Voxleo: DiplomatiCat, I.B.I.
Inspired By Ire, Impelled By Ideal … "Never a TAME Lion"
So I read this the other day:
There are so many things wrong with this article, I am not even sure where to begin.
Actually, no, I DO know. It starts on the whole wrong premise of why anyone should even be applying to college in the first place. I WISH I had known what I know now about selecting a school the first time around. You see, I was raised to think of college as part of the compulsory education, not as a separate specialized study for greater depth in field of interest, I figured I was expected to go to school (Kindergarten through College) and that once I had my degree I would be free to do what I wanted with my life.
What I did not understand, was that my mother envisioned college as the magical job ticket, not as having any value in the actual education I might receive, so my dutiful attendance of college was ultimately a misguided effort at best since I had no idea at all what I wanted to do with my life by the time I was applying to schools. This is important: I should not have gone to college, at least not right away. Not until I had a reason to go, and could select a school that best fit that reason. When your reason is because its what you’re supposed to do, then you have no idea how to select an institute to give you what YOU need.
Which brings me to the next point – these schools and the idea that you are somehow trying to clamor and fight for the right to attend their institution because THEY are such hot shit is fully idiotic. No student needs to be concerned about heartbreak or self worth thanks to rejection from a school that encouraged them to apply! And these counselors are the ones doing that damage, since they are not making the selections they don’t actually know what any school might want out of any individual because the problem is they are trying to sell the individual to the school and the reality is that it should be the other way round.
Students with a solid enough academic record are plenty well capable of gaining acceptance into any institution if it is one that genuinely has something to offer the STUDENT. A student should be looking at the schools that can fit the needs they have and then go about informing the school exactly why you as a student can benefit from what they have to offer rather than what they can get from you. They will get the tuition from you, or someone else, that is what they are in it for, and that is why they reach out to students who show enough academic promise to meet a baseline, The shining out is not done on the report card, it is done in the interview process and the personal essay and the reasons you give the selection committees to believe that you will find a reason to stay there and continue to pay that tuition for several years and then represent them well on the other side of that.
COLLEGE IS A TOOL TO BE EMPLOYED TO YOUR NEEDS, NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR LIFE. YOU SHOULD KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR LIFE BEFORE SELECTING A SCHOOL TO BEST HELP YOU ACHIEVE THAT IF AND ONLY IF THAT IS NECESSARY TO WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH! Don’t waste your money and energy on it just because that is what you’re “Supposed” to do. NO one knows what anyone is supposed to do to achieve success, The ones who achieve it frequently did it through perseverance in pursuit of something specific, not because they got a degree in it, but because they wanted to do it they learned about it and studied it to a depth of knowledge which helped them do something with that knowledge they could apply.
Unless you are going into medicine or law, you may not necessarily benefit from four or more additional years of schooling. Particularly not if you are bright and capable and already had a good prep school education gearing up for that college experience, I found that I was vastly disappointed in the college level of education because it failed to exceed the quality of teaching I had already received in high school. I ended up choosing a liberal arts college (which is now considered one of the new “ivy leagues” as it is New England wintery and old and small enough to do that, I guess) and after a year I realized I was going to have to transfer because there was NOTHING at all in the course catalog that even looked remotely interesting to me and filling four years of credits with that which was available was going to be an arduous and unpleasant task.
It was a GREAT school , mind you, with all the high marks in the Fiske guide to snobbery and pretentiousness that make it impressive as a name to drop. but there was nothing there for me to LEARN. And the kicker is that my counselor had “advised” me that particular school was a “reach” for me to apply to! Seriously? Based on what? I knew that was my first choice though, by the first round of deadlines so I applied early decision. I got my acceptance and that was that, one and done, and the rest of my senior year was nothing to sweat since I had my admission to college in December already, reach or no reach. What a load of puckey! They wanted me because I wanted them and had a decent enough academic record. What set me apart was most likely the passion and personality I put forth in the things that were not quantifiable by grades, but conveyed by my recommendations and my own expression. They would have been foolish not to take me, and I knew that despite my academic record being only solid and not uber-exceptional. And it really didn’t matter if they said no, because the point was to apply to put your best foot forward and if they said no, it was pretty much their loss as there were other schools that could do for me the same if not better than they could. You don’t recruit only those who are the most obvious academic powerhouses, you recruit those with the potential to find greatness with what they can give. Those are not always the 4.0+ GPA’s because not everything in life is a test to be graded. It depends on what the college is selling and what the student is looking to buy. “rating” only matters if the selling point of your degree is going to be based on the BRANDING of the institution on the diploma rather than the quality of the knowledge a candidate has. Unless you are looking for the school to sell you as a hire, who cares? Find a school that will teach you something useful, even if it is a community college because the reason to learn it should be for the knowledge not the label.
Now as to the idea that schools are bruising these fragile children with these recruitment strategies, GIVE ME A BREAK. Rejection is something they better get used to in the real world anyway, so I don’t see wny that should scare anyone off. Get tough now so you don’t get knocked so far down on your ass the first time the real world gets a shot at you. This is asinine to blame schools for reaching out to students who might benefit from what they have. You don’t know someone just by looking at their highschool transcript. IT is a PASSION and a DESIRE that drive the driven to excel . If a student wants something badly enough to pursue it with their whole effort, then get the hell out of their way, don’t judge them not good enough on paper. SHEESH, I did a ton of shit when was younger just because I had no idea it wasn’t possible half the time.
The real irony in my case is that I had a summer job at a temp agency right before I went off across the country to attend my freshman year of college. It was as the personal assistant to the main account holder on one floor of the downtown Deloitte and Touche office in L.A., and I was doing a lovely job for them, much to the relief of the other secretary who usually handled the rest of the floor and who had been burdened with the work of my job for some months as they tried unsuccessfully to find someone half capable to fill the position when the regular hire had left to start a family. I could hot understand why anyone found the job so challenging as I was managing just fine, well enough that I was soon offered the permanent position once my contract with the temp agency was completed.
The woman who delivered the offer was just about floored when I explained that I was due to leave for the opposite coast to go to school at the end of the summer, so I could not accept it. She blinked and seemed puzzled at the notion of “school” and in a bewildered voice asked, “…Wh-… Bu-…. How OLD are you?” and her jaw fell open when I responded, “Seventeen,” as if that were only natural. I had no idea that it was not, and so I went off to school in September, leaving behind a job that would be the envy of any entry level applicant trying to get a foot in the door of that company without a blessed CLUE as to the career I likely would have excelled at and become well compensated for. It was, in short, the precise sort of position that my mother hoped to assure me securing with this degree I went off to get. How stupid. I could have just stayed there, and become indispensable and saved her a hundred grand of tuition fees and myself a lot of stress. If I had wanted to get higher up the ladder, I am sure I would have found a way to take courses while working to increase my knowledge, but the practical experience I had would have already put me ahead of the game against any four year graduate down the line, but I left to go to college because that is what I was supposed to do to get the job. HAH!
