Thursday, March 29, 2007

ERA: Take Three?

I'm pretty sure a lot of Americans believe the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the 70s. (The ERA was actually originally introduced to Congress in 1923.)While it's true that the 92nd Congress passed it in 1972, the ERA came 3 states short of ratification, failing to meet it's 1982 deadline.

But it's back! On Wednesday, The Washington Post broke the news that House and Senate Democrats have introduced the amendment back into Congress under a new name: the Women's Equality Amendment. (WEA? Not quite as catchy...)

Just to be clear, here is the text of the amendment:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

I know. Crazy, right? Good thing we have WOMEN like Phyllis Schlafly to prevent freaky liberals from passing something as "retro" as the ERA. Back in the 70s, she warned us this amendment would give us unisex bathrooms and force women into war via the draft. Now? Why, same-sex marriage for all! Abortions galore!

Schlafly and her flock pretty much single-handedly destroyed the ERA in the 70s. Can she do the same this time? As Carol Lloyd at Broadsheet points out, unlike the 70s, we now have a Christian Right, the Promise Keepers, and a men's rights movement. Shlafly sounds as crazy now as she did then, denying the existence of marital rape and asserting that "women in combat are a hazard to other people around them." (According to Lloyd, 160,000 women have served in Iraq, many in combat zones). Can the Congressional Democratic majority help? We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

An amendment that would give women a right to sue for a higher pay rate (on average, women's salaries are less than men's for equal work - STILL), that would make gender discrimination legally equivalent to discrimination based on race, seems like it should pass with flying colors. I can't even fathom why there is any serious debate about its ratification.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Writing Scripts for wallstrip? Priceless

It's Mastercard today on wallstrip. And yes, they know it's not Thursday. This one was a lot of fun. I don't think they changed my script at all. I credit the stock - it was easy to figure out.



Wallstrip was also featured on CNBC and Viral on Veoh (they're the second show profiled, a little over two minutes in). Both great plugs! Great job, guys.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I love Socialism

According to Broadsheet, "Still reacting to last year's models-dying-of-starvation tragedies, the Spanish health ministry is taking a step beyond just banning ultra-thin models from the catwalk: it's teamed up with four major Spanish retailers to create mannequins that look more like actual women, and plans to set standard sizing for women's clothing so that sizes don't fluctuate between stores. "

So how will they decide what the mannequins will look like? The article goes on: "the Health Ministry is using laser-equipped booths that can scan 130 body measurements in 30 seconds (apparently when the Spanish Health Ministry wants something done, it gets it done). The booths will be sent around the country to measure the curves of 8,500 women, ages 12 to 70, and their results will be passed on to designers who account for 80 percent of the clothing in the Spanish fashion industry, says the Herald. The study's results will be used to set sizing standards."

I know this isn't a magical fix-it for eating disorders, but it's definitely a big step. Women like myself hate size-guessing at different clothing stores. We hate seeing that cool outfit on the mannequin make us look bloated and awkward. It just makes sense. Let's take a page out of Spain's book! Please!!!

The Only Time Porn is Not Okay...

From Bust Magazine:
"U.S. Air force Sergeant Michelle Manhart served in the armed forces for 13 years, until she was relieved of duty this winter because she posed nude for Playboy."


From AP:
""This staff sergeant's alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force's core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do," Oscar Balladares, spokesman for Lackland Air Force Base, said in a statement."

A woman legally poses nude in a magazine full of (shocker) nude women = relieved of duty on moral grounds. A man gropes, harasses, assaults, RAPES a fellow woman soldier? If the barriers don't intimidate the woman from reporting the incident, the man may be reprimanded (no!), have his pay docked (gasp!), or have his rank reduced (say it ain't so!). Oh, and said man can have any NUMBER of said nudie magazines with no consequences whatsoever. Now THAT'S morality embodied.

Woman feeling proud of her job, body, womanhood, life, and self? Let's can her! Such a public display of immorality must be dealt with! Women can't exploit their own bodies! That's our job!

And ...
Scene.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

BCOO: Before the Mortgage

Well, I asked for it and the book delivered. A little fluff for the road.

A book of essays is hard to review. I think the editors, Christina Amini and Rachel Hutton, did a nice job tying everything in together. I had fun reading it. But the only real stand-out for me was Sarah Vowell's family Thanksgiving essay which I'd heard before.

Next, I give John Irving another shot with The Cider House Rules. I didn't like the movie. I hope I like the book!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My latest wallstrip script

Going solar with wallstrip. I learned a lot researching for this one. Solar power is awesome!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

BCOO: Blindness, Jose Saramago

Saramago gave me a gift. I felt privileged to read Blindness.

The narration and style of this novel create the perfect tone for this story of a blindness plague. "Blindness" focuses on several unnamed characters, examining their humanity or lack thereof in the midst of inhumane conditions and circumstances. The novels hits you in the gut and tears your heart out, displaying disgusting humans, faithful animals, and regular people in extreme situations.

I'm sorry. I'm trying not to gush. The narrator keeps things interesting (You didn't think a blindness plague would be enough, did you?) with constant intrusions into the story. The voice of the narrator is satirical, sardonic, self-referential, philosophical, and judgemental. It is continually questioning its own logic:

the only difference was in the colour, if black and white can, strictly
speaking, be thought of as colours.

Saramago plays with language constantly, examining the futility of speech in a world with different rules. In a land where no one sees, why would anyone say, suddenly understanding, "Ah, I see." This extends into a metaphor for an uncharted world. When cliches no longer make sense and language is peppered with useless phrases, everything changes. Unconscious gestures, expressions, everything is meaningless in a world where no one can see. This, if you pause to consider it, would be expected. But when language breaks down in addition, all communication stops. The world, in effect, ends.

