Monday, December 31, 2007
You get to pick. You get to sculpt and build and draw your own concept of family. Hitting that point in life changes everything.
So, here’s to family (both first and chosen) in the New Year.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I have no further comment on this.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Study: More Americans Googling themselves.
Lets be honest, the first thing I did when I heard of The Google back in the late 1940's (I was in on the earliest prototypes) was enter my own name. I'm a human being. Isn't it Google's primary function to see what other people can learn about you on the internet and then to get angry about Big Brother infiltrating your privacy, and then to secretly rejoice when you look really successful to those who have Googled you? I get 35 hits when I Google my first and last name in quotations. I know you have done it too, how many hits do you get?
By the way, you get 1,500,000,000 hits when you google "Google".
Thursday, December 13, 2007
One of CNN's headlines today: "Jodie Foster publicly thanks lesbian lover"
Seriously. In what world is the phrase "lesbian lover" even remotely politically correct? For what reason is a national news agency reporting that an actress thanked her partner at an awards ceremony? Maybe CNN should report every time George Bush mentions god or Bono mentions poverty. Get over it.
Its a video of two newsish people discussing Jodie's personal life and how it relates to her career. The video is followed by a video about Britney Spears' unfit parenthood and inability to show up in court when she is required. Its all celebrity scandal, I guess.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The Story Highlights?
Toy kitchens for boys seen as OK
More men starring in TV cooking shows
More boys watch their fathers cooking dinner
Monday, December 10, 2007
Iran Still Makes Me Nervous (well, yeah. thats a given.)
Jesus Makes Me Nervous (its a book!)
Fish Eyes Make Me Nervous (dont they make everyone nervous?)
Neckties Make Me Nervous (they're a band!)
White People Make Me Nervous (get a t-shirt!)
I just thought that was a good sampling... I'll update as I encounter more nervous folks out there.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Little Monroe has never been featured on the blog, so I thought this was her time to shine. Probably the greatest thing about living with LC is that she brought this little bugger to D.C. with her. She's just a little puppy in this pic, but she's still a really small cat. Here's to Monroe! (And to being done with my semester at school!)
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
A couple of good hits on Hyde include:
A piece about a woman tragically affected by the Hyde Amendment: Remembering Rosie: We Will Not Forget You
An article about the affair Hyde had although he strove to impeach Bill Clinton for his romp with Monica.
Some words from Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood.
And also Wonkette.com points out this week some controversy about government funding. We all know that the government doesn't fund abortion. The reason for this is no one other that Mr. Henry Hyde who originally passed the Hyde Amendment without out an exceptions---not even rape or incest. That has since been amended, but we can thank Hyde for the sentiment. What DOES get funded are penis enlargement pumps for old buggers. Medicare spends about $450 per pump, per geezer who wants one. Check out this article for full details!
Man, I never even thought about asking for a penis-enlargement pump. I'm stilling hoping the government will pay for my cat insurance.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I have been reading Esquire for the last several months as part of a class assignment. Its just completely disgusting. It goes so far beyond "masculine" that it lands squarely on "sexist". Just the ideas put forth in this magazine, regardless of seriousness by the editorial staff, sicken me. But, to be honest, when this class is over I might still continue reading it just to get myself riled up—and because often the profiles are really stellar.
Here are just a few quotes from the December issue:
“The problem with the Dangerous Book For Boys is that it stopped before getting into the really risky stuff that gentlemen used to know. Things like how to live lavishly totally on credit, how to manage simultaneous affairs with a mother and a daughter, or how to get oneself proclaimed god-emperor of a Third World country.” –at least in their racism they capitalized “Third World” but they certainly didn’t soften the sexism of celebrating affairs with a mother and daughter…
In an article about skin cancer, the editor recommends a few steps a man should take after a bad sun burn: “see a dermatologist one a year, have someone – a lady, perhaps -- give you a head to toe exam, looking for any new moles or unexplained blemishes.”
In a section called “The Rules” the writer warns: “A man may use any euphemism for sex except 'making love' unless he’s referring to two animals having sex in which case, 'making love' is hilarious.”
Yeah. Just wanted to get those out there.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Santa Fe, known as “The City Different,” is just that. This fourth largest city in New Mexico expresses a unique attitude and architecture. In recognition of its status as the oldest U.S. capital city, an ordinance in 1912 mandated all structures be built in the historic Pueblo style. About 70 miles from the ski-town of Taos, the city is surrounded by mountainous views. There are more art galleries than ATMs. Amidst the myriad shops, galleries, cafes and saloons of the historic Plaza is the Five & Dime, the most famous of the Plaza’s landmarks. Located between a jewelry store and a Häagen-Dazs on San Francisco Street, the Five & Dime is home of toy wooden guns and slingshots, tacky Santa Fe t-shirts, and the most heartburning of all afternoon snacks: the Frito Pie.
