Thursday, May 29, 2008

This is just stupid

There was a call for a ban on the Dunkin' Donuts online ad of Rachel Ray because she was wearing a scarf that looked like an Arab headdress. The people who called for the pull of the ban essentailly said that people, including liberals, have been using this scarf in fashion when it conjures up in the minds of Americans Palestinian jihads. She was wearing a paisley scarf and it was not worn on her head, so I don't really see why there was a complaint.

Oh, that's right. I remembered that Yasser Arafat is dead, and I had forgotten about the headdress that he wore. I also never put it together that it symbolized jihads since I don't spend my life speculating on the meaning behind someone else's wardrobe. A bunch of people got together to bitch about something on the internet that probably wouldn't have gotten that much attention if they hadn't complained about it.

Now why is this offensive to (ostensibly right-wing) Americans? Maybe these people need a hobby.

I am tempted to rename this blog "I Hate Everything," because I seem to be incapable of doing anything except disliking everything. We'll see how I feel about the temporary name change in a few days.

Edit: I only bring up "the right" because one of the complainers slammed liberals, despite the fact that I hadn't heard of any uproars over paisley-patterned scarves (and most young people today wouldn't know anything about this anyway) worn by anyone and having it mistaken for something Palestinian.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hometown Hero...NOT!

I just read this article about an idiot bank robber who held up a bank not too far from where I live. This genius waited until after he demanded the money to put on his disguise. The security cameras got a great look at him (considering how bad surveillance cameras used to be with the grainy image in black and white, this is a really good camera system) and he will hopefully be caught soon. Especially since all you have to do is look for the black man driving a vehicle that has been recolored with a dye pack.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two More Tidbits

Borders is going back to running its own web retailing, but what upset me in this article is that Borders may be selling and Barnes and Noble may be interested in buying the chain. I love Borders and I don't really care for B&N. I have a tendency to like stores where I feel like more than just a run-of-the-mill customer. Unfortunately, my track-record with stores like these has been that my preferred store goes out of business. Prime example: Media Play. I loved that store with a passion, and the employees knew me by name. They even had leather seats so that my husband had somewhere to read his Dungeons and Dragons books while I ran around like a kid in a candy store. Of course, the Best Buy people won out as their store still exists while mine went the way of the Do Do. Is it wrong to like a store that will sell more than just the newest releases? Anyway, if B&N buys Borders, I'll be heartbroken.

Moving on...

Here's a real humdinger: If the Japanese are worried that their children are on cell phones too much, there's a serious problem here. This is the country that is all about technology, and they're the ones who are worried that the kids are on their phones too much. I see this as the litmus test that should be a warning to all parents everywhere. However, I know nobody's going to pay attention to this, so I'm not going to give it too much thought.

Alright. Back to the salt mines!

Newsy Tidbits

I'm posting a bunch of funny articles because a) I need to get back to work, b) I want to see something humorous so that I stop feeling so depressed about being broke and c) I took the weekend off to go to Marcon and I haven't had a chance to go over the good and bad about it.

It's not a news article, but someone needs to tell Sharon Stone that there is a time and place for every comment and that her "karma" comment about China was not appropriate.

Be careful the next time you need a haircut in Houma, LA, make sure you aren't getting it done on a Sunday (or any other restricted day) or you just might earn your barber a ticket.

Only funny in a sad sort of way: I feel sorry for this guy whose balloon left without him and may have derailed a shot at breaking some skydiving records. I feel bad for him (but I still find it a wee bit funny, because I'm mean).

This cat is toooooo cute and is bringing in business for a Japanese rail line.

What would posses a student to spike his teacher's muffin? And that managed to miss my double-entendre radar how?

And, finally, somebody had to trump the Ohio man who had sex with the picnic table by doing it with car windshields. Just imagine the horror for the guy who was still in the taxi while this nutjob did this. Better yet, don't imagine it because it might scar you, and I only want to scar people with things that are worth it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" May Soon No Longer Exist

A federal court ruled that the military can no longer discharge people because they are gay. This came after an Air Force flight nurse was dismissed from her duties because they found out about her sexuality. [She was given an honorable discharge two years shy of qualifying for retirement, but what's interesting is that the information wasn't disclosed by her. She was relieved of duty (in a time of nurse shortages) because of rumor that she was involved in a relationship with another woman, which makes me think that this woman's case may hold the key to a wrinkle in this policy: is it right to dismiss someone because their sexuality was outed by a source other than the person in question? But that's a question for another day.] In the court's ruling, the judges have essentially said that the military would have to prove on an individual basis that the nature of someone's disclosed sexuality negatively impacts morale. The hope is that the policy will be dropped because it will be take too much effort to investigate each case. I hope it is struck down because we need everyone, including the people in the military, to stop buying into the stereotypes of homosexuality and allow any and all (who are able) to serve their country. It took the military a long time to get over other restrictions (segregated troops, women in military) and while they have a long way to go on those fronts, the restrictions on being gay in the military have to go.

