Sorry I Missed Out
Maybe next year...
Maybe next year...
Yeah, yeah, yeah. A day and a half late and a dollar short, that’s me. Actually, several dollars shorter than I was yesterday since I spent the day out Christmas shopping with my mother. (We actually didn’t do too bad, considering, but that’s another post, another blog, another day.)
Four Things I Bloody Well Hate About the Christmas Season
1) Rude Drivers: Why is it necessary to place your vehicle square in the middle of the intersection when the light is turning yellow? Will it really hurt so much to wait out one more traffic light sequence? Is that lost 90 seconds going to keep you from baking one more holiday cookie for the unfortunate family that lives down the street? Or is it going to keep you from putting yourself further in debt in an assinine attempt to impress the neighbors and the neighbor kids (see holiday decorations, below)?
C’mon…is the “Christ” now so far removed from “Christmas” that we can’t even display a little common courtesy? An iota? A smidgeon???
2) Commercialism and commercials: Fortunately, by listening to public radio most of the time and working until 11 PM, I’m not exposed to much commercial television. This was a great blessing during the recent congressional elections. It’s also a boon every Christmas holiday season.
3) Christmas Muzak: Don’t get me wrong, I like a little Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby or Peggy Lee…to a degree. But to hear them continually pumped from the day after Hallowe’en until Christmas is more than any sane human can tolerate. About the only thing worse are the champagne commercials between Christmas and the New Year. [See 2, above]
4) Holiday decorations: Even in my small apartment complex (maybe 60 or 70 units) there is this infernal competition! In the summer, it’s gardening. In the Christmas season, it’s decorations! There is a lawn to one apartment which I’m amazed hasn’t caught on fire due to the wiring.
Every year I’ve been here, it’s gotten worse. The McMansion communities have incubated their evil offspring and they've now infested my little community! Anybody have a recipe for a good, organic pest control agent?
I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, getting older. I just long for the “old days” which seemed like such simpler and happier times. Back when we cared less about impressing the neighbors and more about helping them, caring for each other. Do I really remember a time when things were better, when there was less tension and more peace or is it just a figment of my imagination or the yearning regrets of a woman who’s becoming more familiar and comfortable with the concept of her own demise?
While you’re out shopping for the holidays, consider doing an old broad a favor? Be kind to other people. Let someone out into traffic. Don’t rush to clog up the intersection. Choose not to flip off the idiot behind you who beeped. Go ahead…be that daring! It’s Christmas, for Christ’s sake!
You can flip him off again on January 2nd.
I stopped by Shakespeare's Sister last night and, among other interesting things, I found this little gem. It was so much fun, I decided to do it here.
Who/what was your favorite cartoon characters when you were growing up?
Here are the ones I cited at Shakes':
Ever the Southern gentleman, swooned over by all the hens in the henhouse, he's got his sights set on the widow, Miss Prissy. I especially loved his interactions with Miss Prissy's son, Egghead, Jr.
Toon land's answer to Superman. This mouse could do anything and was always available to "save the day!" What a mouse!
And, last but not least...
What can I say. I had an alcoholic father so the bumbling, well-meaning "super-hero" was right up my alley. Besides, Polly was cute.
I also admit to being a closet Scooby-Doo fan. I liked Velma. I wonder why?...
(You can click on the pics to get to Don Markstein's Toonopedia page for each character.)
The group of scientists and scientific organizations meeting in San Fransisco this week at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting.
The latest data presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting suggests the ice is no longer showing a robust recovery from the summer melt.
Last month, the sea that was frozen covered an area that was two million sq km less than the historical average.
"That's an area the size of Alaska," said leading ice expert Mark Serreze.
"We're no longer recovering well in autumn anymore. The ice pack may now be starting to get preconditioned, perhaps to show very rapid losses in the near future," the University of Colorado researcher added.
