Tuesday, February 28, 2006
If Only I Had An Address
Dear "Aggrieved Consumers:"

First, let me say that I understand your frustration with the capitalist society we are living in. It is a society which constantly feeds us crap yet tells us it is entertainment. It is a society where shows like American Idol, Wife Swap and Dancing With the Stars can become popular. I often express frustration with the lack of choice we have. However, I am a little concerned by your recent complaint to the FTC that alleges "the employees of RCA, Sony/BMG, and Aiken himself engaged in collusion to prevent public disclosures they believed might be harmful to their product." You go on to state, “This is tantamount to manufacturer concealing information about a defective product. Therefore these actions were both unfair and deceptive to consumers.”

It seems to me that you are arguing that you need to know Clay Aiken's "true" sexuality to enjoy his services (and by services, I mean television show produced music). You need to know that Aiken is in fact heterosexual and in fact singing to you lest you will die a sad and lonely death. You need to know that Aiken is not a "defective" homosexual before you can continue with your consumerism. I am, obviously, confused. It could be that I am reading too much into your words. Or perhaps you are being silly and trying to liven up a slow news day. Or perhaps you are ridiculous and completely blind to the real world.

Reagardless of your reasons, I also feel it my civic duty to let you know that Jessica Simpson's lips are not real. Pamela Anderson has fake breasts and there really were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I hope you are able to continue watching television.

I apologize for any pain this may have caused you,

P.S. When you get a chance, could you please tell me WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT THE FTC to do about this? Thanks.

I'm not sure how I feel about the Supreme Court's decision today to allow abortion protest. I haven't been following the case (which uses extortion and organized crime legislation to ban protests at abortion clinics) that closely but I understand that it has been kicked around a variety of courts since 2003 and that the consistent ruling is that pro-life protesters are well within their legal rights. Groups like the AFL-CIO are sympathetic to the pro-life legal argument as they are afraid limited protest in any form will lead to a silencing of pro-labor groups. I have supported social protest for as long as I can remember. My grandmother still has picket signs in her attack from the General Motor's strikes of the 1930's and many of my relatives organized the sit in's. But I think protests (even the non violent kinds) outside abortion clinics inherently limit a woman's right to choose. If you read the moving words from women who suffered through the "walk of shame" into a clinic while strangers were shouting at her, praying for her, crying out in anger about her, you realize that many women choose not to put themselves in that situation. I think there are distinct differences between labor protests and pro-life protests. Ever the supporter of the first amendment, I am uncomfortable with my willingness to limit demonstrations and social discourse. However, it seems to me that if we are a "pro-life" country (at least legally and for the time being), we should do all we can to ensure that women really do have a right to choose.

Recommended Reading
I would recommend this blog post to anyone who has the time to read it. It is a great analysis on the erosion of personal responsibility and the increasing liklihood to blame, blame, blame. It made me re-think some of my rhetoric.

See Jane Copy Dick

A recently released book and Today Show story got my non-essentialist and non-violent panties in a bunch. See Jane Hit is a book which explores the elevated levels of aggression in school-age girls and discusses the unintended consequences of " girls’ getting physical and becoming more assertive." The author was featured on the Today Show along with a teenage girl who had showcased violent and aggressive behavior and was drawn to sports like ice hockey.

My problem with the book (and the segment) is that it does not analyze and criticize the societal problems which could arguably be "causing" the violent tendencies. Instead, the author seems to blame the increasing involvement in sports and increasing social acceptance of more aggressive female behavior. While there is some discussion of pop culture, the bulk of the case studies revolve around girls who play "aggressive" and "male" sports or who are taught to be assertive. Therefore, little Jane is more likely to strike out against the boys in her class because she learned aggression on the soccer field OR she learned to be assertive from her parents. I just don't buy it. AND WORSE, I think it continues to perpetuate stereotypical gender related behavior. These "aggressive" girls are performing their gender in ways that seem harmful and foreign. There is no discussion as to the rising violence among young and adolescent males. There is no discussion of all the times that female children have to protect themselves from agressive males. There is no discussion of video games (like Grand Theft Auto and others) that teach the children that violence against women is okay.