The Challenge: A two-ounce bag of Frito corn chips cut gingerly along its side. A large ladle of spicy, meaty chili riddled with beans, poured directly into the bag. Topped with heap of shredded cheddar cheese. Eaten with a plastic spork.
The Rules: Don’t put it down. Finish before the chips lose their crisp. Grab plenty of napkins.
At $4.58 with tax, this is a meal not to miss. The “pie” is spicy, so don’t forget a beverage. Choose any member of the Coca-Cola family, available from the fountain -- even Nestea and Barq’s root beer. If soda doesn’t suit you, check the front of the Five & Dime for a cooler of bottled beverages from Perrier and Gatorade to Starbucks bottled Frappachino. You can sit along the counter’s six bar stools, at one of three small square tables or take your mobile lunch back out to a bench on the Plaza for some mighty fine people watchin’.
According to the apron-clad women dishing out the Frito-chili-goodness, there is debate about whether or not it was invented here. Some say it was invented in Houston and made popular in the Woolworth’s that once stood here in the 1960’s. Others stand defiantly that its creator is a Woolworth’s employee named Teresa. Either way, the Five & Dime is proud. Before it became a Five & Dime, the store’s history goes back to the beginning of the Plaza, pictured on its walls in black and white photos of the storefront surrounded by rugged men on horses in 1866, approximately 100 years before the Frito Pie appeared behind its Coca-Cola branded snack bar counter.
The sign above the snack bar brags about the 30,000 Frito Pies served annually, but these folks serve up more than the famous snack. Visitors can also find dehydrated looking hot dogs spinning on heated wires in a glass case, burritos born frozen and warmed by microwave, and of course classic buttery popcorn and dangling, salted pretzels with a side of nacho cheese. No price on the menu surpasses $5.00, and a single or double scoop of ice cream always awaits you for dessert.
Santa Fe has more to offer than messy, spicy eating. You’ll enjoy the clear and crisp mountain air while you shop, and visit nationally acclaimed galleries, or hiking trails, but when you start to feel hunger coming on, remember the Five & Dime. None of your other options are as unique and delicious as the heart-attack-in-a-bag Frito Pie, and in the American Southwest, visitors are divided into two categories: those who have eaten the fabled Frito Pie, and those who haven’t lived.
The United States postal service honored women long before other government agencies did. The first women Senator wasn't elected until 1932, but Martha Washington, wife of the First president of this great nation, graced a US postage stamp worth 1 1⁄2 cents in 1902, 100 years after her death. In fact, she was the second woman to have this honor—the first? Queen Isabella, the Sugar Mama who bought Chris Columbus’ three hour tour and subsequent discovery of America. She was featured on a stamp in the first year of commemorative stamps-1893.
Other women to be licked and sticked to envelopes in America's history? Clara Barton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Frida Kahlo.
Wait. Frida Kahlo? Who is that? Wasn’t there a movie about her?
Born of mixed European and Mexican parentage, Frida Kahlo was a 20th Century painter, born and raised in Mexico And really, she seems like kind of a strange character next to the other woman on these stamps. She isn't Martha Washington, and she certainly isn't Marilyn Monroe, who landed her face on a stamp in 1995. Without the Patriotic angle or the American Icon edge, how did Frida Kahlo get stamped?
The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), who are the folks responsible for choosing what ends up on our nation’s postage are required to follow a certain set of rules. The 12 criteria were created in the early 1970's and are under a constant process of refinement. The criteria seemed to make sense, but a two items in specific gave me pause:
1. It is a general policy that U.S. postage stamps and stationery primarily will feature American or American-related subjects.
2. Only events, persons, and themes of widespread national appeal and significance will be considered for commemoration.
Not only was Frida not an American, but she didn't even like America or Americans. In some of her letters, now published, she told friends, “I don’t like Gringos much”, in reference to the people of San Francisco. She later depicted America as an industrial wasteland in her paintings. She definitely is does not have "widespread national appeal" considering how many people I spoke to had never even heard of her.
I can understand that perhaps the stamp was selected to honor Kahlo’s art, which is unusual and beautiful. However, it wasn't just her art that was pictured on the stamp, it was her self portrait. Her face. She in no way met American standards of anything, beauty or purity or loyalty: proudly unibrowed, bisexual, practically disabled and communist. Nevertheless, Frida was the first Hispanic woman to be featured on a US postage stamp.
In search of more information on the Kahlo stamp, I visited the National Postal Museum.
Lurking around the gift shop, intent on solving the Frida mystery, I was immediately drawn to a well-lit rotating silver cart on the checkout counter adorned in 1x2inch pins, replicating US Stamps. I searched through it, looking for Frida. I found Judy Garland, in her role as Dorothy Gale, Marian Anderson, representing Black Heritage, and Lucille Ball, the American film actress, selling for $4 each, but no Frida.
I find postcards depicting “Women on Stamps.” No Frida there.
