Monthly Archives: March 2007

Swimming Lessons by Mary Alice Monroe

I know quite a bit about Mary Alice Monroe. I know she is a beautiful woman. I know she was on the New York Times best seller list. I also know she is a wonderful writer with many books published. I know that she is my sister.

On March 27th Mary Alice Monroe’s newest novel will be released. Go to her website and read about it and view the book’s trailer.

http://www.maryalicemonroe.com

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Dear Mr. President

The charade is over.

Take the troops out of Iraq. We asked nicely last November. Now we are demanding that you pay attention, Mr. President.

You say you installed a democracy in Iraq. Bravo. Only you forgot about the democracy that once existed in the US. The dictatorship must end.

Remember how Nixon ignored the demands of the citizens? You are much the same. Is that why your father cried at Jeb’s retirement?

What if Dick Cheney authored Inconveniet Truth?

First off, I’m not at all sold on Al Gore’s analysis of impending doom for the planet. But I wonder about the intelligence and the motives that my right wing buddies have about Al Gore. I mean, really, is Big Al making all this stuff up simply to curb the juggernaut of big oil? Did he go make the movie to become the Democrat’s nominee in 2008? Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I begin to wonder what the right wing would be saying if Dick Cheney made the movie. Something tells me there would be no attack on him from them. I am reminded of the bumper sticker I saw. It read “If you don’t believe in HELL, you’d better be right!”

from the blogosphere:

” Al Gore staged this fear festival perfectly and if you poke it with just enough force, the biodegradable façade will unveil his premature bid for the 2008 presidency and this time he’s definitely bagged New Orleans’ vote.”
~ http://www.superdead.org

Here’s another Halloween mask for wingnuts (quick, who is she?):


Former CIA Officer Valerie Plame
Greg Cryns (back to Paint Shop Pro)

I fell in love with “Sex and the City”

My college junior daughter stopped by after driving for 400 miles to pick up some summer style clothes for her trip to Florida for Spring Break. I always ask her what the “break” is from? 24 hours of fun at college? Give me a BREAK!

But she keeps me up to date on many things. Like tonight. My wife and I are very involved with CDs of Sex and the City. We started watching them about two weeks ago. They are borrowed from our library, a truly marvelous place to get to know if you have not done so already.

We’re watching the first episode tonight after first watching some of Season 6 last week. So we got to see how Carrie first met Big whom I recognized from his other TV show, Law and Order. Of course, I had no idea that Sex and the City is over, kaput and that’s a sorry thing because the show is/was exquisitely written and acted. A wonderful experience you seldom get to see on TV except for House making fun of his patients. My daughter gave me that bad news that the show is gone forever.

The thing is that the older I get the more emotional I get. When I see a very good piece of writing performed, or some notable music played or just something naturally beautiful like a new snow covering up our front yard, I get teary eyed. This is new for me. I was not that way 10 years ago, maybe 5. I find myself getting involved with the characters in this TV show. Shouldn’t happen but it is.

So I am hoping, praying that Carrie finds happiness with Big and maybe even gets married. That is how I would write the series based on what I’ve seen. Two good people deserve happiness and each other and I have a hunch they will get that exactly.

We’ve never seen The Sopranos. I get the feeling we may be missing something comparably wonderful. So, when we finsish up with SATC I think I’ll borrow some Soprano action. I’d love to see what all the hullabaloo is about that Gondalfino (sp) guy. I won’t take the time to Google the spelling, nope.

I am so out of the loop. I received a note from one of my 298 MySpace “friends” that I never even exchanged emails with before. At first I thought is was some crazed woman asking me out for a very weird date. The letter talked about a speed dating event in Dallas next week. Sounds interesting, but I will need to decline. Speed dating? My wife might take offense. So, here is the letter. Enjoy!

Mar 10, 2007 5:14 PMHi greg,

Would you like to join me at our Focus4 dinner next
weekend in Dallas?

And take part in the first Internet Marketing Speed
dating Bonanza

OK here is how it works…

All the dinner guests will be broken up into groups of
ten and we put one speaker on each table. The people
on the table have 15 minutes to grill the speaker on
any subject.

The only rule is you have to buy the speaker a drink…

And we will video one table the whole time, 11 fly
on the wall documentary video’s you would kill for.

Trust me you would kill for them

These videos will be yours to take away with you at
the end of the weekend, Yes if you join us for Dinner
on thursday 15th march and take part in the internet
speed dating bonanza you can also attend the whole
weekend.

