Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Shawn Wines: Dating as in OMG

Ah, dating. We've all done it. We've all enjoyed it and sometimes we've all endured it. The highs and lows, the good and bad, the heavenly and yes, the proverbial date from hell. Wikipedia in its usual sort of scientific sounding, dispassionate, unbiased manner, succinctly put its encyclopedic finger on it with the following: Dating is a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by two persons with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. While the term has several senses, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.

So, we're all trying to assess one another's suitability for, well, the next step. And here next step could refer to anything from sexual dalliance to our kindred spirit life partner. Yes the most obvious which tickles our fancy and titillates our libidos is the standard romantic comedy scene of hopping in the sack but there is also the admitted possibility that we actually like the person (Holy cow!) and may want to spend nonsexual time with them. But how does that assessment process go? Are we open and honest from the get go or do we "play the game", holding back out of fear of how the other person is going to react?

Shawn Wines is an up and coming writer/director for whom 2011 was a record year. He made the short comedy High Maintenance in 2011 which went on to win two awards: 1. Columbia University Film Festival (2011): Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Award; 2. Student Academy Awards, USA (2011): Silver Medal

His résumé shows several short features over the years and his latest covers the idea of honesty in dating with spit take hilarity. And I mean spit take. Really. Spit take.

Dailymotion: Upstairs by Shawn Wines
writer/director: Shawn Wines / producer: Brooke Sebold / starring: Josette Barchilon & Adam Lustick
A couple at the end of their first date gets down to business.

Final Word
Ha ha ha. If it all was as easy as that. Open and honest. Complete transparency. All cards on the table. Wait! It isn't as easy as that? Why not? Ha ha ha. Don't tell me we're afraid to be open and honest? Don't tell me we're scared of how the other person is going to react? So what if I wet my bed until I was five, so what if I have a piece of spinach lodged between my two front teeth, so what if I'm for Obama and the Democrats, I still am a charming guy, right? Right!?! Sleep with me and I'll show you four inches of pure steel. I can do more than just spell Venus Butterfly.

Oh well, ya just gotta laugh. It certainly beats sobbing uncontrollably. :-)

Below you will find some references about Shawn Wines. But more importantly, there are references about dating. Wikipedia's article is informative but the newspaper article written by a British woman on dating in America. She gives an interesting perspective on modern day dating with references to "The Rules", a controversial self-help book about relationships.

IMDb: Shawn Wines
Editor, director, production manager
He won two awards for his short comedy High Maintenance (2011):
1. Columbia University Film Festival (2011): Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Award
2. Student Academy Awards, USA (2011): Silver Medal

IMDb: High Maintenance (2011)
Written and Directed by Shawn Wines
Plot Summary: Hank's just an ordinary guy trying to get his wife pregnant, when his mother-in-law shows up and threatens to ruin everything. His desperate attempts to get rid of her lead him down a darkening path filled with guns, drugs, kidnapping, hookers, and karaoke, until he's faced with a crisis so out of control, that his marriage, his life, and his embarrassingly-low sperm count hang in the balance.

Vimeo: film excerpt: High Maintenance

Wikipedia: Dating
Columnist Maureen Dowd quoted comedian Bill Maher on the subject of differing dating agendas between men and women: "Women get in relationships because they want somebody to talk to -- men want women to shut up."] Dowd quoted poet Dorothy Parker on the subject of romance:

By the time you swear you're his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying -
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
—Dorothy Parker

The Guardian - Jan 24/2009
Should I follow any rules? by Kira Cochrane
No, ignore dating tactics and simply get out and meet people.

I didn't realise that there were specific rules for dating until I turned 20 and crossed the Atlantic to study in the small town of Davis, California.
In the US, I discovered, they took a different tack. Namely, dating.
I also learned of the third-date rule - the most central and widely recognised of all dating rules - which decrees that there should be no sex until the third date, however much you might actually desire sex before this point. As with many other dating rules, this is only really supposed to be observed by heterosexual women: it is fully accepted that men will try and have sex before the third date, and it is the female role to hold them back. Dating rules almost always cast the man as aggressor, and the woman as prey, which frankly makes me feel nauseous.

Wikipedia: The Rules
The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right is a controversial self-help book by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, originally published in 1995. The book suggests rules that a woman should follow in order to attract and marry the man of her dreams; these rules include that a woman should be "hard to get". The underlying philosophy of The Rules is that women should not aggressively pursue men, but rather ought to get the men to pursue them. A woman who follows The Rules is called a Rules Girl.


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Monday, 26 March 2012

Earth Hour: 60 minutes to make a difference

This coming Saturday, March 31, 2012, from 8:30pm to 9:30pm, we will be showing our support for Mother Earth by turning off our lights. This now global event was humbly started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 with 2.2 million residents of that city switching off all non-essential lights. This idea, initiated by the WWF Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, has now grown into an annual event of an international scale to raise awareness about the need to do something about climate change.

The official Earth Hour web site reports that more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries participated in 2011. They offer an interactive map where you can explore not only what's happening in your corner of the globe but what everybody else is doing to make their contribution to this global cause. Yes, we are truly in this together. (Aside: Last year I read that even the Antarctica was joining in but found no mention this year. In any case, you can use the map to try to find out who's being bad this year!)

Campaign 2012: I Will If You Will
In February, Earth Hour launched its 2012 campaign, “I Will If You Will”, with the intention of engaging its growing global community to go beyond the hour. Using a dedicated YouTube platform, IWIYW asks Earth Hour's digital community to inspire people from all corners of the globe to take sustainability actions, and to share their commitment to the environment with their own social media networks.

