Category Archives: rants & raves

I socked my 3-year old daughter in the eye: Janet Jackson made me do it

My three-year-old is a handful. She has more energy than any toddler I’ve ever seen. Sometimes she just runs around in circles in the living room trying to use up what seems to be a never ending store of kinetic abundance.

The day I socked her in the eye (did I mention that I socked her really hard?), I had repeatedly asked her to settle down, and finally, in an attempt to bring the zany level in the house down to a calmer tone, I sat her down on the couch and told her if she patiently waited her turn, she would get a chance to play the new Xbox Kinect Dance Central game we adults were playing with.

If you haven’t seen the Xbox Kinect in action, you have to get to your local gaming outlet and sample the awesomeness of it. Now, I remember when that Pong video game came out back in the 70’s, so maybe I’m a little more enraptured then you genXers will be by this technology, but I am so in awe of the fact that this gadget requires no controllers — it knows where you are in the room and has the ability to accurately critique and improve your dancing skills (yes, it does).

To keep it real, let me just admit that all the technological advancement in the world isn’t going to teach me how to dougie, and I majorly sucked at the Soulja boy Supaman dance, but the youngins couldn’t touch me on the Commodores “Brick House” and I was just getting ready to kill Janet Jackson’s “Control,” when Jadyn got a little too enthusiastic about mommy’s performance, hopped off the couch and collided with an especially energetic move called “the ticker.”

At the 43 second mark check out that potentially lethal “ticker” move and you’ll know why Jadyn is lucky mommy didn’t  knock her unconscious. (Note: that is not me dancing in this clip.)

If you want to see what it actually looks like for a kid to get royally clocked by their parent while playing with the Xbox Kinect, check out this shocking video:

Despite the hard lesson Jadyn and I learned together about space management and the presence of toddlers during a Kinect session (please, do feel free to learn from our mistake), I HIGHLY recommend this game. It is really a lot of fun to play with, it burns hundreds of calories an hour, and believe me when I tell you you will use muscles you didn’t know you had.

If every household in America had one of these, Michele Obama could consider the obesity problem among children in this country permanently eradicated. (Just be careful not to knock them silly in the process.)

Just a few of the many games you can purchase for use with the Xbox Kinect:


Oprah, Kathleen and Heavy D: we got our OWN thang

O, the wonders of photoshop

So, yesterday Oprah was talking to me (like she does several times a week). I was a little preoccupied with something on my laptop, but when I finally looked up at her she looked me right in my eyes (to make sure I was really paying attention, I suppose) and she said,

“Here we are, this is our day. This is our moment.”

She was talking about our new OWN network, of course–you know, the one we launched on January 1st.  She insisted to me that (even though her name is the only one on the logo) it really is OUR network, and darn it, I believe her.

I know she said the same thing to you, I mean, I’m not crazy. I know she wasn’t talking only to me when she said this network is for us, but I must say that so far the programming choices come pretty close to exactly what I would love to see on television. I especially love the show called Master Class.  <click to see the promo if you haven’t seen the show yet–it’s (in Oprah’s voice) really good.

I won’t list the complete schedule, but in addition to Master Class I’m super geeked about these shows: (OWN’s descriptions)

The Miracle Detectives: Do miracles really exist? Or is there a logical explanation to the seemingly inexplicable? Two investigators; one a believer, the other a scientist will travel the globe to uncover answers to mysterious incidents that transcend logic

Mystery Diagnosis: Every year, millions of Americans fall victim to real-life medical mysteries—ailments that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. Their lives are thrown into turmoil—sometimes their sanity is called into question

Searching For: Viewers can expect an intensely personal ride when cameras follow Pam Slaton, a professional investigative genealogist, and her clients through each step as they track down lost loved ones.  Whether Pam’s clients find a joyous reunion, painful rejection or tragic loss, they all walk away with the closure they were desperate to find. (Pam has an 85 percent success rate, follows a strict “no find, no pay” policy, and is one of the most sought-after professional searchers in the country.)