I open a book of postcards called “Women Who Dared”, published by Pomegranate Books in San Francisco and find Frida on the second page looking down and off to the side—a far cry from her own self-depictions, aggressively and honestly addressing her audience. It was an actual photograph of Frida Kahlo—on the back Frida is described as a “Mexican Painter and international intellectual celebrity.” Really? Did she achieve this international intellectual celebrity before or after conservative Americans shunned her political and personal views?
Who can explain the Frida Phenomenon? Certainly not Mary Oldfather, the Volunteer Information Specialist, who was having some sinus trouble when she spoke to me, due to the influx of pollen from museum visitors. When I showed her Frida’s image she responded enthusiastically, through her phlegm, “Frida Kahlo! I saw a PBS special on her.” Hmmm, so it wasn’t Frida’s stampdom Mary knew, it was her PBS fame.
In the National Stamp Collection, I found Frida along side Leonard Bernstein and Enrico Fermi, who were also immortalized on stamps in 2001. In this collection the stamps are arranged inside glass panels which slide out vertically from a wall of numbered panels. The collection is international, approximately 20,000 in this small room in the museum, and only a small section of them US Stamps. A really small section, I notice. I count them, looking foolish among Philatelists admiring the printing and the “grills” of the aging stamps. 108. There are 108 US stamps in this collection of 20,000 international stamps. Obviously someone liked Frida enough to make her #81 . The only other women in the United States panels are Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune. Frida was one of two stamps depicting Hispanic culture.
How did Frida get here?
Cathy Yarosky, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, who has had to put up with a lot of public complaints and inquiries (like those that came in 10 days after a stamp honoring Muslims in America was released on Sept 1, 2001), summed up the release of the Kahlo stamp for me rather succinctly: “We select stamps that capture the American experience in all its diversity. At the end of the day, our stamps are always about America.”
But then again, “Cellular Phones” got their own stamp in 2000. So maybe I’m taking the issue of the stamp a little too seriously. Frida Kahlo and her art contributed to the diversity of the American landscape and played an important role in the feminist movement in America in the late 20th Century. Frida’s face on a stamp demonstrates that the US, or at least the USPS, isn’t always focused on mass appeal. As long as Paris Hilton doesn’t get a stamp, I’ll continue to trust the choices of United States Postal Service.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I spend a ridiculous amount of time to be in grad school to obtain a degree that wont mean anything on my resume. Don't take that to mean that I don't think the degree is worth anything--I don't mean that at all. To further explain: when you graduate with a college degree, for the most part, it doesn't matter if you spent four years sitting down by the Fox river smoking bowls with kids who exist only by nicknames like "B-Tags" or "Jugs". It doesn't really matter if you held down two jobs, joined all the honor societies and graduated Cum Laude. It just doesn't matter because B.A. Computer Science or B.A. Journalism or whatever on your resume is all that really matters.
This is true with graduate school. Having a Master's degree on your resume makes a difference, whether you really learned anything does not. Unfortunately, this is not true in programs like Writing. Obtaining a MA in Writing will most likely not help me get a better job BUT becoming a better writer will. In order to become a better writer I have to actually work on my writing. draft and redraft. walk away from a piece and come back to see it with a new perspective. workshop it with other writers. grow.
Because I am an American, and a grad student, and slightly anxious and obsessive, this time does not exist for me. Perhaps it does, in between rented movies or sleeping late on Saturdays. Maybe there is time somewhere...but I'm having a hard time finding it and thus, I've become kind of a crappy blogger...and in general a crappy writer. I'm working out a plan of action. I'll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Sure, there were a few weeks in college I missed classes to watch reruns of Real World New Orleans, and I may have been drawn into the sick train wreck that was Rock of Love, but if I woke up one day and there was no reality TV, it wouldn't phase me one bit.
Once in a while I read about some reality TV thing that really makes my skin crawl. I think originally it was Extreme Makeover (and i dont mean Home Edition) more recently is was the Lord of the Flies-ish Kid Nation. At the very beginning I questioned its morals, and other folks started asking questions too. I understand that parents give consent for the kids to participate in this program: the kids have to start a community in the New Mexico desert. No adults. No rules...blah blah blah. Since went is it fine for a parent to "give consent" for a child to be put in a dangerous situation? Is it really OK to make that decision for a child? Is it ok to give consent for a child to knife-fight with another kid, or two crawl into a lion cage at a zoo?
In Intervention, which had criticism right off the block, real life addicts are taped under the premise of filming in a show about addicts, are followed through their sad, out of control addictions and then blindsided with a five minute intervention from family, friends and a doctor at the end of the show. It does not surprise me that people love this show. Its all about people with problems which everyone likes to watch because they either A: can relate or B: like to feel that at least their problems arent THAT bad.