Executive Director and Co-Founder Andy Ridley said, "Earth Hour’s challenge is no longer to connect people; the challenge is to offer a reason to connect. Any movement of change begins with symbolism - it’s a needed step to prove enough people care about an issue. Earth Hour is past the beginning now, and lots of people are switching their lights off every year in March. We’re now at the stage of taking it beyond the hour." (Wikipedia: Earth Hour: 2012)

official YouTube channel
The Earth Hour YouTube platform hosts a global library of “I Will If You Will” challenges, and encourages people to share their dare publically through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. Friends can be invited to participate and accept each challenge using these popular social networks.

The official web site contains a wealth of information about not only the event, but climate change and the need to do something. I notice a handy countdown clock reminding us of our duty this Saturday. On the home page, you can also find a locator to find country specific sites. Click here for Canada, the Great White North and "Join Team Earth Hour" and click here for the good ol' U.S. of A. and "Dare the World to Save the Planet".

In the 2009 publication The New Climate Deal, there is this telling quote from Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Climate Convention: "The financial crisis is a result of our living beyond our financial means. The climate crisis is a result of our living beyond our planet's means." Are people listening or is it business as usual?

I read a statement I have heard elsewhere:

As a result of warming, with more heat energy and water vapour in the atmosphere, climate and weather of all kinds will become more extreme. Storms, including hurricanes, may become more intense and more frequent. Wet areas will generally become wetter and dry areas drier. Droughts, which are already more frequent, will get longer and more intense, and extend to new areas – including the Mediterranean, Middle East, Central Asia and southern Africa, which can all expect substantially less rain.

The sceptics always say that things don't feel warmer and I guess that in general, maybe that "feels" true. However, if I think over some of the headlines I've read in the past few years, is the first sign of global warming not more heat but more extreme weather? I can certainly think of a number of extreme weather reports.

True Story
When I was a kid, I always remember building forts in the piles of snow beside the driveway in front of the family home. By the beginning of December, we had certainly shovelled a lot of snow onto each side and the mounds provided excellent cover for snowball fights or even hollowing out a mound as a sort of igloo. That was during the 1950s. Today, it is rare that I see that amount of snow. Something has certainly changed and I only have to bring out the old family photos to see proof that our climate has different. Winters are milder than they were. Yes, I know there are a lot of doubting Thomas's who say global warming is a myth but it seems pretty hard to explain what I have experienced first-hand. Whatever you want to call it, something is going on.

Energy Saved
Wikipedia rattles off some stats about how much was saved in energy sometimes translating that into an equivalent in carbon dioxide. (numbers for the year 2008)

According to WWF Thailand, Bangkok decreased electricity usage by 73.34 megawatts, which, over one hour, is equivalent to 41.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Ireland, as a whole, had a reduction in electricity use of about 1.5% for the evening. In the three-hour period between 18:30 and 21:30, there was a reduction of 50 megawatts, saving 150 megawatt-hours, or approximately 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Ontario used approximately 900 megawatt-hours less electrical energy during Earth Hour. At one point, Toronto, Ontario saw an 8.7% reduction in consumption as compared to a typical March Saturday night.

What doesn't have criticism? Too little, maybe too late? What about Earth Day? Or Earth Week? Do we really have what it takes to do something truly meaningful?

The Ayn Rand Institute wrote, "Participants spend an enjoyable sixty minutes in the dark, safe in the knowledge that the life-saving benefits of industrial civilization are just a light switch away... Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about Earth Month... Try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or generators; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible." (The Real Meaning of Earth Hour By Keith Lockitch - March 23, 2009)

In my blog Let's go green... er, black?, I talk about our need for electricity, how much coal we all may be burning to produce electricity and just what we collectively are doing and should be doing. I wrote:

A couple of years ago, I was reading an analysis in the editorial pages of the Toronto Star where the author [looked] at our green efforts. He listed off our various initiatives in North America like changing traditional light bulbs to more energy efficient ones, getting more green appliances, turning off unnecessary lights and dimming others, etc. Then he said that these types of efforts, while laudable were laughable when one took into account that at that moment, China was constructing a new coal-fired electrical power generating station every week. All of our light bulbs were dwarfed by the new developments elsewhere in the world which were leading to even higher levels of pollution.

Good question. The Kyoto Protocol aims to fight global warming. It sets out targets in the reduction of various pollutants known to contribute to this phenomenon. As of October 2010, 191 countries have ratified the agreement with one very notable exception: the United States, a country ranked by several reports as the biggest polluter on the planet.

In saying that, I don't mean the rest of us should do nothing, but it seems obvious that only with everyone doing their part will the entire planet be a better place. In the meantime, I can switch off on Saturday and even if it's only symbolic as opposed to making a measurable, substantial difference, it can be a start that will hopefully be seen by those who are in a position to make a decision hopefully for the better.


Wikipedia: Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Earth Hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008. Earth Hour 2012 will take place on March 31, 2012 from 8:30p.m. to 9:30p.m., at participant's local time.

official YouTube channel

Facebook: Earth Hour

Twitter: Earth Hour

official web site: Earth Hour

Google Images: Earth Hour
[Lots of great pictures, some before and after photos]

Wikipedia: Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, patron saint of ecology. Earth Day was first observed in San Francisco and other cities on March 21, 1970, the first day of Spring. This day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations where it is observed each year. About the same time a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.

