Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Alexander Revisited

I've got a ton of work to do before tomorrow... I will probably be awake until about 4 am *again*. But I could not stop myself from watching "Alexander Revisited" as soon as I brought it home. It is stunning... beyond stunning; it is a masterpiece! This is what the movie *should* have looked like in the theatrical version. It was everything that Oliver Stone had originally promised. If you have even the slightest interest in Alexander, run and do not walk and get yourself a copy of "Alexander Revisited" ASAP.

The acid-trip and schizophrenic tendencies of the original theatrical cut has been excised from most of the film and what little is left is downplayed dramatically. More is explained. The film flows better, is arranged more logically, and is much clearer. No more, "what the heck is going on?" through most of Gaugamela. You can tell what's going on in this version... and the rest of the movie is the same way. Cleitus' spectacular death is pretty much word-for-word from the historical record now and totally amazing. There is even more of Roxane than in the theatrical version... much more than I ever wanted to see... *but* there is much, much more of Hephaistion (always happy to see more of him!), and, omg, Bagoas isn't mute! His voice is a little nasal (and his accent, while totally appropriate, a little difficult to get past at times), but I'm not minding so much because, dude, he has lines and is now a full character. And all the ambiguity of the theatrical version has been cleared up... And all the parts that I had to listen to ten times to decipher with the theatrical seem to have much clearer sound in this version, or the voices seem clearer and more precise. ::sighs:: It makes me happy... And because I've seen the theatrical cut so many times, I've been desensitized to the last 40 or so minutes so I don't cry anymore when I see it.

There are no special features on the DVDs... It's pretty much a bare-bones DVD set, but I don't care, I don't care! This was well worth the wait and I am not at all disappointed!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Idiots trying to make a quick buck

This is my conclusion on the "documentary" that James Cameron is touting about at the moment... It's about a tomb which was found in 1980 in a suburb of Jerusalem (which in ancient times would have been outside the city). They and a few professionals claim that the tomb is that of Jesus, his mother, two brothers, wife and son. (You can read more about it here.) As much as it would thrill me to death to say that it is the "Tomb of Jesus" for the dangerous, controversial, cataclysmic theological implications, I am wholly unconvinced and I'll tell you why.

One, there were 10 coffins in this tomb... only 6 of them are connected to the Christian Bible according to Cameron et al's interpretation, the other 4 are ignored in the analysis... Sloppy... They need to account for all 10 or the analysis is incomplete and they're trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Two, the six coffins they *are* concerned with are marked "Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus' brother); and Judah son of Jesua." Okay... yeah, that may seem exciting, *but* 1.) I'd like to know what the names actually are in the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek (however they are written because the article doesn't say) and also any other evidence found in and around the tomb, not to mention the names of the other four. And 2.) do they have any idea how common these names were? This would be like going into a random cemetery and finding graves marked Mary, Michael, John son of Robert, Elizabeth, Robert, and James and making something out of it... These were *common* names... They also make a big deal out of the fact that one of the Marys, the one they claim is *clearly* Mary Magdalene is marked as Mariamne (they claim that this would be the "Ringo," if they also found "John," "George," and "Paul," and said that it was the "Beatles."). That's not all that significant really... Mariamne is the Hellenized version of Miriam (Mary), that's all... It's literally the difference between "Mary" and "Maria." Both very common names in post-Alexander Judea, just as they are today in the "Western" world... For example, one of the Harods (the Great, was it?) had like two (or was it three?) separate, unrelated wives whose given names were Mariamne simply by coincidence... Think how Henry VIII had three wives named Catherine because it was just like that, by coincidence... (and also because Harod had two of the Mariamnes executed for "treason" due to his own paranoia...) Very, very common name... Can't emphasize enough just how common that name was... And since any children that Mary Magdalene and Jesus may have had, assuming that they were even married (which, if they existed at all, I think was probably very likely, and for more reasons than just that I think its fun to turn doctrine on its head and expose its holes), are not named in the Christian Bible or any other record that we know of, having a grave marked "Yudah son of Yeshua" doesn't mean all that much either... Really, the names can be written off as mere coincidence since there is no other evidence that is anything close to firm and there are *four other coffins* that Cameron et al are clearly ignoring and not giving any explanation for their presence at all...

