Sunday, November 30, 2008

The War Against Advertising

Well, there's one good thing about the current "recession" that I definitely did not see coming. It is making it easier to spot morons and softheads around the holiday shopping season. How can a recession provide such a needed public service, you ask? Well, unfortunately, finding out who the morons are can only occur when they act in a way that only morons can. That is to say, moronic, as it were. And once you know who the idiots are, you'd think you'd feel pretty good about knowing who to avoid having a conversation with and/or who to avoid just in general. But it's really kind of a depressing feeling as you attempt to grapple with being the only non-moron with some common sense who is surrounded by a sea of idiots.

Because of the "recession", parents are finding themselves needing to cut back on the amount of money that they spend on holiday gifts this year. (I use quotes because if I can't find a parking space at the mall, I question the presence of a "recession". Aren't people supposed to be saving their money during a "recession"? If so, then how come I can't find a place to park because everyone else is at the mall spending their money? So until I can find a place to park in under 5 minutes, the quotes stay.) Using the basic principles of economics (and basic math) you'll realize that when you spend less money on gifts, you tend to end up buying not as many gifts as you would if you had spent more money. That is when using the basic principle of "Because I said so" or its sister principle "Just because" should be applied to any discussion a parent feels the need to have with their child about why they may not be getting as many Christmas presents this year as they have in previous years. But those two principles have been inexplicably lost somehow, somewhere. And parents are looking for a new way to cope with this "tragic" situation.

At least 1,400 members of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have come up with this method of dealing with not having as much money to spend on Christmas gifts for their children: According to those over there at the AP "They have have contacted 24 leading toy companies and retailers to express concern about ads aimed at kids." Wait. What?

Correct. These softheads are asking toy companies to please stop directing their television commercials at their children because then their children want all of the toys that they see advertised and these weak, weak parents won't be able to buy them everything that they want. Uh-huh. And? Oh, wait. Is that a problem? I'm sorry, I misunderstood, being as how I grew up not getting everything I wanted, Christmas time or not, and not being entitled to an explanation as to why. It's just how it was. You never got everything you wanted. Ever. Yeah, instead I was taught how to be appreciative and thankful for any gift that someone was taking the time and effort to give me. How misguided was my childhood, eh?

Are these people out of their freaking minds?! They're actually SO worried that they won't be able to afford every single toy that their child sees an ad for that they're willing to write letters to the toy companies and ask them to stop running all of their toy advertisements? What Utopian planet did these folks beam down from? They better get a head start on their letter writing campaign to all forms of media for when their young children become teenagers, as that's when they're really going to start wanting everything that they see AND, from how this seems to be going, expecting to get it.

Let's take a gander at one letter that one softheaded parents wrote, shall we? A one Todd Helmkamp, a resident of Hudson, IN, penned this charming request: "Unfortunately, I will not be able to purchase many of the toys that my sons have asked for; we simply don't have the money. By bombarding them with advertisements ... you are placing parents like me in the unenviable position of having to tell our children that we can't afford the toys you promote." Um, WTF is that?

The "unenviable position of having to tell our children that we can't afford the toys you promote"? You mean "being a parent and having to tell your kid NO on occasion"? The horror that a parent should be placed in a position of not giving their child everything that they want. I cannot believe this actually happens in this day and age and right here in the United States, too! (Please try not to get any of the sarcasm that was oozing off of that last sentence on you. It's hard to get off.)

Apparently, this attitude is fostered in part by other softheads who enable the moronic and greatly misguided. Take one Amanda Almodovar who is a social worker in Alamance County, NC. She says that "...she encounters such families in her work as an elementary school social worker where homelessness and unemployment are rising." OK, so where does the enabling come in? Right about when she says "I had one parent who said she'd prostitute herself to get what her child wants. It's heartbreaking. They feel inadequate as parents." Um, am I supposed to feel sorry for you that you because you're willing to whore yourself out so that you don't have to tell your kid no? Look, if you want to be a hooker for whatever reason you can come up with, knock yourself out. Aim high! Become a paid whore! That will be a great story to tell your child someday, won't it? ("And remember the Christmas of 2008? I had to turn tricks on a cot in the garage just so that we could afford that Nintendo Wii for you that year. I wasn't thrilled about being a whore-Mom, but it was better than telling you 'no.' " Aahh...just like the tales of childhood that I remember!)

