Sunday, January 31, 2010

The XX

I included the xx in this last "New Music Thursday" and I'm a little bit obsessed with them today.



This song is the kind of song I'd like to bathe in if music was water.

Our Bodies Ourselves is looking for a few good women

I just saw this post over at Echidine of the Snakes and I thought it was worth reposting since I'm sure some of you guys would be interested in participating:
Our Bodies Ourselves is seeking up to two dozen women to participate in an online discussion on sexual relationships.

Stories and comments may be used anonymously in the next edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” which will be published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster.

We are seeking the experience and wisdom of heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual and queer women. Perspectives from single women are encouraged, and you may define relationship as it applies to you, from monogamy to multiple partners. We are committed to including women of color, women with disabilities, trans women and women of many ages and backgrounds.

In the words of the brilliant anthology “Yes Means Yes,” how can we consistently engage in more positive experiences? What issues deserve more attention? And how do we address social inequities and violence against women? These are some of the guiding questions that will help us to update the relationships section in “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

The conversation will start Sunday, Feb. 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day) and stay open through Friday, March 12.

Participants will be invited to answer relevant questions

(view sample questions at Our Bodies, Our Blog)
and build on the responses of other participants. We’ll use a private Google site to post questions and responses.

Personal stories and reflections are welcomed, along with updated research and media resources. While we intend to use some of the stories and experiences in the book, names will not be published.

We hope the open process* will spark robust discussion. We expect new questions to arise that challenge us to re-work this section even more.

If you would like to participate in this conversation, please e-mail OBOS editorial team member Wendy Sanford: wsanford@bwhbc.org

In your email, please tell us about yourself and what you would bring to the conversation. We need to hear from you by Feb. 5 and will let you know soon thereafter about participation. Thanks for considering this!

*We have thought a great deal about privacy. If you want to share a story or information, but do not want to participate in the private Google site discussion, please indicate that in your email. We may send you questions that you can answer on your own.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lessons from Photography Class

I've mentioned before that I'm taking Photography I this semester and I've decided that it might be interesting to blog about what I’m learning as I learn it.

And like that, "Lessons from Photography Class" was born.



I promise I'm not trying to pimp my other blog, but I thought some of you might be interested. The nice thing is I'm a total newbie so my posts will reflect that. (I can't be the only one who has read post about photography that go right over my head.)

I don't know if anyone will actually take anything away from the psts, but I think it might be a helpful tool for anyone who would like a little more infor regarding certian aspects of photography or how all the functions on their SLR camera work.

Anyhoo, I will put a link at the top of my page in case anyone is interested in checking it out from time to time. If not no biggie.

Republican Q&A with the President

I missed the State of the Union address and yet I couldn't seem to gather the energy to watch it. I think, like a lot of people, politics has been too tiring to keep track of lately. The high level of antagonism on all sides is just too hard to maintain.

This Republican Q&A with the President at the House Issues Conference is really great though. I know its over an hour long, but if you have nothing better to do I recommend watching it.



And on a totally side not, Eric Cantor's face just irritates me. I only have to see him on televising, not even actually hear him speak, and I'm irritated. That's quite a feat on Cantor's part. It rivals that of only Boehner's in the speed and force of my dislike.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What I mean when I say "every man is a potential rapist" and why you being offended is actually offensive.

This is the second time a blog about rape has turned into an argument of semantics and I wanted to post my position on the situation here since I feel like I keep saying the same things over and over. While I highly recommend starting here to get an understanding of what I’m talking about, it’s not necessary in order to follow along. I also want to point out that I am not the spokesperson for women and not all women will agree with me. I also am focusing on the rape of women in this post, but that does not mean I do not recognize that men are raped as well. It just makes sense for me to focus on the rape of women since I’m a woman who has been raped and 9 out of ten rape victims are women.

It's easy to understand why some men might be annoyed or uncomfortable when they hear the phrase “all men are potential rapists.” Even I find the phrase too exclusive and do not prefer using it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used it personally (though I have obviously defended its use), but that doesn’t mean I think there’s anything inherently wrong with the statement. I guess I would rather bring more men into the fold then exclude them and this phrase, not matter how correct it may be, definitely doesn’t say welcome.

That being said, I want to explain why “all men are potential rapists” is sometimes used and what it means. I also want to explain why its pretty freggin offensive to have to cater around a person’s delicate sensibilities when we are trying to talk about the horrific experiences one out of six women experience.

The most common objections I’ve heard about the phrase “all men are potential rapists” is:

a) Its offensive to men
b) Its not true since I know I’m not capable of ever raping someone
c) It makes no more sense then saying “all people are potential murderers”

First off, I want to clarify that the statement "every man is a potential rapist" or “all men are potential rapists” is not the same thing as "every man is a rapist." It doesn’t mean that every man would rape if given the chance nor that every man wants to rape. What the phrase means is that since rapists don’t wear easy to identify signs to show they’re rapists, it is in a woman’s best interest to be cautious. Maybe if rapists always acted like evil fucks women wouldn’t need to think along these lines, but as long as a woman is more likely to be raped by the people she knows (lovers, brothers, fathers, neighbors, pastors, teachers, etc) the need to be cautious of the people the very people one would never really expect to rape a person remains. It means that even those people a woman has accepted into her circle of trust can be the very person who rapes her. That is the tragedy here.

Still don’t like it? Well neither do rape victims. Try for just a moment to think about how hard it is for a woman to come to grips with the fact that 73% of women know their rapists. No one wants to have to think this way and I get no comfort from saying something like "every man is a potential rapist." But what is the flip side? Let’s say that out of the realization that not all men are really potential rapist’s women stop being cautious of men who don’t fit the accepted idea of what a rapists acts like or looks like. What would happen then? Do you think women would be safer for not being “paranoid?” Do you think more women would avoid being raped?

I don’t. And if you truly do think women would be safer then why do women buy pepper spray? Because that man walking down the street may be a rapist. Why are women taught to never let someone else make their drink? Because a rapist might be trying to drug them. Why are women taught to walk with their keys out on the way to the car if it’s late? Because a rapist could be waiting to ambush them. Why are women repeatedly told to use the buddy system? Because that hot guy at the bar might be a rapist. Why would women be expected to take these precautions (and if they don’t then they deserved to be raped right?) if it was not assumed that any man might rape us at any place?

