February 25, 2010

Arts 'n' Crafts

In addition to creating another super inflated, bogus, public health care plan, BO’s got enough time to commission designs for the missile defense program. Funny, he doesn’t want to give them any funding, but they get a new (superfluous) logo. Then again, it probably didn’t cost much since it’s just a recycling of his campaign logo.

Bonus: It vaguely resembles the Islamic crescent moon and star! How very “global citizen” of him. You know BO, he’s always thinking of how we look to the rest of the world…

This is the old MDA logo.

This is the new, BO-approved MDA logo. Notice how this one puts an emphasis on the circle not being fully complete?

Now see below. This is the Algerian flag, which features the crescent moon and star.

Oh, but I'm just a crazy right-wing nutjob whose reading too much into things! Gosh, if I would only learn to keep my racism in check...

February 23, 2010

She'll Blow Your House Down

When Hollywood gets you into your House, prepare for them to move in...

Can you remember another time when you had so many "Whaaa?" moments involving the President? I am constantly torn between whether I am totally baffled by the shenanigans of Barack Obama - for example, who he trusts as an advisor - or absolutely unfazed by his lack of seriousness about his job. Which way do you go on that?

Most times, my first response to his actions is "Ha!" After that I settle into a disbelief that sounds something like, "No, he can't really be serious." Then I read the article and realize that, yes, he is completely serious about having Shakira over to the W.H. to discuss U.S. policy toward children.

Not only did they meet, but it was in private. As in, not on his public calender. So important was it that they meet and discuss! Anyone know how many times Obama's met with his security advisers so far? Let's get some stats on that for comparison.

Not to mention, is Shakira the best ambassador for the treatment of children? I realize it's somewhat of a misnomer to think that she is an example for children, just because she's in the role as an ambassador to them. That said, is this a woman whose opinion on public policy toward children should be taken as any kind of authority?

Shakira, similar to Beyonce or Christina Aguilera in this regard, is a well-known pop performer banking on what has become the traditional way to sell albums if you're a female - by stripping. You know, take off half (or more) of your clothes in a video, on your album cover, or in concert, all to prove how great of a singer you are. Like predecessor Nelly Furtado, Shakira was originally a Spanish language-only singer from Colombia, where oddly enough she garnered a huge following without ever singing about promiscuity. When she "crossed over" to the U.S. market, her music took an unambiguous turn to more sexual content. Her most recent release is "She Wolf," a song about a woman trapped in a relationship where she is a werewolf (a.k.a. maneater) and needs to be set free. See lyrics here. It's not poetry, or even intelligible in some parts, but the video accompanying was pretty lurid and definitely not appropriate for a child's eye. See video still here (not posted as a photo on this blog because of its sexual nature).

Now she's a Unicef ambassador speaking to the President about children in poverty in the United States. How she went from one to the other is a mystery.

I suppose this is the age-old question of whether or not an artist's personal life should necessarily be connected to their artistic life. Critics have long questioned whether the art of a drunk, drug-addled, unbalanced, violent or psychotic artist can be evaluated without taking the personal characteristics into consideration. But there are really two ways of looking at this: that there is a connection from artist to art, or there isn't.

Are we questioning the art's validity/seriousness/aesthetic quality, but then dismissing that evaluation upon finding out a mental patient painted it?

Are we looking at the artist as a person with a whole mess of foibles and saying, wow, despite their problems this art is really amazing?

Do an artist's personal struggles/problems inform the content of their art or is their public life as an artist completely separate from their personal life?

Well, obviously it seems that a person's personal struggles in life will inform the content of their work in some way. No one is able to completely suppress every memory, every experience, every feeling they've had in order to prevent it from affecting his art. In fact there are many unconscious changes in a person because of their life experience that one wouldn't even be able to suppress, precisely because they're unconscious.