The Gayle King Show: Start your day off right with Oprah’s best friend and O Magazine Editor-at-Large Gayle King, as her hit radio show comes to television every weekday on OWN. Gayle’s live talk show will offer her unique perspective on an array of topics ranging from current events and cultural trends to politics and more, all while bringing viewers closer to their favorite celebrities and notable public figures with her revealing, compelling daily interviews.

I love Gayle. I think she’s really down-to-earth for someone who is the best friend of one of the most powerful women in the world. (Sorry, I digress.)

Anyway, by now you’re wondering, what the heck does Heavy D have to do with any of this? Well, ever since Oprah started talking to me about this OWN thing… Heavy’s “diddly diddly diddly dee” has been stuck in my head. I know I can’t be the only one who mentally plays the song when the OWN network promos come on.

“We Got Our Own Thang” by Heavy D and the Boyz <listen to a snippet.

Although not all the lyrics in the song are going to be to Oprah’s liking (you know how she is about hip hop), this part of the song is perfect for what OWN is all about:

“In this life, I strive for improvement
Be your own guide, follow your own movement
Loving is a legend
Me, I’m legendary at it…

Stay self-managed, self-kept, self-taught
Be your own man, don’t be borrowed, don’t be bought
Started with a pow and I’m going to end it with a bang
We’ve got our own thang
We’ve got our own thang”

How is that not the theme song playing on the OWN promo?
Maybe Will.i.am and Heav could do a remix for you…
Oprah, it is our network, right?

?

🙂


How much do you hate “Octomom?”

If she’s not buying a ticket for this week’s  Mega Millions lottery, Nadya Suleman should pray for me to win.

If I did win that $290 million, I would gladly take 1% of my winnings and build a house for “Octomom” and her 14 children–not because I agree with her decision to ef around with nature and bring all those kids into the world with no partner to help her feed, house and parent them–but because now that the kids are here, who really wants them to end up homeless?

Nadya and 9 of her 14 children

I will probably receive hate mail for saying it, but I don’t hate Nadya at all. Yeah, so she cost us tax payers a few million dollars. On the list of people to be mad as hell at for the irresponsible decisions they’ve made that are costing me money, believe me, Ms. Suleman is waaaaaaaaay down at the bottom. I’m far too upset about:

$800 billion spent on Afghanistan war
$400 billion spent in Iraq
$1 trillion failed war on drugs
$700 billion bank bailout
$800 billion in tax cuts for the rich

I can’t even fathom the mindset of a person who would camp out in front of Nadya’s house or bust out her car windows to protest her irresponsibility. Please. Camp your ass out at the doors of Haliburton or AIG. Bust out some windows at one of the many million dollar homes of Martin Sullivan or Lloyd Blankfein if you’re deadset on taking your anger out on somebody who makes us pay for their dumb (greedy) choices.

After watching her interview with Oprah, I really do believe Nadya has been dealing with an untreated mental illness that makes her addicted to giving birth–like how people get addicted to tattoos (except birth is a lot more painful…and pretty much impossible to reverse.)

It’s not a great thing to be adding fourteen more to the millions of kids in the world who don’t have a father in their home, but at least these kids are fortunate to have a mother (arguably a tad off her rocker) who loves them. The upside of this whole thing is that Suleman is not a drug addict who sits around eating Dingdongs and watching soaps all day. She’s pretty intelligent and articulate, and she has a degree in child development. Most eye witnesses say she has good parenting skills despite being so outnumbered by her offspring.

(Wouldn’t it just be beautifully ironic if one Sulemon’s kids grows up to cure cancer, or some other disease afflicting the children of the protesters who  despise them all so much?)

For those who can’t get past their hatred of her, I have a suggestion that might help shift your paradigm. Imagine Suleman is a sterile, childless woman who has opened an orphanage and volunteered to care for fourteen adopted children for the rest of her life. You would pin a medal on her.

I would buy her a house.

