Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm Sorry on The Finally Friday Freakout

Mercy did we make it to the end of the month? I can't keep track of all the apologies floating around. Or that what people are calling what they are doing. As always, I like to know what I am talking about. So, I looked up the definition of apology. From Definr:
  • n 1: an expression of regret at having caused trouble for someone; "he wrote a letter of apology to the hostess"
  • 2: a formal written defense of something you believe in strongly [syn: apologia]
  • 3: a poor example; "it was an apology for a meal"; "a poor excuse for an automobile"
Damn the English language! Just when a woman needs a little back up I get shanked by the electronic progeny of Funk and Wagner's.

Ok, let me try this from another perspective. Last Friday I said I did not want an apology for that New York Post cartoon. I meant it. So, there was an apology of sorts in the New York Post

I translated it to roughly mean: "Yeah, if you were offended we are sorry but not that we did anything wrong mind you. It was just a comment on a bad approach to the proposed stimulus package. Upon reflection we would have put a name on that chimp like, Bosco? "

"Maybe we should have thought about the implications of relating a local east coast story that half the country had no idea about but you can't blame us for that cuz we are a NY paper. Plus we just really hate that non-CEOs real type people are gonna get a chunk of that money. "Oh, yeah and we forgot there was a new guy in the White House too. Sort of. Not really."

The name of the song is "I'm Sorry"

I think an apology is when you admit you made a mistake and you are sorry. Now take Miss Brenda Lee, the kid has the right idea and the proper words and contrition. Plus, there are puppies. For real, check it out.

Now for those of you that are creatively confused about African-Americans, monkeys and watermelons AND are contemplating a cartoon, photo montage or live video interpretation using any of the above items please listen very closely.

Don't Do It.

But I am a vigorous advocate of freedom of speech. If you must travel down this road, (and really I encourage you to turn back) then I feel obligated to tell you when your ass in in the public sling of full blown hostility and people are looking at you like you have a booger on your cheek you need to issue a real apology.

Well, Rupert Murdoch gave it a go, this is a version found in the 2/24/09 NY Times.

Let's look at the checklist:
  1. I had no idea it was racist? Check. Special bonus point for admitting it took a bunch of people to convince him.
  2. To those that were offended we are sorry. Check.
  3. Admitted that the paper made a mistake. Is sorry for those that were offended. I'm taking back the bonus point. Wrong is wrong, it is not targeted to just those you offended but to the community as a whole.
  4. Only intent was to criticize a bad stimulus bill. Not meant to be racist but some took it as such. No Mr. Murdoch, a lot of people took it to be highly offensive not just for racial reasons but the implication of shooting the person promoting and most identified with the stimulus bill. I don't know if your peeps told you but police offices shooting anything looking like an anthropomorphic characterful painted black makes us queasy. We get flashbacks. We have YouTube videos to support those flashbacks.
Then when you think Black History Month couldn't get any strangers up pops up stuff from behind the Orange curtain. Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose sent a personal e-mail to friends, one of whom was African-American. Ms. Price was not amused at the contents nor the response.

Mayor Dean Grose's apology letter to the City Council, Price and her boss:
I am deeply embarrassed in receiving your email, and for any harm or hurt that it may have caused. It was poor judgment on my part and was never intended to be offensive to Ms. Price, your company or anyone in the African American Community.
Look folks, it is almost March. Could we just skip the hate cartoons and save it for next December when we will need some anger to keep us warm? It would be appreciated and I do think there are other things on people's minds, just saying that a $350 Trillion dollar budget requires attention. Y'all is distracting thinking caring people from grown-folk work.

No? I didn't think so. Well... Kumbaya to you until next time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dreams Fulfilled - Journeys to Science Ph.D Bloggers

Visibility.  There is still a need to document the work being done by women, particularly in the sciences. It is even more important to educate people outside of the science world because it can literally save lives. More on that later in my post. One of the benefits of going to a science blog is that another person is telling me they are traveling the distance between a dream and actuality. If they can do it maybe I can too.

This post was inspired by FairerScience hosting a blog carnival on dreams of a more equitable society. Prudence Motowo is from Zimbabwe.  It is one thing to say that you want to be a scientist but there is a lot of work involved in gaining that higher degree. In a video from 2007 you can learn about Prudence’s area of research and her climate transition from Zimbabwe to the English winters. 

In 2008 Prudence had to defend her dissertation in what folks in the UK call a “viva.”  This is a video of the moments after Prudence Mutowo became Dr. Prudence Mutowo.