Three, Cameron et al claim that DNA evidence (the article doesn't specify what was tested or even what was in the coffins... if there were any complete skeletons, how many, etc) proves that these people really were who Cameron et al claim they were... All DNA evidence could possibly prove is that they were Jews, who lived and died and had genetic roots in Judea around the 1st century BCE-CE... And DNA evidence could also possibly confirm that Judah was the son of the 2nd Mary and Yeshua and that Yeshua, Matthew and Jofa were all sons of the 1st Mary and were brothers... That is, if they were able to obtain enough of the right kinds of samples (a pretty big IF). That's about it... Oxygen isotopes in the teeth would confirm geographic place of origin... Other than that, they have nothing. Because, dude, we don't have any DNA samples of confirmed identity to check against to prove that this Yeshua is the Yeshua that Christians the world over call Jesus... We just don't, so that proves nothing and Cameron et al are stupid to claim otherwise.

Now, *if* in the coffin marked "Yeshua" there was a male skeleton which showed signs of crucifixion and could be determined to have died in his early 30s (because despite the discrepancy of age between the Synoptics and John, I take the Synoptics over John because John's a little too out there on too many other things and wholly unreliable as an historical record, except to illustrate what some people were believing in the area of its composition at the time it was composed), then and *only* then would I *maybe* believe that we *might* be talking about Jesus... But if they had found a skeleton like that, this would have made news a hell of a lot sooner than 17 years after the tomb's discovery. And even if there was evidence of death by crucifixion, who is to say that Jesus was even really crucified? Written records can easily be forged (it happens all the time in history, in ancient times even more so than today... Why do you think wedding banquets were such a big deal back then - a piece of paper was not what made a marriage because such things could be destroyed or forged easily, rather it was the memory of the witnesses which testified to the validity of a marriage, and the more witnesses the better...) and the writings of the Christian Bible are suspect because without that major event, a large portion of the basis of Christian belief would fall flat, so they have a stake in the crucifixion having occurred and are too biased to be taken at face value on the account of whether or not it happened.

So, in the end, this is bullshit and Cameron et al are idiots trying to make a quick buck off of pointless controversy. So bully for them in their great success of clouding an already murky and BS issue.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

yeah, I like quizzes...

My Personality
Openness To Experience
You are introverted, reserved, and quiet with a preference for solitude and solitary activities. Your socializing tends to be restricted to a few close friends. Stressful and frustrating situations can sometimes be upsetting to you, but you are often able to get over these feelings and cope with these situations. A desire for tradition does not prevent you from trying new things. Your thinking is neither simple nor complex. To others you appear to be a well-educated person but not an intellectual. You have some concern with others' needs, and are generally pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative. You are reasonably reliable, organized, and self-controlled.

Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report

Browse 1000s of the most popular myspace layouts or create your own layout.

Where might I be from?

How Florida Are You?
Your Result: You are a pure Floridian

You were probably born & raised in the sunshine state. I'm sure you know all about being soaked with reclaimed sprinkler water and have grown bored of evacuating constantly.

You're almost Floridian
You're not Floridian
You're kinda Floridian
How Florida Are You?

You Are 90% Floridian!

WOOHOO!! You Either Are A True Floridian, A Genius, Or Did You Google All The Questions?? Well If Ya Googled It, Try To Remember This Stuff Ok?...Geniuses WTG!...But Last And Definately Not Least To My Fellow Floridians Congrats You've Proved You Know Our State Well!

How Florida Are You???
Take More Quizzes

You are 85%* floridian!

You are a true Floridian! You have road-rage, a hidden hate for New Yorkers and/or other northerners, and find it to be unbearably cold outside when it is anywhere below 50 degrees outside.

How much of a floridian are you?
Make a Quiz

How Flor-i-duh are you?
Your Result: Your a crazy Floridian.

You have been in Florida long enough to know that it doesnt seem like it did on "vacation" and snowbirds and hurricanes are just part of your everyday life.

Your a damn yankee
How Flor-i-duh are you?

Two delightful discoveries...

I've made two delightful discoveries this weekend... completely unrelated, but delightful nonetheless...

1.) Swheat Scoop cat liter... This is great stuff... Made from wheat hulls, it's 100% biodegradable. Plus, it's totally flushable for septic and sewer systems. Dixie's liter box is now firmly ensconced in my bathroom with a scooper in a handy little holder, and a dust pan and brush to clean up what sticks to her feet... and due to it's location and the flushability of the liter, it will be much easier for lazy me to keep it clean.

2.) "Miss Potter" starring Renee Zellweger. This movie is utterly delightful! Totally charming! Very much like Beatrix's books and drawings... delightful and charming... I highly recommend it to everyone! I don't think I've seen Renee this good since "Cold Mountain," and possibly not even then. Her English accent has also improved since "Bridget Jones"... It's not perfect, but it's much improved. Oh, and Ewan McGreggor is in "Miss Potter" too... and he sings... Lovely, lovely movie... Beautiful countryside... Makes me want to move to England and buy myself a country farm there, but I'll content myself with this side of the Pond for now.