Asinine, right? And if only I had understood that I was not going to school to learn anything, but to get a job ticket, I would have just stayed put and been wildly successful. Currently, I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and no job and no idea what the heck to do with myself, while had I skipped the whole college crap, I’d be either the right hand of the Director of Ops at one of the largest accounting companies in the world, or well on my way to being that Director myself just for sticking with the summer job I took to get some extra cash because it offered 12 bucks and hour, which was way more than minimum wage for skills I already had at the end of high school. GOOD skills that apparently are in short supply enough that they couldn’t find an adult with a degree to do the damn job half as well as a seventeen year old HS graduate.
So figure out what you are doing and make sure that going to college is worth the time and money to you to achieve your goal. You might be surprised to find that it is not serving that ultimate goal to go at all and there may be other paths that are more direct. College is not for everyone, nor should it. be. The world, and the job market, needs skilled people that can DO something well, If college is not going to further your capability to do something well then aren’t you just some kind of designer label that costs thousands of dollars to try and impress people with? Sure some few people can afford the 80 thousand dollar handbag made by Chanel or whatever, but most of us just need something to shove our crap into so we don’t drop it and a simple handbag from Ross will suffice for that. Why bother with the hassle of the label when you are only going to drop that sucker into an office drawer when you get to work and never look at it anyway.
There is only ONE reason to attend any college: taking the classes that are offered there. If a school offers classes that you would benefit from attending, then apply there and attend if they accept you, and if they don’t, apply somewhere else that will offer similar courses and will also let you attend them. Or audit them. Or apply again to the school that rejected you if they are the only one that offers those types of courses. The name of the institution is not so important as the quality of information presented, and don’t be fooled into thinking that the biggest names provide the best education at all. It’s a game you can never win if you start evaluating life through the value of a name brand. The advantage provided by the degree is more than the advantage provided by the pedigree of the degree, but the reason the degree is of any value at all is because it is supposed to indicate that you have been exposed to the requisite information to get it. Don’t make the mistake I did in just thinking I had to go to college because it is what I was supposed to do. I wish I had decided what I wanted to DO first so that I could apply to schools best equipped to help me achieve that and better avail myself of the opportunities within that environment too.
All I have now is a piece of paper that means I got a higher education, but the stuff of real value came from a few classes in the form of wisdom. I’d rather have that and the paper hasn’t helped me get anything anyway. Most jobs I would be interested in having would require a whole different background and even further schooling anyway. Not sure it couldn’t have been better doing something else with that time and money instead. But thank GOD my parents paid for it all up front. At least I don’t have student debt….
When I have little patience as it is for the fact that I have to suffer the indignity of talking to a machine instead of a person that insults my intelligence with its programmed courtesies and pleasantries that are negated by its lack of cognitive ability to mean them in any way at all and therefore makes them an additional irritation rather than a courtesy and a ridiculous waste of time at best, it is even MORE absurd that the monotonous droning vocal facsimile insists on rattling off any number of useless bits of unsolicited info at the speed of slug that I do NOT need to know before I am presented with the menu option of what I wish to achieve by calling in the first place which is where I ought to have been offered a selection to hear it if desired. It then add further fire to my ire when upon finally having the option that I seek presented to me to select, I am given another phone number to call so that I can listen to THAT automated intelligence insult machine to repeat the process all over again.
I AM IN A HURRY DAMMIT. I don’t want to exchange pleasantries with electronics nor do I desire a recounting of all the recent interactions I have had with my account, I just want to pay the damn bill. It should be a simple procedure of dialing, entering my account number, pressing a selection to pay that is immediately offered , and then continuing with the necessary prompts to find out how much I want to pay and with what payment method and hold for confirmation BEEP DONE THAT IS ALL.
It ought to take me longer to type this rant about it than the entire process of paying that bill. Sadly, I would say it was at least a 4x longer effort to hear out the drone to accomplish it. AT LEAST.
If I have to deal with a machine, fine, then allow me to be efficient with it the way a machine would interact without all the unnecessary code that gums up the works, but don’t make me deal with it like a person I can’t even interrupt to ask what the fuck number to press to get shit done, okay? It’s not fooling me into thinking its being polite Its rude to force me to show courtesy to something that doesn’t recognize it and its rude to think I will be convinced by the imitation of a person that is clearly a program and It’s wasting my time and seriously pissing me off.
Who has time for that shit?
Does ANYONE find that interaction anything but a distraction and a disservice when a machine is programmed to say, “thank you” or ” I’m sorry” ? HIRE A FUCKING RECEPTIONIST AND HELP OUT THE ECONOMY FUCKTARDS!
My KINGDOM for a properly useful real human being to field and direct incoming phone calls!! The company that decides to lose a bit of profit margin for the sake of sanity and ACTUAL respect and courtesy instead of imitation cheapout-fuck-you-they-won’t-know-the-difference (oh but I sure as hell CAN believe it is not butter, Bitch!) ersatz courtesy bot-vox facsimile nonsense will be the company that indicates society is actually worth saving at all.
Sooo I got a notice in the mail from TWC (my fairly recently re-acquired ISP) which informed me of the fabu news that I, like some winner of the internet lottery, was the lucky recipient of a no-hassle upgrade to their services. It seems that my internet speeds shall be increased upwards of threefold at no extra charge!
Interesting that when the service entirely disappears this last weekend, there is no admission on their part that the upgrade might have anything to do with that. This, however, might be due to the fact that support available from whatever third-world country to which TWC has outsourced its unhelpful brand of read-the-script-which-is-useless-to-solve-any-actual-technical-problem-besides-user-stupidity-and-unplugging-the-equipment non-technical “help” does not actually have the ability to do anything other than waste 45 minutes of my time going through the motions just to get to the point where the heavily accented individual on the phone can confirm that my modem is not online despite there being no bigger area-wide outage.
(REALLY? I’m not online? You don’t SAY!… Funny, I thought that I WAS and just needed to call tech support to be sure it wasn’t my imagination and sure enough it IS! So, what can you do to fix that? I can make an appointment for a tech to come inspect the modem FIVE DAYS LATER even if the problem might be solved or at the very least diagnosed by simply exchanging it for another one myself tomorrow? GREAT! Let’s do that! Meanwhile, you can also tell me some helpful things I can do without having internet access by visiting websites and downloading tools to check on the status of things….you know, when I finally get back online!) **SUPER RUFKM FACEPALM**
Fortunately, waiting for a visit or replacing the modem has proved unnecessary since the problem appears to have rectified itself of its own accord, perhaps because TWC has fixed whatever was causing the outage at the head end, despite having it firmly lodged up their OTHER end…
I will note that while speedtest does reflect the new improved bandwidth, I have not noticed any appreciable difference in practical use. That may be that there is just no real time savings in the jump from instantaneous to superinstantaneous and the plateau of what I might really care about was hit somewhere back around the 10 Mbps mark, making the jump from 15 to 50 somewhat less exciting than it would appear to be on paper. I might actually feel improvement, though, if I have to upload something given the jump from 1Mbps to 5Mbps (in case I decide to try my hand at youtube celebrity or distribute my media library to the world via bittorrent or something.)
