Disclaimer: Some content is inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age or those offended by swear words, references to sexuality, atheism, and libertarianism.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas The Musical Stage Show


I totally want to go to this. Not sure how or when, but I've got to do it. It features all the charming songs from the original television special by Paul Williams with some additional material too. I had hoped I could make opening night in the hopes of meeting some of the Muppeteers if they go then, but I don't even know for certain if they'd be there and it'd be awkward with work and all... But if I catch word that a single Muppeteer will be there, I may just be irresponsible and chuck caution to the wind... Or not... I really don't do that sort of thing. I'm far too sensible, damn it. Anyone in Connecticut out there? It looks like a nice place to visit, I may make a mini-vacation out of it...


Here are some bloopers from the making of the original TV movie... Frank Oz cracks me up with or without a script.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Million Ways to Do A Million Ways

The original song by OK GO. I'm charmed by the fact that a sister of one of the members choreographed it and it really is filmed in their back garden:




At a wedding:




Just about anywhere:



Teachers rocking it:



And students too:





It's such adorable choreography. Every guy to do this dance is instantly hot to me. Except the students. That's wrong.

Quote of the Day

"You need to go to church, boy. You need t' see the reverend."
"Who? Why?"
"He gonna nuke you in the name o' Jesus."

Bizarre. I've never heard that one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dammit.

Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson, will be doing a presentation in Atlanta, Georgia and I most likely won't get to see it. Shit. I so want to meet him. Although I doubt he'd be too impressed by some psychotic pregnant lady with a Kermit purse and t-shirt asking him to autograph her breast. Maybe he would. Who knows what his tastes are.

Shit. I'm so disappointed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ninja Lolcat



I laughed, but to be honest I'd be freaked out if I had a cat that did this! It's like that effect they frequently use in horror movies nowadays where you're clearly shown there is nothing behind the progagonist, then he/she turns away for a second then turns back and the scary bad guy is now standing right there!

Why the Arab Nations Sucked at the Olympics and Other Things...

I've recently started checking out The National Newspaper, an Emirati newspaper and found it to be to my liking. The opinion columns give voice to issues that normally don't get addressed quite so boldly, so of course I approve. Here is an editorial written on the subject of why the Arab nations sucked ass at the Olympics in Beijing this year and fall short in other global arenas too. Just to give you an idea of how naked and self-critical the writing can be, here is the start of the article:

"Shameful. This is the least that can be said about the performance of Arab countries in the 2008 Olympic Games, which ended at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing on Sunday. The Arabs left the Games with seven medals, of which only two were gold. One athlete, Michael Phelps, won more medals than 22 Arab countries.

Shameful, but not in the least surprising. Winning in the Olympics requires planning, hard work, commitment and institutions that design strategies and invest in the requirements for success. All these are missing in an Arab world still intoxicated by a false sense of supremacy and unwilling to admit failure. The fiasco at the Olympics is not a rare disappointment. It is repeated in almost all aspects of life.

In sport, just as in culture, the arts, science and every other innovative field, the Arabs are behind other nations. Twenty-two countries with over 300 million people and enormous wealth have not made any significant contribution to human achievement for over a century. Indeed, rare are Arab names in the lists of modern global achievers.
"




Now before my bretheren cry out accusations of cultural bashing I want to explain that a trait I value higher than most others is the ability to say "we're doing something wrong and we're willing to learn and change." Pointing the finger of blame at others just won't cut it anymore. What are WE doing as a people to make this world a better place? And by making it a better place, I mean expanding minds, helping others to help themsevles, curing diseases, saving lives of people, creating inventions that makes lives easier, inspiring children to achieve greater heights... We're doing it to a certain degree, of course, but there's always room for improvement, and if you don't believe that I may have to find you and slap you. THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. Make that your mantra for today, kids.

And here's another can of worms:

"Political underdevelopment is the underlying reason behind these shocking declines in the Arab world. Failure to build structures of good governance has suffocated innovation. Scared of engaging with their present, people continue to escape into the past as state institutions favour apathy or subjugation to activism and creativity. Hence it is the alarming United Nations Development Programme finding that Arab educational systems teach obedience and acceptance rather than critical thinking."