Wikipedia: Flick Off
FLICK OFF (flick off) is a Canadian advertising campaign launched by Key Gordon Communications. It is a movement to fight climate change by getting Canadians to use less energy.

The choice of the campaign's name is intended both as a reference to a light switch (reflecting the energy-conservation theme) and the exhortation "f**k off". This deliberate ambiguity is reflected in the design of the "Flick Off" logo, in which the L and I in "flick" are designed to resemble a U, in the branded promotional items for sale as part of the campaign, and in the website which features phrases like "are we flicked?". The power symbol used as an "o" in "off" may also represent a raised middle finger.


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Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Easybeats: Friday On My Mind

Monday morning feels so bad,
Ev'rybody seems to nag me
Coming tuesday I feel better,
Even my old man looks good,
Wednesday just don't go,
Thursday goes too slow,
I've got Friday on my mind

Gonna have fun in the city,
Be with my girl she's so pretty,
She looks fine tonight,
She is out of sight to me,
Tonight... I spend my bread,
Tonight... I lose my head,
Tonight... I got to get tonight
Monday I have Friday on my mind.

Do the five day drag once more,
Know of nothing else that bugs me
More than working for the rich man,
Hey I'll change that scene one day,
Today I might be mad,
Tomorrow I'll be glad,
I've got Friday on my mind,



Uploaded by mookiebomber on Jul 2, 2009

Wikipedia: Friday on My Mind
"Friday on My Mind" is a 1966 song by Australian rock group The Easybeats. Written by band members George Young and Harry Vanda, the track became a worldwide hit, reaching #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1967 in the US, reaching #1 on the Dutch Top 40 chart, #1 in Australia and #6 in the UK, as well as charting in several other countries. In 2001, it was voted "Best Australian Song" of all time by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as determined by a panel of 100 music industry personalities.

Wikipedia: The Easybeats
The Easybeats were an Australian rock and roll band. They formed in Sydney in late 1964 and broke up at the end of 1969. They are regarded as the greatest Australian pop band of the 1960s, and were the first Australian rock and roll act to score an international pop hit with their 1966 single "Friday on My Mind".

YouTube: Friday on My Mind by David Bowie
This version of the song was recorded by David Bowie for his 1973 RCA covers album Pin Ups.

Wikipedia: Friday (disambiguation)
* Friday (opera) or Freitag, an opera by Karlheinz Stockhausen from his Licht cycle
* Friday (soundtrack), the soundtrack album from the 1995 film
* * "Friday", a song by Ice Cube on the soundtrack
* Friday (album), an album by Christine Milton
* "Friday" (Daniel Bedingfield song)
* "Friday" (Rebecca Black song)
* "Friday", a song by Goldspot
* "Friday", a song by Phish from Round Room
* "Friday", a song by Plies from The Real Testament
* "Friday", a song by Sunny Day Real Estate from Sunny Day Real Estate
* "Friday", a song by Joe Jackson from I'm the Man
* "Friday", a song written by Ellie Greenwich and Tony Powers

The TAZZone Network - July 29/2011
Top 10 Friday Songs
  1. Easybeats – Friday On My Mind ( was released as a single in 1966 and charted 16th on the Billboard Hot 100 )
  2. J.J. Cale – Friday ( from his 1979 album called ‘ 5 ‘…even though Cale had only one US hit himself – Crazy Mama – other artists have had success with his songs including Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kansas, among others )
  3. Genesis – Get ‘Em Out By Friday ( from their 1972 album ‘ Foxtrot ‘ )
  4. Guttermouth – Good Friday ( from their 1997 album ‘ Musical Monkey ‘ )
  5. Aqua – Freaky Friday ( the 3rd track from their second album ‘ Aquarius ‘ which was released in 2000 )
  6. Steely Dan – Black Friday ( from the 1975 gold album ‘ Katy Lied ‘…the song is about the infamous Friday, September 24, 1869 in the US )
  7. The Cure - Friday I’m In Love ( from their 1992 album ‘ Wish ‘, this song was nominated for a Grammy Award )
  8. Nancy Sinatra – Friday’s Child ( was a 1966 single, and was on her 1967 album ‘ Movin’ with Nancy ‘ )
  9. Paul Weller – Friday Street ( from his 1997 album ‘ Heavy Soul ‘…about a Hamlet with the same name around Surrey, England )
  10. Generation X – Friday’s Angels ( from the 1979 album ‘ Valley of the Dolls ‘…GX was a Billy Idol and Tony James band, and the two wrote all the songs )

my blog about Rebecca Black's Friday: Internet song "Friday" goes viral
You're 13 years old. You decide to try your hand at a music video. You post it to YouTube and the next thing you know, it has been viewed 16 million times. Sounds great; another overnight sensation. Unfortunately, the critics and the public seem to be unanimous in calling this first time foray into the music field just about the most inane artistry ever. "Bad is the new good." The name "Rebecca Black" is now famous. Or is that infamous?
[The original music video with lyrics, quotes from various news media, links to some parodies (Bob Dylan? Really?) including the song performed by Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon]


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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Rush Limbaugh: That's spelled with one F and one U

Recently, the world has been atwitter on Twitter and other social media commenting left, right and centre about one Rush Hudson Limbaugh. Of course, it is easy to pile on by calling him an anal orifice or a Neanderthal or a meany... (I consult my notes) oops, that's a f**kin' meany... however I can't help feeling there is more, much more not just to this particular story, but to what the story represents. This is the tip of the iceberg. But first, let's recap what happened with the help of Wikipedia.