11speakers 2 special workshops and the VIP dinner and
mastermind session. We have been charging $497 but
Since you’re one of my MySpace friends, I wanted to
give you a coupon code you can use to save $200

Just add this code (IMetRobert) into the box underneath the payment button to get the whole event including dinner and
the round table speed dating bonanza for just…

$297, but you need to let me know quickly as I need
to confirm numbers with the hotel by Tuesday 13th

Here is the special coupon code IMetRobert
here is the page you need to add the code to
http://www.internetseminarsindallas.com/tickets/

See you in Dallas
Robert

Somehow the speed dating idea seems like a science fiction story to me. Sex in the City is so much more real.

greg

What is a “Conservative” exactly?

Or a “liberal” for that matter?

Do nearly all conservatives believe in God? Are nearly all conservatives pro-life? pro-war? pro-family values (whatever that means)? pro-guns? anti gay marriage?

We know they are no longer pro-Bush as a rule. Why is that? Is it just because he keeps pressing to beat Iraq into submission even though a huge majority of people in the U.S. are against that?

A quick visit to Wikipedia reveals:

Conservatism is a relativistic term used to describe political philosophies that favor traditional values, where “tradition” refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. The term derives from the Latin, conservāre, to conserve; “to keep, guard, observe”. Since different cultures have different established values, conservatives in different cultures have different goals. Some conservatives seek to preserve the status quo, while others seek to return to the values of an earlier time, the status quo ante.

Samuel Francis defined authentic conservatism as “the survival and enhancement of a particular people and its institutionalized cultural expressions.” Roger Scruton calls it “maintenance of the social ecology” and “the politics of delay, the purpose of which is to maintain in being, for as long as possible, the life and health of a social organism.”Scholar R.J. White once put it this way: “To put conservatism in a bottle with a label is like trying to liquefy the atmosphere … The difficulty arises from the nature of the thing. For conservatism is less a political doctrine than a habit of mind, a mode of feeling, a way of living.”
– Wikipedia “Conservatism”

There are many aspects of Conservatism including Fiscal, Religious,  Cultural to name a few.

Can a Conservative be both pro-life and pro-war? That one always gets my attention. Can he/she like Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton? Can a Conservative dislike Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter?

I remember the day Bill Clinton was inaugurated. I happened to be listening to the radio that afternoon and I heard my first of Rush Limbaugh as well. I stopped to listen because I was surprised that an announcer would sound so excited about anything and talk so swiftly. Rush was ranting about Clinton that day. No kidding. I don’t think Clinton’s had was off the Bible yet when Rush was assaulting his character.

I suspect that Liberals and Conservatives speak different dialects. Perhaps the schools need to start teaching the dialects to youngsters, like teaching Creationism.

People will call me liberal. But I am fiscally conservative. I will not come out against guns (but I will hate them as long as I live). If I am pro-choice must I also be pro-abortion? I have yet to meet a conservative who understands that possibility.

I will tell you that I am proud to be a tree hugger! Why do right wingers use that term in a derogatory manner? Do they despise trees?

I am ambivalent about gay people in general but I champion their rights. Why do conservatives have a major problem with gay people wanting to be legally married?

Something like this makes liberals realize that Conservatives are worse than mean spirited. At a conference Ann Coulter said: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.” Audience members said “ohhh” and then cheered.

Don’t believe it? Check it out for yourself on video!
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/03/02/coulter-edwards/ Stuff like this just widens the chasm. What good could that be for the country? I’ve heard radio show hosts call Hillary Clinton “her thighness.” Is that what they are looking at when they see Hillary? Perverts

Conservatives often get my dander up, sometimes a whole lot especially when I talk about the “invasion” of Iraq, but I now think we just don’t use the same dialect. We are strangers in a strange land.

I am a feminist

I am out of the closet.

I am a feminist.

It is a bitter pill for males to take after eons of dominance. The modern age makes it possible for women to be our equals because physical prowess is no longer needed to put bread on the table.

Some religious folk want to keep the women subjugated. After all, that’s the way it was in the Bible, they figure. I think the Bible, like the US Constitution, is overrated. Some good and important thoughts in both, to be sure, but it is time to realize they were both written by human beings who were affected by the times they lived in.

The concept of “the right to bear arms” is absurd today. I don’t want to see regulation against guns because I think the government interferes too much already. However, I will say that if all guns on earth were instantly evaporated, I would be much happier.

Below is an excellent read for those who think male dominance needs to be maintained. Add to it. Think about it.

The Male Privilege Checklist

An Unabashed Imitation of an article by Peggy McIntosh

In 1990, Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh wrote an essay called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. McIntosh observes that whites in the U.S. are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” To illustrate these invisible systems, McIntosh wrote a list of 26 invisible privileges whites benefit from.