A New York Times article describes an episode when a "character" on Intervention had too much too drink, and the crew just taped her getting into a car and driving away. And thats perfectly legal. The production team is under no obligation to interfere with the actions of the addict. Officially they are just bystanders. I'm sure that attitude works out just fine until that drunk driver kills a family of four, right?
A recent article in the smarmiest, most sexist magazine out there, Esquire, called Tonight on Dateline This Man Will Die, was just one more fearful incident in the world of reality TV. The article focuses on Dateline's reoccurring, ratings-craving, reality segment "To Catch a Predator." The show sets up a sting to catch adult men who have been chatting online with young women or boys when they attempt to meet them for sexual relations. Ok, i kiiiinda like this show, but this article really shows the danger of these situations. In the article, Dateline finds out that the predator who is supposed to arrive at the sting house is actually a politition. Unfortunately, I think, the possibility of arresting a public figure on TV is more exciting to them than it is tragic. So rather than wait for him to arrive at their set up, they go to his home. Either way, the scene does not unfold pleasantly:
"Although the microphones outside of Bill Conradt’s house have no trouble picking up a mini schnauzer’s barks, none record Bill Conradt’s Browning .380 handgun, which he places muzzle-first against his own temple and discharges. "
Dateline gets their story, and Bill Conradt is dead. Do I feel like Conradt committed a crime? Yes. Should he have had to serve time? Yes. Should Dateline have pushed him to a point where he thought he should take his own life? I cant agree.
Reality TV can be creepy and devastating. It can show parts of the human condition (both those in front of and behind the camera) that I personally don't really need to see.To veer off the subject for a second to other reality shows, no matter how completely ridiculous they may be, there are a few honorable mentions: A Shot At Love stars a gal, Tila Tequila,whos pretty much just famous on the internet, hosting her own dating show. There are 16 guys and 16 gals lined up to try to win her heart...although they all signed up not knowing there would be competition of the other sex--since Tila just came out as bisexual-during the first episode. yeah. This is a messed up show. Reality TV is messed up. It all just kinda gives me the creeps.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Even as a bit of an Internet junkie, I am still surprised every day by the vast array of what is out there on the web. Today I learned about some conservative answers to what is apparently a liberally biased web. CNN.com today posted an article on "GodTube" the new competition for YouTube. The motto, based on YouTube's "Broadcast Yourself" is "Broadcast Him," which, in my opinion, is really creepy). GodTube reaches out to all those religious folks out there with video content just for them:
"GodTube videos includes music, comedy and heated theological debates. Two of the most viewed include a corny rap remix called "Baby Got Book" and a 4-year-old girl reciting Psalm 23 from memory."
Its existence alone is interesting, but the fact that the site had more than 4 million unique visitors during October and maintains more than 150,000 registered users with active profiles, blew my mind.
Also out there for those conservatives: Conservapedia.com, where you can find awesome posts about Evolution, Homosexuality and my man Barack Obama. For just a taste of what you'll get on Conservapedia.com, here's a bit from the Obama page:
"After a series of ill-advised foreign policy statements, Obama was openly criticized as a light-weight even by liberals, in much the same vein John Edwards and Dan Quayle had been depicted. First, Obama said he would openly embrace two of Florida's most fearful enemies, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez Florida is a key state to any presidential ambitions...The incidents all added up to a picture of a candidate ill-prepared and ill-advised, lacking in a basic understanding of the Office of the Presidency, and failing to surround himself with appointees able to make up for his deficiencies. "
Oh, Conservative bias at its best!
If you still haven't had your fill of conservatism on the web, check out MyChurch.org--the right's answer to MySpace. I didn't create a profile, because I was afraid of the churchfolks getting all up on my cookies, but I'm sure its a rockin' good time. If these sites don't keep you busy (i like them in the same way I like websites on Roswell, or Circus People) check out The Right Links, a place for all your conservative web needs.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Just remember, there’s more to a love of pirates than owning the DVDs of Pirates of the Caribbean or a t-shirt with a skull on it. Its really a passion. A few things you should know about: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. You've already missed it this year, but every September 19th you and the rest of the Pirate Lovin' world can celebrate Pirattitude.
You also must remember that the pirates are not just a thing of the past (nor are they always very polite or fun)! The definition of piracy is as follows: Piracy is a robbery committed at sea, or sometimes on the shore, by an agent without a commission from a sovereign nation. If you are into plundering, and some other gruesome things check out the following articles detailing more recent pirate activities: This article from the Council on Foreign Relations estimates the total damages from pirates in loss of ships and cargo to be about 16 million bones a year (no pun intended. ARRG!). Additionally, it seems the number of Pirate attacks have increase world wide, and according to CNN, these pirates just wont stop.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Outside the window to my left, I see very little. I see some concrete, some airplanes...and some more concrete. New Mexico is one of those places that is the home of beautiful mountains, the Taos ski valley, Georgia O'Keefe, and a place as flat and endless as this.