Disgruntled Julie is working on her Ph.D in Oncology. Her blog is a mixture of what she is doing in and out of the lab. The first post I read was explaining a dilemma about a presentation she needed to give to her peers. In this passage you can clearly see that she loves what she does:

My program is in cancer biology, rather than biochemistry or pharmacology or structural biology, so we are tied together by the fact that we study cancer, not by the way in which we study cancer. 98% of the program studies cell signaling and knockdown genes in cells and in animals, and while they produce some hot science and generate some pretty cool results, the techniques they use are all same old, same old in so much as we see the same thing every week.

Then I come along, and my results come from surface plasmon resonance and circular dichroism and fluorescence polarization, and I talk about things like molecular modeling with structures from co-crystallization…That’s what I love about my project – even though it’s taking me a long time to generate worthwhile data, my presentations are always interesting, because I am the black sheep of the program doing something COMPLETELY different than everyone else (all biochemistry/biophysics), and people are interested to learn about what it is that I am doing.

Nightmares On The Journey

Now just because you think your dream is a good idea doesn’t mean that all educated people are going to respect or encourage you. Even in the halls of science, there are people who will be threatened by a woman’s presence . Melissa at Confused At A Higher Level, dreams about if there will ever be any increased representation in physics by women:

I have become less optimistic the longer I have persisted in physics. Initially, I imagined there existed a few old guards resistant to change, but that the attitudes and actions that hindered women in physics were on their way out. Yet I have had physicists of my generation say appalling things to me, and I continue to be disappointed in the complacency of people who claim to be allies.

What does make me optimistic is that women who have had 30+ year careers say that they have seen improvement over the course of their careers. However, now that the blatant discrimination is gone, the challenges are more insidious. For that reason, I think Virginia Valian’s book, Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women, might make good required reading for scientists.

Honoring The Dead and Saving Future Lives

In 1989 a man walked into an classroom at the Ecole Polytechnique. This man killed 14 women students. This is a statement of fact. It does not tell the story. Alice at Sciencewomen fills in the details about what happened in her post on We Remember the Montreal Massacre. You see, in most stories they remember the name of the killer. Alice list the names of the women who were killed. 

Most stories also remember that he stated that he wanted to kill “f*cking feminists.” It did not matter if these women were or were not feminists. They were women who dared to dream. In our world, that is enough to get you killed. Thesis with Children wants you to know that the fear echoed south of the border. 

I understand that fear because when you are in a male dominated environment or course of study you are told both covertly and overtly that you as a woman do not belong. I bring this up because there is a fictional movie based on the events of December 6, 1989. You can view a trailer of the movie, or read more about it at IMDB’s Polytechnique page. Canadians are conflicted about the movie. There is an article in the The that talks about film and what memories it invokes.

Unfortunately it might become the cultural record of fact. This is another person that is revising and re-interpreting the actual experience. I do not know if those of us the U.S. will have access to this movie.  To be honest, I don’t think I would see if I could. Watching women being killed is not entertainment to me.

We can save future lives by educating our children that all people have the right to be educated. We can be verbally respectful of women who choose their life path, whether that is a SAHM, a Bio-Medical engineering or a mom who is a Ph.D.

We can save future lives by telling our truths in our writings, photographs and recordings. We can no long allow people to tell our stories if we are capable of doing so ourselves.

We can save future lives by following our dreams.

Gena Haskett is a Contributing Editor at BlogHer where this article first appeared.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Standing Here Wondering on the Finally Friday Freakout

It has been a week of contradictions. Is you is or is you ain't a person? How much of a person are you? Do you have papers to prove your humanity this time?

Touchy aren't you? Why can't you people understand satire?

When I was younger I learned about civil rights and wrongs. I thought this mess would be cleaned up when I got to be a grown up. All the stupid people would be dead and the rest of us would be cleansed of the past.

This was a childish thought.

It has been a week of grown folks being proud to print a cartoon showing a monkey shot dead that was being held responsible for the stimulus passage. When I saw the cartoon I flashed to the video of the young man shot dead in Oakland, CA at the BART station. Cops standing around. A body on the ground.

I flashed forward to the unspeakable fear I have about Obama sharing Lincoln's fate. This is why I want him to lay off the Lincoln analogies and connections. I want to be at his 96th birthday party. I have planned for it and we can talk about the seating arrangements later.

I flashed at both my firm belief in freedom of speech and knowing wish fulfillment in pen and ink when I see it. I flash at opportunists and people honestly in pain. A pain inflicted to remind me that there is so much work to be done it ain't funny.

