Saturday, January 31, 2009

YouTube Fridays

I didn't post on Friday obviously, but I have wanted to post this stuff for most of this week so I will do it today.

I have not usually watched American Idol as I find it too pop-py and annoying, but GG likes to watch it and it is a good time waster in many ways. So I have been watching the auditions this year and well "Norman Gentle" is possibly one of the funniest auditions I have ever seen. He knows he is a comedy act and as he shows toward the end he can sing when he wants to, but more importantly he zings Simon better than any contestant, I would dare say ever.

And then I had said in a question of the day earlier in the week that The Yardbirds were the best British band of all time. i know there are many arguments for the Beatles and I really like he Beatles too, but the Yardbirds just were one of these bands that I really like. I just get tired of the whole notion that the Beatles were the best band of all time ever in any universe, there are a lot of really great bands and The Yardbirds are one of the greatest, IMHO.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is the Pope crazy or what?!

The title is courtesy of my mom. She sent me this article about Pope Benedict's reinstatement of several bishops, one of which is a Holocaust denier. I don't understand the whole Holocaust denier ideology. I guess I am biased being Jewish and all, but really if there was no Holocaust, what happened to 6 million Jews and 16 million people total? Was there a mass alien abduction? Did 16 million people just disappear off the earth? Was this a world wide mass hallucination? If there was no Holocaust, was Hitler real? And if then Hitler is real, how is the Holocaust not real? Why do the survivors of the Holocaust have numbers tattooed on their arms? I had a professor who was a survivor and I saw the tattoo, was I imagining it? If the numbers are only from concentration camps, than how hard is it to make the leap to people being killed in these camps? The whole denial of the Holocaust is just beyond my grasp of understanding.

But maybe the biggest question we have to ask is, why did Pope Benedict reinstate this man specifically? As I understand from reading the article, there was a schism in the Catholic Church with several conservative bishops attempting to split off from the main Church (correct me if I understand this wrong) in the 1960s. This schism has bothered the Catholic Church leadership for the past 40 or more years as they are afraid that this schism continue to grow and weaken the Catholic Church. OK, so Pope Benedict who is much more conservative than his predecessor Pope John Paul II , was willing to forgive and forget, essentially, these priests who had created the schism and in fact wants to heal this schism, so he reinstates these four Bishops. But does he really have to reinstate all four of them to make his point? Is the point any weaker if he pardons three of them and not the Holocaust denier especially considering the shaky relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews? Pope John Paul II worked so hard to try and mend some of the wounds with so many groups including Jews and now Pope Benedict is trying to reverse all of the positive directions the Catholic Church had taken. No offense to you Fran or any other Catholic readers, but what is the point of pissing off a whole bunch of people by being a total asshat and basically taking the Catholic Church backward 50 plus years.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We have a long way to go to a gender neutral society

I found this poem while looking at the magazine for the company Syracuse Cultural Workers. The original poem is by Nancy R. Smith and is below.

For Every Woman
By Nancy R. Smith, copyright 1973

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong, there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of "knowing everything."

For every woman who is tired of being called "an emotional female," there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.

For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes, there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.

For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.

For every woman who feels "tied down" by her children, there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.

For every woman who is denied meaningful employment or equal pay, there is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.

For every woman who was not taught the intricacies of an automobile, there is a man who was not taught the satisfactions of cooking.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.

I am not sure there is much else I need or want to say about these two poems. The poem by Smith is still very relevant 35 years later, so much so that it is now being adapted for children. We have so much farther to go in creating a truly gender neutral society. Is this something that will ever exist? I am not sure, but I am trying to make sure that the children I work with realize that no matter what their gender they are free to express themselves however they want. Boys can wear dresses, girls can build with legos and blocks, boys can cook, girls can be good at math and science and boys should want to read. Girls should be competitive with the boys both academically and athletically and boys do not need to feel ashamed when a girl does better than them. Although a gender neutral society may never exist, I will continue to try and do my part to destroy the ideas of the traditional gender roles for those children that I teach. We need to go beyond women are weak and men are strong and recognize that we are all strong at times and we are all weak at times.

NOTE: Sorry for the weak title, but I think I used up all my creative energy writing this post and it is still early and I have not had my coffee or any type of food yet.