After thinking about the motivations for art in my college program, studying independently and trying to objectively think about this question, I've concluded that there is most certainly a personal interest in the content of one's art. I mean, duh! An artist of any kind is choosing what to perform, to paint, to sing about, to build. It's one of those professions that is somewhat sheltered from a crowd mentality (at least this is true when you are a budding artist; the selling out comes later!). You can, despite what high art snobs might tell you, do whatever you want.

So if you're Shakira and you are singing about being a wolf that needs to be set free to tear men apart, and you're writhing around acrobatically, half naked, in a cage in your video, there's a part of you that wants to be doing that. Desires to put that content out there for everyone, including and especially children (because they watch more tv) to see and imitate, or at the very least have embedded into their memories for usage in later years.

It's my opinion that someone with an urge to promote sexual freedom should not be an advisor to any policies that have to do with children. Does she really have their best interests in mind, or even know what they are? Will she support extensive sex ed in schools, or promote abortion as an option for young girls who find themselves pregnant as a result of being promiscuous?

Will she stand up for girls and boys who want to remain pure until marriage, and face peer abuse because of that choice? Or will she urge "empowerment" counseling for girls who decide to "explore their sexuality" at a young age?


On a personal note:
I frequently regret my exposure to Mtv, HBO and pop radio as a young child. My precious little mind and heart were corrupted so early on by seeing and hearing content I should not have seen maybe until I was an adult, but probably not at all. How much did the lyrics and images burned into my mind inform and shape my ability (or inability) to behave like a woman when my age should have reflected that? How much did they contort my ideas about how men and women should relate to one another, and when? And how much did I see and hear that was sexually perverse, unnatural and inimical to God's ideas of sex and love?

The answer is "enough;" enough to cause me major problems as a young adult and adult woman.

February 19, 2010

Different Motive, Same Explanation

Remember the University of Alabama shooting last week? A Harvard-educated (read: part of the "educated class") woman (read: minority) pulled out a loaded gun and fired at colleagues on her tenure committee (she had just been denied), killing three of them. The motive, albeit unusual and desperately self-concerned, seems kind of obvious doesn't it? I believe in the 90s we referred to this type of instance as "going postal," a phrase initiated after several U.S.P.S. workers shot at coworkers after being fired from their jobs.

But, remember, we are in the post-racial era. Which means of course that every crime is motivated by the perpetrator's hatred of a certain race. Specifically, a criminal's crime is always motivated by their hatred of Obama as President. Once you get that into your thick, uneducated skull the news starts to make a lot more sense.

It appears Michelle Malkin hasn't gotten the memo yet, however, and still expresses shock at Reuters Foundation Fellow Jonathan Curiel's interpretation of the story. Here's Michelle, quoting Curiel:

"The 'results' that the Tea Party movement envisions include less government -- and less of Obama."

Curiel bemoaned the rejection of a post-racial society by tying together the Alabama massacre and the rise of the Tea Party movement more explicitly. Proof of anti-Obama bigotry, he wrote, could be found in "last week's shooting in Alabama, where a disgruntled white professor murdered three minority professors; and the growing success of the Tea Party movement, which is overwhelmingly white and increasing (sic) vocal in its violent dislike of the nation's first black president."

Right after the shooting Nic and I talked about it. He said, "Well, this blows the 'every mass shooter is a white racist' theory out of the water, huh?"

As it turns out, no. Seems that, even though the alleged here is both a WOMAN and EDUCATED in the big leagues and a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT, she still gets lumped into the "increasingly vocal" Tea Party movement. Another one down the memory hole!

New blog!

Because, really, can you have too many? One for each batch of interests I'd say. I long ago tried to combine them all but it seemed too weird to have a recipe, then a political rant, then a post about what I wore last Tuesday. Or, maybe I don't know how to make 'em work together?

Whatever. I like compartmentalization!

Join me for some fashion fun on my new blog: 1/3 Life Chic

If you'd like an explanation of that name, go to the first post. It's basically like this, I'm not at a quarter life stage (age 25), not yet middle aged (or 1/2 aged if you like), I'm somewhere in between. So my style is in that "1/3 life" spot.