Albuquerque may be kind of a barren looking place, but it does hold the honor of being the only American city who’s name contains three 'U's. It also holds the largest Hot Air Balloon gathering in the world. The Road Runner is the official state bird of New Mexico. In fact the Roadrunner and the Coyote are both New Mexican, which would make sense in their world of rocks and cliffs. That’s kind of what New Mexico looks like. I’m sitting in the airport in Albuquerque, en route to Santa Fe, creepily just killing time. Among other animals, I know that Jackrabbits exist in new Mexico, but according to a postcard I saw while roaming through an airport gift shop, waiting for my colleague’s flight to land, the Jackalope also really exists. Well, the postcard didn’t explicitly claim its existence, but it didn’t deny it either. The front of the postcard had what appeared to be an actual photograph of a Jackalope and the back had some mysterious statement like:
“The Jackalope is said to be a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope. They say it sings in the night with the eerie voice of a human.”
Nowhere in that short, strange description does the postcard mention that the Jackrabbit is a “folkloric” animal. Like Nessie and Bigfoot. The Jackalope is fake, but the Roadrunner is not? I'm not sure an urban gal like me is cut out for all the craziness of the American Southwest.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Lauren and I stopped eating and watched them "play" with our mouths hanging open, horrified. This wasn't a game, the goal was to shoot and kill, but it was clear none of them understood the seriousness of their actions. I wonder, in this relatively quiet Maryland suburb, why playing with cap-guns was an acceptable Sunday activity. The other day I blogged about the Boy Scouts as evil empire, training boys to align bravery and service with intolerance...but theres so much more to raising kids to be good human beings.
I'm unsure if I'll ever have kids--because i realize the challenge of doing so. The importance and difficulty of being a good parent. There are endless decisions that don't seem harmful (boy scouts and cap-guns to start) but every decision a parent makes sculpts the way their kids treat others and treat themselves. Kudos to good parents out there for trying to raise kids with good minds and good hearts.
For parents of kids playing with cap-guns in the suburbs, think about what it means when kids become accustomed to violent behavior, when shooting a gun yeilds no real consequences, and when you are willing to pull the trigger while aiming a fake-gun at your own brother. Think about what happens to kids when the don't think thats a big deal.
Here I am acting as moral authority. I dont mean to be, it just really makes me nervous to see that kinda thing going on. Thats why i try to stick with my original personal dedication to cats, not kids.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Certainly that was a case of Social Justice. The man deserves whatever’s coming to him. For this same reason I like this t-mobile commercial. The older brother mocks his brothers friends, only to his demise.
Well, my belief in social justice could go on its on blog entry, and maybe it will later, but for now, the social justice moment of the day is this article about how the Boy Scouts of America will be forced to pay rent on a new york office property solely because they are an organization which discriminates. Isn’t that awesome? I mean, I really hate the Boy Scouts, specifically because of all their bad (true) press about their discriminatory policies and in light of the liberal powerhouse youth organization the Girls Scouts have come to be. Lets do a little compare/contrast.
The Girl Scouts Mission Statement :“Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.”
And the Boy Scouts: “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.”
In my opinion the GS mission statement sounds great, and the BS mission statement a little lacking. Because I know about the crappy practices of the Boy Scouts I perused their websites a little deeper. A search for “homosexual” on the Boy Scout website yields several hits, most notably a few resolutions such as this one. The page provides the “Position Statement on the Cradle of Liberty Council's Stance Regarding the Leadership Standards of the Boy Scouts of America” the Boy Scouts of America state their position on gay scouting:
“Applications for leadership and membership do not inquire into sexual orientation. However, an individual who declares himself to be a homosexual would not be permitted to join Scouting. All members in Scouting must affirm the values of the Scout Oath and Law, and all leaders must be able to model those values for youth.”
A search on the word “gay” on the GSUSA site produced a lot of hits too…but in a very different fashion. The hits include Girl Scouts who received the honor of National Young Woman of Distinction such as one gal who won for a community project about discrimination:
“Madeline chose to focus on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)community for her project. "I have many close friends who are part of the LGBT community. They have noticed intolerance toward their growing group. Also, I've heard seemingly intelligent people who believe the age-old stereotypes," Madeline shared. With the help of her local church community, Madeline created a book aimed at overcoming stereotypes and, at the same time, sharing the similarities of communication among family units.”
Girl Scouts recognize and support efforts like these from their scouts because, like their mission statement says, are “dedicated solely to girls—all girls”, and not just straight girls.
I have an affinity for Girl Scouting because I found several years of summer employment as a counselor. And, the rumor is true, I was a Brownie. The last summer I spent working at a camp in Massachusetts was the only summer I left behind the simplicity of day camp for resident camp. I was totally shocked by the open mindedness of the organization and the language that was used among staff and in discussion with girls of all ages (the camp served girls from 5 to 17).
