Thursday, December 25, 2008

Anyone hungry?

I know I posted this last year for Christmas, but it is one of the funniest SNL skits evah.



Since GG and I heard this when we went out for supplies yesterday, I now have to post this.



Merry Christmas to those of you who are celebrating it and to those who aren't have a great day!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Can I just say...

Indiana sucks. I don't mean to offend those of you who are form the Hoosier state, but really your state sucks. GG and I traveled east yesterday to PA to see my parents for the holidays and Indiana was the only state that couldn't be bothered to salt or plow the state roads. We were on the Indiana turnpike and it was just plain dangerous to drive on it. The roads were slick and you could not get any traction most of the time. We saw at least nine accidents where people were stuck in ditches because they had slid off the road. GG and I both did a little prayer when we got into Ohio and neither of us pray often, but we were glad to leave Indiana behind. Unfortunately, we have to drive back through Indiana to get back to Illinois on Saturday, but all we can do is try and be safe, but get through Indiana as fast as possible.

Ohio has the nicest service areas I have ever seen. Nice new buildings, we even found a Panera Bread in one station which meant we did not have to eat your standard roadside fast food.

Pennsylvania needs to have service station more often. We went over 50 miles without seeing one service station which means, of course, that when we needed to fill up on gas we had to get off the turnpike, pay the toll, get gas, than get back on the toll road to keep going east. I know it is mountainous and such, but really a small service station is not too much to ask and maybe a sign saying the fact that when we saw a service station that it would be 60 miles before we could see another one, we would have stopped and gotten gas at the one service station we saw, although that was earlier than we needed too if we had known there wouldn't be another one for so long.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fuck you Pope Benedict

That is all I have to say about his proclamations that there is a "gay threat". He says that saving humanity from homosexuality is just as important as saving the rainforest.

FUCK YOU POPE BENEDICT!!!!!!!

I know not all Catholics are homophobes, in fact I am sure many American Catholics are good people, but when the head of your church is so homophobic and bigoted, it is hard to get past that. This is not a good representation of your faith and IMHO faith in general. This is what leads to violence against homosexuals and against all people. Catholics need to stand up and tell their Pope that these proclamations are not acceptable and are not representative of their own views.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!!

But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said unto Judah: 'What? shall we be able, being a small company, to fight against so great and strong a multitude? ...' And Judah said: 'It is an easy thing for many to be shut up in the hands of a few, and there is no difference in the sight of Heaven to save by many or by few; for victory in battle standeth not in the multitude of an host, but strength is from Heaven. They come unto us in fullness of insolence and lawlessness, to destroy us and our wives and our children, for to spoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws. And He Himself will discomfort them before our face; but as for you, be yet not afraid of them." (The First Book of Maccabees) 

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah as many of you are aware of and some of you may be aware that Hanukkah is not a major holiday within Judaism or at least wasn't until the Jews started to assimilate and the little Jewish children saw their goy friends getting gifts for Christmas and they wanted to get into the action. So Hanukkah was born as a highly celebrated holiday within Judaism, it went from a minor holiday to what is considered a favorite if you ask any Jewish child. And with this honor of becoming a favored holiday and a holiday that is celebrated we had to create a story, a reason why it is worthy of celebration. As Jews we learn that the Maccabees defeated the Greco-Syrians and that the miracle of Hanukkah is that the oil in the Holy Temple which was only supposed to last for one day lasted for eight nights, but is this really a miracle? I grew up and for many years thought about the miracle as the oil and as I got older, the whole idea of religious freedom is added into the mix. The discussions become about how important religious freedom is as Jews who have been persecuted for our religion. Into middle and high school the discussion around Hanukkah still emphasized the oil as a miracle and religious freedom as the lessons we should learn from Hanukkah. Then in my freshman year of college a new lesson was proposed by a rabbi whose house I was at for a meal, the miracle is not the oil, the oil could have easily lasted for eight days, it is the defeat of a huge Greco-Syrian army by the small army of the Jews. It is the overthrow of a theocracy by a small band of rebels. I still think about that every Hanukkah, I think about how a small group can change the world.

I am really struggling to focus on this post so I will end it here and hope that maybe someone, somewhere will get something out of this post. I have been thinking about this post for a while, but today I just can't get it together. I had this whole paragraph likening the gay rights movement to the Maccabbees, but it just didn't work for me so it is gone now. Anyway, so I will leave you with a great modern adaptation of the Dreidel song to help you celebrate Hannukah.



h/t FranIAm

And in the Winter concert that we did at the public school preschool I work at, we did sing the Dreidel song, but it was not nearly as cool as this version.

Friday, December 19, 2008

YouTube Fridays

This is the Neil Patrick Harris edition apparently. I have seen this Sesame Street clip before, but I really like and wanted to share with y'all.



I really like Les Miserables and I just found this clip of Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel from How I Met You Mother singing one of the songs from Les Mis and am mildly enthralled, I hope you enjoy this at least somewhat.

Snow Day!!

We have no school today. It is a snow day. Yay, so my winter break starts a day early. No school for the next two weeks. I can now finally get over this cold that I have been fighting for a few weeks, But first we have some plowing to do. I hope everyone has a great day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What do you expect?

So as many of you may realize I now live in Chicagoland where it is fucking cold as hell, I keep waking up to 7 degrees on the thermometer, and I moved from NC where it never get this cold, well at least not this early in winter. But that is not what this post is about, it is about the fact that I since I live in Chicagoland we have to continuous coverage of the whole Blagojevich scandal. And I know that this is big news, a sitting governor being indicted on corruption charges and I know that he is an asshat, but really do the local news need to have someone stationed outside his house every morning just waiting for him to go to work. I am sure that every media outlet has someone around in case there is big news, but really do we need to see this reporter come on and say things like, "Blagojevich has not gone to work yet." "He is still at home." "He just waved hi to the reporters." What the hell do you expect him to say, "Hi, I suck. I tried to sell Senate seats and am a corrupt asshat." How about we just not show the reporter every ten minutes unless something really happens, not the man goes to work. What the fuck do you think he is going to do, sit at home and cry? He claims he is innocent, which is probably a lie, but still he is still the governor and hence he has to govern. So to the local Chicago news find more worthy new stories than stationed one person to do nothing but freeze their ass off waiting for a man to go to work.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Movie Review- Four Christmases

Four Christmases is a movie about a couple, Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn, who intend to go to Fiji for Christmas and avoid their families. They lie to their respective parents, but are caught in their lie when their airplane is not able to take off due to weather. They are interviewed by the local news and hence are found out by their parents that they lied about their Christmas plans. They then have to visit the parents, her mom, her dad, his mom and his dad. Hilarity ensues. Ok so it might not have been hilarious, but it was funny and there were some hilarious bits. Witherspoon and Vaughn actually do seem to have some chemistry. Their acting styles, or at least as I see it, were reflected well in their characters. Vaughn is a bit of an obnoxious goof where Witherspoon is a bit more subtle and mature in her character. They are surrounded by several great supporting actors in Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voigt, and Mary Steenburgen as the parents and Jon Favreau as one of the brothers of Vince Vaughn's character. I also have to add that the other brother of Vaughn's character and the love interest of Reese Witherspoon's character as two country music stars who I would have never guessed were in the film. They were so well made up and looked so unlike themselves that I didn't even know they were in the film and was surprised when I just saw that they played the parts they did. Overall, this is a dumb, but enjoyable movie. GG and I recognized elements of our own families in each of the scenarios and I would venture that most other people would recognize either themselves, their family or people they know as well in each of the families.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do the right thing- Fuck you Huckabee