"Miss Potter" is currently in limited release, so it may not be showing where you live... I recommend going to imdb.com and typing in your zip to find the nearest theater. Although, if imdb.com is correct, it will be going into wide release across the country on March 9, 2007.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pride and Prejudice

Okay... the Keira Knightley "Pride and Prejudice" of 2005 is rife with costume inaccuracies and all kinds of other issues... The almost total lack of corsets of any kind and other costume issues would normally make me twitch and be so annoyed I couldn't watch it but I think I was able to because I was expecting total inaccuracy and one disaster after another long before it was released in theaters, so I had gotten to a point where I could mostly ignore it and let it go by the time I sat down to watch it... Also some scenes never appeared in the book, other scenes are changed in drastic ways... It's not very faithful to time or literature... *but*...

I have to say, yet again, I really enjoy it purely as an escapist movie... The score plays so well against the visuals from beginning to end. And it's photographed in such a lovely way... it's so textured and lit so well. It's pretty to look at... and so is Matt MacFadyen, who plays the immortal Mr. Darcy. Don't get me wrong, I *love* Colin Firth from the much more accurate 1995 A&E mini-series. He *is* and always will be Mr. Darcy in everything he's ever done since then (and not just the Bridget Jones movies)... but Matt has his good points too... like when he comes walking out of the mist at dawn near the end-- Oy! And his little when-no-one-but-the-audience-is-looking moments - they have a tendency to make me squeal with delight.

The movie is a silly, light-hearted, highly inaccurate, romantic bit of fluff... but I defy just about any woman to watch it from beginning to end and not have a silly smile and a sigh on their lips as the closing credits begin to roll...

As I just finished watching it, yet again, on HBO, I just had to say that...

That is all...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

It was bound to happen...

Eventually, I had to find a way to merge my crafty side with my love for Latin... ;D Here's what I came up with...

It's a wooden sign for my parents' new farm in Virginia. It'll either go outside on the back porch or over the front door. Haven't decided yet. Of course, the house hasn't even been built yet, so I'm not sure exactly where it will end up... And I might antique it, but I haven't made up my mind about that yet. It says, "Behold, everything is green." And then in smaller letters: "The meadows and the fields and the woods and the groves." Thought it quite appropriate for a farm...

Mom says that it might be taken as pretentious by some people, but I told her that I didn't care. I made it because I wanted to and for the house, not for everybody else. And if they don't know Latin, they can just ask me what it says and I'll tell them. It's not like I expect that everyone and their brother reads Latin... but I do, and I quite like it. It's a damn fun language. And I like my sign.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A finished project?

I actually finished a project this weekend? How did that happen?

Be that as it may, here it is:

A hot water bottle cosy... pattern is here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

So making this...

While waiting for my prescription to be filled at the CVS today, I came across a hot water bottle... Now, these are pretty common things and I always say, you know, a hot water bottle would be really useful right now, cause it's cold/my back hurts/etc. but I never have one and its never a convenient time to go out and get one... So I bought the one I found today. And it really is quite delightful. But I've decided, as I've been nursing tense muscles today, that it desperately needs a cosy. Never to buy something I could make, I've searched online for a pattern. Sure enough, there are a few out there. I've chosen this one for three reasons - 1.) I have the yarn and the needles, 2.) It has a cable... I love cables! and 3.) It's called "aka Rachael's Water Bottle Cosy" and the name's even spelled right... Will keep everyone posted on my progress. I also found this very cute cabled cosy, but since I don't have the yarn at the moment and it looks like might take longer to knit, I'll just keep it in mind for a future project.

Wow... the things stress can do...

So for the past week or so, I've been feeling completely crappy. Since late-afternoon on Monday, I was feeling so bad that I couldn't make it to class the rest of the week. I went to the school clinic on Wednesday, and the nurse told me it was just the flu or something, to get rest, drink plenty of fluids and to take a few days off from classes if I felt I needed to do that.

But today, I finally found out what's really going on with me and you'll probably laugh when you hear (I did! In relief, if nothing else...).

I went back to the doctor this morning because my arms, and, to a lesser but still noticeable degree, my legs, were going numb every time I tried to lay down to go to sleep last night, then the numbness stopped going away when I'd get up and move around (this lasted about seven hours by the time I had seen the doctor). And I had panic attacks twice before 7am... Like honest to God, uncontrollable hyperventilation and abject fear induced panic attacks. Very scary...

So this time, I didn't go to the USF clinic (not that they aren't wonderful in most cases, but I wanted to see someone who could see me quickly and had gone to school for 8+ years to get his or her degree, as opposed to the nurse practitioners, who evidently are rarely good at making an accurate diagnosis in my case - including this last incident, they've been completely wrong 3 out of the 3 times I've seen one). I told my doctor everything that's gone on this entire past week, and after he looked me over, he said all of it, every bit of it, is stress. Severe stress, that's for sure, but nothing more than that.