On February 16, 2012, Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a hearing on infringement of religious liberty and contraceptive mandates. Fluke was submitted as a witness by Democratic members, but Issa denied her testimony, stating her name was submitted too late. The hearing was widely criticized for having no women witnesses to speak on an issue of contraception.

The papers ran pictures of a group of religious leaders, all men, weighing in on this topic. Just imagine, not a single female witness. As the blogger D. A. Wolf so astutely pointed out with homonymous humor: "[It was] a (w)holy masculine audience." Sandra Fluke was later invited to testify on February 23 for House Democratic members.

In her testimony, she argued in favor of requiring private insurance companies to cover contraception. She claimed that over the three years as a law student, birth control would cost an estimated $3,000. She continued that the lack of coverage would force many low income women to go without contraception and that women's free health clinics cannot meet the need. She then discussed the consequence of such policies, including a friend with polycystic ovary syndrome being forced to go without birth control pills, resulting in a cyst developing on her ovaries. According to Fluke, her friend was denied coverage, even with a verified condition from her doctor, and this is not a rare event for women with medical conditions. She then stated that she wanted equal treatment for women's health issues and did not see the issue as being against the Catholic Church.

On February 29, all hell broke loose when Rush Limbaugh, defender of the faith, champion of the moral Conservative, took to the airwaves and went after Sandra Fluke with a figurative pickaxe.

What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

Can you imagine if you're her parents how proud of Sandra Fluke you would be? Your daughter goes up to a congressional hearing conducted by the Botox-filled Nancy Pelosi and testifies she's having so much sex she can't afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope.

On March 1, Limbaugh continued:

[Fluke is] having so much sex, it's amazing she can still walk.

So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.

On March 2, Limbaugh added:

[Limbaugh offered what he said was a "compromise" to contraception coverage: purchasing] all the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as possible.

From Wikipedia:

On March 3, 2012 Limbaugh defended his previous comments about Fluke and complained that "not one person says that, 'Well, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?". Limbaugh said that requiring insurance companies to cover contraception is "no different than if somebody knocked on my door that I don't know and said, 'You know what? I'm out of money. I can't afford birth-control pills, and I'm supposed to have sex with three guys tonight.' " On her parents being proud of her he said, "I'm gonna button my lip on that one." He went on to say that if his daughter had testified that "she's having so much sex she can't pay for it and wants a new welfare program to pay for it," he'd be "embarrassed" and "disconnect the phone," "go into hiding," and "hope the media didn't find me." He continued later, "Oh! Does she have more boyfriends? They're lined up around the block. They would have been in my day." He continued that Fluke testified that her "sex life is active. She's having sex so frequently that she can't afford all the birth-control pills that she needs. That's what she's saying."

My Initial Reaction
Have I picked my jaw up off the floor yet? Where to begin? This is the type of talk I'd expect to hear from a redneck male chauvinist pig who's had one too many beers on a Saturday night. But considering the absolutely death-defying leaps of logic and lack of fundamental knowledge about the world spewing from the mouths of the GOP candidates vying for the position of Republican representative to run against the Democratic Obama in the 2012 elections, I think I'm no longer surprised by anything. As I commented elsewhere when this story first broke:

Rush Limbaugh is a caricature of everything one could possibly hate in an American male: right wing, religious fundamentalist, Republican, sexist, misogynist. In a nutshell, he is a doofus. Admittedly, if he didn't have such an audience, he would be laughable but the fact he does have an audience says a lot about the number of people in the U.S. like him and that's not funny.

This gentleman, and I use the term very loosely, is an anal orifice. No maybe I can punch that one up a notch by saying he's a hemorrhoid on America's anus. Yes, that's better. Rush exists much in the same way MRA's exist. They are in the minority (thank God) but still represent a vocal group with some influence in the circles of power. Consequently we all must continue to fight the good fight for fear the dips**ts get into power. Can anybody say, "Rick Santorum"? (Wikipedia: Campaign for "santorum" neologism)

Freedom of Religion
I imagine that everyone would start by saying they were for this freedom. But at one point does anybody step in if they disagree with the religion in question? In the late 1800's, the U.S. government entered into a conflict with Utah over the practice of polygamy. (Wikipedia: Mormons: Pioneer era) In 1993, the ATF laid siege to the Branch Davidian ranch at Waco, Texas. (Wikipedia: Waco siege) Do Christian Scientists and other like religions have the right to decline medical treatment for themselves or their children? (Wikipedia: Christian Science: Medical controversies)

The above examples may seem far from the mainstream. Some may consider, for example David Koresh of the Waco siege to be quite simply a nutbar. However, what about the mainstream? What about us?

The Roman Catholic Church has been mixed up in questionable practices over the years: the Medieval Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades. But that was then and this is now. But, but, but what about now? Who's going to be the first to utter the word pedophilia?

In my 2010 posting "Abortion: If we make it illegal, the problem will go away", I wrote:

My wife and I watched a news item on television last night which stated that every year 25,000 women die from unsafe abortions in Africa and 1.7 million are injured. Due to the restrictive laws governing abortions in almost all African countries, virtually all of the 5.6 million abortions performed annually in Africa are unsafe. Apparently only about 100,000 of them are performed by trained professionals in a safe environment. The news item went on the cover various religious groups in these African countries who are lobbying to keep abortions illegal and one minister who was interviewed proudly said that he has having a big impact in maintaining laws which make abortions illegal.