I don't want an apology. They cannot remove it from my sight or memory. I thank them for knowing where they stand. Someday that newspaper will be no more. On that day, I will smile. That will be apology enough.

I could dog pile a list of other contradictions of the week but my gut is on fire as it is. So in the spirit of my paternal grandmother we are gonna bring a little church up in here. Because although I will not step foot in a church unless absolutely necessary, I do know that music can heal. This is part of my heritage. My African-American heritage. I ain't giving up the hyphen for nobody.

This recording was the soundtrack of a famous public service announcement about not dropping out of high school. It ran for years on every television network. It was a video of a young man standing at a parking meter. Poor soul did not know if he should turn left or right. He was just standing, lost inside of himself.

Yeah, maybe I'll go to the ocean and gaze into the mystic or something. Or dig up my Van Morrison tape. I gotta do something. Maybe the dishes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lessons from The Monty Python Channel on YouTube

This is how you do it. They get it. Or got it. Maybe it was one of their grandkids that brought it to their attention. YouTubers have been snagging Monty Python content for years. I neither approve or condone such actions but yeah I watched.

You get attached to Spiced Ham and then a stinking DCMA notice hits and it gets yanked down. Up and down, from good transfers to crappy Vaseline postings. The fans would not be satisfied. It took time and effort to yank those suckers down too. Only one benefiting was the lawyers typing up those dang DCMA letters.

That is all over, thanks to the wonder of The Monty Python Channel

Somebody said, hey let's post our stuff in the best quality and we'll ask them to buy DVDs of the lot. Now it might seem to some people that this is not a good idea to give it away free. In fact, it is a great idea. See, I remember them because I saw the actual television show on PBS.

But that was years ago. Now I can look at the bit of stuff and decided if it was as good as I thought or not. If it is, I might want to get the DVD so that I don't have to get rump burn trying to watch the clips and videos in my computer chair. I am a potential customer!

But wait, it gets better. What about all the folks that have never seen it and only heard about it from older brothers and sisters. Not sure they would have listened to the parents but ok maybe even them. A whole new generation can be turned on to strange men in women's clothing.

Yeah! Everybody wins. The MPs get introduced to a new generation. The old fogies light ups some memories and cashed is exchanged for DVDs at

No hate, no eyestrain and you get a wee bit of Monty Python history too.

So your royal purpleness, Prince (not of England) why fight it man? Why feed the lawyers? Can't we all just get along? You know you could put out experimental videos and music just to wet your feet? Take lessons from a bunch of gits. It can work for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Analog Girl - Embracing the Static

Yes, she who loves electronics like some folks crave shoes is doing without digital television. This is my first official day. In actuality the first time in 2009 that I turned the TV on was for the inauguration. But I also had it on my computer via a number of services.

I wasn't taking any chances.

I do use the television to watch my VHS videos. If I ever find the rest of the Disney's The Gargoyles on VHS or DVD I'm good to go for a a little bit. That was more like an animated graphic novel than a traditional Disney cartoon series. I really like well done animation that tells stories. The WB Batman series, primo study in the use of shadows and atmosphere.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. My co-workers at the Salt Mine told me that I could go to Radio Shack and pick up the $20 HD antenna that would allow me to see more than the 1 station I can pick up. Channel 46DT. I have a testimonial that it really does work.

Channel 46DT comes in real clear, except when it pixilates. The fact that it is a Spanish television station is a bonus.

Now I am not hating on Channel 46DT. There were times when if I recognized the movie I would listen and try to resurrect what little Spanish I learned in high school. I choose to do that but I don't want to be forced to do that all the time.

My running total for my non-functioning conversion to Digital Television:
  • Got coupon and like a dope only asked for one coupon. Value $40
  • Get converter, cost 59.99, my cost 19.99+tax
  • Converter not play nice with TV which has only a coaxial outie and VHS/DVD player. Can't hook up antenna and VHS/DVD player. Back to the store.
  • Buy RF Modulator that allows me to hook up TV, Combo Player and Antenna. $29.95, total spent is now $49.95
  • DVD/VHS combo breaks, have to get a new unit. Find cheap one at $69.95 Total $119.95
  • Hook everything up. Run auto-scan. Can only get Channel 46DT. Run manual scan. Same blasted thing.
  • I say forget this, I've got DVD, VHS and Hulu. Ah but as I plop in my Dick Tracy video, the old one where Boris Karloff plays a wicked villain, there is a grinding in the DVD unit. It won't open. It won't play. I press buttons, power up and down and in a fit of anger I pull on the DVD drive. I pull the cheap plastic drive holder all the way out. I now have half a functional combo unit.
Now I've seen the videos for building your own DTV antenna and I think I can do that cuz I do have wire coat hangers but I don't have wire cutters and the other stuff. Take a look:

Coat Hanger HDTV Antenna: Better Than Store Bought! AMAZING! - Click here for more home videos

I still have two huge apartments next to me and I will tell anyone who will hear me, I am not climbing on my roof for the current TV season.