Still, my initial reaction to such a boon coming from TWC unbidden and without a price hike is less one of gratitude, celebration and joy than of wariness and suspicion. ALL of me knows that TWC is not a benevolent being which aims to earn the hearts and charitable thoughts of its market base but a conglomerate of profit seeking machines that are not above extortion of that same market base. Why do you suppose I don’t trust this upgrade as being as ostensibly free of charge as they claim? Is this some kind of requirement they had to fulfill as a penance for a merger with Comcast or what?
I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Today, I read something that wanted a reply in a FB group that I have just joined, and since my membership request to the group has not yet been accepted, I was unable to post my response to that comment directly in the thread. But then I figured it might make some good blog fodder anyway, so I figure I will go ahead and speak my mind here, and then just link to this in that thread once I am allowed to participate so I don’t forget to go back to it later. It reads:
“I was wondering if any of you other polers face a stigma of “pole dancing” when you tell family or friends that you pole. My mother hasn’t seen me on the pole but when we chat she makes it sound like its something nasty. My husband is beyond proud of me but when his friends find out that we have a pole in the house there are always comments with a sexual inuendo. This irritates me. I pole for me! For health, strength and confidence. Any tips on how to gently (or not) set these people straight?”
Now, This is interesting to me from the standpoint that it is a part of the artistic world, and that just because there are poles in strip clubs, having a pole at home isn’t necessarily anything to do with sexuality, but also interesting because I happen to know the sexy side of things from actually having been a stripper. The first thing that I note is the negative connotation that is associated with that concept of a strip club is generally perpetuated by people who have never actually been INSIDE of one.
It might surprise many to learn that first person I met who was a member of MENSA and also was the first to put the idea in my head that I would also qualify was someone I met while working in a strip club. And it may further surprise folks that it was not a customer, but another dancer a few years younger than me. It is because of that young woman that I became more aware of how much brain power I really had, and also by extension how that then really ramped up my sense of social responsibility and speaking up about politics and community leadership when before I had never considered myself at all qualified to say anything.
My own mother recently made a rather reflective comment about how “it isn’t like how people make it seem,” when I mentioned that day she utterly shocked me by coming to visit me at my place of work, to comfort me after finding me very distraught with her phone call. She had long been disapproving of my choice of work, having made all sorts of assumptions about it based on reputation of seediness, but this instance she must have felt the need to come and rescue her baby, because she came to the club that afternoon, bearing a care package.
Once she located me, which was difficult for the fact that she didn’t recognize me in my dragon robe and thigh high boots and hot pants and blonde wig, she looked around at the mostly empty place as we sat on a couch near the entrance and noted, “I don’t see a lot of fake boobs!” as though she found it rather baffling that the women who worked there were actually real people and not Barbie dolls. And then “Chanel,” one of the more outgoing dancers, came over and started to chat with us, putting her even further at ease, and we all ordered lunch.
When the time came for my own turn at bat, I assured my mother that the management would allow me to skip my scheduled turn on stage, as I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable watching me do my strip show in a nude club, and having now had the opportunity to reconcile the real me with the world she had not understood before, actually threw me for a loop by saying, “well, I don’t know… I think YOU’D probably do something more interesting than just walking around the pole…”
Okay. Challenge accepted.
I made my way to dressing room and gave the DJ my set instructions, and pulled out all the stops on the stage show with one of my many “theme sets” which comprised of a fantasy costume and music combination and usually some Circque du Soleil inspired pole ballet some 18 feet above ground on 4play’s exceptional pole that stretched all the way to the ceiling of the second story. As surreal as the idea was that I was putting on the show primarily for my MOM since there were only two or three other patrons there, I still love to perform, so she got the full treatment. And then she couldn’t stop being impressed and amazed. By the time she left that day, she not only had a transformed opinion of strip clubs and what I did there, when she met my manager before leaving, she actually leaned over the bar to whisper proudly and confidentially to him as she patted me on the small of the back with one hand. “She’s very good…!” She even paid for Chanel’s lunch along with ours.
So when you mention the stigma of pole dance that comes along with the association of the naked places, perhaps the first thing to call into question is not whether the pole is being blamed unfairly by that, but whether the whole branding of female sexuality as a whole has been maligned in this negative light, along with the clubs and the people who frequent them for work or pleasure. I can honestly say the one place I could not hope to classify into one homogeneous group label all of the various sorts that cross paths there, are the strip clubs and nudie bars I have been in across the country. One of the best things I enjoyed about such work was the thought at the beginning of each shift, “I wonder who I will meet today?”
There is apparently one thing that seeming every single type of human, male or female, single or married, old and young, rich or poor, the lonely and the adored, smart and educated to not so much, from black to white and all in between ALL seem to have in common there too – an appreciation of beauty and the opportunity to witness it for the price of a 2 drink minimum. So if pole dancing is anchored in that – it is a stigma I don’t mind. Viva la topless joints and Nudie bars of the world!!
Just watched this rather amusing and somewhat familiar feeling youtube video, “The Story of My Hamster” where a gentleman recounts his experience with his very first pet of his very own.
It inspired me to comment on it, as my experience with hamsters is probably why I am a dog person:
(And before continuing I should note, this story doesn’t end well, so fair warning if you are faint of heart…)
I think his is a reincarnation of my hamster, Nibbles- same kind, orange-y brown fur just like that ( I think they are called Golden Hamsters) and she too was highly intelligent, and I only had her for a much too short while due to her tendency to do some very convincing Houdini impressions. She must be designed to bring young tweens to their coming of age through heartache of loss! She was also my first pet of my very own, and I got her shortly after turning 12, I think maybe even for my birthday as a present. She was very tame and I loved her so much I took it with me when we went to visit my aunt in Cupertino for a week. Of course, she escaped and we couldn’t find her for a few days and I was heartbroken because we were about to leave to go back home and she hadn’t turned up.
SO my mom tried to console me by buying me another one. He was uninspiring, so I just called him Ham,. That one was not nearly as cute and rather mean and nippy and tried to bite, where my Nibbles was so sweet and tame and let me handle her all the time, but I was so miserable that they had to try something. That night was the last one we would be there, but around 2am my mother heard scratching noises coming from beneath the sink in the bathroom and we knew she was under the cabinet there, but it seemed that she had crawled into a hole that was too high to reach from the other side of the floorboard and we couldn’t figure how to get her back out. My mom finally got some chopsticks and shoved them into the crack where the floorboard met the wall, and made a sort of ladder for her to climb up on the other side and we got her out and took her home and I was happy…
Then when the two hamsters were together in the tank when we got home, as we now had another one as well, they got into a horrible fight and I had to separate the two of them and didn’t put the books and stuff back on the top of the cage after doing that. She got out AGAIN that night, despite me thinking she was too injured from fighting with the other hamster. But this time was tragedy, as she had crawled again up something that she couldn’t get out of – after climbing up the wicker trash basket next to the toilet, she had apparently fallen in and drowned only to be discovered by my mother floating there in the morning. I got my lesson on death way sooner than I wanted to as she was only with me for a few months overall.