I then went on to report:

In March 2009, the Pope visited Africa and during his trip he reaffirmed the church's ban on the use of condoms. Never mind talking about pregnancy, the numbers related to AIDS were staggering. At that moment, 22 million people were infected with HIV in Africa; there were 11.4 orphans because of AIDS; 1.5 million had died of AIDS in Africa in 2007 and 25 million had died in the past 20 years.

Polygamy. Waco, Texas. Denial of medical treatment. Each of these three cases are small, far from the mainstream and easily dismissible when we all get caught up in the more pressing issues of modern times. However are we fully cognizant of the issues, the truly important issues going on right now under our noses which may require our intervention, our collective intervention that is our government's intervention in what may be abhorrent on a cataclysmic level?

In my posting "Abortion: Rick Perry and Sex Education: Abstinence works!", I pointed out the glaring hole in the arguments presented by religious groups. If we all drove safely, there would be no need for safety belts and there would be no accidents. 33,808 people died in traffic accidents in the United States in 2009. If we all abstained from having sex, there would be no unwanted pregnancies, no abortions and no worries about STDs and AIDS. There are 33 million on the planet currently living with HIV with 1.8 million dying from AIDS annually. In the United States, 18,000 people die each year from AIDS. The CDC reports for 2009 more than 1.2 million cases of chlamydia, 301,174 reported cases of gonorrhea and 13,997 reported cases of syphilis. CDC estimates that undiagnosed and untreated STDs cause at least 24,000 women in the U.S. each year to become infertile. 827,609 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC in 2007 although the Guttmacher Institute reports 1.2 million in 2008. (CDC reporting is voluntary while the institute actively gets the numbers.) Statistics Canada reports 96,815 induced abortions were performed in Canada in 2005.

In my posting "Planned Parenthood: addicting children to sex!!!", I describe how the pro-life organisation American Life League views sex as only for procreation and anything which interferes with procreation such as condoms, birth control, IUDs, etc. is verboten. They have put Planned Parenthood in their sights as enemy number one in their campaign to bring their vision of a moral America back to Americans everywhere.

Government Mandated Health Coverage
Myth: The United States has the best health care in the world. Fact: The U.S. has among the worst health statistics of all rich nations.

Wikipedia: Health care in the United States: Overall system effectiveness compared to other countries
  • The CIA World Factbook ranked the United States 41st in the world for infant mortality rate and 46th for total life expectancy.
  • The U.S. stands 50th in the world for a life expectancy of 78.37.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000 ranked the U.S. health care system first in responsiveness, but 37th in overall performance and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).
  • The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 45.7 million Americans (15.3% of the total population) had no health insurance coverage in 2007.
Sidebar: Steve Kanga's facts and figures on U.S. Health Care
The U.S. does not have the best health care system in the world - it has the best emergency care system in the world. Advanced U.S. medical technology has not translated into better health statistics for its citizens; indeed, the U.S. ranks near the bottom in list after list of international comparisons. Part of the problem is that there is more profit in a pound of cure than an ounce of prevention. Another part of the problem is that America has the highest level of poverty and income inequality among all rich nations, and poverty affects one's health much more than the limited ministrations of a formal health care system.

The Examiner - Aug 3/2009
The United States does not have the best health care system in the world by Karen Harper
In fact, it's not even close to being the best health care system in the world. Republicans have fought President Obama on every bill he has worked on and health care reform is no exception. Senator Richard Shelby (R), Alabama, said that President Obama's health care plan is the "first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known." Senator Chuck Grassley (R), Iowa, told a constituent in a town hall meeting that if he wanted health insurance to get a job with the government. Perhaps Grassley would like the government to provide 47 million jobs to solve the problem of the uninsured in America.

There are several important aspects about the United States health care system that make it one of the worst of all the industrialized nations.

1. Cost
The truth is that Americans pay more for health care than any other country in the world.

2. Quality of Health
The United States ranks only 27th in life expectancy of 189 countries. Of the 30 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations, the United States ranks only 22nd in life expectancy.

3. Not covering the uninsured makes things worse
The uninsured, approximately 47 million, go to emergency rooms. The "health system" does provide free emergency services however providing services in an emergency room, especially for more minor ailments is expensive, much more expensive than the normal treatments associated with a family doctor. As a consequence, by not providing health insurance to the uninsured, the system bears a greater financial burden.

Government Mandated Health Coverage = Socialism!!!

Government Mandated Health Coverage = Why support those deadbeats who can't pay?

Government Mandated Health Coverage = More government regulation!

Socialism? What happened to helping your fellow human being? Deadbeats? Yes, there are some deadbeats but don't tar and feather everybody who may not be as lucky as you. Government regulation? The 2008 financial crisis was caused by a lack of government regulation. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by a lack of government regulation. Shall I go on? The government in its wisdom has concluded we should all drive 60 mph. The government isn't telling us where we can go, it is saying it's just safer if we get there no faster than 60. That's government regulation making our lives better.

The American Life League, one of the largest pro-life organisations in the United States, states their view of sex on their web site:

The sexual drive in human beings was created by God to fulfill two interrelated purposes—to bring a close union between a married man and woman engaging in intimate sexual behavior (the "unitive" purpose of sex), and to provide a means to propagate the race (the "procreative" purpose of sex). To be true to the natural law that guides all human action, any act of sexual intercourse must occur within marriage and be open to both the unitive and procreative purposes. (from the page on PP)

In my posting Planned Parenthood: Addicting children to sex!!! I describe how this organisation is not just against abortion, but against contraception and sex education. The American Life League feels abstinence is the way and the only way of dealing with the question of unwanted pregnancies. Does this idea work?

