Friday, November 30, 2007

YouTube Friday

I love the movie The Matrix and so decided to have a little fun and post some stuff from it, sort of.

It's a hit- Rilo Kiley

I didn't know this singer until this song, but it is a good one.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Funny moment

I was walking out of work today and I heard a parent say, "It is Ok bubeleh just walk around the steps." I love the phrase bubeleh, it is so great, but then the icing on the cake was that as I passed her, the parent and child were both Asian. It always tickles my funny bone when I hear Yiddish phrases spoken by someone who you wouldn't expect it from.

Empire- Dar Williams

I do not know what to say about Dar Williams. I only know some of her songs and I consider myself a causal fan in that I am familiar with some songs and know the name, but wouldn't necessarily know most of her music, but this a good one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

God and comedy

I watched "Circle" the 2000 comedy DVD from Eddie Izzard. Many of his routines touch upon religion and God, but this one really felt like he talked about God a lot, so I wanted to post a few bits from it, but all I could find is this one which talks about whales and then about half way through gets into God and Jebus. It really is a great DVD and his video although it is long (over 8 minutes) is worth watching.

So this got me thinking about my thoughts on and relationship with God. There are many bloggers that I have read that are atheist, there are a few of us who are Jewish and then a few who are a variety of different denominations of Christian. I was raised Jewish and still identify Jewish culturally, which led me to the thought of how many other religions do people identify with culturally? I don't know many people who identify themselves as culturally Christian or Muslim? Anyway, I think I am sort of on the fence of theism. I would not say I am agnostic, I went through that phase when I was younger and I think I have moved on. I would say that I am a theist, but possibly not in the same way that other people identify as theist. I believe that there is a higher power and that there is a unifying force that connects all of us that is created by a higher power. I do not think that God intervenes in my life or the lives of others, I view God as more of a life force.

There is a thought within Kabbalah that says that God was expanding and contracting, because well it was God and God didn't have anything else to do, and as God expanded and contracted, God finally expanded so much that God threw off shards that are now everywhere. We are now trying to gather up these shards in order to repair that which is broken. I am not sure if this is the original thought behind the Hebrew phrase, Tikkun Olam, or Repairing the World, but it fits well in this context. We are doing social action and trying to change and repair the world. We are trying to gather all of the shards together to bring about positive change in the world. The same thought can follow through that when all of the shards have been gathered, the messianic era will be ushered in. So the messiah will not come to us, but will have to be created or brought about. This thought also does not follow that the messiah has to be or even will be a person as much as an age of peace.

That last paragraph veered off topic a bit, but it is part of where I am coming from. I also tend to adapt things from different religions such as the idea of Maya from Hinduism that says that this world is merely an illusion and that the true world requires us to become enlightened to be able to see. This makes sense to me because for a long time, since I was much younger and hadn't really gotten into my interest in religion and philosophy, I have times at which I feel like I am as Shakespeare once put it "Life is a stage. And the men and women are merely actors." I feel like I am on a stage or being watched by others, not in a paranoid way, but like watching a TV show or movie. You enjoy the show, but you are not involved in what is going on in any active manner. This feeling also at times is like this world is not real, for all I know this is heaven or hell, although I do not believe in either. Once you are dead, you do not know the difference, this could be my life, my dream, the dream of someone else or merely a TV show for the amusement of another person. Truly we do not know what reality is, we are so attached to this reality, that for all I know I can walk through a wall, but am not aware that I can and so my own attachment to this reality prevents me from doing this. Yes, I really like The Matrix and I see parallels there too, but anyway. I also have liked for awhile the Yin and Yang of Taoism. The idea that there is a dualism to the world, but this dualism is constantly moving in a circle and so is not static. Also the parts of the dualism are contained within each other, so there is light in darkness and darkness in light, there is male in female and female in male, there is some heat in cold and cold in heat. In my mind this is not a set of circumstances that are set to separate the differences as much as acknowledge the differences and the fact that everything is the same, that there can be no light without dark and no man without woman and that although there appears to be many opposites, these opposites do not exist they are merely two pieces of the same structure.

So why do I bring all or even any of this up? Well one, it is another part of me that I feel at this point I am ready to share. Two and more importantly, this is how I view my life and the world around me. I want to try and find those shards, that shred of decency and god-like life force that exists in all of us. I want to change the world for the better. I want to work with young children so that I can help to influence the next generation and hopefully bring about a better world. Yes, I am idealistic, but as John Lennon sang, "I may be a dreamer, but I am not the only one." Oh yeah I am also a cynic and sarcastic and jaded as well, so that just adds to the fun and complexity that is me.

Going to a town- Rufus Wainwright

Is there anything I really need to say about Rufus Wainwright?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yo George- Tori Amos

Tori Amos generally is awesome and I really like her. This is a great video and version of this song.

Here is the original song, I also like this video as well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sixteen Military Wives- The Decemberists

I really like this song and really like this band.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Fishing"- Richard Shindell

So, as a brief background for this series of posts, I saw my brother and his wife along with the rest of my family for Thanksgiving and we had a small gift exchange. She gave me a mix CD she had made with protest songs on it. I have decided that since I whined here about the lack of protest music I will post the video (assuming I can find it) for every song that is on this mix CD and then keep going as long as I can with more protest music as I can find it. This is my own version of protest music and also political commentary. The title of the post will always be the name of the song and the artist.

Since I know that my sister-in-law and my brother both read this blog at least occasionally, hopefully you both see this post, as I loved that mix and am inspired by both of you do these posts. Thank you.

I have a blue brain

Thanks to both Franiam and Mathman, I now know I have a blue brain.

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.

I wish it was more accurate, but based upon the question that were asked, I guess this is about as accurate as it will get.

If you were gay...

On Friday I tried to post on the fact that the governor of Michigan had added gender expression as another reason that a person cannot be discriminated against in a state job, the post was poorly written and I didn't feel as though I really made my point, you can see for yourself here, but my fellow blogmate Dcup saw exactly where I was going and helped me out in comments. So I wanted to follow up here on what she had said and also make the point that I initially wanted to make.

First a little song from Avenue Q to help me out.

This is a great show and song, but what I really wanted to pull out is the line, "What do I care what you do in bed with guys?" Why should we care what someone does in the privacy of their own home or in their own relationship? What difference does it make to the conservative Christians what Sam and Edward do behind closed doors or even in public if they are not hurting anyone else? We should not care what you do in your private life and I don't get why anyone else would care what I do in my private life. Lets use Larry Craig as an example. I truly do not care what he does in his bedroom or even in a public bathroom of an airport if they are consenting adults, the issue is the hypocrisy. I am sure I have posted here and commented other places that the hypocrisy is the issue not what you do in your private life.

As I was thinking about this point, I realized that the Christians who rail against gays and anyone else they see as committing sins remind me of children. First, they are so egocentric that they cannot see that someone else may have a different viewpoint than them. According to the work of Jean Piaget among others, it seems that children after the age of 4 gain the ability to realize that your perspective is not the same as the person sitting across from you. So then are those Christians who assume everyone is seeing things within the same viewpoint as them just ignorant or have they just not developed normally and are not able to realize that others have a different viewpoint than them? For me, I have been told that I am going to hell because I do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but from my viewpoint that cannot be true. First, there is no hell within Judaism and second within Judaism the Messiah has not come yet, so how can I go to a place that does not exist for something that has not yet happened? So, if you do not believe that homosexuality is a sin and hence will send you to hell, how can you go some place for something that you do not believe? It is all a matter of perspective.