I just want to post this clip from Jon Stewart's interview with Huckabee about gay marriage. As usual Stewart was well spoken and got his point across that anti-gay measures are bigoted and mean-spirited. And as usual Huckabee was bigoted and mean-spirited and used the same tired lines about gay marriage redefining marriage taking away from the idea of one man and one woman. But it is a great interview and reason number (oh whatever number it is) that I really like Jon Stewart.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Be careful next time you kiss your sweetie

Apparently, if you kiss wrong (?) or something you can go deaf from kissing. A women in China went deaf when the pressure in her mouth changed so dramatically that it caused her ear drum to be pulled out. So just a gently word of warning, be careful and do not go deaf from kissing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I love to fly

I went back east this weekend for my Nana's 90th birthday on Saturday, so I flew out early Saturday morning and then back early evening of Sunday. It was a bit whirlwind and tiring and such, but I do so love to be in the airplane and just kind of relaxing. The takeoff are awesome, IMHO and then being above the cloud cover was amazing. It looked like I could just walk across the big fluffy clouds to the horizon. It was amazing. I think if I could find a job where I could fly and work with kids or a job with kids that allowed me to fly regularly with the corporation paying of course, I would really want to take it, but alas I have found no jobs like that. So I guess I will go back to enjoying the working with kids and the occasional flying whenever I can make up an excuse to be in an airplane.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lets get it on...

Apparently, Americans are just not as horny as Greeks, Brazilians, Swedes or Israelis. In a study conducted by Durex, it was found that Americans rank the third lowest in times per year that we have sex and the countries listed above are the four countries with the highest average amounts of sex per year. The conductors of the study then went to those four countries to discover their secret of why they are so horny and really it is pretty basic, the people of these country value sex experimentation more than Americans, they value pleasure more than Americans and they communicate better in bed than Americans. But Sweden goes out of their way to help their citizens have a better love life.

In Sweden, men and women take sex education seriously. In their equivalent of high school, Swedes can take classes on kissing, and in college, the course catalog includes electives on desire, the ethics of contraception and abortion and other hot topics. All that hard work pays off: 61 percent of Swedish women reported having an orgasm the last time they had sex, according to the Durex survey.

They have high school classes on kissing and college classes on desire and contraception. Hmmmmmm.... So I guess we just need to follow Marvin Gaye's advice.


Marvin Gaye- Let's get it on

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

600 pounds of men and one small roll of sausage

Oh get your mind out of the gutter, I am referring to this fucking funny complaint call about a smaller package of sausage from some guy in Texas.



h/t Sir Robin

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Santa=Buddha?

As I was driving through the town I currently live in, I looked over and there was a Buddha kind of like this one, who was wearing a santa hat.



Now, unless I am mistaken I am relatively sure that Buddha is not Santa Clause or anything like that. I mean I know the Laughing Buddhas may look fat and jolly and even usually carries a sack, but still I am not convinced that Buddha and Santa Clause are the same person, although they are both fat, jolly and have a large sack of presents...so maybe... Who knows?

Monday, December 1, 2008

They eat what?

I had some interesting culinary experiences in the northern woods of Wisconsin while visiting GG's family up there. This is a very rural area and so hunting is, of course, an important means to gain food for some and sport for others. GG's stepfather likes to hunt and apparently had a successful hunt. I have no issues with the eating of venison, it is not something I am especially fond of, I have had venison bloogna, sausage, jerky, and bacon at various times of my life. So the eating of deer in and of itself is not really that big of a deal to me, but there is one thing that GG and her mother ate that did sort of gross me out, deer heart. Apparently, this is a prized part of the deer for GG and her mom. GG was very excited that there was heart available when we got there and her mom and her had heart fried up for breakfast one morning along with pancakes. I had just pancakes, it just didn't look that appetizing and really the thought of eating the heart of any animal is just odd to me. Now venison may not be that odd and is served in restaurant often enough I suppose, but the next thing they ate is just a rural special I figure, raccoon. Yes, you read that right GG's mom made 'coon. She had told one of her neighbors if he caught a 'coon a trap to save it for her and she would go over and get it. Well apparently, a while back he had found a 'coon as there was a 'coon in their freezer and GG's mom par-boiled it to remove the fat, then roasted it and slathered it with bbq sauce. This was then served and enjoyed by a majority of GG's family, mom, stepdad, several aunts and some cousins. I did not eat the 'coon either. Raccoon is beyond odd to me and according to GG, she ate 'coon quite often growing up. She also ate squirrel at times as well, but squirrel is not very good according to GG and her family. I just can't imagine eating squirrel or raccoon. These just seem to be animals that are off limits to me, but I also didn't grow up with a hunter in the family or in really rural areas so I guess that explains it all.

But the ultimate odd food, in my opinion, are the microwavable pork rinds (Chicharronnes) that we found at the convenience store that is the only real store close to where GG and her family's hunting cabin is located. These are just odd and we had to buy a pack of them and then I had to take a picture and post a picture of them. This is just odd. Microwavable popcorn=OK and pork rinds=OK even though I don't eat them, still pork rinds are fine, but microwavable pork rinds are just weird and strange.

So now you know how I spent my Thanksgiving, visiting with GG mother and stepfather and her extended family and watching people eat odd foods.

UPDATE: In case anyone misconstrues this post, I am not making fun of anyone's food choices especially my girlfriend or her family, I am not. I eat and enjoy gefilte fish so far it be it from me to make fun of anyone's food choices, except Lutefisk, jellying fish in lye is just plain fucked up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adult stores and conservatives

As GG and I were driving to and from northern Wisconsin, we noticed a lot of billboards for pro-life advocacy groups and for adult superstores. The pro-life groups makes sense to me. This is a conservative rural area where it would make sense that pro-life and other socially conservative groups would be influential. But I have to admit the number of adult superstores that were not only advertised, but were right off the highway kind of surprises me. I noticed a similar trend when I was living and traveling in North Carolina and through Virginia. I saw a lot of billboards that were socially conservative or were religiously based like biblical quotes, but also a lot of adult bookstores or billboards for "gentlemen's clubs". I remember the first time my brother and I were driving around Greensboro, NC where I would later reside for a time and we noticed a lot of adult bookstores and a very large strip club. This mix of social conservatism and yet a blatant flaunting of sexual materials always struck me as interesting. It seems as though there are contrary thought, you should ogle women in various states of undress or masturbate to adult material, but if you were to have sex with a real live women it was a sin or less socially acceptable. This seems to say that sex is less acceptable than masturbation. Now I am not trying to condemn masturbation, but for an area that held families and family values in such high esteem, shouldn't they also encourage people, men especially to find families instead of masturbate? I have known of strip clubs and other adult bookstores in other areas like Chicago, Baltimore, and DC, but they seem to be more discreet entities. I know Baltimore has "the strip" where it is just one long street with strip clubs and adult bookstores, but they seem to be in concentrated areas, where the areas of North Carolina that I saw had the adult entertainment areas spread out, I guess this makes it seem like there are less of them or something, but I think there might have been more "dens of ill repute" in these conservative areas than in not as conservative areas. I am not sure why there seems to be more adult stores in socially conservative areas than in more liberal areas, maybe it is more about anonymity as GG postulates or maybe in the rural areas it is blamed on the those truckers who are passing through or other travelers and not the good people in that area or maybe because they are not having sex they need to masturbate more often in socially conservative areas, but whatever the reason, it is definitely a trend I have noticed and will keep track of as I travel. And I will leave you with one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes comic strips that fits along the same lines of adult material.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More random songs

Because I can only post so far ahead and it is now Saturday and I am writing this post on Tuesday night and I cannot think of anything else.