UPDATE: (1/3/11) I will not be approving any more comments, because to do that I have to read them and I’d rather not expose myself to the profanity, name calling and viciousness.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddha


Angry, pig-killing celebrity addicts

What do actor Rainn Wilson, Questo of The Roots, Justin Bieber, Jordin Sparks, Slash and British Prime Minister David Cameron all have in common?

They have all admitted publicly to being addicted to Angry Birds, a cell phone application created by RovioMobile that boasts millions of players all over the world. And, they aren’t the only celebs who have caught the bird fever. Add to the list of stars we know for sure love the game: skater Tony Hawk, celebrated author Salman Rushdie, rocker Pete Wentz and Glee star Cory Monteith.

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If you have somehow missed out on the Angry Birds phenomenon and have no clue what I’m talking about, here is a YouTube promo that will give you an idea of how the game is played.

Doesn’t really look all that addictive when you’re just watching a video, does it?  Well, I have three stars on every level of the android version of the game, and I just discovered there is a holiday edition (Thank you @Questlove ) which I am about to kill when I’m finished here.

Trust me when I tell you this game is very addictive. Do not download it unless you want to have a lot of fun (and frustration). Consider yourself warned…

(I shall stop typing now and go slaughter some little green pig heads.)


Mike Vick and I have something in common

First things first, let me confess that as it relates to discussing Michael Vick’s crimes against animals I cannot be considered unbiased. I have an 8-year-old pit bull who has been with our family since he was two months old and the thought of Baloo, or any other dog, being tossed in a fighting ring to win or die trying is beyond disgusting–it is just plain evil.

Having said that, let me also confess that I am an avid fisher-woman. There are few activities that bring me more peace of mind, excitement or satisfaction than sitting on a boat from sunup to sundown casting my bait and fighting those fish who are desperately trying not to end up on my plate. The bumpersticker “I’d rather be fishing” was created with me in mind.

There are some members of PETA who will call that just plain evil.

Now, if you think I’m equating dog fighting with fishing, I’m not. I don’t think they’re the same–not even close. Dog fighting is about violence, ego and money. Fishing is about… Um, well, hmm… many people do fish for food.

:-/

No, for real. The creator obviously intended for fish to be eaten by other animals. Am I not one of many predators who kill fish for food? (And, I bet grizzly bear claws  cause the fish a whole lot more suffering than my little hook.) Besides, I never catch more fish than I will feed to my family, and I do not catch and release. Once I’ve caught enough fish to eat (or to give away to friends or family who will eat it) I quit fishing. Just between us, when I’m impaling a worm or bait fish on my hook I apologize to it, and once I’ve landed a fish and got it into the boat, someone else has to kill it for me because I can’t bring myself to do it. (I have no problem, however, rolling it in some cornmeal and frying it up afterwards).

All of that “justifying” my violence against fish is the result of a little voice in my head that doesn’t want to feel bad about making the fish suffer–it’s called “empathy.”

EMPATHY : “Understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

Most humans have empathy for other humans, and many have it for animals, but empathy is an easy thing to lose when you are desensitized to violence from a very young age. I can remember being taken fishing when I was a small child and refusing to participate because to me it looked like they were torturing defenseless creatures. Over the years, the more I witnessed the adults around me doing it, and the more I saw the benefits of catching fish, the more desensitized I became–until I eventually grew to love the sport myself.

I will never understand how a person could get pleasure from electrocuting an animal or how they could throw their family dog into the fighting ring and laugh as their pet suffers (which Vick reportedly did), but I can understand how over years of being exposed to that kind of violence, your empathy voice might get silenced until you just don’t hear it anymore. It appears that after years of exposure to violence against dogs being perpetrated by people Mike loved and admired,  he not only shut the voice off, he developed an appetite for the violence himself.

Michael Vick is now an ex-convict who served time for torturing dogs, and he is using his experience to prevent other young people from going down that same violent road.

