Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Great Quote

In a first world country, healthcare should be a right of all citizens, not a privilege of the fortunately employed and the wealthy.~unknown

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Huh? OR Our Strange Attitudes When It Comes to Art

I cannot figure out for the life of me want determines what is okay to show on MTV as far as videos go, and what is not. There does not seem like there is a clear cut set of guidelines on what show or show not be shown on the station in regards to video content.

Allow me to present my argument.

Marilyn Manson released a video back in 2004 for his song "(S)aint". The video was directed by Asia Argento. Apparently the powers that be have not only decided that it was not appropriate for MTV, but the video was banned from the US entirely.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree with not showing the video on MTV, but to ban the video entirely from the US is a bit extreme. Any adult over 21 should have the option to purchase and view the video if they wish. And the banned from MTV argument fall flat when you take into consideration of what they have shown. Case in point is The Prodigy video "Smack My Bitch Up". This video was shown for one week on MTV after 11pm, and with a warning that the video contained material that was adult in nature.Now, I have nothing against The Prodigy. I love them, and think the video is great. My problem is that the content is no better or worse the Marilyn Manson video.

Compounding my befuddlement is the fact that Madonna's "Justify My Love" video to this day has not ever been shown on MTV. And this video is a Disney special compared to the other two.

And it's not just MTV. Radio has been doing it as well.

I remember back in 1988, (or as my kids call it, "Back in the day for Mom."), there were certain songs that you just COULD NOT play on the radio, no matter what time of day it was. I worked at the time at the college radio station, of which the format was AOR. (Album Orientated Rock for those not familiar with the term, you young-ens. :P) On any album that had songs that had materials/words that were not permitted by the FCC, there was a label on them with a list of the songs not to play.

On the stations copy of Guns 'n Roses "Appetite for Destruction" the sticker listed the songs you COULD play. Of which there was 4. One of these no-play songs was "Mr. Brownstone". It was most definitely strictly forbidden. You were forever banned from the station if you played that song. Fast forward to 2011. Guess what I am constantly hearing played on the local classic rock station. That's right, that "forbidden" song.

Now, if anyone can explain this, I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions on the subject.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wishing the world was as colorblind...Updated

I have recently been reminded of the fact that the world is not as colorblind as I am. And it is these moments that I feel so naive.

Basically, it all happened a few weeks ago. I was on my way home with some friends, (a married couple) we were discussing about some mutual co-workers and a recent party we all attended. The subject of spouses came up, and my guy friend pointed out that one of our male co-workers, a black gentleman, was married to a white woman. I blew off the comment until he asked why they would they do that. I was a little shocked by the comment. I responded by saying that love knows no color, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender. His response was, "Whatever. As long as they don't have kids together, I don't really care." I was very shocked at this point. I didn't even mention the 3 kids and the grandkid.

And it isn't just the subject of interracial marriage as of late. You would think that in the 21st century, the country would have no problem with having a president that is not white & not male. This should be a non issue. People should be debating whether or not the person holding the office is representing their interest, not whether or not he was born in this country, and if the above and beyond documentation he has shown us so far is enough or not.

I was never taught to hate. I was brought up to see that all people are equal, and no one is better that anyone else, especially over things that are "cosmetic". A true measure of a person is who they are, not the color of their skin, the deity they worship, their ethnic background, or their sexual orientation. I just don't understand prejudice. It baffles me.

Text Books & Character Flaws Revisited

It has been brought to my attention over the years that I am always defending my intelligence if I even perceive that someone might be attacking it. I admit, my guard always seems to be up. I guess when you’ve had to fight to prove your intelligence your whole life simply because people judge you on your gender, at some point your defenses go into auto drive. It’s the only explanation that seems logical. And it’s something that isn’t going to change overnight, but I am getting better at it as time goes by.

Here’s an example of the crap I have had to put up with, an extreme one at that. It happened my freshman year of high school. I was accepted into the Pre-IB program at my school. (For those who do not know what that is, its programs that are modeled after educational systems from around the world, without being based on any particular one. It takes high marks to make it into the program. The program was TOUGH!) I was totally stoked. One of my favorite classes was World History. In this class I had this one guy, a sophomore at that, (World History was a sophomore level course in this school), who thought he’s was the man. He was always talking about how freaking smart he was, and how his intellect was so far and above everyone else’s. Whatever, I could have cared less, I was confident in my own abilities. As the weeks rolled by, he started noticing that the cute girl who sat in front of him was getting just as many A's in this class as he was. He could just not accept this. He would constantly say that the teacher missed something in grading my homework/tests. I blew him off. When we got our first quarter report cards, he was quick to let the whole class know that he had 2 honors course, of which he was maintaining a B average in. Then he grabbed mine, (because the concept of asking for it eluded him), to see that 5 or my 6 classes were honors, and pre-IB at that. (The 6th class was JROTC, and if they have honors for that, I would have been in that as well.) He told the whole class that they misprinted my report card. To the class credit, they saw him for the jerk he was.