Damion, I love you in Life but unless your show continues to post on Hulu we will have a parting of the ways. I'm watching Battlestar Gallactica's last season. I can wait 8 days between shows. They ain't fooling, the last season is ripping traditional television a new one every week. Hey Josh Whedon, you and your girls should watch a few episodes for inspiration. They're be scripting and acting over there Arrrgh...

I do have options. I can continue to watch TV via my computer. It does have advantages and disadvantages. I hear there is a laptop antenna conversion kit that can pull DTV signals. That would be another $50-$70 bucks but I could hook it up and watch TV on the laptop in bed.

Or I can break down and buy a digital TV converter card for my computer. If I do that then I should also think about getting a new monitor.

Do you see the pattern? Money. Each option cost money that I am unwilling to spend for something that hasn't served my needs in years. I'm still sleeping to mighty fine podcasts. I don't need disengaged local and national television any more.

They don't want me either. So it will be a while before I make a decision to spend more money on Channel 46DT or 63 other channels that I may or may not see. No worries, I have love and books to keep me warm.

Now if I could just find my electric blanket.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Face It Girl on the Finally Friday Freakout

Nancy Wilson was so classy I couldn't even imagine being like her. I could be Gladys and Aretha. Nancy was regal. They didn't call her fancy Nancy Wilson for nothing.

This is another of those situations where I am just now seeing a performer for the first time. I had heard this song for years but this was my first opportunity to hear her sing it. This is Miss Nancy Wilson's Face It Girl originally record in 1968 and can be found on the album Easy.


Now I think this video is much later than when Nancy recorded the original song. It seems to come from a variety type show.  Then again, It might have been her own variety show that ran from 1967-1968. I’m not sure. I was hip deep with Batman and the Monkees at the time. I probably was in bed when her show came on television.

Now the great thing about a timeless master performer is that she can take a song that she has song hundreds of times and surprise the heck out of you. Some folks called this seasoning.

In this next clip, Miss Nancy is charming, funny and to the point sassy about her reaction to the situation in her classic tune “Guess Who I Saw Today

If you would like to know more about her wonderful career or catch up on her discography you should visit her website,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Road To Good Habits is Paved with Bad Intentions

We are the sadder but wiser girls. We have been down this road before and don't like the view. If you or I could have thought our way out of emotionally sucking on some pizza would have done so long time ago. Some of those bad intentions were very tasty or had a gleam in the eyes that couldn't be denied.

Some of us we require a "structured" approach to developing good habits. Otherwise we will lie, cheat and manipulate our way back to the bad side. This requires a different kind of commitment. I can’t tell you the right thing to do but I can share with you some examples that might help you get where you want to go.

A Good Habit Requires Love

Good habits require a shift in thinking. Trading a good habit for a bad one is not a punishment but a welcomed relief from doing something that is destructive to our well being.  Dogwood Mama In The Thicket understand what I am trying to say. She is trying to find her road back to better nutrition and in her words:

I am learning and praying and hoping that I will be more steady in my efforts this time, and probably slower in implementing them.

For me it is more like one day at a time for as long as it takes. That might be the rest of my life. Maybe a more realistic approach is to concentrate on a specific task for a moment, one hour at a time or for just a day. Slide into bed with the good habit just like we did with the bad habits. Perhaps we need to treat a good habit like a lover. A disciplined lover. As in disciple or any other associations that might occur to you.

Practiced, practice and more practice. You heard this before. It takes 21 days to lock in a good habit. I liked the approach by Darmaris Piece at I Am Thankful, 21 Days to Form A Good Habit.  She does give you six helpful steps but Darmaris also encourages you to be thankful and to add positive affirmations to what you want to do. If 21 days is too much then you might be interested in 3 Easy Steps to Break Bad Habits from WebMD.