Is the correct answer counter-intuitive?
Countries, states, municipalities have set up needle-exchange programs for drug addicts. Is such a public policy actually condoning or even promoting the use of illicit drugs? From Wikipedia: Needle-exchange programme:

A needle & syringe programme (NSP) or syringe-exchange programme (SEP) is a social policy based on the philosophy of harm reduction where injecting drug users (IDUs) can obtain hypodermic needles and associated injection equipment at little or no cost. ... The aim of these services is to reduce the damage associated with using unsterile or contaminated injecting equipment.

A comprehensive study by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 stated that there is a "compelling case that NSPs substantially and cost effectively reduce the spread of HIV among IDUs and do so without evidence of exacerbating injecting drug use at either the individual or societal level." The WHO's findings have also been supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), which strongly supports NSPs.

The Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization which works to advance reproductive health including abortion rights, published the following 2009 article:

By providing millions of young and low-income women access to voluntary contraceptive services, the national family planning program prevents 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, including almost 400,000 teen pregnancies, each year. These pregnancies would result in 860,000 unintended births, 810,000 abortions and 270,000 miscarriages, according to a new Guttmacher Institute report.

In the 2005 non-fiction book Freakonomics, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner analyze several commonly held "truths" including abortion and its relation to crime. During the 90's crime rates dropped and everybody was attributing this to better crime prevention. Levitt proved a correlation between the drop in crime and the legalization of abortion in the U.S. in the 1970s. Apparently, many abortions were occurring in lower income, possibly single parent families; families who were more susceptible to producing children who eventually ended up involved in crime. (Wikipedia: Legalized abortion and crime effect) (my blog Abortion: My final word on unwanted pregnancy)

Final Word
I abhor specious argumentation when somebody is defending a political stance. Two plus two equals four and it doesn't matter whether you're Democrat or Conservative, left or right. However, how to get the arguer to comprehend that their understanding of the problem is inaccurate, ideology based (as opposed to reality based) or just plain wrong?

You can't defend Rush
I don't have to give you my remarks as the American journalist George Will summed it up nicely.

The Daily Beast - Mar 5/2012
Signs of Hope: George Will Berates GOP Cowardice by Noah Kristula-Green
“[House Speaker John] Boehner comes out and says Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using the salad fork for your entrée, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff,” Will said.

Specious argumentation is deeply entrenched
Religious freedom? The freedom to force your will on the masses? The freedom to go against common thought? The freedom to set up rules and a system which will lead to unnecessary pain, suffering and even death? Literally the freedom to kill?

The blind adherence to a belief system, an ideology is so ingrained in some people; change will only come about when those people eventually grow old and die leaving the planet to those with a more enlightened view. The following comment in a Canadian newspaper reporting on the Rush Limbaugh story unwittingly shows to the world a commentator who is very much cut in the same cloth as far right Conservative Limbaugh ilk.

The National Post - Mar 6/2012
In the land of Limbaugh, no insult is too low by Araminta Wordsworth

Comment from Hobbitall
This is all a politically correct media goon squad deflection from the real issue.

The issue is whether Catholic institutions should be forced into paying for contraceptives by the government when it is against their moral and religious beliefs. And if the government succeeds how long until they are forced to pay for and provide abortions.

Government wants to have it's boot on the throat of religious beliefs and replace those beliefs with state decree.

How did civilization ever survive the tyranny of people paying for their own contraceptives before our savior Obamacare?

The PC media goon squad and feminazis want you tho think it's about the word slut and not about religious freedom.

My final, final word
Whether you are a man or a woman, you are a human being and deserve equal opportunity to education, employment and yes, even health care. However, I admit a man has a penis and a woman has a vagina and therein lies some fundamental differences in what health care is supposed to be for each sex. A bunch of guys, a bunch of religious guys to boot get together to make a decision about health care for the ladies? I got an idea. How about we make it mandatory that every man have a vasectomy at the age of 11 and he can't get it reversed until he's 35? A little harsh? Okay, I'll drop the age to 34 but I demand to see last year's tax return, proof of employment for the same job during the past 2 years and a psych evaluation showing he would be a stable, caring father. Is it just me or did all those religious leaders, the Conservative politicians and even Rush miss the part of the story where women have to have sex with a man to get pregnant? Why are they holding the woman responsible but letting the guy off scot-free?

In my posting "Sex: I'm a man and you're a...", I discuss the double standard as it exists in our society. I mention the book The Hite Report on Men and Male Sexuality (1981), in which the author, after interviewing about 5,000 men, said that the most common "theme" of their take on sex was this: women don't like sex. What a conundrum. We have a puritanical society with a culture which vilifies women for being open about their sexuality and yet secretly men would like nothing more than a woman who is "interested in it". Well guys, talk about collectively shooting ourselves in the foot!

Rush Limbaugh is the tip of the iceberg. There is a puritanical, patriarchal ideology so deeply entrenched in part of our culture it is now obvious generations or centuries will be necessary to overturn the status quo. But there is hope. Note that I said "entrenched in part of our culture". There is the deeply traditional, religious fundamentalist base which is unable to deal with a world which is evolving before its eyes but there are the liberals, the progressives, the experimenters who are questioning the status quo and pushing the bounds of what has been traditionally acceptable.


Wikipedia: Rush Limbaugh
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (born January 12, 1951) is an American radio talk show host, conservative political commentator, and an opinion leader in American conservatism. He hosts The Rush Limbaugh Show which is aired throughout the U.S. on Premiere Radio Networks and is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United States. Limbaugh signed an 8-year, $400 million contract extension with Clear Channel in 2008.