I spent all of my school years in Middle Eastern schools and even within the confines of one existence, we recognized the limitations in our ability to express ourselves, explore independent lines of thinking. I wanted to start a debate club while I was in 7th or 8th grade and so I spoke to a student advisor about it. She said "Fine, what would you debate?" and every single issue I had painstakingly thought out, written up, and had prepared was shot down with "Someone will stand up and say 'It's illegal and Allah doesn't accept it.' You won't get anywhere. Nice idea, but it just won't work here. Sorry." So there is only one correct solution to every dilemma, dictated and never questioned. Fine, that wasn't the first and definitely not the last time I'd be taught that lesson.

I started an art club that was more about expression and storytelling through art than about technique, because God knows I wasn't taught a damn thing about real art in my own schooling, so I wasn't about to spread further ignorance... But the kids loved it. I was a junior and a bunch of 4th and 5th graders had seen my drawings and asked me if I could teach them how to draw. I said I'd do what I could, but what I'd rather do is get them to explore their own abilities and have fun with it. They came during their lunch times and sometimes even after school for these silly, loose, creative moments and we all loved it. I told them stories without describing the protagonists and then had them draw what they saw in their minds' eyes. It didn't take them long to realize there wasn't one right way of depicting the characters. It was up to them how they wanted to manifest the subjects. There was no right or wrong answer, for once.

It was really deflating to think back upon the art classes I had up until I could no longer take art (it stopped after 9th grade) and recall how each one involved drawing a still life of some boring object in the room. You drew what you saw. Nothing more. And you could produce the worst shite ever and the "teacher" wouldn't give a damn because art was just a kids' subject anyway. It was sadly representative of how I felt I was being raised by society there. Of course we were brought up to be far more respectful of our elders and of other cultures than I currently see, so they did a lot of things right too, but we lost such an enormous opportunity to not just be obedient, respectful followers but to be critical-thinking creative individuals who would take the roads less traveled by and inspire the next generations to do the same. Instead we all sat in the comfortable moulds that were set out for us... The Indians would be doctors and engineers, just like their fathers, the Emiratis would be businessmen, just like their fathers, and the bricks all fit so nicely in the wall... Well, I didn't, obviously. Not too many special educators of my nationality in the world. I guess I was a defective brick.

Thankfully, there are wonderful creative opportunities to be had in government funded art institutes but the classes offered there are not free and seem to be geared more towards adults than children, but it's a great step in the right direction.

I know I steered more towards discussing the arts, but I feel these steps need to be taken in all the areas mentioned in Mr. Safadi's editorial. We can't be lazy about the advancement of our culture and we shouldn't have to choose between respecting the past and creating a new future. We shouldn't let our ancient past only hold the greatest contributions we make to the world.



PS: Sorry if this post rambled on incoherently at times. I just spent the morning at the zoo with my husband and daughter and I really need a nap. Thank you.

References:

Safadi, Ayman. "Arab performance at the Games reveals a greater regional shame." The National Newspaper 26 Aug. 2008.

Friday, September 12, 2008

20 Worst Foods in America

You can read this one of two ways... This could be the list of BEST foods in America, or the worst as decided by MSNBC... Depending on how you like your arteries, soft and squishy, or like a car wash hose filled with calcium deposits. All in all, it's not looking too good for Chili's. They made a number of categories.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Amazing Grace



In honor of all those who live and die in the name of liberty and justice, all over the world, of all races, and all religions. Sorry all I'm offering up a sweet song with a cheesy set of images attached to it, but I like it.

Sound Waves in Flames!



This guy rocks. I like how you can tell he conducted the whole demonstration in his garage.

Feeling Sick and Hungry at the Same Time


I can barely type. I feel so tired and pukey, and yet I can't stop eating... I'm feeling homesick for my summers I used to spend in Britain, so I briefly entertain fantasies of popping down to the newsagents to get a packet of Monster Munch (pickled onion flavor, of course), Walker's crisps (smokey bacon, prawn cocktail, roast chicken and Worcestershire sauce flavors are the BEST), a pack of Munchies, some trashy Brit mags, some fresh cockles from the market, a pasty from the bakery, and minted lamb dinner at the local pub restaurant.
So much for wanting to eat healthy while pregnant...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yearbook Yourself!

I can't wait to try this out!! Yearbook yourself.
Sadly, I'm guessing the nerdiest pictures I could insert my likeness into would not come close to how awful I looked with every bad hairdo I ever had and continue to have.
My colleague put his face in a 60s one and it looked pretty damn good. Not like a lame poorly done Photoshop job... I was impressed.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal




Thanks, PHSChemguy for introducing me to SMBC! It so appeals to my off-color sense of humor.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Feeling a Bit... Ew...