Keep in mind that the same people who fear that morale will be affected by the knowledge of someone's sexuality are the same types of people who used to think that women would be a distraction. And let's not forget Newt Gingrich's astute observation that women couldn't fight in the trenches because of female issues (or something like that; I don't have the time to find the quote). These barriers to homosexuals had cost the military $200 million by 2005, but the policy still exists.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a compromise that was devised to allow homosexuals to be in the military as long as they never disclosed their sexuality. It is a policy I never really understood at the time. I didn't realize that it was an automatic dismissal (and in 1993, I was 15 so I can be given a little leeway for ignorance). However, times have changed; people are starting to relax on their views of homosexuality, and there are states trying to pass laws that protect homosexuals from hate crimes as well as that monumental decision made by the California Supreme Court on gay marriage. With these things going on in the country, it is time that this policy go by the wayside. We are encouraging people in the military to still be afraid of gays because the government doesn't want to risk alienating other soldiers due to irrational fears. It is time to address those fears and start making changes. I don't expect this to happen overnight, but there has to be some progress made or this will go on (and that's not a good thing). I don't know if the policy is really going to be struck down, but I really hope that changes will be made that will allow anyone to be in the military and not fear losing their position because their sexuality was made known to others.

I'm Not Surprised....

A court ruled that the state of Texas had no right to remove 400+ children from their parents in the polygamous sect. The ruling states that the state's case of child abuse wasn't strong enough, and that they didn't have the right to treat the entire group as one household. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. I haven't really heard enough about this case to make a definitive declaration of guilt or innocence, but if the rumors of underage girls marrying and/or sleeping with older men is true, I hope that Texas can rebuild its case and try again.

If the link I have provided no longer works (or does not work), try this one.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On a lighter note...

Here's an article about a 12-year-old busted for drunk driving. This knucklehead and a friend (who was 10!) decided to drink his parents' beer and go driving in a pickup truck to look for a girl who they met at a rodeo when they crashed 10 miles out on their journey and ended up at some guy's house at 2:30 in the morning to report the crash. Lil' Idiot told the guy (who answered the door with a shotgun) that he was drunk and that he had had an accident. This is the line that I loved from this article:

"I looked at him and I thought 'You're kind of young to be out drinking. And you sure shouldn't be driving.'"

What makes that line so great? The man saw their driving as a bigger offense than the drinking! Last I checked, you can drive at 16 but you have to be 21 to drink (18 in some areas) and the fact that this kid's 12 should point out that the drinking should be a bigger concern. Okay, so he could've been concerned that 12-year-old drunkards shouldn't be on the road, but my initial reaction is more fun.

The guy who ended up with the underage ninnies at his door did at least say that these kids should be grounded for life for what they did. I'm pretty sure the 12-year-old should be glad that this man is not his father, because he'd be in a heap of a mess by now.

You know this is messed up when the people of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) can only say that this was the youngest person facing charges in the state that they had ever heard of, and MADD usually takes every opportunity to get their message out...but it's kind of hard to make this a platform when this boy isn't even a teenager yet.

When MADD can only shake it's collective head, it's time to hang up the bottle.

More on the Meier Case

I refuse to name this after the woman who has been indited simply because of a statment she made through her attorney back in December. When it was decided that no charges would be filed locally, the accused essentially said that she had nothing to do with the page, no knowledge of it, and that she wasn't even there when the last messages were sent. But here's the kicker: she also said that "the Drew family is also sorry that their family, friends and neighbors have had to endure the stresses associated with the harassment directed toward the Drews." I'm pretty sure that her neighbors who are participating in this "harassment" aren't feeling particularly stressed about this family's harassment. I just think the statement was tacky; if you want to come off like you are not the scum of the Earth, you may want to not talk about yourself and your stress when some 13-year-old is dead and there is at least one source out there that quotes you as saying that you didn't feel so bad that she died because the girl was already suicidal [and I will find that article when I'm not writing these entries at work]. They also say in this article that the police overstated her involvement in this tragedy.

