Tag Archives: news

Aries! Pisces? Both! Neither?

Astrological signs

Image via Wikipedia

Facebook was “abuzz” with the news that the zodiac sign we’ve been living with our whole lives is not correct, because the earth’s axis has rotated since the zodiac signs were named.  Friends claimed “I’m a Leo all the way” and “I’ll never be anything but a Virgo.”

I’ve always been an Aries.  Many of the Aries traits apply to me, but I’ve never felt like I was a true Aries.  I’m not as fiery, not as Out There as the Aries sign has always seemed.  So maybe I really am a Pisces.  Let’s take a look, shall we?  (All sun sign description came from about.com.)

Aries

  • courageous (yeah), pioneering (eh), brilliant (well of course!), adventurous (sure), dynamic (hmm), straight-forward (sometimes)
  • willful (can be), dominating (not so much), selfish (yes and no), ruthless (definitely not), insensitive (I suppose I can be, sometimes), impatient (Hell Yes)
  • Aries are gifted with a direct, fiery nature that makes them one step ahead of the crowd. (?) They take charge of a situation, and their sense of certainty usually makes others fall in line. (??) This makes the Sun in Aries a born leader. (???)
  • Often larger-than-life, they can light up a room with their charisma. (Really, not so much)  If a gathering is dull, they’ll quickly move on – and they’re among the ones with the stamina to party ‘til dawn. (Rarely) Aries craves excitement and their restless spirits seek out the next big thing. (Yeah, kind of)
  • Aries can rise to the challenge of any battle. Sometimes they go too far and scorch those they love with hurtful words said in the heat of the moment.  (It’s been known to happen)  They quickly forgive and forget (Big Fat No), but often deal with the fall out of their brusque demeanor.
  • Aries wants to achieve great things, and is propelled by an inner drive that is a force to be reckoned with.  (Not so much)  Their bright minds and ability to initiate can make them trailblazers in their careers. (eh)
  • At times, the rush to action can cause them to take unnecessary risks, or forge ahead without planning out crucial details.  (no, I’m kind of a planner) Some say the Sun in Aries learns the hard way, by leaping before looking. But being an active sign, the Aries learns best through experience.  (That’s VERY true)

Pisces

  • compassionate (I can be, sometimes), creative (I’d like to think so), mystical (not so much), sensitive (yes), romantic (mmhmm), dreamy (sure)
  • escapist (oh yeah), lazy (yep), self-indulgent (often), overwhelmed (occasionally), impressionable (not really)
  • As the last of the twelve Zodiac signs, Pisces is said to contain aspects of them all. This makes the Pisces Sun so changeable as to appear not to have one singular identity. It’s as if they’re just touching down in this human reality, and light enough to try on a few personas.  (Is this saying I have multiple personalities?)
  • Pisces can be so dreamy as to seem “somewhere else” half the time. They’re tuned into the spiritual side of things, and this gives them an otherworldly air. It can seem that they’re always sensing the emotional currents that run between people, as well as those connecting us to the great beyond.  (No, no, not so much)
  • The Pisces Sun leads with a compassionate heart, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Many are remarkably wise and self-sacrificing when it comes to helping the vulnerable or those down on their luck. (Not me)  But this noble trait can take them down a path of being used and abused before they learn to set strong boundaries.
  • This is the sign of the mystic poet, and a creative pursuit gives Pisces the motivation to be disciplined. And bringing structure to the vast imagination and shades of emotion flowing within the Pisces nature is a great achievement. Through art, they can bring a bit of heaven down to Earth for the benefit of everyone.  (I can hope!)
  • It’s important for Pisces Sun to find a sense of purpose to avoid just drifting. Their sensitivity makes them also a tad more vulnerable to escapism through addictions or personal dramas. (I don’t have an addictive personality at all)  Finding a sense of worth, self-definition and purpose seem to be some of their life lessons.  (Big Mm-Hm)

So, maybe I’m a little of both.  Heck, I’m probably a little of every sign.  I think we all are.  Does it matter if our signs have changed, if they’re not what we thought they were?

Then again, the story could be blown way out of proportion.  The media has a knack for doing things like that.

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Now I know where to go to get some action!

2 7 10 Bearman Cartoon Airport Body Scanner

Image by Bearman2007 via Flickr

 

I got into a debate on Facebook last night about the new security measures in place at airports in the US.  It started when one guy, Cowboy, posted to his wall that he had one thing to say to all the people posting articles and complaining about the new security measures:  “don’t fly.”  He said this is being done to protect us from terrorism, and as long as he gets a pat down from “a hot female with TSA,” he’s okay with it.