In regards to the issue of whether or not every man is capable of rape, obviously women don’t actually think that every single man is a raving rapist just waiting for the right opportunity. I believe there are many men that would rather suffer a painful death then commit such a horrific act. The problem is I'm not a mind reader so I can't know that with any sort of certainty though. When a man says, “I know I would never rape a person,” I have no idea if that’s true. It’s not like rapists go around shouting “hell yes I want to rape someone.” How am I supposed to know if the person making the claim has truly thought about the different ways a person can consent or whether it’s just a thoughtless “I’ll never rape” being thrown out there? The answer is I can’t. So a person can claim they would never rape a person till they’re blue in the face, but it’s still incredibly selfish of them to assume that women should be less cautious around them because of it.

I also don’t believe that if the person claiming they would never rape doesn’t accept that, like all people, they have the potential (because they possibility exists) to be a rapist then they haven’t really thought about it sufficiently.

Finally, on to the last part and why I get so angry when men talk about being offended by this sort of self-preservation tactic. For one, to be offended by this sort of thinking is to also be offended by the behaviors of self-defense women take, some of which I talked about above, since they stem from this very sort of thinking (that since you can’t know who the rapist is be cautious of every one). I hope I do not have to explain how terribly selfish this is.

All I can say to the person offended is this is not about you. It is incredibly insulting for you to tell me, a person belonging to a subordinate group you don’t share, how I am supposed to see the world. The threat will not go way if I change semantics to make you feel more comfortable. Don’t like it? Blame rape culture. Blame the people who blame the victims. Blame the rapists.

But do not blame women who are just trying to avoid the danger of rape the best way they know how.

Understand that unfortunately most rapes are committed by men and therefore “rapist” is a subset of “men” for the most part. I will not pretend that being suspicious of the dominate group in our society, especially one that has committed an insane amount of atrocities throughout history, is some horrible burden for men to carry. While I’m sorry it makes you uncomfortable, you need to realize that your feelings are not the most important aspect in this situation. And if all it takes for you to not feel offended is for me to stop using the phrase "every man is a potential rapist" or “all men are potential rapists,” then I would argue that you do not really care about women and rape at all. Instead your ego is at the forefront and I find that horribly heartbreaking.

Finally I think it’s worth pointing out that while women are looked at as man-hating banshees for thinking along these lines, women are also blamed if they don’t. Otherwise why would we ask about how short a woman’s dress was, how many drinks she had, whether or not she was flirting, or any other of the thousand other questions we ask to take blame away from the rapists.

Don’t want the phrase "every man is a potential rapist" to be used anymore? Then do something about changing rape culture. I promise you’ll see much more of a difference then you would if you focus on lecturing rape victims.

Some links:

Rape Statistics
Who are the Victims?
Rape Culture 101

From the male perspective:

No Cookies for Me
Hugo Schwyzer (via Britni)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weight discrimination by Doctors

I just read an interesting article over at CNN called, "The surprising reason why being overweight isn't healthy." That surprising reason, which a lot of overweight people won't find surprising at all, is that doctors are biased towards overweight patients.

From the article:
"Our culture has enormous negativity toward overweight people, and doctors aren't immune," says Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Jerome Groopman, M.D., author of "How Doctors Think." "If doctors have negative feelings toward patients, they're more dismissive, they're less patient, and it can cloud their judgment, making them prone to diagnostic errors."

With nearly 70 million American women who are considered overweight, the implications of this new information is disturbing, to say the least.
While the article does have a few cringe worthy parts, I think overall it's really insightful (if not a bit frightening).

Mainly I wish the author wouldn't have used the picture she chose to accompany the article though:


Nothing new about a headless picture of fatties (cause they're not really human you know) but it's still a bit crass.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

See! I'm smiling!

I am going through my labels and cleaning up shop since I don't like having so many different ones (especially since a few are very similar). Plus I'm bored and it seems like a productive way to spend my time. (Though Ryan would probably disagree.)

Anyhoo, my point is that I came across this old post and I almost peed my pants it's so funny. Since I posted it before anyone really read my blog, I'm gonna repost it here since laughing is one of the bestest things ever.

Enjoy:
Ever wonder what would happen if one of our favorite Food Network chefs created something they actually didn't like? Well, we were lucky enough to witness such an event when Giada De Laurentiis of Everyday Italian attempted to make some sort of sorbet. She claimed on the air that her facial expressions of disgust and malaise were merely a reaction to the icy treat, but we know better. Behold the Great Giada Disaster of 2006.

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Giada eagerly anticipates the first taste of her cranberry sorbet. What culinary splendors await??

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Here we go!

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"Mmmmm..."

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"Wait a second. This doesn't taste right."

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"I think I've made a huge mistake."

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"Oh dear lord."

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"OH DEAR LORD!!"

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"Must... be... brave..."

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Never willing to admit a mistake, Giada reluctantly goes in for another taste.

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"How did I do this? I'm so stupid! STUPID STUPID STUPID!!"

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"I mean, it tastes like salty barnacles."

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"I'm in such a f*ckin' bad mood now."

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"I mean... this is really good! See! I'm smiling!"

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"MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!!"

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"It actually burns. Seriously, someone call a medic. MEDIC!!"

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"It's as if Lucifer himself has served me a slushy!"

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"I'm ruined!"

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"Mommy."

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But as always, Giada rebounds with her trademark smile. Can't keep her down for long!
You're welcome.

Jeux d’enfants (Love me if you Dare)

Last night I watched an interesting movie call Jeux d’enfants. Even though I actually wrote this for my other blog, I'm posting it here since I don't have much to talk about. Politics are boring me and school is a drab.

So I've been filling my time with movies and books as usual and I thought I would share this one with you guys since its not so well known. Sound good? Cool.


Jeux d'enfants (Love Me if you Dare) is a French film by Yann Samuell based around the friendship of two children, Julien (Guillaume Canet) and Sophie (Marion Cotillard), who become obsessed with their game of dares. Whoever posses the carousel tin box gets to dare the other anything they want. But what starts as harmless dares as children (like cursing in class), eventually evolvs into outrageous and mostly cruel dares as adults.

Trailer:



Almost anyone who talks about this film brings up the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain (Amelie) for good reason. Not only is the whimsical nature very Amelie-esqu, but the use of color is also very similar. The narration also made me think of Pushing Daisies as well, but that might just have to do with my insanse amount of love for the show.

What I found most interesting about this film was how much I disliked the characters. This happens sometimes when I’m reading books as well, and I’m always surprised how I can actually want happiness for people I’m so bothered by. This is how this movie made me feel. I kept getting annoyed by how selfish Julien and Sophie were and how little they cared about the people they were hurting around them.

