Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Going to the dogs

I am bothered yet again. I am so anal that seems to happen often but now I have my sights set on the sports world.
Michael Vick, QB for the Atlanta Falcons (that is a football team for those you are uninformed), has been brutalized by the press and fans for being involved in dogfighting. I am damn sick of hearing about it. But don't read me wrong. I hope that Michael Vick gets the book thrown at him. Not only is it a horrible, horrible "sport", but it has been well researched that people who brutalize animals, often turn to the human counterpart eventually. Seems you either care about other lives, or you don't.
But it disturbs me how specialized the fans and press are in their venom. Sure Michael Vick has done wrong, but where are these people when sports stars are accused of beating their wives and girlfriends? (I have yet to hear of a female athlete beating up their innocent spouse so I can't fairly drag them into this.) I can think of a half dozen athletes from a variety of sports who were accused of domestic violence, and the response from the public has always been lukewarm-especially if the accused is on a team headed to the play-offs. "These men have stressful jobs". "They have to deal with constant presssure to succeed." "The amount of testosterone needed to win, makes them high-spirited." "It is a private family matter and none of our business." These are not direct quotes, but they reflect the same sentiment I often hear. When did the pain of a dog become more than the pain of a woman? Or as my very astute husband said, if Michael Vick had been fighting with chickens, would anyone have cared?
I hope that this is the beginning of a new dawn for all sports "hero's"-that they are no more, and no less, as special as the rest of us and that they too are mere mortals who must obey the law. The silver lining to all this, and there is one-Joey Harrington is set to be the Falcons starter. As a former U of O Duck, we are still in his corner and would like the Detroit Lions to be sorry they ever let him go. He is a much better role model that Michael Vick any day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter-part 2

Oh the lazy days of summer-they go by in a flash and are anything but lazy!!! This is just an update-yes, I picked up the last Harry Potter book, no I haven't read it, yes I cheated and read the last page and a half, yes I could kick myslef, no I couldn't resist!!!! So I have no idea if my speculating in the last blog was correct or not, but rumors coming back to me are the the three friends, Ron, Harry, and Hermoine, live. Well, no duh? How can you kill the hero or his posse? Of course, these rumors could be wrong-ever heard of the old chuildren's game "Telephone"? Anyway, I am about 1/3 of the way through the fourth book (Goblet of Fire) and still refuse to read the 7th until I have finished 5 &6. I'll let everyone know when I finish the series. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but people are constantly asking me about it!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter-the 5th movie-good

You may not know this about me, but beneath my mild mannered appearance (think Clark Kent with boobs) I am a Harry Potter fan! I still remember the day, going down memory lane, when I discovered the magical wizard out of England. A friend found the first three books cheap at Costco and gave them to me at Christmas, asking me if I had even heard of Harry Potter. I had just caught a quick paragraph somewhere about how kids really liked this book, so yes I had heard of him but I didn't know ANYTHING about him: age? location? Storyline? I figured Harry was a boy's name but that was it. I read the first four chapters and was unimpressed. I almost put it down. It reminded me to much of "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl. An orphan living with nasty relatives. Big deal. The main character in "Peach" was James Trotter, and Harry's dad was James, and I just kept thinking nice subtle plagarism. But I kept reading. I read those first three books in about ten days. Ahhh-free time before I procreated. Then I bitched at the rest of my family to read them. I started my own cult.
Here we are 6 books later, and 5 movies later and the magic continues (although I never saw three books cheap again.) I read the 5th book when it came out but PURPOSELY did not read it before the movie. The first three movies I did that and I spent the whole time asking myself "why did they leave that out?" Sometimes, ignorance is truly bliss. I really liked the fifth movie, and that is saying a lot because the fifth book has been my least favorite. Yes, details got cut, just like the first four movies. But it helped boil down the plot so you got some of the key concepts I missed when reading the book. There were some funny lines, and I love seeing the kids grow-up with the role. Whoever said they would look to old to basically play their own age should be shot with a wand (I actually read that somewhere and I can only assume that it was someone from Hollywood where we demand that 16 year olds actually look 24.) I also love seeing the cast of venerable British actors who have been in the Harry Potter series. It reads like a Who's Who of English acting and the decision to keep American actors out was wise.
So the final book comes out next week and as much as I would love to say that J.K. Rowling and I are "BBF's", the truth is she has no idea who the hell I am. But here is my own OPINION (no first hand knowledge) of what I think will happen in the last book:
1. We will discover that Albus Dumbledore is not only alive, but some how related to Harry. Either Great Uncle, grandfather-I am not really sure.
2. Two characters (note we have not heard the word "people") die in the last book. Obvisiouly one of them has to be Lord Voldemort,a nd as for the other one, I don't know but I highly DOUBT it will be a main character. Who will go to the last movie if it is Harry, Ron, or Hermoine? Not that J.K. Rowling has ever been about the money, but still...
3. Snape is good. Although he may never be Harry's greatest fan, he has always come out in the end for good.
4. Harry will graduate from Hogwarts, and become the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Who better to lead that class then the one who vanquished the biggest Dark Arts creature of them all?
If I am right, it will be a minor mriacle. I am hardly ever right. But if I am, I will certainly take some time to gloat. We shall see in about a week!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Impress me baby