Mental Motivation

We need motivation. This will shock a few of you but you can't find your specific motivation in a book or a blog. It has to come from inside you.  But bloggers and others can inspire you and coach you along the way. Dara Chadwick at Fit In Real Life points out that the work may not be just external. You might have to do positive internal work as well.

I'm notorious for not being able to take a compliment and I've started to see how negative a habit that can be. When someone tells me I look great and I say, "No, I don't" or some other self-deprecating remark, it diminishes not only me, but the person giving the compliment.

I can’t tell you the number of blog post written by women who are vicious with themselves. Stop doing that! It sets you up for failure and you are back on that road of too much food, coffin nails or another situation that set you up for failure and self loathing. It is about the love baby. Nothing but love.

Wanted to lose 5 pounds in a week and you only lost 1.5 pounds? Give yourself a pat on the back for the 1.5 pounds and say these exact words, “I’m doing ok. Next time I’m going to do better.”  I' mean it. No hate talk, no self-bashing and, most of all no comparisons, to any person living or dead that lost more weight than you did last week.

Clueless Baby at Just An Ordinary Life takes a look at her specific bad habits, nail biting, procrastination and fidgeting and states what works for her. You see, if you don't have a vested reason (other than your doctor telling you to quit it or die) then there is nothing to keep you from woofing down a cheeseburger and a shake.

You motivation has got to stronger than your desire. Sometimes those rascals are pulling on you with equal force. This leads to the second component.

Clearly Stated Goals

The clearly stated goal helps to reinforces the good habit. What do you want to do? Do you want $1,000 in savings by the summer? Travel?  Fitting into a size 14 dress? What would it take to make that happen and what is the bad habit blocking you from what you want?

If you keep buying the morning Danish bun you are not gonna have $1,000 in savings or wear a size 14 dress.  For those of use that need reverse psychology, especially when it comes to money, you can read Jennifer Derrick’s post on 21 Days to A Negative Money Habit.

ElizaLizzy at The Evolution of Me has three specific things she wants to do every day:

I am going to start anew tomorrow and try my hardest to meet three simple little goals. #1 - Bring Breakfast - that is already in my work bag - so I have no excuses #2 - take a 30 minute walk (or 2 15-minute walks or 3 10-minute walks). and #3 - track all calories on Sparkpeople tomorrow.

For some of us it is not just that we want to change but we have a medical condition that requires management. For example, Karen at Overcoming Asthma writes about bad habits for those that suffer Asthma. Reading the post she is also speaking to the rest of us when it comes to the conscious and unconscious triggers that invoke habits that are harmful and yet we do them anyway.

One More Thing

There will be mistakes, errors in judgment (for me if chocolate is in the area there will be many errors in judgment) and well, we might get frustrated about following a set of guidelines. That is okay. We are allowed to mess up. We are human beings. It isn’t going to be easy. Sometimes you will do the right things and it will not seem to work.

Amberlyn from Confessions of 2 Fat Girls had a set back but she says:

But I don't want to quit. I've come some far, for me, and worked to hard to give it up on a few bad days. Tell me to keep going. Tell me that all this hard work is worth it. Tell me that we have good weeks and bad weeks.

Yes, Amberlyn we do have good weeks, bad weeks and some weeks should be wiped off the calendar. The next day however we open our eyes, affirm the positive and get on with the business of creating our life on own terms. It is worth it.

Other Resources:

Conscious divas know that splendor does not come without pre-attached gunk that must be dealt with. Fortunately Smooth Diva J is looking out for you. You can train your inner diva to break bad habits.

Over at Psych Central Dr. Grohol ask How Long Does Change Take?  According to him, it takes at least six months.

For those with bad money habits and fears you should visit The Consumerist (Now owned by Consumer Union, the company that publishes Consumer Reports) and read 9 Good Habits for a Deep Recession.

This post originally appeared on BlogHer, where I am a Contributing Editor.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Omnivore’s Hundred - My Choices

Food has been on my mind lately. There are things I can't have anymore. I can't sneak them down or savor them for long. I'm pissed about it but coming to the final stages of acceptance. So I wanted to know if I made a decent attempt at eating beyond my culture. This list originated at Very Good Taste in the UK and you can do it too if you want to.

Lemme see, ok if I've had it is in bold and because I'm too lazy to look up the strikeout code I'll color foods that I would not consume in red. And green if I haven't tried it and I'm willing. Here we go!