Everything was inclusive, focused on equality and comraderie among women of all sizes, shapes, colors and lifestyles. In fact, on the first day of training I can recall my camp director reminding us all that GSUSA was in NO WAY affiliated with Boy Scouts. I was glad about that, knowing their history of discriminating practices. I was so impressed with my experience those three summers that although I no longer work for the org, I certainly have become a champion for their efforts. Girls who grow strong from girl scouts are the girls who later will read and write for Bitch Magazine.
Its unfortunate that the Boy Scouts fall so low on the moral totem pole, because there are not a lot of other options out there for boys. They provide some cool experiences and encourage teambuilding and what not, but unfortunately they also are a bunch of haters. If Boy Scouts provided the sort of encouragement and sensitivity training that Girl Scouts did, I bet our nation would be shaped less by sexism and aggression and more by conversation and acceptance. Sure, Girl Scouts aren’t perfect—and I’m sure all troops and camps aren’t as liberal as mine were. Maybe it wouldn’t change the world, but it would curb a lot of intolerant behavior in young guys that turns into hatred in adults. Because, seriously, we are talking about a lot of boys/young men involved in these programs:
“Cub Scouting, for boys in the first through fifth grades, was serving 1,701,861 at the end of last year. Membership in Boy Scouting, for 11- to 17-year-olds, was 922,836 on December 31, 2006..This high-adventure program for young men and women ages 14 to 20 was serving 244,266 members on December 31, 2006.”
Thats 2,868,963 young folks a year participating in Boy Scout Activities. There are 3.7 Million Girl Scouts, luckily. Do you really want to give your money to or put your kid in the hands of an organization which discriminates against gay youths and adults? Maybe Johnny should take up the guitar instead.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
My new fascination with the world of comic books (and their eerie reflections of reality) is the article I read this morning in the Washington Post about Captain America. I assume you all know of Captain America in some fashion, his patriotic persona is a staple of American memory. Some of you may know that Captain American took a bullet in a 9-11/Patriot Act/Discrimination related plot last spring which ended his 66 year long life in the Marvel Comics Universe. Not to worry, as usual in comics, Marvel is bringing him back to life. Comics often take the opportunity to reinvent characters in situations like this, frequently to boost readership. Its no different here. This year, when the Cap’n comes back in January he’ll be packing heat. That's right, carrying a gun. Our beloved patriotic American hero will no longer be armed with only bravery, honesty and wit. He'll also have a holster on his hip.
What does this decision to put a weapon in the hand of a Good Guy say about America? Even Comic book heroes can’t survive out there without carrying weapons? It’s an NRA wet dream that speaks to youth and adult comic book readers everywhere with a bold statement: Love Your Country. Wave The Flag. Carry A Firearm. Can Captain America still go through metal detectors or fly on an airplane? Isn’t it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in some (most?) states? Does that make CA a criminal?
In a country ravaged by gun violence and school shootings from Columbine to VA Tech , do we really need children dressing and acting as their favorite comic book characters and brandishing weapons in efforts to be super heroes? I know that juveniles are not the only readers of comic books, but they certainly constitute a percentage.
The article, by Post staff writer David Betancourt, quotes Captain America’s current writer, Ed Brubaker, talking about the character's military background. I’m just not sure I agree with Brubaker that a character who carried a machine gun in the 1940’s would still use a weapon to defend Americans today:
"I've leaned on the 'soldier' part of super-soldier," Brubaker says. "If you look at Cap in the 1940s, they have him with a shield in one hand and a machine gun in the other, and Bucky [the Captain's World War II teen sidekick] has a flamethrower. "In the '80s they started changing his history, saying he'd never killed anyone. A guy who fought in World War II isn't going to care if terrorists die. I've always approached the book as a superhero espionage comic"
If that isn't Americana, I don't know what is. "A guy who fought in World War II isn't going to care if terrorists die."-- What? Really? Maybe Captain America is heading to Iraq for 18 months like actual soldiers. Or maybe hes just going to bug some phone lines, and check some library records and find his own terrorists. Either way, soldier/superhero/gut-toting civilian, the gun shouldn't be the primary focus of the new Captain America, just as Batwoman's homosexuality wasn't in DC Comics last year, but Marvel is certainly making a statement about their vision of a 21st Century superhero. Captain America will now be able to do more than protect and defend this country, apparently he'll also be on the offense, stalking the Marvel Universe hunting down the "bad guys".
Friday, October 12, 2007
I don't hate Hillary. I hate Washington and Washington took over Hillary's body a long time ago. Sure, I think she USED to have a soul, but the poor woman has become so embroiled in the political machine that, in my mind, we might as well elect R2D2 to office. Well, thats not quite the same, because I think at one point R2D2 might have cried real human tears. Or maybe that was the Small Wonder.