His crowning moment was after the unit test. The class was divided into 3 units, and there was a test for each, as well as the mid-term, second term, and final exams. So, if you aced these 6 exams, you could do so-so the rest of the class and still pass. And these were not easy exams. Oh no no! These were essay exams, six questions, six pages, answers were a page each, grammar, spelling and punctuation count. A week later we got the results. As she was passing out the graded exams, she announced that one person scored a 96, the only A. Well, the idiot behind me proudly let everyone know that he had received an 89, one point shy of an A. At this point I was looking at my exam. I had received the 96. One of my classmates asked what I got, and I told them. Everyone in the class was congratulating me, except for Mr. Ego behind me. This was so unacceptable to him; he proceeded to whack me over the head with his history book. If anyone remembers their history books, they were not thin and light. My vision actually went blurry for a few seconds. The class, including the teacher, was completely shocked. Nowadays, he would have been expelled. When I was going to school, it was only a detention. It was a crushing blow to my self-esteem, no matter when it happened.

Like I said, it was one of the more extreme cases, but it was one of many that I’ve had to deal with over the years Yet it's not just men that assume things. Women do it to other women all the time. Should they know better, possibly even having it happen to them. Yes. Do they have the same preconceived notions. Absolutely. Is it just as annoying. No, it is more so, to the point of feeling like a betrayal.

In my mid-late 20's, I worked as a Assistant Store Manager for a major retail chain. There are two things you need to know for this tail. 1.) All the managers wore name tags that in large red capital letters said "MANAGER". Basically, we were very well identified. (And I admit that there were days I wanted to hide that name tag because it felt like a bulls-eye.) 2.) Only managers could process refunds.

One morning I was working with an older gentleman that was there part time for some extra spending money. (He used the money to take his girlfriend out on really nice dates over the weekend. I know it has nothing to do with the story. I just thought it was sweet and wanted to share.) He was running the register while I was behind the counter double checking the markdown list.

A woman comes up to the counter with an item she wishes to return. I go over and ask her what the reason is for the return. Without even acknowledging me, she proceeds to tell my co-worker why. He let her finish, then informed her he could not give her a refund. When she questioned him why, he told her that only a manager could do refunds. She looked at him with annoyance and said, "Yeah, so you are the manager. Just do it." He looked over at me, almost embarrassed, pointed at my name tag and said, 'No ma'am, she is."

Not once during the time I was taking care of her return did she apologize or even admit she was wrong. Quite frankly, I didn't care if she did or not. I did receive an apology though, from my co-worker. He felt bad about the incident, like it was his fault. I told him he did nothing to form her opinions, and she had already made up her mind before she spoke to either one of us who she believed was in authority.

Can I be overly sensitive to the point where an innocent comment is misinterpreted? Well, yeah. It’s a reflex reaction; I admit it and I’m working on it. Has it been easy? I had no illusions that it would be. And though my daughters face some of the same challenges that I did, it is getting better, as it seems to do with each new generation. I know that one day, we will get there.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Cat Yuna

This is my furry baby, Yuna. Like all cats, she has her our unique personality. We like to call it part dog, part monkey, part human, and sometimes she remembers that she is a cat. She has been a part of our family for just over 4 years now. We cannot imagine what life would be without her. This is the story of how she came to be a part of our lives.

She was not originally suppose to be with us. For years my kids had constantly asked for a kitty, and for reason that really don't matter now, I had to turn them down. Not that it was easy. I have been a cat lover all my life.

So, why all of a sudden did all of that change. The simple answer is I was conned.

I was having lunch with one of their grandmothers, and somehow I got talked into agreeing to at least look at some pets before I outright said no. We had had a big upheaval in our lives at the time, so it was easy to get me to agree because I was vulnerable. (Some of you are probably calling BS on that, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

I was at her mercy since we had come in her vehicle, so where did she decide to go to look at pets. To the Humane Society of course! Where better to take a bleeding heart like me. (There was the first strike against me.) They took us in back to the cat room, where I would say that they had about six in at the time.

One particular cat stood out. In the corner of the room I heard the more pitiful meowing ever. It was coming from a year old cat, and the meowing wasn't the only thing that was pitiful. She was missing about half of her fur, her whiskers had been cut and she also weighted half of what she was suppose to. She shook like crazy and was a bit skittish. Despite all this, she was so affectionate. The card on the cages said that she was called Milo, and that we shared the same birthday. (Yeah, strike two.)

We left the room to check out the dogs there, but as soon as we walked away from the cage, the cries began again. And as if that wasn't bad enough, you could still hear she throughout the building. It got so bad, I started crying and saying, "We can't just leave her here. We need to take her home." (Strike three, folks!)

She has been twisting me around her little paw ever since.

One of the first things we did after getting her home was to give her a new name. This was for a couple of reasons. 1.) We wanted to give her a completely new start. The name she had was from her previous life. 2.) When anyone heard her name, they assumed she was a male cat. Yeah, not cool.

So after running through a laundry list of names from cute to cool to silly, we settled on Yuna from a character in Final Fantasy X. She is the main female character who is beautiful, strong, brave and kind even knowing what her future holds. We felt it was perfect. (Now that we have gotten to know her personality better, she is more of a Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII, a mischievous ninja.)

In the months that followed, she put on the weight, grew all her fur back, and grew new whiskers. At first she would hide constantly, but slowly but surely, she started coming out. Soon she was hanging out with us.

You can say a pet belongs to someone, but the truth is that the pet picks you. Despite getting the kitty for my kids, Yuna has decided that she is my cat. And I'm okay with that.

I hope her story will encourage people to seek to adopt pets who truly need a loving home. You give them so much, but they give so much more back.