Monday, April 28, 2008

Two quick things

First go check out this post by Little mary Sunshine. This is an amazing post on assault rifles and the fact that there is absolutely no need for them to be legal. Since I cannot seem to get past the whole letter verification thing on the site, I figured I would link to it here.

Second, as a early childcare provider, I felt obliged to link to this article. It is yet one more reason that childcare settings and playdates are a good thing for children. It appears as if children who are in these situations where thy are exposed to a lot of other germs and infections are then better prepared to deal with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). ALL is the most prevalent form of childhood leukemia and just being around a lot of other children seems to cut the rate of children getting it by 30%. This is awesome and amazing. Just FYI.

Teenagers and sex, part... well, whatever part it is

In the comments from yesterdays post, Little Mary Sunshine discusses that she feels that the media holds much more responsibility in how sex is perceived by teenagers and she points to the fact that in this weeks Vanity Fair, Miley Cyrus does a very risque photo shoot and interview. I remembered reading this article about this today in which Cyrus claims that she is embarrassed by the photos and interview. She claims to not really have been aware of the photos and thought that it was an artistic shoot and now is embarrassed by the outcome and the interview. Now there are several issues with this innocence that Cyrus is trying to claim. First, the photographer that did the shoot was Annie Leibovitz, this is not some amateur or even just a staff photographer. Leibovitz is a world renown professional photographer, Leibovitz say that Cyrus was fully aware of the entire shoot and how all of the shots looked. Leibovitz says that all of the photos were taken using a digital camera and Cyrus saw all of the shots right there on the set. Second, when Cyrus says things like, "It’s my favorite show! I love it!” when talking about Sex in the City. And about her Disney show Hannah Montana, in which she plays a schoolgirl with a secret life as a rock star, is patterned after Sex in the City “Obviously not the scenarios,” she explains quickly. “But if you watch Sex and the City, like the way the friends are..." to an interviewer in Vanity Fair. You cannot then say that you are shocked and embarrassed by the interview, you supplied the answers and the quotes, hence you are responsible for your own words. And finally, does this look the photograph of a 15-year old and her dad?

This is a very adult picture that probably never should have been taken, but even if it was taken and you really wanted to make sure your reputation would stay in tact than you should not have Ok'd the publication of this photo. Also, most magazines do not want to get sued so they cover their asses pretty well and the layout and article was probably sent to either Cyrus, her father or some representative of Miley Cyrus to peruse, so now saying that they were unaware of what was in the article and that they regret it. It is now too little, too late.

There is obviously a problem with society when the type of questions that could be asked and the photographs that could be taken were asked and were taken. We need to stop hyper-sexualizing our celebrities especially our teen celebrities, but I guess this is just a pipe dream for me at this point.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Why teenagers are having sex

Abstinence only eduction has failed. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease and Planned Parenthood estimates that two thirds of teenagers will have experienced sexual intercourse by the time they leave school. Also, with some 750,000 teenage pregnancies a year, America has one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world. This article goes on to discuss the fact that the federal government is thinking about cutting funding to those programs that only use abstinence-only sex education. The article does a good job of pointing out both sides of the issue both the thoughts from the side that says that this education is obviously not working because it is ignoring the obvious facts that teens are having sex and so we need to help them to understand the dangers that can reside with having unprotected sex and how to protect themselves. It also discusses those on the other side of the issue who feel that abstinence is the only way to go because that is what their religion teaches them is right, that you should be a virgin until you are married. It even quotes one teenage girl who equates having sex before your married to having your future partner feel as though you cheated on them.

Now as I am sure you know if you have read this blog before, I am definitely not on the side of abstinence-only education. It is obviously not working and as said above it ignores the facts, kids are having sex. I would also venture that most sensible people would also add that we do not want kids to have sex, teenage pregnancy is an epidemic in this country and that statistic that I started with about the high number of teenage girls who are contracting STDs is saddening. But the real point of this post is going to be that there is something missing in the idea of abstinence only education and possibly other forms of sex ed that we are now using in our schools, they pretend that all of this happens in a vacuum. Abstinence only education may work if that was the only information that children are getting, but it is not. As I have talked about here and here children are receiving messages about sex and affection constantly and long before they get to high school or junior high when sex ed would usually be taught. They see their favorite celebrities pregnant i.e. Jamie Lynn Spears, they see mommy and daddy sleep the same bed and kiss or share affection, hell they share affection with their parents and relatives in the form of kissing and hugging. And as I have talked, at times children get into situations which might be inappropriate for their age such as kissing each other or laying on top of each other. So they are getting the message that sharing affection with someone you love is a good thing and so it only seems to make sense, to me, that sex becomes that ultimate sharing of affection. As preschoolers that I work with, they may not think of sex as the natural progression, but it doesn't take long for peers to start to "educate" each other about sex. I would reasonably say that in under five years this peer education is fully in effect so then they have a long time of thinking about sex and how to get to that ultimate goal.

Sure teenagers are not prepared for the consequences of sex and are not even thinking about it, but in the same way that misogyny and racism are deeply ingrained in our society so is the concept that sex is a good thing and that you should be having sex when you can. But with abstinence-only education we send mixed signals, we say that sex is ok within a loving relationship, marriage, but not before and yet all of the messages that we see in the media say that sex is fine anytime. Now, I am not coming down on the media here, although they are also at fault as well, but really as a society we need to educate our children better to understand and be able to process that sex is a big responsibility. I would never say you should wait till marriage, as that would be hypocritical of me, but I do say that we should encourage teenagers to be in more long term relationships and to be careful who they have sex with. I would also say that we need to educate teenagers on how to be safe with sex, that birth control pills should not be the only form of protection you are using and that the pullout method is just plain stupid and not effective. We need to take this on as a society and not rely just on the parents or the education system to do everything, this needs to be a joint effort of everyone involved from parents and educators to the media. Finally I would argue that we need to start a lot earlier with teaching children. We need to start to teach them when they are still young about their bodies and use proper names. We need to allow them to ask us as parents about sex and be open that children may have questions. I believe that once sex is no longer is such a mystery and that it is not forbidden to even ask questions, we may actually see the rates of teen pregnancy drop.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is the man I want as my President

In addition to the fact that Evo Morales was a cocoa farmer and has risen to the presidency and the fact that he is doing wonders to help his country and he is not an asshat like we have, he also plays soccer. He apparently has signed up to pay for a second tier team in Bolivia and played in his first game. This is not a politician who throws out the first pitch or some lame thing like that, he played for 41 minutes, sure he didn't score, but still... Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with his politics or anything like that, but that is truly a man of the people, not some fake ass worthless man that people say they want to have a beer with and that says he is a Texan, when he was raised in the Northeast with a motherfucking gold spoon in his ass and a silver spoon in his mouth.

A preview of what's to come

I have no idea if this has been reported outside of NC, but here it is a bit of a big deal and really shows where this presidential campaign is going this summer and into next fall. The NC Republican committe will begin to air ads starting Monday which equate Barak Obama and Rev. Wright with two current NC Democrats who are running for governor who have both endorsed Obama. The ad shows a bit of Rev. Wrights speaking and then says,"Now, Bev Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina." So, they are slamming Obama and the two gubernatorial candidates, linking them all to Rev. Wright. Possibly the worst part of this is the that both McCain and the national Republican party have asked the NC Republican party to pull the ads and the state party has refused. Now, I guess the McCain has no really pull, but if the national party wanted them to truly pull the ads, I would think that they would be able to threaten funding or something, but in reality they have no real interest in the state party to pull the ads, just to make a statement so that if it backfires they can claim they told the state party not to do it. See the whole article here.

This is the way this campaign will now start to go, I predict (going out on a limb ain't I). The state and local parties will start the mud flinging and maybe McCain will object at least in the media, but behind the scenes he will encourage them to do this. It allows him to keep his hands clean and yet the mud is still flung. This also allows for the national Republican party to do some negative campaigning, but again really leave it up to the local level especially in states like those in the South, which aren't really friendly to the Democrats anyway. This campaign is really going to get nasty and it is going to get nasty quick from the Republicans. Whether it is the first women candidate or the first African-American candidate, they will go either sexist or racist, but it is coming and when it does, it is going to be totally and utterly disgusting. I am so sick of American politics right now, but I guess until the revolution comes and we overthrow the current system, I will just have to find ways to keep fighting within the current system.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Youtube Fridays

I have this song in my head, aaaaaaa. I heard it this morning on TV and it has stuck.

I guess some cats are cute and this one is one of them.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cause sometimes you just need a drink at church

A church in Wales has applied for what amounts to a liquor license so that they can serve alcohol at church functions like concerts and such, but also so that they can serve alcohol in the small pub they are building on the church grounds. This strikes me as funny, but also so cool. I think that if more churches served beer and wine then the right wingers wouldn't be so damn mad all of the time. Maybe they just need a drink. The whole article is here. The video from BBC is also well worth a look and it is really short, under two minutes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!! And some of his plays performed or at least discussed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, enjoy. I figured the bard would enjoy some laughs on his birthday.

Feminist parodies

I am stealing this from Fran who stole this from Dr. Zauis. These are great videos and if this is good enough for them, than it is good enough for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rental Dogs

Apparently you can now time share a dog. In this arrangement you get to have a dog for four days a month for a few hours. This way you do not have the actual responsibility of having a dog, but you get to take them for walks. This is for the person who is so on the go that they do not have time for a dog.

Now I appreciate that there are people in this world who do not have the time or space for a dog and in my place currently, I may be one of them that does not truly have the space for a bigger dog like I have, but really if you do not have the time or space than fine, but rent-a-dog is a horrible idea. Dogs are animals that want love and affection. They are pack animals, so they like to be able to run with the same pack. Now most dogs will accept new people and even possibly new animals into the pack with some work, but always shifting packs is a bad idea. These are not commodities or possessions to be traded and given away. This is like having a rental child. You do not have a child just to take them to the playground, just like you do not have a dog just to take them on walks. You have animals and children for the camaraderie and affection that you can share. You also accept a dog into your home and you have to be responsible for their needs and not just four times a month, every day. There are too many dogs that need homes and now some people just do not want the responsibility, so they rent a dog. If you really do not have the room or time to take care of a dog in your home, than volunteer at a shelter once or twice a month or four times a month. There are plenty of animals at shelters that need your love and affection too.

And besides the point, you do not have a dog for the walks, cleaning up their excrement is not my idea of fun. You have a dog to play with them and to enjoy having a companion. This is another sign of the coming apocalypse and the decline into pure materialism in this country and now abroad.

I am Saffron

Your Score: Saffron

You scored 75% intoxication, 25% hotness, 75% complexity, and 50% craziness!

You are Saffron!

Those other spices have nothing on you! You're warm, smart, and you make people feel really good (and with no side-effects!). You can be difficult to get to know and require a lot of those who try, but you're so totally worth it. *Sigh*

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(jodiesattva)
Scarily enough, this is pretty spot on.

h/t Phydeaux

We can't make it here- Shawn Mullins

I went looking for a song, For America, from Shawn Mullins new CD on YouTube and couldn't find it, so I had to figure out a way to put the audio on my site. I never did figure it out so, if anyone knows how I can put audio onto my site for free just let me know in comments or email me.

But while I was on YouTube, I did find this song. I know it is a cover by James McMurty, but it is a great song and I really like this version by Shawn Mullins.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Study on beef and the creation of greenhouse gases

According to this article, a study was done at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and they found that the green house gases produced by the consumption of beef is higher than the consumption of getting non-local produce. I bring this up because I often wonder if buying produce that is grown far away is justified by the creation of greenhouse gases. I wonder if I should just stick with local produce. But it seems that the mere fact that I do not eat beef does seem to, at least sort of, balances out my consumption of non-local produce. I still would advocate for the consumption of local produce, but it is really interesting how much greenhouse gases are produced just from cows. They reported that if Americans cut out approximately a quarter of the average 240 calories they eat a day (damn, that is a lot of calories), it would have the same affect as going completely local. So the next time you are thinking about picking up that steak or hamburger at the grocery store, maybe you should look at the chicken, fish or just getting some veggies. Also, the study did find that, "[r]eplacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs for one day per week reduces emissions equal to 760 miles per year of driving. And switching to vegetables one day per week cuts the equivalent of driving 1160 miles per year." But I do wonder if there is any difference in buying local beef over beef that has to be transported. I know around here at the farmers markets you can buy beef from local farmers and this beef is, of course, not traveling nearly as far. I would have to assume that this would be better as the cows are still producing the same amount, on a per cow basis, of methane, but there are less cows at these local farms than large corporate farms and there is much less transportation going into bringing the dead cow to you. So if you are going to eat beef, try to make sure you are supporting local beef farms. In the end though, I guess I am not the best person to talk about beef since I don't eat it and haven't since I was in high school.


Pesach, that is passover to you of the Gentile persuasion, has begun. It started last night and so far, so good, well mostly. You see I am a bread-aholic and so this whole no bread thing is tough for me. I wanted toast with my eggs this morning or pancakes or waffles or crackers or well, hell, anything that I am not supposed to have. So, why do I do this? Why do I abstain from bread and the like and eat matzah for 8 days? Well, honestly I am not sure. I have been to a synagogue three times since I graduated from undergrad 7 years ago and one of those times was at a second cousin's Bat Mitzvah. There are times I miss it, I miss the meditation of sitting and listening to others pray. I miss listening to the Rabbi read from the Torah and the community. And really I miss the Oneg Shabbat otherwise known as the food after services. But I have not really had a drive to find a synagogue around here either, I tried once or twice in my former home in NC, but nothing ever stuck. I guess I do all of this cause it is tradition. I do it because I have always done it since I was little and it would feel weird to me if I didn't. I fast on Yom Kippur and I don't eat bread during passover because that is what is done. I eat latkes for Chanukah and sometimes Challah for Shabbat. I guess I am a cultural Jew, I do the customs and cultural side of things without thinking about the religious significance. I started to think about this because my mom sent me an article about the retirement of the Rabbi that I grew up with. I knew he was retiring, she had told me so, but it was interesting to see the articles about his retirement and think about the times in which I was in a synagogue and growing up. I have lost some of that I think, but I retain so much more than I realize at times. On a final note, I strongly encourage all of you to go check out Padre Mickey's post about Passover, with a hat tip to Fran because without her, I would not have seen possibly one of the funniest Jewish related things I have seen in many moons. Gut Yontif to all of my Jewish and Yid identified friends on this eight days of no bread.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

YouTube Friday- really really late edition

I could not think of anything that i wanted to put up this week for YouTube Friday and then I saw this show again and I remembered how really funny it is. There are some quality issues with the video at times, but really there wasn't much else to pick from that was not a music video with some dumb music.

Venture Bros.

Are we that open minded?

I saw this poll in the local paper initially and when the link from the paper didn't work, I had to find the actual poll itself, which is probably better anyway. This poll says that here in NC, 91 percent of those surveyed do not think that race is a factor in voting, 79 percent do not think that a person's gender should make a difference in voting and 66 percent do not think age is a factor in how they will vote. But, and here is where it gets interesting, 63 percent thought that people they knew would not vote for a female candidate, 54 percent said that they knew people who would not vote for a black candidate and 44 percent said they knew people who would not vote for a candidate who is "too old". This second set of stats are the most interesting to me, so people say that they would not let a person's age, gender or race play a part in their personal vote, but they know people who would let these same factors play a part. This seems like a case where people do not want to admit that they have an issue with a candidate and so they do not admit to it, but when they are given an out like "do you know anyone who would vote this way" they are more honest. Are people really that open minded? Are they really ignoring what should be external factors to how well a person could do the job of being a president? Or are they just saying they are ignoring these factors just so that they do not appear to be a "bad person"? And even if they really are voting based upon a person's record or other factors other than gender, age or race, why are they not telling those around them that there are better reasons to vote for or against someone than such superficial reasons? The final problem I have is that, I do not believe people are really putting these factors aside as the mass media coverage has focused almost solely on the candidates age, gender and age, so how can you say that this is not a factor for you, when that is all you read about? Or maybe they are like me and they only marginally pay attention to the mass media and get information from other sources and really are trying to base their decisions on more relevant factors. One can only hope.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Book review- Botany of Desire

Botany of Desire is about looking at the world through the view point of plants. The book highlights the interactions between plants and humans. The author Michael Pollan, who has also written The Omnivore's Dilemma, seems to set out to show how plants have adapted and evolved as a means to employ us humans as part of their spread just like they have evolved to attract bees, birds and other pollinators. The book is split into four sections, each focusing on a different plant, first are apples, second are tulips, third are marijuana and fourth are potatoes.

The section on apples focuses of the myth and the actual man of Johnny Appleseed and the growth of apples as the frontier of the US was opened up. As a history person, it was interesting to see how one man was able to create a growth of a crop that had great value and that was spread with the settlers pretty much as they pushed the boundary of the "wilderness". Now the reason they grew the apples was to make cider, mostly of the alcoholic variety and not as a fruit to be eaten, which then leads to the kinds of apples they were growing. It is also interesting for me as I love hard cider, but apples as a fruit to be eaten that are sweet are a relatively new idea dating back to only the prohibition era. So as the types and tastes of the apples that were desired changed so did the types of apples that were grown, which led to the consolidation of types of apples from many to only a few. It was interesting and sad to see the ways in which as Americans we wanted only a limited kind of apples, those that were big and sweet, we have limited the types of apples that are grown and hence have cut off some of the variation in apples.

The section on Tulips was the hardest for me to enjoy. On one hand the Dutch Tulipmania was interesting, but the depth in which he looks at the pollination of flowers was a bit much for me. I am just not as interested in plants that serve as purely measures of beauty and are more esthetic than practical, I guess.

The next section of Marijuana was again interesting to me. Although I am not really a pot smoker and have only smoked pot a handful of times, it was interesting to see how a plant that had no intrinsic purpose other than as a way to make rope has become one that is used for recreational purposes much more often. The cannabis plant starts out as mainly used for the strength of the hemp fibers to make rope in America as the type that would allow for intoxication will not grow well in our climate except in limited areas. As the types of cannabis that exist are combined we find that we can create a plant that will grow in a wider variety of climates that will also allow for the same intoxicating effects. This section also highlighted another problem with the War on Drugs, when the federal government started to really crack down on marijuana in the mid-1980s and hence marijuana growers were forced to go underground more than they were and were forced to create better and stronger plants to withstand the forced growth in basically indoor greenhouses, they created a stronger and more potent intoxicant. Hence the War on Drugs which was supposed to lessen these drugs only made them stronger as man started to learn to create stronger plants. There was also increased hybridization of the pot plants to make them more suited to growing smaller and producing more of the parts that we want to get high. This also drives up the price of pot and we create more growers not less. So maybe banning pot was not such a great idea, huh.

The fourth section was on potatoes. This section, in many ways, focused on the increased involvement of corporations, specifically Monsanto, in the growing and manipulation of plants to create what we as humans want. Pollan is able to get some NewLeaf potato plants from Monsanto that are supposed to be genetically altered so that the potato bugs cannot eat them or at least they die when they try to eat the potato plant. He wants then to see if they do truly work as a natural pesticide and also to see if he can see or taste a difference in these potatoes over the other potatoes in his garden. In combination with this experiment, he meets with several farmers who grow potatoes, two of the farmers used the NewLeaf and the other one was an organic farmer. The farmers who were using the genetically altered plants were interesting, one of the farmers grew the altered plants for corporate America who wants these perfect potatoes for their french fires and other products, but never fed them to his family; his own garden is purely organic. And he says that most of the farmers he knows, do not eat their own products either. Another of the farmers, used the genetically altered products regularly and even fed them to Pollan in a potato salad. But when he was challenged about how the corporations were affecting his farm, he did say that the corporations were creating another noose around his neck even with a Monsanto representative sitting at the table with them. Of course the organic farmer was a great proponent of the organic farming and pointed out all of the positives of organic farming, As to the NewLeaf potatoes that Pollan had planted, he said that they looked fine, but by the end of the book, he couldn't eat them. He didn't feel comfortable with them as there is no way of knowing how the splicing of genetics to create a natural pesticide would affect his own self after eating them. He noted that he knew that it was very possible that he and many others had eaten the NewLeaf potatoes at a McDonalds or any other fast food restaurant even though McDonalds did end up saying they would not buy the NewLeaf potatoes after much pressure was put on them, but for a while they were using these potatoes. He even thought of taking them to a community pot luck, but then would have felt guilty if he did not tell everyone that the potatoes were genetically altered and then who would want to eat, knowingly, genetically altered food.

Overall, it is an interesting book in the view of how humans and plants interact. The reader sees how much that human desire creates an impetus for us to alter plants to fit our needs. We select plants that are the biggest, the prettiest, the sweetest, the most intoxicating and the most profitable. We alter the plants to fit what we want from them. Sure, up till the most current times we were not altering the genetics of plants, we were only utilizing the mutations that nature had created, but then we did propagate these mutations and continue to grow only the ones that we liked thus limiting the diversity in nature. But with the beginning of Gregor Mendel and his pea plants (thank you high school biology) we began to alter plant genetics, we began to play with nature and make it into what we, as humans, thought it should be. Pollan seems to argue that plants change and evolve to suit us as well as bees and birds because we are as important to their survival as any other animal. He may be somewhat true in this assertion, we do ensure that some plants live, we do ensure that some plant's genetics continue on, but the key here is SOME. Bees do not look at flowers and pick the flower that is the prettiest, they do not decide to cross the red flower with the white flower to make a pink flower, they are attracted to something different. The relationship between the bee and the plant is symbiotic. I am not as convinced that the relationship between humans and plants is nearly as equal when taken in the general. We do not advance a whole species of plants, just the ones that please us. One final point, Pollan seems to indicate that there is some order, in his opinion, to the evolution of plants to attract humans, where as I see the evolution of plants as random combinations of mutations in which some work and some don't.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Why don't girls play guitar?"

According to a study mentioned in this article, in England it is much more likely for girls to play the flute or the harp and boys to play instruments like the drums or the guitar. Of course this is also true here in the US and why do musical instruments seem to be split along gender lines? Then answer is easy, it has to do with who society decides should play these instruments. We have decided that boys should play louder, bigger instruments and girls should play quieter, smaller instruments. This goes back to our perceptions of boys and girls. Boys are supposed to be loud and girls are supposed to be quiet. So then, of course, their musical instrument choices should reflect this too. Their is also some comment that maybe the bigger instruments are more difficult for girls to handle as they are bigger, but this seems to make no sense because as the article points out, harps are hug instrument and yet it is Ok for girls to play this. The other interesting point is that while it seems these gender differences are very pronounced in children, as you enter adulthood within professional musicians the differences may not be quite as striking. I am not sure this is totally true, I can think of many female guitarists, but I can probably think of many more who are male. I think there are also cultural implications here at work too, the article talks about Sir James Galway, who I had not heard of till this article, but who apparently is a word famous flutist. Galway says,"My granddad played the flute, my dad played the flute, my uncle played the flute, who learnt from his granddad and taught me. Everyone in the street played the flute." He was part of a society and culture where there were many flute bands and many of these flute bands did not include women. So the culture made it more acceptable for him to play the flute than it might have been in another environment.

So what can we do to encourage more girls to play the guitar and drums and more boys to play the flute and violin? Just that, we can encourage them to learn about and try all kinds of instruments. We can expose them to famous and accomplished musicians that break these gender stereotypes. And we can start these practices at a young age. I know in the preschool center I work at, we have music and the music teacher is amazing with the amount of different instruments that he brings in. We had an electric guitar this week, we have had all kinds of percussion instruments from snare drums to hand drums to singing bowls. We see instruments from around the world and all kinds of instruments the kids may not have seen before. But the most important part is that the kids get to play with all of these instruments. They get to bang on the drums and "play"the singing bowls. And I will tell you what, it is one of the coolest things I have ever seen watching four and five year olds strap on an electric guitar and rock out. He even had an effects pedal so that the kids could make the guitar louder and fuzzier. They had fun and they got to experience another musical instrument. Does this mean that they all will become musicians? Probably not, but what it does mean is that maybe, just maybe when it is time for them to pick an instrument, at least one of those girls will think back on the fun they had playing an electric guitar and decide that they want to learn how to really play one.

NOTE: All of this is coming from someone who has not a musical bone in his body. I played viola and clarinet when I was younger and never really liked it all that much. I just do not have the talent for music, but I want to see every child that does have an interest in music be able to pursue whatever instrument they want and to see the gender stereotypes around everything including musical instruments broken down.

And for good measure two artists that break these stereotypes.

Melissa Etheridge- I'm the only one

James Galway- Lord of the Rings Suite

Turns out I did know James Galway, I just didn't know it. He did the music for the recent Lord of the Rings movies.

How much do you think mine would sell for?

A few days ago, I read in this article in the local paper online that a college student had put her vote in the NC Democratic primary up for sale on Ebay. Now we all know this is a crime and she had to take it down, but that was not her point. Her point was that this Democratic campaign has gotten to be ridiculous. The candidates are fighting for each vote and the fighting is getting nasty among not only the candidates, but also their supporters as well. She also feels as though both candidates are just sale people selling a product anymore and making promises that they may not keep. As she said, "On top of that...the Obama crowd on campus expects her vote because she is a Muslim from a Palestinian family. Clinton's supporters think a woman would automatically choose their candidate. 'I was thinking this race has turned into a bidding war." She stared the bidding at 15 cents and by the time she had to take it down, the bidding was up to $11.50. The state has not said they will press charges which I am glad to hear, but this does make me wonder what my vote would go for. I am a white male and isn't this the exact constituency that both candidates are fighting for?

If France can do it, why can't we?

France has now made it a federal crime to promote or encourage extreme thinness, such as anorexia, in the media. It is now a crime to have a pro-anorexia website. This will also affect fashion houses, magazines and advertisers. I am glad to see someone, a whole nation in fact, that recognizes that anorexia is a huge problem and that freedom of speech that encourages someone to kill themselves by starvation may not be the kind of free speech that we want to encourage. I understand that this may create a bit of a slippery slope when you begin to censor thoughts and the media. Where is the line of what is censorship and what is not censorship? How to determine when someone is promoting extreme thinness in a magazine? All of these are issues, but in the end, I am glad that now it is a crime to promote anorexia in the media as this kind of thinking needs to be stopped. You can read more about the French law and what it means here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Book Review- Ten Little Indians

After having watched and really like the movie, Smoke Signals, which I talked about here, I found out that the movie was based upon a book of short stories by Alexie called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. I read this book and really liked it, I thought I had reviewed it, but I can't find it on this site so I guess not. Anyway, so I then got another of his short stories, Ten Little Indians. Whereas Loner Ranger... takes place pretty much totally on a Spokane Indian reservation outside of Seattle, Ten Little Indians takes place totally off a reservation, but still contains stories about Spokane Indians. Many of the stories take place in and around Seattle. Each story discusses life for Indians especially Spokane Indians in the modern world. The struggles of being an Indian, where you are viewed as basically having to be a representative of all Indians. And all Indians are supposed to have this mystical, pantheistic connection to the world. They are not supposed to have needs and wants, they are all supposed to be a shaman of some sort. These stories are about the reality of living up to being in a minority in your world. There are funny stories, sad stories, and angry stories. The characters are everything from a lawyer to a young woman who is in college and is trying to find her identity to a homeless man. Alexie amazed me as each time I read a story, it was vastly different from the story prior or even any other story in the book. I have found that many authors that I have read who have done short stories, tend to have a similar vantage point, they are male or female in all of the stories, but Alexie has stories from the perspective of both genders, although there may be more stories from a male perspective, but as a male this is probably a more comfortable writing style for him. But all of the stories are in a first person narrative, you never seem to know more than the characters themselves and so you are taking the journey along with the characters. Each story is heartfelt and interesting. I do not rad enough short stories and so this book was a great way for me to really get hooked into that genre. If you are looking for a book that will allow you to see life from another perspective, that of a Spokane Indian and want to laugh, cry and become angry at times as you read, than get this book and enjoy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Movie Review- Funny Games

Funny Games has a very simple plot, it is the story of a middle-class family who are held hostage and tortured by two young men. Yep, that is whole plot, it is complex in its simplicity. As you watch the film, you kind of know how it will end and you can predict much of the action, but that is not the point of this film. This film, according to the director, is about the portrayal of violence in the media. We watch a family get tortured and yet we never actually see them shot, stabbed or hit with a golf club and yet all of these things happen. We hear their screams and we see the after affects of the violence, but the actual violence is not on screen. As an audience we are also accomplices in this violence, because we never see the actual violence, we cannot act purely as voyeur. We are like the husband or wife when the other is being tortured, we are there and we hear what is happening, but of course we do not actually want to see the violence. We do not want to watch our significant other get stabbed. We are also implicated in the movie as one of the actors, throughout the movie, looks directly into the camera and talks to us in the audience. We are asked our opinion on the violence, at one point he even asks us if it has been enough and in anticipation of our reply, he answers, "We're not up to feature film length yet. You want a real ending with plausible plot development." We are not able to see this film as merely a movie, it is more about us and our perceptions of the acceptability of violence in the media, or at least that is how I saw it. So, do I recommend this film? Yes and no, I think it is an incredibly powerful film and the direction, acting and writing are outstanding, but it is also not for the faint of heart. This is not what has now become called horror porn, where we are watching gore for the sake of gore, we are watching a film about violence with no reason at all.

As an additional note, there are two versions of this film. The original, which is the one I just saw, from 1997 and is in Austrian and the new American version. The American version is supposed to be a shot-by-shot remake of the original and from the trailer I found, it appears to be very much the same film, but with different actors and in English. The director is also the same for both versions, Michael Haneke. Even the lake house where the action takes place appears to be the same set. I am curious to see the American version because Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Michael Pitt are in it, but I am not sure as it is the same movie, if it will be as powerful the second time as it is the first time.

Books and relationships

I saw this article about a week ago and I have been thinking that it deserves a post. The article discusses how for some people, books can be a deal breaker in a relationship. If the books that you and a potential partner read are radically different, than the relationship may not work. Or if you are a reader and your partner is not a reader, how that might affect the relationship. According to the article, books are a reflection of a person's personality, intelligence and educational background. Now I agree with the idea of books as a reflection of a person's personality and possibly educational background, but as a measure of intelligence or as a reason to end a relationship? The article starts with discussion of a women calling her friend and complaining that the man she just had to break up with had never heard of Pushkin. Now I have heard of Pushkin, but I have never ready any of his work, does that make me uneducated? There are plenty of authors that I have heard of from Woolf to Beckett to Dostoevsky and yet I have never read any of their works. Am I adverse to reading their works? No, but I just have never really had the inclination either. So to use what authors you have read as a measure of someone's intelligence or a as sole reason for dumping someone is stupid to me. But on the other hand, I do admit that if a women is not really a reader, that is a bit of a turn-off for me. I like the idea and the reality of being able to discuss books and literature with my partner. And I also admit to checking out other people's libraries or lack thereof when I am in someone's home. (Yes, that does mean I checked out your book shelf in your bedroom, sweetheart.) But would I dump someone over what they read, hmmmm not really? Although, my ex did like to read basically only trashy romance novels or really bad fantasy novels by authors like Piers Anthony and this did drive me crazy at times, but it also was not a good reason to end a relationship.

The only other issue that I have with this article is that it explicitly says that apparently only women think that reading is important. It states that men are not typically readers and "rare is the guy who’d throw a pretty girl out of bed for revealing her imperfect taste in books". Now there are a few men quoted in the article that profess that they do like brainy women, but the article does seem a bit tilted toward women and their issues with men who just aren't as smart as them.

Hmmmm so apparently men are shallow beings who don't read. I guess that means, my brother, my dad, all of the men on both sides of my family and so many other men that I know, must not be real men as we do like to read. This again is one stereotype we need to end right here and right now. This means w also need to encourage and work with our boys to grow to love reading. We cannot create a society of educated people without raising them to love reading, both boys and girls. I mean look what happens to our country when we allow a non-reader to run the country, we go to hell in a hand basket. I know I am preaching to the choir in this post, but I still wanted to put this out there. Also, since I am preaching to the choir, if you have not done so yet, please go to this website and email your Congress-people and let them know that they have to save the very important Reading is Fundamental program. This program provides free books to school kids across the country for them to take home and learn to enjoy. In my experience in public schools, this is the only way some kids get to have books in their homes and for all kids there is no such thing as too many books in a home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tonights dinner, Pizza

UPDATE: This was last nights dinner. Blogger and Firefox are not playing nicely right now so I had to switch over to Safari to finally get this to work.

I have not done one of these, cooking dinner posts so I decided tonight was the night to do one. I had pizza tonight, mmmmmmmm pizza. I have been making my own pizza for a while now as it is cheaper to make it myself than to get it delivered or go get it and it is better too. At first I was just buying dough at Trader Joes and then making it here, they sell dough for $1 for one pizza. I found this to be really good, really cheap dough that was still raw dough so it was easy to freeze and then make into whatever shape I wanted. I also could use this dough to make calzones with tomato sauce and cheese and then whatever I wanted to put into it, ricotta, spinach, veggie pepperoni, whatever I felt like at the time. So then I figured I would make my own dough, I mean how hard can it be and I had already started to make my own bread, but just started that. It is super easy to make, but then the best part was that Sir Robin did a whole post on pizza and I was able to use his pizza rdough recipe which makes four pizzas for me and so I can make one and then freeze the rest till I want to make pizza again, which is like weekly. So tonights was just a plain cheese pizza, no frills, just real quick and easy.

Pizza dough with sauce. I wanted a lot of sauce tonight, I am not sure why. Sometimes I use a lot of sauce and sometimes very little.

Now it has cheese and in it goes to the oven.

Here it is done. It might have been a bit over cooked and as you can see, it got stuck to the pizza stone and so tore a bit. But it was really good.

Masturbation and witches

I am reading The Botany of Desire and will review it when I finish with it, but there was something interesting that I learned about today which explains the myth of the why witches ride broomsticks. According to Pollan, the author, he mentions how it seems that it was the whole idea of the garden as a means of beautification is a relatively new concept, and that for much of the time gardens were used more for practical purposes such as to create medicines and healing salves, no shit, right. Ok so then it comes to where gardens were a place for people to grow things that would intoxicate and possibly even poison people, again, no shit. So now you may be wondering where the whole masturbation and witches thing comes in, well it seems that it was common practice for "witches" to create potions that at times used datura (otherwise known in some species as jimsonweed and is a hallucinogen), opium poppies (from which morphine and other opiates come), belladonna (another hallucinogen), hashish, fly agaric mushrooms (Amanita muscaria, another hallucinogen), and the skins of toads (which can contain DMT, a powerful hallucinogen). This mixture was then combined with a hempseed-oil based ointment which was then applied vaginally. This then allowed the "witches" to "fly". So what was the easiest thing to apply this ointment, probably a broomstick. He mentions that they used special dildos, which could also be very true, but really a broomstick makes as much sense. So you are walking along and you see a women straddling a broomstick, you wonder what the fuck this women is doing, you already think she is a witch, so then what is she doing, well she must be getting ready to fly or travel somewhere, I mean why else would a person sit on a broomstick like you are riding a horse. So witches fly. Also, I can see where within a group of women who are all applying this ointment, and they are talking about it, they probably do feel like they are flying at times. So not only within the group, but also on the outside of the group, witches now fly using broomsticks.

So now you may be wondering why I even brought this up, other than the obvious, I learned something new today and wanted to share it, which is also true. But I also see this as another example of when women who did not need or have a man for sexual pleasure had to be labeled. There had to be something wrong with them, I mean within a patriarchal society does not every women need a man for sex? Now the patriarchy also says that women do not have individual sexual needs so using a broomstick or another dildo makes no sense within the patriarchy. Women should not want or need anything other than a man between her legs, right. So again, a man walks past the house of a women who is alone, widowed or having never been married, she has a broomstick or something else between her legs and she is happy, ahhh she must be a witch. No women should be happy without a man, right. This is again, the patriarchy or in this case possibly one man deciding she must be a witch purely because she has no husband. I hadn't really gotten this far in my thought until I started typing, but then how many "witches" that were burned were either lesbians or never married? These women had to be witches, they did not need a man. The whole idea of saying they were able to cast a spell on you is just ludicrous, medicine was very primitive at this point, so it was very common for a "doctor" to be using the same potions and plants that a witch used, the difference, she was a woman. This leads me to my favorite Monty Python scene ever, the witch scene in Search for the Holy Grail.

So other than that being a fucking funny clip, it also makes my point perfectly. She was a witch and how did they know, because she looked like a witch. Well, they added the hat, the clothes and the nose. So now, she still looks like a witch, huh. Oh and she cast a spell, but he "got bettah". The reality, ok so this is not real, but still... is that she probably didn't have a husband and/or had rebuked some man's interest in her, so she must be a witch, what other kind of women would not want a man? I know there are probably a thousand other ways to come to the same conclusion about the "witches" and the patriarchy, but isn't the addition of the reasoning why the broomstick is associated with witches just an interesting twist.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Feminism and me

So now that I have gotten the silly posts out of my system for now, I wanted to do a more serious post on something that I feel asleep thinking about last night, Feminism and me. I was inspired to start thinking about it, like I don't usually, but really think about it and my own thoughts and perspective on it after reading this post by Melissa over at Shakesville. And then I went there today to find this article again and well to read some more and I found this post by Kate Harding. It renewed much of what I was already thinking about when it comes to my own perspective on feminism.

To give you a bit of a background on my mother because this is important to my whole point, I would consider my mother to a first generation feminist, at least as I understand it. She has always been a strong female, she has always made of point of talking to my brother and I about the fact that men and women are equal which was reflected in my growing up and my parent's house. I can remember at one point, my mother making a point that we do not objectify women or their bodies in their house and that this was not acceptable behavior with my parents. This grew out of her seeing the album cover for a CD with a scantily clad women on the front. Now the fact that this was for a female rapper, which she had no way of knowing, did not change the fact that she and my father did not feel as though this was material that was appropriate for me. She did not ban me from listening to the music or censor me in any way, but this point was still made. This varies from other topics where I had teachers who felt that my brother or I were reading books that were not appropriate for us, Tom Clancy nnovels in my case and Bram Stroker's Dracula in my brother's case, both comments made by the same fifth grade teacher. My parents stuck up for mine and my brother's rights to read what we wanted to read. So when she told me that an album cover was not appropriate it stuck with me. Yeah I didn't totally understand at that point, but I did start to not make sure that albums that I thought they would not like, I covered more. This does not change the fact that I still listened to them, but I was more conscious of what I was listening to.

Fast forward to the present, well about mid-June to July when I started to blog read on a very regular basis and not just read some idiot my brother was friends with who did mostly self serving, egotistical fluff pieces most of the time. I started to read many writers who were women and were strong feminists. Sure, I was conscious of feminism and the desire of equal rights for men and women, but here I was reading more impassioned ideals. I was reading about the ways in which the patriarchy hurts not only women, but also men. I was reading about the subtle ways in which we have been so conditioned to not even realize that the patriarchy is still very strong. I guess I knew we still live in a very patriarchical society, but it took more than that for me to wipe the haze away from my eyes. It took people saying look at this advertisement, look at this comment, look at this whole notion of life and what it means and see how fucked up it really is. How much we hurt ourselves as fellow humans when we value one gender over another. And it was like a cloud lifting, I began to see the world around me in such a different way. Now it took a while for this to happen and I am still struggling to fight my own biases and misogyny, but I am fighting and I am noticing how my actions and the actions of those around me do affect the whole world. I am beginning to see that we still have a long way to go in fighting to truly create a society that is free from sexism, along with racism and all of the other -isms that we humans like to use to label others.

But I have to say though, that I struggle to consider myself a feminist, truly. I read on a blog (I don't honestly remember which one and it could have been on several) the whole idea that as a man it is hard to define yourself as a feminist. I am uncomfortable with this label for me. First, I generally dislike labels anyway, but this one I really struggle with. I find as a man, the world is still tilted in my favor. I find that I still have many of the advantages and that in many cases, I don't realize till it is too late that I have gained an advantage purely because I am a white male. I do not have the same fears when I am walking down a street late at night as I have heard women express, now part of this is that usually if I am out, I have Logan with me or I am in a very familiar area, but still... I don't have to think about the fact that those who have been in power, and hopefully this will change this year, have looked like me. I don't have to deal with society judging my worth based upon my looks, my weight or the size of my clothing. I am allowed to grow older and have wrinkles and even have my hair turn gray, although I am losing mine, but this is still more acceptable in men than women. I never have to deal with someone blaming my bad mood on hormones or "that time of the month."

