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Monday, August 22, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Children Drawings of Genocide and My Short Rant on Genocide

For those who are interested, here's a couple of links to drawings done by children from Darfur, Sudan, where genocide was taking place. It's sad and heart-wrenching when you see what these kids have drawn.

CNN article
NPR story on the drawings
Slate article
a collection of the drawings

While we're on the topic of genocide, I would like to say a little something.

I get so sick of people talking about genocide as if it ended and never happened after WWII. A number of people on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz discussed genocide like it was only a horror to the last generation. I'm sorry, but Rwanda in 1994 and Bosnia in 1995 show that the promise of "never again" hasn't been met. It might never happen to the Jews again, but that's little comfort for the Tutsis, the Serbian Muslims, and the children of Darfur.

It's time we admitted that genocide is still with us and is part of the 21st century, not some problem of the past we've done away with.

Peace Pledge genocide site
Prevent Genocide International

Saturday, August 13, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: My Take on Talking about Others

This blog actually is the blog of someone else's and my response, but I thought you all may be interested in what I had to say, so I'm posting it here too.

Here's the original post from Vanity Run Amok.

I've always been the kind of person that wonders if people are talking about me behind their backs. As much as I loathe being the center of attention, my biggest fear is that nobody is talking about me - that my constant wonderment is for naught because nobody has even bothered to notice me. I don't care if they are singing my praises or trash-talking me as long as people have noticed that I exist.

Now that I'm a little older and have gained a bit more self-confidence, I still feel this nagging self-doubt daily. I know that people talk about me when I'm not around. I know because people tell me so. But I don't believe it.

So go ahead. Talk about me. Thanks!

And this is my response to her blog:

Well, it seems to me that everybody talks about everybody. If we're all just chatting and talking about some stuff we did with someone, I really don't care. About when people dig for dirt and say something about someone that they can't say to their face, that irks me and I tend to leave.

But I've come to realize that there is no way to stop gossiping, so you might as well learn to live with it. Having a bitter ex, I've come to realize just how true that is, especially when you have no interest in talking about the other person. Then lots of idiots assume that only her side is true. But enough about my life.

People talk. And the more unique and different you are, the more they will talk about you, and some of it won't be pleasant. So you can either try to fit in and be yourself and put up with the talk. I've chose the former.

And to fight the gossip and gossiper is a losing battle that will just drive one crazy. And on the plus side, you get to know who your true friends are, because they're the ones who don't believe or listen to the stupid crap about you. Or at least they come to you and ask you about it!

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Dialogue on Whooping Teens and Getting Older

This blog is taken from comments sent back and forth between me and zuhn to one of her blogs.

ZUHN (excerpt from her blog): Two: The whooping teens. These are the youngsters (I include the 20 and 30 year old who still live with momsy and popsy) who drive down in their parent's SUVs with the windows rolled down no matter the weather with offensive rap lyrics blasting and whoop. Stop with the whooping. And girls, stop encouraging the whooping. Evolve. And stop drinking in the car. Although I suppose such a long drive from the 'burbs, you do get kinda thirsty. And don't pee on my streets. How 'bout I come and pee on your leather seats?

ME (excerpt from a comment): As for teens, give it up. They've been whooping downtown for DECADES! It ain't ever going to stop!

But you are absolutely right about peeing on the streets. I'll join you in peeing on their leather seats!

ZUHN (excerpt again): As for the whooping teens, I really don't get it. I was never a whooping teen so I know it can be done! Does this mean I'm getting old?

ME: You're not necessarily getting old. Has a high schooler called you "ma'am" yet? (I'll never forget the first time one called me sir! "I'm not a sir yet!")

But you probably are getting OLDER. And that's not a bad thing.

I never understood whooping either - even when I was in high school. Like a girl's going to go, "Oh, come here, you big shouter! That really turns me on!"

Though I must admit I get a guilty pleasure when the young girls whoop at me when I walk home after working late, but then I'm a recently divorced 41-year-old. I need the ego boost!

ZUHN: I was on the plane this summer and the whole time they kept calling me ma'am. I'm still not sure what's so great about getting older. I can now rent a car without paying underage fees, but I swear the day I turned 25, I started getting heartburn!

Young girls whoopin' at ya, eh? Not too shabby!

ME: 25! My heartburn didn't start until I was 35! You better take better care of yourself!

I wouldn't take too much stock in a stewardess calling you "ma'am". They're paid to do that.

Well, to quote Pete Townsend, "We can't pretend that growing older never hurts." (Might not have that exactly right.) But getting older isn't without its benefits.

You can get away with certain things you couldn't before. And you get a certain amount of respect for just having made it this far in life.

If I didn't include the fun I have with my daughter, I'd say my youth was more entertaining. But I still have fun, and being a dad - even a fortysomething dad (talk about being exhausting) - is pretty cool. Shouldn't do that in your youth!

Hang in there. The best may not be yet to come. But there's still a lot of fun on the way!

ZUHN: Thanks, oldermusicgeek. I'm sure you're right and that the best is yet to come. Actually, I don't like being young much, but having grown up as the youngest in the family, amongst our group of family friends, and even now I'm usually the youngest one when we go out, I do miss the honorific of 'young'un'.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

HUMOR and POLITICS: Army Joke about war and insurance

Beaudreaux's first military assignment was to a military induction center, and, because he was a good talker, they assigned him the duty of advising new recruits about the government benefits; especially the GI insurance to which they were entitled.

Before long the Captain in charge of the induction center began noticing that Beaudreaux was getting a 99% sign up for the top GI insurance.

This was odd, because it would cost these poor inductees nearly $30.00 per month more for their higher coverage than what the government was already granting.

The Captain decided that he would not ask Beaudreaux about his selling
techniques but that he would sit in the back of the room and observe Beaudreaux's sales pitch.

Beaudreaux stood up before his latest group of inductees and stated,"If you have da normal GI insurance and go to Iraq and get killed; da government pays your beneficiary $6,000. If you take out da supplemental GI insurance (which cost you only $30.00 a month); the government has to pay your beneficiary $200,000.

"NOW," Beaudreaux concluded, "Which bunch do you think dey gonna send to Iraq first?"

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