If that is the case, then why were charges brought against this woman if she had nothing to do with it? This second article brings up some of the concerns I have with this case; do they have enough evidence to convict? Are these charges overreaching? I hadn't even considered the possible slippery slope that this could begin. My stance on this is that the accused did have something to do with creating this MySpace page, but I'm not sure going after the adult who had this page created is enough. There should be punishment for the individual(s) who participated in contacting this girl. We have to show people that bullying is wrong and can have dire consequences, because while this may punish the adult for what she did, how do we get young people to not do this to each other?

That, and I hope that parents out there will do the minimalist thing when it comes to MySpace and obey the age limit set by the company. You are supposed to be 14 to start a page and while I understand that the parents were monitoring her participation, it was still breaking the rules. I remember all of the flack that MySpace got for not protecting young people against predators [Especially from Dateline: NBC who kept implying that their child predators were caught on MySpace despite the fact that not a single one of their predators was contacted or caught through the service, which is why they stopped bringing up MySpace in their subsequent reports], but it defeats the purpose of getting on these services when you allow children who are not supposed to be on there to set up accounts anyway.

For the purposes of this case, it doesn't matter if she should not have had a page or not. It's up to the courts to decide if what the adult did in this situation was criminal (ultimately morally bankrupt, yes) and if she broke any laws to which she can be held accountable. As more information becomes available, I'll report when I can.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


It is official: The Missouri mother who created a false MySpace page that led to a teenager's death has been indicted. I can't say I'm rejoicing (I'm not upset for the woman, either), but I am very curious to see how this will end. My hope is that something good will come out of this, but I'm not sure if the woman will be successfully convicted. I hope it will be a wake-up call to others that bullying, whether it be in person or online, is harmful and can lead to consequences.


I'm probably not going to get a lot of people who agree with me on my views of Andrew [Top Chef], so I wanted to get my last post done before I comment on him on yet another site. I'm probably going to get some nasty comments from the Best Week Ever contingent, but they don't have a link to this site so I'm safe for now.

Charges are Coming

Apparently, there will be a price to pay for cyber-bullying after all.

According to the Smoking Gun, there will be an imminent announcement that charges will be filed by a grand jury in the case of 13-year-old Megan Meier, the girl who killed herself after a "friend" turned on her on MySpace. It was discovered that the friend was not a real person but a fake account set up by the mother of a former friend of Megan's who wanted to see if Megan was saying bad things about her daughter. On the last day of Megan's life, she got a message telling her that the world would be better without her, and she ran up to her room and hung herself in her closet. Initially, Lori Drew (the mother who instigated the MySpace page) seemed to feel bad for Megan's family, but she has later said that she didn't feel responsible for what happened because she heard that Megan had tried to kill herself before, implying that Megan would've done this without the hoax. However, Megan's parents say that the child was never suicidal; she suffered from depression but had never tried to kill herself before this occurred in 2006. It doesn't matter if she was previously suicidal; what this woman did was wrong, and the fact that charges are being pursued at all is surprising and impressive. The article I linked to also has a link to statements from the 19-year-old who also played a role in this tragedy; a girl who is getting immunity in exchange for her cooperation and testimony.

Initially, there were going to be no charges filed because there was nothing on the books against cyber-bullying in the area (there are some now), but this is being tried in a federal setting and I wonder how this is going to turn out.

As a former troubled teenager who struggled with severe depression, I feel for the girl and her family. At least her family knew about her depression and were trying to help her (I kept it a secret and I still haven't told them that it's something I struggle with to this day), but the fact that a grown woman would do this is despicable. It's not the spying [so much] that I don't approve of (there have to be better methods than this), it's the idea that she encouraged people to say hateful things to a vulnerable 13-year-old that cuts me to the core. Why would anyone think bullying is acceptable in any form? What is it about the Internet that brings out the worst in people?

I wish I knew.

I have a friend who had a Facebook group dedicated to making fun of him and he found out about it and decided to respond by posting a Facebook blog where he linked the names of everyone who had joined the group who were also supposed to be his friends. One of them had the audacity to complain that she shouldn't have been listed because she quit the group a month after joining it. It's like saying that you shouldn't be convicted of being part of a lynch mob because you went home before the body was strung up. It's one thing to be anonymous on the Internet, but it's another thing when you are on Facebook and everybody knows that you are a part of something, which means they were being stupid if they thought he would never find out. It's like a small town; everyone is going to know your business. Fortunately, his story didn't end in tragedy, but it bothers me that people would do this at all.