And the biggest issue and the one that I guess I think about most is that I never have to worry about my reproductive rights. As a male, I am encouraged to reproduce and there is no negative stereotype attributed if I have had a lot of sexual partners, which I haven't, but still. I also can never get pregnant and so i do not have to worry about whether I would have an abortion or not. Now this does not absolve me of any responsibility, in fact I think, it means I have more responsibility. As I have to be able to be responsible for my own actions and not cause my partner to feel as though she has to make this decision. I would be there for my partner, but I have felt for a while now that as a male, my job in this debate is to help to support my partner. It is not my body hence I cannot and should not tell you what you can and cannot do with it. This is why I am pro-choice. I am male and so I have NO right to tell you that you cannot make this choice. The whole idea of pro-life as a male makes absolutely no sense to me. How can any man ever tell any women what she can do with her body? Now I would agree that no person, male or female, has the right to tell someone what to do with your body, but as a female at least you have the same "plumbing" and so have some idea, as a male I have no idea and cannot even begin to understand. So, am I a feminist? NO. But I consider myself on the same side.


Hello, My name is the Boxer Rebel and I suck at Math. I am stealing this video from FranIAm because it is so funny. I also concur with her that I have to wished to have had a better math teacher in high school. I even had to take a basic math class in college that really seemed worthless and did not help my seeming dislike of math, but as I have gotten older, I have also gotten better at math at least the stuff that I need for my life like how much to give for a tip and some basic adding and such in my head, stuff I couldn't do when I was younger. I guess I was just a late bloomer when it came to math.

Here is possibly one of the greatest math videos I have ever seen and the kid in the video makes it.

Hockey playoffs, yay

This will be quick as I know most of you are not sports fans, let alone hockey fans, but the playoffs start tonight. My Penguins have to play the Ottawa Senators ans should beat them. GO PENS!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Earwigs, ewwwww

This song has been in my head since last night specifically this version.

Marilyn Manson- Sweet Dreams

Hell, I didn't know that Marilyn Manson had done this song and for one of the great really bad movie spoofs that has been made recently. But it was mentioned last night so I found it and now had to post it.

Marilyn Manson- Tainted Love

Oh yeah and one more for good luck, this song has been an earwig for like a week now.

Marcy Playground-Sex and Candy

Monday, April 7, 2008

Movie Review Roundup

Bug is an incredibly interesting film about paranoia and what it does to people. I am still not sure what I think about this film over all. The film is based upon an off-broadway play by the same name that was written by Tracy Letts who also wrote the screenplay for this movie. The entire film takes place, basically, in a hotel room. Ashley Judd plays Agnes, an emotionally scarred and battered women. Harry Connick, Jr. plays her abusive ex-husband who has recently gotten out of jail and is still emotionally and physically abusing her throughout the movie. Finally, Michael Shannon plays Peter, a paranoid schizophrenic, who meets and eventually befriends Agnes. Most of the movie the only two people shown are Agnes and Peter. We see Agnes descend along with Peter into his paranoia of the invasion of bugs into his body and their hotel room. This is an amazing performance by both actors. I was amazed at how believable both Judd and Shannon are as two people who at first glance appear to be stable individuals and even ones who are creating a realtionship which will help both of them. We then watch them fall apart both physically and mentally and descend into a destructive spiral that consumes both of them. Harry Connick, Jr. performance as the abusive boyfriend is also amazing. He is not on the screen that much, but he does help to feed much of Agnes's paranoia and when he is on the screen, he is an intense and overpowering man. Although, we only see him hit Agnes once, we see that he still has much of an emotional hold on her. This is an awesome film about paranoia and two people's descent into their own private hell.

But I'm a Cheerleader is a 180 degree change from Bug. This film is a comedy about a young girl, Meagan played by Natasha Lyonne, whose parents think she is a lesbian so they send her to a "deprogramming" camp to get rid of her homosexual tendencies. Cathy Moriarty plays the camp director along with an out-of-drag RuPaul Charles as her male counterpart that helps the gay boys to get over their tendencies. This film is hilarious and makes me wonder if these deprogramming camps really do seem this incompetent. I am sure the real thing is much more religiously based and the whole Jesus can heal me thing, which in the movie is missing, thanks be to the Spaghetti Monster. But it does seem to be slightly contrary to take a bunch of hormonal homosexual teens and then put them into a same-sex camp bunk with no real supervision. I am sure this is totally opposite of what happens in real life, but in the movie this creates very funny consequences. There are also some great scenes of perpetuating the gender stereotypes like all the girls are taught to do is clean, while the boys are taught football, to chop wood and to work on cars. Sure the characters are all a bit stereotypically gay, but that is part of the whole cheesy appeal of this movie. There is also some great cameos by Richard Moll and Wesley Mann as a gay couple who are trying to provide the teens as an alternative to the deprogramming, basically being themselves and accepting their own sexuality. This is another of those really funny movies that I am not sure everyone has seen and yet, I think everyone should see, yes even those fundamentalists. May be they would realize that their delusions of trying to change a person are stupid and we should learn to just accept ourselves and those around us for the person they are.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Let's go get that gun now

Charlton Heston died. I guess I should feel bad or something about this, I mean another human has died, but really I can't feel that way for Heston. He was a miserable old man and his politics sucked, so am I glad he died, well not exactly, but I am not sad either. And just to show how much an asshole he is here is the interview Michael Moore did with him for his movie Bowling for Columbine.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I am ashamed to live in NC right now

I just saw this article in my local paper online about a 14 year old girl with a mental illness who has been held in juvenile jail since January 28 without any treatment because the state says they have no where else for her to go. So now the state of North Carolina keeps kids with mental illness in jail because someone is too lazy to find a more suitable placement for her. Apparently the state's attorney argued that the state is not responsible to find placement for this child, just to pay for it. She is a fucking ward of the county because her mom is in jail and they are claiming that they are not responsible to find help for her. This is s fucking outrage. She is in your custody, hence you are responsible for helping her. She did not break any laws, she did not do anything wrong, she is sick and you send her to jail. What the fuck? How is this legal? Her lawyer is challenging the legality of this obviously, but how the fuck does a situation like this last a month let alone over two months with no resolution? According to one of her lawyers, there have been nine separate hearings to find a place for this girl and yet no one can find a solution. This is fucked up. This is what happens when we turn the mental health system and any health system, IMHO, over to private companies who have no interest, but their own and making money. They do not care where this child is living, they do not care if she gets treatment, they do not care whether she lives or dies, all this company cares about is the all mighty dollar. A judge has ordered the state of North Carolina to find a suitable housing for her by Monday. According to this order,

"As a matter of law, as a matter of fact, and as a matter of human rights and fundamental decency, it is an abysmal failure of us as human beings and as a society, and especially for the state of North Carolina, for this 14 year old child to be illegally locked up in a juvenile detention center, and to have been locked up without treatment since January 18, 2008, because the North Carolina mental health system has been unable or unwilling to locate treatment at a PRTF (psychiatric residential treatment facility)..., to which she is entitled by Federal and State Medicaid law"

Yet again the mentally ill get fucked over by a private company. And we claim to be the best country in the world, I am calling bullshit!