She continued along those same lines with "I try to tell them, worry about your home, your heating bill — but they're the ones who have to look into children's faces, the children saying 'I want this, I want that.' " Um, yes, yes they are the ones who have to look into their children's faces. That's because they're their children! And children, regardless as to whose they are, tend to want everything that looks cool. But these people are so against telling their children 'no' or not giving their children everything that they want that they are willing to whore themselves out like a cheap hooker out turning tricks for crack money. Don't portray that as "heartbreaking". Portray it for what it is. Misguided. Enabling. Entitlement. And really effing stupid.

Meanwhile, over in Columbus, OH, a one Erin Beth Dower Charron (seriously?) In Columbus, Ohio, Erin Beth Dower Charron "...has been trying to brace her 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter for more subdued gift-getting this year as the family begins financial belt-tightening. 'My 8-year-old is still holding out hope that Santa will get her that one special gift, but understanding this year may be different. My son doesn't understand. Everything he sees, he wants. Toy ads on kids' TV shows make the process harder. The onslaught seems to be more intense this year.' "

You're trying to "brace your children" for what exactly? Getting anything instead of nothing? No, it doesn't sound like that. It sounds like you're trying to "brace them" that they will not be getting everything that they want and that it's perfectly fine that they're not happy that they won't get their way. But see, that interpretation is coming from someone who wouldn't be having a conversation like that with a 4-year old because, well, how do I put this? Oh, yeah. Because they're FOUR!

But here's the kicker! The director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and one Susan Linn who is a psychologist who would seem to have a rather idealistic and Utopian view of these sorts of "dilemmas." She has said that she doesn't "...expect toy companies to stop advertising." (Well, that's good, because they're not going to. Finally! Some realistic and rational thinking!) "...rather, she want the ads directed at parents." (Never mind. I take it back. Realistic and rational just left the building. We're back to moronic again.) She claims that "It's cruel to dangle irresistible ads for toys and electronics in front of kids — encouraging them to nag for gifts that their parents can't afford. It's just not fair." I think my head just exploded.

It's not fair?? The person who uttered that statement is a psychologist?! Did she study at the College of "Am Not! and Are So!"? Did she major in "I know you are, but what am I?" What was the topic of her thesis? "Takes one to know one?" FAIR?! It's called advertising. If you really want to teach those kids who think that they should have everything about "fair", what say you take them someplace where the kids aren't worried about not getting everything, but are instead worried about not getting anything? How "fair" is that? Not very.

So just the very act of a child watching an ad for a toy that they may or may not want is now considered to be "encouragement" to "nag" their parents for something that the parents can obviously not afford? First of all, children don't "nag", they whine. (Are we sure she's a psychologist? You think she would know that.) Second, how is the mere act of a commercial a form of the encouragement of anything other than to purchase the product? That's kind of the basis of the commercial in and of itself. You know, to encourage consumers to buy a product. (It sounds crazy, I know! But I've come to accept it and you'll have to also! Commercials want you to buy something! And I'm still a little surprised whenever I hear that. You know, because it's so shocking.)

But really, I want to know how exactly the toy companies are supposed to gear their toy ads toward the parents instead of the children. How would that work? It's not like the kid won't SEE the toy on the screen. It's not like the kid won't HEAR the words spoken in the ad. Would each commercial have a warning before it aired? "Parents! We're about to show you a really cool T-O-Y, but we can't talk about it in front of the K-I-D-S. Please clear the room so we can tell you, the adult, about our great T-O-Y now!" What do they want?! I don't get it. And neither do they, obviously.

What have we learned? More than we wanted to. Here are the basics: There are people out there who want to give their children everything that the child wants. Those same people apparently want to make sure that those same children never experience disappointment and thus, never learn how to deal with it. Those same people do not seem to place value upon the concept of the bigger meaning behind the giving and receiving gifts. Those people are also known as morons. You can tell because they're also committed to writing letters to toy companies and asking them to stop being unfair to their precious little snowflakes by running ads for toys directed at the children.

We also learned that some people are willing to whore themselves out and become a hooker so that they will not have to find themselves in the "unenviable position" of having to tell their child "no" on occasion (and that's not just the position that they'll be in if they become a whore in the first place, which will definitely be an "unenviable" one that is also going to be "uncomfortable" at times as well). That is a phenomenon otherwise known as "being a parent", something that most of these people seem to be unfamiliar with.