I am posting this purely because it is Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky, both musicians I really really like.

Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky- The ballad of Mary Magdalene

I just really like Jenny Lewis of the band Rilo Kiley (my weakness for redheads again). The new Jenny Leiws CD is really great and I realized I have not posted anything by her yet so here she is.

Jenny Lewis- The next messiah

Friday, November 28, 2008

YouTube Fridays

Since I am still not home yet, I thought I would do some Lucinda Williams. The first song because we will be driving on some gravel roads up in northern WI. I just really like the second song.


Lucinda Williams- Car Wheels on a Gravel Road


Lucinda Williams- Drunken Angel

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!! I am always a fan of Friends, but this scene does make me laugh a bit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My wacky names post

So I have been tagged for this or anything, but since I am currently out of town in the great north woods of WI with no internet, I figure that I can do it ahead and then you can enjoy it at your leisure.

Other Names Meme:
1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (mother’s & father’s middle names): Rick Ann
2. NASCAR NAME (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad): Nathan Peter
3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name): Hijosh
4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Blue Elephant
5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live): Greenstein Waukegan
6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning): The Green Jack Daniels and Coke
7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name): Joll
8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Coffee Chocolate Chip
9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name): Logan Lincoln
10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on): Meagan Bragg

So apparently if I ever become a porn star I must have a sex change or be a transsexual.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Traveling

GG and I are traveling up to the great white north of Wisconsin tomorrow. We are leaving early in the morning, like 5 AM. So I am trying to get all of my posts done already so that I can keep things going and also so that I can stick with my whole blog for the whole month of November commitment. I guess I could just say I have no internet so I will give up and not post, but I can play with when the posts appear, so I figure why not just post on a set schedule. So now I will keep the magic going day after day after day. It will be nice to get away for a few days and more importantly no traffic and no stupid Black Friday shoppers. Speaking of Black Friday, how black will it be this year I wonder. More people are struggling financially, more people can't afford their basic necessities so will they go out and shop till they drop on Friday. And even if stores report that numbers are down this year, would you notice this as you are fighting the crowds if you are stupid enough to go shopping on Black Friday? I am sure spending will be down, but how down and I am sure there will be a difference in the craziness of a mall versus a Walmart. I am sure Walmart will be jammed pack. So if you have to go out on Friday, make it quick and try to avoid the crowds.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow!!!

I woke up to snow today. It was the perfect kind, too light to need to be shoveled or make the roads dangerous, but enough to be pretty outside. And by this afternoon when I left work it was mostly melted which is kind of disappointing, but at least hopefully this means it wouldn't be icy tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My lover of Rachel continues

FranIAm mentioned this article about Rachel Maddow and as anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I have a crush on Maddow. So I had to go and read the article, it was a great article about her rise from Stanford to Air America to finally MSNBC. She talks about how intense her life is, the fact that she sometimes doesn't eat till 2 AM after she is done for the day and that is from a street vendor, she talks about her girlfriend and the importance of their relationship in her life and finally she talks about her role as an outsider as a lesbian and as a female in a male dominated profession. I know I am biased in this matter, but it was a really interesting and well written article. Give me even more reason to crush on her.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Taking a movie too far

Apparently a Japanese man has seen The Terminal too much, he is now living in the Mexico City Airport. He has a travel visa to Mexico and has chosen to just hang out in the airport for a while. I guess it is safer than going out into the city and having to breathe the air which is notoriously polluted, but living in an airport does not sound like a great idea to me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

YouTube Fridays

Because these are really funny.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

In honor of World Philosophy Day

Hell, I didn't know it was World Philosophy Day today, but the BBC News says it is so I will go with that. So I am stealing two of the four questions they pose in the article with some of the explanation that they give as they actually made me think quite hard. I really think that these questions are interesting to contemplate. I have no answers and so I am not posting them here. I am challenging you to think about what is being posed and then come to your own solutions. I do have opinions and if you want to hear them, than drop a line in comments or by email, but that is not the point for me here. The point is to make you think, something I rarely strive to do on my blog or at least don't do enough of, IMHO.

1. SHOULD WE KILL HEALTHY PEOPLE FOR THEIR ORGANS?
Suppose Bill is a healthy man without family or loved ones. Would it be ok painlessly to kill him if his organs would save five people, one of whom needs a heart, another a kidney, and so on? If not, why not? Consider another case: you and six others are kidnapped, and the kidnapper somehow persuades you that if you shoot dead one of the other hostages, he will set the remaining five free, whereas if you do not, he will shoot all six. (Either way, he'll release you.) If in this case you should kill one to save five, why not in the previous, organs case? If in this case too you have qualms, consider yet another: you're in the cab of a runaway tram and see five people tied to the track ahead. You have the option of sending the tram on to the track forking off to the left, on which only one person is tied. Surely you should send the tram left, killing one to save five. But then why not kill Bill?

2. ARE YOU THE SAME PERSON WHO STARTED READING THIS ARTICLE?
Consider a photo of someone you think is you eight years ago. What makes that person you? You might say he she was composed of the same cells as you now. But most of your cells are replaced every seven years. You might instead say you're an organism, a particular human being, and that organisms can survive cell replacement - this oak being the same tree as the sapling I planted last year. But are you really an entire human being? If surgeons swapped George Bush's brain for yours, surely the Bush look-alike, recovering from the operation in the White House, would be you. Hence it is tempting to say that you are a human brain, not a human being. But why the brain and not the spleen? Presumably because the brain supports your mental states, eg your hopes, fears, beliefs, values, and memories. But then it looks like it's actually those mental states that count, not the brain supporting them. So the view is that even if the surgeons didn't implant your brain in Bush's skull, but merely scanned it, wiped it, and then imprinted its states on to Bush's pre-wiped brain, the Bush look-alike recovering in the White House would again be you. But the view faces a problem: what if surgeons imprinted your mental states on two pre-wiped brains: George Bush's and Gordon Brown's? Would you be in the White House or in Downing Street? There's nothing on which to base a sensible choice. Yet one person cannot be in two places at once. In the end, then, no attempt to make sense of your continued existence over time works. You are not the person who started reading this article.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can we have Thanksgiving first?

I know Thanksgiving is only about a week away and after that is the craziness that is the holiday season. And I know that everyone is supposed to love Christmas music. And I know I am probably just being a humbug, but the fact that a radio station has started to play all Christmas music, all of the time, annoys me. It is too early to start this shit. I am not a huge fan of most Christmas music, there are a few exceptions, I like Feliz Navidad, Little Drummer Boy is Ok and I can live with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but not yet. I like to take one holiday at a time. I was annoyed when I was looking for Halloween stuff in Target and right there beside the Halloween stuff was the Christmas stuff and it wasn't Halloween yet, but this is ridiculous to start the music already. I hate to break it to the fucking fundies, but when you can start fucking decorating in the middle of October (before Columbus Day), start seeing wreaths and trees up decorating whole towns and fucking listen to fucking Christmas music before fucking Thanksgiving there AIN'T NO FUCKING WAR ON FUCKING CHRISTMAS so shut the fuck up about it already. Or maybe I am just grumpy about this shit, I have been accused of being a humbug especially about Christmas music before, but really how many fucking times do you need to hear fucking White Christmas or fucking Jingle Bells before fucking your fucking head will explode. And people wonder why I start fucking swearing at fucking loudspeakers in fucking public places when they play fucking Christmas music. It is cause I am tired of fucking Christmas music and it ain't even fucking Thanksgiving yet. Sheesh!!

Side Note: I really like the word fuck tonight, apparently, I used it 19 times in this post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two great videos

This first video is a really amazing octopus video that I found on GG's site.



This second video is of a Boxer playing with their owner because I love Boxers and this Boxer has a great blog.



h/t Cairo the Boxer

Monday, November 17, 2008

We found a fish we don't like

When GG and I went down into Chicago area to a great Korean market there was a great fish and seafood section. I adore seafood and GG likes much of it fine. So we decided to try a new kind of fish, milkfish. Neither of us like this fish, we now know. GG thinks it tastes like mud and although I don't like it is that bad and I agree it is a rather strong fishy taste, there are lots and lots of bones in the fish. I did not like it enough to try and pick out all of these really really small bones so that I did not choke on them. So now we know we do not like milkfish. That is what we learned for today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I have been torn, maybe no more

I have seen many articles, news reports and blog posts on Hillary Clinton as possible Secretary of State and I have been torn on this idea. On one hand, if Obama appoints her as SoS it will do a lot to heal the wounds that were caused during the primary fight, it may heal even some of the greater wounds within the Democratic party. Clinton does have a lot of international experience and she does seem to have some credibility on the international stage. She also is independent and will speak her mind thus giving Obama another point of view on international issues. I also understand the whole keeping your friends close and your enemies closer idea here as well. On the other hand, I am reminded of her unbending support of AIPAC, her support of our war in Iraq and her general hawkish foreign policy ideas, which all scare me quite a bit. I am also not sure her appointment to SoS continues Obamas claims to be bringing change to Washington and the general idea that he is supposed to represent the progressive arm of the Democratic party. This seems to be political business as usual. So I was split until I read this article. Apparently, Henry Kissinger is very in favor of Clinton getting the appointment of Secretary of State. And if someone who has been so conservative and hawkish in the foreign arena is supporting this maybe it is not the right choice. I also wonder if the talents and skills of Clinton are better served as Secretary of Health and Human Services or as a vocal and forceful voice in the Senate. I know Obama is trying to reunite the Democratic party after a rough primary season and I know he is trying to show that he is a true change agent by changing up the way in which Cabinet members are decided upon, but at what cost? Does an appointment of Clinton as Secretary of State on the heels of the Rahm Emmanuel appointment show that Obama may not represent the progressive arm of the Democratic party as much as we hoped? I guess I and we will have to wait and see what the rest of his Cabinet appointments are and how he acts as a President because as we all know actions speak louder than words.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

From Chagall to O'Keefe in one day

GG and I decided to take a field trip today to Milwaukee. We had been there one other time with my mom when she came to visit. We have been talking about trying to get back up there and go to the zoo or the art museum or a Brewers game (OK so maybe I want to go to a Brewers game and GG doesn't but same idea). So anyway, we decided earlier on this week that we were going to go up to Milwaukee and see the Milwaukee Art Museum and then today we decided to add the Milwaukee Public Market to our itinerary. Again, we had been to the Public market before with my mom, but we really liked it so we wanted to go back. We walked around and picked up some small items like tortilla chips and cheese curds, but the highlight of the day was the fried oysters we got from the fish market. They were really good, obviously fresh and hot. We were near a large family who had all kinds of food like calamari, raw oysters and finally mussels. The mussels smelled so amazing, we decided we had to get some of our own to make at home, so we picked up a 2 pound bag and they were nice enough to give us some ice to keep them on and now we have mussels to make this week. We also watched a boy who was about 4 or 5 who was inhaling the calamari and raw oysters, which caused GG and I to comment how our own children will be similar, they will be exposed to so many different types of food and rarely chicken nuggets and hamburgers that they will either gain a taste for it or starve.

Then it was time to go to the art museum. The Milwaukee Art Museum is simply awesome. The architecture is really interesting and modern. There is a long hallway from the ticket desk and entrance way to the museum into the the first floor exhibit halls which is all windows and looks out onto Lake Michigan. Although it was a really drab overcast day, it was still really amazing to look out onto the lake and watch the waves and some really crazy idiot try to go out on a sailboat. The museum itself is two main floors with a mezzanine in between and a smaller exhibit floor in the basement, so there is a total of four floors, but the mezzanine and the basement floor have only a few exhibits on each. We did skip large parts of the museum with the exhibits of the Renaissance and Romance period paintings, I get creeped out by the large emotionless paintings of royalty and the obnoxious religious paintings that seem to dominate these time periods in art. But there were a lot of other artists and art to see. I was incredibly happy to see that the museum had several Georgia O'Keefe paintings and they had their own little exhibit area. I also was able to see a Marc Chagall painting which was very cool for me. I had wanted to see artwork by both of these artists for a long time and this was a great opportunity to see both at one time. The museum also had art by Kandinsky, Picasso, Jasper Johns among many others. The Milwaukee Art Museum was impressive to me in its shear volume of art and different exhibits. Milwaukee does not spring to mind when thinking of art museums like Boston, New York, and Washington, DC, at least not to me and yet this is a great art museum. The special exhibition was called Act/React and was all art in which the museum goers participated in the art. It was a lot of lasers and lights that shifted as you walked around it or on it. Although, this was interesting, both GG and I agreed that it became a bit repetitive and boring, but there was one point in which a little girl was running around on one of the pieces and so it was mildly entertaining watching her react to the arts reaction to her movement. The only piece that was truly interesting was an old wooden table that as you touched it, voices spoke from speakers on the wall. There were sensors that triggered phrases to be spoken by both male and female voices. This was a very odd sensation as when you are interacting with the piece all you are getting sensorially is touching a table and then there are voices and of course more than one person is touching the table at a time, possibly and so there are more than one voices speaking at a time. It is a cacophony of noise and sound, mildly disorienting and definitely like there are voices in your head, but I thought really cool as well. I swore some of the dialogue was from movies I had seen as the voices were mildly familiar and the lines sounded like something I had heard in a movie, but I am not sure. Overall, this is a really good art museum and ranks up there for art museums that I have seen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

YouTube Fridays

I have been listening to Antje Duvekot lately and really like her. I have no idea where I first heard her, but I really like most of her songs.