The sea ice reached its minimum extent this year on 14 September, making 2006 the fourth lowest on record in 29 years of satellite record-keeping and just shy of the all time minimum of 2005.
Dr Serreze's concern was underlined by new computer modelling which concludes that the Arctic may be free of all summer ice by as early as 2040.
The new study, by a team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the University of Washington, and McGill University, found that the ice system could be being weakened to such a degree by global warming that it soon accelerates its own decline.
"As the ice retreats, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and leading to the loss of more ice," explained Dr Marika Holland.
"This is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region."
Eventually, she said, the system would be "kicked over the edge", probably not even by a dramatic event but by one year slighter warmer than normal. Very rapid retreat would then follow.
I heard this on the BBC's The World Today this morning. (Wake up, Brits! It's 7AM!) As a matter of fact, as they just replayed it, one scientist reported that the Arctic has not been ice-free in "hundreds of thousands of years." That's 100,000's of years! This would be a monumental event the likes of which modern humanity has never witnessed.
So, the polar ice caps are not only going to melt but, once they pass that critical point, the descent will become increasingly more rapid. This pisses me off no end!
We've known about this for decades and the fucking Republicans (Reagan, Bush and Bush-Lite) systematically downplayed any research and scientific evidence supporting the catastrophic consequences of global warming. You remember the broohaha over chlorofluorocarbons in the 70's and 80's (in which, if I recall correctly, the US did not want to take its full share of the burden...sound familiar? Kyodo?), the evils of aerosol spray cans. They trotted out reputed scientists to pooh-pooh the mounting piles of proof.
And all the while industry marched merrily along.
It's sure starting to look as if the Chicken Littles weren't overreacting after all.
Jesus, I hate this monstrosity our country has become. I'm sometimes ashamed to be called an American.
(Damn, I hope the above wasn't enough to send up any flares to the NSA. Swear to God, guys, I do not plan on blowin' anything up!)
As a little, added bonie, here's the links list from the BBC site for the article to which I referred. Very interesting stuff:
Big-dollar deals tempt Arctic firms
09 Nov 06 | Business
'Drastic' shrinkage in Arctic ice
14 Sep 06 | Science/Nature
Arctic ice 'disappearing quickly'
28 Sep 05 | Science/Nature
Arctic heads into warmer future
02 Nov 04 | Science/Nature
Earth - melting in the heat?
07 Oct 05 | Science/Nature
RELATED INTERNET LINKS
Wikipedia didn't know if any other uses of this photo constitutes a copyright infringment and neither do I. I hope it doesn't because I'd hate to receive a cease and desist order for posting this little beauty:
Is that not one of the sexiest cars you've ever seen? God damn, I was meant to be a muscle car owner! That's the first Ford Falcon Cobra to roll off the production line in 1979. I do believe that was the model Mel Gibson drove in Mad Max.
Want to see what I used to own? Let me see if I can find an image...
This was the shape of my 1972 Mustang Fastback. Look at those lines...is that not just about the most sensual car you've ever seen?
Much sexier than the Mach I, which was all about guys and PERFORMANCE, BABY! Loud, rude, brutal, vulgar performance.
No, give me the sleek, smooth areodynamics of my 302, V-8 gas guzzler She probably got about 12-15 mpg but in 1975 gas was 26 cents a gallon so who cared? But she, with an automatic and a very inexperienced driver, would go from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds. Not too bad for a little "302."
This is another great shot of the ever-sultry '72 Fastback:
This was my color...isn't it a beauty? Washed and waxed every week, mag wheels cleaned, chrome buffed up with Mother's Chrome Polish. This new product, Armor All, was faithfully applied to all appropriate surfaces. She shone for a while, until I got too busy...working, being married, being a mom.
I sold her to a young man in 1982 who promptly wrapped her around a tree two weeks later, totalling the car. I was busy being a mom and nursing student and nearly full-time worker in a convenience store. I, sensibly I thought, got my husband's car in the divorce settlement...a 1981 Plymouth Champ which, by a huge margin, holds the title of Worst Lemon I Ever Owned. Karma maybe? But I got the kid and had school to think about. It was an investment. It just turned out to be a shitty one for me. That car made me swear off anything Mitsubishi-built forever.