When I read articles like the one cited here, I always wonder why someone didn't ask these people (you know, like the lady who is willing to become 'hooker-ific') what they thought about teaching their children about the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of gift giving? Why weren't they asked why they are raising their children to focus on the materialistic aspect of things? (Don't get me wrong, getting gifts is awesome, but giving gifts is more awesome in a lot of ways. ) And why no one was asked what makes them think that giving a kid everything that they want is a good thing. It's not. And it has nothing to do with being "fair".

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shoes Speak Louder Than Words

Ashley Dupre (pronounced, for no other reason than that's how she chose to say it, as Do-PRAY), is someone you may be familiar with, even if you don't recognize the name right away. She was the "escort" that "escorted" former New York City Governor Idiot Eliot Spitzer. Yep, that's her. Eliot Spitzer's whore. (Which would be a fabulous name for a band, don't you think? Eliot Spitzer's Whore. I like it. Now I just need a band.)

She prefers the term "escort" (and if you're a whore, wouldn't you prefer to be called just about anything but "whore"?) as opposed to "prostitute", but she seems to be in her own little world most of the time, so don't be surprised if her next self-appointed title is "rocket scientist". Whatever you call her, someone over there at ABC seems to think that people are interested in what she has to say. They seem to be putting a spin on Spitzer being caught frequenting hookers as her "bringing him down". (Now, I'm sure that someone "went down" in that relationship, but I'm thinking it was her, if you know what I mean. If you don't, it's OK. You will someday. Maybe. If it seems to be taking too long, you can always get a whore to show you.) And it was under that pretense that Diane Sawyer felt the need to interview her for half an hour! What can a hooker talk about for half an hour?! Or, at least, what can a hooker talk to Diane Sawyer about for half an hour that would make people want to listen to her? Not a lot, yet the interview went ahead.

Several things about this interview annoyed me. The first of which is Diane Sawyer and her "poor, innocent person stricken by unavoidable tragedy" voice. Why is she speaking to her like something awful has happened? Granted, being a hooker isn't the best career move for most and I can only imagine that it would, in fact, be awful. But when it's the kind of awful that's your own doing, do you still rate the "we're so sorry this happened to you" voice? I don't think you do. I think you give up being talked to with that voice when you make the decision, of your own free will, to become a hooker. It might be tragic, but it certainly is not unavoidable. You can not be a hooker. It's possible. Look at me! Look at you! Right now. Both of us! NOT being hookers!

(Side note: Diane Sawyer needs to either darken her hair color or spend some time in Sarah Palin's tanning bed. She's blending all together there. You can't see where her face starts and where her hairline ends.)

Next was the chosen attire of a one Ashley Dupre (aka ESW. Eliot Spitzer's Whore.). She looked like she raided the closets at the FLDS ranch. Diane Sawyer had more skin showing than the hooker did! :::shudder::: Are we supposed to be convinced that she's really a very demure, very conservative, very prudish, very non-sexual woman in that get up? Very not-hooker-ific? Because had we all not known that she was ESW, it might have worked. But if that were the case, how would it be explained that she was giving an interview with Diane Sawyer about prostitution? Exactly. It wouldn't. So what's with the outfit there, Ashley?

ESW claims that she didn't know that Spitzer was the Governor. She said he "looked familiar". (Probably because he was the Governor, don't you think?) She also said that when she watched his press conference (where he gave the I-have-been-busted-doing-something-really-stupid-and-I-must-now-stand-here-with-my-stupid-wife-at-my-side-and-try-to-apologize-and-sound-like-I-mean-it speech) that she felt "connected" to his wife, Silda. (Silda? Um, pretty.) She said she didn't feel connected to him. Both clear indications that, for a hooker, it would seem as if she was doing it all wrong!

ESW said that she could feel his wife's pain, the pain that she saw in her eyes. But she was making it sound as if she had no idea, NO idea, that the men that she was "escorting" might, just might, have had a wife, a girlfriend, a female in their life that was not a hooker. She acted as if this was the first time that she was inclined to think that these men might, just might, be cheating on someone else. I'm sure she was shocked, just shocked, at this startling reality. Whatever. (You might notice that her title isn't "Eliot Spitzer's Really Good At Lying Whore.")