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding there was a German variation that I think I did eat. More liver like though.
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart not to mention hot links with a heavy does of grilled onions.
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle If somebody else is paying for the meal sure. Otherwise, no.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese or the East Coast version called Scrapple. Not enough ketchup in the world to eat that again.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper, Sorry no I don't have a death wish. Raw or cooked not for me.
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O well, maybe one. Just one. Really, one will do just fine.
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal Nope, love curry but not having a firestorm in the tummy. Pass.
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear if it is like catus yeah.
52. Umeboshi Few weeks back I had salted plum soda. Cleared my runny nose up in a jiff.
53. Abalone not because of the taste but we've damn near killed the species. We don't need to.
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini I don't know what a DGM is but I know my body does not like martinis.
58. Beer above 8% ABV Don't like beer. Don't like the smell or the taste. Ginger Beer is ok.
59. Poutine I would if I could. Fries, cheese and sauce? Yes please. I mean, no thanks but yeah!
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads Had an Argentine neighbor and it wasn't bad. Won't seek them out but ok.
63. Kaolin This is clay. Never want to be that hungry.
64. Currywurst
65. Durian Naw, If you have to wear a face mask to sneak up on it no, not for me.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis I'd want to see someone eat it from a distance but no thank you.
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette I was a kid ok, I loved them but time marches on.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe Isn't Absinthe the stuff that makes you crazy? I need no help.
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu or liquid rocket fuel for humans. I'd take a sip but I'd be sleeping at the table so after.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare if he means rabbit hell, no. My Granpa use to shoot them for dinner. Eat Bugs Bunny?
87. Goulash
88. Flowers Nasturniums are great in salads, nice and pepper-like.
89. Horse in the name of My Friend Flicka, No!
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam I had a lot of Spam when I was young. Way too much. You can have my share.
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa I would if I could.
94. Catfish Bottom feeders that creep me out. Again, a kid thing I cannot do it.
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee I don't like coffee.
100. Snake

Oh, one more thing. Just because I tried it does not mean I'd eat it again. I tried Pig Snout Soup. I liked it until I was told what it was. It did not stay with me long after that. Would not have eaten it if I was told what it was in the first place. Information is power.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Arthur Lipsett's 21-87 from the National Film Board of Canada

Ah, there are times when you find jewels among the muck. There has been a lot of discussion of late about copyright, creativity and the use of another person's work to build a transformed piece of art, music or video.

I wanted to share with you a video by filmmaker Arthur Lipsett called 21-87. It is a montage of video, images and sounds that will lead you to an unexpected place in 1963 that may resonate with you today.

Nothing in this current world was conceived without prior inspiration. Now I do believe in right livelihood and being compensated for your work and efforts. I should explain what I'm talking about first, huh?

Yesterday I wanted to post a video I had seen of Johnnie Ray performing his classic tune "Cry." I didn't want a photo montage or someone else doing a cover. I knew that I had seen it on YouTube so I go there to get the code. It had been pulled down for terms of use violation.

I wanted to share that video because for one thing very few people under 30 would have heard of him or the song. Johnnie Ray was profoundly hard of hearing. He had this voice that was clear as a bell and it made you feel something inside. Viewing his other work you can tell he was a precursor to pop music and Rock and Roll.

Now here is where it gets stupid. If you have a backlog of forgotten artists and you do nothing to promote that backlog I guess that is your right and your business.

But who does it serve to keep these artists out of the public eye? I first heard KoKo Taylor on the radio, it was the tune Insane Asylum with Willie Dixon. I heard it one time. Bone rattling good. The next day I bought the CD of her greatest hits.

I feel frustrated when laws that were created to protect creators rights have been misshapen by media companies and (I hate typing these letters) the RIAA.

If I could say something to the dinosaurs I would point them to the National Film Board of Canada's open film archives and say, "Hey, by freeing your older properties you can gain exposure, embed yourself as a cultural touchstone and gain supporters for your products."

These has been pointed out to them before. They will not listen. But if you do happen to see the actual video of Johnnie Ray singing "Cry" count yourself lucky that you were able to before the bean counters and musical history hoarders yanked it from your sight.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ain' No Sunshine on the Finally Friday Freakout

On this day lawd didn't it rain. Big gully whoppers not seen in this parts for quite a while. There was a break in the storm between 2:30pm and 4:00pm but soon after the Angels of Los Angeles got to sobbing something fierce.

I've been there. Some days are like that. Got friends going through stuff and tears are rolling down in sorrow because there is nothing you can do to change the situation, only how you think about it. Which is too far ahead because the pain is still there on the other side of your eyes. Hearts are breaking for all kinds of reasons, sometimes it is life that gets in the way. All you can do it cry.