As McIntosh points out, men also tend to be unaware of their own privileges as men. In the spirit of McIntosh’s essay, I thought I’d compile a list similar to McIntosh’s, focusing on the invisible privileges benefiting men.

Due to my own limitations, this list is unavoidably U.S. centric. I hope that writers from other cultures will create new lists, or modify this one, to reflect their own experiences.

Since I first compiled it, the list has been posted many times on internet discussion groups. Very helpfully, many people have suggested additions to the checklist. More commonly, of course, critics (usually, but not exclusively, male) have pointed out men have disadvantages too – being drafted into the army, being expected to suppress emotions, and so on. These are indeed bad things – but I never claimed that life for men is all ice cream sundaes.

Obviously, there are individual exceptions to most problems discussed on the list. The existence of individual exceptions does not mean that general problems are not a concern.

Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases – from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war – the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.

In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick.

Several critics have also argued that the list somehow victimizes women. I disagree; pointing out problems is not the same as perpetuating them. It is not a “victimizing” position to acknowledge that injustice exists; on the contrary, without that acknowledgment it isn’t possible to fight injustice.

An internet acquaintance of mine once wrote, “The first big privilege which whites, males, people in upper economic classes, the able bodied, the straight (I think one or two of those will cover most of us) can work to alleviate is the privilege to be oblivious to privilege.” This checklist is, I hope, a step towards helping men to give up the “first big privilege.”

1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (More).

3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.

5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).

6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.

7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).

8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.

9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.

11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).

12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.

13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.

14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.

15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.

16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters. (More).

17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.

18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often. (More).

19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.

20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented, every day, without exception.

21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.

22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.

23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.

24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.” (More).

25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability or my gender conformity. (More).

26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).

27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).

28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).

29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.

30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.

31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.

33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.

34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.

35. The decision to hire me will never be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.

36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.

37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.

38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).

39. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she’ll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.

40. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.

41. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.

42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. (More). If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do. (More).

43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover. (More).

44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.” (More: 1 2).

45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.

46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

(Compiled by Barry Deutsch, aka “Ampersand.” Permission is granted to reproduce this list in any way, for any purpose, so long as the acknowledgment of Peggy McIntosh’s work is not removed. If possible, I’d appreciate it if folks who use it would tell me how they used it; my email is barry-at-amptoons-dot-com.)

(This is a continually updated document; the most current version of The Male Privilege Checklist can always be found at amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist . To see posts discussing the Male Privilege Checklist and various items on it, please visit this archive page).

Slackerpedia Galactica

Whether or not you are into astronomy, this site is worth a visit. Full of humor and astronomical facts, you will come away with a smile on your face.

http://www.slackerastronomy.org/slackerpedia/

Want to know about EARTH?

“The Earth is bipolar.” – Steve Wright

Home. Notice the reflection of the Sun in the ocean.

Enlarge

Home. Notice the reflection of the Sun in the ocean.

Earth is a mostly harmless planet in the Sol system and so far the only planet in the system known to contain life (although the intelligence of said life is still being debated).

It used to be in the center of the Universe, before some smartypants discovered that it wasn’t, and that it only circled the Sun. Hence, once upon a time the Earth was demoted just like poor little ‘ol Pluto.

Earth has one natural satellite, that in a total lack of creativity, is called “the Moon”. In no way is this to be confused by the act of lowering your trousers and flashing other people.

Some people may also talk about a planet called “Dirt” on other BBS’s, Dirt is just a synonym for Earth albeit a much more flattering and much more creative one.

How about our SUN?

The Sun (aka Sol) is a really big and really hot ball of gas – kind of like Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken. Well, it is technically a ball of mostly plasma in the middle of the solar system. (Although Rush likes to think he is the center of all things…) People thought that the sun orbited Earth but some other guys (Copernicus, Johannes Kepler) set them straight and proved that all the planets orbited around it instead.

Do not look directly at the Sun, with or without protective eyewear. That is, unless you are campaigning for a Darwin Award.

Here is “galaxy” defined:

A galaxy is what happens when good, young stars get bored and start hanging out in a gang. Larger galaxies have terrorized their smaller dwarf galaxy neighbors and tend to group together in larger groupings. Galaxies grow by eating each other and spewing out the remains in huge streaks of stars.

VACUUM

In daily life, a vacuum is a device for instilling fear and dread in dogs and cats.

In science, a vacuum is hated by nature. A true vacuum is perfect nothing. Why we’re able to talk about true vacuums if they aren’t actually anything is a good philosophy question to bring up next time you’re at a party.Each entry has a link to Wikipedia at the bottom in case you want more. Shades of Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy) throughout.
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