Saturday, November 29, 2008
This is a short bit of whimsy I saw as I was walking in Pasadena.
It is much safer to ride your bike on the side walk than it is to put yourself in jeopardy by riding in the street. Not saying that you can't but you should probably have a good insurance plan.
The new computer is working well. Vista is behaving much better than I expected. Much better than on the laptop, I got a Dual Core 32 Bit version. I didn't want to take a change on Vista 64 Bit and have most of my stuff not work or be wonky.
I've been loading software and looking for installation keys. Or in the case of Camtasia looking for the CD cuz I have the installation key. I am glad I embraced frugality because I would not have been able to buy replacement computer so quickly without it. It is really hard but if we could buy just what we need and not always what we want we could be a bit more emotionally secure.
I know I feel better not having debt. Hell, I've got more cash in my wallet than major corporations that feel that losing billions of dollars a year is a badge of honor.
Wait, let me check, yeah there is $25 in un-obligated moolah in my bag. So, this inspires me to dig into the archives and pull up three great men from the state of Ohio, The O'Jays and For The Love Of Money.
I dedicate this to those specific Wall Street, Mortgage and Banking rat bastards that made this year a living hell for a good chunk of Americans. Not all of the above were guilty. Some just went along to get along. No matter, because of greed, avarice and juicing on power trips most of you will get away with it without facing criminal prosecution. You have friends and enablers in high places.
White collar criminals take note. When you least expected it the Karma whammy will come running up to you like a freight train. Maybe not legally but there is a thing called balance. The balance will be corrected.
I wouldn't want to stand next to you when it does.
Monday, November 24, 2008
There were "promises" of other jobs taking their place. For the most part that led to service jobs or no jobs at all. So I understand at a citizen level what could happen if the automakers don't get their loan. I don't like it but try living in a former industrial city or community. Closed businesses, empty buildings, increased crime rises and there is no tax base. Only the survivors can support the city and there isn't enough of them. It is no way to live.
This is a video of Rep. Thad McCotter speaking about his perceptions of why this loan is important. He makes good points and he isn't shoveling the usual political BS. It is about eight minutes. I hate the bail outs. I've said as much and will continue to do so, especially when the money is going to institutions and people who caused the problem.
I hate that they are being rewarded for doing so and we, the American people were lied to again. We were forced to write a blank check to the banking industry with no conditions and we have to pick up the tab.
The automotive industry is asking for a $25 Billion dollar loan. Loans have to be paid back. The difference between this and that banking give away is that there isn't going to be trips to spas or rewards for a job poorly done. It is to allow the industry to help them get their act together and move forward.
Just watch the video and think about what the man is saying. I don't have the answers. Maybe we should allow market forces to apply across the board as what was taught to us as a mantra. Or maybe we need to figure out other ways of handling this situation.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I need to see this through. I'm kind fixated on finishing. There are reasons.
I will say that some of the programs are loading faster than in XP with less memory. Still can only open no more than 3 at a time. I have to tilt the laptop keyboard to type and the cursor goes where it wants or I'm hitting an ancient key combination.
Some of the software works but there are missing features like sound in QuickTime that I can't waste time fighting with. I have to hold off until Monday to see if I can ask a friend to take me to an electronics store.
I wish I could do mail order but it is what it is. I'm a desktop girl when it comes to knocking stuff out. The other reason I have to get a desktop is that the laptop doesn't have a firewire port. I can't get to my stuff. In hindsight, not such a bad problem to have.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I treated the symptoms and not the source. I meant to. I was gonna strip Pookie down to the skivvies and start over clean. Something always came up. All Pookie wanted was a little maintenance, a new graphics card or a bit more power in the supply. Ah, well.
This time around I have a laptop and a netbook so I'm not deprived. I also have an external hard drive that acts as a continuous back up. Except I had it off for three days because I was checking for problems.
I have stuff to do so I need to spend tonight making a decision I don't want to make. Buy a new desktop or wait until after the holidays. I don't like shopping and I don't like holiday shopping even more. Although me and Vista have called a truce this puppy only got a 1GB of RAM and it has locked up on a couple of programs I tried to install.
Do I go Duo or Quad? If I go Quad it will be a 64 bit system? Will it run my old stuff? Is there an emulation mode that will actually work? Good thing I get paid this week but this isn't how I planned to spend what little nickles I'll have left over.
My heart wants Alienware class computing. That ain't gonna happen. It will be ok. I refuse to edit on Windows Movie Maker so that is motivation enough.
Let me say for the record that there isn't a computer product line or operating system that I truly hate. Well there was one.
The Packard Bell. That was one chunk of internal and external technological evil the world has ever seen. I'm speaking of the U.S. incarnation around the early 1990s. I think the brand is still viable in Europe and it isn't the same as that hunk of crap that was produced in America. I didn't have it but friends and clients did. Bad, bad computer and drove a bunch of people to the Apple OS.
It was wicked. So I'm really picky about what I will allow in my home. I really wanted to give the Linux Operating System a shot so that this the reason why I bought this netbook.
You have to be sure of what you want and for some folks it is best to stick with XP. Me, I like roaming down new roads so that is why I bought this with an 80GB drive. I just check and the prices on some of the other netbooks have dropped.
Agggh! You shouldn't do that by the way. Wait at least six months before you go back to the place where you bought your system. Price drops hurt. Ow, my wallet.