Both sides weighed in on this, and it was, for the most part, a cordial discussion.  I was actually quite surprised that no one started hurling insults.  Both sides stated their opinion and made points, and argued against the other side’s points.  There was only one issue, I think. 

I don’t think most people who were arguing for scanners and enhanced pat downs had any idea what they were talking about.  I will admit, when this was first instituted, there was an email discussion amongst several friends.  Two were very unthrilled with the new security measures, and one who went through the scanner said she “felt dirty.”  (I hope I’m quoting her correctly!)  My opinion, at the time, was, “Eh.  Whatever.”  I wasn’t happy with it, but I didn’t really see the big deal.  However, since then, I’ve read more about them, done some research, and read firsthand accounts of the “enhanced” pat downs.  And now I can say, with full sincerity, that I am not okay with this, and I am not looking forward to the next time I have to fly (Christmas).  In fact, I’m starting to get a little sick about it – not quite to the extent that Nicole  is, but talk to me again as the date gets closer.

Here are the main points brought up in the FB debate:

I agree with the original Facebook post – If you don’t like it, don’t fly.  Some people don’t have that option.  This can affect people’s livelihoods – do I want to continue working to support my family (by traveling, as my job requires) and give up on these civil liberties, or do I want to stand up against it and not fly (and lose my job in the process)?  Here’s the point:  DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.  Know what you’re facing the next time you go to the airport.  Have all the facts.  This is your body, your health, and damnit, the government has no right to tell you what to do with those two things.  Once you know the facts, then make an INFORMED decision based on your personal belief system.  If you want to debate the merits and/or faults of the new system with me, please have something more to say than, “TERRORISTS!  9/11!  The sky is falling!”

Wednesday, November 24th (yes, the day before Thanksgiving, yes, the busiest travel day of the year), is National Opt Out Day.  The organizers are urging everyone flying on Wednesday to “Opt Out” of the scanner and instead have the “enhanced” pat down.  They want people to understand what the pat down entails, and to determine for yourself if you are okay with receiving it…and if you’re okay with your spouse, mother, father, and children (the 15 year old girl, the 4 year old boy) receiving it.  

I was listening to the radio today, to some radio personality on AM radio (sorry, I couldn’t figure out who it was).  The guy was telling people, don’t opt out.  It’ll only slow everything down, and it won’t make a statement of any kind.  He was recommending, instead, that people go through the scanner and salute the TSA – with one finger (guess which one).  “Free speech!” he said.  “Make a statement!”

All due respect, but what exactly is that going to do?  I have nothing against the TSA agents themselves – they’re just doing their job (although, if it were me, I’d be looking for another job right quick).  Flipping off the TSA agent is not going to make any statement, other than, “I’m an immature asshole.”  Let me explain the idea behind Opting Out:

IT’S A FREAKING BOYCOTT!  Why do people boycott a business?  To make a statement.  To make the business sit up and take notice.  To make them realize that people don’t like what they are doing, people are doing something about it, and it’s going to affect the business’ bottom line.  This is what the Opt Out Day is for.  Although the organizers state that the intention is not to slow down air travel, it will obviously slow down the security lines if even half the people going through decide to opt out of the scanners.  It will show TSA (and the government) that we don’t agree with the scanners.  It will show other people that there are people willing to make a stand against them, which will in turn make others more likely to do so.  It will affect the airlines, possibly causing delays, certainly upsetting passengers when they miss their flight due to the long wait, who will demand some sort of compensation.  It is the American people, en masse, saying, “We are not going to put up with this.”  And just like with a boycott, if enough people do it, maybe someone will take notice.

I don’t think we’re getting the full truth.  I was going to do a summary of what TSA says about the scanners and what I’ve heard and found, but I’ve spent way too long on this post, and besides, this post does that pretty well.

Some additional interesting links:

  • Ron Paul has introduced H.R. 6416, The American Traveler Dignity Act, to the House.  You can read about it here.
  • FedUpFlyers was started by a pilot, and has several first-hand accounts from crew personnel and passengers about the security measures.  I suggest you read them.  Yes, they are touching your genitals.  If you’re a woman and you wear a skirt, they WILL slide their hands ALL the way up to your panties.  If you wear skimpy underwear, your labia may be touched.  Are you okay with that?  Are you okay with your wife, your daughter being subjected to that?
  • WeWontFly – Act Now.  Travel with Dignity.

As a final note, let’s look to the people who do this for a living – the pilots and flight attendants who go through this daily.  Pilots unions are urging pilots not to go through the scannersFlight attendants have contacted the ACLU and may file suit.  These are professionals, and they’re not okay with it.  I’m not either.

***ETA – OMG!!!   I just found this online, and laughed hysterically. 

Boobies!