Because this is not a love story. This is a story about obsession. It’s a story about how love can make us unbelievably cruel and how sometimes we can’t see beyond our own wants.

That being said, I still recommend that anyone who hasn’t seen this film go out and watch it. Maybe it’s just my love for anything magical and whimsical, but this movie is at least something beautiful to look at. Even if you do want to strangle the characters sometimes.

"Are you game?"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A pre-school test I failed

I found this over at SadandUseless thought it was pretty funny.

"Which way is the bus below traveling? Pre-schoolers all over the US were shown this picture and asked the same question. 90% of the pre-schoolers gave the right answer."


Answer after the jump...

Hello Love

Have you guys seen this?



How awesome is that? I found it on tumblr but it's by Clay Larsen. I wish he was selling prints, but since only some rights are reserved I'm pretty sure I can make a poster for personal use.

And FYI, I totally just said "yea-ya" inside my head after that last comment. (I'm such a nerd.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

7-Year-Old Painting Prodigy

Does this seem a little ridiculous to anyone else?



Maybe I'm a cynical old fart, but I have a hard time getting excited into the who "child prodigy" hype people seem to love.

Enneagram

I'm not the only one to be bored enough to do one of these today, but Britni's post piqued my interest so I figured why not. Not too surprisingly I came up as number 8 which is called "The Challenger."



In case you're wondering, an Enneagram is essentially a personality test. Each of the nine type profiles expresses a distinctive and habitual pattern of thinking and emotions (at least according to wikipedia).

Anyhoo, here's a discription of The Challenger:
Type Eight exemplifies the desire to be independent and to take care of oneself. Eights are assertive and passionate about life, meeting it head on with self-confidence and strength. They have learned to stand up for themselves and have a resourceful, "can-do" attitude. They are determined to be self-reliant and free to pursue their own destiny. Thus, Eights are natural leaders: honorable, authoritative, and decisive, with a solid, commanding presence. They take initiative and make things happen, protecting and providing for the people in their lives while empowering others to stand on their own. They embody solidity and courage, using their talents and vision to construct a better world for everyone depending on the range of the influence.

Most of all, Eights are people of vision and action. They can take what looks like a useless, broken-down shell of a building and turn it into a beautiful home or office or hospital. Likewise, they see possibilities in people, and they like to offer incentives and challenges to bring out people's strengths. Honor is also important to Eights because their word is their bond. When they say "You have my word on this," they mean it. Eights want to be respected, and healthy Eights also extend respect to others, affirming the dignity of whomever they encounter. They react strongly when they see someone being taken advantage of or treated in a demeaning or degrading manner. They will step in and stop a fight to protect the weak or disadvantaged or to "even the score" for those who they feel have been wronged. Similarly, Eights would not hesitate to give up their seat on the train to an old or sick person, but they would have to be dragged away bodily if anyone tried to make them give it up without their consent.

Nothing much about Eights is half-hearted. They have powerful feelings and drives and often have a major impact on the people around them—for good or for ill. Eights are more intense and direct than most, and they expect others to meet these qualities as well. Indirectness of any kind drives them crazy, and they will keep pushing and raising their energy level until they feel that others have sufficiently responded to them.

Their Hidden Side

Eights present a tough, independent image to the world, but under their bravado and layers of armor, there is vulnerability and fear. Eights are affected by the reactions of those closest to them far more than they want to let on. They often expect that others will dislike or reject them, and so they are profoundly touched, even sentimental, when they feel that someone they care about truly understands them and loves them. Eights may learn to harden themselves against wanting or expecting tenderness, but they are never entirely successful. No matter how tough, even belligerent, they may become, their desire for nurturance and connection can never be put entirely out of consciousness.

Healthy Eights combine their natural strength and energy with measured, insightful, decision-making, and a greater willingness to be emotionally open and available to others. They make loyal friends and will make any sacrifice necessary for the well-being of their loved ones. They feel no need to test their wills against others: they are so secure and grounded in themselves that there is no need to constantly assert themselves much less to control anyone else. Thus, they have greater inner peace themselves and can therefore be enormous sources of support and strength for others. Seeing that they can be a powerful source of blessings in others' lives fills Eights with a deep sense of fulfillment and a kind of benevolent pride in their ability to have a positive impact on the world and on others.

Social Eights: Gusto and Camaraderie (Ichazo's "Friendship")

Social Eights like to "live large," and as the name suggests, engage fully in the world. Friendship and loyalty are top values for them, and they are willing to make great sacrifices for the people and causes they care about. At the same time, they expect that others they have bonded with will be similarly loyal to them. (In this regard, they can resemble Sixes, although their energy is bigger and more direct than that of Sixes.) Often, Social Eights will gather a group of friends around them while unofficially acting as the chairperson of the group—the "king" or "queen." They enjoy conversation about sports, politics, rock music, or the latest events on their favorite soap opera—any subject in which they can boldly state opinions and get into debates about. Social Eights enjoy the banter and energy of a disagreement about such matters, and they are often surprised to learn that others can be hurt or overwhelmed by the force of their opinions. At such times, they may try to "tone themselves down," but they usually find this an uncomfortable compromise. More often, they seek out friends who they perceive as strong and independent, people who can take a bit of roughhousing and who will not be overwhelmed by them. Less healthy Social Eights have problems with making promises to people that they cannot always fulfil. Conning others, and exaggerating situations can become part of the picture.
Obviously not all of this is accurate, but there are a few things that really hit the mark. One is the statement about not being half-hearted. That’s true and anyone who has spent any time around me knows that I run hot/ cold. I love something or I hate it. Apathy really has no place in most of my life. Another is the sentence, “They often expect that others will dislike or reject them, and so they are profoundly touched, even sentimental, when they feel that someone they care about truly understands them and loves them.” That’s so true it’s kind of amazing.

I also really liked the sentence, “They feel no need to test their wills against others: they are so secure and grounded in themselves that there is no need to constantly assert themselves much less to control anyone else.” I ended up cutting out this paragraph since my post was getting too long, but I wanted to add it in since this is something I like to think about myself. Yes, I am very assertive but I am not controlling. (It’s a very important distinction in my opinion.) Lastly, I also related to the king or queen comment about social circles. This is something that I often do without trying. It’s just that I’m usually the one who makes the effort to get people together and that usually entails making the plans as well (though it has been a while). It’s not that I necessarily want to do it, it’s just that most people aren’t willing to take the initiative. I’m also often surprised by how sensitive people can be so, “they are often surprised to learn that others can be hurt or overwhelmed by the force of their opinions,” is especially true. Even though I try to be nicer and calmer, it just doesn’t last. I need friends with thick skins.