Recently someone told me that I am hard to impress. This comment was made after I made an obversation about a U2 concert I went to in the '90's. Bono, the lead singer, was walking on a catwalk and people from the crowd kept trying to touch him. To Bono's credit, he shook hands with many of his fans. All I could think, as I watched this scene play out was how if I were down there, there is no way I want Bono touching me. Not only is he a stranger, he is hot and sweaty from putting pn a show and I would bet good money he has germs. Think of all the hands he just shook. Meeting/seeing/talking to famous people is exciting, and I have had my share of "fan moments", but am I impressed? Because Bono can sing better than me? Travels more than me? Was almost a priest instead of a rock star? Kudos for Bono for doing what he loves but where should I be impressed?
The truth is, I am just as impressionable as the next person, but it has to be something important. Social Workers impress the hell out of me. No pay for working with a segment of the population most of us want nothing to do with-that is impressive. Mother Teresa-walking the talk of helping our fellow man impresses the shit out of me. People who have lost children, no matter what their age, and still carrying on is tops on my list. One couple I read about lost all three of their children in a car accident. Their response was to start a foudnation to help kids in need. If I lost Asa I think I would curl up in a ball and just cry. Yet this couple have brought goodness out of a horrible tragedy. These are the type of people that impress me.
This is the one time I wish others were like me. "Stars" are great and all, but do we need more Paris Hilton's of the world? Maybe if she were impressionable like me, we wouldn't be hearing about how jail changed her. Changed her from what?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A History Lesson