Also, only every third day do I attempt to wear something cool! =)

February 15, 2010

More Than a Nudge

I've been feeling pretty down lately. I have a job I like, which is great, and I'm very thankful for it. But I'm at the office nine hours a day which leaves little time to do things I like when I get home. So I decided to really think about what I like to do, to use my time wisely.

Ah, there's the dilemma; I couldn't think of anything! No, really. Part of it is because things I like to do are outdoors, which in Wisconsin are NOT happening in mid February!

But instead of giving up on the search, I decided to give myself a bigger push, a bigger dig to figure it out. Sometimes things need a big push to make their presence known. I'm not just talking pregnancy, but that's a start! Flower bulbs, like daffodils, tulips and hyacinth, have to push and push to make their way out of the ground and into the sunshine. Baby chicks have to peck away at the shell to break out.

Me, I tend to give up easily. But not this time. After pushing myself to do so, here's a short list of things making me happy and keeping me sane throughout the blustery winter months:

1. Sewing.

I didn't start my little butterbean label just to make money! That would be ridiculous, because it's a lot bigger initial investment than you get in revenue right away. I really wanted to do it because I genuinely enjoy sewing, putting together patterns and colors, making sweet toys for babies - because I love babies, too.

Sewing relaxes me (now that I have an awesome sewing machine!) and keeps my mind working on creative ideas instead of worrying about something else. It forces me to concentrate on making straight lines, cutting correct sizes and achieving good craftsmanship. And the end result is a whole bunch of fun items I can take pics of and advertise. Which brings me to...

2. My camera.

Like my sewing machine, I toiled away with a perfectly useful but absolutely no bells-and-whistles digital camera for a long time. It did the job, but with no flourish, no finesse, no sharpness. I always thought my memories would look cooler than they did, and finally realized it was the camera's problem, not mine!

Nic got me the Canon powershot for Christmas two years ago. It's got everything, it's great. I can't even describe what a joy it was to take "real" photos on it for the first time! Now I am trying to actually learn how to use the manual settings, which means having the discipline enough to study how the camera works. Maybe I'll even take a photography class through community ed. You know, put these liberal city-folk programs to good use. =)

3. Fashion.

I love living in jeans and t-shirts. BUT I have always been inspired by fashion and decided to incorporate more creativity into my office attire. I would much rather be "that girl who always dresses up" than that girl who looks the same every day. Some say your clothing is a reflection of your personality. So I'm a little schizo.. let me express it a positive way, through my clothes. I started a blog about it, too, but we'll see how diligent I am with it.

4. Working out.

It's a well-perpetuated myth that thin people don't need to exercise. Thin does not necessarily = healthy. I have always been grateful for my high metabolism and natural slimness, but let's face it I am not twenty anymore. My metabolism has slowed, and I definitely do not have muscle tone. How do I expect to raise a family if I can't raise a box over my head to put it away? Pathetic!

The deal with me is that I suffer from that normal old insecurity business that women are so susceptible to. I should say, I suffered from it. One day I realized that pushing myself in physical activity is only to my benefit and I should go for it as hard as I can. Right now you're saying "Duh!" but trust me this took a LONG time to sink in. "Will I look silly doing this or that? Will men at the gym be judging me?" These are the things that ran through my head, constantly restricting my ability to work myself, which lead to my physical weakness, which made me feel bad about my appearance! As do many things, this is so clear in hindsight. =)

Since that day I have worked out every day. I really do go for it and have found that, low and behold, I actually LIKE to work out. Physical results will come in time, but the great feeling of accomplishment makes it so worthwhile.

5. Cooking.

Since starting the job four months ago, I had been slacking with my culinary ventures. Somehow my time seemed to slip away and before I knew it I had no dinner made at 8 o'clock. Well, that simply will not do in a household where one member basically comes home to refuel, then leaves for more studying for the rest of the night. Can't get much more studying in if the meal isn't until 10 pm!

Accompanying my new workout regimen is a diet to support my internal health. We already eat a restricted diet (no wheat or gluten) but I needed to make some changes with reducing sugar. I'm a sugar fiend, and would put it in, on or around everything. Changing to a lower GI diet has jump-started my cooking, however, since I'm making tons of things I've never made before. I'm even sometimes shopping at - gasp! - Whole Foods for great produce I can't get elsewhere.

All these changes have produced in me a happier, more energetic, vibrant spirit. I have a renewed interest in spiritual things because I'm not so focused on worrying about myself and my problems (although they are still there). I don't get sleepy during the day, or bored, because there's always something new to do. Maybe the best part of all these activities? None of them are using the laptop! [Sorry, laptop that had to type that for me!] During the day I can read news and what not on the computer, and at home I can simply live.

What are you doing to beat the winter blahs?

February 11, 2010

La Vita è Bella

Oh boy. You are going to get tired of me talking about being pro life. Well, so be it; it's on my mind.

As I'm driving to work today I glanced over and saw an appalling bumper sticker. No, it wasn't "End this war," which someone who works in my building has. [So 2000. I bet you dollars to doughnuts she doesn't know anyone serving, nor knows what the objectives are. In fact, I've talked to several people directly involved and it only gets more complicated as time goes on, not less.]

Anyway, you know how I feel about bumper stickers. They can be harmless, or extremely passive-agressive. Usually it's the latter.

The one I saw today just really bothered me though. So much so that I'm writing this as soon as I got to work, which I really shouldn't be doing! But...

It said: "Choice - It's a beautiful thing."

Does that make your stomach churn, too?

If we're talking about "choice" in the general sense, and by "beautiful" it simply means to imply goodness, then I'm in agreement. In this country we enjoy a plethora of choices, in what we drive, where we live and work, what we eat and buy, who we associate with. Having a lot of options can be a good thing. I like that I can choose Puffs over Kleenex, for example. There are countless other benign examples to be given.

But, it's not meant to imply choice in a general sense. And "beautiful" doesn't just mean "good" either. And that's what makes my stomach turn.

The sticker is talking about reproductive choice; the options of seeing your baby to term and keeping him, seeing him to term and putting him up for adoption, or choosing to end his life. I ask you, honestly, and especially to anyone who considers him/herself "pro choice," can choosing to end a child's life be considered beautiful?

Ok, let's imagine it's not a child yet but just a mass of cells (this is what Planned Parenthood tells women in its "pregnancy counseling"). Even so, is the "eliminating" of such an abstract thing something to be called beautiful?

To me, beautiful things are full of life, not devoid of it. Flowers. Fruits. Dancing. Paintings. People! These things are beautiful. How can an act of destruction lump itself together in with these wonderful gifts?

Having the ability to choose what happens to you - in the limited way that we are really making things happen for ourselves - may be called "exciting" or "difficult" or sometimes downright "impossible." It may make you anxious, thrilled, weary or wary. A choice may turn out to be scary, beneficial, hard work or easy, but it can't ever really be beautiful in any way, can it?

Especially not the choice to turn away a child growing inside you. Really, beautiful??

What do you think - can you even see their (the "pro choice") side of this statement, or is it just repulsive?

February 9, 2010

Sex and More Sex

Whoa, hang on! This isn't some racy V-day post! Keep your knickers on, people.

No, seriously.

And while you're at it, how about helping your children do the same? Personally, I think 10 years old is too young to be learning about the "pleasurable and positive aspects of sex." But Planned Parenthood doesn't. They're so excited about gradschoolers exploring their sexuality that they're advocating "extensive" sex ed for kids as young as 10.

I guess when your business is helping kids get out of unplanned pregnancies, you've got to find new and creative ways to help them get into that situation in the first place. (DID I JUST SAY THAT? Well, it's sensationalist but there is a huge grain of truth to it.)

Here's a link to their report.

Somewhere around page eleven I saw this quote:

"Tackle the inequitable distribution of money, power and resources - the structural drivers of daily life - globally, nationally and locally." What do you suppose THAT is all about?

