Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What the F*ck???

Saw some recent news stories that had me saying, "What were they thinking?"

A town in Canada posts what they call their "Standards and Norms" explaining to immigrants that they are welcome to move to Herouxville as long as they don't stone women in public, or burn them alive or throw acid on them. They explain that "We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here.." I listened to an interview with one of the town councilmen on BBC tonight and he tried to defend the policy as not being racist or prejudiced. As I look at the town website, many people have written in to support the Council and praise them for writing and posting this declaration.

A rape victim in Tampa,FL was placed in jail for two days rather than provided treatment because she had an outstanding warrant dating back to 2003. As it turned out later, that outstanding warrant has been reported to be a mistake.

Finland's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen broke up with his girlfriend by sending her a text message.

There are 78 open investigations into mis-appropriations and fraud in Iraq restoration projects. GW wants Congress to approve another 1.2 B for Iraq reconstructions efforts, but millions have been misused to date. The Baqhdad Police Academy cost over $70M but has not been used. The plumbing never worked in the building. The US paid DynCorp Internation over $40M for a police training academy that has also never been used. Over $36M in equipment cannot be accounted for. and

A woman in NYC accidently killed her baby while trying to protect him from the rats in her apartment. She slept with him in her bed and accidently suffocated him in her sleep. I'm not questioning her - I'm questioning the landlord who despite being cited over 300 times said he was unaware of any rodent problem.

A father killed his daughter in Jordan because he questioned her honor. Tests performed before and after her death proved she was still a virgin. He didn't believe her though and shot her four times in the head. She only came home because he signed a pledge not to harm her. At least Jordan has changed their laws to make honor killings to be like other homicides. Previously, penalties were as light as six months in jail.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Attic Mania on Again

Looking forward to the iTunes Attic album release on Feb 14. Tracklist includes

  1. The Kooks - "Ooh La"
  2. Ed Harcourt - "Last Cigarette"
  3. Martha Wainwright - "These Flowers"
  4. Editors - "All Sparks"
  5. Rachel Fuller - "Blue"
  6. The Raconteurs (feat. Pete Townshend) - "The Seeker"
  7. Death Cab For Cutie (feat. Pete Townshend) - "Photobooth"
  8. Pete Townshend - "Acid Queen"
  9. The Fratellis (feat. Pete Townshend) - "Got Ma Nuts from a Hippy"
  10. The Magic Numbers - "Long Legs"
  11. Regina Spektor - "Musicbox"
  12. The Zutons (feat. Pete Townshend) - "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hands"
  13. Simon Townshend - "Soul Searching"
  14. The Flaming Lips (feat. Pete Townshend) - "Baba O'Reilly"
  15. Rose Hill Drive - "Brain Novocaine"
  16. Razorlight - "What's it All About"
  17. Mikey Cuthbert - "Misery"
  18. Foy Vance - "Homebird"

And then a few short days later, it is the Attic show again at Joe's Pub. It will be third time at Joe's and I am really looking forward to it. I am planning a romantic weekend in NY followed up by Joe's. Sounds like a perfect week!

I have also booked my flight to the SXSW festival in Austin, March 14-18. We've RSVP'd to three parties in Austin and are planning on going to the Attic show there.

Also found this interesting article on Eel Pie Island - great history, I knew nothing about Eel Pie.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just Breathe (Music Video) by Rachel Fuller

Awesome video highlighting Rachel's journey over the last year or so.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's Snowing!!!!

We had snow squalls throughout the day outside of Philadelphia where I work. The car pool left on time - a rarity, since we have one habitual tardy rider and we made good time on the turnpike. Unfortunately, when I got to my car at the drop-off point, I could not find my keys. They had fallen out of my coat pocket when I got out of the car and they were lying just on the edge of the driver's seat in my locked car.
One of my carpool friends drove me halfway home and my daughter came to pick me up and take me back to pick up my car. I had ruined her plans for the evening so she was not happy about it, but she came to get me in a not so terrible mood.
On the way home from picking up my car, another snow squall hit. My daughter has only had her license for about 6 months so I was not pleased to see how fast she was driving in front of me on the now slick roads. She did slow down at first, but then was soon out of my sight.
The snow squall got worse and as I merged onto a three lane highway, no one could tell where the lines of the road were. We were all making our own lanes, but for the most part were driving very slow.
I made it home and drove to my neighbor's house to pick up my son. He was outside playing in the snow and did not want to leave. I could not leave the car because their driveway is rather steep - as soon as I would take my foot off the brake, my car started sliding backwards. We drove home to find my daughter pulling into the driveway. She was safe, but had learned her lesson about driving in the snow with 18-wheelers around her. She left the highway and took the back roads home.
Now I could enjoy the snow with my kids, safe at home. Biggest question on their minds now is "Do you think we'll have a two-hour delay tomorrow, Mom?"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In The Attic

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the third In The Attic show that will be held at Joe's Pub in NYC on Feb 20. Actually don't think it was luck, it was probably more karma than luck. I think most people who come to my blog are already familiar with Rachel Fuller and Pete Townshend and the Attic shows, but just in case you are not, check out this link and be sure to buy the album from iTunes when it is release on Feb 14.

As Rachel would say, "Rock the Fuck On!"


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Play Ball!!

I went to my son's basketball game Saturday morning. Going to my children's sporting events is a regular event in our lives. They are both active in athletics and certainly more talented in that area than I am!

