Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell, an elected Republican servant, denied a marriage license to the couple in question based solely on racial concerns.  What century is the judge living in?  Is he not aware of the Supreme Court ruling of 1967,  Loving v. Virginia, that outlawed, MADE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, the obstruction or failure to carry out interracial marriage?  Judge Bardwell is not a legal entity unto himself; he was elected to rule based on our Constitution.  Any refusal to do so can be seen as a violation of our law and he should have been put off the court and released of his duties as soon as he decided to editorialize and act upon his own law.  Isn’t that as obvious as the nose on your face?  Why is he still holding on to his job?

Thirdly, and of the highest importance, is the current state of our financial industry and it’s effects on other legislation, i.e. health care reform.  I must note that, just like Dan Snyder who is a private entrepreneur in a private business who can do whatever he wants with his assets, the private banks are somewhat different.  They have a responsibility to their shareholders.  Furthermore, once these banks accepted federal bailout funds, they also must answer to each and every one of us taxpayers and the government.  How come the government does not see this obligation?  Why are the financial companies still paying out huge bonuses on the backs of our taxpayers?  And why in all of heaven and earth, is the government permitting that?  The United States Treasury gave out hundreds of billions of dollars to this industry that is continuing exactly those practices that almost brought them to their knees one year ago.  Why?

I just love the fallacy of protecting these financial behemoths with the excuse that “They are too big to be allowed to fail.”  Once again, it is absolutely clear to me (and any moron) that if these companies are too big to fail, they most certainly are too big to exist.  DUH!

I might have an answer.  For the government to completely take over the financial industry would be cause for many to scream “Socialism”.  Here is my interpretation.  We will get something of a public option in health care reform to OFFSET the greed and corruption of the financial industry.  The lead article in the Washington Post today (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/19/AR2009101902451.html?nav=hcmodule), sure enough, cites the increased demand for a public option.  Basically, we are going to make the private insurance industry be the sacrificial lamb in return for the lack of regulation and oversight of our financial sector.  Since the American people have an attention span of about three seconds (thank you Roselie) plus the fact that our legislators will not put their reputations and elective powers on the line to change our economic structure, the greed and corruption of the financial industry will live on.  However, seeing the negative reaction of Americans to this outrage, our lawmakers will, to some degree, be willing to cut off the insurance companies by passing a weak public option.  Having been the victims of a near financial collapse, our citizens have undergone major economic losses, one result being that they can no longer afford health insurance.  Thus, by forcing real competition on the private insurers, our lawmakers are “punishing” one greedy sector of our economy for the sins of another.  Since the financial industry was a major CAUSE of our hardships, the private insurers are going to have to pay so that the EFFECTS of that corruption can be somewhat cleaned up.  The ongoing feeding frenzy of the financial industry is going to have to be paid for by the insurance industry.  Obvious?   Displacement behavior?  Sure.  Fake retribution?  Definitely.  It sure beats taking the time and effort to solve the problem structurally.  In this way, we are not resolving the problems in our financial industry nor are we offering a strong enough public option.  It is a lose/lose proposition.

In the United States, we are all experts at obstructing the obvious, whether it be sports, law, finance or government.  Things are complicated enough, sure.  So why, when we are presented with a clear and defined issue, do we not jump on it and correct it?  Do you think it could be that the more confusion we reap, the more personal gain might be in it?  That couldn’t possibly be: it is too obvious.

Suckah

October 18, 2009

I apologize.  Undoubtedly, my own fond childhood memories coupled with a pretty terrific set of parents has mislead my thinking on the aims of other families.  IT WAS A HOAX!!!!!!

How naive could I have been?  Did I actually think that Falcon Heene was throwing up for no reason on the morning show?  The lies and scam that his parents perpetrated would make anyone vomit.  So much for the piety of parenthood.  Fame, money and the lure of reality television trumps holding a regular job any day of the week.

Heaven help us.  But most of all, help Falcon Heene and his brothers.

The Voyage of Falcon Heene: It Is What It Is

October 16, 2009

I am so enjoying this day, revelling in the aftereffects of yesterday’s story about young Falcon Heene AKA “Balloon Boy”.  What is so very refreshing about this story is that the cautionary tale was all about a kid just being a kid.  No guile, no personal agenda and no malice intended.  Very straightforward.

Falcon (could anybody have come up with a better name for this kid?), after having been yelled at by his Dad for playing with the weather balloon, went and hid in a cardboard box in the rafters of his garage.  Then he promptly fell asleep for a number of hours.  The balloon subsequently broke its tether and flew fifty miles from Fort Collins to the Denver vicinity.  Another child had erroneously (perhaps merely wishing it to be true) reported that Falcon had climbed into the balloon right before it took off.  When it finally alit, alas, there was no boy inside.

The involved authorities are trying to be very formal and authoritarian about this “mishap”, and are calling for a possible investigation into the whys and wherefores  in order to justify the expenses incurred.  Fugedaboudit!  Don’t throw good money after bad.  This was simply an incident of a kid being a kid.

Why, many are asking, was Falcon so scared of his father?  Duh!  He did not want to be yelled at for possibly being responsible for the loss of an expensive piece of equipment.  Any parent in their right mind would be just as adamant as Mr. Heene was in scolding his son for playing with something that clearly was not a toy.  The boy’s reaction, getting and staying put in a place for a few hours until his Dad’s anger subsided, is not hard to understand.  No child abuse here, just a typical parent/youngster action and reaction to normal admonishment of what is okay and what is not.  Nothing more to read into this.

I remember when my sister and I were of a comparable young age, we got some paints on our new carpet (or was it the Silly Putty on the newly painted walls?).  We promptly ran and hid until a few minutes later when our mother discovered the mess.  She found my sister right off the bat.  However, I had a fantastic hiding place: a small niche in the back of the linen closet.  No way was Mom ever going to find me.  But her calls for me were becoming angrier and angrier, so I chickened out, not wanting to escalate her frustrations (and perhaps the consequences) even more, and I exited the closet.  But certainly,  just like Falcon, if nobody would have been seeking me out, I too would have just taken a nap and stayed exactly where I was.

So chill, America.  There is nothing suspicious about this event.  A kid, through no intention of his own, just happened to get the best of many adults.  The grownups should cease and desist trying to save face, accept the simplicity of the situation, and be happy as clams that this child is safe and sound.  And so much smarter than any of the big people!