“God sent me to the bottom. And I’m a firm believer in karma, and I think it happened because of what I did and what I allowed to happen to those animals, so I was stripped of everything, stripped me down to the bone of everything and, you know, I think I took for granted the position that I was in in my life, all the blessings that I had, and that wasn’t my purpose in life to be doing what I was doing and it was wrong,” -Michael Vick

There are thousands of little boys out there right now who have been taught that dog fighting is a sport. They have never had a high profile “role model” tell them otherwise. Now they do.

Unless you’ve been hiding from television and Internet news for the last 24 hours, you have probably heard that President Obama recently called the Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and praised him for giving Michael Vick a chance to revive the career he lost when he was thrown in jail for operating a dog-fighting ring. Obama said the Eagles giving Michael Vick a second chance was important for society.

I agree.

Obama’s  message gives hope to ex-convicts who want to work and become productive members of society, and it also uplifts a high profile spokesperson against cruelty to animals to whom kids will pay attention.

I believe thousands fewer dogs will suffer as a result of what Michael Vick is now doing. How could that be bad?

By the way, I really would appreciate
any arguments you all have
for or against fishing.
After writing this piece,
I think I’m on the fence.


Will you be alive next Christmas Eve?

None of us really knows the answer to that question because in this life a tragedy or a miracle can happen in an instant. For most the answer is yes, but for many, this Christmas will be the last spent here on earth with family and friends.

I don’t mean to be morbid in this season meant for jolliness, but I’m hoping the question serves as a reminder of the amazing gift you have already received this year if you are alive and healthy. If you are fortunate enough to have been up and about combing the city for meaningful gifts for your loved ones, why not take a moment to consider offering a gift that will cost you zero dollars and is worth more than any gift you will ever spend your money on.

Below is a YouTube video recorded by a young man whose life was saved by Andrew, a marrow donor he didn’t know. His friends and family participated in this amazing “thank you” to Andrew. So creative and really touching. My favorites are at 2:10, 3:27, 3:35, 3:45, 4:16, 4:35, and 5:27.  Which ones touch you the most?

“It’s absolutely critical that people of every ethnic group and heritage join the registry because you are most likely to find a match within your own ancestry. Over six thousand people search the registry every single day looking for a marrow match.”

Visit www.bethematch.org to join the registry today.

3 good reasons to join the registry:

  • Do it as a thank you for the health you’ve been blessed with
  • Do it as a gesture of love for your fellow humans who are in need of something you have a plentiful supply of
  • Do it in the name of someone you love who would give anything to be healthy enough to save someone else’s life


Julian Assange: Devil or Daredevil?

I really don’t know what to think of this Julian Assange WikiLeaks debacle. With the exception of those who have already judged and convicted the man, people seem to be afraid to write or say what they think for fear of having their words sifted through the NSA’s supersifter translator anti-anarchist thingy. So, unless you’re counting filmmaker Michael Moore who apparently doesn’t give a damn what the NSA thinks of him, cautious folks are just sort of talking and whispering about the story in headlines and soundbites.

“…what if the public in 2003 had been able to read “secret” memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the “facts” he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched…?” -Michael Moore

I wouldn’t really categorize myself as a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that just as governments “have ways of making you talk,” they also have ways of making you shut the f*#% up. I’m trying to use my intellect and intuition to arrive at some sort of personal opinion about Assange’s motives, and his recent alleged criminal behavior, but I’m finding that it is difficult to uncover much unbiased information in this age of pseudo-journalistic news coverage.

I did search the Internet and found some interesting back story that I wasn’t aware of. Although it’s been well-reported that Assange was convicted of computer hacking when he was a teenager, not much else about his character is widely known.  I was able to find a CNN affiliate’s exclusive December 2nd interview with Julian’s father Brett Assange, where it was revealed that Julian was always “the kind of kid that wouldn’t take no for an answer. ” I suppose those who believe the rape allegations will take that and run with it, but from all that his dad says about him, it seems Julian could easily be the target of a smear campaign.

“He always stood up for the underdog…He was always very angry about people ganging up on other people. He had a really good sense of equality and equity.”