Beyond that I don’t really know how I feel about the “heroic” or “visionary” comments. That seems like a little much, but I guess its better then being labeled a sociopath or something. If you're itnerested you can take your own test here and discriptions of the different types can be found here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Roundup

It’s been a while since I’ve done one. Let's jump right in.

Random Picture:



I just find this hilarious.

Articles You Should Read:

1. The U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Corporations, and Politics

Update: I also want to link Glenn Greenwald's "Follow-up on the Citizens United Case" here since I think it's a nice balance to the Sociological Images post.

2. The New Wave of Trans Cinema

3. Witch-doctors reveal extent of child sacrifice in Uganda

4. I've also stumbled across an interesting website called The Gaytheists, “a place for LGBTQ atheists, skeptics and humanists.” I’ve only done cursory read of the blog so far, but I think I’m gonna love it.

Song/video:


I'm including this video because I read a pretty interesting take on it called "The Transcontinental Disability Choir: Disabililty Chic? (Temporary) Disability in Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi"."

Though not everyone will agree on the author's opinion, I still think it's good to read. I also really like the comments, particularly this one:

I think it's a poorly chosen metaphor, though. I read it as a very adolescent revenge fantasy -- "Paparazzi, you'll be sorry when I'm dead...or in a wheel chair." The wheelchair and crutches are props, which are used to draw attention to her victim status...to invite pity and horror. Her movements become less human, almost robotic, and she becomes (if only temporarily) something acted on by the world around her. The wheelchair and crutches are not things that give her power and mobility. They are reminders that the paparazzi and her sex partner/murderer guy have taken power away from her. It's almost as if disability stems from these items. Very troubling from a feminist and disability standpoint.
Makes you think.

Special STFU of the week:

This one goes to Matthew Archbold for his post “Atheists Love You. They Just Don't Know Why.” In the post Archbold claims Richard Dawkins is being self-serving in his religious-free aid to Haiti since his intentions are probably to one up religion. Then, after he gets to suggest that idea without having to own it, Archbold then goes on to claim that Dawkins aid is must be proof that god truly exists even if Dawkins denies it.

The gem of the post:

I have to wonder from what philosophical grounding does Dawkins’ altruism emanate? Why is other human life worth anything if there is no God? From what philosophical groundwork is he basing his good works on? Dawkins, it would seem to me, hasn’t defined his terms and is only borrowing our definition of “good.” Because without our definitions he’d have to ask the question, “What is good without God?” And that’s something I haven’t seen answered yet.

This is a pretty standard straw man argument by theists (that there is no good without god). As many of the comments have pointed out, the statement “Why is other human life worth anything if there is no God?” says more about Archbold then he probably wanted to share. What Archbold doesn’t realize is that his statements represent the very sentiment that leads a lot of people to reject religion. Because not only is it morally bankrupt, but it’s also a little too “reward system” for many people.

Quote/Thought that makes me happy:

"Your flaws are beautiful. They’re what make you stand out. Don’t try to be normal, perfect, striving to be something or someone that you will never accomplish. Be annoying, be quirky, be different. In truth, it takes a hell of a lot more strength to resist, than to go along with the flow. Stray from the path. What anyone else thinks doesn’t matter. Let them be boring, let them be the same, as unnoticeable as the people around them. Wear flowers in your hair, mismatching socks, and thousands of multi-colored bracelets. Press all those damn buttons in the elevator, and piss off everyone around you. Have fun now, because there’s always plenty of time to be boring in the future."
-Andrea Chiang

Something you probably don’t know about me:

My favorite thing for breakfast is Neapolitan ice cream.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yesterdays Supreme Court Ruling

If anyone is unsure as to why the Supreme Court's decisions to roll back campaign finance laws that limit corporate spending yesterday is worrisome (to say the least), a post by Anna Burger over at the Huffington Post paints a dytopian picture:
Imagine going to the grocery store. You stop in to get your milk, your bread and eggs. But something is different this time. While buying your breakfast for the next morning, you get a nonstop sales pitch for the upcoming elections. Down one aisle is a TV telling you who to vote for in the upcoming city council election. With your receipt, the cashier gives you a brochure for a candidate running for Congress and with it a coupon for $25 off your next visit if you sign a supporter card. On your way out the door, you see a banner across the front of the building advertising a rally the next day with the state's gubernatorial candidate and the CEO of the store.

What if you were a Republican shopper and all the candidates being pushed were Democrats? Or vice versa? What if every Wal-Mart supported Sarah Palin and every Starbucks backed Harry Reid? Even if your 401K owned stock in Bank of America you couldn't stop them from flooding the airwaves with ads attacking the candidate you support for president, paid for with your own retirement nest egg.

This is not some fairy tale or even hyperbole. It's what could now pass as reality thanks to today's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
I know this may seem like an extreme example of how things may play out in the future, but I think it's important that we recognize that there is no reason why this may not happen with the recent Supreme Court decision.

Here is how the New York Times described the decisions:

Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

The ruling represented a sharp doctrinal shift, and it will have major political and practical consequences. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision to reshape the way elections were conducted. Though the decision does not directly address them, its logic also applies to the labor unions that are often at political odds with big business.
Keith Olbermann also gave a pretty scathing Special Comment about the decision last night:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The silver lining is that congress should be able to do something to rein the corporations in. What that will be or whether congress will get over its own ineptitude is unclear though.

Blog for Choice Day 2010

As many of you know, today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade as well as the fifth annual Blog for Choice Day. How it works is that NARAL Pro-Choice America poses a question to pro-choice bloggers before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and then asks them to blog their answer on January 22 each year. This year the question is “What does Trust Women mean to you?” in honor of the late George Tiller who often wore a button that said “trust women.”

