Friday, April 29, 2011
MemeCats: Wii Won’t Take “No” 4 an Ansur! - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?
Great list of pretty bad stuff. One favorite: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." Or a longer one:
He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at asolar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it."
It is easy to laugh at the birther nonsense, but this post/video shows the real pain it causes black Americans. I think he is right that it debases people who have struggled so very hard to achieve the same rights as other Americans. So many of my heroes are from the Civil Rights movement, the people who fought for justice and were arrested, assaulted, and murdered for it. I don't remember all of their names, by any means, but here are some: Martin Luther King. John Lewis. Robert Moses. Fanny Lou Hamer. Fred Shuttlesworth. C. T. Vivien. Ella Baker. A. Phillips Randolph. Rosa Parks. Diane Nash... and many, many more.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
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As far as I know, all my family and friends are ok bar some flooding in my brother's house. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost family, friends, or property. It hits home pretty hard when you know the areas affected - where my brother lives and I lived for years in North Alabama, there's a lot of damage. I also went to library school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The University is relatively undamaged, but McFarlane Blvd., which was so heavily damaged, is the main drag through Tuscaloosa.
The only time I remember equal to it was the many tornadoes of April 1974, which devastated a line from Ohio to North Alabama. I was a teenager, and my family had a pizza restaurant in Athens, Alabama. The storms were so bad that my Mom brought home a customer who was traveling and couldn't get any farther and he spent the night with us. Some of our employees in the restaurant spent the next morning digging another of our employees and his family out of their destroyed house. No serious injury except to our employee who required surgery on his back.. My mom and I went and viewed some of the damage in the county and what I most remember are the peach orchards in flinders and huge power towers, built to withstand wind speeds of hundreds of miles an hour, lying crumpled on the ground like a giant's discarded toys.
So my thoughts are very much with those affected today.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
The first is that there have now been four credible polls in which a majority of Americans polled favor same sex marriage. The other, very important but not a surprising conclusion, finds that in the areas of the country where there is more support for LGBT rights, there is a smaller rate of suicide by gay teens. Which is one major reason why so many who are gay, straight or bi work for these rights - people's LIVES are at stake.
From Marylaine Block's Neat New Stuff:
J.D. Roth, already one of my favorite bloggers for Get Rich Slowly <http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/>, has started this blog of appreciation for the achievements of remarkable people. After a surfeit of gloom and doom on the news, this is a nice place to be reminded that the world is full of wonders as well.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Just watched the episode of Beauty and the Beast in which Catherine's father dies. She reads the following passage, a dialog between two children's toys:
EXCERPT FROM THE VELVETEEN RABBIT
by Margery Williams
NY: Half Moon Books, 1983.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
And isn't it a shame that the two have so little to do with each other?
Netflix has the TV series Beuty and the Beast available streaming. I loved it when it aiired in the late 89s, and I've been rewatching it now. I'm about halfway through the second season. It is rather like meeting your first love again after years of being apart, at least at first. You can see why you loved that person, but you've moved on. But now I've fallen in love with it all over again, but I think for mostly new reasons. When it first aired I suspect I loved it for the romance, a beautiful love between two people, one of them different, and an outsider - which is what I always felt like, having grown up fat and so not sexy or lovable in my mind, and never feeling it at home until finding communities of like-minded people after college. But now I see the series in a new light. I've always adored series that express maturity, but I've had a hard time explaining what I meant by it. I'm just beginning to start defining it.
Mature series, to me, deal with the complexities of human life, human thought, and human feeling. It shows people in difficult situations where there are no easy answers, where there is pain no matter what the resolution of the problem, if indeed the problem can be resolved. It means to me facing up to the problems with courage, with an awareness of one's capacities and abilities, and with a mindfulness of other people and seeking the best solution for all. Not simply mindfulness, but to attempt to understand what drives other people. To face our responsibility for our actions and seek to alleviate the harm they may have done. To protect those weaker than ourselves where possible, and to be just, where justice is holding other people accountable for their actions when necessary, but with compassion for what led them to that place in their lives. To not seek conflict but to deal with it according to ethical principles, but again with compassion. To live one's life the best one can, and where a succesful life means balancing the heart, mind, body, and soul. And to know in the end that such materurity isn't easily achievable, but a goal to strive for. That all fall short, but that the essence of life is the striving for something better that feeds the soul.