To see more International Videoblogging Month/VloMo08 videos you can:
* Search Blip.TV with the keyword VloMo or VlogMo08
* Visit Vimeo VloMo Group at http://vimeo.com/groups/vlomo or
* Dig everybody at the VloMo08 Mefedia Channel http://mefeedia.com/channels/vlomo08
Friday, November 21, 2008
I read somewhere that love songs are a form of brainwashing. I think the person meant that there is a form of social indoctrination that happens with women learning about loving the one and guys learning how to be smooth and putting on the moves.
You hope that things turn out as good as they seem to in a love song. You hope the person sitting next to you in the car is feeling the same way. A lot of us got carried away with a love song that whispered us forward when we should have said "Whoa." Then again, there is that tune that pops up and it makes things a little easier to communicate; non-verbally that is.
I think some love songs are more than their lyrics. Now you can't really interpret "Baby Come To Me" but so many ways but I don't want to stand in the way of a good song.
This is Regina Bell making her case:
What if the love in the song isn't a person but a hope.
A desire to be more creative? Maybe it it a cry to the beyond to be held auctorial in love. Secured that somebody, somewhere is holding your in an embrace.
A song come on and holds you until the fade out and you feel better. So to all the creatives out there who are doing National Novel Writing Month, Naitonal Blog Posting Month and (In)National Videblogging Posing Month be kind to yourself and each other. Crank up a tune and go with the flow.
No judgement, no worries It’s all good even when it is crap. It is the effort. That is it. The goodness comes later.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
My pain is that I hosed my SD card memory reader in my computer. It is toast.
It could be I need to think about moving up to Vista. Or move to Linux. Or get a Mac.
This is my story, the short version is double check if you have an older computer before you put and SDHC card in the memory slot.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It happens. An story idea I thought was important and I did the work on is superceded by a Force Divine that is yelping at me at a high rate of speed, “You gotta do this, not that.”
And I say “I can’t, looky I really worked on this…” and the Force Divine says, “Save it for next week, kid. We got business here.” And I say “Yeah, but…” and I am lost before I pronounced the “t” in but. So this is free form and we’ll see where it takes us.
I was at lunch with a 20ish year old person and a 40ish person. We were talking about movies. The young lady said that she had never seen Casablanca or The Godfather. Never heard of them. The 40 year old asked, “Ok, you’ve seen the movie, “Taxi Driver, right?”
“Oh yeah, with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah right?”
Uhm, No. Seriously no. Internally I’m going “This is not right, she is supposed to know. Casablanca is a movie she has got to know.”
That poor kid. We tried to force fed her our lists of the five mandatory movies she must see. We could only agree on three of them, Casablanca, Gone With The Wind and Citizen Kane. I think she also should see What Dreams May Come. That is a hard sell to people who see Robin Williams and think it is going to be a laugh riot. It is a deep, luscious movie.
Ok, the Force Divine says I’m getting off track.
After lunch and back at the Salt Mine I thought about it. "Why should she see Casablanca? What does that film offer an adult in 2008? And what is it that we were trying to communicate to her about seeing the movie?"
I think what we old fogies where trying to do, unconsciously, was to transmit the feelings and the various cultural lessons that a film can give a person. That film was jammed packed with romantic love, lust, honor, scum bags and second chances.
Culture is the shared values and beliefs of a group of people. Not just the day to day grunt living but what we aspire to and hope to become. Movies, music and dance are cultural transmission devices. The ancestors had the Griot tell stories and family histories around a fire. Cave painters want us to know how that horse looked thousands of years ago. Madame Butterfly is breaking your heart because she fell for the wrong man.
One of the definitions of culture, is all the knowledge and values shared by a society. Another is the acculturation or the behavior patterns that might help or inspire a person during rough times.
I’m going to continue to use Casablanca as an example but you might have one or two films that taught your something. So if Casablanca doesn’t do it for you then by all means pick your flick. Here is a look at the trailer of the movie.
What I Learned From Rick, Ilsa and Victor
It was not the intent of Warner Brothers Pictures to convey idealized American cultural values. The intent was to entertain and make money. Despite their best efforts the movie serves a higher purpose. Casablanca transmits (to me) the following values:
- The power of love and the ability to love more than one person at a time
- Commitment to an idea or cause
- Sacrifice of self for a higher good
- The different models of patriotism
- Moving forward and getting on with your life.
And please forgive me for being American centric. I know that many cultures and citizens from around the world have the same or similar values. It was an international cast and I can mangle La Marseillaise with the best of them.
Each One Teach One
So here is the sneaky culture secret that is not a secret. All of us are teachers. All of us transmit and exchange culture values. When two different cultures meet there is an exchange; sometimes for the good and sometimes it can be challenging. But all of use intentionally or not absorb a certain set of values from dominant cultural clues, pop culture and our own community cultures.
We take what we need and kick out those parts that don’t fit. Movies, radio and television are current mass media transmission devices. We now add bloggers and social media to the mix.
Back to the Future
Our young lunch companion was texting as she walk with us to the restaurant. She was also having a conversation with us, in fragments but she kept up. There also was contact with her immediate community and it wasn’t us. I do give her credit that she stopped texting as we ate and talked.
Being willing to learn new things is a positive cultural value. And the first step is to admit you haven’t known about X. New York Magazine has an article on “What Is Your Cultural Secret Shame” where others speak softly about not reading To Kill A Mocking Bird or seeing ET.
Another part of cultural transmission is admitting when you recognize that you have grown and changed and that you are the better for it. Mary Beth at Supafine has a lovely passage in her post:
Life is a ripple, or a wave, or a ribbon. Time bears you forward into different circumstances, doing different work that affects the larger society or culture as a whole. Arranging words on a newspaper page is one such service to your community. Teaching the children of that community about manners and love and respect and compassion is another.