So I needed a rain, love, pain song. Close as I could get was Mr. Bill Wither and Ain't No Sunshine.

People around here will say "We need the water." We honestly do, especially in the summertime. We know we need it but there are people out there driving so fast they are hydroplaning their way to the Moon. I am affirming my blessings that I am inside and not getting splashed by aquatic idiots.

Later on I'm gonna snuggle with a good book or maybe a story podcast and just be warm under the covers. I have all I need for this day and I got the night covered too.

Behold, it is enough.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Thinking About Violence Against Women and Men

It is time for an edutainment type quiz. I’m going to show you a 41 second clip from a movie called The Public Enemy. In this scene, James Cagney and Mae Clarke are at the breakfast table.  It starts with a question.


Here are your questions:

  • Who did you focus on, the man or the woman?
  • Who did you identify with, the man or the woman?
  • Was this an act of violence or of restraint by the man?
  • Did you connect with the woman and her concerns?
  • Did you think it was funny or did you have a pang of recognition?

You might have to watch the video again to catch everything that happened at that breakfast table. Violence is hard to write about. If you have experienced it or witnessed it is even more difficult. It is ok if you don’t want to read any further.

Violence is the use of physical force to injure somebody or damage something. Violence does not have to be physical; you can verbally or emotionally damage a person. You can kill a person’s spirit by word or deed. It is about power and control. It has always been about power and control.

I have got stacks of paper on the mind numbing ways women are assaulted, children are sexually abused and yes, men are victims of domestic and community supported violence. Sadly, women are not exempt from displaying violent behavior. Men can be emotionally, financially and physically assaulted by women as well.

I do believe that women are the overwhelming recipients of violent actions. However it would be dishonest not to acknowledge that there are a percentage of women who are abusers to both men and women. It is the behaviors, embedded permissions and beliefs that need to be recognized and understood before any change can take place.

You see, when a woman who wants an education get hydrochloric acid thrown in her face by a man and that action is supported by a culture, religion or governmental laws there is a deeply ingrained permission to control and assault another human being, if that person is considered human being.

Understanding that violence is the use of force to injure somebody or damage something is important. A segment of the world’s population of women are considered things or property. In other countries many women do not have the right of self-determination and autonomy. There are men in villages, tribes and communities that do not have that equal rights as well.

Before The Wheel – Violence As A Survival Tool

Dr. Gerda Lerner is a historian. She was one of the first people to begin the documentation of the history of women. Dr. Lerner is the author of The Creation of Patriarchy. Learner does point out that there were communities that did have cooperative non-violence existence. However if there was a hungry alpha male in the neighborhood there was probably trouble. Some of my understandings of her findings are:

  • Rape was used to build or destroy communities. Men and women initially were cooperative with each other. Women knew how to find food, shelter and could reproduce. If you were a man that did not have a woman or access to one your survival was in question. What to do? Take a woman, rape her and force her dependency on you for survival.
  • Women as property or vessels of commerce. Love had nothing to do with it.  It was a mater of supply, demand and allocation of resources. If you had too many mouths to feed, unproductive members (children) along with limited resources it might be decided that there would be an exchange with other groups to rid yourself of surplus women and children for goods and services. Or you might just get rid of the excess by killing them.
  • Pre-religious codification of quality. As time moved forward and the concept of ownership was developed there had to be a way to control who had access to the woman and the children she could birth. Long before organized religion the control over which man could impregnate a woman first was an issue that had to be resolved. For some communities there were ceremonies that permitted the men in the village to sexually dominate over a group of women. Later it evolves in to the concept of property and slavery.

Property can be abused and destroyed. If women, children and men are thought as property then yes, they are prone to be violated. The question is why did this happen to women? This is an extract from a conversation at with Jeffrey Mishlove, Ph.D:

MISHLOVE: And certainly there are many groups of people who have been oppressed throughout human history, but the fundamental division of the human race between men and women, and the oppression, the neglect of women that occurs across all cultures and all levels of society, is very, very deep, and in your work you point out that it goes to the very earliest beginnings of history itself.