This is an interesting conundrum.  What constitutes indecent exposure?

Obviously, in most parts of the US, women are not allowed to be topless in public.  (Side question:  at what age does this start?  When the female is no longer completely flat-chested?  There are some girls who could still go topless at 16, by that standard.  But, obviously, nobody raises an eyebrow if a 5 year old girl is running around without a shirt on.  It can’t simply be an arbitrary “when they become a sexual object,” because there are some serious freaks out there who look at children and get excited.  Puberty?  Again that’s different for every girl.  So at what age is a female not allowed to run around topless?)

It makes me wonder – what makes breasts sexual objects?  I’ve seen men with some serious natural boobs.  I’ve seen some women that have almost no breasts.  And yet, the woman’s breasts are more of a sexual turn on than the man’s.  So is it only the fact that it’s a woman, as opposed to a man?  What happens when the man in question has some beautiful, well-shaped, womanly looking boobs?  If you put the man in a box where all you can see if the boobs, is that not almost pornographic?  And, once you know it’s a man, does that make the breasts in question less beautiful?  If so, why?

You know that scene in Notting Hill?

Anna Scott: What is it about men and nudity? Particularly breasts? How can you be so interested in them?
William: Well…
Anna Scott: But, but, seriously: they’re just breasts. Every second person in the world has them.
William: Oh, more than that, when you think about it: you know, Meat Loaf has a very nice pair.
Anna Scott: [laughs] But they’re… they’re odd looking, they’re for milk, your mother has them, you’ve seen a thousand of them… What’s all the fuss about?
William: Actually, I can’t think of what it is, really. Let me just have a quick look…
[peeks under blanket]
William: No, no, beats me.

In Rehoboth Beach (and I’m sure a lot of other places), the law states that a woman cannot show her breasts in public.  The law about indecent exposure for men does not include breasts.  Which presented an issue last weekend when some transgendered men ran around topless on the beach, with their implants out in all their glory.

So what happens when a transgendered man with breast implants runs around topless?  Well, they are boobies, but they’re on a man.  So is it indecent?  If yes, then, logically, you’re also saying that a man with huge, natural man-titties is indecent.  Again, logically, if you say it’s indecent for a woman to go topless, and yet a man with implants is indecent, then he is a woman.  

And once you start having to deal with this issue…if boobs make a woman, then what makes a marriage?  Some say “a man and a woman.”  But, again, logically, if boobs make a woman, then is a person with male genitalia (a man) with breast implants (a woman) allowed to marry a man?  Would that be considered “Gay Marriage?”

Ow.  I think I sprained a muscle in my brain.  I know what I’m trying to say, but I don’t know if it’s coming across correctly.  My point is, we, as a nation, as a society, need to get away from the concept that attraction can only exist between a man and a woman.  Or we need to get away from the concept that mammary glands are attractive.  It’s kind of hard to have it both ways.

Let’s do the Time Warp

This morning, I’m driving into work, wearing gloves because it’s cold out, listening to the radio.  They do a news story:

“So-and-so is at Pearl Harbor today to commemorate…”

And I think, why are they in Pearl Harbor? Pearl Harbor wasn’t until December – that’s MONTHS away.

And I thought that for a full thirty seconds, I am not kidding.

I thought it was May.

Where the hell did this year go?

Running away doesn’t absolve you from guilt

I’m sure Roman Polanski is sorry for what he did 30 years ago. I know the victim is over it and wishes the whole thing would just disappear. I understand that Polanski is a great director, highly respected by his peers both in America and in Europe.

However, none of that absolves him from guilt. None of that erases the fact that he fled the country and hasn’t returned, fearing arrest. No one, regardless of how rich, esteemed, privileged, or repentant, deserves absolution simply because of the length of time since a crime is committed.

I simply don’t understand the reaction of French authorities and Hollywood to his arrest. “It seems inadmissible…that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him,” said a petition.  I believe someone called it “a sinister plot,” the way they knew where he was going to be and waited for him. Well, it’s no different than knowing a killer is going to be at a local bar and waiting for him to show up to arrest him. “Why now? He’s traveled to Switzerland dozens of times.” Exactly, why now? Why not the second, third, fourth time he went?

People are upset that he was arrested, “astonished”.  French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand said that he “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them.”   Polanski has had a hard life, after all – his mother died in Auschwitz, and his wife was killed by the Manson Family. Of course, most serial killers have had an abusive family life, but we don’t think it’s okay if they drug and rape a thirteen year old, and then flee the country to avoid prison. Oh, and my favorite: he hasn’t been able to make films in Hollywood. Well, THAT’S HIS OWN DAMN FAULT! If he hadn’t run, the justice system would have run its course and he would have spent the last 2-3 decades making movies in Hollywood, or Idaho, or New York, or Wisconsin. The fact that he’s been a world-class director from outside the country does not absolve him of evading sentencing.