I really hope that Megan's family can find some peace after all of this. I don't know how I'd handle this if it were my child and I hope that there can be a stop to this so that it doesn't happen to anyone else's child.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Tale of Two Movies

I saw Speed Racer on Sunday and while it was fun film to watch, I sat there thinking "A person should not walk out of Speed Racer thinking "Wow, I really want to see Iron Man again." So I shouldn't have been surprised when this article about Speed Racer's poor opening appeared online. Speed Racer was not a bad movie; John Goodman was the quintessential Pops, and Christina Ricci did give Trixie some justice (that girl could not get any love in the cartoon), but some of the things wrong with it were that there was a little too much emphasis on how the Wachowski brothers were going to revolutionize movie-making, and I think they could've tamed down the Technicolor world a bit. The races were spectacular, and I'm not one to enjoy a film just for its visual candy, but it is not re-watchable. Once you know how everything is going to turn out, it loses a little something. The world they lived in was more Technicolor than the cartoon ever was [and it may seem like blasphemy that I'm not calling the show an anime, but what we got here in the U.S. was nothing like its original Japanese counterpart which, ironically enough, wasn't that popular in its native country (Wacky Races is more fondly remembered) and so I'm calling it what it was for us] and I found that a little distracting. That, and the fact that Inspector Detective looked like a white Malcolm X and Sparky was a redneck with a British accent was a bit silly. There were more cuts than on a suicidal teenager (tacky, but apt) with probably 60+ cut scenes using people's faces as the different "wipes" (like that star wipe Homer Simpson was fond of) and it took too long to build up to the point of the film. I didn't want to give the Wachowski brothers my money because I don't like their films, but it wasn't as bad as the media is making it out to be. Funny enough, though, it felt more like a superhero movie than Iron Man did.

Iron Man, even with Gweneth Paltrow as the Marvel Moneypenny (I don't remember the name of her character but it was something similar), was a good film. Not a good superhero movie, but a good movie in general. I rarely want to pay full price to see something twice, but I do want to see it again. We saw it the Friday it opened and I really liked it. I think the industry is being stupid in assuming that people like troubled superheroes because they are more empathetic because they are missing the point; the film has to be good to draw an audience. It doesn't matter if the character is likable or not; if the movie sucks, people are not going to throw away their hard-earned cash on it. What they did right on this film was hire a man who could play (for lack of better word) an asshole. Tony Stark is, essentially, 007 and Q combined. I didn't know anything about the comic before seeing the film (I didn't read anything other than Archie comics when I was a kid), but I really enjoyed it and look forward to more sequels as long as they are well-done. What sucked the life out of Spiderman was that the second sequel wasn't as good as the others and, much more damagingly, the principle actors in the film bitched about having to make it (yeah, like Kirsten Dunst had so many work offers poring in). I hope the Marvel people pay attention to that lesson and make good on Iron Man II.

I almost feel bad for the Wachowski brothers. I say "almost" because I didn't really like the Matrix, the first sequel was terrible and the second sequel was so bad one of my girlfriends told my husband and I the entire plot from start to finish to keep us from wasting our money on it. Speed Racer is a fun film that might be worth waiting to see at a dollar theater, but it's not bad bad. [Fans of the series should at least give it a chance and ignore the commercials for it.] It just wasn't as stellar as Iron Man (but it did make me want to race around town for awhile; high gas prices kept me from probably landing in jail).

And on an unrelated note, will someone please tell George Lucas to stop making these damnedable Star Wars films? He's releasing a CGI movie to sell a series which will focus on the Clone Wars, and he must be stopped. Just let it go, man!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Owe A Debt Of Gratitude to This Woman

I was going through the recent deaths section of Wikipedia [I am an editor there and got my start with that section] when I discovered the passing of Mildred Loving, a woman who, with her husband, struck down anti-interracial marriage laws throughout the United States in 1967. Without her, I would not have been allowed to marry my husband.

She seemed like a nice woman who fell in love with someone who happened to not be of the same race, and they just wanted to be together. She didn't set out to be a pioneer, but she had to fight in court for something that a lot of us take for granted and, for that, I am grateful.

I wish I had known about her sooner; I would've loved to have written her a letter just to tell her "thank you."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Now Showing...