My immune system was compromised by it and I got a bad head cold, which I'm still getting over. But all the other symptoms not usually associated with a head cold - the nausea, loss of appetite, upset stomach, numbness in the limbs - is all pure stress. The dizziness can be attributed to both the stress and the head cold. The numbness in particular, which really scared me, as I'm sure you can imagine, was caused by the muscles in my shoulders and back tensing to such a degree that they were squeezing the major nerves that run down my arms and legs, cutting off some feeling. Apparently, this can happen quite often when people are under stress for a long time and is not all that uncommon. So if this ever happens to anyone who might be reading this, try not to panic as much as I did because the most likely cause of it is what happened in my case - knotted, tension-filled muscles in the back and shoulders - and not a heart attack, even though it can feel like that's what it must be. But, of course, it's a good idea to get it checked out because when it gets to this point, it's better to make sure it's nothing more serious, for the sake of peace of mind, if nothing else.

So my doc gave me a prescription for muscle relaxers to force my back and shoulders to unknot, told me to look into getting massage therapy to relieve the rest, and to take it easy for at least the next few days, so that the cold has time to get better. He also found I'm on the verge of getting an ear infection because the cold is taking so long to clear, though it hasn't gotten to that point yet. So I'm following doctor's orders to the letter 'cause I sure don't want a repeat of this last week...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More Food News...

The USDA will have an advisory panel decide whether or not cloned animals can produce organic food with a USDA label sometime this spring... For more information, see the Washington Post article here. I don't know what disturbs me more, that anyone on this planet is even dreaming of making clones of animals and plants in order to produce food, or that the USDA is even entertaining the idea of making it organic. I tell you what, the day that happens is the day I start shopping exclusively at local markets run by people who would never dream of producing or selling such unnatural food.

Landmark Case - USDA at fault for GE Grass

The following comes from a Center for Food Safety press release:

Federal Court Orders for the First Time a Halt to New Field Trials of Genetically Engineered Crops

Far-Reaching Decision Requires More Rigorous Environmental Review For Future Trials

Past Trials on Genetically Engineered Creeping Bentgrass Ruled Illegal

Contact: Joseph Mendelson (202) 547-9359

Washington, DC - In a decision broadly affecting field trials of genetically engineered crops a federal district judge ruled yesterday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must halt approval of all new field trials until more rigorous environmental reviews are conducted. Citing potential threats to the environment, Judge Harold Kennedy found in favor of the Center for Food Safety that USDA's past approvals of field trials of herbicide tolerant, genetically engineered bentgrass were illegal.

"This is a significant victory. The decision requires far more thorough oversight of the environmental impact of these crops, " stated Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety.

"The Court was clearly concerned that the agency has put our nation's environment at risk by exempting many of these field trials from environmental review. That's why the judge made the decision broadly apply to all future field trials of genetically engineered crops," Mendelson continued.

The federal lawsuit was filed by the Center for Food Safety, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and other individuals and organizations in 2003. At issue in the lawsuit are novel varieties of creeping bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass manufactured by Scotts and Monsanto that have been genetically engineered to resist Roundup, Monsanto's popular herbicide.

Currently, use of the Roundup weedkiller is limited to spot spraying of weeds in that the herbicide kills any grass with which it comes in contact. The new engineered grass has been altered to be resistant to the weedkiller so that users will be able to spray entire lawns, fields and golf courses with large amounts of the chemical without fear of hurting the grass. Large scale planting of the biotech grass would therefore significantly increase the amounts of herbicide used in home lawns, sports fields, schools and golf courses around the country.

In seminal studies concerning environmental contamination from genetically engineered creeping bentgrass, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found multiple instances of the pollen from engineered bentgrass traveling several miles and transferring its traits to native grasses. Last year, EPA researchers found that the engineered grasses had escaped from field trials to contaminate a national grassland.

"These field trials threaten our public land, our communities and our health," said Lesley Adams, Outreach Coordinator for plaintiff Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

"We will monitor the USDA very closely to make sure they don't allow any more of these tests until they've rigorously assessed their environmental impact," Adams concluded.

View the court's decision

Testudo et Lepus...

This contains SPOILERS for "Rome"'s second season episode 16. If you haven't seen it, DO NOT READ it if you don't want to be spoiled...


Sorry, I just hate to spoil people who don't want to be...