I am not willing to argue that all essentialist research is bad. I think "girl" and "woman" as a category can be very socially and politically empowering. I think that there needs to be research about young girls. But perhaps the research should center around the fact that once girls reach Junior High age and develop body parts that are noticeably different from boys, their participation in sports decreases. Maybe studies should look at the increase of bullying in many schools and analyze the (sometimes violent) response that often happens. And I know that research/books/etc exists out there. But I think studies like this one are damaging. Even more damaging because they are just sensational enough to be newsworthy. My discomfort stems from the idea that if we really have a problem with young girls becoming more violent because of their involvement in sports or their increased assertiveness, the obvious solution is that they stop playing sports and resort back to 1950's female performances. NOT VIABLE OPTIONS! Instead, we need to question the societal structure that exists that sends the message that any violence (from boys or girls) is okay.

I do not think that violence is an answer for conflict. I will not urge my child/children (should I have them) to strike out against bullies. I will not allow them to play video games or own toys which teach them that violent behavior is "fun" or "trivial." However, I would urge my daughter or son to be assertive, proud and unapologetic about themselves.

Monday, February 27, 2006
Bedtime Stories

Not that I would have trouble explaining myself but it may help to have pictures and fuzzy characters.

Now, if only I could find a book entitled "Why Mommy doesn't let you play with Barbies or go to DisneyWorld"

Friday, February 24, 2006
Happy: The news that women are living in the most educated, professionally empowered international generation of females EVER. A generation of women poised to take the reins of global leadership-- WOO HOO
Sad: South Dakota's recent move to ban all abortions. It is suspected to go to the (abortion hostile) Supreme Court. Chatter on pro-life blogs suggests that this is just the first step in the challenge to Roe.

Happy: People like speed skater Joey Cheek who is going to donate his silver metal to the Right To Play charity which helps children of war torn Sudan.
Sad: The lack of attention to Sudan in general (even from the left)...and the fact that our military is so overstretched that we can't really devote any of our services to GOOD.

Happy: The Ohio law maker's tongue in cheek legislation to ban "republican adoption"*
Sad: The fact that it is in response to a bill which will ban gay parent adoption in Ohio

Happy: Hillary Clinton hiring Paul Begala and James Carville to help her raise money for her "Senate campaign"
Sad: The fact that I can't decide if I want to get on board the H-train. Is she really as polarizing as I think or is that some line fed to me by the mainstream media? Is she the right candidate for our party?

Happy: Going out dancing tomorrow night
Sad: How my feet are going to feel Sunday morning after I wear my hot (yet painful) shoes

*You HAVE to read the article. It will make you laugh. Especially the part about credible research showing that adopted children raised in Republican homes are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."

EDIT: Did I say that no one was talking about Sudan? The BBC is....this is a happy AND a sad

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The Bad and The Beautiful

Just as Paul Walker's movie Eight Below hit number one on the movie list, The New York Times mag comes through with a great piece about the fantastic movies of the year. Provacative photos of all the big names...including my 2005 It-Girl, Michelle Williams, who gave great performances in both Brokeback and The Baxter.

Lollipop, Lollipop

I don't understand....people do marijuana for the taste?

"Every Lick is Like Taking a Hit" ummm...except you don't get high. So there's that.

You have to look at the website. Shop "candy" because...."It's not just a candy. It's a lifestyle"


Monday, February 20, 2006
What the Bleep Do We Know
Sold as a "quantum fable," this movie is part documentary, part story, part science, part comedy. Very hard to explain but I enjoyed it very much. The movie explores the limits of human knowledge and discovery. It challenges common perceptions of reality, God and the brain. I particularly liked the discussion of religion and God. I won't say much about it because I want you to frame your own opinions but I would highly recommend it to many people who read this blog. You have to get over the cheesy "special effects" and just listen to the interesting information.