Come on, anyone who watched this when it aired (it doesn't count if you're watching it online after the fact, like I am) was watching it for one reason and one reason only and it wasn't to hear about ESW talk about her feelings. They were watching for some down and dirty details of how the Governor liked it. They wanted the kinky, they wanted the dirty. They didn't want the details of ESW's childhood memories. They wanted the details of ESW's "escorting" the Governor into all sorts of different positions; that's what they wanted! And is that surprising? No! Of course not! It's like I said earlier, why else are you going to listen to a whore?

What I got out of this whole "interview" was this: If you're going to be a hooker, you're going to have some thinking patterns that are just not quite right. You're going to have to come up with ways to justify this to yourself (and others, should you be involved in a public scandal that involves a state's highest elected official). ESW's methods of justification were...well...let's just say that it's a good thing she was partial to what she was doing, otherwise she would have told herself that she's full of crap. For example, her justification for "continuing her career" as ESW was "I really didn't see the difference between going on a date with someone in New York, taking you to dinner and expecting something in return. I really thought it was more of a trade-off. He's expecting something in return when you date, whereas, you know, being an escort, it was a formal transaction." Huh. Um, you know, you don't have to go out with a different guy every week. You don't have to have sex with your date after dinner. You could just go out with someone, not because they're a guy, but because you like them and because they like you as someone who is not a whore.

The overly whitened teeth are so obviously over whitened, they would glow purple if she opened her mouth in a room with a black light. (That's what happened to Ross on that one episode of 'Friends'.) See, that's the thing. No, not just the teeth. Everything is fake. Everything is pretend. And it's all being passed off as not only the truth, but as journalism and reporting! And in reality, it doesn't appear to be any of those. It's just a hooker and some broad asking questions, really.

I know she wants to come across as being honest (because, really, who wants to come across as a liar?), but she's just not all that convincing. It just seems like she's trying too hard. (Trust me. If you've ever met a person who is genuine, they speak and act in an effortless manner because they're real and because they're being honest. It's hard to explain, but you can just tell. Sadly, however, it's a rare trait that most people don't possess. But if you ever meet a truly genuine human being, consider yourself lucky because you're in for quite a treat. It's awesome. And so are they.) Things just don't add up.

From what she says to what she wears, it just strikes me as someone who, once again, is just blowing something, but this time it's all hot air instead of the Governor. Look, here she is when she did the interview with Diane Sawyer:

And here she is in the interview she did with People Magazine about a week before her little sit down with Diane:

Uh-huh. Well, there are some subtle differences between the two outfits, wouldn't you say?

Aside from that (and as long as I'm bagging on the choice of attire), there are her shoes. She's wearing this purple, long sleeve, polygamist-sect-wife-inspired dress o' chastity and yet on her feet are stiletto heels. Very stiletto. Look at those shoes:

I'm not a stiletto expert (oh, who am I kidding? Of course I am! I'm just not an expert about stilettos on me.), but those are easily four inch heels. Possibly five. And there's a name for heels like those. "F-Me Pumps" I believe is the slang term for them. And ironically, "F-Me Pumps" is the official name for them as well.

Her dress says "No", but her shoes say "Yes, baby, yes." That's it. I don't believe her. She's lying. She's just whoring herself out, this time to Diane Sawyer, to make a quick buck. (How much did she get paid for this anyway, I wonder?) It's all fake. She's just trying to make herself look good. And while she does look good and she might think that she's able to convince other people that she's no longer ESW, she's going to have to spend a little bit more time trying to convince herself that she's not ESW anymore either.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Japan's LIST - Little Insulting Stupid Toys

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, here's to hoping that you had a good Thursday. Now, onto Japan! (That is possibly the worst segway ever.) It seems that in Japan, a great deal of people who are under 25 have taken to a way of expressing themselves that involves yellow cards printed with "acronyms". The cards are produced by one of the top toy companies in Japan and are becoming quite popular with the under-25 crowd and are causing what will likely been seen as unnecessary concern and worry among the over-25 crowd, according to the Times Online.

