Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Room Full of Butterflies

Imagine. Butterflies everywhere!

At the American Museum of Natural History in New York City they had special exhibit about butterflies. And a room full guessed it...butterflies.

We were able to walk into the butterfly conservatory that allowed us to stand inside a special glass room while butterflies flew freely all around us. It was awesome! Something I always wanted to do.

They made us enter through one set of doors, wait until the first door closed, and then opened the door to the conservatory. I supposed they didn't want the butterflies to escape. Then we walked around and snapped pictures, and let the butterflies flap around. None landed on me, but several landed on people's heads, shoulders, hands, etc. around me. Walking amidst these winged creature was surreal.

I think I could've stayed in the butterfly conservatory forever. If we hadn't been in New York City, with so many other great sights, I think I just might've.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Don't Honk

Only in New York.

$350 fine? Really? That seems a bit steep.

I'm certain I heard honking too. Maybe the fine ought to be more. Would a $500 fine deter honking? Or better yet, a prison sentence? An electric shock? A neighborhood watchman with a 9-iron? A bed of nails that pops out of street when a certain sound threshold is violated?

Would anything deter honking in New York City?

Monday, February 16, 2009

New York, New York

This weekend I took a completely random last-minute trip to New York City. Yay for spontaneity.

NYC is arguably the best city in the world. It is living color. Words in action. All glitz and glam.

Apparently it is more affordable to take a bus from DC than it is to take one from central PA. What's with that? DC is 2 hours further away yet costs less than half the price from Harrisburg or Kutztown? Strange.

Even though I ♥ NYC, I still ♥ DC. They are both lovely, just in completely different ways. Points to NYC for the arts and culture. Artists and adventurers flock to the city to make their mark upon the world. Points to DC for the metro and cleanliness. The subway systems don't even compare. New York's subway is to DC's metro as a garbage heap is to a grassy hill.

The thing about living on the East Coast is that we can visit nearby cities so easily. I love it. NYC itself will always hold a special place in my heart though. There is nothing quite like the Big Apple (even if they do have sketchy sketchy subway system).

So you mean to say reason=male?

This almost hurts to read. There are a few lines of reason (namely fear of the nanny-state), surrounded by hateful bigotry that negates the rest of the message. I present to you why women will never be equals in this world, and why conservative thinkers get a bad rap--because of articles like this, America has become a Nation Ruled by Emotion Rather Than Reason by J.D. Longstreet on WesternFront America. I've copied an excerpt for you, but you really should read the whole thing.

"We have feminized our churches, our government, our military, and our businesses, even the Main Stream Media. Woman have been taught they can have it All. Nobody mentioned the cost to her. Now, it no longer matters.

We have gangs of young people, little more than children, roaming our streets, as the barbarians and vandals of old, striking terror in the hearts of the people in their communities. Why? Because they have no home, no parents, and especially no mother, to teach them in the way they should go. Now, our own children are our enemies.

Our men are no longer men. They are something well short of manhood (Metrosexuals!). Men have been taught that being male, and acting as a male OUGHT to act, is somehow abnormal. The American male is so confused he has lost his identify. He is a pitiful sight. When the maleness of a society goes, so does that society. For the foundation of any society is based on the males of that society. The protection of that society is the burden of the same males. When those males are taught that they ought not take up those responsibilities… their reason for existence is lost, and they are confused, and that society is doomed. I offer Europe as an example.

Women, attempting to take up that burden of male leadership, are a pitiful and pathetic sight. Estrogen is no substitute for testosterone! As a result there is little if any action, and when action does take place it is based upon emotions rather than reason. (Example: The US House of Representatives!) It is the worse possible combination for any society seeking to continue its existence.

Look at the Mainstream Media in America today. Try viewing a news show on the TV. You will find more women than men as anchors. Why? Because they are pleasant to look upon and… sex sells the products of the sponsors… and no matter what they tell you… that is the sole reason those blonde cuties are in front of the cameras! If the networks were actually serious about delivering the news in a powerful, impactful, way, the anchor would be a male. That, of course is NOT what they are interested in. The networks are interested in SELLING the airtime and making money. The news, itself, has become only filler, between the commercials and the entertainment, as the networks rake in the loot.