Julian’s mother also sees her son as a champion of right and wrong. She told the Melbourne Herald Sun that she saw in him from a tender age a sensitive boy who was good with animals and had an innate will to do “what he perceived as just.” In another interview with the U.K. Mail she said:

‘My son is a good person who is doing good for others. He wants people to know the truth. People have a right to know what is going on, especially if a war is being fought in their name. The people who have committed atrocities should be the ones called to account, not my son….He’s a hero to some people, a villain to others. Which one do you think I believe?”

Of course those are his parents, so if I’m looking for unbiased information, I’ll have to keep looking. Where do I find someone unrelated to him to serve as a character reference?  I’m not finding quotes on the Internet from regular folks attesting to his integrity (perhaps due to the aforementioned sifter thingy), but Amnesty International did recognize him for “excellence in human rights journalism,” and he has supporters around the world who post bail money when needed, and demonstrate with signs that read “COURAGE is COURAGEOUS” and “DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER.”

Conversely, finding quotes from individuals who clearly don’t care for the man hasn’t been difficult. We know there are two women in Sweden who have accused him of sexual assault, serious charges which will he will have to answer to in a court of law. Assange says he is innocent and the women are a part of well-orchestrated smear campaign–a covert attempt by the powers that be to silence his website. Along with these serious charges against him, Assange has made himself a pretty impressive list of enemies–and this is but a tiny excerpt of what is a very long list:

WikiLeaks “has violated the Espionage Act.” -Sen. Joe Lieberman

“super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal.” –The New Yorker‘s George Packer

“an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” whom we should pursue “with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.” -Sarah Palin

“He’s a psychopath, a sociopath … He’s a terrorist.” -Republican Mary Matalin

“A dead man can’t leak stuff … there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.” –Democrat Bob Beckel

That last quote makes me think of David Kelly, the U.K. biochemist and U.N. weapons inspector whose off-the-record comments (he said the government exaggerated about WMD in Iraq) led to his death. Though officially dubbed a suicide, Britain’s Michael Powers, a physician, barrister, and former coronor has joined a group of physicians and others who don’t believe the evidence  supports the suicide finding. Lord Hutton decided that evidence related to the death, including the post-mortem report and photographs of the body, should remain classified for 70 years.

Whoa… Okay. I’m not making this up. My computer just crashed to the dreaded BLUE SCREEN fatal exception error.  This was on my screen when I rebooted:

Allrightee then. I’m sure that was just a coincidence. Okay NSA, I am not trying to get on your list please.

Aaaaaaanyway,

I think it is completely possible that Julian Assange committed the crimes he is accused of, and if he did, I don’t see how that should have a bearing on whether WikiLeaks is deemed to be journalism, civil disobedience or out-and-out terrorism. Let the world’s courts open up that discussion–not the tabloids.

I also think it is completely possible he had consensual sex with those women, and someone has either enticed or coerced them to lie about it.  Either way, the debate will continue to rage about whether Assange is a terrorist or a whistle blower and if WikiLeaks’ brand of  “transparency” hurts more than it helps.

“Our goal is to have a just civilization. That is sort of a personal motivating goal. And the message is transparency…we believe that it is an excellent message. Gaining justice with transparency. It is a good way of doing that, it is also a good way of not making too many mistakes. We have a trans-political ideology, it is not right it is not left it is about understanding…any political ideology that comes out of misunderstanding will itself be a misunderstanding. So, we say, to some degree all political ideologies are currently bankrupt. Because they do not have the raw ingredient they need to address the world. The raw ingredient to understand what is actually happening.” -Julian Assange

All of that sounds really good to me because I agree with his assertion that the existing political ideologies are bankrupt.  The truth is, regardless of the continents we live on, the names we use to call on the Creator, or the political ideologies we profess, none of us want our cities to be incinerated. I do feel like governments might be less likely to commit crimes against humanity if they know they are being observed, but I  don’t feel I have a full understanding of what kind of havoc such transparency can wreak either.

Is Julian Assange a dangerous devil, or a courageous daredevil? My intuition leans me toward the latter, but I’d like more solid information to help me decide.


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