(I've placed "acronyms" in quotes because what the Japanese are calling an "acronym" I am simply calling "initials" because the majority contain only two letters. I think of acronyms as needing to have at least three letters. Some (like the US Government) prefer their acronyms to have many letters. Then again, the US Government prefers just about everything that they do to have a catchy little acronym. Everything.) And really, I'm being kind of lenient by just going with "initials", as a more accurate title for them could be "stupid". Or "ridiculous". Or "trendy and inane".)

According to those Times Online folks, Japan is " longer the land of harmony and politeness but a grim new world of acrimony by acronym." (Ooohh...grimness and acrimony. Sounds sinister.) The example that is given of "acrimony by acronym" is "She thinks he's too bloody KY by far, and he's sick to death of being treated like an NTT - and if things get much more MM, he's going to MK5 and she's going to jolly well flounce off to HR. " Uh-huh. I see. Well, allow me to provide an acronym of my own to express my opinion of that. WTF?

Some toy company has produced these acronym cards. (Oh, great. Cards. The Japanese love things with cads. That's the only explanation as to why we're still stuck with that damn Pokemon thing!) "...46 of the most common new acronyms have been published as a series of “yellow cards” to be waved in the faces of victims." Are they serious? If those are the basics of this "acrimony by acronym", then the Japanese have a lot to learn about expressing their opinions to others. For starters, you don't need a card! I don't care what color it is! What? They can't insult people or tell them what they think in the form of an acronym without a card? Sure you can! Try driving on a California freeway during rush hour. We simply use hand gestures instead of cards to express one of the more colorful acronyms: "FU".

And they wave the card in the other person's face? That's OK? But just telling someone you think they're a jerk is not? It's like some testy (and psychotic) soccer referee always waving the yellow card in your face. And that's not necessary, is it? I don't think it is. What is it that is so difficult for them to come out and just say that they need to do so with some "Insulting Flash Cards"?

Well, let's look at the above example. There's the "bloody KY" (I'm refraining from any sort of product-genre joke here. And there are plenty that come to mind, but I think all of them would be in extremely poor taste, even for me.), which sounds as if they're trying to infuse a bit of British lingo into their insults. KY stands for "kuki yomenai" and it would seem to mean "clueless". "NTT" stand for "nimotsu tantosha" and the example of that meaning that is given is "He is furious because as an NTT, he has had to lug her bags round the shops like a packhorse." So....husband? MM stands for "maji mukatsu" and means "they are both utterly disgusted with each other." (Huh. So, maybe I was right about the husband part if this is how they both feel! Sounds about right.) MK5 means "maji kireru 5 byo mae." (Since when do word definitions contain numbers? Was there a rule change I wasn't informed about?) It "...suggests that he is going to blow his lid in five seconds." (Why 5 seconds is what I want to know? If he ponders all of the lid blowing, does it become MK10?) And if that happens and "she's going to jolly well flounce off to HR" (See? Again with the British!), then you should know that HR stands for "hitori ranchi", which means she's going to show him by "going off to eat on her own!" Good Lord....

Another example of how this seems to be occurring is if "...someone hogs the stage at karaoke, he might suddenly find himself confronted by a flurry of cards bearing the letters “MB” - maiku ga betobeto, or “sticky microphone”. Huh. Again, and I know it's a cultural thing, but "sticky microphone" could have an entirely different meaning here in the US. Yellow card or not (probably not). But a flurry? I realize the Japanese take their karaoke seriously, but enough to flurry with the yellow cards and all? I had no idea. (And I liked it better that way!)

The concern is (apparently) because the acceptance of the acronym usage as a medium for insulting others or expressing anger seems to have "...made it socially acceptable for Japanese to speak their minds and, disturbingly, uncorked a latent need to insult." Not just to insult, but to insult with brightly colored yellow cards nonetheless!

I will give them this: Some of their acronyms are hilarious, thus, they kind of make you wonder how many have been keeping a lid on their anger for how long. Especially when it's directed specifically at one target. The article surmises that "Perhaps most dreadful of all would be the husband hearing himself called an ATM by his wife - “ahona teishu mo iranai”, or “the idiot man I don't need in my life anymore." (I was thinking that most men already feel like an ATM for their wife, but I was thinking in terms of money, not idiots.) The most dreadful, eh? Once again, the glaring differences between the US culture and the Japanese culture are distinctly illustrated!