Well, not exactly. Language, of course, doesn't break down entirely. But the possibility is intriguing and it gives the plot a nice sense of impending destruction.

I can't do this book justice with my little blog entry. If you want the chance to read a gorgeous, self-effacing, original piece of art, read Blindness.
Oh, and thanks to Sharif for letting me know about the musical version of "Blindness" opening in Chicago. It could go either way - I hope it's wonderful.

Next up: Before the Mortgage: Real Stories of Brazen Loves, Broken Leases, and the Perplexing Pursuit of Adulthood, edited by Christina Amini and Rachel Hutton. I know, I'm jumping from Camus to John Irving. But I'm about to go on tour. These essays will be nice fluff for the hotel rooms. It's tongues in cheek and I get to read Sarah Vowell, Davy Rothbart, and Thisbe Nissen.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

AutoZone - another wallstrip



The script for AutoZone is about half mine (the last half). I like what they did with it. The stock market being what it is right now, most people aren't looking to invest. But wallstrip keeps on truckin'. Great work, guys.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Conservapedia

Wow. I'm stunned. No, actually I'm not. Head on over to Conservapedia. "A conservative encyclopedia you can trust." Read: the conservative answer to Wikipedia.

Entries are to follow strict " Conservapedia Commandments." I've starred the entries I found interesting:
"1. Everything you post must be true and verifiable.
2. Always cite and give credit to your sources, even if in the public domain.
*3. Edits/new pages must be family-friendly, clean, concise, and without gossip or foul language.
*4. When referencing dates based on the approximate birth of Jesus, give appropriate credit for the basis of the date (B.C. or A.D.). "BCE" and "CE" are unacceptable substitutes because they deny the historical basis. See CE.
*5. As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.[1] (the footnote clarifies: "You will only be blocked for violating command 5 if you repeatedly change words from American spelling to another spelling.")
6. Do not post personal opinion on an encyclopedia entry. Opinions can be posted on Talk:pages or on debate or discussion pages."


The site gives an exhaustive list of examples of "bias" in Wikipedia. Among the complaints: "Wikipedia's entry on abortion reads like a brochure for the abortion industry."

The articles are ridiculous. There are highlights of Bill and Hillary Clinton's failures and Nixon's triumphs, and JFK is completely absent. Sorry, Nixon's entry warrants a complete quote:
"Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the Christian United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. He was the 36th Christian Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, in the administration of Christian Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a Congressman from California, he investigated communists and instigated the successful prosecution of Alger Hiss. Nixon served as Vice President under President Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961, and lost his first presidential race to John F. Kennedy by a tiny margin. In 1968 he won the election to president, and was reelected in 1972 by a landslide, but had to resign the following year due to a threat of impeachment by Congress for the Watergate scandal.

President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was the first President to visit communist (Red) China. He appointed a conservative (William Rehnquist), two moderates Warren Burger and Lewis Powell) and a liberal (Harry Blackmun) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Nixon was from a Quaker family. His Christian foreign policy as president was marked by d├ętente with the atheistic Soviet Union and the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. His centrist domestic policies combined conservative Christian rhetoric and liberal action in civil rights, environmental and economic initiatives. As a result of the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned the presidency in the face of likely impeachment by the United States House of Representatives. His successor, Gerald Ford, issued a controversial pardon that cleared him of any wrongdoing. "
------------

I could go on. But here's the point: what the hell are they thinking? Wikipedia, as I've mentioned before, has a communal entry system. Anyone can come in and write anything they want. If it's biased, that's because the people writing the entries are. So why not encourage conservatives to write entries on Wikipedia? Maybe it will even out the supposed bias (I'm pretty sure I disagree there is one in the first place).

And can I just go on a brief tangent about CE and BCE ("common era" and "before the common era")? Why would anyone have a problem with this? It's not "ignoring" history. It's simply making room for everyone's beliefs without changing our entire calendar. Okay - end tangent.

Is this a country that can't cooperatively write an encyclopedia entry? Do we need to have separate but equal -pedias? Is this democracy at its best? Do we need places to go and only hear what we want? Is truthiness truly the wave of the future?

Okay. I'm done. Look at the site. Explore. I know I'm giving them traffic, but it's terrifying to see this segregation of "facts." I don't understand it.

BCOO: Ines of My Soul, Isabel Allende

I know more about the conquering of Chile than I ever thought I would. That's a plus. But I think that's all I got out of this book. Maybe that's good for some people, but if I'm going to read a history book, I have a million other things I would like to learn about first.

Ines Suarez narrates Ines of My Soul. She is Pedro de Valdivia's lover. Who's he? The man who conquered Chile. And that's all I really needed to know about the history. I know. I sound like a whiny little kid. I did actually feel like I was back in high school being forced to learn about mythology when I wanted to learn about World War II. Yes, I have more perspective now. I understand both are important. That doesn't change the fact that I felt forced into learning about Chile's first years.

The book is interesting because it attempts to give a voice to the women in that time period. Ines Suarez is, indeed, a strong, wonderful woman. But she's there to serve Pedro do Valdivia's interests. Allende uses Suarez as a lens through which to view Pedro de Validivia and his exploits. I wanted to see Suarez.

Maybe I'm alone in this. The middle of the book did draw me in, but by the end I was just reading to get through the book. Then again, I'm the one who doesn't like war novels. This one fit that bill.

I'm already well into my next book, Blindness, by Jose Saramago. Saramago writes in Portuguese, but the translation has to be spot on. This book is gorgeous. Better stop there. More when I finish.