Wikipedia: The Rush Limbaugh Show
The Rush Limbaugh Show (also called The Rush Limbaugh Program) is an American talk radio show hosted by Rush Limbaugh on Premiere Radio Networks. Since its nationally syndicated premiere in 1988, The Rush Limbaugh Show has become the highest-rated talk radio show in the United States.

New York Times: Rush Limbaugh
His show went national, and revolutionized radio in America. Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers magazine, puts Mr. Limbaugh's weekly audience at 14 million. Mr. Limbaugh says it is closer to 20 million. Either way, nobody else is close. Mr. Limbaugh signed an eight-year contract in 2008 that he estimated would bring in about $38 million a year, plus a nine-figure signing bonus.

Wikipedia: Sandra Fluke
Sandra Kay Fluke (born April 17, 1981) is a Georgetown University law student, American feminist activist, and an ex-employee of a nonprofit advocating for victims of domestic violence. She was a proposed Democratic witness to a Congressional hearing on contraception. She was denied the opportunity to testify before the hearing and subsequently testified before Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Rush Limbaugh then begin a controversy by commenting on her testimony.

Wikipedia: Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy
On February 29, 2012, American conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh responded to a statement made by by Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, on February 23, 2012 about mandated health coverage for contraceptives. The statement was not "Congressional testimony" as was widely reported.

The Good Men Project - Mar 1/2012
Why Do We Live in a World That's Petrified of Women Who Love Sex? by Noah Brand
My culture tells me I’m supposed to like sex, supposed to make it a high priority, indeed supposed to define my worth as a person by it. I’m a man, after all.

Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy - Mar 4/2012
Contraception. Personhood. Let Me Say This… About That.
I’m just trying to read my Sunday Times. And enjoy perusing my fave Must-See sites. But it’s impossible to avoid news coverage on contraception and the ongoing battle of wills and words over health insurance, abortion, personhood, and related subjects. For most of the women I know over the age of 40, and of course for me as well, it’s a strangely anachronistic (outlandish?) debate. For one thing, the premise of not covering contraception is akin to punishing women for their sexuality. And it’s illogical. If men abstained from sex, women would have no need of contraception. There! Problem solved!

Open Salon - Mar 2/2012
Single Parents are Abusive and Negligent by Fay Paxton
According to Senator Grothman single parenting is all part of a leftist conspiracy....” The Left and the social welfare establishment want children born out of wedlock because they are far more likely to be dependent on the government.”

HuffPost Media - Mar 3/2012
Rush Limbaugh Apologizes To Sandra Fluke For Calling Her A 'Slut'
After a media and political firestorm, Rush Limbaugh issued an apology on Saturday for calling student Sandra Fluke a "slut" on his radio show this week.


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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

U2: Beautiful Day

The heart is a bloom, shoots up through stony ground
But there's no room, no space to rent in this town
You're out of luck and the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck and you're not movin' anywhere
You thought you’d found a friend to take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand in return for grace

It's a beautiful day,
The sky falls and you feel like
It's a beautiful day,
Don’t let it get away

You’re on the road but you’ve got no destination
You’re in the mud, in the maze of her imagination
You love this town even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over and it’s been all over you

It's a beautiful day,
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day,

Touch me, take me to that other place
Teach me love, I know I’m not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
See the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colours came out

It was a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
A beautiful day

Touch me, take me to that other place
Reach me, I know I'm not a hopeless case

What you don’t have you don’t need it now
What you don’t know you can feel it somehow
What you don’t have you don’t need it now
Don’t need it now
It was a beautiful day


Uploaded by U2VEVO on Dec 23, 2009

Wikipedia: Beautiful Day
"Beautiful Day" is a song by the rock band U2. It is the first track from their 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, and it was released as the album's lead single. It was a commercial success, helping launch the album to multi-platinum status, and is one of U2's biggest hits to date. Like many tracks from All That You Can't Leave Behind, "Beautiful Day" harkens back to the group's past sound. The tone of The Edge's guitar was a subject of debate amongst the band members, as they disagreed on whether he should use a sound similar to that from their early career in the 1980s. Lead vocalist Bono explained that the upbeat track is about losing everything but still finding joy in what one has.

Wikipedia: All That You Can't Leave Behind
All That You Can't Leave Behind is the tenth studio album by rock band U2. It was released on 30 October 2000 by Island Records in the United Kingdom and Interscope Records in the United States. Following the mixed reception to their 1997 album, Pop, All That You Can't Leave Behind represented a return to a more conventional sound for the band after they experimented with alternative rock and dance music in the 1990s. At the time of the album's release, U2 said on a number of occasions that they were "reapplying for the job ... [of] the best band in the world". U2 brought back producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois who had produced a number of the band's previous albums. The album was originally named "U2000", which was a working title for their past PopMart Tour.

Wikipedia: U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion). U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group's musical pursuits, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals, highlighted by The Edge's textural guitar playing and Bono's expressive vocals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal themes and sociopolitical concerns.

Origin of the name
... March 1978 ... band members completed the concert playing original material as "U2". Steve Averill, a punk rock musician and family friend of Clayton's, had suggested six potential names from which the band chose "U2" for its ambiguity and open-ended interpretations, and because it was the name that they disliked the least.


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Sunday, 11 March 2012

UB40: Red Red Wine

Red, red wine, go to my head,
Make's me forget that I
Still need you so.