Antje Duvekot- Judas


Antje Duvekot- Merry-Go-Round

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I got nothin'

I am trying to do the whole post every day for a month thing and I have done everyday, but today I got nothin'. I could talk about Hillary Clinton as rumored to be up for the Secretary of State job, but BAC does a great job of covering this. I could talk about what I heard around my house, but DCup has that covered and my house is not as interesting as hers. I could talk about the disgusting Prop 8 vote, but many of you have done a great job of that including Cunning Runt. I could try to be a really snarky, smart photo blogger, but Tengrain is amazing at this and well that is not really my thing. So I am left with nothin' and no post. Wait...I just did my post for today. If I didn't mention you in this post, well I still love you, but I can only mention a few that really stuck out when I am half-tired and trying to watch ER.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

It is someone's birthday today. Go wish her Happy Birthday. This must be a good time of the year for birthdays, I have another friend whose birthday is toad and there were three kids at school today in two classrooms whose birthday was today. What a great time of year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I guess even the fuel industry is being affected



There is a one in the dollar section of that sign. This was taken just down the street from my house. Now to get the $1.95 gas you have to get a car wash too, but still, it is amazing to see our gas drop to below $2 under any circumstance. I just hope that soon I will be able to get gas for below $2 and not have to get a car wash. Who would have thought that gas would decline so much only a few months ago? We were expecting gas to hit $5 by the end of the year and now it seems to be going in the opposite direction.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kids and the Obama election

We all know that the election of Obama will our lives. We will finally have a Democrat in the white House after eight years of an idiot in the White House. Obama has talked about changing out lives in many other ways too, changing No child Left Behind, higher tax refunds to the middle class and healthcare reform. But isn't it our children who will benefit the most from seeing Obama become elected. Children of all races will realize that you can aspire to become the President of the USA. You do not have to be a white male to become president. I know we have yet to elect a female president, but I am hopeful that the really good run that Hillary Clinton had combined with the fact that we have now elected an African-American man will allow us to elect a women in the very near future, hopefully 8 years from now, as long as it isn't Palin. I started to think about this after seeing this article in the Sun-Times. It discusses how at the school that Michelle Obama attended for a time, the whole school has begun to integrate the Obama election into all of the subjects from math to Social Studies to Language Arts. Furthermore, the teachers and principal have started to use the fact that Obama is now our president and looks like many of these children (it is a predominantly African-American school) to inspire these children to reach for higher goals. The principal has even asked children, when they misbehave, "How do you think Barak Obama would feel about this?" These children are seeing that their dreams are able to come true and that if they want to be president, it is now a possibility and not just a dream.

There was a further article that discussed at Bouchet Math and Science Academy in Chicago, the same school mentioned above, the ideas of what Obama should do first now that he is elected. Many of the children had great ideas ranging from stopping people from taking drugs or selling drugs to improving our educational system to getting the troops out of Iraq. These children are the future, they will take over this country when my generation is gone. Many of these children will be able to vote in eight years, so the hope I have is that they will have seen someone who governed this country and left it in better shape they he started with as opposed to our current president who is leaving the country in worse shape than when he started.

As amazing an accomplishment as the election of an African-American president is to those of you who lived through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, I was not even born yet, I think it is even more important to those children who will not have really known of a country that had not elected an African-American president. These children will grow up to want to be president and we will no longer telling minority children that they will be the first non-white president or that they can be anything they want even though they have no role models, now they have that role model. This was an important election for the whole country, but for our children it was possibly the most important one for their lives.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When great minds collaborate or dinner with GG and BR

I had wanted to make Oyster stuffing for a while and tonight we (GG and I) decided to make it. Well, actually I made it, but it was part of our dinner tonight. It is a leek, mushroom and oyster stuffing. I used a mix of shiitake and portobello mushrooms. We had also found some frozen oysters at a new great Asian market that is sort of near us and I added some canned oysters to that. I also used sourdough bread from the grocery store that I chunked. It was very good, but maybe too moist. GG and I discussed some ideas on how to fix the moisture level, letting it set for a bit so that the bread soaked up more of the liquid and the flavors could meld more.



In addition to the stuffing we (GG made this) made roasted root vegetables. We used turnips, rutabagas, red onions, and garlic.



We did have an additional protein source, GG roasted a small chicken. This was also good, but I chose not to take a picture of it for three reasons. One, since I am primarily a vegetarian or working on it, I wanted to focus on the vegetable and non-meat options. Two, a big hunk of chicken with no legs or wings is mildly disturbing or maybe that is just me. And three, the other two components were the main pieces and what GG and I shopped for and took time to prepare, the chicken was just a side note.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I swore I wouldn't do it and now I have

I joined Facebook today. I was curious about some people that I knew a long time ago in a galaxy far far away or when I was In DE working with Americorps, so the best way to see what they were up to was to join Facebook and try to friend them. So now I am officially on Facebook.

Friday, November 7, 2008

YouTube Fridays

It is Preschool music day. I have these songs in my head so I am sharing.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Long Day

It has been too long days with parent-teacher conferences till 7:30 the past two nights. And I don't really have much to say as I have not even gotten a chance to look and see what is going on in the world. But I want to post everyday so this is the post for today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The obligatory election results post

So as everyone else that I read, I am very happy that Obama won last night. I have been fighting a sinus infection and so I was able to stay up till about 10 or so here which was late enough to know that Obama had won, to see McCain's concession speech, which I thought was very gracious and well done, but not quite late enough to see the Obama victory speech. As I watched the results last night, I followed the national vote heavily of course, but I also really wanted to see what would happen in my former state of North Carolina. I knew that Elizabeth Dloe was up for re-election and that the Governor's race was a tough fight as well. I had also heard that Obama might have a chance of winning NC as well, which would be a bit of shock. Well, Dole lost her seat, YAY!!!!! Bev Perdue, the Democrat, won the Governor's race which means they will continue to have a Democratic governor, something they have had for the past few years. And finally even at this hour (9:33 CDT) the state of NC has not been declared for either McCain or Obama, this seems huge to me. According to MSNBC, the vote is about 50-50, but in reality according to the NC Election Board, the vote is 49.7% for Obama and 49.38% for McCain with all of the precinct's results in. So this is also very exciting to me that NC could really go to Obama. I know he doesn't need NC as he has won the electoral votes easily, but it is still awesome that a state that is traditionally very red is now turning at least purple if not blue. So congrats to the voters of NC for voting for your best interest instead of voting based upon race or fear.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another voting post

I couldn't help, but post this. I am a sucka for cute kids.



h/t Tengrain

I voted today



I voted today, it was so easy. GG and I watched the local news out of Chicago and they were talking about 2 hour waits, she went at around 8 and I went around 10 and neither of us had to wait at all. We both were able to just walk in and vote. It really was great to not have to wait in any line. As I put my paper ballot in the computer, I saw that I was the 175th person to vote on that machine. The highlight for me was that as I was waiting to check in to vote there was a women in front of me with her grandson. It is always great to see that kids are seeing how important it is to vote and do our civic duty.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The overmedicated child

I saw this article at the Chicago Tribune online about the dramatic increase in the number of children who are now on prescriptions for everything from diabetes to ADHD to asthma. Now all of the conditions are serious and I am sure they are increasing in children at an alarming rate, but it seems to me to be a bit of a chicken or egg situation. Are children on more meds because the actual numbers of these diseases are increasing or are the number of these diagnosis increasing because we have the technology? I would say that there are environmental factors that are contributing to the increases in asthma and diabetes. Children are getting less exercise and eating more unhealthy foods along with more pollution in our water and air and so the increases in these diseases seem to make sense to me. But the increase in the diagnosis of ADHD is something that I worry about. I work with kids all day long as most of you know and so I see active kids, I see kids who can't sit still for more than 5 minutes, I see kids who always seem to be distracted by something and don't focus well. I know they exist, but is this really an increase in ADHD or are we as a society just becoming lazier about things? Is it easier to give a kid a pill than to address their need for movement? As an educational system, is it easier to tell parents you need to get your kids on medicine or they won't pass school than to give them more time outside or more time for them to not sit at their desk? These same kids would not have been medicated in the past, even 20 years ago when I was in school, they would have been acknowledged as active kids and the adults would have been told they had to find ways to help these kids to focus or find ways for them to be less active. I think we over medicate children now. I think that it is easier for the parents and for the schools to just give little Johnny a pill than to address his need to move around during the day. Now part of the fault for these children is the increasing pressure for children to not be active, the expectation that all children are able to sit for 8 hours a day at a desk writing, reading or listening to a teacher lecture AT them. As someone who knows something about early childhood education, and I would say this part applies to all people, no child is able to just sit at a desk for long periods of time. They all need some time to get up, to burn off some energy and to get refocused. Most adults do not sit at their desk for the whole time at work, they get up to go to the bathroom, to have a coffee break, to talk to another coworker so why do we expect children to do what we as adults cannot do. So, to tie this back to what I was saying earlier we have to medicate kids more because we have unreasonable expectations on them as to their activity level. We are also lazier as to finding solutions. We give them a pill and the problem is supposed to be fixed whereas, I think, we have just created newer and more dangerous issues and that is that now these children do not know how to function without being on medicine. They cannot focus or operate in the world without medicine. We may not see this issue now, but in five to ten years when these children are out in the working world after high school or college we will realize that this over medicating of children has become a huge detriment to our workforce and society at large.

And then I saw this article, which discusses the fact that now there are more than 6 million children some as young as 2 who are taking medicine for series psychiatric conditions. These children are being diagnosed with things like bipolarism, depression and anxiety disorders. This, honestly, scares the living fuck out of me. Either we are seeing what have long been thought of as disease that do not strike children till at least puberty being diagnosed while they are still in diapers or we are over-diagnosing children. If we are over diagnosing children than we are setting up these children for a lifetime of struggles as they recover from being on medicines that they do not need and are possibly harmful to them physically and mentally. If all of these diagnosis are totally accurate and we are seeing this jump because of technology, than where were they children before technology allowed us to diagnose them? And finally, if they are all accurate and we are truly seeing this much of a spike in the psychiatric distress of very young children than what the fuck is going on? Why are we seeing such a spike in the number of children with bipolarism, anxiety disorders and depression at such a young age? Is it environmental or biological or...? I don't know, I do know that autism is also increasing in occurrence as well and that is yet another neurological disorder, or so we think right now. What is happening to us as a society that children are so fucked up (sorry for the phrasing, but it seemed appropriate) that we need to give them serious psychiatric drugs before they walk, talk or even enter school? I am baffled and as a teacher and member of society I am very very scared for the next generation.

Finally, I am not saying that some children do not need medicines for ADHD or for series psychological disorders, I am just wondering whether it is every child that we are diagnosing needs these strong medicines and if there are not other solutions.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Free coffee just for voting

Starbucks is offering that if you vote on Tuesday, they will give you a free Tall coffee. Although, I do have some issues with Starbucks at times, I am getting to where I like them more than I used to. And I figure it is a good deal to get free coffee just for doing something that I was going to do anyway. This commercial, which was apparently shown at the beginning of last night's SNL, which I didn't watch, is actually a good ad about why we should all care about what our politicians do all of the time not just before election day, but even after it too.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo



I know I haven't posted in forever (over two weeks), I haven't even really been reading the blogs like I used to. For a while I was still reading everyone, but not really posting much and now it has gotten to the point where I am not even reading blogs that much. Well, I want to change that. I participated in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) last year and it really seemed to help me get into the habit of blogging everyday or at least most everyday. I started to view the things around me more analytically and started to think about if and how I wanted to make blog posts. That seems to have faded lately, so I am trying one last effort, I am going to try and post every day this month (November) and if I can do that and it re-sparks my energy, which I hope it will, than great and if not than this has been a great ride and maybe the need for me to blog has begun to fade. This is my first of hopefully at least 30 more posts. This may be challenging for me around Thanksgiving as upstate Wisconsin, where GG's family is, does not really have easy access to internet so I may have to post ahead or figure something else out, but that is a problem for then and is moot if I am not following my goal of posting everyday anyway.

h/t Blue Gal for the graphic

Monday, October 20, 2008

Restaurant Review- Green Zebra

GG and I went into Chicago Saturday night for dinner. It was a special occasion for us to go into Chicago just for dinner, my birthday dinner. We had looked at several places for dinner, we were going to go to Topolobampo as I have said that I wanted to try one of the Rick Bayless restaurants and GG thought that Topo sounded really good. I agreed and was really excited about it until the two of us started to look into the restaurant more. We decided for the money it was going to cost us, it might not be worth it. We had read several reviews that said the portion sizes were really small and that although the food was amazing people left the restaurant hungry still. We decided we wanted to go somewhere different where we would not still be hungry even after eating especially if we were spending a small fortune. GG did some research and found Green Zebra.

Green Zebra is an upscale vegetarian restaurant that had gotten some really good reviews that we had seen online and after making the reservation, GG had talked to a friend who had loved the food at Green Zebra. The menu is not huge, but there are many different types of food, but all vegetarian. We had thought about before we had gone that we would get the tasting menu at Green Zebra and even after looking at the menu, we thought the tasting menu sounded like a really good idea. Everything sounded so good we were not sure how to pick what we wanted and the tasting menu had five courses, four savory courses and one desert course. I also ordered a beer, Laguinta's Copper Ale. First, the beer was really good. Anyway, back to the meal, so when we ordered the tasting menu, the waiter mentioned that everything that comes with the tasting menu is not on the regular menu, but is fresh and organic foods. We waited with anticipation for our food. They do have bread available with a member of the wait staff walking around with the bread basket offering you a slice of white or wheat bread and some butter. The butter was a European butter, so it was rich and creamy. It was a bit odd to not have the bread basket on the table for us to peruse when we wanted but this also kept us from filling up on bread, which was great as we had plenty of food coming. They brought out a double shot glass of a leek and sweet potato soup which was amazing and drinking soup out of a double shot glass was really interesting and fun. We started with a salad of frisee, puffed wild rice, and an onion that was filled with more wild rice (this was amazing and I think GG's favorite course). We then had a smoked tomato soup that had chili oil and a buttermilk foam on top. Both GG and I liked this soup, it was a bit different and interesting. We both immediately noted the smoked smell, with me thinking of smoked salmon and her of bacon. Next was an abalone mushroom that had been poached in butter accompanied by a corn madeline, concord grape reduction and pistachios. GG was not fond of the madeline, but she does not like cornbread anyway so this is not a surprise. This was my favorite of the savory dishes, I love mushrooms and had never heard of let alone tasted an abalone mushroom, which was amazing. Our waiter said the mushrooms were grown in Oregon state. Our final savory dish was a squash mousse with what we guessed was a pumpernickel bread crust with an apple cider gastric accompanied by brussel sprouts and chanterelle mushrooms on the side. This was amazing and GG decided she is going to figure out how they made this as it would make a great breakfast food or something with Thanksgiving dinner as their was a taste of maple syrup in with the squash mousse. The final course was desert, which was homemade pumpkin ice cream and three blinis with maple syrup to pour over the blinis or the ice cream as GG chose to do.

The meal was simply amazing. It was filling without being too filling. We did not leave hungry, but we were not overstuffed either. The chef was able to show us a variety of different food items, all of them a bit different than the usual take on vegetables and vegetarian cuisine. There was no tofu in any of our dishes although they do have dishes with tofu on their menu. As we were eating, we saw one of their mushroom popovers come to the table beside us and it also looked delicious. The food was simply delectable and the service was very good as well. The only complaint I had, and this is pretty minor, is that the booth that GG and I were seated at was a bit close to the table next to us. It was a raised booth with two tables very close to each other. I seemed like a better fit for a table of four or maybe it was because neither GG nor I are small people, but I was a bit cramped behind the table the entire meal. This was OK for part of the meal as pretty soon after we arrived the couple beside us left and for most of the course there was no one beside us before two more people came into the booth next to us. But when I did have to enter or exit the booth I did feel as though I had to place my butt right in the other diners faces or right on their table to get out. This is pretty minor as the food and service overcame this and we learned to ask for a table next time and there will be a next time, GG is talking about going to the Green Zebra for her birthday. If you are ever in the Chicago area and want a really good, fancier, vegetarian or just really good food restaurant, the Green Zebra would be my suggestion.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Youtube Sundays

I overshot Friday so I am making this week's Youtube clips two songs I heard yesterday as I was traveling with GG.


The Sweet- Ballroom Blitz


From Rocky Horror Picture Show- The Time Warp

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In honor of the debates tonight...

I give you the Presidential Battle Rap.



Now of the debates were like this, I might actually give a shit, but they are just vague monotonous bullshit with no real interesting points.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A blue NC?!?

I am so excited to see this article where it appears that my former home state, NC, may not be such a lock for McCain in this election. It appears that Obama is outspending McCain, has more people on the ground in NC than McCain and hence has a very close election in a state that has not voted Democrat since 1976. Remember this is also the state Jesse Helms represented and Elizabeth Dole still represents in Congress This just shows that even the areas and states where Republicans have traditionally dominated are in play for this election. This election is becoming more interesting and important everyday. I just hope that Obama can hold onto NC and many of the other traditionally Republican areas and win this election like we need him to do. That and I hope that Shrub does not shut down this election which also seems like it could be possible especially if the Republicans are struggling like they appear they could.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cats that look like Hitler, baboons are evil and the election will be suspended

All of these topics are covered in this segment from last nights Graham Norton Show. I was just looking for the part about 7:30 into this segment where Harry Shearer talks about the thought that I have seen many times on the progressive blogosphere that Bush will suspend this election or do something just as shady to stay in power. I couldn't find a clip of just that part and this 10 minute clip really is quite funny anyway. Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

YouTube Fridays

I saw this on the news this morning and thought it was so funny, I had to share it with y'all. In case you have not seen it, here is Paris Hilton's new campaign ad and she has the best president evah in her ad, Jed Bartlett.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


Paris for (fake) President.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thoughts on fasting and Yom Kippur

As many of you know, tonight is the first night of Yom Kippur, so I will be fasting for the next 24 or so hours. (It might not be 24 hours exactly depending on when GG and I eat tomorrow and I ate kind of late tonight, but still...) I was talking to a co-worker who is taking tomorrow off since it is Yom Kippur and she is fasting. I have no idea if she is going to a synagogue tomorrow, but I would not be surprised if she was. So I started to think about why I am fasting this year. I have not been to a synagogue in at least 2 or 3 years and not regularly since I graduated from undergrad seven years ago. So why am I fasting? It is not related to the idea of fasting to concentrate more on prayers, which never made sense to me in many ways as it was harder to focus having not eaten. It is not because I am especially religious. It is not even because I think that this is God's commandment, so I must follow it. I am a cultural Jew, someone who does the routines and rituals like fasting for Yom Kippur, lighting the menorah and eating latkes for Chanukah and not eating bread for Passover. I don't even light the candles for Shabbat or do any of the rituals like I used to do. But the fasting is the only one of the rituals for a holiday (I am not including the Shabbat rituals here) that I really follow for reasons outside of this is just part of my identity and Jewishness.

I fast because it is a reminder to me that I am lucky to have food on my table. I am lucky that I can eat three meals a day and snacks in between if I want. I am lucky that I do not have to decide between food or bills or gas. I am lucky that I have never truly experienced food insecurity. I went through some rough times, where I had to watch my food budget, but I was always able to eat. I work in public schools now where the snack that we feed to kids may be their breakfast or their lunch depending on whether they are in the AM or PM session. Where the fact that they get milk or juice and some cookies or crackers means that they will have eaten at least once that day. This may not apply to all of the kids that I work with, but I suspect that at least some of them do not eat at home before they come to school or at least not three meals at home. I think about the fact that I have the luxury to make a choice to not eat for a day and that many people for whom this is not a choice. There are days at the end of the month where there is nothing to eat for some, something I have not had to experience. I think about the fact that when tomorrow night comes, I will be able to eat again, not always an option for everyone. Fasting is hard, it is difficult and I seem to think more about food and drink when I am fasting than usual, but I know that this is only temporary. I know that I have people who care for me and that will help me if I ever truly do have issues where I cannot afford to pay for groceries. This year I also think about those families who are now struggling more than ever. Those families who got stuck in sub-prime mortgages or other tricks by shady lenders and are experiencing economic distress that they are not used to. I think about how some of these families are still trying to live the same way they had, while others are now just trying to now put food on the table and keep the electricity turned on. I am lucky to not have these struggles and so I fast for those who do, so that I may be more empathetic.

I also think about how this is supposed to be a Day of Atonement. There are many things I am sorry for, but I really think that our national leaders need to atone for what they have done to us as a nation. They need to atone for sending people to fight a war over oil. They need to atone for the lives they have cost us as a nation. They need to atone for the economic crisis that is now dragging our country down. And they need to atone for the hatred and bigotry that they have allowed to flourish i.e.-homophobia, racism and sexism. My actions probably affected one or two people, probably no more than ten, but when you send people to war to die you are affecting many more than my ten. I think there is a passage during the Yom Kippur prayers where we ask God for their forgiveness of our national leaders, I cannot do that. Our leaders need to ask forgiveness from first the peoples of this nation and then if their are so religiously motivated, their God.

To those of you who are fasting like me, I wish you good luck in your you fast. It is hard and by tomorrow night I will be ready to eat whatever we have for dinner, but I also like to try and make this fast meaningful to me and so I hope that if you are fasting you do it with meaning.

So does this mean I am an official Illinois-ite?

Today I mailed my NC license plate back to the NC DMV. I had gotten my IL plates yesterday, I had gotten my Illinois drivers license last week, I have a new cell phone number that is an IL number, so that license plate was the last vestige of my life in NC. It is just odd that, I guess I have to now accept that I have really moved here and am no longer a North Carolinian. Life is funny.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Movie Review- Towelhead



NOTE: When I looked this film up on IMDB.com. the title for it was Nothing is Private which may be a better title for the movie than Towelhead, but Towelhead is what the film is currently being shown in theaters as.

Towelhead is the story of a young women, Jasira, whose mother is White and father is Lebanese. At the beginning of the film, Jasira is living with her mother and her mother's boyfriend until the mother walks into the bathroom to find her boyfriend shaving her daughter's pubic area. The mother then realizes that Jasira should not be living in the same house as the mother's boyfriend and sends Jasira to live with her father in Houston. It seems unclear how long her parents have been divorced, but Jasira knows her father pretty well, but has not lived with him for many years. She is now living with her father in a brand new house in the 'burbs where two houses down live a White family with a young boy. The family comes to welcome Jasira and her dad to the neighborhood and are taken aback by the fact that their neighborhood has been invaded by Arabs. The father is in the National Guard and is about to be sent to Iraq in the first Gulf War under George Bush the First. The father played by Aaron Eckhart, is a stereotypical military Southern man with his blatant xenophobia and racism. He also is very creepy in the amount of attention he pays to Jasira. There are other neighbors that appear about midway through the film are played by Toni Collette and Matt Letscher who are a married couple just returned from the Middle East where they were Peace Corps workers. They also realize that Jasira may need some adult guidance and become involved in helping her to mature as much as they can.

The film follows Jasira and her developing sexuality as she has many different sexual experiences occur to her and the experiences that she initiates. As Jasira's sexuality and maturity are developing she is surrounded by an unstable environment with adults who are very immature and abusive toward her. She experiences physical and emotional abuse from her father and sexual abuse by another character in the film. She is also trying to figure out where her boundaries are sexually and struggling with hormones that are raging. Since the film focuses on the sex and sexual development of a 13 or 14 year old girl, it is very disturbing and cringe worthy at times. But these cringe worthy moments are what makes this film so strong. It is the struggles of the audience especially as adults who can see where the mistakes are being made and the problems when a child is maturing with few stable adult figures in their lives to help them to navigate through the hormonal rushes of the onset of puberty.

I saw this film with GG, of course, but there was no one else in the theater when we saw it. We were not sure why we were the only ones there. It was the opening weekend for the film and I didn't expect the theater to be packed, but I did think more people might be interested in the film. Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, and Toni Collette all have large parts in the film which I would have thought would have had drawn some people to the film. But I would recommend this film if you are willing to cringe at a film, but like Todd Soldonz, who did not direct Towelheads, films the film feels real because of the cringes not in spite of those moments.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A cheap easy post

I figure since I have posted the other SNL Palin videos, I would post this one too. There are shots taken at all of the debaters, Palin, Biden and they even make fun of Ifel a bit too. If you have seen it, hope you enjoy this one.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Youtube Fridays

This is what I am listening to recently. I really like this band and I have to give most of that credit to my sister-in-law who put them on a CD for me and I found that I really liked them.


Portions for Foxes- Rilo Kiley


Does he love you?- Rilo Kiley

Ripped from the headlines, sorta

Here are some interesting stories that I found in today's papers online.

First, how in the hell do you steal a 450-pound pumpkin? I have no idea, but this man in Flint, MI had just that happen to him. His prize 450-pound gourd was stolen from his front yard.

Second, did you know that Coca Cola is an effective spermicide or that wires will inevitably tangle themselves in knots or that slime mold can find its way through a maze? Well, if followed the Ig Noble Prize winners you would know all of that. These awards are given for odd discoveries or research in legitimate science journals.

Third and this one is dedicated to Mathman, here in Chicago the schools are teaching about math using the baseball playoffs. A school near the White Sox park watch the baseball game on TV and learned about computing batting averages. But it seemed to be an excuse to watch some baseball with not as much learning which I fully endorse at times.

Monday, September 29, 2008

L'Shana Tova

Happy Rosh Hashanah to all of my Jewish friends and readers and to those with a Jewish soul. May you have a happy, healthy and sweet new year. I know that it is tough with the economic problems that we are experiencing and with the current political issues with Bush still in office and McSame and Palin running to think about having a good year, but we have to. I find at times that we have to be happy to be alive and healthy and just laugh or you will end up crying all of the time. So look on the bright side at least you are alive and not a Republican.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Palin does SNL again

In case you didn't see the Palin skit on SNL last night here it is. Tina Fey does a great job of imitating Palin's interview with Katie Couric. She even has the rambling answers that go nowhere and answer nothing down perfect.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chimpy on mute

I am waiting for the season premiere of Criminal Minds to come on and they said it would be seen in its entirety and it damn well better be or I am going to hunt someone down. Anyway, so Chimpy is on mute and I can't help but think, I know he is probably trying to justify why his cronies who are losing money hand over fist need this 700 billion dollar bailout, that this is the only way to save the economy, but what about the non-corporate world many of us could use a bailout too. Maybe we should just follow the bible like these fundies always want us to do and forgive all individual debt. All debt is supposed to be forgiven every fifty years according to the Torah so why not start this year. All individual debt is forgiven and we go on with our lives. Oh yeah, that is not part of the Bible that the fundies conveniently forget about like the other ideas that are inconvenient for them like the laws of Kashrut, not coveting your neighbors wife and the prohibition against murder (the death penalty or this current war come to mind here). And only the corporate world needs to be bailed out, how could I be so stupid and think that maybe helping individuals get back on their feet may help our economy a helluva lot more than rewarding irresponsible corporations and investors?

Is this supposed to be some way of getting the public to demand a bailout since Congress does not seem to be just laying down and letting BushCo. ram the plan down their throats?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Political Fallacy



I saw the image above at Mock, Paper, Scissors and it got me thinking. My first thoughts were, why does McCain need so many cars and homes for just he and Cindy? Why do they need a pick-up truck? Why does he need three golf carts, one I understand maybe, but three? So I went through the usual liberal thoughts on what a rich asshole McCain is and he is and I will never ever ever vote for him.

But then I started to think about Obama. We get this image that he is a regular guy, that he is not a rich asshole. He only has one home and only one car. Hmmmmmm.... well maybe they only have one car because Michelle only needs one car for her and the two girls, OK. And they only have one home, in Chicago, because, well, Michelle and the girls live there and that is Barak's primary home. But then where does he live when he is supposed to be in D.C. for Congress and how does to he get to work? Ya see, we think of Obama as this regular guy, he does not have a lot of homes and cars like McCain, but he still probably has a condo in D.C. or the surrounding area. Maybe he rents this condo and maybe he owns it, but either way, he has a residence in DC. And where ever he lives, I am relatively certain that he is not taking the bus or Metro to work. So either he has a car in DC, he rents a car or the Congress provides a car for his use, but then who is paying for this car if he doesn't own one and who is paying for his residence in DC if he doesn't own one?

We like to think of our presidential candidates as just like us. We like to think that they have jobs like us and houses like us and cars like us, but this is simply untrue. In order to be involved in politics on the national level, you have to be wealthy. You have to have the money to put into getting your campaign started. You have to have the money to keep yourself going if your campaign struggles and supposedly you should have the money to be able to afford to go to these fundraisers and such. So you have to be wealthy. It bothers me when we try to think of candidates as anything other than wealthy. While we struggle to pay bills and many are struggling with mortgage payments, neither of these candidates has these issues. Maybe Obama grew up in a family that struggled, but he has not had these same issues in many years. So lets face the fact that neither of these men are working class and both are in the upper tax bracket and worry more about their policies and not their financial situations.