I cried for months, longer than I had her, I think.( I’ve never been sadder to lose another pet, I don’t think. Not even my beloved Frankie-dog who I had for 14 years of best-pal-ness like Shaggy and Scooby. At least he got a full life, and died of old age while she was taken by a thief in the night by bizarre accident so unexpectedly and after just having gotten her back… ) I wasn’t the only one who was very sad though, because she was really a sweet hamster. Still makes me a little sad when I think of the tragic end she met. We buried her in the garden – several times, actually, because the dog insisted on removing her from her place of rest over and over again until we finally put her under some screen as well to prevent him digging her up.
The OTHER hamster didn’t fare well either, having gotten a small wound in that fight. Nibbles got her vengeance though, in a spectacular way for his being the instrument of her escape and undoing that night, because at some point shortly after that a housefly laid eggs in that wound on the other one. THAT was a whole ‘nother traumatic lesson in death I got when they hatched and began to consume the beast from inside while it still lived. I awoke to feed him before school one morning and it looked like all the fur and some skin was gone from about a quarter sized ring on his side, which looked like a bunch of fat cells or something instead.
Well, we thought we ought to put some disinfectant on it, only to discover that what we thought was a lower layer of dermis on the hamster was actually like looking at a handful of dry spaghetti noodles lengthwise (so that from one end there might be only a square inch of area when looking at the ends next to each other, but from sideways you can see that they are spaghetti) where each dot or “fat bubble” turned out to be the ass end of a maggot that was eating its way into the hamster. They were stacked on top of each other and packed tightly together enough to make it look like a solid flesh until we put disinfectant on it and they all abandoned their meal to escape the alcohol.
Wormy maggots each one maybe a little less than a centimeter in length, hundreds of them now wriggling out of that wound, and now no more abdominal wall since they had eaten through it, once the worms evacuated, so did the hamsters innards, now bursting through the hole in his side. I couldn’t fathom how horrible it must have been for the poor thing to still be alive, although it didn’t really seem much different until we tried to help it. I thought it was terrible to leave it to suffer with its guts out, so I tried to break its neck, only causing it to squeal in pain and fright and it was still amazingly strong…TOO strong for my little pre-teen hands to have much effect, actually, so I think I ended up wrapping it in some newspaper and putting it in the garbage still alive – I don’t really remember much after trying unsuccessfully to kill it though… Consequently, to this day, there is no insect I hate more than a housefly.
I got one more hamster after that, and it was still the same year as the first. It was a golden hamster with the same kind of markings as my beloved Nibbles, but I didn’t get to bond with this one much, because he hadn’t even been to my house. I had only acquired him through the science project of my friends, which they each also had one hamster and experimented with training all three of them to find food in a maze, and I would get to keep him after the science fair was judged because their project had made it to the finals and the money round. They spent a lot of time on display with the project in the school library, along with all the other candidates for the science fair, such as my other friends project on the density of mercury. Her project included samples which she had ordered from industrial supply and many children and adults alike were fascinated with the quicksilver and the way it pooled a the bottom of every liquid in the various vials, even dish soap, and how it could roll around in the tray breaking up into tiny balls and gathering back into one again, and how it did that in the palm of ones hand as well! …
Yes, the kids were playing with elemental Mercury. In their hands, in the library at the school, where the science projects were on display and where they also enjoyed playing with the hamsters from the maze. In their hands. Where the Mercury would roll around so delightfully…
At some point men came to the school from the EPA with their buzzing detector wands and their Hazmat suits on and started pulling people out of class to wave wands over their belongings and their persons and some students had to forfeit their backpacks, textbooks or sweaters, some shoes… The library was closed for a while, and my pal’s parents were none too pleased with her project in science that cost them carpets and drapes and furniture when the men in the suits went to their house with the wands too… Oh and the hamsters, being handled by the same kids who were playing with the Mercury and who had all had belongings confiscated due to contamination, well, they had to go with the men too, so for me that was hamster #3 gone in less than a year. I hadn’t even gotten to name that one yet.
The universe was clearly trying to tell me something. Apparently, I was not meant to have hamster companionship. I decided I would not try to have any more pet hamsters. Ever. It was too traumatic and clearly not safe for hamsters to be in my care. I have never met another as sweet as my first Nibbles anyway, to this day.
And on my thirteenth birthday, I was given a puppy instead.
Yep. Definitely a dog person
I do intend to steal my mother’s chinchillas from her though since I have already been taking care of them pretty much since she got them on a whim off of Craigslist a few years ago. They are totally awesome and don’t seem to be as death prone as hamsters – in fact, we sort of had the opposite problem since the pair she got were supposed to be both male. I was housesitting for her and made a mental note to tell her we should change their diet or cut out the treats because one of them, Max, was looking rather overweight to the point of not even exercising much and just laying there looking huge, but when mom got home from her trip she called me to tell me the news that Max, apparently, was not fat, and apparently probably should have been named Maxine. Instead of the two Chins she started with, we now had four! Two little carbon copies of Max and Peanut ! To be fair, it IS really difficult to sex them and I wasn’t sure if we weren’t going to end up with more if we kept more than one, but we gave Max away a few years ago and still only have three left… But we DO still have those three, so I don’t think the hamster curse extends to the whole rodent family….
My thoughts on the concert at the Forum:
As most of you know, I don’t do that whole “kids” business, so let me impress upon you all how significant it is that I say this in all honesty and conviction:
I. Would. Bear. Sting’s. Children.
(We could get started on that right this very minute, in fact. How can he still be so unbelievably rock star sexy after 30 years? I don’t remember thinking he was THIS hot when I was still a TEENAGER, and yet I know I thought he was hot then too. DAAAAYM! YE GODS I can’t believe I didn’t know it when I met him … but who is ever prepared for meeting one’s idol in the middle of their workday, you know? It’s just not something you EXPECT to happen, even in my line of work. Anyone but him, I would have taken in stride. Clooney, Sheen, Cage, Van Damme -NAKED Van Damme- Magic, Shaq, Eminem, OKAY SURE WHATEVER…. But STING??? DOH! *superfacepalm* *x2*)
First of all, I think this is an odd duo for a tour. Not that both of them aren’t ranked in the top 5 on my list of musical genius, but they are different flavors of music. It seems that they share perhaps the same spice rack in that regard, but their recipes are significantly original in the way that they blend those ingredients together. Not that this means it is an impossible thing for creating something totally new and delicious, mind you…It’s actually rather like that extraordinarily expensive restaurant that I was taken to on a date once which combined the oddest cultural familiars with each other that didn’t actually appear appetizing when described on the menu (there were combinations akin to sushi GUMBO, or maybe sweet and sour soul-food…Perhaps chicken teriyaki ahi tuna burritos or fried calamari with oyster sauce and hummus) but when I actually picked something that I figured I might be able to eat PART of, turned out to be truly amazingly exquisite.