This week's "Rome" was "Testudo et Lepus" (The Tortoise and the Hare). I haven't quite puzzled that out yet... usually the titles of the episodes are much more obvious than this one. I suppose Octavian could have been the Tortoise and Marc Antony the Hare, since that's how the civil war works out (though it's not over yet). I don't know... whatever... My big beef with this episode is that they switched Octavians... I realize that they can't have a 17 year old actor play Octavian from age twelve to early thirties, but they could have 1.) come up with a better time to transition... like during one of the several year breaks between episodes... and 2.) they could have cast his replacement better.

The younger Octavian is played by the amazingly talented Max Pirkis. You may remember him from "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" where he played Lord Blakeney. He shone as Octavian. Perfectly in character, perfectly in the period at all times. He showed a confidence that was rarely betrayed by the youth of his character, and when it was, it was always appropriate. He was always just so... Octavian. His entire performance was flawless.

Even so, I knew that they were going to replace him at some point. I figured they'd do that during a several year break in the story. They had made major changes during such a break in the first season. When they began filming Max was somewhere around 15, maybe a bit younger. Halfway through the first season, Octavian is sent away out of Rome for school during the entirety of the war between Pompey and Caesar... so for several years, although they leave the exact number of years ambiguous. When he came back to the show, the actor was a bit older, a bit taller (or at least they filmed him in such a way to make him seem taller), but they also dressed the character significantly older, and Max changed the character's body language, made it more confident and less boyish, so that the aging seemed real. They could have done something similar when they jumped to a new actor... But instead, the script is pretty clear that the jump is only a few months, not even a full year... and yet when we see Octavian again, after he whipped Mark Antony's army in Mutina, he looks at least 10 years older. Sloppy... very sloppy...

This new guy not only does not look like an older version of Max Pirkis, his body language and character study is all wrong. His name is Simon Woods, and he looks like the younger brother of Paul Bettany with darker, more auburn hair. And he's got the same kind of body language as Paul Bettany too... I've seen it very disappointingly labeled as "fruity" on the HBO "Rome" message boards... I wouldn't say "fruity" because that implies some inaccurate and prejudicial things toward people who would traditionally be labeled this way, and I would never mean to imply that. I would say it's not Octavian. The self-assured bearing that I would have expected is not there. He doesn't speak the same way... Max gave Octavian a very distinctive way of speaking, and Simon Woods has obviously not made any attempt to emulate it. There's too much flourish in the way he delivers lines, as opposed to the way Max did it. He's much more relaxed and casual around unfamiliar people than I would have expected, when Max and the earlier scripts had established firmly that Octavian was rather slow to warm up to people he didn't know and very formal in public situations. All of this *could* have been character development, this is true, but they never showed it on screen, and I can't buy such a major, unexplained change in what the show has presented was an absence of just a few months. I don't mean to disparage Simon Woods, but I think he was miscast in this case, although I very much look forward to seeing him in other roles in the future.

Other issues:

- The developing romance between Marcus Agrippa and Octavia... While I think it is *very* cute, it's not historical... in fact, if they're going to be historical, in a few episodes Octavia will be forced by the Senate to marry Mark Antony. So I'm not sure where they're going to go with it...

- Another thing I noticed is that Octavia has been widowed and unmarried for more than 10 years in the show's chronology... ::tisk, tisk:: Didn't and wouldn't have happened... not in Rome... She was married to an old Senator as a teenager, had three children, he died of natual causes, then a few years later she was married to Mark Antony and had three children with him before he began his fatal affair with Cleopatra. And they aren't bothing to age Octavia, who now looks like Octavian's little sister, instead of his older sister by several years... Kerry Condon who plays her is only 6 days older than me.

- They also aren't aging anyone else... Only Octavian... So it's a bit wierd that no one else is aging over the course of 20 some odd years of history... hmmm... And they aren't aging the other young children nearly fast enough to keep up. Niobe's son only looks about 8 years old, and he was an infant in the first episode. So does this mean that only eight years should have passed? Eventhough there were 8 years in the first season alone? First season began in 50 BCE with Caesar finishing up his Gallic Wars and ends in 44 BCE when Caesar is assassinated. So that's six or seven years there... Second season is going from 44 BCE to 27 BCE when Octavian is made emperor in the last episode De Patre Vostro (literally: "About Our Father"), so over 17 years. (There had to have been a better point to switch Octavians... ::sighs::) And they've used the same actress for Vorena the Younger since the first episode... she can't be more than 12 or so, at most. So more sloppiness... or they are compressing time so that the entire series takes place over a fewer number of years than the actual history did, and then not bothering to tell anyone that that is what they're doing...

It's bad when I start analyzing television and movies closely. They always fall apart under scrutiny.

Countdown to Spring Break

29 days...