Women: They can fix their cars, but they can't save the world

I first started to think about this post a few days ago when I was watching ESPN. They had an advertisement for Advance Auto Care (I am pointing them out by name, the reasons will become obvious later, hopefully) in which there is a person working on their car. You never see their head, all you see is their hands and torso. The hood of the car is open and they are doing whatever, I have no idea what they are doing and it really does not matter. So here is the kicker, this person is obviously a women, she has boobs. But she is wearing what I would call usual clothes, just jeans and a shirt,and not some shirt that shows her stomach or is totally impractical when doing manual labor, she is not supposed to be there as a sex symbol or as a way to really make working on the car sexy, hell I am not sure that you would really notice the gender. I have seen the ad several times and this last time, I was like hey, that person has boobs, it must be a she. The final tag line is something to the effect of Wrench Up. I cannot find this ad on youtube or anywhere on the Internet so I cannot show it to you, so hopefully I have done the ad justice in trying to describe it. Here was an commercial for an auto repair store that had a female in it that was not dressed provocatively, that was not used as a mere prop, hell there was not another person in the commercial let alone a male figure and there is no voice other than the announcer toward the end which names the place that they are advertising. This was great to see that women can and do work on cars and that we do not need to make a big point about it in the commercial, but that it can and is as normal as seeing a man working their car. Now maybe I am happy about something that is not that big of a deal, maybe I am trying to read too much into the non-gender stereotypical commercial, maybe I am even falling into their trap of seeing this women working on her car and I am supposed to think that is sexy. Well, I didn't really think about it in terms of sex, it felt more like an observation and it was about damn time that we see women working on their cars and doing manual labor that is supposed to be the domain of men. There is no such thing as men's work or women's work, it is all just work, things that need to be done.

Now on the other end of the spectrum, Peter Sagal, host of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR, has a commentary about the misogyny of the new movie Horton Hears a Who. I have not seen the movie, but according to him the movie changes the book significantly in not so good ways. The mayor of Whoville now has 96 daughters and 1 son and guess which one of his children has to save the world? Yep, you guessed it, the son. As Sagal asks and I would agree, why can't any of these 96 girls save the world? Why does the hero in movies have to be just that, a hero, why can we not have a heroine? As Sagal puts it, "And while we're at it, how come a girl doesn't get to blow up the Death Star! Or send ET home? Or defeat Captain Hook! Or Destroy the Ring of Power!" Yeah, why? And furthermore when there is a heroine and the only one I can think of is Lara Croft, why does she have to be so scantily clad, now I have nothing against seeing Angelina Jolie scantily clad, but really it is not necessary for the movie. She is a fucking adventurer and explorer, and she wears nothing, this makes no sense. The new Indiana Jones movie is coming out soon and yet Harrison Ford is always dressed in these films. You do not see him running around with no shirt on and in a thong, as much as I am sure there are members of the population that would enjoy that, we do not subject our male action heroes to such stupidity. As I think about this further, the only female action character that I can think of that is tough and is not totally undressed the whole time is, Tank Girl. How many people have seen this movie? (Heather, put your hand down, I know you have.) But it is such a great movie based upon a British underground feminist comic book that starts Lori Petty and Naomi Watts and yet no one has seen it. So we need more female action stars that can dress the part, that do not need to be scantily clothed just for us to watch them and we need more commercials that show that this whole dividing work along gender lines is stupid and not beneficial to either women or men.

Is it time for another debate?

Thanks to Google Reader which I found because FranIAm mentioned it, so thanks go to her as well, I have now been able to keep up on local and national news much easier. I noticed in the local paper that apparently there is the possibility that there will be another Democratic presidential debate, here in the great state I currently reside in, NC. According to this article, there is a possibility of a debate on April 27 here in NC. At one point, I would have been annoyed, another debate, shit, haven't we had enough of these already. But at this point, I have some very selfish reasons for wanting this debate to happen. First, I am still undecided about who I would vote for and so it would be good for me to see another debate to help me to make my mind up for sure about who I should vote for. Second, although this may be unlikely, I would like to say that I might actually get to be in the audience for this debate, especially as they are discussing this debate to happen in either Raleigh or Charlotte. If it happened in Raleigh, I would try as hard as I could to get a ticket to go to the debate, Charlotte on the other hand is a bit far for me to drive, but still it would help with my decision making process. So I really hope this happens.

Now onto my other point about this debate, Clinton has already agreed to this debate, while Obama is not sure this debate would work into his schedule. He has said that he had proposed a debate before April 22nd, but that Clinton declined that timing. I am tired of the little fights between the two of them. I want them to just agree to handle this like adults and point out their weaknesses, but stop the attacks on each other and start to attack McCain more. So what does this have to do with a debate? Well, maybe if they had a debate, they could point out these differences and stop firing at each other from afar.

I know that in many ways this debate does not make total sense, there are only a few states left to hold primaries and for each campaign actually making campaign stops may serve their purposes better than having a nationally televised debate in which only a few states' voters would really have a vested interest, but if this is to be the presidential candidate for our party, shouldn't we all want to see them make their stands more known and to explain their differences? Also, isn't this a good venue in which both of them can point out all of McCain's faults and he has many, so stop the stalling already and have the damn debate. Oh yeah and please let us commoners have a chance to get tickets to see the show.

Vibrating Crackhead

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou

h/t Phydeaux and Blue Gal

Friday, April 4, 2008

YouTube Fridays

This video is absolutely awesome. It was shown to me by the beautiful and wonderful Heather. This video goes out to all of the dog lovers out there, but mostly to two of my blogger friends, Tengrain and BAC who have both had to deal with the loss of dogs recently. This is why we love our dogs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pickle Sickles

I have learned of a new product, frozen pickle juice Popsicles. And where you might ask would I learn of such a wonderful idea, from my sister in law who apparently is having pregnancy cravings, yes she is pregnant, for these things. I like pickles and all, but not sure about pickle Popsicles. They come form the great state of Texas and are being marketed to school districts. Again, I am not sure about this. But apparently they are not terrible according to the video below where kids review them for the Washington Post.

I love Rachel, I hate Joe

I seem to be so lazy and not blogging lately, booooo. I really want to blog, but I just can't seem to get it together enough to blog. I have ideas on what I want to talk about, but I can't get it on to paper. Anywho....

As everyone know, I have the biggest crush on Rachel Maddow, I mean who doesn't, but she pwns Joe Scarborough here and so how can I not love her more than here.