Where does Beauty and the Beast fit in? It is a part of popular culture, whch is a thing that both shapes who we are and is in return shaped by who we are. In our current popular culture I see little that models mature behavior. Blowing things up vicariously is fun, but it isn't much on which to base a life. Violence and vengeance as models create a culture of insanity. Beer and booty create an immaturity that never ends. Considering only what benefits one's self rather than the greater whole creates endless conflict as each seeks their own advancement at the expense of others. In Beauty and the Beast I see instead modeled community, love for others even when it means sacrifice, compassion and justice balanced, the courage to be responsible for one's actions, and much more. Sadly the third season of the show turned dark and away from these ideals, and I'm sorry for it and remember feeling bewildered by it at the time. Like all else in life, it is imperfect. But because it did strive for so long for something fine I will always love it.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
The Master is Gonna Laugh in Your Face! - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Ed Brayton has this post about a fundamentalist Christian objecting to the Day of Silence, when high school and middle school students who choose stay silent to protest anti-gay bullying and discrimination. Is there still a need for a Day of Silence? Yes, LGBT students are far too often not safe in their schools. They face not only verbal intimidation, but physical violence. Though it happened long ago, this comment on the post shows the horror they face:
I would like to inform Ms. Harvey that the metal plate in my face - the one that ensures my shattered eye socket, cheekbone and nose remain in place - is not a "monumental con job." Rather, it is the result of two nice "Christian" boys who decided 6 1/2 years ago to smash a brick into a faggot's face.
Futhermore, the physical and verbal harassment that I faced every single day of Junior High was not a "monumental con job," although it did occur 30 years ago. Rest assured, Ms. Harvey, that the attitudes behind it have not disappeared. Why in the last few months alone I have heard the term "fag" or "faggot" at least 6 times, including several instances when it was directed at me, and my brother-in-law, who lives in Massachusetts of all places, demanded I not mention my sexuality again when around "his" two teenagers (apparently my sister did not have a hand in their births).
If you'd like to discuss "monumental con jobs," however, let's start with the perversion of Christianity you claim to practice.
Posted by: CPT_Doom | April 13, 2011 1:46 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Or at least the subject of a lot of tweets from Stephen Colbert and followers. The background is that Kyl made a statement that over 905 of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. The actual number is 3%. When called on it, Kyl responded that his was not meant to be a factual statement. So Colbert and followers started tweeting things about Kyl with the hashtag #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Tweets range from the blue to the innocuous. Here's one: "Jon Kyl is an accomplished nude hula dancer. He is not welcome in Hawaii." Or "Citing religious reasons, Jon Kyl refuses to utter the number 8."
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
A New York Times article on becoming a B corp: "To become a certified B Corp, or benefit corporation, a business must pass an examination of how it treats its employees, the environment and the community. A non-profit organization called B Lab sets out the requirements and certifies businesses that meet the standard. The idea is that while any company can claim to be a good corporate citizen, a B Corp can prove it — something valuable for consumers and investors." Great idea!
Censorship, or attempted censorship, lives on.
I understand wanting children to read age-appropriate books, but that is something that parents must take part in deciding. As for other censhoship attempts, I'm entirely against them. If you don't like a book's point of view, don't read it, or read it and refute it somewhere - there are plenty of places for expressing your opinion these days. But don't tell me I can't read something because you don't like it.
Seems to me that those who want to censor have a weak faith in their own arguments against a point of view. If an idea or argument can't stand up to critical scrutiny, it isn't worth much.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Despite declines since 1991, the teen birth rate in the United States remains as much as nine times higher as in other developed countries, and significant racial/ethnic and geographic disparities exist in the United States. Compared with births to adult women, births to teens are at greater risk for low birth weight, preterm birth, and death in infancy (5,6). Teen childbearing also perpetuates a cycle of disadvantage; teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, and their children are more likely to have low school achievement, drop out of high school, and give birth themselves as teens."
Only 3% or so of Planned Parenthood's expenditures go to abortions. About a third goes to birth control. THIS is how to reduce abortions, as well as lessen the number of teens who get pregnant and don't abort.
Suzanne Adair is an email and facebook friend, and I have read her books and enjoyed them - they are historical mysteries set in the South during the Revolutiionary War. She also has a blog full of interesting articles, such as this one on the length writers go to do research.
Picture of an ostrich wearing large glasses with funny captions a bookseller might say. Pages and pages of it - some real gems among them, such as "Snooki wrote a book? And by "book" do you mean "kindling"?" "The Little Prince by Machiavelli? Let me run it by my coworker". "Thanks for putting the books you were looking at wherever you happened to be - our romance readers just luv them some James Ellroy".
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
This article is the first of a discussion by diZerega, who writes A Pagan's Blog. The question of suffering is one of the most difficult of theological questions, and diZerega is a thoughtful writer. Not an attempt to proselytize, but to open a discussion based on one person's point of view and experience.
Let's have a little perspective when asking teachers, friefighters, and public safety employees to sacrifice in these lean budget years. This post mentions not only companies that earn billions in profits but get large tax rebates, but the fact that corporations used to account for 30% of the federal tax base and are down to 6% and still shrinking. Companies are also getting tax breaks from state and local governments. I suspect that not only does this put more burden on individual taxpayers, but on small businesses that do provoide a lot of jobs. More equity is needed.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
I am now connected to George P. Burdell on Linked in, which I find amusing. If you're not from Georgia Tech, George P. Burdell is a mythical student/professor created in the 1920s and who has reached amazing heights of influence since - including leading in the voting for Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2001 until he was removed from the running..