Our churches have become feminized. Women in the pulpits, in the office of Bishop (strictly against Scripture) and, as a result, their membership rolls are shrinking. The mainstream denominations are losing membership in droves! Visit any Mainstream Denomination’s Sunday Worship Services and count the women in attendance as opposed to the men in attendance. You will quickly see that men are staying home. In my case, I don’t need a woman in the pulpit telling me how to behave. My mother took care of that… and my wife took over from her!

Our military can no longer win wars. Why? Because we are too concerned over how the actions we need to take, to secure victory, will be perceived by the remainder of the world. That is most certainly not a manly trait. Even our soldiers are being put on trial for killing the enemy! That tell you anything about the lack of commitment to victory??? It ought to!

Having said all the above, and expecting to be boiled in oil for it, I ask only that you think about it. Look around you. The evidence is everywhere. America is but a shell of her former self. The country has a mortal; a terminal, illness and any reasonable person would not expect recovery.

Watching a strong man wither away and die is always painful to those who love him. That is the sort of pain I feel as I watch my country die right before my eyes."

Seriously? You've got to be kidding me. I think someone needs to channel his glorious testosterone into more useful channels than undermining the value of women. Disgusting.

And my favorite part? As he spouts on and on about weenie men, metrosexuals, and the emasculation of America, he uses a feminine personal pronoun to describe America! "America is but a shell of her former self." Followed by a metaphor of his country as a man. "Watching a strong man wither away and die is always painful to those who love him." What does this say? This says somebody is seriously mistaken about the way he sees freedom, leadership, and gender roles. He just doesn't realize it.

I don't want the socialization of America either, but how that connects to the horrible "feminization" of our nation is beyond me. Looks to me like Mr. Longfellow can't help but let his ugly male chauvinism cloud his political thought. Ugh. Has feminism really brought us this far, only to have ridiculous, far-flung essays like that challenge the female voice in the public sphere?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ooo la la, Barack

Hmmmm. The GOP has quite a lovely selection of valentine's cards. At first I thought they were parodies created by democrats to mock republicans, but no. The GOP really has these cards, ready to email on their website. Send one of these to your valentine. He/she will love it!

Nothing says romantic like a card such as that. Hahaha.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conservation of Energy

Relationship Energy?

This Freakonomics post is very interesting. For very many reasons.

Excerpt 1:
A business exec told me that he thinks of consulting firms a bit like Charlie Sheen thinks about prostitutes. When I asked him to explain, he said that when Sheen was being sentenced for using a prostitute, the judge asked him why a man like him would have to pay for sex. And Sheen reportedly replied: “I don’t pay them for sex. I pay them to leave.”
Excerpt 2:
But Sheen’s (possibly apocryphal) quotation has me thinking that there may be contexts in which people would pay a premium to avoid a relationship. Some people may at times prefer A.T.M.’s to tellers in part because they don’t want to speak to tellers. Some people may prefer Merry Maids to a regular housekeeper (or may prefer to be absent when the cleaning is done). Or some people may prefer buying at in part because of the lack of human contact.
Excerpt 3:
Of course, there are other ways to spin the demand for non-relational contracting. Restricting and regulating our contractual relationships allows us to control and concentrate our limited relationship energy on those people who matter most to us. Surely this is sometimes the case. But conserving our limited relationship energy may backfire. Our capacity to interact with others may atrophy if it goes unused.

I think about the idea expressed in the third excerpt often. I want to put my "relationship energies" in the right place because I get so extremely busy throughout the year. Yet choosing which relationships are "worth the cost" is often hard to tell; for one, because how could we possible know which relationships will end up being meaningful--conserving our energies only to ignore a perfect friend/loved one? And secondly, the unfortunate truth is that we might end up spending too much time/affection/energy on the wrong person and end up being jaded, lonely, and socially inept. I do believe the problem lies in the concept of "relationship energy" itself.