Well, that isn’t really fair either, since for me anything with Sting will be exquisite anyway. (I was so excited about seeing him again that I kept forgetting that one of my other favorite gurus was going to be there too. It always seems like a bit of an afterthought and a special treat like a cameo or something despite Simon actually having first billing.) But still it WAS a surprisingly tasty combination in some spots, while others maybe needed a little more adjusting of the mix.
Vocally, I think that Sting’s personal explorations into the unknown genres have done nothing but wonderful things for him. He is a much better singer than he was in the 80’s when I was first introduced to The Police. A LOT better. Paul hasn’t been working on that much, I’d say, but I never saw the side of him that came out when he wasn’t singing before. I think maybe he will improve before the end of the Tour too though, as both of them admit that they are still working on the experiment and getting to know each other better together. There is a lot of respect there between them, and well deserved by both, even if it isn’t quite the buddy-buddy at ease with my pal-y energy that was such a nice balance with Simon and Garfunkel. It may grow closer, but I think Sting is just too much of a goddamn ROCK STAR to be that entwined with anyone, and his voice is not the melodic blend-y sort of sound to do that with anyway. His expression is so personal it almost HAS to come at some cost to a smooth blend. But that is one of the things I particularly love about his live performances, which are all so different even when I hear the same songs.
Paul Simon is quite enjoyable live as well. Very cute. Surprisingly, it was less his vocals than his playing that really shined though. (He does quite a bit of conducting, directing the band specifics, cutoffs, concentrating on that background stuff going on behind him more than his own thing and seeming to forget the words of his own songs from time to time. His presence is more that of a maestro than a minstrel in this setting.) But he really gets into the GROOVE when he starts playing, though, and as he forgets about leading the band through every phrase, the musician in him takes over and turns back the clock. The JOY becomes more evident and it is really fun to see how he can’t help digging the jam once he gets to strumming. Watching him boogie down with the guitar just makes me want to get up dance!
Watching Sting play the guitar, though… well, THAT… Oh LORDY THAT… Oh myyy…that’s entirely different. Sting has a masterful touch with the stringed instruments, there is an almost palpable purity in the tone, so resonant it is almost in harmony with itself. You know immediately who is playing with the first note struck (and its not just a fangirl thing, either – the fella next to me made that same observation at the first chords of Fields of Gold. OH MERCY can he make that thing SING!)
Let me put it this way: I have never wanted to be a guitar so badly in my life. (And really, who would want that? But Hubbabhubbahubba… ) Hounds of Winter. Aaaaahhh-whoooooooo!
Some songs chosen by both artists were a little out of place, either in the order or in the whole of the overall tone, such as Desert Rose, which should have come much earlier if it was to be there, and Roxanne, which should have been omitted, as it kinda needs the whole of that badged band to carry, imo. He has such a tremendous repertoire, I doubt it would have been missed with so many excellent alternatives. For Simon, I would have preferred Born at the Right Time over The Obvious Child which was an uncomfortable rhythmic detour that didn’t mesh well with the surrounding tunes. There was another tune that didn’t quite strike the right note with me too, but I was not familiar with it so I can’t tell you what it was called.
Those little things sort of tripped up the build of the energy overall, which in an already somewhat apathetic Los Angeles to begin with, didn’t help the awkwardness of some moments where I could actually see the artists wanting more from US to fuel their performance a bit (a drum solo or two that was too rushed when it should have been given a little time to draw us in to the foreplay, a call and response that didn’t get answered, a solid beat that few people were clapping to – that kind of thing.) It didn’t help either that the crowd is also on the older side of things (not yet over the hill, but possibly in view of the summit, let’s say) and a bit more wont to stay seated than to stand if there is an option.
I was surprised that there weren’t more people taking advantage of the open spaces available scattered around which were clearly better than their assigned seats like the first row of the section that tempted me to abandon my own horrible vantage point by the second song. I pointed out one such place and told my mother (who was kind enough to buy the tickets for me when I expressed concern some weeks back about getting tickets as the costs were pretty astronomical, but who didn’t tell me until after she bought them and didn’t know the finer points of seat selection at the time) “I am gonna go stand right there until someone makes me move. Wanna come with?”
I actually ended up in bit of a better spot for that though, since we were absolutely on the tippy top of the last section that was looking at the backside of the stage and the performers for the entire show, and didn’t even have the jumbotron advantage, as they were pointed forward and we got the profile of that as well. It was that screen I wanted to take advantage of, as it didn’t really matter much to me to get a closer view of their backsides on stage. While I did get shooed off the initial spot I had headed for, as it was blocking the stair/exit a bit, I noticed that they did NOT care about a few folks occupying that empty seating directly next to it.
I made my way back up to my Mom during Simon’s appropriately singing Mother and Child Reunion and smuggled her off with me to situate ourselves there instead. Much better, if still a bit less balanced in sound. At least being in the front there meant I could stand without blocking anyone else, which I did, as I just can’t sit still when there is a beat to bounce to. I don’t know how anyone could do that, but a lot of folks did, Mom included, which kinda had a tendency to kill my buzz when I noticed the distinct lack of energy and motion. Closing my eyes was a reasonably effective remedy for that however, and eventually the beer did start kicking in a bit for the crowd a little more. Or maybe it was the “funny smell” Mom noticed that was responsible for that, but whatever. =)
Me, I had my excitement on just from being hopelessly in love with Mr. Sumner. (He’s totally got that whole Jean Luc Picard thing going on with the no-hairdo now, which is a completely other kind of hotness working for him on top of the whole bloody ROCK STAR even at 62, plus that whole Tantric/Yoga thing, SHEESH, Give a girl a break!) So fuck it – I was dancing. Me and the other girl that was kind enough to scootch over so my mom and I could sit together had our party by ourselves in the corner there. (And I, of course, savored the idea of repeating the best parts of the evening all over again from a different vantage point yet to come… heee wheeeee! One of these days, if I ever get rich enough, I am just gonna follow him around like a stalker from venue to venue all year till I get sick of it. Okay, maybe TWO years…. )
Anyway, the rest is kind of a euphoric blur now, with a notable highlight that was pretty fucking exquisite – like that meal I was talking about before. It was such a delectable surprise I didn’t have a bite left over and was rather amazed at the way the description sounded so awful but tasted so amazing. I had read reviews of it from the earliest shows, but I dunno if the people were not treated to the same experience or if they were simply not having ears attached to their head when they said it didn’t measure up to their liking. The crowd had livened up enough to coax the requisite encores, if not beyond that, but HOLY WOW — when Sting started off “Bridge Over Troubled Water” it just about made me faint tonight -with that uniquely gritty voice of his, with the gospel organ-y sound behind it that almost felt like CHURCH? OMG – I could just die.