Once in a while, I hear inappropriate comments made about me in the hallways at work by male students who seem to approve of my appearance. Often, I have no idea who made the comment due to the hordes of unfamiliar voices and faces I pass each day, but today there were just two boys and I knew one of them.

I didn't hear much, but I heard enough to know they were talking about me and most likely not in the most respectful manner. I was in a rush, so I just looked back to give them a stern teacher-ish look and wish them a good day but was greatly disappointed to recognize one of them as a boy I'd always felt was a bit sweet on me but never crossing the line. He was always the first to offer me help when I needed it, or to ask how my day was going, or what video games I've played recently, but never anything like this.

As I was heading out the door, one of my colleagues asked me to wait for her. As I turned to wander slowly in the hallway ahead of her, I bumped into the same student.

TeacherLady: I do hope you and your friend were speaking appropriately earlier.

Student: We were. We were talking about girls.

I sighed inwardly. Good, it wasn't about me. I'm a big headed bitch, aren't I? See? Nothing to worry about.

Student: And you.

God damn it.

TeacherLady: I'd prefer you keep things appropriate. (Man that's become an overused word in my vocabulary since I became a teacher.)

Student: Aw c'mon. You know you like it when the boys talk about you!

I almost sputtered like a cartoon character right there and then. He kept talking and laughing, but I no longer heard what he was saying. My colleague was about to emerge from the classroom behind him and I was suddenly aware that we were just on our way out the building. This is not the time or the place for this kind of conversation.

TeacherLady: No, I don't like or want that kind of attention. It's just not appropriate. I'm a teacher. You are students.

He gave a big grin as though to say 'no harm done' and swiftly stepped forward to give me a hug. Feeling awkward enough already, I was thrown completely for a loop when he very obviously hugged hard enough to press my boobs up against him. I pulled away double quick, only to find his right hand was now resting on my belly. What the fuck? I had no clue what the hell to say. My colleague must have walked around us because she was now waiting for me in the hallway, holding boxes. I had to go.

I always hate when shit like that happens because I never have the presence of mind to do or say the right thing at the time. It always comes to me later. Clearly, I have to have a little conversation with this young man and let him know exactly what I don't want to have happen in the future. I'll probably chicken out of making it as serious as I should and just blame my response on a prudish upbringing in a foreign country, or I really should let him know that it's not acceptable here either... I really should. God, how awkward. I hate when stuff like this comes up...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Women For Women International


Please consider a donation to Women For Women International... All donations will be matched by an anonymous donor up to $100,0000 until October 31st.
The money goes towards helping women in various war-torn countries to rebuild their lives and their communities through vocational training and loans to start their own businesses. The money also goes towards classes to develop their sense of independence and empowerment, especially in situations of systematic torture, rape, and abuse from militaristic presences. You might also want to consider sponsoring a sister... I am now sponsoring my second sister from Afghanistan. I told them to randomly assign a sister to me based on wherever the greatest need is and so far it's been Afghanistan both times. Due to great need for their services, each woman is only permitted to remain in the program for one year, then if you choose to continue to be a sponsor, they swiftly provide the next woman with your kind support.

This isn't just a hand-out, you're helping the world be a better place... Something we should all aspire to on different levels. You'd be helping not just one woman, and not even just her family, but her community with the jobs she'll be providing others as her business grows and the economic growth in her community as she finally has money to spend in her own area. I could only hope someone would be willing to offer me help if I had been dealt the same cards they had.


I shall now quit my preaching and go try to keep some dinner down long enough to digest it. "Morning" sickness, my ass...

A Glimpse of the Future.

I asked my husband's permission to share this story... It's a perfect example of how our two year old daughter parrots the things she hears, even feigning the wisdom behind the words:

One day, my husband was walking in the woods with my daughter when some gas escaped him, as it is wont to do. It must have been fairly voluminous and noisy, because my daughter wisely followed a philosophy we've developed regarding her dangerous sounding flatulence:

"Daddy! You farted... Check your diaper."

That's my girl. Taking care of her daddy already.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Not At All a Sexy Post. Don't Say I Didn't Warn You.

So I went for my first midwife visit yesterday. The first of many. Yay. They did a urine test and politely confirmed that I am, indeed, knocked up.
"Oh good," I replied "I'd hate to have done all that puking for nothing..."