Lord, help me!

And 86 days until the last day of Final Exam Week...


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Interesting find...

In Italy, archaeologists have found an interesting burial at a Neolithic site. They only just uncovered it, so any concrete information about the burial is pure speculation at this point. It's was a double burial, according to the Italian archaeologists, a first for a Neolithic site... and even more unusual, the bodies were arranged in an embrace. The exact age and sex of the skeletons and their DNA profiles, which will indicate whether or not they were genetically related and, if so, how close, are yet to be determined. All they can tell from looking at the bones right now is that the two were relatively young at the time of death because of the condition of their teeth - intact and not significantly worn. At this time, there is not an apparent cause of death - no knife marks or wearing on the bones which might indicate a violent death or death due to debilitating illness. All very interesting... I hope they find out more soon.

For more information and photographs, you can go here. I chose that article because it does not wildly speculate about the skeletons... There's one article floating about calling them "Romeo and Juliet" because the site is 25 miles away from Verona, they assume that one is male and the other female, and its a week before Valentine's Day... but in truth speculation like that is premature.

Also if you notice the positioning of the skeletons, it looks exactly like the young couple who were digested by fungus at the beginning of "The X-Files" episode "Field Trip" (Season 6, Episode 21)... hmmmm...

"A pair of human skeletons lie in an eternal embrace at an Neolithic archaeological dig site near Mantova, Italy, in this photo released February 6, 2007. Archaeologists in northern Italy believe the couple was buried 5,000-6,000 years ago, their arms still wrapped around each other in a hug that has lasted millennia. REUTERS/Enrico Pajello/Handout (ITALY). EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS" This photo is the property of Reuters and the photographer who created it. I make no claims of any kind on the copyright, I do not intend to imply any, and I use it here for educational and illustrative purposes only. I make no money from this photograph and have not sold, nor do I intend to sell it for any purpose.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You speak it, Dan!

Ahem... I am so glad people are actually calling her on this bullshit... She's betrayed the tribe, collaborated with the enemy like the Vichy regime did, and the tribe is freaking pissed...

The following contains strong language showing the passion with which it was written. If you take issue, deal with it.

The Passion of Mary Cheney
Posted by DAN SAVAGE on February 1 at 9:02 AM

In today's New York Times Mary Cheney defends her decision to get her lezbo self knocked the fuck up. Like her father, Mary Cheney believes she shouldn't have to answer for her party's attacks on same-sex parents.

"When Heather and I decided to have a baby, I knew it wasn't going to be the most popular decision," Ms. Cheney said, referring to her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe. She then gestured to her middle — any bulge disguised by a boxy jacket — and asserted: "This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child."

Nice try, Mary.

Yes, it's a baby, not a prop. My kid isn't a prop either, but that never stopped right-wingers from attacking me and my boyfriend over our decision to become parents. The fitness of same-sex couples to parent is very much part of the political debate thanks to the GOP and the Christian bigots that make up its lunatic "base." You're a Republican, Mary, you worked on both of your father's campaigns, and you kept your mouth clamped shut while Karl Rove and George Bush ran around the country attacking gay people, gay parents, and our children in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. It's a little late to declare the private choices of gays and lesbians unfit for public debate, Mary.

And so long as your party insists on making the fitness of homosexuals to marry or parent — or, hell, exist — a subject of public debate, Mary, your decision to become a parent is germane and very much fit for public discussion and debate. The GOP's selective embrace of some pregnant dykes — only knocked-up lesbians with powerful connections will be treated with respect — is a disconnect that demands answers. From you, from your father, from your venomous mother, from the idiot president you helped elect. Is that fair? Maybe not. Want to blame someone? Go look in the mirror - and then come out swinging, Mary — for yourself, your partner, and your child.

This was a pretty good start:

Ms. Cheney noted Mr. Dobson's distortions of the research he cited [in a piece attacking her in Time] and added: "Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents; what matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment." She said Mr. Dobson was entitled to his opinion, "but he's not someone whose endorsement I have ever drastically sought."

But what's with the "drastically," Mary?

Could it be this: You sought Dobson's endorsement in the past — your father certainly has, and you worked on his campaigns — but now, to avoid tough questions, you want to qualify and minimize your past sucking up to the likes of Dobson by stating that you never sought his endorsement all that, you know, drastically or

Again, Mary, nice try. You kept your mouth clamped shut when your father needed the political support of assholes like Dobson. And now that your dad is a despised lame-duck VP, dad's gay-bashing political allies feel free to treat you with the same contempt with which they have long treated other gay and lesbians. And now you cry foul?