Now, if I were transported back in time, I know just what vehicle I'd want to travel those slightly winding, high-crested backwoods roads of my youth:
The 1972 AMC Javelin. I thought this car was sexy even back then but they were rarer and, consequently, dearer. My '72 Fastback came to me for $1,200 in 1975. But I love the look of the AMC cars, yes, even the Gremlin...I dated a guy who had one. My parents had a Hornet for a number of years which served us very well. AMC also had great car names.
Who knew I was a gearhead, huh?
I added a category to my links today and revisited Project Implicit as a result.
This post at Bitch | Lab got me to thinking about race and research. That's when I realized I didn't have a link to Project Implicit in my lil' corner of the blogosphere. Project Implicit is a Harvard study collecting data and analyzing people's implicit associations. I find it fascinating. I amended my link omission quickly. While at the project's site, though, I realized it's been ages since I'd participated in the study.
I signed in (yes, you do have to register with an e-mail address to participate but I promise I've never gotten a bit of mail from them. The e-mail address is a mere formality.) and was directed to a test comparing Britney Spears to 50 Cent. This, coincidentally, melded nicely with another post at B | L. And there's been all that buzz going on recently about Britney's hoochie! Hmmm...I felt a post coming on already.
Anyway, if there are two things I couldn't care less about on this earth it's probably Britney Spears and 50 Cent. I know very little about them except that, unlike Bitch | Lab, I have seen Brittney's crotch shot. Somebody I respect, maybe Veronica from Nine Pearls, started me on a tangent recently that, at some point, led me to cross the path of Britney's twat. I was not impressed.
So, here I am on Project Implicit staring at pictures of Britney and 50. And I knew before I started the test how it was going to turn out. I seem to have a "strong automatic preference for Britney Spears over 50 Cent."
I despise Britney Spears...even more than I despise violent rap music. I know (knew) nothing about 50 Cent except his stage name. Yet I still had more of a tendency to relate 50's picture or name with negative terms and Britney's with positive terms.
It just goes to show you how insidious this racism thing is. I commented on Maxjulian's blog, thefreeslave, about my perception of the Ali-Frazier fights in the 70's as the contest of "The Good Black Man" versus "The Bad Black Man." And, although I knew it was wrong, I still rooted for Frazier not only because he was a Philadelphian. I rooted for him because I didn't recognize this man Muhammad Ali was and it/he frightened me.
I've grown up a little bit since then, yet I still "have a strong automatic preference for Britney Spears over 50 Cent."
Don't think the work is ever finished. There is always some buffing to be done to smooth over the rough edges, always more brilliance to be gained. I am both sorry and glad that I am, and will remain, a work in progress.
I read this in my Philadelphia Inquirer this morning but had read it earlier on Sexuality and Religion. Turns out the article being referenced was originally from yesterday's Washington Post. Here is the article, in its entirety:
House to Consider Abortion Anesthesia BillAs Rev. Haffner rightly points out, scientists do no know at what point fetuses are capable of perceiving pain but evidence suggests it's not until the third trimester.
Conservatives Vow More Tests for Democrats on Social Issues When Congress Returns
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 5, 2006; Page A05
In a parting gesture by social conservatives before Republicans relinquish control, House leaders plan to bring up a bill tomorrow that would declare that fetuses feel pain and require abortion providers to offer pregnant patients anesthesia for their unborn child.
The scheduled vote may be the last on abortion-related legislation for years. That's because Democratic leaders hope to avoid confrontations over hot-button social issues that divide their caucus, and focus instead on military and pocketbook issues.
But Republicans and antiabortion activists signaled yesterday that they intend to press hard on social issues, even those that failed to gain traction during GOP control, to separate moderate-to-conservative Democrats from their more liberal leaders.