Want more examples?! Good! Behold! Japanese acronyms which stand for insults that they would rather convey to you via yellow card than just to cowboy up and say something! Behold!

  • AB: Amai mono wa betsubara - The kind of woman who has a separate stomach for puddings (What the heck does that mean? Like a cow has five stomachs? Japanese women have a separate stomach for pudding? I like pudding, but I don't want another stomach for it.)

  • GM: Gyudon no hou ga mashi - Even gyudon (very cheap fast food) is better than this muck (Yeah, that's going to go over real well at the dinner table when you whip out your cute little card and flip it at the person responsible for the "muck". Sure. Let me know how that turns out.)

  • FK: Fande koi - Someone who trowels on the make-up (Huh. So FK in this weird Japanese card lingo means "whore". Interesting.)

  • ND: Ningen to shite douyo - What the hell kind of person is this? (The exact question I'm asking about whoever it was that came up with this "system" of venting. That's all it is, you know? It's just venting! You don't need to pay money for a card to vent! Sorry, Hallmark.)

  • OBM: Okubyoumono - A man too chicken to ask a girl on a date (They don't have a card for this? That's an untapped market right there. Oooohh...yeah, pun intended.)

  • DD: Daredemo daisuki - The kind of person who falls for anyone (See above.)

  • NS: Noryoku yori seikaku - Someone promoted way beyond his competence (And after Barack Obama is sworn in, the United States' own NS will finally be out of office.)

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Building Moral Sexual Attitudes

Good news, bad news! The good news is that the annual Sex Festival in Guangzhou (which kinda sound like some sort of VD) opened again! The bad news is that is now costs three times as much as it did in 2006. So if you're going to be all sex-fest-ing it up, it will now cost you a whopping $4.50. Hey, that's 30 yuan if you're using yuan! In 2006, that means it was only 10 yuan or...wait. A buck fifty? What kind of a sex festival only charges a buck fifty?

The article over at China Daily gives us a hint or two about that. It says that some of the "activities" that are featured this year are "talks on birth control such as condoms to sex toys, a photo show on sexual health and eugenics, forums on sexology, quizzes and lingerie shows." That doesn't sound very festival-y to me. It sounds like a college course almost.

Now, before the festival, they prepared ("they" being the festival preparers) by having "sexologists gave a series of lectures to middle school and college students, as well as migrant workers. The goal was to improve sexual knowledge and awareness of safe sex, said Zhang Feng, chief of the Guangdong Provincial Commission of Population and Birth Control." That's a diverse target audience there. From middle school children to migrant workers. That pretty much covers it!

Apparently Guangdong (again, such an appropriate name for a place to have a sex festival) has the most migrant workers in China. There are approximately 30 million of them. (That's a lot of migrants, indeed!) So of course, in order to do a study, the sexologists decided that if they survey only 65 of the 30 million migrants they'll have taken a fair enough sample to generalize the entire 30 million migrants from those select 65. Apparently, they're not real big on diversity in China.

From their 65-Migrant Study, they found that 45 of them who were unmarried had premarital sex. They also found that the migrants change partners more frequently than the "local urbanites". Well, of course they do! That's their name. They're migrants. They migrate. It's in their name, what do you expect?

They didn't say what they expected, but they did conclude "Migrants showed greater tolerance toward sex and were more liberal with sex partners." How much "tolerance toward sex" does one really need? Are the sexually intolerant non-migrant folks abundant in China? I didn't know that you had to be "tolerant" of sex. I don't usually think of it as something to be "tolerated". Welcomed, sure! Tolerated? Not usually. (Usually, it's not the "tolerance" that's the issue so much as it is the "availability".) They also stated that the promiscuity among the migrants (yes, those 45 slutty migrants) had "caused sexual and reproduction problems" and that it "was endangering the reproductive health of this group of people." When asked to elaborate on those statements, the individual declined. Thanks for that. Real informative.

Back to the middle schoolers for a moment. Apparently, "the city's Family Planning Commission advised parents to include condoms in their 12-15-year-old kids' schoolbag to prevent unwanted pregnancy and other consequences." Um, what? A condom in their schoolbag?! What would be the "other consequences" they're hoping to prevent?! Learning something instead of having sex (with the condom that was packed in your lunch next to a sandwich and a bag of chips)?! If you're putting a condom in your kid's schoolbag, are you thinking they're going to be having sex at school? That's where they're going! It's right there in the name of the bag! Are they enrolled in Underage Fornication 101! That is not a good idea, contrary to what the Festival folks claim is a method to "promote civilized concepts of sex." I don't know when 12-15 year olds having sex was accepted as a "civilized concept", but I'll pass on civility if that's what it includes. Thanks anyway.