So what does “trust women” mean to me? I guess it means that no matter how you may personally feel about abortion, you ultimately realize that each woman has to make this decision for herself. It’s also the realization that women have abortions for a myriad of reasons and it’s not our responsibility to decide what reasons are acceptable and which should be condemned. Whether or not we think every abortion is a tragedy or whether we find the act of abortion morally reprehensible is ultimately irrelevant when we trust women. Trusting women means we’re willing to accept that each person’s bodily autonomy outweighs our personal opinions regarding that autonomy. It means that a woman has the right to use a perfectly legal medical procedure for any reason she sees fit without having to appease our personal attitudes on the subject. It means we trust women who have abortions to have done so because they thought it was the right decision for them. It means that instead of being reproachful towards women who have abortions we support them. It also means that women who choose to have children should not be ridiculed by those who don’t nor exalted by those who are scared to death to allow women control over their bodies.

This picture is for a fashion show (I believe), but I really like the idea that we, as women, are chained to our reproductive choices no matter what decision we make. At least that’s what I think when I look at this.

When I found out I was pregnant after dating Ryan for only a few months of I thought my life had ended. Seriously, I can't even explain the feeling of hopelessness I felt (some of you will know exactly what I'm talking about). I was only twenty years old, a college dropout, and I worked two jobs in order to barely support myself. Not only did I think it would be virtually impossible for me to care for a baby at that point in my life, but I also didn't want to care for a baby. I never had. Having kids always seemed like something I'd never do. Right along with getting married or voting republican. So I did what I thought was the right thing to do and made an appointment to have a medical abortion. But as I was sitting in my local planned parenthood on the day of my appointment something profound happened to me. I realized that there was a life growing inside me. And I realized that that life was something delicate and precious and I couldn't go through with the abortion.

I want to make it very clear that I'm not sharing my story in order to judge other women's choices or provide fodder for the right. What should be taken away from my situation is how having a choice made all the difference in my situation. If I hadn't been able to seriously contemplate abortion I may not have ever awoken that tiny place inside me that realized I could handle being a mother. I can easily see how being stripped of my choices could have led me to try something unsafe instead of taking the time to really think about what I wanted. I can also see how easy it would have been for me to become a bitter woman forced to have an unwanted baby. That is the point of the story.

Choice is freedom.

I also want to include this quote by Katherine Ragsdale because I think it speaks volumes for how the right to choose is fundamentally a question of freedom (big thanks to Britni for the link):
"Let’s be very clear about this: when a woman finds herself pregnant due to violence and chooses an abortion, it is the violence that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion — often a late-term abortion — to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion — there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember — abortion is a blessing and our work is not done."

To read the responses of other bloggers just follow the link at the top. You can also get information if you'd like to take part in Blog for Choice Day yourself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Massachusetts chooses the color of Shit

Yes I realize that my title is an immature play on Brown’s last name, but I’ve never claimed to be mature now have I? Plus it does seem to fit rather nicely.

I can’t even comment on the situation in Massachusetts because I end up getting pissed off and raving like a mad woman. This video is a good summation of how I feel about the situation though (I know Chris Matthews can be annoying as all hell, but I think Shrum’s comments are especially poignant):

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


I realize there are a lot of reasons why a person may have voted for Brown (insanity, drunkenness, far-sightedness), but I still don’t understand how voters haven’t broken down in shame over voting for such a douche. But then again, if crazies like Bachmann are able to stay in Congress then maybe I am expecting too much of the American people.

Either way this situation brings an essay David Sedaris wrote for The New Yorker to mind (I’m pretty sure I posted this before too but I don’t care cause it’s awesome):

I don’t know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. “Who are they?” the news anchors ask. “And how might they determine the outcome of this election?”

Then you’ll see this man or woman— someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. “Well, Charlie,” they say, “I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!” Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?

When doubting that anyone could not know whom they’re voting for, I inevitably think back to November, 1968. Hubert Humphrey was running against Richard Nixon, and when my mother couldn’t choose between them she had me do it for her. It was crazy. One minute I was eating potato chips in front of the TV, and the next I was at the fire station, waiting with people whose kids I went to school with. When it was our turn, we were led by a woman wearing a sash to one of a half-dozen booths, the curtain of which closed after we entered.

“Go ahead,” my mother said. “Flick a switch, any switch.”

I looked at the panel in front of me.

“Start on the judges or whatever and we’ll be here all day, so just pick a President and make it fast. We’ve wasted enough time already.”

“Which one do you think is best?” I asked.

“I don’t have an opinion,” she told me. “That’s why I’m letting you do it. Come on, now, vote.”

I put my finger on Hubert Humphrey and then on Richard Nixon, neither of whom meant anything to me. What I most liked about democracy, at least so far, was the booth—its quiet civility, its atmosphere of importance. “Hmm,” I said, wondering how long we could stay before someone came and kicked us out.

Ideally, my mother would have waited outside, but, as she said, there was no way an unescorted eleven-year-old would be allowed to vote, or even hang out, seeing as the lines were long and the polls were open for only one day. “Will you please hurry it up?” she hissed.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like this in our living room?” I asked. “Maybe we could use the same curtains we have on the windows.”

“All right, that’s it.” My mother reached for Humphrey but I beat her to it, and cast our vote for Richard Nixon, who had the same last name as a man at our church. I assumed that the two were related, and only discovered afterward that I was wrong. Richard Nixon had always been Nixon, while the man at my church had shortened his name from something funnier but considerably less poster-friendly—Nickapopapopolis, maybe.

“Oh, well,” I said.

We drove back home, and when asked by my father whom she had voted for, my mother said that it was none of his business.

“What do you mean, ‘none of my business’?” he said. “I told you to vote Republican.”

“Well, maybe I did and maybe I didn’t.”

“You’re not telling me you voted for Humphrey.” He said this as if she had marched through the streets with a pan on her head.

“No,” she said. “I’m not telling you that. I’m not telling you anything. It’s private—all right? My political opinions are none of your concern.”

“What political opinions?” he said. “I’m the one who took you down to register. You didn’t even know there was an election until I told you.”

“Well, thanks for telling me.”

She turned to open a can of mushroom soup. This would be poured over pork chops and noodles and served as our dinner, casserole style. Once we’d taken our seats at the table, my parents would stop fighting directly, and continue their argument through my sisters and me. Lisa might tell a story about her day at school and, if my father said it was interesting, my mother would laugh.

“What’s so funny?” he’d say.

“Nothing. It’s just that, well, I suppose everyone has a different standard. That’s all.”

When told by my father that I was holding my fork wrong, my mother would say that I was holding it right, or right in “certain circles.”

“We don’t know how people eat the world over,” she’d say, not to him but to the buffet or the picture window, as if the statement had nothing to do with any of us.