"The Democrats are facing an interesting situation because they ran to the right in this election," said Wendy Wright, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America. "They promised one thing to America with their campaigning. The question is, will they live up to that image? Running and hiding is not a solution."
Democrats are shying from the fight. Party leaders in the House have declared tomorrow's decision "a vote of conscience" and will not try to sway the outcome. House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) does not plan to speak on the bill, a rarity for her.
The fetal pain bill is coming up nearly as an afterthought, in the final week of a lame-duck session of Congress. House Republican leaders are using expedited procedures to bring it to a vote, meaning it will take a two-thirds vote of the chamber to pass. Its supporters are setting expectations low.
"Hopefully, we get a majority," said Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), the bill's author. "Two-thirds is hard on anything, except if it's a post office."
Even if the bill can muster a two-thirds vote, it cannot pass the Senate before Congress adjourns.
But social conservatives see an opportunity to test Democrats' evolving position on abortion, a position that has become more amenable to incremental curbs on ending pregnancies and more vocal about reducing the number of abortions. Under Republican control, Congress passed a ban on the late-term abortion method called "partial birth" abortion by its foes and passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which increased penalties for crimes that harm a fetus.
At first blush, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act would seem to be anathema to abortion rights groups. It requires abortion providers to tell a woman whose pregnacy is 20 weeks past fertilization "there is substantial evidence" that the fetus will feel pain during the procedure -- a point hotly debated among physicians and pain specialists.
The woman would then have to sign a form accepting or declining anesthesia for her fetus. Some medical groups interpret the language to mean that the fetus would have to have an application of anesthesia separate from the mother's, a procedure that many abortion clinics are not capable of providing.
Even the bill's definition of pregnancy -- beginning at the moment of fertilization, rather than at implantation in the uterus -- is problematic to some abortion rights groups, since it would legislatively establish that some forms of birth control induce abortion by blocking implantation after fertilization.
Backers of the bill have framed it as a common-sense extension of existing state laws that mandate that patients receive information about abortion procedures before giving their consent.
"This is just a compassion piece of legislation to take informed consent to the level it should be at," said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), an obstetrician and antiabortion conservative.
While the measure has provoked strong opposition from Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, perhaps the nation's leading abortion rights group, has stayed neutral.
"Pro-choice Americans have always believed that women deserve access to all the information relevant to their reproductive health decisions. For some women, that includes information related to fetal anesthesia options," Nancy Keenan, NARAL's president, has said in a statement on the bill.
Democratic leaders cited NARAL's position when they decided against trying to influence the vote. Democratic leadership aides said yesterday that they are leery of Republicans charging that they are already out of touch with mainstream values, even before they assume power.
Citing those divisions, the National Right to Life Committee's Douglas Johnson dared Democrats to vote against the bill. If it passes the House, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) will try to pass it in the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.
"Somebody will object," Johnson said. "We want to know who that person is."
The problem? Well according to a review article by the American Medical Association, "Evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester," and there is "little or no evidence" of the effectiveness of fetal anesthesia and "limited or no data" on the safety of administering it. Why am I still surprised that Republicans in Congress will continue to press bills about highly devisive social wedge issues simply because they can? Why does it still shock me that these ideologues push for what has clearly been voiced by the American public as a failed agenda in order to score points with a redically far right base? And it's absolutely pointless. Even if Congress were not passing into Democratic leadership next month, this bill stands far less than a snowball's chance in hell of passage. It's being proposed purely to make a point.
Have we not made it clear that we've had enough of this? Apparently not in the mind of christopher Smith of NJ, sponsor of the bill.
2007 can't come too soon for me!
tags: US poilitics / religious right / US Congress
I might as well get into the game here with the Friday number posts. I've decided that my number will not be set but will vary from week to week depending on my mood and the theme.
So, without further ado, today's Friday Random Number Post: