Thursday, September 14, 2006

Random thoughts while ODing on VH1

While watching Metal Mania, I saw a group called Keel. They did a remake of the 10,000 Maniacs "Because the Night". No wonder groups like Anthrax & Metallica make fun of hair bands.

I also noticed while watching that heavy metal videos that, even though video production quantity greatly improved in the mid 80's, they still looked like they grabbed a camera, a friend, and threw it together in one day. Guess metal took some time to catch up.

With the outbreak of AIDS, it's amazing that a majority of the artist didn't end up with it. If any group of people were prime candidates for catching the HIV virus, it was definitely this group. The sex & drugs with these guys was legendary.

Recently re-watching "The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years", I was struck once again by the scenes with Chris Holmes of WASP. I remember watching it back when it first came out, and I kept thinking that his guy is going to commit suicide by Vodka as the cameras roll. It was frightening

Friday, June 30, 2006

AIDS at 25

It seems lately that HIV/AIDS only seems to make news lately when we have reached some milestone. Last year, it was because the US had reached the 1 million mark, and the fact that Bush's predicted reduction of new cases from 40,000 a year to 20,000 through the abstinence message was dealt a great blow when the new cases reached 60,000. (I could have told him an abstinence only message doesn't work.) This year, HIV/AIDS makes the news as we reach the quarter century mark for the pandemic. A pandemic that has taken the lives of 25 million people, and infects 40 million more. The bird/avian flu gets more press coverage now, and it hasn't killed anywhere near the number. As a HIV/AIDS educator, I feel the need to put in my 2 cents about this anniversary.

I can remember a time before HIV/AIDS, but just barely. My children may never live in a world without it. I don't know anyone that hasn't been affected by it in some way.
We have made progress in these past 25 years. There are now antivirals that have given hope to people with the HIV virus. There are people infected from the start that are still with us today. There are now laws in place that protect the rights of those with HIV/AIDS. We now know for such how the virus is transmitted, and how it affects the immune system. There are possible vaccines and preventive drugs being tested.

Yet, there is still much misconception out there. Because of early media coverage, may of the early theories still remain. Some people still view this as a disease of morality, or a "gay" disease. I've had students in my classes who thought you could get it from a mosquito, or casual contact. I've talked to teens that were under the impression that as long as you don't have intercourse, and only had oral or anal sex, you were okay. My grandmother told me one day that she wouldn't have to worry about getting HIV because she'd "gone through menopause" and "couldn't get pregnant". (Side-note: my grandma has no interest in men or dating, so I'm not worried about her on that front.) My sister-in-law once asked my why they favored condoms. When I told her it was to encourage their use during oral, she was baffled as to why they would be used for such. There is still a long way to go.

Education programs are still our best weapon against the spread of this disease. I find it totally amazing that something so simple and inexpensive can make such a difference in this fight. But it needs to be a complete education plan. Just pushing the message "Don't have sex or do drugs" will not work. The fact that the numbers are still steadily climbing is proof positive of that. It's like trying to get someone to solve an algebraic equation with only part of the formula. It does not compute. You have to talk about protection. You have to talk about safe sex, and using a condom. You have to talk about always using clean sharps whenever injecting drug, legal or not. It's not who you are, it what you do. This is about saving lives. Isn't THAT the most important thing?

To anyone that says teaching young people to properly use a condom is giving them permission to have sex, I present this argument. I know how to use a gun. I was trained to do so, and I qualified as a Sharpshooter, which means I'm a darn good shot. Knowing how to fire a weapon does not mean I am going around shooting people. The only thing I have ever shot are target sheets. But if I even need to use a firearm, I am prepared to do so. The same thing applies to condoms. I have taught my oldest how to properly use one, and she knows it's not permission to get her freak on. Yet, as we all take a stroll down memory lane, I'm sure you remember your teen years. I remember mine, and that's why she knows.

Well, that's my 2 cents. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My IQ doesn't directly correlate to my bra size

This is a subject that I have been dealing with for years. I've decided to speak my mind about it.

I know that, especially lately it seems, that we have been dealing with the many forms of discrimination. Racial, sexual, religious, age, etc; you name it, somebody probably hates you for no good reason for it. The subject of this post is a beauty discrimination.

Calm down, I know what you are thinking. "Who discriminates against beautiful people?" Just me a chance to explain. What I mean is that many people assume, incorrectly I might add, that if you are and attractive person, you are not very intelligent. Not so, let me present you with a prime example. How many of you here have heard of a show called "Beauty & the Geek"? For those who haven't, here's a quick synopsis: 8 "geeks" & 8 "beauties" are put together as coupes to compete for cash & prizes by having the groups taken out of their comfort zones; the girls in intellectual stuff, geeks with "girly" stuff. At the end of just about every episode, everyone, including the girls themselves, are surprised at how smart they really are. OH MY GOD!!!

Now, I have been told numerous times throughout my 36 years that I am a fairly attractive person. (I don't personally agree with it, but that's an argument for another day) I am also fairly well endowed. AND...I have a near genius IQ. Yet, for some strange unknown reason, people are surprises, dare I say shocked, at that last statement. WHY??? The statement that dives me absolutely insane is, "You're smarter than you look." Really?!?! I didn't know that intelligence had an appearance.

I have a position at my job where, if I may not "leadership position", I do have alot of influence, authority & responsibility. Most people who I meet for the first time do treat me with respect, and do take the time to get to know me. But you have those few that I just want to say, "My eyes are further north." When I mentioned my frustrations to my dearly beloved, he asked, "Aren't you use to it by now?" Let me see...NO! This is something I never have, and never will be able to just blow off. To accept this is to give in and give up, and you cannot do that when it comes to discrimination because you validate it.

I know that I will probably still be dealing with this. I can't change how I look any more that anybody else can. But for anyone out there who sees an attractive person, do me a favor. Talk to them before you jump to any prejudgements. Maybe you'll change your preconceptions.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

If Jesus was on Earth today, the "religious right" would call him a liberal...

I got to thinking about this subject this week because of the release of "The DaVinci Code". The inability of many "Christians" to view anything other that what is written in the Bible. Not that I don't believe in the Bible. I do believe in the Holy Trinity; that is where my faith lies. I just could say I am a Christian, but lately that has become a dirty word. And this is very sad to me.

When I was going to Sunday School, I was always taught that Jesus was loving and accepting of everybody. It didn't matter your race, gender, social status, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc. How he preached about tolerance, loving your fellow man, turning the other check. How he cared not for his own glory or gain. How he was tried, humiliated, and died a long, painful torturous death so we could be saved. Not everyone believes he was the Messiah, but all agree he was a man of love & peace. So how did his message get so skewed?

As of late, his most vocal "followers", (and I use that term VERY loosely), are the ones lying, starting wars, destroying the planet, and profiting from pain? It boggles the mind. Then, to have people come up to me and say it's good to have leaders in this country with good Christian values. WHAT? Did I miss something? Like the part when, apparently, the priest said don't do as Jesus did? I don't remember being taught THOSE values. I've actually been to church recently,and it hasn't changed. I promise you. Still love, peace and tolerance. (At least at my church.)

The funny thing about the whole "DaVinci Code" thing is you would think by the way they are reacting that this is the first time a movie has come out challenging the traditional interpretation of the Bible. How soon we forget "The Last Temptation of Christ" & "Dogma". (The latter of which I absolutely loved.) Let's take them one by one.

I remember very clearly the release of "The Last Temptation of Christ". I was in college, and the town where we were was NOT going to carry the movie. The closest theater showing the film was 90 minutes away. Now, anything that gets protested as much as this movie was is guaranteed to make people want to see it, especially college students. So, the weekend it was released, there was many a road trip made just to see this movie. I didn't go because I had no real interest in seeing the movie in the first place. I'd seen trailers and such, and it did not peek my interest. But I must confess to wanting to see it after all the fuss that was made about it. And what was the fuss about? The fact that, while on the cross, Jesus THOUGHT about living life as a normal man. OOOOHHHH, he thought... And what was the end result of these thoughts? He still chose to die for our sins. I don't know about you, but wouldn't the fact that he chose to still sacrifice himself when presented with the choice to forsake his destiny make his actions that much more powerful?

The previous controversy was nothing compared to the witch hunt that ensued over "Dogma". Hell, we even had death threats over this movie. I guess the religious fanatics couldn't handle the that Jesus's blood line remands to this day, much less worked at an abortion clinic, an apostle, a thirteenth one, could be black, and all sorts of other stuff that to list it here would probably spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it. This movie challenged people to think on their own. And the fact that it was written and directed by someone who was and is a devout Christian gives the film that much more credibility in my book. This film has brought people back to there faith, not turn them away from it.

As I also recall from my early days at church, Jesus was open minded. He LISTENED to what the masses had to say, and he did not pass judgement. Most of these movies' critics were people who never even seen them. Doesn't sound Christ-like to me.

I work for a non-profit, humanitarian organization. I believe we should save the planet, and aid everyone no matter gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference or religious beliefs. I believe in the efforts of peace, and in forgiveness. And I have been called a liberal for this, like it was a bad word. I have watched the teaching of Christ be twisted and corrupted, and wonder how it could have gotten to this point. It breaks my heart.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Has Free Speech Reached it's Death Knoll????

I was just reading entries on Kevin Smith's blog on MySpace, (if you have not put in a friend request to him, I highly suggest doing so. He accepts everybody.), and I was surprised at the subject of one of the posts. Basically, he was mentioning that he was doing one of his famous, (or infamous, depending on your point-of-view on the subject), college talks. He did a 15-30 minute bit on Jason Mewes' battle with and victory over drug addiction. (He does a 9-part series on his blog about it called "Me & My Shadow". It will take a couple of hours to read, but it is well worth it.) A website called "" wrote up an article about the conversation, but the part of the conversation that became the focus of their story was the part when Kevin mentioned that Mewes told him that he had sex with Nicole Richie in a bathroom. Now, if that's all he was talking about, MAYBE this might be considered inappropriate college lecture speak. But for those who know the whole story, it was part of a bigger, more significant point Kevin was trying to make about the positive changes that have been made apparent by his friend's 3 years of sobriety. (I will admit that doing Nicole Richie may be considered, by some, not to be the wisest thing. It's not so much the who when you read/hear the whole story.)

After this website posted this story, the critics were in full force against Mr. Smith. What pissed me off more than the story being taken out of context, was that when people who were actually there tried to set the story straight, they were viciously attacked for doing so.One posted ,we found out later, had his post removed because it "upset some of the site's readers." I read the post in question. The stuff that was allowed was sooooo much more offensive. Why was if removed? Because the posters chose to believe the original story over the truth. THE TRUTH!!!

This made me think about one of my favorite comedians right now, Bill Maher. He has been labeled, as of late, as a "free speech martyr". This is not a self-proclaimed title, (like a certain pop star), and everyone from every political, social, and economical arena in America is calling him this. Why? Because he was fired from ABC for speaking THE TRUTH.

In a post-911 episode, he mentioned that destroying the towers was very very bad and unacceptable, but we needed to look at the fact bin Laden was once on our side. We trained him, and armed him. For saying this, he lost his show. Yes, 911 was a devastating day for us all, one that NEVER should have happened. But we do need to look at the reasons it did, no matter how unpleasant some of the reasons why might be.

I thought it was a sad day when "Falwell vs. Flint" had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to decide a simple free speech case that shouldn't have had to go that far just because some people don't have a sense of humor, (or, at lease, a twisted kind like Mr. Flint). I know I am not alone in wondering if on 911, along with the thousands of innocent people, free speech also died. That truly makes it a tragic day indeed.

A couple of weeks ago on South Park, they aired a two-part episode about this same subject. The story behind the episode was that they originally wanted to air an episode featuring an image of Mohammed. Because of the riots after the cartoon that ran in Denmark, Comedy Central told them they would not air it because they feared for the safety of people if it aired. The episode they wrote and aired was the response to this.

They chose to have another cartoon be the "offending" show, and had the people of South Park represent the American people. Their response to the image being broadcast was that the citizens of South Park were going to bury their heads in the sand when the episode aired, (literally). Butter's dad stood up at that time to say that the more the images of Mohammed are shown, the less threatening showing them becomes. That it had been so long since we have had to fight to defend our rights, we got comfortable. We now are faced with it, and it's up to us to do it. The citizens of South Park decided they rather stick their heads in the sand. This moment made me laugh and angry at the same time. It was a funny gag, and a commentary of the state of our country today.

To bow to their threats is their victory. It what they hoped would happen, and it did. I thought we were fighting them over there so we wouldn't have to fight them here, because they hate our freedom. Then things like this happen, and I think, "What freedom?" When something is important enough to defend, sometimes you actually have to fight for it. And people will get hurt and/or killed. It's the nature of the beast. I watched Iraqis go to the polls, risking death, to vote. I've watched student riots all over the world for basic human rights, risking harm to themselves. I watched on my 20th birthday as Nelson Mandela was released from prison for daring to speak up for his people. Freedom is not free, and when we are "asked to pay" for it, we would rather just give it up.

I hope that America still has some fighting spirit left. The optimist in me refuses to believe it's completely gone.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Okay, so I joined MySpace a couple of months ago to see what the big deal is about. I created my page, asked friends to join, etc. Okay, it is kinda cool, but how much crap can one person put on a page? Trying to find things on some of these pages is an all-day event. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Anyway, I asked my one daughters to show me how to do a background change to my page, since I've never been one to do anything without a little pizazz. (Just look at my personal website for that.) So, she shows me how to do that, and a few other things as well, and before you know it, I have one of those pages. It's freaking addicting. And, lets face it, they are asking you to reflect your whole personality on ONE page. Are any of us that simple? Funny how sometimes we become what we thought was so silly before.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Who comes up with this stuff...

Well folks, apparently Florida has a law in place that states after taking and failing your driving test 5 times, not only do you lose your driving permit, you can't reapply for it for a year. A YEAR!!! How do I know this, you ask. Simple, I have just become an example of this unknown-to-anyone-except-the-DMV law. It boggles the mind. Doesn't this make you wonder who makes up these laws to begin with. Especially when you take into consideration that Reckless Driving is a 60 day suspension, and DUI is only 180 days. Fail your driving test 5 times, 365 days. What are they, the driving Nazis? No driving for you. Come back in a year. Is anyone else as dumbfounded as I am?