Friday, January 23, 2009

YouTube Fridays

This YouTube Friday is brought to you by the black hat teens I saw on the commuter rail today.

Matisyahu- Chop'em down

Matisyahu- King without a crown

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We have a new President

Yes I know y'all know this already, but still I am saying it. Yay Bush is gone and Obama is now officially the President. And wow there were no riots as were predicted by the Conservatives. They were sure that all those liberals know how to do is riot, but it seemed to be pretty peaceful. Although GG does say that they may have been a scuffle at a porta potty, one can never be sure about that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

6 things about me meme

I have been tagged by Little Mary Sunshine and since I usually do the meme, I will do it here, but I will not tag anyone, if you want to do it, go ahead.

The rules are simple. I'm going to share 6 things about me that you probably don't know. Then I'm going to call out a few of my favorite blog buddies and ask them to do the same.

1. I think when I was younger I was more extroverted than I am now. I find myself more introverted and needing time alone to recharge before I have to interact with other people especially larger groups of people.

2. I get people claustrophobic at times. I can't stand being in a bar, restaurant, store or anywhere that I am supposed to be able to move around and not be able to do so. I feel as though the people are getting closer and closer to me and I start to kind of freak out where I need more of my own space. Oddly enough I can be in the metro in DC when I lived there for a summer or in the L here in Chicago during rush hour where you are stuck like sardines in a can and it doesn't bother me at all.

3. I really like to drive in the car and have the music up loud and just sing along. I can't sing worth a damn, but I like to do it anyway. I also will sing in the grocery store to, but much quieter.

4. I can't stand dancing. I think it goes with the whole people claustrophobic thing as places where you dance tend to be crowded. And I have little rhythm and it just bothers me to dance.

5. I have no interest in ever visiting anywhere on the continent of Europe. I could maybe visit Ireland or the Greek Isles, but on the actual land mass there is no where that I really want to visit.

6. When I was a junior in high school, I went through a phase where I was a libertarian. I had an AP American History teacher, that was a Libertarian and the ideas seemed to make sense to me at the time. My parents were understanding enough and did not even attempt to kick me out of the house, although I am sure it drove them crazy. I have grown out of this phase and am now just your usual radical liberal.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Being a vegetarian is hard

I have kind of been thinking about this post for a while, but then tonight at a gathering that GG and I went to it kind of came to a head. Last week GG and I were out and about and we stopped at a Trader Joe's mainly so I could go to the bathroom, but we figured we would pick up some cheese while we were there. I picked up some Cowchego (Manchego made from cow's milk) and I picked up another type of cheese, but in looking at the ingredients I noticed that it had annimal rennet in it so I put it back down again. GG asked my why I had put it away and I said because of the rennet, and I said that if I was going to be a vegetarian I might as well "do it right." Now the rennet is not that big of a deal, but really if I am picking out cheese and I think about it I might prefer the non-animal rennet to the animal rennet just because the idea of animal rennet is mildly repulsive to me, but I am not going to look at every package of cheese to see what the rennet source is and I am not going to stop eating cheese because of the animal rennet and I am not going to not get cheese in a restaurant because I don't know the source of the rennet for the cheese. This is more of a, I am going to try, but not a big deal versus that whole not eating pork, beef or poultry at all thing I am doing. So tonight we were at a gathering and one of the women was discussing how she was a vegetarian and ate dairy, but had issues with eggs. She had stopped eating them for a while and then her husband had started making eggs in the morning for breakfast and she was fine with that, but then she had to separate an egg recently and that threw her off of eggs again. GG was mentioning how it can be hard to be a vegetarian and there need to be limits at times on how strict you can be unless you want to be a vegan, I guess. She mentioned the whole animal rennet versus vegetable rennet in cheese thing as this women is eating a veggie cheese burger and she just kind of was like, huh, what? I also have a coworker who is a vegetarian and thinks she is being really good if she gets a cheese sandwich at McDonalds as there is no meat, but then she get french fries, which at McDonalds are soaked in beef tallow to add flavoring.