I wasn’t looking forward to that kind of evening, and so I told my father that I had voted. “She let me,” I said. “And I picked Nixon.”

“Well, at least someone in the family has some brains.” He patted me on the shoulder and as my mother turned away I understood that I had chosen the wrong person.

I didn’t vote again until 1976, when I was nineteen and legally registered. Because I was at college out of state, I sent my ballot through the mail. The choice that year was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Most of my friends were going for Carter, but, as an art major, I identified myself as a maverick. “That means an original,” I told my roommate. “Someone who lets the chips fall where they may.” Because I made my own rules and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought of them, I decided to write in the name of Jerry Brown, who, it was rumored, liked to smoke pot. This was an issue very close to my heart—too close, obviously, as it amounted to a complete waste. Still, though, it taught me a valuable lesson: calling yourself a maverick is a sure sign that you’re not one.

I wonder if, in the end, the undecideds aren’t the biggest pessimists of all. Here they could order the airline chicken, but, then again, hmm. “Isn’t that adding an extra step?” they ask themselves. “If it’s all going to be chewed up and swallowed, why not cut to the chase, and go with the platter of shit?”

Ah, though, that’s where the broken glass comes in.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The O’Brien and Leno Brouhaha

Last night Jay Leno spoke more frankly about the situation at NBC than any of the other late night hosts so far in my opinion.



Now don't get me wrong, Leno is obviously deflecting blame here. None of us are actually gullible enough to believe that the only reason Leno is willing to go back to his 11:30 time slot is so his staff can retain a job.

But that doesn’t mean that what he’s saying doesn’t have merit. I love Coco as much as the next person, but it’s silly of us to expect Leno to work against his own self interest for the benefit of Conan. We’re talking about two grown ass men, who also happen to be multimillionaires, who will find work quicker than I will. This is not the end of the world.

I guess the reason I’m posting this is because I’m tired of all the Leno hate that’s been going around and I have a hard time believing that Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman are so very concerned with Conan’s well being. It’s much more likely that this situation is just an excuse for everyone to shit all over Leno and I don’t think that necessarily fair. Do I think Conan could have gone much further and established better ratings if he had been given the time to grow into his new position out from under the shadow of Leno? Yes I do. But none of that means that Leno is at fault for all these dumb ass decisions by NBC.

Anyhoo, you can read a really great article about the whole situation here (reading it totally changed my outlook on the whole situation).

Best Screen Shot Ever



Don't deny it.

-via Jezebel

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pretty When You Cry

This song is seriously fucking with my head. I don't know if I'm totally creeped out or completely smitten.

Maybe it's a little of both.



You're made of my rib oh baby
You're made of my sin
And I cant tell where your lust ends and where your love begins

I didn't want to hurt you baby
I didn't want to hurt you
I didn't want to hurt you but you're pretty when you cry

And the moon gives me permission and I enter through her eyes
She's losing her virginity and all her will to compromise

I didn't want to hurt you baby
I didn't want to hurt you
I didn't want to hurt you but you're pretty when you cry

I didn't want to fuck you baby
I didn't want to fuck you
I didn't want to fuck you but you're pretty when you're mine

I didn't really love you baby
I didn't really love you
I didn't really love you but I'm pretty when I lie

You hurt me baby
I hurt you baby
(How can you do this to me now?)
(How can you do this to me now?)

If you knew how much I love you, you would run away
(How can you do this to me now?)
But when I treat you bad it always makes you want to stay


I didn't want to hurt you baby
I didn't want to hurt you baby
I didn't want to hurt you baby
I didn't want to hurt you baby

(How can you do this to me now?)
(How can you do this to me now?)
(How can you do this to me now?)
(How can you do this to me now?)

I've Been to the Mountaintop

MLK really is one of the greatest orators ever. Everytime I hear him speak I get emotional and feel like I should be making a difference in the world.



Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gay Relationships in Books

I was writing about a book I just finished by Malinda Lo called Ash, and it got me thinking about the difference between the way straight relationships are often written about compared to gay relationships.

And from what I’ve noticed the difference is pretty huge.

For a while I was kind of fixated on books that featured gay protagonists because the characters and relationships are usually much more fleshed out. There is just something so much more real about the romances in most of the fantasy books I’ve read when the protagonist is gay. I don’t know why, but it’s as though these relationships are treated with a more delicate hand and it makes it feel much more authentic to me. One of my biggest pet peeves is stories where the characters appear to have no say in their relationships. Rather then have to make the hard decisions and grow into their love a little day after day, a lot of books just throw two people together and that’s that. A lot of the time it’s hard for me to even find a reason why the two characters should be together. Of course authors don’t seem to care too much about compatibility or authenticity when it gets in the way of the clichéd love affair between the beautiful introvert and the sensitive teenager hiding being a smoke-screen of angst. (Twilight and Evernight come to mind.)

So far I haven’t really experienced this kind of two dimensional plot devise when the two characters are gay though (or bisexual usually). Instead the budding relationship is treated as something delicate and fragile. Rather then the group orgy/instant humping that finds its way into every Anita Blake book, these romances are much more emotional rather then physical and seem to grow through out the book rather then culminate in one hot fuck after a night of drinking (though those scenes serve a purpose as well I suppose).




It makes me wonder why the relationships are handled so differently. Is it out of the need to make the gay relationship more palatable for some people? Is it out of the hope people won’t disregard the relationship as something trivial or as simply an attempt to be shocking on the part of the author? I don’t know the answer but it is kind of interesting. Some of the most tender and touching relationships I’ve read have been between two men (hello Kirith Kirin and Magic's Pawn). And though some are more touching then others, I can’t think of one fantasy story where the characters treat their relationship with the same disregard as a character like Anita Blake.

Has anyone else noticed this? Keep in mind this is only my opinion based on the books I've read so far, but it does seem like a trend.

-Oh and Ash is a re-telling of the Cinderella fairy tale. I really loved the book and if you're interested you can learn more about it here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tragedy in Haiti

I didn’t comment on the tragedy in Haiti right away because I felt like the words didn’t exist to encompass the massive tragedy the situation is. And, to be honest, I still don’t think they do. There's nothing I can say that can express the heartache or sympathy I feel for the people in Haiti and this whole situation is horrific to say the least.