I suspect it is only a myth that relationship energy can run out. It's probably more like conservation of energy: Energy can not be destroyed, just transferred. Hence we ought not avoid certain relationships in favor of others. Or should we? While the concept seems cruel, isn't it something people do every day? We decide who we will spend time with; and those people are often the ones we have deemed "worthy" of our time. Oh, it's so confusing. Since when did time management and relationships get so intertwined? It's unfortunate really.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ain't No Weatherman

I teach Oral Communication: Principles and Practice and have my students bring in an artifact to illustrate some concept we will go over within that class.

One of my students used this video as an example of listening gone all wrong.
It's quite appropriate (and by the same token, completely inappropriate).
I love my job.

So Christina Aguilera, that's what you were really saying. Hmmmm.

Apparently there are a bunch of these. I had no idea.
Yellow Ledbetter
This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race
Numa Numa

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cool Hunter

The Cool Hunter website is a pretty 'cool' website for finding new stuff (that you probably can't afford). But ultra stylish, nonetheless.

Haha, last semester I was trying to explain the difference between appeals to field related standards and individual standards, and the only example I could think of was the Cool Hunters. I couldn't remember the name of the website though, so I went on this digression about cool kids giving out stickers to people with trendy purses, new scooters, the latest jeans, and fancy apartments setting the standards of "coolness" for the rest of us. Wow. That's probably why I recieved all those raised eyebrows. No really, I wasn't making it up: The Cool Hunter.

I wish I could be a cool hunter. It'd be like getting paid to envy appreciate other people's stuff. Cool.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

What a good movie.
I know now what all the hype surrounding Slumdog Millionaire is all about. I give it an A+

From the first moments of this movie you will be drawn in. It's different and refreshingly so. The cultural elements are beautiful. The symbols potent and messages complex, ripe for criticism and deconstruction. I don't want to spoil the plot for any of you who have not seen it yet; just know that you must see this one.

The first showing of the movie was sold out this past weekend so we had to buy late night tickets, but it was well worth the wait. The whole ride on the train back home we discussed what is all meant. A movie that can make you feel, think, and chatter that much ought to be appreciated.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Airball, Airball, Airball

I went to my first UMD basketball game this weekend.
Maryland fans are about the classiest ones I've ever met.

When the visiting team is announced everyone gets out newspapers and pretends to be reading. Haha. And then, if that isn't bad enough, after each starter's name is called we chime in with a "sucks." So it goes something like Joe Smoe, 6"7" forward from Florida sucks. And so on and so on.

And it doesn't end there. The poor point guard for the other team missed a shot by a mile which subjected him to jeering chants for the rest of the game. Every time he touched the ball you'd hear rhythmic calls of "airball airball airball." He'd pass to a teammate, "woahhhh." And back to him, "airball, airball, airball." The cheers weren't enough though, they were coupled with one armed robotic air chops. Are other schools this mean at sporting events?

Home court advantage. We won.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl 09

The game was good.
Pittsburgh gave me a scare, but they pulled it out at the end!

The ads on the other hand did not meet my expectations. They sucked (bunch of crap Washington Post to suggest otherwise). I half expected a snuggie commercial to find it's way into the mix with the interest level of this year's bunch.

I still can't believe how largely disappointing they were. The economy must've killed the commercials. I mean even the Coca-Cola advertisements weren't amusing. Must be because PepsiCo wins as this year biggest advertiser
For the first time in a long time, PepsiCo, not Anheuser-Busch, this year will be the Super Bowl's biggest advertiser. Including spots for its Gatorade, SoBe Lifewater and Cheetos products, PepsiCo will have 5 to 6 minutes.
And note that only 30 seconds of airtime costs about $3 million. Pepsi must have bought out NBC. Geez.

Despite the disparaging lack of showmanship this year, I did have a few favorites that stood out among their competitors. My top 6 are as follows:

6. Budweiser Meeting Commercial
5. GE Wind Energy Commercial
4. Bridgestone Potato Head Commercial
3. Budweiser Fetch Commercial
2. Doritos Bus Commercial
1. Pedigree Exotic Pet Commercial

Bruno come back here. Bruno, you bad bad bird.

Would you agree? Any good ones that I missed?