As I walked into the gym, several thoughts occurred to me. The people I saw around me are people I am very close to. I know very personal things about many of these other parents. I know who has lost their job recently and the stress that has placed on their family. I know the mother who is fighting depression, refusing to get help for it and trying to put on a happy face for her family. I know who is worried about a sick parent or a sick child. I know who I can call upon to help me - whether it is to watch my kids, to carpool with, to give me a hug or a kick in the butt.

The gym roared with parents cheering on both teams. The sound echoed throughout the gym. When two players collided and both fell to the ground, the gym was quiet as we waited to see if both would spring to their feet. We clapped for the player who had to walk off the court for a few minutes. Parents yelled encouragement to their children when they had either a good or a not so good play. Parents yelled (in a good manner) to the refs when a bad call was made. We have high school refs who may not be as experienced as we would like. But we have a good sportsmanlike attitude in our small town. We sign a pledge at the beginning of each season promising good behavior on the sidelines and our athletic association enforces that mutual agreement.

My son's team was down 18-8 in the first quarter. They had not won a game so far this season. They re-grouped and actually ended up winning this time, 24-20! It was a close game for the last five minutes. The parents of his team cheered and hugged each other. It was a good feeling, but as I think back on other games, even the losing ones, we have a pretty good thing going on in our small town. Football, baseball, soccer, or basketball - they bring our community together in a positive way. I look forward to attending many more games, even those 8:00 Saturday morning games!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Time For Change

I'm sensing a change in the country. People seem to be more aware of what is going on in the government, (local, state and federal) and with what is going on in our environment. Here's hoping the 'surge' in interest and activism continues.

I've recently been elected to my Church Council. Church in America has changed so much over the last 50 years. I listened to an interesting videotape at our first council retreat. The speaker illustrated some major trends/changes in our country over the last 80 years. He referenced, I think, Daniel Yankelovich (not positive, if I'm misquoting someone, I apologise!)

In the 1930's and 40's, it was the time of Deferred Pleasure. If you wanted something, you waited until you had enough money to buy it. If you wanted dessert, your mother told you you had to finish your vegetables. People deferred their lives for World War I and World War II - they put off their schooling and their marriages for the good of the country. Same with religion - you deferred your pleasure on earth until later. You sublimated your desires, your needs, and your originality in many ways to fit in with everyone else, to make sure that the needs of the many were met rather than your own.

Something was invented in the 1950's that changed our lives and our culture. The Credit Card!

Now you didn't have to wait for things! Forget deferring pleasure, the 1960's became the Now Generation. If you wanted the Dean of the school to listen to you, you got other people who wanted the same things you did and you went and sat in his office until he heard you. The Civil Rights movement, Women's Lib, anti-war protests - they all happened in this timeframe. We knew there were inequalities in the world before. Why did we wait until the '60s to deal with it?

The Now Generation turned into the Me Generation in the 1970's. And the 1980's turned into the Greed Generation. I'm unhappy with my life - a new car will make me feel better!

Generation X signifies the people that were in their 20's during the 1990's. I'm a Gen Xer. They say that Gen Xers don't believe in Christianity, in the traditional family model, in company loyalty as they are the first generation to experience offshoring and downsizing, and are facing the burden of solving problems created for them by previous generations. Gen Xers grew up in families where divorce is the norm, inherited social problems such as homelessness, AIDS, federal deficits, unemployment and racial strife.

Generation Y, the Millennial Generation, is those people born between 1984 and 2001. These people came to age in the world of technology. They grew up with the Internet, with instant messaging, cell phones, and multiple cable televisions throughout the house. Gen Yers are more tolerant of racial differences and lifestyle choices. They are more spiritual and religious than their parents, but are searching for different ways to express and fulfill that personal need. On a positive note, Gen Y seems more interested in volunteering, in giving back to the community.

Watching the evening news, I wonder sometimes if my children, my Gen Yers, will grow up to be able to have their own families, to start a new generation. We have much to fix in the world, but I see that consciousness awakening in many people. I see ownership and people starting to take accountability for what we've done. There's even a rumor that GW will admit that global warming is a threat to the environment and to the world in his State of the Union address. Unfortunately, he's one I don't see taking much responsibility for his decisions.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's All in the Spin

We're not escalating our troop deployment, we're "surging" our troop levels. Surge sounds temporary or short-term so it's more acceptable to the American people. I think I prefer the non-denial denial, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" vs the spin we are getting on the Iraq war. We're not losing the Iraq war, we're just not winning right now. At least the only person who got hurt in the case of Clinton was Hilary.

I'm starting to use Wikipedia a lot. From Wikipedia, within the subject, Public Relations, the definition of spin techniques ( spin (public relations) ) include:
  • Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one's position (cherry picking)
  • Non-denial denial
  • Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths
  • Euphemisms to disguise or promote one's agenda
  • Ambiguity
  • Skirting
  • Rejecting the validity of hypotheticals
  • Appealing to internal policies
A new term I had never heard before was Astroturfing - creating an artificial grass roots movement. The example they cited was writing numerous letters to the editor at different newspapers under different names creating the impression of widespread public opinion, but actually controlling it under a central entity.

Another key item is "managing language", using faith-based rather than religious, climate change vs. global warming, and partial birth abortion for pro-choice.

I'm on my knees praying that the change in political control will not be like

" There's nothing in the street looks any different to me. And the slogans
are all replaced, by the by. The parting on the left is now a parting on the
right, ..." -- Pete Townshend