Sorry, Mary, and fuck you. You and your whole fucked-up family crawled into bed with bigots like Dobson when it suited you. And now you and your whole fucked-up family have some explaining to do. So welcome to the political debate, Mary, and remember...

Your side started it. It only serves you right that you're going to have to finish it.

And you might want to have it all wrapped up before your kid is old enough to understand what's being said about his family by your dad's political allies. Take it from me, Mary: Explaining to your child, after he heard something hateful on the radio, that his family is very much "real," that it's not an attack on anyone else's family, and that his parents are, in fact, fit to be his parents is as distressing and emotionally exhausting as it is unnecessary. And I blame you.

This is absurd...

I don't think I've ever heard of something so absurd and I hope that this backfires big time...

Idea Would Require Couples to Have Kids
.c The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Proponents of same-sex marriage have introduced a ballot measure that would require heterosexual couples to have a child within three years or have their marriages annulled.

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance acknowledged on its Web site that the initiative was ``absurd'' but hoped the idea prompts ``discussion about the many misguided assumptions'' underlying a state Supreme Court ruling that upheld a ban on same-sex marriage.

The measure would require couples to prove they can have children to get a marriage license. Couples who do not have children within three years could have their marriages annulled.

All other marriages would be defined as ``unrecognized,'' making those couples ineligible for marriage benefits.

The paperwork for the measure was submitted last month. Supporters must gather at least 224,800 signatures by July 6 to put it on the November ballot.

The group said the proposal was aimed at ``social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation.''

Cheryl Haskins, executive director of Allies for Marriage and Children, said opponents of same-sex marriage want only to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

``Some of those unions produce children and some of them don't,'' she said.

On the Net:
Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance: http://www.wa-doma.org/
Allies for Marriage & Children: http://www.alliesformarriage.org/

02/05/07 22:05 EST
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rolling Stone printed an article on agriculture...

How cool is that?!?!

On top of that, it's an awesome article, aimed at exposing the pollution of big-agro business - most especially Smithfield Foods, the largest pork processor in the world.

Read it and spread the word!

Boss Hog

Microchips cause cancer in lab animals...

All of the following was sent to me via e-mail... It's most disturbing. Consider this before microchipping pets and livestock! And write to your elected officials opposing NAIS...

Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer
By Jane Williams GFN contributing writer---
(For Publication in the January 2007 "American Family Voice")

At the National ID Expo in Kansas City, Arkansas Animal Producer's Association President Michael Steenbergen asked, "What safety studies have been conducted on the chips that are inserted into animals?" His question was met with total silence. Did these manufacturers not know, or were they unwilling to admit that research has confirmed that implanted microchips cause cancer?

Melvin T. Massey, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) from Brownsboro,Texas, brought this to the attention of the American Horse Council when he wrote, "I am a retired Equine Veterinarian and still breed a few horses. Because of migration-infection s-increased risk of sarcoids I will not want to have microchips in my horses."

The Institute of Experimental Pathology at Hannover Medical School in Germany reported, "An experiment using 4279 CBA/J mice of two generations was carried out to investigate the influence of parental preconceptual exposure to X-ray radiation or to chemical carcinogens. Microchips were implanted subcutaneously in the dorsolateral back for unique identification of each animal. The animals were kept for lifespan under standard laboratory conditions. In 36 mice a circumscribed neoplasm occurred in the area of the implanted microchip. Macroscopically, firm, pale white nodules up to 25 mm in diameter with the microchip in its center were found. Macroscopically, soft tissue tumors such as fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma were detected."

Ecole Nationale Veterinaire of Unite d'Anatomie Pathologique in Nantes, France, reported, "Fifty-two subcutaneous tumors associated with microchip were collected from three carcinigenicity B6C3F1 micestudies. Two of these 52 tumors were adenocarcinoma of the mammary gland located on the dorsal region forming around the chip. All the other 50 were mesenchymal in origin and were difficult to classify on morphological grounds with haematoxylin-eosin."

Marta Vascellari of Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie at Viale dell'Universita in Legnaro, Italy reported examining a 9-year-old male French Bulldog for a subcutaneous mass located at the site of a microchip implant. "The mass was confirmed as a high-grade infiltrative fibrosarcoma, with multifocal necrosis and peripheral lymphoid aggregates."

The Toxicology Department of Bayer Corporation in Stillwell, Kansas reported, "Tumors surrounding implanted microchip animal identification devices were noted in two separate chronic toxicity/oncogenici ty studies using F344 rats. The tumors occurred at a low incidence rate (approximately 1%), but did result in the early sacrifice of most affected animals, due to tumor size and occasional metastases. No sex-related trends were noted.