I understand, from what I’ve read, that Polanski feared the original judge in the case would renege on his plea deal. Okay, fine, I can understand that. I’m not doubting that the trial may have been unfair. But, if Polanski had come back at any point in time over the last 20 years and turned himself in, I have no doubt that the evading charges would have been dismissed, and the sex crime sentence would have become “time served.”  Especially this past January, when the victim filed papers to have the charges against Polanski dismissed.  If he had simply come back to the US, he probably would have been let off with probation for the fugitive warrant against him.

If this had been my neighbor Joe Schmoe from around the block, you can bet your ass that he would have been arrested 29 years ago and extradited immediately. But this man had money, and clout, and fame, and (as we all know too well) people can forgive a lot when you have those things, or at least turn a blind eye.

The French Foreign Minister is appealing to Hilary Clinton to have Polanski released.  I’m curious to hear her response.

Discovering New Things

I met a guy a few years ago, a cartographer. He seemed somewhat impressed when I knew that he made maps. I remember thinking at the time, is there really a need for cartographers anymore?

It amazes me that things are still being discovered. Antiquities, species, native tribes. You would think that, as much as we have marauded the world, there would be nothing left to discover.

September 7th: “An archaeological dig in Jerusalem has turned up a 3700-year-old wall…” A 26-foot tall, 79-foot long wall of cut stones, with boulders as large as 5 tons.

Again, September 7th: “A team of scientists…found more than 40 previously unidentified species.”  I love the quote from the guy who headed the expedition:  “…it is clearly time we pulled our finger out and decided these habitats are worth us saving.”  Is it just me, or do you think there are a couple of words missing between “finger out” and “and decided.”  (Those words are “our ass,” BTW.)

Last year they found an “uncontacted tribe” in Brazil, and come to find out there are “more than 100 uncontacted tribes” in the world today.

Every time there is a new discovery, I think, that’s it, there’s nothing left to discover. Surely there is not one inch of the earth’s surface that we haven’t covered. Right?

Today’s Highlight Reel

Thank god they’re not Americans – almost 70% of Britons can’t correctly identify the size and placement of the lungs in the human body.

I’m so glad this dangerous criminalis off the street!! Zoinks!  An amusement park employee is arrested for helping someone win a stuffed animal!  I’m so scared! 

I saw a bumper sticker over the weekend: “Annoy a liberal – Work – Succeed – Be Happy.”  Well, I know a lot of liberals. They work. They succeed. They’re immensely happy. And other people doing those things do not annoy them. Just because a person is a liberal does not mean they live off welfare and expect the government to pay for everything.

Worst of Craigslist

I’ve always been a huge fan of Craigslist. When I lived in Denver, I met several social groups, sold furniture, and even had a couple of dates. Here in Charlotte, I met some of my best friends through Craigslist. I’ve met people from San Francisco who had bought furniture, sold furniture, got an apartment, got a job, met their husband, and found their best friend on Craigslist. It was a great resource, especially for people new to a city.

And then it got bigger and more people found out about it. And I never log on anymore, because instead of finding cool social groups, it’s just get-rich-quick ads. Furniture can still sometimes be found for a deal, but you have to worry about the honesty of the person coming to your house to pick it up. And forget the personals section – SCARY.

Last year I was selling a couple of items via Craigslist. I had an email conversation with one man, and he said he would come pick it up, and then proceeded to verify my address. Note I said verify, and not ask for. He said he had googled my name and found my address. Yes, indeed, I freaked. He ended up not being able to buy the furniture, and for about a month I was worried I would be robbed by this guy. After that, I set up a fake email address with a fake name that I used.

I mourn for what was.

Yes, the world (and the internet) can be a scary place. And yes, people can take advantage of you. But if people would just use some common sense, the worst would rarely occur. And if people would stop taking advantage of other people’s trust and honesty, the worst would never occur. (I know, I live in a dream world.)  Craigslist has been the misused over the last few years, used as an aid to help people commit unspeakable crimes.  But it’s not a problem with Craigslist.  It’s a problem with sick people.  Sick people will do sick things, using any means they have available to them.  An online dating website.  A classified ad in a newspaper.  A drive past a person’s house. 

So forget blaming the website, or the people who run it.  Arm yourself with common sense.

Child survivors of the Holocaust

I found this over on metafilter and wanted to share. 

This website is trying to help more than 70 child survivors of Holocaust find information about their past.   

(sidenote – is it “The Holocaust” or just “Holocaust”?  I guess you don’t say, “It happened in the WWII”…)