Sunday, February 19, 2006
Sparkling Dinner Conversation
I stole this idea from the Quaker Agitator. I'm lucky because I get to have dinner with the most interesting, lovely, fantastic person in the world every night. But in case he needs a break from me, it is good to have a back up list of people I could call in a pinch. So...in no particular order here is a list of people I would love to have a long dinner conversation and even longer lingering conversation over a glass (okay...BOTTLE) of wine with.

George Stephanopoulos I have a thing for political men. I have an even bigger thing for political men that helped get Clinton elected. I love him on Sunday mornings--I'm sure I would love him on Saturday nights. I couldn't actually date George as he comes up to my chin but dinner. Dinner would be great...and insightful.

Mo Rocca That hair, those glasses, the slight speech impediment. I love this guy. Loved him on the Daily Show, loved him on I love the 80's, loved him last year when he covered the debates. LOVE HIM.

Howard Zinn Look at the picture, read his stuff...enough said. If we ever get a dog, we are naming him Zinney. Seriously.

Patrick Dempsey This is a relatively new one. I love/hate his character on the show but I LOVE his hair. I LOVE his "look." You know the look....

Hugh Grant I won't mention a person's hair again....but ever since he played his oh so political role in Love Actually, I've been hooked.

Barack Obama I know it is slightly bandwagon but I don't care.

That's the short list. I reserve the right to add on at any given time for any variety of reasons. Maybe it will be an ongoing feature of the blog...

Monday, February 13, 2006
Press Corps?!
::And I'm an expert at pretending nothing's wrong:: Patrick Park

The "liberal media" must have been off supporting communists on Saturday. That is the only plausible explanation for why it took over 24 hours for the news of Dick Cheney's hunting accident to hit the headlines. Sure, sure...accidents happen and spraying a Republican donor in the neck, face and torso with shrapnel doesn't make you a bad person. But hiding it for 24 hours makes you seem like a dishonest person (all readers take a collective sigh now). The Bush admin is saying that they left it up to the property owner to report it to the press. Obviously *she* should report it. Why bother the White House Press Secretary? But the bigger problem here is that the mainstream media fails to take note when the motorcade goes speeding by en route to the hospital?! The Vice President is "hunting" (and by hunting, I mean shooting all crazy in a field where the game had been led that morning) and there appears to be an accident with an injury and NO ONE investigates? That communist rally must have been FIERCE.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Today, as I was walking up the hill toward our building I was feeling very lazy. In fact, I was contemplating how little work I could do today and still be okay for the rest of the week. I had just decided on an insufficient amount of work when a garbage truck drove by with this message:


Thanks, Clarke Country Waste Management. Thanks for getting me back in the game.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I've been tagged
The Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic, five weird habits, and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals.

My Five: (and they aren't really habits as much as idiosyncrasies)

1. I don't really like liquid and solid foods touching--I feel like it makes everything soggy. So, I don't eat condiments. However, I love soup.

2. I can only sleep on my left side. However, in order to start to fall asleep I need to be on my right side. So the last thing I do before I go to sleep every night is roll over onto my left side.

3. I hate dirty laundry. I do laundry 2-3 times a week. I get anxious when there is laundry in our hamper.

4. I am anal about pretty much everything--except I don't squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle and I don't care how my dishwasher is loaded. And I feel like even people who aren't anal care about those things....

5. I am constantly brushing off my car's dashboard. I hate when the sun shines in just right and illuminates all the dust on the dash. It absolutely drives me crazy. I cannot sit at a stop light and NOT brush it all off. It is a constant point of frustration for me.

* You should know that it was really hard for me to narrow it down to 5 ( i picked the less weird so that people wouldn't make fun of me)
** Anyone who reads blog should feel free to do this; I won't strip you of your autonomy and force you to respond but I strongly encourage you do this....