I know many people have a variety of reasons for choosing to be a vegetarian, for me it is just about factory farming and corporate slaughter houses and for some it is about health and for some it is about not wanting to kill another animal. The woman tonight seemed to be a vegetarian because she had issues with the killing of animals, which is all well and good, but then maybe she should not be eating cheese either, at least not out. It does amaze me at times how many things you would think are just naturally vegetarian and aren't. It also surprises me when people that I would think would think about and maybe research their decision to become a vegetarian, but don't. It is so trendy now to be a vegetarian and yet it is almost easier in some ways to be a vegan. You know you will not eat, eggs, honey or dairy in any form. This seems to get rid of the whole cheese issue, but not really the McDonald's issue, but that was big news for a while and if you are not aware of the whole beef in the french fries thing, it is not my place to tell you. We all have out reasons for being a vegetarian, but does the trendiness of the decision overcome people's being informed about their decisions?

Friday, January 16, 2009

YouTube Fridays

I was not sure what I wanted to do this week for YouTube Fridays and GG suggested Pinky and the Brain. I love Pinky and the Brain and I thought this was a great idea.

Here is the video that GG suggested, the parts of the brain. This is great if you are becoming a doctor or need to know all of the parts of the brain for some reason.

This is a video of Pinky and the Brain in Oz, again very funny.

Baby, it's cold out

I realized this morning that I can't tell the difference between -16 degrees outside like it is today and -2 degrees outside like it was when we went out yesterday. They both just feel fucking cold.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I wonder things

When I woke up at 1 AM last night and was trying to get back to sleep, I started to think about this article that the Obamas have decided that they are getting a Labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog when they get to the White House. The article goes on to say that now the hunt begins in the animal shelters of the D.C. area. Well I can save them some time and tell them that according to, there are no Portuguese Water Dogs closer than Georgia. I could not find a Labradoodle in the search on Petfinder so maybe there is one that is closer than the Water Dog, I do not know. I can't help, but think that it is going to be damn near impossible to find these types of dogs in a shelter or they have already found these animals that is why they are being so specific. If they truly are still looking, maybe they should try the rescue groups for these animals as neither of these types of dogs are ordinary enough that you will just find one at a shelter. Then I started to wonder how the search for a dog at a shelter would go for the Obamas. Is it just Michelle and the girls or does the whole family go out to a shelter and look at a dog? What are the security concerns with the Obamas showing up at a shelter even if they have scheduled an appointment with the shelter? Most of the shelters I have been in like the potential owners to fill out some paperwork essentially saying they are fit animal adopters and like the potential owners to spend some time with the animal to make sure it works out well for the animal and for the humans, is this bent for the president of the US? Will the shelter bring the animal to the White House instead of the Obamas having to go to the shelter? Does one of the staff members for the White House or the Obamas have to spend time calling the shelters of the area to find a suitable dog? And finally who cleans up after the dog, especially if they have an accident inside? I would assume there is a gardener and other landscaping staff who may have to clean-up the dog excrement outside, but inside does the maid have to clean it up? Would the Obamas be willing to clean it up themselves or is that too dirty a job for them?

This led me to thinking about other things as related to children in the White House. The Obamas have said that they want their children to have as normal a life as they can and I seem to remember the Clintons saying the same thing for Chelsea, but really how normal can the children's lives be? Malia is 10 and Sasha is 7 which means they are old enough to want to have friends and to be able to socialize with their friends. Those are still the ages where there are birthday parties to be attended or hosted, can the girls have a birthday party with their friends or more importantly can they attend the birthday party of a friend? I remember an article a while back that discussed, I believe, both Malia and Sasha were involved in a children's theater group here in Chicago. Can they get involved in extracurricular activities? I would like to say they should be able to have a relatively normal childhood to an extent, but do the security concerns outweigh the children's social lives? And if Barak Obama is able to stay in the White House of 8 years, that means they will be 18 and 15. This is when kids really want to be able to express some independence and friends become as important or more important than parents. They may want to date or hang out with friends, can they do this? Is it a bummer to be on a date with one of the girls and have a Secret Service agent right there as an additional chaperon? Then I started to wonder about the Secret Service agents, what are there jobs as related to the children? I know they are there as security and to keep them safe, but there seemed to have been a famous incident where at least Jenna Bush and maybe her sister were caught drinking underage in college. Were the Secret Service there? Do they not have to act as law enforcement officials and stop the underage drinking? And even if their job is not to actually arrest the children or even to interfere in their lives, if the job of the Secret Service is to keep the children safe, is underage drinking safe? Shouldn't the Secret Service step in at some point, maybe before the local police show up to say hey, stop drinking. I am not condemning underage drinking, hell I did it myself and it seems at this point it is a part of the college experience right or wrong, but how does the presence of the Secret Service affect this?