Either way, I enjoy Obama's inexperience. Politics have not corrupted this man's soul just yet, theres time to have someone leading this country that is neither evil or an android. Obama's enemies attempt to make him look foolish when he says optimistic things, or when he demonstrates that he actually cares about people. When he makes statements that don't agree with typical US foreign policies. I think its refreshing that his responses stray from the programed speeches of most folks in DC.
If Hillary wins the nomination I will support her. I might even get a Hillary t-shirt. If she wins the presidency I will be happy to live in a country which elected a woman president (even though we are waaaaay behind majority of the world, ie, Argentina). I think she'll do a decent job. She supports women's rights, and civil unions. Unfortunately, she also supports No Child Left Behind (to the best of my knowledge)...but maybe she'll get over that.
So, in conclusion. I don't hate Hillary. I just prefer Obama.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
But I wonder. Why, even now before the primaries, before the nation has a nomination for either party, are all the other candidates completely forgotten?
If American elections were legit, and really about issues and beliefs and the future of our country, this would not be so. Elections are about money, primarily, and every CNN or Washington Post article confirms this. Whoever raises the most money per quarter is apparently the best candidate. I don’t like it, but I have come to accept it.
My politically savvy friend Mike, also an Obama supporter sent me this quiz. (I promise it is better than the Are You a Good Kisser quiz I mentioned yesterday.) I wasn’t necessarily shocked by its results, but saddened that the only candidates (Obama and Clinton) I have to choose from don’t fall anywhere near the top of my list in issue compatibility. Solely based on issues, I should be out there, parading around DC wearing my Dennis Kucinich t-shirt.
The thing that I’m afraid of, that I think all democrats are afraid of right now, is that through some sort of short-circuit in the mind of the nation, Republicans might end up on top again. So we band behind our chances at winning—even if they might not be perfect for us. We have to show a common face. We can’t let votes slip to third-party candidates or moderate Republicans. And if we want Obama, we have to show Hillary our loyalty to him will not waiver.
I wonder if I would marry someone I didn’t love (even if I could divorce them after 4 years) just because I was afraid I’d get stuck with someone I couldn’t stand? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t think I’d gamble with my own happiness that way, but for some reason I’m not considering that the person who becomes the president of the United States DOES affect my happiness. The next president will effect my ability to get married to whomever I chose, how many more friends of mine will risk their lives overseas, how many children in my (future) classroom who will have no insurance. It will be this president who says whether or not I can have an abortion if I believe it is in my best interest or if my own health or the health of my family can be improved with stem cell research. The next four years do matter. My vote for president does matter. Is a Democrat better than a Republican in my mind? Yes. Is Obama better than Hillary? Definitely. Might Kucinich be better than both? He probably would be, if he ever had a chance.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
My sister and I are different. I think thats easy to say. Shes an orginized, logical, planner and I am an emotional, creative slob. Fully explaining these differences could take up its own blog, or could pretty simply be summed up with that clichéd statement: “I’m right brained. She’s left brained.” What does that even mean? I hear people I work with saying: “I don’t get along with Penelope, she’s an INFJ.” INFWHAT? But I can buy it--classifying yourself in some kind of category is easier than seeing everyone as so different and distant. That would really be a lonely world. But are these tests and theories an effective way to find our similarities?
Sure, I was labeled as a creative, right-brained kid during high school and I have come to associate myself with a certain brand of logic. The same way that I look at my behavior sometimes based on my Zodiac sign. To me, following the Zodiac or theories about left brain and right brain help me explain how things work and why things happen. Its maybe an alternate route for believing in something.
I've read Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud as they consistently peppered my literary theory texts in college. I never really understood. The Myers Brigs test takes its theory from the work of theories of Jung. I’ve taken all those tests: Myers Brigs and Emotional Intelligence and the Are You a Good Kisser tests (I am). I guess, at this point, the right brain/left brain thing is no longer a debatable theory, although I guess scientists are a little to left brained to understand the possibility. Do I totally believe it?
I get along well with writers and artist types, but I also have plenty of relationships with law students, accountants and business folks (like the sister). I’ll agree that those relationships do have a strong sense of Yin and Yang, but do we really have different learning styles? Do we see things differently? I'm not sure I believe it, because according to this information I’m supposed to have spacial perception too, but I guess it can’t all be correct.
If I wasn’t totally sure about the duel between the creative and the logical before I think I’ve been swayed by this image.
Without a doubt, that dancing lady is moving clockwise, but I’ve heard from my trusted source, the provider of this link, that not everyone sees that.
What do you see?
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I read about this abomination in the Washington Post yesterday. I think the article is a touch snarky, am I wrong? I love a liberal slant.