My guess is that I am now five months along, but yesterday was the first time someone noticed that I'm pregnant. My husband and I went out for ice cream and we ended up at United Dairy Farmers (UDF) where my desire for peanut butter and fudge was finally fulfilled. One of the employees came on shift while another was making my sundae, and she pointed to my lower abdomen with a smile while I was in line to pay for my purchase. I looked down for a second (because I wasn't sure if she was pointing at my Hello Kitty mp3 holder) and I realized by her smile what she meant, so I said "yeah, I am." She asked me how far along I was, and I had to turn to my husband because I really didn't know, so we told her our due date (9/6) and she at first thought we had said November 6th, because she said "hold out for three more days." Apparently, her birthday is November 9th, so she was playfully hoping we'd have our child on her birthday.

I told a third co-worker the good news yesterday as well. It came out by accident [I was telling her about an anime convention because her daughter is into anime and when she asked me when it was, I said "I think it's in August. Oh, wait, I may not be going if it's in August" and she asked "What will you be doing in August" and I said "Having a baby is what I'll be doing."] but I figure people around the office will start to figure it out. I've just not wanted to talk to people about stuff like this because I'm a far more private person that I realized.

I think the reason why I've gone so long without looking like I was pregnant is because I think people thought I was just getting fatter. My stomach has gotten bigger because things moved up to make room, but it did kind of look like I was putting on weight when it was just being repositioned. I've gained very little weight during this pregnancy (I lost 4 lbs in February, and I've gained 1-2 lbs a month since), and I'm trying not to let it get out of control since I weigh so much already. I was never sloppy fat, but I carry a lot more weight than people think because it's rather compact. Hopefully I will get some exercise in today, because I feel like getting outside and talking a walk.

I'm not sure I'm ever going to get around to blogging about this, but I was on the phone with my mother for over six hours on Sunday and I learned so much about her and about family, her friends, and how nasty people at church have really become [To be honest, these people were always nasty, but they no longer endeavor to hide it anymore]. I even learned about my father's mother (I was the only grandchild she had that she never met because I was too busy in the summer to travel down south to see her) and I now know that I inherited my strength from both of my grandmothers. My mother was fired up that night and she had a lot to say. She's the kind of person who scares you when she gets angry because it takes a lot to push her to that point. People know what I'm like when angry because my flashpoint is a lot lower than the average person, but my mom is scary because you don't know what she's capable of and you don't want to know. I always talk about how much I want to be like my grandmother, but my mom's not a bad person to admire either.

I just wish I could feel better. I was having a coughing fit while in the bathroom not too long ago and coughed up a lot of fluid from my lungs. I wasn't prepared for it, so some of it ended up on my shirt, which was embarrassing since it was a work bathroom and every woman on the fourth floor seemed to be in there at the same time, but I was able to get it out. I hope I don't have another one of those fits today.

It's kind of weird to have strangers notice that I'm pregnant. It makes me feel like a walking movie ad. Now showing in a woman near you.

Monday, May 5, 2008

By the way

I haven't given an update on the baby front, and I think I should since my due date has changed since my last post on the matter.

I went in to get a Quad screening done on March 26th where they try to determine if there are abnormalities in the child's development (e.g. Down's syndrome). They say that only 1% of the people who get an abnormal reading ever actually have a problem, but it's not much of a comfort when you get a call letting you know that you've got a potential problem. My doctor's office called my office phone four times before they reached me and said "I don't mean to alarm you, but..." we had an abnormality in our Quad screen. You don't mean to alarm me, but you called my office four times in one hour and then tell me that I need to come in the very next day for an ultrasound? Let's just say that this blew my whole day. I ended up having the ultrasound done on Friday morning because I had a dentist appointment that Thursday, and that was really, really cool. We don't know the gender (because we want to be surprised), but my husband was a-man-of-a-thousand-questions to the ultrasounographer while I had to stare at the ceiling. She was really nice and printed out several pictures, including images of the heart, a thumb, and a foot. I then rushed off to Cleveland for the Marjane Satrapi presentation [which I may have already posted about, so I apologize for the repeat of information] and didn't think anything else about the ultrasound until the day before my next appointment, which was April 23rd. I thought that there must not have been a new problem because nobody called, and I was correct. It seems that they had my due date wrong and that I wasn't as far along as previously suspected. My new due date is September 6th, and that makes me feel a little better. Why? Because early on in the pregnancy, I was the only person who thought that I wasn't as far along as every else assumed I was. The OB Coordinator was trying to assure me that my date was correct, but I just didn't feel as if I was that far along.

Turns out I was right. Is it that my motherly instinct is already kicking in? I doubt it; I think I was basing it on when I thought things got underway and figured it couldn't have been when they thought it was.

Anyway, I want to go home, so I'll wrap it up. Later, gators.