As usual though, Jay Smooth sums things up nicely:



If you are able to donate, you find great information at the Help Survivors of the Earthquake in Haiti page of Charity Navigator. All of the organizations listed have received a high rating (which means they "exceed or meet industry standards and perform as well as or better than most charities in its Cause") and you can find out exactly what your donation will go towards (food, medical aid, etc). Charity Navigator is great because you can click on each group and see how much of your money goes directly towards help as well as how much of the money raised goes towards "administration costs" (i.e. salaries).

I also wanted to share this video because I keep thinking about what Shep Smith said at the end because it’s so true.



We do get bored and forget. And maybe we have to forget for a little while because we just can’t handle thinking about the raped or homeless every second of every day, but I worry about what will happen when our attention starts to wane. What will happen then? Like the 2004 tsunami or the places hit by hurricane Katrina this will become just another tragedy forgotten.

It’s just so sad.

School Ramblings

You know those days where you wake up and it’s like your load is just a little lighter? I love those days. I also love how they can come along for no reason sometimes. It’s like your mind is busy jumping mental hurdles that you’re not even aware exist while you go about your life.

And today I feel light as a feather.

As most of you know I got to school at a local community college. Since I want to transfer to the U in a year and a half, I have to make sure I stay on top of my shit. I know this isn’t new news to most people, but my point is that I need to take at least 15 credits a semester in order to stay on top of things. My problem is that it’s very difficult for me to take classes 5 days a week, but I felt obligated to do so anyways.

Well, I changed my mind and I feel great. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot (especially to those of you who have bigger loads), but it’s just too difficult to try and juggle everything. I decided to drop Intro to Philosophy, which I didn’t really want to take, and now I’ll only have class Mon-Thurs. I talked to Ryan and we felt like this was the best decision for us as a family. And now that it’s done, I realize this was something that was stressing me out.

Anyhoo, most of my classes blow this semester but I’m ridiculously excited to be taking photography. The only down side is all the shit I have to buy for the class, but my grant money should cover most of it luckily. The most expensive thing I have to buy is a SLR camera. There are some lovely cameras on the market, but I’m probably going to buy a Canon Rebel XSi due to the cost.



I’m kind of bummed I can’t get a nicer camera, but I realize that I’m lucky to be able to get anything. Plus, if I need an expensive camera to take good pictures then I’m probably not that good in the first place.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Objectification Silences Women

I read an interesting article on how "the male gaze" can silence some women. I know the whole idea of objectification and how exactly the male gaze affects us is a murky issue (though check out the link above if you want a jumping off point), but studies like this give me hope that our consciousness is slowly coming around to the sexism that's still so prevalent in our society.

Excerpt:
Saguy's study is one of the first to provide evidence of the social harms of sexual objectification - the act of treating people as "de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities". It targets women more often than men. It's apparent in magazine covers showing a woman in a sexually enticing pose, in inappropriate comments about a colleague's appearance, and in unsolicited looks at body parts. These looks were what Saguy focused on.

She recruited 207 students, 114 of whom were women, on the pretence of studying how people communicate using expressions, gestures and vocal cues. Each one sat alone in a room with a recorder and video camera. They had two minutes to introduce themselves to a male or female partner, using a list of topics such as "plans for the future" or "four things you like doing the most". The partner was supposedly sat in the next room and either watching the speaker from the neck up, watching from the neck down, or just listening on audio. The camera was tilted or blocked accordingly.

Saguy found that women talked about themselves for less time than men, but only if they thought they were being visually inspected by a man, and particularly if they thought their bodies were being checked out. They used the full two minutes if they were describing themselves to another woman (no matter where the camera was pointing) or if they were speaking to a man who could hear but not see them. But if their partner was a man watching their bodies, they spoke for just under one-and-a-half minutes. You can see these differences in the graph below (although note that the y-axis starts at 60, a practice I don't particularly like).

Men had no such qualms. They used the full two minutes regardless of whether they were being watched or listened to, and no matter the gender of their partner. The fact that men didn't react in the same way is important. For a start, it shows that it's a man's gaze and not just any downward glance that affects a woman's behaviour. It also puts paid to the false equivalence arguments that are often put forward when discussing gender issues (i.e. "women look at male bodies too").



When the students answered a questionnaire after the experiment, both men and women "felt more like a body than as a real person" if the camera focused on them from the neck down. But only the women were really put off by it. Around 61% of them disliked the body-pointed camera, compared to just 32% who disliked the face-pointing one or 7% who disliked the audio. For the men, 36% disliked the body camera, 42% disliked the face one and 22% disliked the audio.
Obviously this study doesn't come as a shock to most women, but it is interesting to think about.

-You can read the full article here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

"Obama hasn't done anything" is a common statement you hear thrown around in the world of comedy and comedy that masquerades as news. I briefly touched on this subject before, but since I just came across (via another illuminating Jezebel comment) an interesting "Obameter" I thought it was worth talking about again.



The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises is, not too surprisingly, a meter put together by PolitiFact that tracks Obama's progress in regards to the "more than 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign."

According to the meter, Obama isn't doing too bad. 92 "promises kept" is a far cry from doing nothing and another 264 promises are rated "in the works." None of this is to say that the 14 "promises broken" should be ignored (or the 78 "stalled"), but my point is that's it's diengenuous to claim Obama hasn't done anything.

I'm just happy to now have a place where I can send people along with the standard "you're a bumbass" look.

What Women Deserve

Someone posted this video in the comments of a Jezebel post about the clusterfuck of inanity that the Palin's new In Touch cover is ("We're Glad We Chose Life"), and I was blown away.

Seriously, this is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard. I got goosebumps all over my body and it made me feel moved in a way that poetry slams only seem capable of.


Wow.

Update: I want to add a link to the original advertising sign that inspired Renee to write this poem. You can find it here (and a big thanks to Britni who found it).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A thousand times yes Mr. Olson

I am so in love with Theodore Olson's opening statement in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial (to overturn Proposition 8 in California) that I had to repost it here:
The State of California has offered no justification for its decision to eliminate the fundamental right to marry for a segment of its citizens. And its chief legal officer, the Attorney General, admits that none exists. And the evidence will show that each of the rationalizations for Proposition 8 invented by its Proponents is wholly without merit.

"Procreation" cannot be a justification inasmuch as Proposition 8 permits marriage by persons who are unable or have no intention of producing children. Indeed, the institution of civil marriage in this country has never been tied to the procreative capacity of those seeking to marry.

Proposition 8 has no rational relation to the parenting of children because same-sex couples and opposite sex couples are equally permitted to have and raise children in California. The evidence in this case will demonstrate that gay and lesbian individuals are every bit as capable of being loving, caring and effective parents as heterosexuals. The quality of a parent is not measured by gender but the content of the heart.