LERNER: Well, you see, I asked myself the question, which I think most women ask themselves sometimes in their lives, "How come that we did not even know that we were subordinated for such a long time?" Other groups that were subordinated in history -- peasants, slaves, colonials, any kind of group, ethnic minorities -- all of those groups knew very quickly that they were subordinated, and they developed theories about their liberation, about their rights as human beings, about what kind of struggle to conduct in order to emancipate themselves. But women did not, and so that was the question that I really wanted to explore. And in order to understand it I had to understand really whether patriarchy was, as most of us have been taught, a natural, almost God-given condition, or whether it was a human invention coming out of a specific historic period. Well, in Creation of Patriarchy I think I show that it was indeed a human invention; it was created by human beings, it was created by men and women, at a certain given point in the historical development of the human race. It was probably appropriate as a solution for the problems of that time, which was the Bronze Age, but it's no longer appropriate, all right? And the reason we find it so hard, and we have found it so hard, to understand it and to combat it, is that it was institutionalized before Western civilization really, as we know it, was, so to speak, invented, and the process of creating patriarchy was really well completed by the time that the idea systems of Western civilization were formed.

I wanted to share Dr. Lerner’s research with you because so much energy is spent talking about acts of violence and not enough understanding the roots of violence. This ancient programming is not the only reason for human violence; there maybe a biological factor. There may be genetic reasons for some forms of human violence.

Once you know that violence we now see embedded as laws, rights and passages of faith was actually a survival mechanism that we have brought forward, the more we can begin to release the old ways and truly establish 21st century level human rights.

More Academic Thinking About Violence

Lilith Feminist History Journal (Australia) has an paper by Angela Woollacott that continues the discussion about the relationship between violence, war and domestic violence used as a tool of control.

Psychoanalyst Eric Fromm’s The Nature of Violence in 1969 asked some tough questions such as is violence inherent in human nature?  He has a passage that talks about if “leaders” make a man believe there is a threat then could that be as real as an actual threat? Could it be that some men are threatened by a woman who dares to question them?

If you want to go even deeper download Philip L. Walkers 30 page report on A Bioarcheological Perspective on the History of Violence. He attempt to refine the definition of violence, it is depended on what a particular culture believes it to be, and what is consistent with violence in the past and the present time.

Bloggers and Others Asking Questions About Violence

Hanna at Emotional Abuse and Faith is asking questions about the connection between faith and the lack of willingness to deal abuse issues. She has posted a powerful video by a woman who tried to seek help and was told to sweep it under the rug.

Hanna’s blog led me to Scott at iChalice who posted a sermon he recently delivered about domestic violence.

We are not immune. I have had people, when I talk about this sermon, react with surprise that there are women in our congregations who need this message. I have had people tell me that we should focus on how we can support groups and shelters for women without acknowledging the very real fact that before we can give money to the local group we must give our ears and hearts to the local parishioner. We must give ears to the stories that are so often unspoken.

Maria at write about her own experiences but also of the larger world where violence is condoned or efforts to deal with it are underfunded or ignored. LY Marlow at Color Me Butterfly also has words about the desire to hush but also speaks about male victims of domestic violence as well.

Speaking of male victims of domestic violence, there is a page on that has articles and resources for male domestic violence victims. I have some concerns about some of the articles and essays posted but there may be information that could be helpful to an undeserved population. 

The answers to the questions on the pop quiz? There is no right or wrong answer. These are questions of awareness.  I welcome your answers in the comments.

This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Moment of Gratitude - My Neighbors

Today someone walked into my back yard and tried to open a door and window. One of my neighbors saw him and asked the man what was he doing there? The low life gave some jacked up excuse and beat it.

My other neighbors came to my door to alert me. I heard the noise but thought it was opossums. It wasn't. The guy got away. We called the police who did come promptly. It is ok for now.

Here is the thing. I hardly speak to my side neighbors. We come and go at different times. Modern life you know. My neighbor did not have to be observant or even get involved.

The police officer asked my neighbor how did he come to engage the stranger? The response was that he knew it wasn't right for him to be back in my back yard. If he didn't act that man might come back and try to get into his place.

My front neighbors didn't have to get involved either but I do know them a little better. Still, I'm thinking I was blessed today. I've been blessed and did not know it. Sometimes you can be so deep in your personal muck you don't comprehend the whole view.

I just got back from put some cans and bottle by the gate. My neighbor said "Why are you doing that?" I said just in case the stranger comes back there would be additional noise to alert. He said don't worry about it, folks are on the look out.

So yeah, this community thing and looking out for each other? It can work. It does work. We don't need to be all up in every one's personal business but we can be there when it counts.

Now if I could just stop being scared and grateful. Grateful is better but I'm not a perfect person. Scared and grateful will have to do for now.