“Thought you’d like this” from Lee Zim, via Facebook:
And then this happened, again. What began as comment outgrew that mental space and become commentary, more suited to blog post than message reply:
LoL – I don’t think that is even an excuse for Palin, since she probably hasn’t even read THAT one. ( Certainly not too carefully, if she thinks the POPE is too liberal. Just wait till she meets JESUS! =D )
I opened the door to someone canvassing for prop 8 support some time ago, and as some of my best people would be directly affected by that law, and I would find anyone who would hurt my friends to be offensive, I was so appalled that someone had dared come knocking on my door to ask me to support such nonsense that all I could do was splutter at them for a moment as I had no words and just ended up slamming the door in the their face rather than tell them what I thought with some choice language. Still, I spent the rest of the day muttering to myself in anger and disgust at the audacity and generally in a foul mood.
It occurred to me that there might have been a better way to handle that, instead of me being po’ed for hours afterward and probably leaving that person thinking I was some rude dyke who didn’t deserve to be treated like a real person since I couldn’t even be kind to them and strengthening their resolve. I wondered what would have happened if I had tried talking with them and explaining why I didn’t agree with that particular idea, and at first had a bit of a panicky reaction too when I said to myself that, to be fair, I would also have to listen to their reasoning behind why I should support it, and OMG what if they actually managed to change my mind? But then I realized that in order to actually do that , they would have to present a sound argument that made sense enough for me to do so, and if it did that, then it was probably alright if I should change my mind anyway, since that would be the stronger position. I realized that as unlikely as that was, I still needn’t be afraid of it happening should it be that one in a million chance.
Armed with that reasoning, I concluded that the next time someone should come knocking and propose some outrageousness, I would NOT angrily slam the door in their face without a word, but instead engage the enemy on the field of reason and discussion. I figured that way, one of several things could happen: 1) they could convince me of their position and I would change my mind (unlikely, but possible). 2) I could convince them of MY position and change their mind, (also unlikely but possible) and 3) even if neither of us would budge, at the very least they would have spent the time talking to me instead of getting further down the block and the very delay might stop them from gaining some additional support for their nonsense, so it was still a win for me in that case. And thus, no more muttering to myself about the NERVE of those dipshits to come asking me for THAT…
So when the Jehovah’s Witness came by about a year ago, despite waking me up to answer the door on a Saturday morning, instead of saying no thanks, and not interested, I said, “Okay, sure, why not? ” and sat down to chat a bit. We’ve developed a nice acquaintance, and I do actually enjoy our discussions when she stops by from time to time. I can say that at least this particular group doesn’t discourage the questions and challenges, which is more credit than I would have previously given them. I was impressed too to find things that others don’t point out in the scriptures which, surprisingly, also might encourage some critical thinking and open mindedness right there in the Rule Book too. It’s been an enlightening experience thus far, and LaKeisha is actually someone I don’t mind knowing. I try to make time to talk with her even when I am not in the mood, because it is usually a learning moment about something no matter what.
I had a conversation with my Jehovah’s Witness friend last week, and she brought another member of the Church along with her this time, that was a bit older. We got to discussing the origins of Satan and the idea that Satan created himself with the evil thoughts and the pride and the greed, and essentially taking himself off the path of righteousness. And because Adam and Eve were essentially the mold for humanity, and because they were tempted by him and led astray, that we all were going to be inherently imperfect as any bread from a dented mold will be dented. This concept was applied as to man, how we might become obsessed with evil thoughts and then act upon them given the opportunity if that is what we spend our minds energy concentrating on all the time.
What was most interesting about this to me, as I have found a lot that I can relate to general philosophy as well as some of the more specific Buddhist ideas that I am familiar with through my Dad, was that what it essentially comes down to is, like anything else, cause and effect. The concept of Karma is essentially cause and effect as well, even when discussing a Karma spread out over several lifetimes, or even kalpas of lifetimes, as the Sutras say.
I am always careful not to tread heavily on the beliefs of the very dedicated to their faith, as that never ends well, but I have found that I do like to test the edges of those beliefs a bit, especially when dealing with those who take the Bible at face value as though it were a strict accounting of fact from the hand of God, rather than the product of man and allegorical collection of wisdom combined over the ages. I think there is room for something in between the bearded fairy father in the sky and the idea that it is all some random uncontrolled explosion of matter and energy that has no other purpose except to be fleeting chaos. And I try to challenge some of the literal interpretation with something that is equally meaningful and holds the same lessons of why some behavior is self destructive to try and loosen the rigidity of the zealots who don’t appear to be able to recognize obvious horse puckey for what it is when they say it is all written exactly as it happened LITERALLY. (Mind boggling how otherwise seemingly rational folks can’t allow for the possibility that God is not some dude on a golden throne on the clouds, but more all encompassing than some patriarchal OTHER consciousness entirely that we have to OBEY or else.)
At any rate, this was one of those opportunities to try and temper some of the inherent idiocy in the folks who are so deeply indoctrinated in their religion. They are talking to me, trying to convince me that theirs is the only way to believe, and they don’t know that I am there talking to them to try and show them it is not. I figure its an opportunity to learn and spread intelligence and a seed of open mindedness, should the ground be fertile. If not, at least its a good way to keep my reasoning sharp and also is surprisingly supportive of my own spiritual understanding, and remains a challenge to keep my own faith grounded, and I found some affirmation in the things that seem to resonate in reality and spiritually equally well.
Such was the case with this notion of we shall reap what we sow, and I tried to say so to my guests, by gently explaining how there are many religions that believe in reincarnation and the how the concept of Karma was applicable to this same idea of this evil creating itself rather than being of God’s work to inflict it upon us (which would paint God in a rather cruel and unfavorable light.) Even though I never even validated the idea that one might experience an actual reincarnation, my point was that the concept of what we put in motion is what follows us with consequences of that action is something more than just a Biblical construct of Satan, but one that is founded in reason and science and other worldly philosophies as well . I try to do that wherever possible, as an illustration that perhaps the reason to follow some of the precepts of the Bible is not (or not JUST) because God has decreed it so, but because they are in fact reasonable ways to behave so as not to end up destroying ourselves.
And sure, perhaps that may be why God decreed it so, but really as a reason to do something it lacks impetus for any non-believer. It is my hope that I shall encounter more frequently in life more people like my friend from MIT, who is living proof that religious faith and critical thinking skills need not be mutually exclusive. Since it is notoriously difficult to sway the critical thinker to a faith, I am hoping to inspire some faithful to embrace their minds as well as God.
But anyway, as this entire point was brought up with the discussion of Adam and Eve chatting with Satan in the form of a snake in the Garden, then, I had to repress a rather exasperated smirk when the older woman’s reaction was to frown and insist, “Well that is different, than what WE’RE talking about. THIS is REAL.”
And THIS would be why intelligent folks are so often atheists.
But I stifled the urge to shake my head and roll my eyes, and kept quiet. The younger one, there is possibly some hope to find a middle ground there, and even more so with her daughter, but the older one is pretty well rooted in the literal word there, and I am not likely to do more than annoy her if I push.
This Pope Francis now, though… he gives me some hope that not all who are deeply religious are also deeply idiotic. I LOVE what he’s done with the place… =D
This is the entirety of a response to a Huffpost article which I had to parse into smaller bits to satisfy character limits on the comment section. Unfortunately, the moderating system or persons only saw fit to approve the final segment of the entire reply to this (asinine) comment by bestwishes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/bestwishes/hostages-los-angeles-nordstrom-rack-robbery_n_2455015_221065700.html
I figure I went to the trouble of writing it, someone should at least be able to read it if they want to…
Oh get real! I have had just about enough of that kind of rabble rousing nonsensical drivel. That kind of statement is unrealistic, irresponsible, implausible, and impractical. The reactions to these stories always seems to be to fly to the most ridiculous and extremist notions that only serve to divide and distract from real solutions.
Arming everyone is NOT the solution. Why? Because people are idiots and not everyone is trainable and frankly there are a whole damn lot of folks that have no business at all being entrusted with a weapon that can take a life in a half second at the twitch of a finger. Frankly, it is astounding that people even suggest such that there ought to be a RIGHT to take a life in this manner. And if it is the RIGHT to carry a weapon that can do it, then everyone else has the right to hold you responsible if and when you end up for whatever reason using it to kill someone. One should only have the right to a weapon if they are proven to be responsible enough to handle it.
The whole idea of the guns somehow being a separate thing from the injury they inflict without the requirement of discipline to attain that ability is part of the problem. Guns make killing EASY and FAST. Not just injury or stopping power, but LETHAL in the blink of an eye without thought or strength or anything necessary but the safety being off and enough pressure on the trigger. The guns available at the time of the writing of the 2nd Amendment required a little preparation to use and did not have the capability to do so much damage in so little time. A single shot being fired was the end result of “some assembly required” for each and every one. Not so today, and so the conversation cannot be had on the values without taking that into consideration. The people who throw the idea of the RIGHT to own a firearm are talking about a different right in today’s times.
That being said, banning guns entirely is likewise NOT a practical solution either. Not because of the whole fighting oppression by the government crap, as that is just that – crap. If you are fighting oppression by the use of force, you are doing it wrong. And the government, having all the resources at their disposal that governments have, will simply have more guns than the yo-yo with the arsenal in the basement, as well as bigger and better toys, bigger and better police forces and more thugs to wield them against whoever thinks they can fight back at that time. If it comes to that, we’ve already lost.
You are much better off fighting the evils of oppression and tyranny with your BRAINS – ie using them to research and read the actual details of and about the people and things that you vote on at the local level and pay attention to who we are putting faith in as leaders. Get off your ass and vote, and protest and speak and make noise while we still can and it will never come to the showdown at your own front door that you will lose anyway. Don’t go along with the easy way, and allow yourself to be made uncomfortable for a night in jail for breaking unjust laws. THAT has a much better shot at beating oppression than any last stand or shootout.
Also then, as is inevitably argued, “only the criminals will have guns.” I say that in “” because that too is a bit of a hyperbolic statement meant to trigger alarm that is maybe not as true as it might seem on its face. It is meant to conjure the image of helpless families all being terrorized at gunpoint while the looters rape and pillage at will because they fear no resistance. Yet I don’t believe that most criminals even acquire weapons to facilitate their criminal activities in a more terrifying way. I think even the criminals acquire their weapons out of fear of other criminals – just like regular folks they get them for this absurd idea that it will provide them some safety from other gun toting idiots. The numbers say that criminals mostly tend to kill other criminals and that the number of criminals actually shot by good law abiding folk is negligible as guns just aren’t often used in defense.
The simple math which says the probability of being shot when out of range of any firearm = 0% should be enough to demonstrate that arming oneself is not the way to “safety”. True safety means getting the guns as far away as possible, but the day we can get people to realize that they can never be truly SAFE without being entirely DEAD already is a whole different discussion in and of itself. But here are some real research on firearms if you want the truth: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/gun-threats-and-self-defense-gun-use-2/
We restrict drinking and smoking and driving, why not firearms? Not saying they should be banned, but certainly the reality is that not everyone really should have a gun. Among those are people with impulse control problems or anger management issues or just plain old bad judgement or even bad eyesight. If it were not so easy to kill with a firearm, say if it took the preparation of packing a musket with the pellet and gunpowder first, then yeah, why not arm everyone? But with the automatic firing and large magazines and general portability and brainlessness of operation afforded by today’s tech, its time to have a new look at the idea that everyone has a right to bear arms. If they do, then it is a limited right based on how well they can be trusted to not abuse it.
The actual crux of the issue is embroiled in fear and power and all sorts of other societal influences that contribute in various ways, but we will never get to those if we are stuck on extremes. So stop it with the terrorist remarks about Hitler, Tyranny, and “They want to take our guns”. They are hysterical lunacy and not helping anyone.
(Originally posted here: in response to the prevailing negative consumer attitudes – specifically towards Hill’s Science Diet which is getting a bit more flak than it probably deserves despite the valid concerns regarding misleading pet food labels)
Right now the whole industry is in an uproar about additives and what constitutes “health” in both animals AND people. There is a tremendous amount of finger-pointing and assumptions and general spread of mis-information on all sides, as well as a lot of faulty logic and jumping to conclusions which only serve to fuel ire. I find it rather distressing to see so many accusations and anger directed at Hill’s lately because there are quite a number of unexamined issues at stake, and were it really the worst kind of food that wasn’t supplying enough for our pets to thrive on, then I guess I was somehow blessed with an animal that thrived on garbage. I am by no means about to defend any brand just because I use it, but please be cautious before assuming that all fault lies in the manufacturers lap for every story about “food related” malaise in people’s pets.
There is always a mob mentality after anything gets “exposed” (like this recent brouhaha concerning commercial pet foods) and then every possible tangentially related or associated issue is turned into a scandal and a witch hunt. People talk about how their pet suddenly got diarrhea when they started feeding Science Diet, but they don’t mention that almost any pet will show gastrointestinal issues upon switching foods, especially if you just one day run out of the usual stuff and buy whatever is readily available! It should always be done very gradually by mixing with the food they are accustomed to until it is replaced, but if you suddenly just change up the diet, of course they may vomit or have diarrhea! Even a sudden switch to those highest priced “premium foods” is likely to be just as problematic as any if it isn’t done gradually.
And not every animal will do well on those premium foods either. Just as nutritional needs differ for different people. The bottom line is something my grandmother used to say: “One man’s food is another man’s poison” and that holds true for pets as well. If your pet is healthy (good energy, strong teeth, good coat, good spirits) and shows every indication of well being while being fed whatever you are using, then stick with it. IF something changes, then look to what in the environment has changed as it is probably unlikely to be the food they have done well on until that point. There are exceptions to this, of course, like when something becomes unusually tainted, but if your pet won’t eat it, that is often a sign that maybe they ought not to if everything else is normal. Many times bacteria can develop on even dry kibble AFTER packaging while sitting on store shelves or even when sitting unopened at home if conditions are right. This bacteria can be the source of potential illness, and anyone who might have this as the true reason behind their pets illness who also happens to feed the particular media scapegoat brand is sure to blame the food despite however long their pet might have been thriving previously.