Second, and the other way that conservative Christians remind me of children, is their incessant tattling. Whether they are tattling to God or tattling to their preacher or whoever they feel they need to tell, the conservatives are always saying, you are doing something wrong. I have children who will run around the room when they are supposed to resting, but if anyone else gets up than they immediately need to tell someone. My response is, "Are you doing what you are supposed to be doing?" If the answer is yes, than don't worry about others, only worry about yourself and if the answer is no, than you need to figure out what you should be doing. The same goes for the conservatives, are they doing what in their perspective they are supposed to be doing to go to heaven or whatever graces they are supposed to be getting? Again, if the answer is yes, than great, keep it up, and worry about yourself and if the answer is no, and honestly we are human and so we are not perfect, so the answer to this question will always be no, than maybe you need to work on yourself before you criticize others.

To get back to the original point about discrimination in the workplace for sexual orientation or gender expression, what the fuck do you care is Barbie in accounting likes to date women or Roger in the next cubicle over has adopted a child with his boyfriend? By the same point, who cares if the person three cubicles over who was Bob is now going by Wendy and wearing dresses and high heels? Unless their work is affected by these choices, like the French tips they are now wearing is affecting their ability to do their work or they are now afraid to get their new dress dirty while working at the construction site, shut the fuck up and worry about yourself.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Movie Review- Wild Hogs

I saw the movie, Wild Hogs with the parental units while I was at home for Thanksgiving. This is a stupid escapist movie and is not that great at that either. Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and John Travolta are four middle aged men who decide to take a cross country motorcycle ride. Travolta, Lawrence and Allen are not very good in this movie. I am not always a huge fan of any of these three, but there are some movies where I think that each of them are not too bad. So, I am not sure if it is more that they are not really great actors or that the writer did not give them much to work with. All of them are trying to basically recover their youth in a way or to rediscover their "manhood", but this is really dropped during the movie. The movie also attempts at a buddy movie about four guys who go out on the road together and bond as friends and have to ultimately stand up for their friendship, again this is not really brought up till toward the end of the movie. So there is no consistent reason for why these men are riding together and how or why they are friends. The movie is homophobic with John C. McGinley playing a cop who is supposed to be gay. Initially the joke is not too offensive and is Ok as when he initially meets the bikers, you think maybe he is going to arrest them or something. It is kind of weak, but not a real big deal. But as that scene continues and then in a few other scenes throughout the movie, the cop is portrayed as basically a buffoon to be laughed at. He is not shown as having any ability to be professional as a cop and basically just stalks the four main characters. I am not sure that I would expect much less from a film that has as one of its premises the regaining of "manhood" through riding a motorcycle and minor violence. Ray Liotta is also in the film as a supposed badass biker, now he can and has played badasses before and did a good job of it, Goodfellas. But in this film he is horrible, he calls the other four main characters posers as bike riders and yet he appears as the biggest poser of all because he is all tattooed up and supposed to badass and just seems like a banker or lawyer who rides bikes on the weekends. There is nothing wrong with a weekend rider that is essentially what my dad is, but then don't make him into a supposed badass.

So now, I have told you all of the bad things about this film, but there were three bright spots. First, Peter Fonda has a bit part toward the end as a biker. This is an obvious nod toward, Easy Rider, in which Fonda plays a biker. He is very good in this role and it is a nice acknowledgment of his earlier role. Two, Marisa Tomei has a smaller part as the owner of the diner in the small town that the Wild Hogs end up for the last part of the movie and the climax. She also plays the love interest of William H. Macy. In addition to the fact that Tomei is still very attractive, she seemed to be having fun in this movie and did a very good job as the love interest to Macy. Third and finally, I really liked William H. Macy in this film. He plays a computer programmer who is friends with and rides along with the Wild Hogs, but he is not an accomplished rider. He has several times where he falls off the bike or in another way has a pratfall. Since I like physical humor and Macy did a really good job with this, I really did laugh at this stuff. He also does a good job of being this self confessed nerd who also rides a motorcycle. For me, he did making watching this film bearable.

So don't bother renting this film unless you want to get it for $1 or find it on TV and are bored, then watch it, but otherwise you really can skip this film.

Friday, November 23, 2007

YouTube Friday

Here are trailers for two movies that I can't wait till they come out.

This one I have to wait till next summer for, I was hoping it would be out sooner.

But this one come out this Christmas, yay!!

A step in the right direction

According to this article, the governor of Michigan has added discrimination against transgendered people to the list of reason that a person cannot be fired in a state job. This adds to religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, marital status, politics, disability or genetic information as reasons that a person cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. As a fellow human being and someone who wants equal standing for all and abhors discrimination, I applaud this decision. Will this become a trend among other states? I have no illusions that this will happen in the South where I live, but among other states will it spread? I am sure there are other states that include being trangendered as part of the reasons that someone cannot be discriminated against, as I am not very informed about the right of the transgendered, but this is the first time I have noticed an article about this. Is this the next step for states that have already accepted sexual orientation as not being a valid reason for discrimination? It is interesting, though, that the local conservative organization chalked this up to just pandering to the gay vote rather than a real issue. Is the gay vote really that big a deal that a governor would risk alienating a portion of the public, the conservative vote, if it wasn't happening?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!! Hope your day is not too stressful and somewhat enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fried Bacon

Sir Robin has this video up about a man who sells fried bacon at his restaurant. I needed to share with everyone else.

Now this ties in with this post where I talk about the fact that you should eat what you like in moderation and not worry about what others say. Well, I guess people take this too literally and this man is making chicken fried bacon. And I have to say that two orders of fried bacon with cream gravy is not a meal, it is just s heart attack waiting to happen. I do love fried okra, fried fish and even fried chicken sometimes, but there are somethings that should not be fried. In addition, I am not sure twinkies, coke, snicker bars, or oreos should be fried either, although I have been told that each and every one of those things are good fried.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So I have now traveled from the tarheel state (what the hell is a tarheel anyway) to the keystone state. I found out mid afternoon on Tuesday that I did not have to work on Wednesday, so I decided to avoid traffic and drive up late Tuesday night. The trip was fine but I had a few thoughts as I drove.

1. They should start to sell dog treats in the vending machines at rest areas. I know this sounds silly, but really if they sell everything else why not dog or cat treats. And also I would have given Logan a treat/bribe to get him back into the car so that we could keep going. He love to ride in the car, but he wanted to play outside longer than I wanted to stop. I didn't bring any treats with me as I knew my parents had some here, but if they had little treat bags like they sell junk food for humans for dogs, I definitely would have gotten one.

2.I always pass Nicodemus Road on my way up here and I always think of this movie/book. But when I looked it up on wikipedia, I found out that that Nicodemus was a follower of Jesus. Now I know.

3. Not long after Nicodemus Rd. is Challedon Rd. I have always wondered what Challedon was. It turns out it was a race horse from the 1930s and 1940s. Now I know this as well.

Other than that it was an uneventful, but late trip.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What is healthy?