Over at Crooked House Stephany Aulenback is asking for help on finding classic and beautifully illustrated fairy and folk tales for her son. So once again what we hold dear and important is now being collected to be given to the next generation.
Mindy Kltasky over at Read Till You Drop never develop a taste for comics/comic books and graphic novels. She asked her blogging community what she could do to learn and appreciate them. One of her readers stepped up and shared what he found valuable.
Crayl from Beyond Black and White just hit the letter Z on Thankful Tuesday. On her list are some cultural touch point that I do know; the original PBS show called Zoom, and those I don’t know like Zingers.
As for the Force Divine we have worked out our differences. Next time I’ll just go ahead and do it and save us both a headache. In the meantime, I would love to know what book, song or movie that you feel had a cultural impact on yourself or the people around you.
This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor.
Well, no. The videos recorded in Ogg Vorbis Video format with a Theora codec. I copied from the notebook to my desktop and spent more trying to find a converter.
I found an online one at media-convert.com
It did work but the videos were bad and the sound was worse. Oh well...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
You will sit at a bus stop. The bus will pass you by. You say WTF? This explains how to prevent such annoyances.
50ish and over. And they look it.
To see more International Videoblogging Month/VloMo08 videos you can:
* Search Blip.TV with the keyword VloMo or VlogMo08
* Visit Vimeo VloMo Group at http://vimeo.com/groups/vlomo or
* Dig everybody at the VloMo08 Mefedia Channel http://mefeedia.com/channels/vlomo08
Monday, November 17, 2008
That joint I never thought it would close but it has been for months. I wouldn't step foot in it but it was one of the anchor stores on the block. Now all of the stores next to it are gone as well. It is a like a virus that spreads but no one notices until it hits them.
Sad to see Mervyns go. I shopped there. I knew it was in trouble when they did not fixed the clock at the front entrance for six months. There were other signs like basic store maintenance and sadder than usual staff.
It will be missed. I also stopped by Target. On a Saturday afternoon there weren't a lot of shoppers. I got to have Target store near me so I'm a little concerned. I'll hope for the best. This is a memory piece of what is seen and not seen.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It happens when you take artists and performer for granted. You forget that these folks are not flashes in the pan. They have a body of work and they evolve and develop their craft. Janet Jackson is certainly in that group.
The year was 1989 and the video is Rhythm Nation.
The memory of the week happened while I was on the bus. The bus was late. It was packed. The seats up front are for senior citizens. There was this middle aged woman sitting in one of those seats, lets call her Bertha who was with her friend chatting.
An older woman was standing who had trouble doing so. One older gentleman asked the middle aged woman to get up so the older woman could sit down.
Bertha looked at him like he was dirt. She looked at him, ignored him and kept talking with her friend.
Now let me back up here. I have seen people from Thugnation get up and offer a seat to an older person. Winos find a way to do it. It is a custom that people actually perform on L.A. buses. So for a person not to do it will draw the kind of attention you do not want. Back to our story.
Another rider not so politely suggested that she get up and let the lady sit. An older man siting next to Bertha got up and helped the original woman to his seat.
It was if somebody had lit a match and a verbal explosion of anger was being hurled at Bertha. Bertha did not care. Bertha announced that it didn't have anything to do with her and did not care if the woman had a seat or not.
At this point we had a multi-lingual cuss out; Farsi, Spanish, Tagalog and Armenian. There was some English too but it was more reportorial communication to the folks sitting in the middle and the back of the bus what was happening in the front of the bus.
Bertha's friend, who had a hell of a lot more good sense than Bertha, seem to understand that you do not piss off a bus load of tired people on a Friday afternoon. They were out numbered about 65 to 2.
Bertha's friend is trying to pull her to the exit. Bertha is busy giving the finger and dropping F-Bombs in two languages. She is jamming her finger up and down to show precisely the extent of her lack of civility.
That was not the thing to do cuz that caused the middle section of the bus to start chanting "get the F - off the bus." The bus driver is telling her get off the bus. Bertha is half up with her knee on the seat so she can make sure she is visible to all those that didn’t see her give the finger before.
Bertha's friend has now got a body lock on Bertha and is pulling her out the front door. Defiant to the last, Bertha shares heart felt parting shots at what the whole bus can do with themselves.
Folks were still angry but they settled down as they watched Bertha still giving the finger outside of the bus. The original woman who needed at seat? Totally oblivious to the commotion. She sat quiet in her own world.
It is taking longer to type the story than the length of time that it happened. So I guess the lesson of the week is that courtesy is not just a social nicety. It can literally prevent wars.
To the extent possible, err on the side of courtesy and, if you ride L.A. Metro buses, let the little old ladies have a seat.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
So this is my way of giving a shout out to that book. You should know a few things before checking out Tijuana Bibles:
- These were underground comics and the majority of them were probably created by men. Tijuana Bibles have nothing to do with religion or the city in Mexico. They are sexual explicit comics that were created as sexual parodies of mainstream media cartoon characters, movie stars and know celebrities of the day.
- The comics were a reflection of their time. There is misogyny, racism and homophobia present in many of the comics. Some just focused on the sex but others well, yeah they can be icky.
- There is a wide range of art work from crappy to really well done art pieces with most falling smack dab in the middle.
- Charlie Rose has a video interview with Bob and Richard Merkin from 1998.
- Art Spiegelman, who wrote an introduction, to the book talks about the comics in a Salon.com article.
- Tijuana Bible.org has history, collectibles and Popeye doing something to some woman in the lower left corner.
- Quinn at Tijuana Bibles.org has full page scans of some of the comics, including what Archie has been doing with Veronica all these years.
I'm also testing out the upgrade to Ulead Visual Studio Pro X2. Something weird tho, when I tried to export in WMV format it keep reducing the size. I'd tell it 640x480 and it gives me a postage stamp video. I tell it to save in an iPod format and it bloats out a 101MB file. Yikes!
But there are features that I do like about this version so it I have to remember that. I just haven't had time to download the manual to see what I'm missing or doing the hard way. I don't like that I'm locked into certain sizes. Proprietary formats, feh!
It is (Inter)National Videoblogging Month 2008 aka VloMo08. One video a day for 30 day. I did do one yesterday and it is posted on Vimeo but it is pathetic. It was an act of desperation so I'll spare you.
If you want to see what the other folks are doing, and they are doing amazing things by the way, you can check out the Vlomo08 Mefeedia Channel or check out the gang at VloMo on Vimeo.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Her country was in chaos at the time. Yet she went forth into the world and sang about the true vision and beauty that could be possible.
For more information you can visit:
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I had a lot of very small victories but the failures were immense and just ate up my day. I really want to do 30 days but dang it is tough. The tough part is all in my head.
So I dug into the scrap file and maybe there is some meaning in just observing and letting it be.
Friday, November 07, 2008
My word, what a week! People are already trying to find that long lost cousin that lives, works or passes through D.C on the way to Virginia. Really. Half of you will not make it past Delaware. I-95 will become the world largest parking lot.
This is one time that you might want to just stay home and dress up in front of the TV. This week’s selection on the Freakout is not really surprising. No matter your party one nation came out to vote. The thought alone is humbling.
I present the radio version with video enhancements of that seminal track beamed down September 1978 and embedded in psycho-functional consciousness, One Nation Under A Grove:
I can see it now. I will be 80 years old trying to escape again from the old folks home. One of the health care workers sensing another insurrection flips this on the auditory amplification communication link. All of a sudden half of the home is dancing with their canes, walkers and popping wheelies to this song. Sure they loose a few but it frees up a couple of beds and reduces the need for medication.
One Nation Under A Grove was one of the last dance records that included everybody. It was the beat, the lyrics and it certainly established a sense of community. The full length version was long. You had to have endurance to boogie to sides one and two. It was not a dance song for floor wimps. That was cool cuz if you couldn’t dance you could sing it.
The song re-surfaces itself every few years. The lower level rappers sampled it to shreds. There have been quality remixes but the original is the gold standard. I also have to mention that there were fabulous musicians like Maceo Parker, who also worked with James Brown, Junie Morrison from the Ohio Players and a bunch more folks that participated.
And then there was and is George Clinton. Not gonna speak too much about him because I'd need two and half blog posts to do him justice. He is one complicated man and I can’t in good faith write about him in brief.
So take it easy from detoxing from the election of a lifetime. But you could check out Change.gov to see what is in the works concerning the future that we all are gonna have to pitch in to save.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I should have paid attention because by the time I got to the staging area all the short folks had copped front row seats and I was surrounded by the long of leg Bookaholics. The battery was running low and this was all I could capture of this one teams performance.
So there are many lessons to be learned. One, pack a suitcase with wheels on it to snag all the ALA freebies and books. Two, read the program so you know when competitions like this start. Three, make sure that the suitcase is strong enough to support your weight as you try to capture librarians and library staff do the shimmy.
To see more International Videoblogging Month/VloMo08 videos you can:
Part of living in L.A. is seeing and not seeing. I am surrounded by what is called the L.A. River. It is of concrete and occasionally water.
I was outside having lunch and it occurred to me that I have accepted this without thinking about it. I use to think about, especially when I saw a car being moved by water down the street in 1982. I thought that I had made a mistake in moving to California. Here is a very short story about the L.A. River.
There are currently 61 member and 165 videos on Vimeo for Videoblogging Month. It is our version of National Novel Writing Month. One video a day for 30 days. Last year I think I made it to day 15ish.
To see more videos you can:
* Search Blip.TV with the keyword VloMo or VlogMo08
* Visit Vimeo VloMo Group at http://vimeo.com/groups/vlomo or
* Dig everybody,s videos across the space time continuum at the VloMo08 Mefedia Channel http://mefeedia.com/channels/vlomo08
Once upon a time I was a Deputy County Clerk for the County of Los Angeles. Part of my job was to issue marriage licenses. I think that was the best part of the job. There were specific tasks I had to perform, questions to ask and I watched as the couple swear or affirm what they said was the truth.
Sometimes I looked at a couple and thought “For the love of humanity dude, run, do not marry this chick!” or maybe “Hell, they don’t need a license, they are already married in their hearts.”
I did have one lady who I think was working on marriage number 14. I like persistence but at some point you got to give it a rest. There was such a range of people. All with hope and expectations of what they thought marriage was or will do for them. One person loving the other more. Immigration marriages. Impulsive marriages. Love beyond measure so strong it was an honor to prepare the license for them.
Many people seem to conjure a culturally supported mythical image of what an American marriage looks like. I grew up on this particular version (in re-runs, I’m not that old.) of what a typical married household looked like when I was growing up.
This is the opening from The Donna Reed Show.
Definitions of Marriage
I’m going to start old school and open up my paper bound Webster new Explorer Desk Encyclopedia:
Legally and social sanctioned union between, usually, a man and one or more women that accords status to their offspring and is regulated by laws and customs that prescribe the rights and duties of the partners.(Page 759)
The online marriage'>Merrian-Webster dictionary has a slightly different meaning:
(1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.
And to be fair let’s put up a gender neutral definition from Cultural Anthropology, The Human Challenge:
A non-ethnocentric definition of marriage is a culturally sanctioned union between two or more people that establishes certain rights and obligations between the people, between them and their children and between them and their in-laws. (Page 208)
Not matching up to your definition? Yeah, I know. All I have been hearing for the past couple of weeks is one man, one woman. If I had know that I had options that I could marry more than one man at a time I might have been more open to the concept of matrimony. Go figure. Ignorance is definitely not bliss.
There is no one definition of marriage. It is dependent on the culture, the society and the needs of the community. Some of those needs are of commerce and business. In fact that was the driving factors in early marriages. Love did not necessarily have anything to do with it.
In Ye Olden Days…
If people really want a traditional marriage you might have to start looking at your biological brother or sister in a new way. 2,000 years ago it was important for farm families to hold on to whatever resources they had. It was easier to marry within the family, the immediate family to maintain control over property.
There is an extensive historical article that goes in depth at the History of Marriage by the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology. In this passage is an explanation of how Greek and Roman marriages were designed. A Greek or Roman man could be married and still play both sides of the street:
A father arranged the most advantageous marriage for his son and then had a contract signed before witnesses. Shortly thereafter a wedding celebration was held and the young couple (who might never have met before) was escorted to bed. All marriages were monogamous. As a rule, the bridegroom was in his thirties and the bride was a teenager. In addition to this disparity in ages there also existed an inequality in education and political rights. Women were considered inferior to men and remained confined to the home. Their main function as wives was to produce children and to manage the household while their husbands tended to public affairs. For their erotic needs, men often turned to prostitutes and concubines. As Demosthenes, the orator, explained it: "We have prostitutes for our pleasure, concubines for our health, and wives to bear us lawful offspring." Many men also cultivated intense emotional and sexual relationships with male adolescents (paiderastia).
In a 2005 Psychology Today there is a brief article on what some ancient marriages were like. For example:
- 6th-century Europe: Political polygamy—The Germanic warlord Clothar, despite being a baptized Christian, eventually acquires four wives for strategic reasons, including his dead brother's wife, her sister and the daughter of a captured foreign king.
- 12th-century Europe: Marriage is good for loving...someone else—Upper-class marriages are often arranged before the couple has met. Aristocrats believe love is incompatible with marriage and can flourish only in adultery.
Stephanie Coontz in a2007 article in the New York Times explains how the Catholic church recognized non-church marriages:
In 1215, the church decreed that a licit marriage must take place in church. But people who married illicitly had the same rights and obligations as a couple married in church: their children were legitimate; the wife had the same inheritance rights; the couple was subject to the same prohibitions against divorce.
Not until the 16th century did European states begin to require that marriages be performed under legal auspices. In part, this was an attempt to prevent unions between young adults whose parents opposed their match.
I’ve only touched on a very brief look of monogamy type marriages. There certainly other kinds such as polygamy marriages that help to sustain cultures across the globe and endogamy, marriage within a certain group of individuals inside of a set community.
We questions its history of sexism and its emphasis on reproduction. We wonder why the state should even be involved in people's relationships in the first place, outside of the logistics of next-of-kin and that sort of thing. We believe in the importance of the ceremony, but question the relevance of insurance premiums or tax breaks. That being said, the reality is that we live in a culture where marriage - in that form - IS a part of our society. And if you, like us, are concerned with the values of marriage in this culture, than you should be very concerned about barring queer access to it.
Because queers can update this custom and infuse it with gender equality that will free men, women, and the rest of us from all of our historical attachments.
Misty at Saintless.com is wondering if government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Should there be a legal definition? And at Philosophy Sucks ask the lyrical question, why not split the difference?:
So I say we should formally distinguish these two aspects. Let marriage be a religious institution and let civil unions be a secular institution. Let the church govern marriage and define it as between one man and one woman. And let the state govern civil unions and define it as they want; a loving commitment to partnership and family between two persons. That way religious people would get marriages and secular people would get civil unions.
My point in sharing this information with you is that it is not true that there has been only one form of marriage sanctioned for X number of years. Humans are too diverse with different social and cultural needs. Marriage adapts to what the society requires. It is not a finite condition. It is an evolutionary one.
Talking History interviewed Stephanie Coontz author of Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage. This is an audio mp3 presentation.
Over at Garbled Noise is a review of the book "Uncommon Arrangements by Kate Roiphe on how of some literary famous in London conducted their lives around the constrictions of matrimony.
Susan Squire author I Don’t A Contrarian History of Marriage gives an interview on the Leonard Lopate show on WNYC
This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Over the past few weeks I have seen a exponential growth in the number of flat out stupid people. Stupid as in “lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity.” Maybe they have always been around and I was off doing something else. I’m am not exempt. I have done stupid things. But I learned and didn’t do the same stupid thing again and again.
And it is not just that they are stupid people but there are proud of it and wave it as a badge of honor. And collectively as a group they try to make you feel bad because you are not stupid like them. Yo, education is not a dirty word!
So, where does this leave the rest of us? Tired. Exhausted. Baseball bat mad.
Fortunately I do not have a baseball bat. I do not look good in orange jail jumpers. I’ve never worn any but I can tell from a distance the outfit just doesn’t work for me. What does work for me is to find voices of reason, of patience and those guiding lights that can help show the way to help make less stupid people.
Let’s begin with Ms. Hardnett:
The population grows every day and we have to keep in mind that we have not perfected the institution of education. There still are many drop-outs, standardized test failures, and unprepared graduates. But we must also remember that we cannot stop trying. My aim is to be a part of those who really try to make things better rather than sitting around waiting for others to do it. I hope to bring a spirit of optimism and excitement to my classroom. Having seen my best teachers do that, I know that plays a key role in effective teaching.
So from her I guess no matter how daunting the task of revising American education we have to keep trying to make it better, find a way to communicate skills necessary for students who will live in the future.
My philosophy of education? It is and always has been student centric. Of course the world has changed much since I started teaching, and my teaching philosophy has reflected this. It is definitely grounded in the 21st century. I’ve made it a point to be a life long learner and be on the cutting edge of new developments in education so that I can be the best teacher possible for my students and their parents. Being the best teacher possible also means collaborating with my colleagues and sharing what I have learned and learning from them.
Maybe we need to take a look at constantly using 19th century techniques to educate 21st century people. Perhaps we make people stupid because we use old tools and rules that don’t necessarily apply to their lives as they currently live it. The video is from Kansas State University entitled “A Vision of Student’s Today
Principle Jessica Hunzenger echoes many of the sentiments reflected in the video:
I believe education has become the basis for survival in a rapidly changing information technology society and global economy. The technological transformation that has occurred in the last twenty years has crept in quietly like a thief in the night. We have moved from a labor intensive, mechanized industrial age where success was defined by rote and assembly-line skills to an information technology age requiring analytical and critical thinking skills. Yet, for the most part we educate, deliver curriculum and pedagogy in the same manner we did 100 years ago, while in fact our very survival as a society, and as a world power, is hinged on the quality of our education system. Therefore, all members of society should share a sense of urgency for transformation.
So there is some consensus that teaching the old way may not work very well. If we want this country to survive we need to engage in a revision of how we teach and what is being taught versus learned. If only it was that easy.
Nickey at Teach! gives an overview of the various Philosophies of Education that focus on student centered learning:
PROGRESSIVISM : A 'progressive' school focuses on the concerns of their students. A teacher who follows a progressive teaching style encourages students to formulate questions, and to do the research to discover the answer. Small groups are norm in the progressive classroom as well. Students are encouraged to work together to find answers.
SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTIONISM : This teaching style encourages teachers to focus on the wants and demands of modern society. Students focus on social issues and formulate answers and plans to implement social change. Teachers who follow this style create lessons to inform and stir students about issues in their society. Long term social projects (food drives, adopting poor families) are usually focused on for the better part of the year.
EXISTENTIALISM : This teaching style asserts that the purpose of education is to help children find the meaning and direction in their lives. Existentialists believe that adults should not direct meaningful learning for children. Teachers focus more on students understanding and appreciating themselves. These teachers also believe that teaching cannot occur until after a student feels confident enough in themselves to learn.
Me, I’m digging that Progressivism vibe. Sound like the way to go but I am biased about the topic. It matches how I tend to learn things. But one style of education may not fit all students. It will take some time to bring other folks around. It will happen. Keep the faith.
This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a contributing editor.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Or maybe there was no action. Not in my surrounding areas anyway. Drat! Um, I mean yeah, good job on absentee ballots and voting early folks. So there goes my fantasies of making like Crusader Rabbit.
Time for me to come clean. I voted for Obama/Biden.
I didn't necessarily want to say who I voted for, it is a right of privacy. I'm a private person. I'd tell you if I knew you but didn't want to put it in people's faces. Also there are folks that come here and are of other minds. I respect that. I don't like it when I go to other blogs and because of what I believe I am attacked, vilified and held accountable for every wrong in the country.
I also didn't want to be accused of "drinking the Kool-Aid" meaning I would by racial obligation or left leaning tendencies I would vote for him. Nope. My initial choice was John Edwards and then considered Hillary.
I thought it was too soon for Obama to be running. I could see him as a Vice Presidential candidate but if he could have waited four years that would have been just right. Mr. Obama had other expectations. I had to adjust.
When I look at this long race it should have been impossible for him to do what he has done. He ran without the support of the Democratic party. He and his team put together an incredible network; both real world and online. They worked steadily toward a goal with few major missteps.
Fund raising that made Howard Dean's achievement look pedestrian. Engagement with a cross section of Americans. The man acted like a President. Responded the way a President should respond or how we would want him to. When he went to Germany and gave that speech that got my attention. That was audacious. It was a brilliant way to introduce himself to the world community.
I could go along with most of his platform but I'm nursing fiscal conservative tendencies so he is gonna have to be more creative than asking for money to implement some of his ideas.
So I'll wait for the number 270 and then I'll start to believe this has happened.
I need food. (Pause to heat up soup.) I went to one polling place in Pasadena, located in a church annex. It was around quarter to one.
There was one lady with a toddler finishing up but the poll workers didn't seem to have much to do. It was the same at another Pasadena polling place. Now this is typical for elections. Most folks try to get in early or have to wait to get off work.
In California, you can ask time off for voting. Most people can't afford to take the risk of asking. I'm going to go back out in an hour to see if my theory holds up. The other factor that might be affecting this is that many people did absentee ballots or early voting.
I don't know how to describe the mood but it is quiet. No, maybe muted is a better word. It is a collective holding of breath. Trying to be prepared for...what? Nothing about this campaign is normal. Why should the end be any different?
Mischief - yes, it it happening. From Future Majority a string of fake e-mails are being sent to voters. Please tell your voting newbies that they have to do it today.
Megan at Megan's Minute has a great round-up of M$M Highs and Lows of election coverage.
Need soup, more later.
It is important to know that there are two sets of votes today. The popular vote for a candidate and, in reality, the electoral vote. I hope this post is a waste of time and there is a clear winner in the election. If it is a tight race however then understanding how this electoral process works will be very important. Fancy isn’t quiet sure on the details of the process so let’s clear it up for those that have questions.
A Brief History Lesson:
According to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Electoral College process was created as a compromise by the Founding Fathers between those that wanted to have just a popular vote and those who wanted Congress to elect the President.
Americans go to the polls and cast a ballot for President and Vice President. Generally, the candidate who gets the most votes in a state wins that state’s popular vote. What we as voters are actually doing is voting for the Electors who will actually cast the deciding vote on who becomes President. There are 538 electoral votes and 270 electoral votes are needed to determine who will be President. If neither candidate has enough votes then the House of Representative selects the next President.
The population of a state determines how many electoral votes a candidate will get. Jan at The Prytz Family has a map that shows the number of electoral votes each state has assigned to them. This is why candidates focus on those states with the largest number of elector votes or the one they need to ensure that they will be elected. Some states are in the bag for a candidate due to political leaning but others states have to be courted. Over at MartinZoo a home schooling mom help teach her child about the electoral votes in each state using coins.
Who Get’s To Be An Elector?
It is a little easier to say who can’t be an Elector. You cannot be a Senator, a Representative or hold a federal political office. Electors are general chosen by the political parties during political conventions, state officials or have a connected with the candidate. but there are no real requirements for the job.
When you vote for a candidate you are also voting for an elector. Some state show the Electors on the ballot, some do not. You vote for them just the same.
So The Elector Has To Vote According to the Popular Vote in a State?
No. They do not. There are states that mandate that the Elector has to vote for the winner in the state’s election but that is not legally binding.
There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States, however, require electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.
It is unlikely that a party selected Elector is going to go against the will of his or her political party. But it could happen and there would be nothing to stop them from doing so.
Does My Vote Count?
Journalism student Jessica Simeone wonders about is it worth it? Alice from the Trouble of Being Alice has vivid memories of the 2000 election where Al Gore won the popular vote but the electors (by way of the Supreme Court) gave the election to George W. Bush. I don’t agree with everything Alice wrote but there is a huge chunk of people who do and it is a valid concern.
Faye Anderson at Anderson At Large speak about the anxiety of African American votes feel about the election.
Sara at Busy Nothings:
I've been wondering, too, whether my vote really does count. It's been a while since my last American Government class, and I'd forgotten how the election process works. So I started to give into the mentality that no, I can't change the direction of the vote. Thinking that way made me feel like a bad citizen—especially as a woman. Afterall, women in the early 1900s worked hard to gain suffrage.
The short answer is yes, your vote counts. It always has. Now I have very strong feeling about that vote being usurped, dinged and manipulated. That will not change anytime soon no matter who is elected.
I vote because it is my civic duty. My historic obligation to those that fought so hard to ensure that I had the right to even decide to vote or not vote. There are issues that require my response. Voting is one of the ways to respond.
For More Information:
- There is an plain English explanation of the Electoral process at Project Vote Smart.
- The Library of Congress has a Teacher Resource Page that also simplifies understanding the electoral process.
- Want it deep and from an governmental source? You can download an 18 page booklet “The 2008 Presidential Election, Provisions of the Constitution and Election Code” that will guide you through the entire election process.
I'm cranky. Allergies. No. Scared out of my mind on what this country will do. I don't trust the vote. You can't ask me to, not after 2000 and 2004. All it would take is a is a malfunction here, a disenfranchised voter there and a pound of lies that become the truth.
On the other hand, I have never seen this level of citizen political activity in my life. There was a photo in the L.A. Times of African-Americans standing in line to participate in early voting on Sunday. Some had been there for hours. I hear people taking politics and not "the game." Politics being discussed in multiple languages on the bus.
It matters. It matters to the totality of America. Not in selected pockets of the country that is designated "the real America." There are more good people than I gave this country credit for and they have been stepping up, contributing time, effort, money and vision. It is the whole flipping thing. And that is why I'm have taken the day off work and sit her cranky as hell waiting to vote at 7am.
How are I going to do the other things? Well I don't know. Maybe I'll camp out at one polling place and see what happens. I haven't got a clue.
But I want to say I was out there, I saw for myself. I see on behalf of the ancestors and those that died making this day happen. On this day I want to bear witness to what was and what will be. I have to live here no matter what so I'll be posting on and off all day.
Soon as the Emergen-C kicks in I'll be good to go.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Today Yma Sumac passed. Today a grandmother from Hawaii passed. Those who are left behind often go back home but home isn't the place you left behind. It has changed.
You can't go back. You can visit and you can stay but you can't return to what you remember.
This is my quick way of showing that happening to me.
The PTC video is from the Philadelphia Transit Museum. This is day 3 of International/National Videoblogging Month or VloMo08 or VloMo or whatever you want to call it.
It is your month. Roll 'em!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
This guy is another person I have heard of, seen on 1960 and 1970s television interview shows. I had a vague sense of who he was. So when I saw in the newspaper that he was going to be on campus I ran out of excuses. I grab old faithful and jumped a #780.
In this short clip, Gore Vidal is explaining that even with an unusual name you still can be confused with someone else. There is that and the fact that when an 83 year old man talks about "doing me" you tend to pay attention.
The video was recorded at Pasadena City College at an ACLU sponsored gathering. I also bought his book so that I could know his writings beyond what is commonly believed about him.
This is my day 2 contribution to VloMo08, a video a day for the month of November. Recycling is encourage and some days dang near necessary.