And, as for protecting "traditional marriage," our opponents "don't know" how permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry would harm the marriages of opposite-sex couples. Needless to say, guesswork and speculation is not an adequate justification for discrimination. In fact, the evidence will demonstrate affirmatively that permitting loving, deeply committed, couples like the plaintiffs to marry has no impact whatsoever upon the marital relationships of others.

When voters in California were urged to enact Proposition 8, they were encouraged to believe that unless Proposition 8 were enacted, anti-gay religious institutions would be closed, gay activists would overwhelm the will of the heterosexual majority, and that children would be taught that it was "acceptable" for gay men and lesbians to marry. Parents were urged to "protect our children" from that presumably pernicious viewpoint.

At the end of the day, whatever the motives of its Proponents, Proposition 8 enacted an utterly irrational regime to govern entitlement to the fundamental right to marry, consisting now of at least four separate and distinct classes of citizens: (1) heterosexuals, including convicted criminals, substance abusers and sex offenders, who are permitted to marry; (2) 18,000 same-sex couples married between June and November of 2008, who are allowed to remain married but may not remarry if they divorce or are widowed; (3) thousands of same-sex couples who were married in certain other states prior to November of 2008, whose marriages are now valid and recognized in California; and, finally (4) all other same-sex couples in California who, like the Plaintiffs, are prohibited from marrying by Proposition 8.

There is no rational justification for this unique pattern of discrimination. Proposition 8, and the irrational pattern of California's regulation of marriage which it promulgates, advances no legitimate state interest. All it does is label gay and lesbian persons as different, inferior, unequal, and disfavored. And it brands their relationships as not the same, and less-approved than those enjoyed by opposite sex couples. It stigmatizes gays and lesbians, classifies them as outcasts, and causes needless pain, isolation and humiliation.

It is unconstitutional.
This is what it's all about and I look forward to seeing where this trial goes from here.

Full opening statement can be found here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mr. Holden

I can't believe my monster turned 4 on Saturday.



I know it sounds silly, but sometimes I look at Holden and I still can't believe he's my son. It just amazes me constantly.

100 things we didn't know last year

I'm one of those people who loves lists of random information. I can't help but get excited when I learn elephants are the only mammals that can't jump or that nutmeg is poisonous if injected intravenously. The thrill of learning something new and silly just does me in.

So, color me happy when I stumbled across the BBC's "100 things we didn't know last year" post.

Some of my favs:
-Using both hands to read Braille achieves an average speed of 115 words a minute, compared with 250 words a minute for sighted reading.

-Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.

-A broken heart is known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy and it can be cured.

-Parts of cremated bodies are recycled.

-Paper can be made from wombat excrement.

-Britain had animal welfare laws before it had child welfare laws.

-French babies cry with an accent.
So if you like useless information as much as I do, check it out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Political Retirees

I caught this episode of The Daily Show and just had to share this clip:


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Donkey Gone
www.thedailyshow.com


Tip of the hat to Jon for once again highlighting what a bunch of dubmasses these people are.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sisters

My sister Helena is flying out today to stay with us for four days and I can't wait.


As I get older I appreciate having a sister a lot more than I did when I was growing up. She's a pain in the ass but I love her.

Anyhoo, don't be surprised if I go MIA.

Save Conan. End Leno.

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard:



Conan all the way!

-I got the title from the facebook group.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Music Thursday

I feel like my posts have been all over the place lately.

To be honest though, I kind of feel like my life has been all over the place as well. For some reason I thought school didn't start back up till the 25th, so you can imagine my surprise when I realized it started this Monday. Now I'm stressed about getting my books and whether or not my grant money will come in time. If not, I'm pretty much screwed since we don't get paid till next Friday.

And even though it wouldn't be the end of the word if I didn't have my books for the first week, it's still the type of thing that my mind chews on for days and leaves me in a slightly agitated state. It blows.

Anyhoo, you're probably wondering what the title of this post is all about since "boring ramblings" isn't what you were expecting. Well, I've decided I'm going to start a "New Music Thursday" post over at my other blog. I feel like I'm pimping myself or something right now, but I promise I won't hold it against you if you have no interest. I just know it can be hard finding new music and I figured some of you may interested.

And by "some" I mean "maybe one person who has as much free time on their hands as I do."



You can find New Music Thursday here and I will also have a link on my sidebar for now on.

Lesbian/Bisexual Woman of the Decade

I just came across a really interesting idea at the blog Raising My Boychick via Taking Steps. Raising My Boychick is running a "Lesbian/Bisexual Woman of the Decade" poll and asking for nominations.

Here's what it says about how the idea came about:

What started out as a semi-facetious comment in response to the #biggaybattle on Twitter (wherein I pointed out that, once again, we were discussing a choice between two cis gay white men, and asked where the poll for Lesbian/Bisexual Woman of the Decade was — and why I wasn’t on it) has turned into a more serious compilation of important, influential, or just plain notable lesbian and bisexual women of the past decade. For once, rather than just wondering why someone wasn’t doing it, I decided to do it myself. Because I can, that’s why.
...
So here’s what I’m thinking: I want more nominations. I especially want more nominations of lesbian/bisexual/queer women who are trans, who are from outside the US, and/or who are WOC/nonwhite. (And when I say “who are trans”, I mean “who are trans lesbians/bisexual/queer/nonstraight women”. Yay for straight trans women, but that’s not what this is about.) And, I want you, if so inclined, to tell us why you think someone should/shouldn’t be the Lesbian/Bisexual Woman of the Decade, and should/shouldn’t be in the final voting list.

And then I’m going to make a poll, and then you’re going to vote, and you’re going to tell all your friends to vote, and you’re going to tell all your favorite bloggers to blog about it and encourage their readers to vote, and you’re going to go lobby all the celebrities you know on Twitter to vote for your favorite nominee, and we’ll get #bigdykebattle or some such to trend, and we will take over the world have our turn at semi-randomly picking a probably-privileged community representative about whom we can make highly suggestive remarks.

Because we can, that’s why.
I think the idea is really spectacular and a great way to be introduced to new bloggers/people that are making a difference. Even though the contest ends on Sunday, I wanted to post this in case anyone hasn't heard about it yet.

So, if you have someone in mind you should check it out. If you don't...you should still check it out.

update: I just found out that this is my 666th post. How's that for irony?