Happy of Fourth of July! Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy holiday.
Believe it or not, the Fourth of July is truly a day to celebrate. Imagine this:
50 people deserted on an island, 25 men and 25 women (so re-populating is NOT an issue). Ten of them have taken it upon themselves to be the leaders. They scouted out food, water, and shelter so the others could sit there and ponder their existence. The ten intrepid, leaders discovered landscaping features, searched for a way off the island, and brought dinner back. It is obvious, the 50 people are going no where. So the men are faced with a decision-how do they set up a new civilization? Do they vote in a King, or do they vote 3 or 4 of their own members, the ten bossing everyone around, to form a type of government? In a very watered down nutshell, this was the limited examples of government available to the Founding Fathers. Government for the people by the people had been a pipe dream for thousands of years till some hotheads on the East Coast got a bee in their bonnet and told England to stuff it. Once the Colonial Americans beat England, the question became "now what?" How do we raise money? Does everyone want to join our club? Do we have an army? Who is ruler? A good King? One person from each area? Who will lead us? Once a leader was chosen, what do we call him? There was a very vocal faction who felt that the President should be called "His Highness". Where will the new leader live? Remember, sending a letter, once we got a postal division, could take weeks. It seems obvious that we have the government we have, but in 1776, these were scary questions, no real answers, and no one to turn to, to find out. It turned John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, close friends during the actual revolution, into enemies. Adams felt the people shouldn't have to much involvement. These simple farmers were not bright enough to possibly know enough to help guide a country. Jefferson was the complete opposite-government for the people by the people meant just that, no matter where they decided to go.
Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. In 1776, government for the people by the people meant white guys. Women, slaves, and anyone considered "undesirable" (which is a lot of leeway), were left out of this little dream. The framers of this nation were about freedom for themselves. However, the fact that a bunch of rabble rousers spurned the mighty British Empire, however they did it, gave hope to a lot of people and has changed History for good or bad. Think about it-for thousands of years things pretty much ran the same way no matter where in the world you looked. Kings and the occasional Queen through out Europe, Emperors in Asia, Cheiftan leaders throughout Africa and North America-even South and Central American had Kings and royalty. After the American Revolution, other nations, particularly France, started to see what was possible. The start of the American Revolutionay War was truly, "the shot heard 'round the world", because it certainly changed the world permanently.
So with that mind, I wish everybody a great holiday and a thanks that we have the government we have. Check out the quotes below-I thought they were relevant.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Modern Technology

I can't help myself-I have to write about computers YET AGAIN!! I am sitting here on my friends laptop (thank-you Katie!), not only checking e-mail and blogs, but communicating with people half way around the world!!! What would our ancestor think? Truly we forget the modern world we are living in. I used to feel guilty about all this "moderness". What would my great-grandmother say if she could microwave a Lean Cuisine for lunch? What would my ancestors say if they could have flown out of Russia instead of the overland trip through Europe and then a cruise to Ellis Island? Even bagged lettuce made me feel guilty. No more howing the rows, planting the seeds, watering, harvesting, preserving, and then getting a meager salad for dinner. Grab the scissors (I have no muscle) and cut the bag open as I pull the pizza out of the stove. Ever think about life without a vacuum cleaner? I often think of hiring someone else to use it, but I can't imagine life wihtout one.
I truly used to feel guilty about all of this. Millions of years of progress and invention all so i can watch some tart on tv tell me how I can wash my curtains (a huge worry in my life) or some idiot tell me he fired people I don't know. Or so i can get to the grocery store in 5 minutes or less to buy a Kit kat that will attach itself to my butt like flies on a lightbulb (ha-ha-you thought I was going to say soemthing else!). Watching lives saved by modern medicine seems worthwhile and noble, but having a can of deoderizer JUST for my son's room (out darn diaper pail, out!) seems like awaste of all that technology it took to get the can.
But a few days ago I went to a re-created community in Fort Rock, Ore. A preservation society has been collecting abanodoned prairie buildings and fixing them so we people can go through them and learn. One of the guides was even nice enough to play a real phonograph for us!! It was a treat to hear that "modern technology". And I learned another thing- one hundred years ago there would be no guilt-they would have eaten the damn bag of lettuce. One hundred years ago, the chance to be able to go "to town" at the flick of a car key would have been a welcome opportunity.
Human Beings have always created things of comfort and entertainment-it's why they took the animal skins and stretch them across a wooden base so they could have drums. Oooo-break out the disco tonight. It's why religious ceremonies often had social competitions like the first olympic Games. Pray to the Gods, run a race against your neighbor, and check out the cute girls from the neighboring village. So no more feeling guilty about all the neat things we have to use. When I eat that chocolate chip cookie out of the package, I will do it in honor of all the previous relatives who never got the chance but would have liked too. I think it is the least I can do, because all the previous generations would have used these things too-it is why they invented them in the first place.