At this point I fell asleep, but this is what my mind wanders to when I am trying to fall asleep.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Return to Hundred Acres Woods

For those of you who have children or if you remember your childhood well, you may remember that the Hundred Acre Woods is where Winnie the Pooh and his friends lived. Well, it has been eighty years since A.A. Milne first introduced the world to a bear of little brain and who loved honey in Winnie the Pooh. He followed up this book with The House at Pooh Corner, now there there will be a third book about Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Roo, Kanga, Eyeore and Christopher Robin. It is being written by David Benedictus since A.A. Milne and the illustrator for the stories E. H. Shepard have both passed away. This book is the first book that has been approved by the Mile and the Shepard estates for publication since the first two books.

I am mildly excited by this new book. I have always really liked Winnie the Pooh and kind of think of my self as Pooh like. I have a bit of fluff and I am a bear of little brain sometimes. I am not going to get this book the first day or week or maybe month it is out or at least not rush out to go get it, but I will get it at some point. Although, it is supposed to come out in October and that is my natal month and it would make a good birthday present for me, just sayin'. There is more about the new book and a brief introduction by the author to the new book in this article. I will leave you with the Loggins and Messina song, House at Pooh Corner.

Friday, January 9, 2009

YouTube Fridays

I felt like I needed some stand-up for this YouTube Friday. First, the ice cream bit from Eddie Murphy.

Second, the dork fish bit from Bill Engvall.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lack of blogging

It seems I have been missing out on my opportunities to blog this week, in other there has been a lack of blogging on this here blog. I apologize about that. It has been a tough week, getting back into the flow of having to go to work again after having two weeks off for the winter solstice. I also seem to be braking things lately, the couch, but this is still sit upon-able and a large nonstick soup pot, which is not usable anymore. These things have put me in a rotten mood and I just have not felt like blogging lately. I will return very soon. Thank you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My pet peeves

I have been thinking about this post for a while and didn't really want to post it as seems a bit whiny I guess, but I really need to just get this off my chest so that I can maybe start to move on or at least not think about it as a blog post. My first pet peeve is whiny people, hence why I didn't want to post this I do not want to sound whiny myself. There is this one person at work in particular who always seems to be whining about something. She whines because the kids in the classroom are not perfect angels and just sit and listen to the teacher. Well I hate to tell you sweetheart, but you work in a special education classroom, those children are in there for a reason. I know that she is a teacher's assistant and she did not exactly get to choose the room she is working in, but you are in there for this whole year, maybe you can work on getting moved to another classroom for next year, but the constant griping that the kids do not sit and are active i not going to change things. If you want things to change, than work with the teacher or better yet learn yourself, how to access these children at the level they are at and then find ways to help them to have better control over their bodies so they are not running around. Then she whines about the weather, it is too cold, it is too windy and worst there is snow on the ground. She hates to drive in the snow and in most cases refuses to do it and tells everyone over and over and over that if it snows on a particular day, she is calling in sick because she is not going to drive in snow. Well, guess what, no one likes to drive in the snow and yes it is damn cold outside and yes it is windy at times, but YOU LIVE IN FUCKING CHICAGOLAND, it is cold in the winter and it snows, get over yourself. If you want no snow and warm weather move to Florida, California or better yet the tropics. It is going to snow here so learn to deal with driving in it or not, but don't tell me every 3 minutes you are not coming tomorrow because there might be some snow on the ground. I do not care.