I'm all for technology- blogs (like this awesome one!) and wikis and all that stuff, and, of course, I approve of transparency in the government. The new "US Department of State Official Blog" attempts to do just this. Apparently the Mission of the Blog is this: "To create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. " Do I think these things are coming together in the form of Dipnote? My jury is still out, but here's what some Dipnote readers have said in the week or so this blog has been in action:
"David in Connecticut writes:How can there be such a thing? The State Department has never been known to tell a story straight. It's manipulated by politicians and special interest groups. It's the government's version of "Howdy Doody". Posted on Fri Sep 28, 2007"
"Joe writes:We'll see if this is gonna be another partisan hack job. Posted on Wed Sep 26, 2007"
"Athena in California writes:Regardless of the definition of "dipnote" - it's a very stupid name for a government blog. Blog = good idea. Blog name = very bad idea. "
"Mason in U.S.A. writes:This whole idea is dopey. If you want a blog, do it as a hobby on your own time. Get back to work. Incredible!"
N.S. writes:Given that the U.S. government (and every Department within it) has lost virtually all credibility, do you really think this, aptly named, DIPNOTE blog is going to change anyone's opinion or more importantly believe the information on here anymore than we already don't? Is our tax money paying for this drivel? Bring on the propaganda! No one takes you people seriously anymore, except maybe the people dying at the hands of your policies. Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007
Jennifer in Michigan writes:You have GOT to be kidding!! I'd tell you what I really think of your circa '99 great blog experiment, but I'm afraid of being wiretapped and put under surveillance. Or worse. I'm sure this will be a smashing success, just like every other single thing this administration has gotten its hands on. Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007
Ok, I’ll admit it. I took only the hilariously negative comments from the maiden post of the Dip. I’m not being biased. I just really hear what these folks are saying. Can the US government really expect to get in with the younger generation by blogging? Is that their ultimate goal? To groom new Republicans? Its too bad for them that the younger generation is already decently educated and completely fuming about foreign policy (and domestic policy for that matter). Having this blog just makes us feel like the folks in government are just reading "HTML for Dummies" and talking about embedding videos around the water cooler as one more distraction from accomplishing anything for the nation or the world. Damn it, did this just become a political blog?
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
In fact, the only part of this that is scarier than living in a world free of Gingers is this: What will happen to the poor child born red-headed in 2134? The article makes mention of the possibility of a freak Ginger reoccurrence:
The poor Ginger child is bound to get stoned by mobs of blonds and brunettes for her uniqueness! There will be news cameras and reporters everywhere like always when word gets out that there is a new Worlds Oldest Woman, or Tallest Man, or the Biggest Baby or whatever. The kid will live quite a celebrity life (if she survives the stoning). Sometimes red hair is the only reason some one ever gets famous. I think Ms. Lohan is a prime example of this occurrence.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I'll admit. It is hilarious. And embarrassing (for everyone, really), but shouldn't the real question be what the hell is this poll? Who are these Americans? 1/5?!?
According to Nationmaster.com the United States Population, as of July 2007, was 301,139,947. So, 1/5 of that is 60,227,989.
Are there really more than 60,000,000 people in this country who can’t find the United States on a map?
This brings me back to the Mental Floss article. Although I think locating the country in which we live on a map is essential, I can admit don’t actually know a lot of things about the United States. Maybe sleeping through AP US history in high school really has affected my mind...and maybe my sense of national pride, too. For instance, I don't know all of the presidents of the United States. Not even close. I barely know who the president of the United States is now--but that's because he rarely makes an appearance here in the District. Reading the Mental Floss article, which included some supposed presidents named Chester Arthur and John Tyler, among other names that rang a very faint bell in my ear (like the guy the giant dam near Vegas was named after and another who reminded me of the catchy chorus repeat “This D.J. be Warren G”), really made me think about how far removed I am from our nation's history, and how poorly I would do on the worst, most addictive television show ever, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader. Fifth graders wipe the floor with us on US History.
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Bob Slydell: Great.
Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh heh - and, uh, after that I just sorta space out for about an hour.
Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.
I mean, seriously. How many people do you hear talk about their jobs like this? Can we really expect to feel fulfilled when 40 hours (+) a week are spent like Peter Gibbons?
So what would you do if you had a million dollars? (and I'm thinking something a little different than Lawrence's response of "two chicks at the same time.")
Monday, October 1, 2007
Google Launches 'The Google' For Older Adults
September 26, 2007 Issue 43•39
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—The popular search engine Google announced plans Friday to launch a new site, TheGoogle.com, to appeal to older adults not able to navigate the original website's single text field and two clearly marked buttons.
"The Google will have all the same information currently found on regular Google, but with the added features of not stealing your credit-card numbers or giving your computer all kinds of viruses," said Rick Tillich, The Google project director. "All you have to do to turn the website on is put the little blinking line thing in the cyberspace window at the top of the screen, type ' thegoogle.com,' and press 'return'—although it will also recognize http.wwwthegoogle.com, google.aol, and 'THEGOOGLE' typed into a Word document."
Tillich added that he hopes the site will soon replace Yahoo Internet Website.com as the most popular search engine for users over 55.
Visit the Onion Article here