I just got to do it, stay on task. Yeah. It is either this or the laundry. Hell of a choice.
Before I begin, I need to give an ancestral shout out to Mrs. Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Ida's career included being an homemaker, teacher, writer, pamphleteer (pre-Internet print based blogger) and journalist.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett wrote about her experiences of living in her time. Ida wrote about social and political injustice when mainstream media would not touch the subject. She was not afraid to raise the BS card on suffragette peers who exhibited racist acts in the name of equality.
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett is one of many women who made it possible for us to even contemplate recording and documenting our experiences on November 4, 2008.
Be Clear On Your Purpose
There is no right or wrong was to document an election. I would like to suggest that you take some time to figure out what you really want to do. Here are some options:
- Recording Your Decision to Vote. That can be as simple as a blog post, an audio recording or a short video describing why you selected the candidate, the person that you believed would serve the country best or what was the deciding factor in your process.
- Talking With Your Children/Grandchildren. Let them ask you questions on why is this such a big deal? Why do you want them to go with you to the polls? If older children have participated in the Weekly Reader election then engage them in a dialog (hopefully on video) as to how they came to their decisions and why you came to yours. No video camera, no problem you can shoot photos and record audio and then upload to one of the many slide show/presentation services.
- No Kids? No problem. Perhaps you might like to stop by your local polling place and just observe. Is there a long line? How far does it go back? Can you time how quickly people are entering and exiting the polling place? What is the mood of the crowd? You can do this via paper, texting, still photos or video.
- Recording Your Vote. This is the diciest activity of the day. This really depends on where your live, and whether or not you are legally permitted to have a camera inside of the polling place.
- Protecting the Process Against Error and Fraud. This is the second most risky activity. Election fraud can mean an overly aggressive observer from another political party, machine malfunctions, poll workers giving incorrect information or voter intimidation.
Election Laws & Your Right To Photography/Videography
With new technology there is a collision between federal, state and local election laws and your right to record your voter participation. I am not a lawyer. Each state and each county has different rules. When in doubt check with your local election office. These are just guidelines and avenues of assistance from respected sources.
Let's start with a video How To Video Your Vote - A Legal Primer
Citizen's Media Law Project has extensive information about elections laws and your behavior. You want to take a look at the State and Local Codes page, it will give you an idea of what you can do near the polls on election day. Californians, pay attention to your state section. You cannot use your camera to intimidate or stop someone from voting but it implies that you can video. Not so fast. Keep reading. You might not be able but then again check out Secretary's Bowen letter to the troops about voter questions about Video The Vote.
A must read is Burt Krages' The Photographer's Rights flyer. Most polling places have a video or photo restriction of between 100 and 150 feet. If you are at the 151 foot however snap away. If you are on a public side walk recording a news worthy event there shouldn't be any problems.
For example, taking photos of people in long lines is ok, but take a specific individual's photo and publishing it on you blog/web site is not ok unless you have a photo release signed by the subject.
This is especially important if you have any kind of advertising on your site. This is an example of an Adult Release by the National Professional Photographer's Association. You can modify it by added your blog or e-mail contact info. Your subject gets a copy and you keep a copy.
For vloggers planning to do interviews you could start the video by asking the name of your subject and permission to record the interview. Having a signed release is better.
Texting, Cell Phones, Digital Still Cameras and Camcorders, Oh My...
Texting/SMS/Twitter you should be ok. Come up for air once in a while to know what is going on but for the most part there isn't precise laws against twitter in a polling place. If your tweets become disruptive or you are impeding the process of voting however you will get the boot. On the other hand, if you do observe a problem you can use Twitter to contact Election Protection, you can get more detail at the website.
Cell phones and specifically cell phones and PDAs with camera/camcorder mode. Be cool. Don't take photos of poll workers or other voters. Wait until you are in the booth. Should you happen to press the photo button that is between you, the ballot and your camera. This is illegal in North Carolina, by the way. You can't take a photo of the ballot. Not that it hasn't already been done.
It you happen to witness wrong doing you can call Our Vote at 1-866-687-8683 and report your observations.
Still Cameras/Camcorders, this is where you definitely have to check your state and local government position on cameras in the polling place. I will say the more small and unobtrusive equipment might not be notices as much as a fully grown camcorder. I'm thinking Xacti's, Flip Video and RCA Small Wonder. Leave your hi-definition baby home or in the backpack for outside.
Lastly, If you plan on participating with Video The Vote has information on guidelines of what you should and shouldn't be doing around voters and video recording tips on how to prepare and upload video to the various web hosts.
YouTube and PBS have partnered to Video Your Vote 2008 as a repository for user generated videos.
I know I jammed at lot of stuff in here but I don't want anyone getting thrown out of their polling place unnecessarily. It is gonna be something to behold and I can't wait to see some of your photos, videos and reports on this most extraordinary day.
This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Rain In Los Angeles - VloMe Day 1 from Gena Haskett on Vimeo.
So by consensus, a quick poll and the fact that saying National Videoblogging Month is a mouthful it has be re-named VloMo08 or VloMo for short. This year the gang is hanging it's out at Vimeo and you can search for videos at the VloMo channel on Mefedia.
You don't have to be a member of any organized group to participate. Videobloggers are the most unorganized organized group. The only rule that is steadfast is shoot video, upload and share. It has been awhile since I've been able to participate so I'm in training mode. Keeping it simple.
Day 1 in the bag. Day 2 - cheeze, I forgot about that. Wish me luck. Oh, you don't have to use Vimeo, I'm a Blip.tv girl myself but I like to check out how other do things.