I really hate Planned Parenthood. There, I said it. I don't have a million followers who will bail on me for being honest! I used to have a dialogue (no, seriously; stop laughing) with the director of PP for SW Michigan until he grew weary of my constantly antagonizing him. But I really did want to know why he felt he could condone giving free birth control and abortion counseling (meaning: tell them how easy it was, and how inimical a baby was to a student's career) to university students without so much as pointing them across the street to the pregnancy help center (specializing in pregnancy counseling of the pro-life variety). If he - and all his PP crew - are so "pro-choice" why not offer ALL the choices?

To say nothing of their dispicable geographical choices for new clinics. Most of them are in poor, black neighborhoods. Is that a coincidence, too? I happen to think every baby, despite what color it may be, is worth saving. But, hey, that's just me...

Cross-reference the Tebow post from earlier today. That guy ain't gettin' NOBODY pregnant. Now that's what I call planning for parenthood.

NOW, That's Ridiculous!

Did you hear about that awful Tim Tebow and Mom Tebow Super Bowl ad? A mom commenting on her accomplished son and the rewarding choice she made as a pregnant young lady to see him to term? Yeah, sounds positively gruesome!

I know it's unpopular to be a champion for women's reproductive rights. Wait, what did I just say? You read that right; it's extremely unpopular to be a champion for women's reproductive rights. What I'm talking about is a woman's right to choose which path is the right one for her and her unborn child. NOT her "right" to have only one viable choice; that is the "pro-choice" stance. NOW (the National Organization for Women) is a leader in the "pro-choice" movement, pushing their pro-abortion agenda wherever they see fit.

So back to that Tebow ad. What was so offensive about it to NOW? Not the screaming, hysterical shout that women must save their babies by not aborting them, because that wasn't in there. Nor was it a demand that women only consider one option, life, upon becoming pregnant; not part of the commercial either. Surely it wasn't the part where Tebow and his mom embraced in genuine love for one another? I mean, it's a little mushy for the Super Bowl, but certainly not offensive.

Nope, the bad part about the commercial was how it underscored violence against women as a laughing matter. Remember the part where Tim tackled his mom and she admonished him for interrupting her? Yup, that's the domestic violence part. Here's what NOW president Terry O'Neill said about it:

“I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it [the commercial],” she told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s what comes across to me even more strongly than the anti-abortion message. I myself am a survivor of domestic violence, and I don’t find it charming. I think CBS should be ashamed of itself.”

I mean, seriously? NOW is so off base it's as if they called the ad racist because it only featured Tebow and his mom, both white! Wait, I can almost hear a Democrat's brain gears grinding...


On a related not, in the sense that it is also about Tim Tebow, did you know that this guy has given several open interviews and statements about being chaste until marriage?? In the land of pro athlete rape charges, tossed aside girlfriends and wives and general, encouraged sexual debauchery, we should be publicly applauding this young athlete's commitment to stay pure. What is he, like the first pro football player ever to want to save himself for his wife?? Somebody please let me know in the comments.

I don't even like football but now I am a fan of his!! =)

February 3, 2010

Play Cupid to U.S. Troops

While you're making those delightful glitter-spackled creations with your children this week, or handcrafting a valentine box for them to bring to school, don't forget to send a card to our servicepeople, too!

Freedom Alliance (a U.S. military-serving organization founded and run by Lt. Col. Oliver North) is offering to send valentines and fresh roses to wounded servicemen at both Walter Reed hospital and serving overseas. They had a similar program at Christmas. Take a minute and send a few. It's always nice to know someone likes you, right? If I don't get any valentines, I'm always a little sad. Fortunately with so many nephews and nieces I don't have to worry about that anymore!

CLICK HERE to send a valentine to one of our servicemen/women

February 2, 2010

Best coworker comment of the week

There could be a better one to come, as it is only Tuesday. But here it is:

"Did the groundhog see it's shadow? Hell, I don't know. That groundhog has about as much influence on global warming as Al Gore!"


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