This post by DCup got me thinking about weight and the weight consciousness of our society. I went online and checked my BMI and my ideal weight. Of course, I came up obese and according to this site, I am about 100 pounds heavier than I should be. Now I admit I have a gut and could probably stand to lose of about 25 or so pounds, but honestly I don't know where 100 pounds would come from. That is basically losing half of me and at the low end of the scale according to my ideal weight I should lose half my body weight. Even when I was swimming everyday on a swim team when I was in middle school and into the beginning of high school I was still bigger. Even when I was a lifeguard and was teaching swim lessons and so was in a pool for several hours at a time and holding kids up when they were swimming so at times I was only using my legs to porpel myself or keep my head above water I was bigger. These are the two times I was in the best shape of my life and yet I have the body type which means that I will be a fluffier person (I love the term fluffy, it is so great). Since I have been walking my dog on a regular basis and starting to try and eat better, I have lost some weight or at least most of my clothes are getting too big for me, but still I am not and never will be a really skinny person.

I have come to the conclusion that all of that medical stuff is bullshit. That when you apply the same standard to everyone no matter what their body type is, then you invalidate all of your conclusions. I firmly believe that people learn differently so as a teacher I do not teach the same materials the same way to every student, well losing weight and what is healthy is the same thing. Different people will lose weight differently and different people will be healthy with the same weight. I am not making exucses for not eating healthy or saying that you should weigh whatever you want. But if you are happy with you, than don't worry about what others say. If you are bed ridden or cannot walk a few steps without getting winded then yeah maybe you could stand to lose a few pounds, but otherwise you should remember that moderation is the key.

In the same vein and because I have to say it, if you give your child a hamburger, large fries and a large coke everyday for their afternoon snack and they are only 5 and then they eat a full dinner later, than maybe you need to rethink your nutrition habits. But on the other hand if you encourage them to eat healthy and be conscious of what they are eating as they get older, than let them eat the sweets occasionally or even every day in the afternoon. There is a difference between some chips and soda after school and two full meals of fat and grease between 3 and 6.

So I guess to summarize, as adults eat what you like in moderation and fuck what others say about your size if you are happy with you, but children need to be encouraged to eat healthy, so that they can grow up to eat healthy and like vegetables.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Tengrain posted this an article that described this ad, so of course I had to find it. I found it, unfortunately I had to actually go to the Mike Huckabee for President site (No I will not link to it, so don't ask), but here it is in all of its stupidity.

All I can say is what the fuck!!!!


I have no interest in seeing this movie and the constant barrage of ads bothers the fuck out of me. I didn't like the book when I read it in high school, although maybe I should give it another shot now that I am a bit older. The thing that really annoys me though is the whole CGI animation to make it look like they are real people. Either make this a live action film or don't, but don't try to do both. If it was live action I may actually want to see it, if for no other reason than to see Angelina Jolie as a badass, ok so she is naked in the film which helps too. Anyway, if anyone sees this and wants to let me know if it is worth seeing, just comment here.

The power of words

Disclaimer: This post has been brewing in my head for about three days now and each time I think about it, there is slightly a different twist or point to it, so I am not not exactly sure where this is going.

I was watching the children play outside on the playground on Friday and I heard and saw one of the them children run up to another child and say, "I don't like it when you do that. When I say no, I mean no." This got me thinking about how we use words and listening to other people's words. My first thought went towards the No means No campaign against rape. There are two sides to the whole listening to others when it comes to rape. The rapist is obviously not listening to the other person, I know that rape is about power, so this would seem to be an obvious, but useless point, but it isn't. RAINN reports that 73% of rapes occur between people who know each other. So this means that it is not a random stranger who jumps on the women in the dark and then rapes her. It means that there is probably some communication and that the women is saying no. It means that the rapist is not listening to the victim. Yes, this is still power, but there is an element of not listening, of not respecting someone else's thoughts and words. So, I wonder why does this person not listen, are they not used to having their own words respected and so do not respect others? Were they ignored in childhood in terms of their words and expressed desires? I have seen and know that research shows that children with limited to no speech tend to resort to violence more quickly than children who do speak. So then if you have been awkward or uncomfortable around the gender that you are interested in and have not been able to produce "speech" then you resort to violence as a way of exerting that same ability or power. I am not apologizing for rapists, I am in no way saying that rape is Ok or that since you cannot speak to the interested person that rape is OK, but as I do not believe that children and people are inherently bad, I am also looking for another explanation. This, also, at least in my thoughts, explains the excuse that is given at times by rapists, she said no, but she meant yes. Well, no, if you are listening to another person's words and they say no, then they mean no. If they say stop, they mean stop. This "no means yes" thing seems to be projection, as an individual you are not accustomed to others listeining to your words, so you do not listen to another person's words. You hear the other person say stop, but you do no listen. I am defining listening as not only hearing, but also comprehending the words that are being said.

The other side to this is that, according to RAINN, again, 59% of rapes are not reported. It would seem that most rapes are not reported because the victim is afraid they will not be believed, although I could be wrong on this. This again goes back to being used to having your words listened to and respected. If you are not used to the words you use being listened to and respected, than you will assume that your report of rape will not be respected and listened to. You will assume that it is not worth wasting another person's time by speaking up, by reporting what happened. I would not even connect this lack of faith in your own words to self-esteem necessarily, I would connect this to something else.

The reason that we are not used to being listened to is that it doesn't happen very often. Do we really listen to those we come in contact with on a daily basis? Do we listen to our children, our spouses, our friends and coworkers? We have become a nation that hears what others say, but we do not listen. We tune out what a majority of the world says to us. We are so busy thinking about what else we have to do or what we are going to say next that we do not listen. I have been in several trainings or discussions on active listening skills, where you are supposed to really listen to another person and take a minute to formulate your thoughts and then speak. Have you ever really tried this? Have you ever listened to someone and then thought before you answered? Well, you get strange looks and people expect you to just answer right away. The worst is when they assume you have nothing to say and so they either repeat what they just said or just go on to another topic. I am not saying that I do this a lot or very often, but I do try. I am as guilty as everyone else of not listening, of planning my response or what I am going to say next while the other person is talking. But I also try to be more conscious of this especially when interacting with young children. The other point is how many of us actually choose our words carefully and actually mean exactly what we say. It is easier when you are typing or writing something, but in everyday speech it is very hard to mean exactly what you say. We tend to assume that people know what we mean, we use inaccurate word choices, especially when talking to those who are close to us, but in reality even those we live with and interact with on an everyday level are not in our minds and so they do not know exactly what you are trying to say. They cannot read your mind and so do not know how you got from point A to point B. Maybe I am more sensitive to this, as my own sense of logic and train of thought tends to be different than most, so at times I actually have to explain the whole train of thought to someone before they actually see what I said in the first place and at other times I have to get someone else to explain exactly what they were thinking so that I can understand what they said in the first place (I think that is a huge run-on sentence, but I am not sure how to break it so I am leaving it). So, back to the whole why do we not report rape, it is because we are so used to not having people listen to us, that we do not even consciously realize it. We say that the police or another person would not understand, or that they would not believe us or that if it is our words versus another's words, of course the other person would be believed. We need to start to listen to others and demand that others listen to us.

Do I think that by listening more, rape would be disappear? Probably not as it is about power, but maybe one or two more people would not be raped. Do I think that by listening more, we would have a happier society? Yes, I think that if we listened more and talked less we would realize that some people really have valuable things to say. We would realize that your child, or a student (sorry as a teacher this kind of sticks with me) or that friend or coworker that talks to you when you feel like you have a million other things to do and you get annoyed because they interrupted your routine has something valuable to tell you. They may tell you the meaning of life or they love you or really who knows what, if you actually stopped and listened.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I think I am an addict...

I think I am a blog addict. I have started to view life in terms of if I will write about it here or how to turn what I see into a blog post. I actually have had several times where I really wanted to take the thoughts out of my head and then just be able to post them straight away. I am normally somewhere with no computer and no way to record my thoughts, such as the desire that I have, to one day figure out a way to blog the thoughts that go through my head as I walk around Target or any other large store, although it is usually Target. This would probably not make a great post and would be very random and, of course, stream of consciousness, but I also think it would be interesting. There are times as the thoughts flow that I think I want to blog this purely because there is more here than the surface and if I could put it down then I could comment on it or just have a laugh over it. Most of the time I have no interest of going straight from brain to "paper" as this would make horrible posts and I believe probably scare most people away as I am very random and moody.

I also have a lot of the thoughts about what to post either walking my dog or hanging out with preschoolers and there are times that I want to go from brain to "paper", but can't. There also seems to be a taboo about walking around with a tape recorder, recording my every thought as this requires me to be talking to myself for long periods of time, ya get strange looks from people when you talk to yourself, dontcha know. But I had this great thought process on the power of language, listening to someone's words and rape while watching kids out on the playground and of course it is lost by the time I got home. So I was thinking about it again as I was doing errands today and the post went in a different direction about the power of language in more broad respects in addition to rape, but again that whole thought was lost. So I am hoping that sometime this weekend, I will actually be able to resurrect this thought process and give you a well thought out or sort of well thought out post on the power of language.

I also have found myself dreaming about blogging. Friday morning as I was waking up, I woke up to a dream where I was reading blogs or at least I think that is what I was doing. It was definitely blog related and many of the people from my blogroll were there, but since I have no idea what most of you look like you were played by your blogs or something like that. Anyway, blogging has taken over my brain and has begun to cost me sleep and altered my routine, isn't that basically the definition of an addiction, it alters your life.

I am sure many of you share my addiction, so I just wanted to be able to stand up and say, "Hi, my name is Boxer and I am addicted to blogging."

Friday, November 16, 2007

YouTube Fridays

Two songs from a band I just discovered and really like, Silversun Pickups.

I love books

The county public libraries had a book sale. How awesome and I got 15 books for $33. It was overwhelming to try and look through all of the books, but I did find things, obviously, which rocks. The funniest and probably best thing I saw there was in the non-fiction general area, Lies and the Big Fat Liars who Tell Them by Al Franken right next a book by Ann Coulter. This made me laugh quiet hard. After the sale is over, they shred and recycle all of the leftover books, I hope Coulter is shredded. I also saw a lot of Nicholas Sparks books, Clan of the Cave Bear several times and many other books that I recognize as being the book of the week or Oprah Book Club books, but apparently are not being read as much any more as the library is trying to get rid of at least some of their copies. It was a good night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is why I don't watch the debates-Live Blogging

I don't watch them because I end up yelling a the TV. I yell in support of Kucinich and why he doesn't get more time to speak. And then I yell at the moderators and the Big Three and how much I dislike Clinton and Obama's avoiding the question. I can stand Edwards if I had to. I will update this to tell you if I actually made it through the entire debate. Yay Kucinich actually got to speak and it is only 40 minutes into the two hour debate, what the fuck.

Ok I like Richardson on Education, mandatory preschool, full day kindergarten and two years of higher ed for a year of service, which I support.

Second shot by Biden at the other candidates especially Clinton and Obama.

Blitzer said he was going to ask every candidate about National Security versus Human rights and then he ignores Kucinich and Kucinich says "hey" and Blitzer blows him off, what the fuck, I have a feeling I am going to be saying that a lot tonight.

Third question for Kucinich, yay. I love the challenge to Edwards and Clinton. Kucinich, when he gets to talk, does seem to push the other candidates as does Dodd.

Fourth question for Kucinich and again he takes a shot at other candidates and at the administration reminding everyone that he wants to impeach this administration. Yay Dennis.

Wow nice loud applause for Kucinich on his view of a need for a pro-choice supreme court appointee.

Ok so I gave up at 10:00.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The 'puter is cussing at me

So yesterday I was writing an email to a friend and I had misspelled the words fuck and bullshit. The little squiggly line was there to show me I had misspelled them, so I clicked on it and to my great surprise and enjoyment, the words were there and spelled correctly. They weren't even mixed in with other words that might be spelled the same, it was as though the 'puter knew what I wanted to say and knew that I needed to use these very special words to really express my thoughts. It is 'bout fecking time the computer will cuss at me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Movie Review- Palindromes

This is another Todd Solondz film. The last of the series of his movies I was able to get from Netflix. According to IMDB, he had to personally finance this movie as no studio would pick it up. It is sort of understandable since the film centers around a 12 or 13 year old girl who wants to have a child and has sex with several partners to make this happen. Hence there are scenes of young teens having sex and there is a scene of abortion, these are not normally topics that studio wants to touch upon. As with the other Solondz films, I really liked this one as well, but it is, again, a raw and unfiltered look at life. The film also ties in with Welcome to the Dollhouse as the family in this film are relatives of the Wiener family and the Wiener family is shown and mentioned throughout the film. The most interesting aspect of this film is that main character Aviva, is played by many different actors throughout the film. The character is always the same, the situations are the same, but the physical look of the character changes pretty often. These changes are often in ethnicity and body size. There is even a brief change of gender. After a while, these changes become just an accepted part of the character, but initially it is kind of shocking. I was going to omit this detail, but since I have seen it on the IMDB summary and the trailer that I am posting here shows it, I figured I might as well mention it as well.

Here is the trailer for this movie as I think that it does a better job of displaying this movie than I can explain.

Here is a scene that is toward the end of the film, that I really liked and really echoes something that is shown throughout the film even with the physical changes that take place.

If you liked his other films, than see this one if for no other reason that it furthers the story of the Wieners from Welcome to the Dollhouse and we find out some of what happens to them after the end of Dollhouse.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Love or something like that

Since I wrote about my first love here, I thought I might write about my recent love. This post will finish the trilogy of my girlfriends, there was only one girlfriend in between and not much to write about there.

I met, A., in February of my senior year in high school. I was working as a lifeguard and a swim instructor and she had started to work at the same Y as me, but as head guard and head swim instructor, never mind that she had just gotten her lifeguard certification the weekend before. We met and I was asked to show her around by my boss, who was also in many ways a big sister to me when I worked at the Y. So as I am showing A. the ropes, especially how to do the chemicals for the pool she tells me her grandmother had a pool and she already knows how to do this. I was not having a good day, but I can't remember why, but at first I didn't like her. About a week or so later, I am working and she comes in and starts to talk to me, just chit chat. We start talking about book stores and this local small bookstore that is in town that also sells coffee. So she says that she hasn't had a chance to go and maybe we should go over there one day. I agree, but don't really think that much about it. We meet one afternoon at the bookstore and have coffee. There is a connection at this point, the sparks are flying and I have no idea what the hell I am getting myself into at this point. So I go home rather late for dinner and my mom asks who I was out with, as I had called home at one point and told them I was out with a friend. I tell her, A. and she asks oh so does she go to the other local high school as she knows she does not go to the same one I go to. I tell her no, she is a little bit older. My mother asks how much older and I tell her, 26. My mother is not real happy about this as her 18 year old son is now dating (we really weren't dating yet, but still...) a 26 year old.

The relationship progresses rather fast and we are hanging out pretty much everyday as I get home from school and finish any homework that I have to do and then we meet and go to the coffee shop/bookstore where we first went or we go to a local park and just hang out and talk. Honestly, it was all very innocent and I really thought that we were just friends (I was very naive at this point in my life, I still am in many ways). We also start to go out to eat a lot more after I get off work or after we both are done if we are both teaching that day. We also hang out on the weekends, where I tend to go over to her parents house (she still lived at home with her parents, her sister who was a year younger than her who had a four year old son when I met her and her sister's baby daddy and the older brother lived at the same house during some of our relationship, although not when we first started out). This should have been the first signs for me, but I was pretty well blinded by love. I also remember our first kiss as we were at a local state park and just hanging out after going out for dinner and she started to rub my neck and we just started to make out. This then progressed to where we were very affectionate all of the time since she was just affectionate anyway and I was too. I eventually lost my virginity to her in June or so. But in March as I was flipping out one night she agreed to marry me as I was stressing over among other things losing her. The marriage talk among us became common and we decided that I would finish my freshman year in college and then she would move down to NC with me and we would get married later in my college career.

This continues for most of the summer with us having sex and spending every waking minute together. A typical day for me was that I would wake up at around 10, she would call, I would sometimes take a quick shower and sometimes not, I would meet her at the Y where we would go get lunch or just go to her house and then we would do whatever around her place. We would usually fool around at some point and then fall asleep, I would have to get up later that day and we would drive back to the Y where I would guard for a while and then we would teach some swim lessons then go back to her house and have dinner and then hang out there till either I went home between 11 and 1 or we would fall asleep in her bed and then I would have to wake up between 1 and 2 and then drive home to sleep in my own bed to then repeat this the next day. We did spend some time at my parent's house as my mom would get pretty angry at me as they would not see me all that often, but at my house we couldn't have sex so I blew that off pretty often as I was enjoying the sex quite a lot.

I then go off to college and she tells me that we should have an open relationship, so that I can enjoy college. Well, that doesn't work. I spend most of my first semester of college depressed because I miss A. and don't know how to cope with out her as for the past three months we have not gone more than a day, and even that is rare, without seeing each other. She then starts driving back and forth from PA to NC seeing me pretty often and after December my parents let me take my car down to NC so we see each other at least once a month and often more than that. I decide that I am not happy in NC and miss her too much to stay there so I transfer to the University of DE. Now that I am only two hours away we see each other basically every weekend as her dad works just up the road from UD and I rode home with him on Friday nights and then back on Monday mornings. This basically continues for the next three year with some tapering off at the end of my college career as her mother gets tired of having house guest all of the time and so I can't go to her house. She lives with her parents until well after she and I break up. During all four years of college, I have a variety of crushes on other girls, occasionally I get the feeling that they have a thing for me, but never gets anywhere, I am loyal to A. the whole time. I also tell her when I have crushes and this of course hurts her so after a while I start to not tell her as much or really down play anything if she asks. The whole open relationship thing never really gets off the ground and really it was never going to work anyway, at least in our relationship it wouldn't have worked.

So after college, I don't know what to do, so I talk to a friend who suggests that I do Americorps in DE. I already know both of the people who are doing the hiring and have been sort of friends with both of them for a while through this other mutual friend. This apparently sends A. into a tailspin, I hear this from my mom who was never a huge fan of this relationship anyway, so I take some of this with a grain of salt. But I do believe that this is the beginning of the end as I look back on the relationship. Matters are not helped when I inadvertently tell A. that I have a crush on one of the girls that I am sharing an apartment with. This crush dissipates rather quickly, but it was still there at one point and Katie and I are friends throughout the whole living together thing (I am living with one other guy and one other girl for a while until the other girl moves out and then I am living with two other guys and Katie). Anyway, so we have a great time toward the end, we go to Philly together for her birthday/Valentine's Day and have a good time. But within a few months we have broken up, really she dumps me for another guy. They are married less than a year after we break up and are still together, so the relationship between A. and I lasted just over five years. We still talk and for a while were talking rather regularly, but since her phone got turned off we have not talked for a while.

So why am I now spilling my guts out like this. Well, one it was cathartic to talk about my first love and I figured it would have the same effect to do this as well and so far it has. Also, because I will probably see her when I go home for Thanksgiving although we have tried to get together before and it doesn't normally work. Although, I did see her this summer when I went up to Baltimore with a friend of mine. It was good to see her, we share some great memories and she did help me get through some rough patches in my life. I also miss having that close a friend, I have told her that I wish we had never really dated or that we had really broken up when I went to college because then we would not have lost the friendship we had. She does not like when I say this and I have no regrets truly, but I do wonder how my life would be different if I had not spent my entire college life with one woman. I also am writing this because this explains much of my relationships from that point on with women and as I think about it, in general. I have not had any really good really close friends since she and I broke up, I have not really dated since she and I broke up and I am thinking by finally expelling much of this in this way, I will be able to finally move on. I have moved on in many ways, but I think that until I meet someone else and really start to have a more emotionally intimate not to mention physically intimate relationship I will not be able to totally move on, but also by putting this all out there I am able to write about and think about this relationship and its after effects in another way. If you have read this whole thing, than congratulations and why?? You also now know yet another part of my life and psyche.

P.S.- She has told me point blank that if she ever came down to visit it would be sans husband and that she almost stayed with me when I was in Baltimore if I had had my own room. She then continues that this would lead to sex as her husband is just not doing it for her anymore. This is the final reason that I am writing, I need to get her out of my head in so many ways as I really have no interest in having her have sex with me behind her husband's back. I am not really sure that I am interested in her physically anymore, even if she didn't have a husband. But I also know that since I have not had any affection for over five years as this is how long it has been since we broke up, the flesh would be weak and I would do something that I would regret, by posting this I am hoping to strengthen the flesh and the mind.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Great Commercial

I just saw this great commercial and now I love it. I don't like McD's, but occasionally they have great commercials.

Just in case you were wondering, the music is by Mr.C and the song is called the Cha Cha slide. It is also a fuck load of fun to do with a bunch of preschoolers.

I love college sports

I went to a college football game yesterday, UNC versus NC State. It was lots of fun, even though my team, UNC lost. It was a great game and every time I get the chance to go to a college football or basketball game I have fun. I really want to go to a college hockey game as I really like hockey, I did get to go to a club hockey game once when I was still in DE. College sports have many things that the pro games do not have. The players want to be there, they are not being paid to play the game. Ok so some of them may be paid, but that is against the rules so I would hope that this is a small minority of players. Also many of these players will never become stars or even play in the major leagues of their respective sports, but they play hard each and every play. Also since these are college kids, there are times where things seem to be so much more in the air as they will make mistakes that wouldn't be made in the pros.

This game was a rivalry game which only really seems to exist in college games. I know any of the cities with multiple teams in a sport claim to have rivalries, but it is not the same. In my opinion, you cheer for the team that you grow up cheering for or where you live when it comes to pro sports. But college sports seems to be so much more, you cheer for where you or your child(ren) or relatives went to school. You see families split between UNC and Duke or UNC versus NC State, you see splits in families between Florida and Florida State, Oregon and Oregon State, Michigan versus Ohio State. There is more feeling in these rivalries, I know almost no households where they are as split as what happens when two college rivals play each other and the couple or the children went to the two rival schools. In a stadium of over 60,000 or more a majority of these people have never played football or basketball or any other sport at the school they are cheering for, but they went to that school or someone they know and love did or does and so they cheer. I can cheer for the Steelers and I love the Steelers, but really I know no one who has ever played or even worked in or around the Steeler organization.

I cheer for the UD Blue Hens because that is where I got my undergrad, I cheer for the UNCG Spartans where I got my master (who beat Georgia Tech on Friday night, Go Spartans!!!!), I cheer for UNC in basketball because basically I have liked them since I was in elementary school and it is the reason that I started to look at going to an NC school when I was first looking at colleges (kind of embarrassing, but true). I cheer for whoever in college football, sure I like UNC, but they are not really a football school, so sometimes I kind of cheer for whoever I feel like. I do not have the same animosity toward Cleveland or Baltimore or Philadelphia in football, Philly or the Islanders or the Ranger in hockey and even the Yankees as I do toward Duke, Florida State, Ohio State or Penn State in all college sports. I do not care what the sport is I cheer against those teams, from football to basketball to swimming, softball, baseball or badminton, I want to see FSU, Duke, OSU and PSU lose to whoever they are competing against. That is why college sports are great, the love is deeper and the hate is stronger. I know there are those out there who do not care for sports and so you may not understand, but I also know that there are plenty of people who could care less about pro sports, but when it comes to their alma mater they will cheer just as hard as anyone else. So, go out and support your alma mater or a local college team and see some kids who work damn hard to compete and have fun.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ten Random things

Ok so this time Mathman meme'd me, so here goes.

1. I grew up in PA, went to UNC-Asheville for my freshman year, moved to DE and finished my undergrad and then moved back to NC after an additional two years in DE. There is of course more to this story and of course it involves a girl, and it will be blogged about as I have been thinking about it for over a month now.

2. I played the clarinet in middle school and for short time in high school.

3. I was on the swim team from 5th grade till after my freshman year in high school.

4. My first "job" although I didn't get paid for it was working in the mornings for a summer at a horse farm.

5. My first real job was as a lifeguard and swim instructor all through high school. I still love to teach swimming and if I thought I could make enough money doing that, would probably want to do it full time.

6. I don't really like NYC and love DC. Although to be fair, I have not been to NYC since I was in high school and spent a summer in DC while I was in college.

7. I am thinking of getting a tattoo when I turn thirty next year.

8. I was the fairy godperson (it was supposed to be a fairy godmother, but because of my gender we did make it a a fairy godperson) in a version of Cinderella Wore Combat Boots in high school where I got to wear a tutu.

9. To add to the whole gender bending thing, during most of my freshman and sophomore years of college I painted my finger nails a variety of colors from green to blue to silver to a color that depending on the light was either maroon or a deep purple (my girlfriend at the time would not let me paint them black). I miss painting my finger nails sometimes as it was mildly relaxing and mindless, but I don't think that I should show up to work with painted finger nails.

10. I want to move to a Buddhist monastery at some point in my life for a period of time still to be determined.

I have no idea who to tag as I think that everyone I would tag has already done this and recently so if you see this and want to take it and run, then do it, just let me know that you are doing so. If no one does do it, then oh well.

Jenna writes a book

On CSPAN2 this morning they had Book TV and lo and behold Jenna Bush was on as an author talking about the book she had written. I sat and watched the press conference at the Miami Book Fair, it was interesting to see her speak. She reminds me a lot of her dad, she seems to struggle to speak English, although she seems better than her father, she seems to always be smiling and has these weird facial expressions even when talking about very sad things, she is very earnest in her thoughts as though she does not understand that there is a world outside her experiences and finally she is very naive and has been very sheltered in her life. I would not expect anything else from her, but it was interesting to see how naive she is.

I didn't know that she was an elementary school teacher and she said she worked in inner city DC. The book comes from her experiences as an intern with UNICEF in Latin America and yet even after both of these experiences she seems to still view life as a small child or puppy would. The rose colored glasses that her family seems to have surgically attached to their eyes do not seem to have changed even though she has seen poverty and conditions that would seem to be so different than her own childhood. She mentioned that when she visited Jamaica as part of UNICEF, she was talking to some high school students who had HIV. They all confirmed their status to her and her companions, but they were very quiet about it and spoke in hushed voices. When Jenna asked why they were so quiet, they explained that if anyone found out about their HIV status, they would be stoned, which means they would have stones thrown at them till they fell down. She explained this to us because apparently like her father if she does not know what something means than nobody else does either so they explain it to us. (And yes I did feel compelled at this point to talk to the TV and say, "Not like how you and your mother and father are usually stoned, huh.) She then elaborated that apparently the stigma of HIV is not foreign, it is also true here in the US, according to some high schoolers she talked to in LA. She sounded so earnest and surprised about this, it would actually be kind of funny if it wasn't so sad.

The whole press conference was obviously written down as she would look down at her notes quite often and apparently she did not think to change anything from the speaking engagements she has been doing with high school students. She talked to the audience as though we were in high school or possibly in elementary school. She talked about how sad all of these orphans are and how there are a lot of opportunities to help them and we need to help them, how there are a lot of opportunities for high school students to get involved, she then looked up and realized that her audience was mostly adults and noted, I guess many of you are already doing things as you are probably teachers or librarians, but there is more that we can do to help all of these poor people of Africa and Latin America.

I found listening to her talk about her book and her experiences interesting. No, she is not eloquent or engaging and I am sure if it had been someone else there could have been a lot more interest generated, but she is still so naive and so unjaded (is that even a word) that listening to her talk is like sending one of my preschoolers to Latin America and asking them to then tell me what happened. But I think that the preschoolers would show more compassion and empathy toward other people. She read several chapters from her book and even the writing is immature, it sounds like a poorly written chapter book for a fourth grader. If she wasn't the daughter of the president, she probably would not have even gotten the opportunity to go to Latin America, let alone write a book. I am glad that she go to go and spend several weeks living among people who have grown up with lives that are so very different from her own and I honestly think that we need to do that same for her father. He needs to see that there are people who have not been able to dodge the draft, do cocaine and be an alcoholic for much of their lives and then suddenly become president, most of us have to work to pay bills and just to live.

Friday, November 9, 2007

YouTube Friday

Shabbat Shalom, y'all.

Because in the Blue Gal Salon, Klezmer seems to come up quite often and several people have never heard it before, so this ones for you.

This one is just because it is such a great traditional song in such a great non-traditional way.

I think that DCap is the one who showed me the Dick Dale doing Hava Nagila, but honestly I don't remember, so if it was someone else I am sorry. But thanks to whoever it was.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Invisible Children

I was this video on MTV as I was flipping though this morning. It caught my attention and needed to be put up here.

Here is the website that is referenced at the end of the video. Go check it out!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The writers strike and The Office

So yet another reason why I love Steve Carell and The Office, Carell is refusing to cross the picket line for the writers union strike, hence production on the show has been halted. Here is a great video that makes their points about why the writers union deserves to get paid and also shows several of the writers/actors from The Office striking.

And just for shits and giggles, Jon Stewart on the Writers Strike.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I am a terrorist...

Or at least if I lived in the Bay area I would be considered one. Apparently the FBI tried at one point to track Iranian terrorists by their consumption of falafel. So anyway...

I found this from Shakesville which got it from firedoglake, so here is the original firedoglake blog post.


What is this and why did a four year old make it?

Just asking.

More leeway for military recruits

According to this article, the Pentagon is thinking about allowing more people with minor criminal records to enlist in the military. Apparently this is a big issue where the waiver process to allow individuals with a minor criminal record is quite cumbersome. Also, the military is being told that they need to increase their numbers at the same time. The military commanders seem to feel that allowing more individuals to join the military with criminal records is a bad idea as the commanders in the field already have too many "problem children" to deal with.

This seem to be another case of the Pentagon and the civilian leadership in this nation not listening to their military leaders. it has been reported that many military commanders knew of many of the issues that we would face in Iraq and pushed for more troops from the beginning. There are also many reports to high ranking officials in the military who are vehemently against any invasion or military action against Iran. Yet, the civilian leadership ignores those people whose job it is to know how the military works and what is the best way to plan military strategy. This makes no sense.

The second issue is that the reason that there is more need for troops is because of the entanglements we have gotten into in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military is looking toward needing enough troops for both of these battles plus enough for other hot spots across the globe. We are stretching our military too thin and we are beginning to pay the consequences for this action. For soldiers who have a criminal record this may be an indication of the character and they may not fit into the military so well and cause more issues than they solve.

So rather than adding to the military, how about if we use the one we have more effectively and not get ourselves into stupid wars that are not our problem.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Home today and a question

So I am home today, I called in sick. I felt yucky this morning so decided to just call in, I feel much better now (Whenever I think of that I think of Night Court and Harry's uncle who was in the mental asylum and always said, "But I feel much better now.") I think I just needed a mental health day. Anyway, it is nice to have a day at home that you don't usually get. I was able to read blogs and really take my time reading them. Usually, I look at all of the blogs and also at some point during this I realize that I am hungry and should probably start to make food. So then I am making dinner and reading blogs and well it just feels compressed sometimes. It was nice to just read and not worry about what time it was or what else needed to get done. I also watched an Eddie Izzard DVD. I am working my way through his stand-up on DVD in chronological order at the same time as I am watching the Todd Soldonz films, it is not as odd of a combination as it sounds. This Eddie Izzard clip goes out to the cat owners who read my blog, although I do not own a cat, I understand the sentiment.

So anyway, it got me thinking, what does my dog do when I am not at home? When I am home, he sleeps and he wanders around the apartment. Does he do the same things when I am not here? Does he sleep more and wander less or vice versa? Does he sleep on my bed, does he sleep in the living room where I am right now and have been? Does he play on the internet, I keep finding sites that I know I haven't been on like so this was supposed to be a joke, but apparently this is a real site of a dog training facility in Greenville, NC) and Bark Bark Woof Woof, oh wait, I do know that site, that is the blog of Mustang Bobby, sorry Ok that was me. Anyway, what does a dog or cat for that matter do when the owner is not there? The mere fact that I am home changes his routine and I know this, so I wonder about these things at times.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Please vote in this

The poll is here.

Movie Review- Storytelling

This is another Todd Soldonz directed movie. I have one more of his movies that I was able to get from Netflix and then I will have seen all of the films that he has done that are available on Netflix. There was at least one film that was not available on Netflix. I do this sometimes, if I find a director that I really like I try to watch all of the movies they have done.

This is another awesome movie, but this one is slightly different than the other two that I have already talked about here and here. This film is actually two short films placed together. The two films together compare fiction versus nonfiction in storytelling. Since the movie is actually split, I am going to split this review a bit as well.

The first story we see is entitled "Fiction". It is essentially the story of race relations and sexuality on a college campus. It is a short story at only 30 or so minutes, so the plot of the story moves fast. Again, Soldonz does an awesome job of casting this film with great actors, Selma Blair is awesome and Leo Fitzpatrick is amazing. Since the story is so short and I do not want to give anything away, there is not much I want to say about this film. But I watched the unrated version of this film and on the DVD you can watch either the unrated version or the rated "R" version. I was curious if I was right about the scene that they had to cut or at one of the scenes they had to cut and I was. It is a very graphic sexual scene with a lot of racial overtones, two things struck me about this scene. First, it was kind of funny the way the scene was edited for the "R" rated version on the DVD, the same scene was shown and the same audio was heard, but there was a big red box that blocked the audience from seeing the graphic nature of what was happening. If someone truly was trying to avoid the graphic nature in this film and chose the rated "R" version they really wasted their time and might as well see the unrated version as really nothing is edited out. The second thing is that by the editing the bulk of this scene out as I would assume would happen in a movie theater (I am just guessing here that there would not be just a big red box superimposed on the screen) the audience misses some very important information. Sure in the edited version you get the same idea, but the power of the images and what happens are so much more powerful in the unedited version and add so much to the ending that editing them out diminishes the whole story. I am sure that Soldonz had to make the edit so that the film could be distributed, but really the American public needs to get off their fucking high horse and accept that life is messy and things happen that we do not want to see all of the time, but we need to see them.

The second part of the this film is entitled "Nonfiction". Again this is superbly cast with John Goodman, Paul Giamatti and Mark Weber among the rest of the cast. This story is about a man, Paul Giamatti, who is trying to make a documentary about teens in suburbia. He is working with a very dysfunctional family who happens to be wealthy Jews. This fact in and of itself made this move great for me because I saw the people that I grew up with portrayed in this film. My family was not wealthy, but I had a lot of friends in the synagogue I grew up in whose families had money. This family is not only dysfunctional, but also has some bad karma with things going from bad to worse quite rapidly. This is again an excellent look inside the modern American family and the dysfunction that has become normal within our families.

The most interesting element to this whole film is that the story entitled "fiction" seems the most true and the story entitled "nonfiction" seems the least true of the two. But both stories are so true to life that either could be titled "fiction" or "nonfiction". Again I recommend this film if you liked the other Todd Soldonz films or are looking for an independent film where you will be challenged to think and really examine the current state of affairs in American society.


I had two very interesting introspective moments yesterday. In the morning, I was watching cartoons as I was in my bedroom and I only have basic cable in there so my selection was limited and I saw an advertisement for a Nerf longshot dart gun. I wasn't really paying attention to the ad and didn't really think about it as a gun until they added that it could be converted using their quick firing ammo clip and the targeting scope. At this point I perked up and thought immediately why the hell do we need to make the toys just like real thing? Why does it need an ammo clip and a scope? Why do we need violent weapons at all? Nerf still makes footballs, lets encourage kids to go out and throw a football around. As I thought about this further, I realized that I had no problem with the Nerf gun initially and have no issue with water guns, so why did this advertisement bother me, it was because of the ammo clip and the scope.

The second instance happened as I was watching college football last night. At one point toward the beginning of the game, the commentators said, "Why do the refs have pink whistles?" They then went onto say that they hoped it had something to do with Breast Cancer awareness or "that is just wrong". My first thought was, why is that wrong, why does the color of the whistle make any difference in the officiating or the game? If the whistle was green or blue or orange or any other color than black would the same comment have been made in such a derogatory manner? I understand asking why the refs have a different color whistle than usual, but really why is that wrong if they just have pink whistles? Does having a pink whistle make them unable to officiate? Are they unable to use the whistle properly if it is pink? Are they less of a man if they use a pink whistle? Why do I think that the past few questions taken out of context could have a totally different meaning? Back to the topic, who cares if the refs have a pink whistle for that game and yes, it probably does have something to do with Breast Cancer awareness, but either way it shouldn't make a lick of difference and being an asshole commentator is just that, being an asshole commentator.

Both of these instances show me that I have begun to change in my thoughts and reactions to the culture around me. I find myself annoyed by so many advertisements and comments of those around me that I just have to shut it all out at times so that I do not go crazy. And for this I have to thank everyone whose blogs I read, everyone who comments on this blog or that I have any real contact with (like at the BG Salon). You all have enabled me to see through the many lies and the subtle and constant misogyny and encouragement of violence that so pervades our society. I was initially going to name the blogs that have allowed me to see the light, but then I realized that I would have to just list everyone on my blogroll and since it is already on my blogroll, why reinvent the wheel. I also realized that it was also because of people who are not on my blogroll, specifically Franiam, who I need to blogroll, who comment regularly on this site or who I talk to online at the BG Salon who have also pushed me to grow as a person. So thanks again as now I will constantly going crazy along with the rest of you.

UPDATE: There I fixed that, Fran you are now blogrolled.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Doctors and torture

As a disclaimer this post is based upon an episode of Law and Order:SVU that I just saw. The episode looks at the "torture light" techniques that have become famous in Iraq and at Abu Gharib prison. It has a Blackwater like agency that are mercenaries in Iraq who do much of the "security". This agency cannot be charged as they are protected by Executive Orders (this is not even an issue I want to touch here). The man who was the torturer can be charged as he is whisked away in the middle of the night outside of the country by the mercenary company. So at this point, the case shifts to the doctor who is supposed to have created much of the "torture light" techniques for the mercenaries and oversaw much of the torture in Iraq. She is not supposed to have been directly involved in the torture, but acted as a physician making sure things "did not get out of hand" (directly from the show). The jury is found to have been split, but a mistrial had been declared. The doctor is then brought before the state medical ethics board. She says that she was not acting as a doctor, merely as a scientific consultant and that after 9/11 she felt that she had skills to contribute to the fight against terrorism.

Although this show has a liberal bent and I am aware of that, I still think that there is a point that needs to be made here. According to this article from June 27, 2006 in Slate Magazine, there were doctors at Abu Gharib and none of them would stand-up to question what was happening. They saw victims who had bruises all over there bodies and who showed signs of having been physically tortured and they did nothing. They saw victims where the official story that the victim was being questioned and then didn't feel well and collapsed, did not fit the physical signs and symptoms. There were autopsies either falsified or not done to say that the victims died of natural causes when this was obviously not the case.

The World Medical Association created a policy in May 2006 that forbids physicians from participating in "...torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading procedures, whatever the offense of which the victim of such procedures is suspected, accused or guilty, and whatever the victim's beliefs or motives, and in all situations, including armed conflict and civil strife." They are also banned from even giving knowledge that may lead to torture including a breach of confidentiality which would give interrogators information that could be used in torture.

So, how should we then handle doctors who are in Iraq or Guantanamo Bay or any other place where torture takes place and the doctor does not report it? There has been much outrage over the soldiers and some of them have been court-martialed or brought before other courts of law. Some soldiers have been discharged from the military and many have faced no repercussions as all, but some have. But in looking at the various articles that do exist online and most of them are from no later than 2006 there has been no repercussions for any of the medical staff at these facilities. Many of the articles ask the question, "Where was the medical staff?" I say they were right there at the base and knew what was going on and they covered it up. I say they are more guilty and should face harsher punishment than the interrogators. Doctors have to take the Hippocratic Oath which basically says that as doctors they will try to do no harm. Soldiers and other interrogators do not take such an oath. They do not promise to do no harm and in fact are only bound by the law. Doctors are also bound by the law, but they should also be bound by the Hippocratic Oath. They should do no harm to another person who is in their care and they should not break confidentiality to help another hurt a person that is in their care.

Finally, are the doctors at these prisons always acting as medical professionals or are they merely consultants as the character on SVU posits? To this question I do not know the answer and would say that I guess it would depend on the exact situation, but shouldn't a doctor be a 24/7 job? Should you really turn-off being a doctor?

Friday, November 2, 2007

YouTube Friday (sort of)

This YouTube Friday is using clips of some people whose blogs I love, BAC and Comrade Kevin.

First up, CK. Not only is he a great blogger on politics and current issues, but he is a great musician as well. Also go check him out here as he is going through a bit of a rough stretch and needs as support as he can get.

Everybody Wants You as covered by Comrade Kevin

Crippled inside covered by Comrade Kevin which he dedicates to out illustrious pResident W.

I have to add this one becasue he just added it and I really like the way he plays with the camera in this one. Oh and the song rocks as well, Why don't we do it in the road?

Now on to the genius BAC who has created two great videos for the First couple, chimpy and pickes.

First, Pickles

Now for Chimpy

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lighten up already

According to this article, South Carolina Democrats will not let Stephen Colbert's name appear on the Democratic primary ballot in that state. Colbert had paid the $2500 filing fee to have his name on the ballot, but after 40 minutes of discussion the state democratic party said that they would refund his money and not let him on the ballot. I had heard several pundits on Faux News as I was flipping through the channels a few days ago chiding Colbert for his campaign. They said he was making a mockery of the process and that he was not a serious candidate (no shit, really). They said that in a very serious issue of the election we should not kid and that he was only doing it as a publicity stunt. My reaction was so what, if he wants to run in only one state and he is willing to fork over the money, what the hell do the pundit care what he does. Then I remembered this was Faux News and chalked it all up to some snooty, conservative assholes and didn't think too much more about it. And now the SC democratic party is giving the same excuse, he is not serious, he is doing this as part of his comedy routine, yada yada yada. Well, guess what, he paid the money and so he should be allowed to run in your stupid state. You, the SC Democratic party, just come across as stingy and have no sense of humor or really care about your own state. If you cared, you would allow him to run and maybe he would bring more notoriety to your own state and people would pay attention more, because as of right now the only states people really seem to care about are Idaho and New Hampshire. I say get over yourself already.

On a separate note, but still related Detroit Lion's quarterback Jon Kitna dressed up like a naked man and his wife dressed up like a fast food worker poking fun at a coach for Detroit who had charges against him for driving through a Wendy's drive-up naked. This has become a huge story apparently in Detroit and he is being condemned for being insensitive by the local media. Well, the coach he was poking fun of didn't care, his teammates didn't care and his head coach didn't care, so why the hell should the fucking media care about such trivial issues. And since when are football players supposed to be so damn sensitive. I am not saying that what he did was right because apparently the coach in question also had a DUI charge and was in AA, but really it was fucking Halloween and he was having fun and no one was hurt. There are so many more important things that can be focused on, even in sports, that we do not need to worry about how people are dressing up for Halloween.

I am just tired of nobody having fun in life and superimposing your own feelings onto the feelings of others. If the person being poked at doesn't care than you shouldn't either. And if someone wants to enter the presidential race only in one state and he pays the filing fees and does not ask for any special treatment, then by George let him. Get off your fucking high horse and fucking have a goddamn sense of humor already.