Red, red wine, it's up to you.
All I can do, I've done;
But mem'ries won't go.
No, mem'ries won't go.

I'd have thought that with time
Thoughts of you would leave my head.
I was wrong, and now I find
Just one thing makes me forget.

Red, red wine, stay close to me.
Don't let me be alone;
It's tearing apart
My blue, blue heart.

I'd have thought that with time
Thoughts of you would leave my head.
I was wrong, and now I find
Just one thing makes me forget.

Red, red wine, stay close to me.
Don't let me be alone;
It's tearing apart
My blue, blue heart.


Uploaded by emimusic on Jun 2, 2009

Wikipedia: Red Red Wine
"Red Red Wine" is a song written and originally recorded by Neil Diamond. It has been covered by Tony Tribe, Jimmy James & the Vagabonds, and more famously by British reggae group UB40, whose version topped the U.S. and UK singles charts. In the song, the singer finds drinking red wine is the only way to forget a lost love.

Diamond's version reached number sixty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968.

Tony Tribe, a Jamaican rocksteady singer, recorded a reggae-influenced version in 1969 which reached number forty-six in the UK Singles Chart.

UB40 made their rendition for their cover versions album Labour of Love. According to the band, they were only familiar with Tony Tribe's version, and their version featured a lighter, reggae-style flavor compared to Diamond's somber, acoustic ballad. This version reached number one in the UK chart in August 1983, and number thirty-four in the U.S. in March 1984.

Wikipedia: Labour of Love
Labour of Love is a reggae album by UB40, the band's fourth studio album. It was originally released on 1 September 1983 and included the hits, "Red, Red Wine" (UK #1, US #1), "Cherry Oh Baby" (UK #12), "Many Rivers to Cross" (UK #16), and "Please Don't Make Me Cry" (UK #10).

Wikipedia: UB40
UB40 are a British reggae/pop band formed in 1978 in Birmingham. The band has placed more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and has also achieved considerable international success. One of the world's best-selling music artists, UB40 have sold over 70 million records.

The name "UB40" was selected in reference to the document issued to people claiming unemployment benefit from the UK government's Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) at the time of the band's formation. The designation UB40 stood for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40.

official web site: UB40


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Thursday, 8 March 2012

March 8: Internatonal Women's Day

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements. (Wikipedia)

The first International Women's Day was observed on March 19, 1911 (moved to March 8 in 1913), with gatherings in Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland amounting to more than one million women and men in attendance. Growing industrialization brought poor working conditions and protests led to the creation of this day about political and human rights. In 1977, the United Nations proclaimed the date as UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.

2012 International Women's Day
The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2012 is Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty. In many countries, International Women's Day is an occasion to honor and praise women for their accomplishments. In 2012, Oxfam America is inviting people to celebrate inspiring women in their lives by sending a free International Women’s Day e-Card or honoring a woman whose efforts make a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty with Oxfam’s International Women’s Day award.

On the occasion of International Women's Day 2012, the ICRC is calling for more action to help the mothers and wives of people who have gone missing during armed conflict. The vast majority of people who go missing in connection with conflict are men. As well as the anguish of not knowing what has happened to the missing person, many of these women face economic and practical difficulties. The ICRC underlines the duty of parties to a conflict to search for the missing and provide information for the families. (Wikipedia)

from 2011: James Bond supports IWD
Daniel Craig and Judi Dench reprise their roles from James Bond to support this event.

The two-minute short, specially commissioned for International Women's Day, sees 007 star Daniel Craig undergo a dramatic makeover as he puts himself, quite literally, in a woman's shoes.

Directed by acclaimed 'Nowhere Boy' director/conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood, scripted by Jane Goldman ('Kick Ass') and featuring the voice of Dame Judi Dench reprising her role as 'M', the film will be screened in cinemas and streamed online in a bid to highlight the levels of inequality that persist between men and women in the UK and worldwide. It is the first film featuring Bond to be directed by a woman.


official web site: International Women's Day

Wikipedia: International Women's Day

We Are Equals
EQUALS is a partnership of leading charities brought together by Annie Lennox to celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day.

Radio Free Europe - March 7/2011
Women's Day Largely Forgotten In West, Where It Got Its Start by Daisy Sindelar

VOA - March 7/2011
Clinton Launches 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day by JulieAnn McKellogg

Google Search: International Women's Day

November 19: International Men's Day
The objectives of celebrating an International Men's Day include focusing on men's and boys' health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care.

November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Women's activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women since 1981. On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Resolution 54/134). The UN invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on this day as an international observance. Women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961).

from my blog:

Women's Issues
How could I not weigh in on this one?
Steubenville Rape Case: It could be your daughter.
Cruelty knows no bounds
Sheila Kelley: Let's Get Naked: TED Talk
How to avoid sexual assault: stop dressing like a whore
Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
Double Standard: Why is female on male abuse funny?
Saturday, April 28, 2012: Unite Against The War On Women
An open letter to (older) women about body image
Slutwalk: Support our sluts!
Justice Robert Dewar: rape is inconsiderate
Men aren't violent and I'll kill you if you disagree
The Great Debate: seat up or seat down?
Honour Killings: new term, old idea
Marc Lépine: in remembrance of December 6, 1989
Because I Am a Girl
The Face of Anti-Abortionists: Neal Horsley
Anti-Abortionists: Murder by proxy
Spousal Support
Cruelty knows no bounds
Abortion: My final word on unwanted pregnancy
Abortion: If we make it illegal, the problem will go away
God Hates Women
In Praise of Women


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