The midwife asked if I had felt any change in the size of my uterus. I wanted to say "Why yes, actually, now that you mention it... It quintupled in size in the space of one weekend, which made it feel rather like some maniacal clown had mistaken it for a balloon animal, the sensation of which was immediately followed by the distinct feeling that an Alien might burst forth and begin its vengeful hunt for Sigourney Weaver.."

Instead I said "uh, yeah". I swear her eyes widened and her eyebrows twitched upwards a bit when she actually got down to business and handled said bit as best she could... I hate how they try to make conversation as they've got their hands up you, because you know they do it in the hopes that it lessens the weird factor... It's doesn't. You can't change that. Do doctors do the same when they check out men's prostates? Ask how the last game went? How's the wife? And do you like Judy Garland, because I think she's fabulous?

Anyway. My bits suitably probed, my pee examined, and my dignity somehow in tact, I left feeling excited at the prospect of picking up my daughter from daycare and the gentle rain felt just that little bit more inviting and warm.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Stress and Stars

Things are on the right track... My daughter continues to amaze me with her knowledge and her ability to actually make me love someone more and more each day, the weather is fairly mild for this time of year, The Shield and Prison Break are back on TV, my husband is as helpful and supportive as ever... And then there's WannabePunchingBag.

TeacherLady: Did you get your work done? (He's sitting there doing jack, my guess is he's not done the five pages of math problems I puts stars on, indicating they needed to be done)
WBPB: Yup.
TeacherLady: (For a moment, I actually entertain the possibility that someone just threw a snowball in Satan's realm, then decide I may as well believe in Santa Claus.) Really?
WBPB: Yup.
TeacherLady: If I open that binder and find you've not finished it, I'm going to give you a detention. Is that fair?
WBPB: Yup. Sure.

I proceed to pick up his binder, which he then snatches from me.

WBPB: You can't look in there.
TeacherLady: So what you're telling me is that you lied again, right?

He gets mad, starts looking in the other direction and tries to put his binder under his chair. I'm teaching high school. HIGH SCHOOL. What the hell...? He's actually having a tantrum.

TeacherLady: Get it done. If you need help, just call me over. I'll get you started with this one...

I explain how to do the hardest problem on the page then leave him to continue working alone. Ten minutes later, he waves the binder in my face while I'm trying to help another student. I ignore him. He returns to his seat. Once I've finished helping the other student, I go over to him and ask to see his work he's apparently so proud of. Again, he tries to conceal it from me. He's done less than a third of the work.

I've come to the conclusion that he really wants my approval, but not through any effort on his part. I'm going to have to continue to make a big deal out of smaller achievements of his, but this is going to be a tedious battle.

TeacherLady: Why do you tell me things that aren't true? Twice in ten minutes, no less? (He refused to look me in the eye.) Could you do me a favor? Could you please not tell me things that aren't true because this is really going to make everything take a heck of a lot longer than it should. For my sanity, would you please tell me the truth the first time around AND actually work on what you're supposed to?

Sadly, I've figured out that my "morning" sickness (HA. As if I only puked in the morning) is further aggravated by stress. This guy is going to make me look like a college student on a Saturday night, in that case. I just try to find that silver lining and remember that he's not a BAD kid, just an irritating kid who soaks up my effort and time like an Evil Sponge of Black Hole-ness. I believe Carl Sagan did a piece on him in Cosmos. (Going off on that tangent for a moment, I totally love the theme music for the show that they've got playing on that link. It soothes my poor frayed nerves.)

Let's take a moment to contemplate the "billions" of less stressful moments in our lives. Ahhh...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sexual Harassment in Cairo

I read these sadly familiar accounts of sexual harassment from women living in Cairo. I would hazard a guess that any woman living in most Middle Eastern countries is just as familiar with this sort of treatment, not just from fellow citizens of their particular country but from a majority of expat males too. Now I know that sounds pretty harsh, all encompassing, and sexist, but their stories could easily be my own and so my perspective is a little tainted. It begins when you're a toddler, continues throughout your childhood, becomes more sinister in your adolescence as you begin to understand what it is they want from you, then becomes a mundane expected facet of your life as a woman, married or single, with or without children hanging off your arms... What is it about the region that perpetuates this treatment of women? What is the common denominator? Whatever it is, it must be dissected, exposed, and treated for the cancer that it is.

Monday, September 01, 2008

We've Gone and Done it Again...



We did such a good job last time, we decided to make the world a little bit better a second time too. :)

Ramadan Kareem!





Ramadan Kareem to my Muslim readers. Above are some cards I found at Someecards that made me smile.