"All tumors occurred during the second year of the studies, were located in the subcutaneous dorsal thoracic area (the site of microchip implantation) and contained embedded microchip devices. All were mesenchymal in origin and consisted of the following types, listed on order of frequency: malignant schwannoma, fibrosarcoma, anaplastic sarcoma, and histiocytic sarcoma.

"The following diagnostic techniques were employed: light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistr y. The mechanism of carcinogenicity appeared to be that of foreign body induced tumorigenesis."

Additional studies related to cancer tumors at the site of microchip implants have been conduced in China; however, at this time these studies are not available in English. At this time, no long term studies are available covering more than two years. It only seems logical to conclude that if carcinogenic tumors occur within one percent of animals implanted within two years of the implant that the percentage would increase with the passage of time. Additional studies need to be conducted, but don't hold your breath for the manufacturers of microchips to conduct such research and be leery of any such "research" they may conduct. Even the limited research available clearly indicates that implantation of microchips within an animal is gambling with the animal's well being.

For additional Information:
also National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, or just google for "sarcomas associated with implanted microchips".

What I've been up to lately...

Well, the last week was a real challenge, but I got through it with my sanity intact... So far, so good.

On top of reading two speeches by Cicero and 167 pages of an economic history book, on Wednesday, I had to lead discussion in my seminar class... That was not as scary as I would have previously thought it would be. My Latin class has gone a long way in making me more comfortable with talking in front of a group of people. And it's gone even further in making me more comfortable with the thought that I might make a fool of myself in front of other people. Leading up to Wednesday, I just kept telling myself "I can do this, I can do this," over, and convincing myself that I was completely in charge (even though, technically, I wasn't) helped a lot too. It seemed to work. This may seem like a little thing, but considering that just six months ago the very thought of speaking in a room full of people would have plunged me into a panic attack, and even the thought of being called on in class was not the most comfortable thing in the world. I'm really quite proud of how I handled myself. And in a week and a half, I get to do it again... and then that will be that for leading discussions this semester... Even with all the progress I've made, I can't say I won't be glad to have it over with.

This weekend, I'm already being bad. Four weeks of no time for anything not school related has gotten to me. Thursday and today, I have spun a little bit with my tiny drop spindle - super lace weight Shetland wool. Wish I had pictures of it, but I don't... It's the first time I've had time to spin since I can't remember when and it was not really time I had for it, but I did it anyway... Part of the econ history book was able the wool cloth trade and how the cloth was produced, which obviously included info about spinning and weaving in brief... I couldn't take it. I had to spin. It was required... Today, I also finished my Latin homework for Monday.

Last night, I was up and finding sources for my seminar histiographical paper until 3am. Thank goodness I have access to the library sources from my home computer now that USF has updated its computer system or else I would have been at the library until it closed last night. And just a few minutes ago, I wrote my topic proposal. I'm writing on the role of the Vikings in European trade, 8th - 11th centuries. I feel they are under-represented in the field of medieval history and that their contributions are more often than not reduced to how they impacted other countries'/rulers'/people's policies/reigns/lives, and that even this is presented as having been almost exclusively through their raiding, rather than the things they did in, of and for themselves... Other entities get to tell their stories for their own sake... the Vikings should be able to do that too! So that's what I'm going to write on...

Saturday, I have to go buy a book of Catullus' poems. The USF bookstore website listed the wrong book title for the class, so I bought the wrong book (used from amazon.com, so I can't return it)... Now that I've discovered this, I have to run out to Borders tomorrow and get the correct book. I have almost 100 pages of poems to read for Monday... I also have 250 pages to read about economic history and a two-page paper to write on Cicero by Wednesday... Will I get it all done? Probably not... The pages are large and the print is tiny. But I will at least get all of my written work done. That much, I can do. I may skip Roman Lit on Monday though, even though I will have been in class for Latin an hour and a half before that class so my prof will know that I was at school at one point on Monday... But if I can't get everything done for it, I'm not going to go and get my prof pissed 'cause I'm unprepared. Far better to not be there than to have her not happy with me. She hates it when students come to class and waste her time by being unprepared for serious discussion of the assigned texts...

Sunday, I'm having some of my friends over. Don't know who's going to show up yet. Zinzi says she'll be there and Maria will be there until she has to go to work at 5pm. Haven't heard from anyone else who will be here though. Warm Up America! and the DIY Network want people to knit (or crochet) squares for charity on that day, so I've told everyone who is crafty to bring their tools with them and we can work on it together. Don't know if we'll watch the game or not... probably not... We will order pizza though, that much I can say for certain.

I also have good news concerning Dixie. She's gained yet another 2 ounces since starting her new health regimen.

She just waking up from a catnap in this picture... It was taken yesterday afternoon.