Second, it is a pet peeve when people use inexact language. As Horton said in Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss, " I meant what I said, and I said what I meant." It drives me nuts when people say something and then when I try to get a clarification, they say ohh that is not what I meant. I know this drives GG crazy, she says I am being too literal. I do not try to be literal, but language is power and so when you say something you need to say what you mean and mean what you say. A great example of this, for me, over the holidays I was visiting with my parents and my mom was talking about the increase in the Latino population in the town that I grew up in. She was mentioning that there are a lot of little restaurants in the downtown area. So I asked if they were taquerias, little taco restaurants, that are really popular around us and in other highly Latino areas. Because if they were, I was excited and really wanted to try one. I love little taquerias, although they can be hard if you do not eat meat, but the whole little family restaurants are always really cool to me. So then she got annoyed at me as I was asking a lot of questions, something else I do that I know drives people nuts at times, and she went on to say that they were little grocery stores, what I would term a bodega. Well this is a whole different thing, a grocery store is different than a restaurant (sorry mom for using you for this). The other inexact wording that consistently annoys me are the signs in grocery stores that say things like Oriental food or Latin food. It is Asian Food and well, I am not sure exactly what the term for the foods of Latin America, maybe Latin American food, but not Latin food. Latin is a language and the area that the Latin language originates is Italy and that is not really tortillas, tortas or Mexican sweets. It is just that I try to use words exactly for the concept or idea that I am trying to convey and so when others use words or language inexactly, it bothers me. Most of the time I can get over it, but occasionally I just need others to be more exact. I am working on the whole not being as literal thing, as GG calls it, but language has power and correct language has more power and conveys your idea better than inexact language.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008: A year of changes

This past year, 2008, has been a year of changes for me. Although every year seems to bring new challenges and changes, this year brought some of the most major changes yet. I moved half way across the United States, for a girl no less. I moved in with someone I had only met in person one time when she came down to move me to her house. I went through three jobs. I have seen my dog grow much older in this year. I now live with two cats, one of which GG and I picked out together as a kind of joint pet. And I turned thirty this year.

All of these changes have been good and obviously many of the are tied to one person, GG. She and I started to talk for who knows what reason. She just struck my fancy, first on Shakesville and then on her own blog. And it was probably about this time in 2008 that we started talking about me coming up to visit her in the Chicago area. So in March I did visit her and after a bit of a shy start for both of us, we warmed up and got more comfortable with each other and started to have fun. It didn't take much longer for us to decide that we should move in together and since she had a house where I only had an apartment and she had the more stable and much better paying job, I should move here to Chicago. This was massive and the whole move and getting ready for the move took over my life for a while. And then getting a job here and finding a bit of a routine for me and for us then took some time, but after 6 months together and I have a good job that I am happy in, I think we have found that sort of rhythm to our daily lives.

In 2009, I don't want as many changes, I don't think. Change can be hard for me and moving half way across the country and moving in with someone after not living with anyone for 5 years was a tough adjustment, so a year of non-massive changes would be nice, thank you very much. But there are things I want to change for 2009. I want to get back to blogging more again. When I moved I got so out of my routine that it has been a struggle to get back into blogging, but I want to blog with more frequency again. But the big change I want to make is that I want to finally work my way to becoming a pescatarian, a fish vegetarian. I have working on becoming a vegetarian it seems my entire adult life since I was 18 and maybe a bit younger. I have been doing this in stages, first not eating red meat and pork, then chicken, or at least that was the plan. I did well with the no red meat and no pork, although I did backslide on pork somewhat where I did eat bacon occasionally. But I have not been able to stop eating chicken at least not entirely, I will go a few weeks without chicken and then I will eat some for a few days and then not and so forth. But since I have moved here and GG is so supportive of my dietary ideals, I have been doing a much better job of not eating chicken at home, but I still eat it out sometimes. I want to just finally stop eating chicken at all. I know I cannot give up fish and seafood, I like it too much, but if I can finally be able to say I am a fish vegetarian and it be totally true, I would be more satisfied with my self. I tell people I am a pescatarian already, but since I still eat chicken this is not entirely true. And then when I eat chicken around people who I have said that I only eat fish, I feel like I have lied or deceived them and myself. So this year will be the year of giving up chicken, well it shouldn't take the year, I have no intentions of doing this slowly, I will no longer eat chicken or any fowl.

So to everyone out there who reads this post and even to those who have not read this post, Happy New Year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

YouTube Fridays

This is the Eddie Izzard edition of YouTube Fridays, except all of of the bits I am posting are him speaking and the action done in legos. The legos add tremendously to an already funny comedian.

The difference between U.S. and British movies

The Death Star Cantina