And to the people screeching about “corn and fillers”: the order of ingredients listed doesn’t actually tell the whole story about the amounts of stuff in the formula. There are few articles that give a clue as to how these labels should actually be interpreted (one source is the warning under the topic “ingredient list” here: http://www.candckennel.com/Pet%20care%20Articles.html#petfoodlabels )
The problem is that since the industry is so poorly regulated that it can take an equation that starts to look like differential calculus to come up with any real sense of what stuff and in what percentage the foods actually contain! The articles that get a lot of attention are often a good deal of alarming stuff based on incomplete information and pseudo science (but this holds true from both sides of every argument, and as to the whole issue of corn in general being a nutritional source: I don’t have any degrees in nutritional science or the optimal nutritional needs of dogs, but I do know I can’t keep my mutt from eating the sweet corn in my garden despite going to extremes of fencing it off! There might be some reason he is so intent on getting at it, but its probably not because its useless to his system.)
I am loathe to believe the hype (good OR bad) about ANY particular brand without doing the research myself. I cannot say that Science Diet is great for every animal, but I can say that my large dog lived to 14 years in excellent health with minimal vet visits until he died peacefully of old age and he ate science diet for almost the entire time with the exception of the first year during which he ate Puppy Chow (which I have also been told is no good by various “experts”). I also had a cat that lived 22 years and visited the vet only twice (once as a kitten when she was mauled by the nieghbors dog and once to be fixed after her first and only litter) despite having been fed nothing but the very same low cost large kibble we fed the German Shepherd dogs we had. So I cannot stress enough that we need to pay attention to the environment that the pet is in and not be so quick to judge the food as the cause of illness just because someone else has decided its bad.
Nature probably knows best, but the fact is that Nature has kind of been shoved out of the picture by man on nearly every forefront. Even the food we feed our food is altered by chemical and salt fertilizers and pesticides, so its pretty hard to argue that a raw diet is any better considering what that raw food has been exposed to. Even organic gardening in the backyard is subjected to the water (which has been shown to contain all sorts of prescription med residues) and air pollution that is inescapable in any but the most remotely isolated location. My grapes experience herbicide damage every year, despite the fact that I use none, and I have no idea what source is causing the leaves to pucker for about a month each spring before it seems to return to normal. There are simply too many factors involved to be sure of where some of these health problems originate, but if anything I would start focusing on the big Pharm companies that have their hands in everything from agriculture to flu-shots before deciding that this brand of pet food is so much better than that. The whole recall in 2007 should have taught us that much when it became apparent that there were only a handful of suppliers for hundreds of brands which contained the same bad stuff. If you really want to find out what in the bag of dog food, you need to look at what ingredients are in the ingredients and what those sources are as well!
Make up your own mind only after hearing arguments from proponents on both sides of any issue rather than be swayed by extremist and/or unfounded statements that may be made in passion but without due consideration, and always when it pertains to information consider the source and what they may have to gain by influencing your choices. Too often we go by whats on the surface and later pay the price for our own hasty judgment. Its truly depressing that people don’t know how to actually think and process stuff on their own anymore and are so quick to jump in with any mob mentality no matter how stupid it is. (Heh-heh, its probably because of what WE’RE eating!!)
Everywhere I turn I see mention of “50 Shades of Grey.”
After seeing a reference to this book, or simply “Mr. Grey,” in a “wink wink nudge nudge” manner of joke that I was not in on one too many times, I finally ̶l̶̶o̶̶o̶̶k̶̶e̶̶d̶ ̶i̶̶t̶ ̶u̶̶p̶ googled it. Frankly I am amazed at the fact that there is any to-do at all. From all counts, it’s not particularly well written in terms of the actual prose, so the substance of the thing must be what’s so intriguing to people that its surpassed the Harry Potter level of popularity. Come to find out there’s all this ruckus and book banning going on over some BSDM (that’s Bondage/Submission/Domination/Masochism, for the acronym challenged out there), what it all boils down to is that its a smut novel which originated as some “Twilight” based fan-fiction.
And really? REALLY? Come on, people… this isn’t new stuff here. (I’ve seen fanfic of Buffy boffing Spike and Angel together, and that’s if she’s even in the room with them. I prefer they leave Angel out of it, because usually my Blondie-Bear is played down by the Angel-shippers and emasculated while Broody gets all the glory. Puh-leeeze… As IF! Whatever, Spike’s been tapping that Slayer-ass even though she couldn’t stand him all that time, and I don’t recall her calling out Angel’s name… ) Smut has been around forever in all the bodice ripper romance novels buried shallowly under a cover story of pirates or swashbucklers. Heck some of the teen stuff is riddled with it – even Judy Blume gave it a try. But you want a nice exploration of the BSDM psychology try the old Anne Rice erotica, also a trilogy and written under the name A.N. Roquelaure, starting with “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” which has all the same ideas from what I can tell of the synopsis of Grey. I read it in what, high school? And that wasn’t even my first exposure to the idea.
THAT came in a paperback novel when I was 13 while in China with my mother, who had already read it and had GIVEN IT TO ME TO READ. That actually surprised me quite a bit, but you can never tell what my mom will do, and it wasn’t the whole meat of the story, just sort of a side dish involving spanking and a riding crop or two in the hands of a woman who was tempted to cheat on her husband. Maybe it was the only thing in English around that she could provide to assuage my boredom of being surrounded by an entire country of people who didn’t speak my language. Anyway, try starting with Prince Charming awakening the Princess by de-floration while she’s still unconscious rather than a kiss before taking the now nude Beauty back to his own castle as his slave. I’d wager its better on the prose anyway and frankly I liked it better than her mainstream work, which tends to be a little overwhelming in its painting the background and scenery and slight on actual action. Rice’s BSDM smut is better at cutting to the chase.
That the work is derivative is not the reason for my scorn but the fact that there is any buzz over it at all is. The flop movie with Dan Akroyd and Rosie O’Donnell was only loosely “based” on Anne Rice’s more modern take on the subject in “Exit to Eden” and was only capitalizing on the idea and popularity and tease of the sex stuff from the book. But it was carried off as a comedy rather than the tale of romance it was and missed the point entirely. Even the book was sort of “Sleeping Beauty Lite” in terms of the exploration of the BSDM dynamic in the first place, so I am seeing once again the results of the weird sexual taboo here in the U.S. that turns adults back into awkward adolescents every time you mention birth control.
It’s stupid that I even know this “50 Shades of Grey” exists because the only reason I do is that someone got all bent out shape trying to ban it for being porn. Here’s what I don’t get: if porn is not banned, why even try with the book burning shit? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. People are acting like they’ve never read a book befo-! Oh, wait….