The fourth sex festival that they held had the theme "building moral sexual attitudes". And that seems like a worthwhile theme or cause to have for something. But then I saw pictures of some of the activities that they had that year and they looked like this:

Um, I'm not so sure that my definition of a "moral sexual attitude" is the same as theirs over there. I mean, that's not what I pictured a wall full of "moral sexual attitude" to look like at all. Not even close. And I'm not so sure that the guys below knew what they were in for when they planned their little excursion to the festival. Or, at the very least, were surprised at the seemingly new and improved definition of "moral sexual attitude". (They also seem like they would be very "tolerant" of the "moral sexual attitude" that is on display.)

The women below who are promoting the "moral sexual attitude" seem to have misplaced the ass portion of their "moral sexual outfits." It doesn't appear, however, that anyone seems to mind.

But what is with this poster that seems to be about HIV?? Seriously? It that his ass?? Yes, yes, I believe it is! That guy in the photo is so surprised, he's calling people to tell them! "No, I'm not kidding! It's his ass! His ass, I tell you!" Come on, China!

One of the festival organizers was quoted as saying, "China has a totally different attitude towards sex from many countries. We should not only promote a bold, open attitude, as in Western countries, but also preserve healthy, traditional views on sex." OK, then. You guys let us know when you get to those "healthy traditional preservative views". Can't wait to see your interpretation of those!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! And to those of you not celebrating Thanksgiving today, Happy Thursday!

This may come as somewhat of a shock to some, but yes, even someone as cynical and as sarcastic as I can be on occasion (translation: with every living breath) can actually acknowledge things to be thankful for. And I have plenty of them. I don't know if I constantly think about them year round, but it does occur to me at times other than Thanksgiving that there's plenty to be thankful for.

See, it's coming up on almost eight years since an occurrence that I refer to as The Unfortunate Incident, when a bunch of stoic doctors were predicting that I had about an hour to live. Of course, no one bothered to tell me that. (I'm always the last to know these things.) And almost eight years later, I'm happy to report that, thankfully, they were wrong. (Actually, they probably got the diagnosis right, but just underestimated me is all. Hey, these things happen. No harm, no foul.) While I don't think about it all the time, at this time of year I do tend to think about how thankful I am that I have been able to continue living my life as if nothing ever happened (some minor mangling aside). It's awesome.

So here we go. My thankfulness for this year is that:

  • I'm thankful for my crazy family...even if I don't tell them all that often. (And that trend will likely continue, thankfulness or not.) And if they ever figure out how to use the Internet and find this, then they'll know.

  • I'm thankful for the things that are typically considered "the basics"; a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in. (Basics are good.)

  • I'm thankful that even though I write this blog, that doesn't necessarily make me 'a blogger'. (I prefer "That funny chick who writes stuff.) But more than that, I'm thankful that there are folks out there who actually read what I write and (for the most part) seem to enjoy it. That's awesome. Thanks.

  • I'm thankful for the people I met this year. I don't know how I managed to bump into you guys somehow, but I'm sure glad I did. (Y'all know who you are.)

  • I'm thankful for Guitar Hero (I will deny writing this, should it ever come up in conversation.)

  • And I'm way thankful for my friends for being my friends. You guys are the best.

Right about here is where most of you could stop reading if you wanted, but I hesitate to say that because I need at least one of you to keep on reading. (But besides that, if you stopped reading, you'd miss the most awesome Bloom County strip ever at the bottom.) And yes, it does matter which one of you needs to keep reading.

Dude, I am ridiculously thankful that I met you and even more thankful that I know you. I'm thankful for your friendship and I'm thankful that we're friends (just barely sometimes, but still...). I'm incredibly glad that I've met you. I wouldn't have thought that someone who was kind, real, polite, real polite (that's important, you know), smart, intelligent, kind of funny (but again, not funnier than me), honest, caring, deep, and just fun as hell, actually existed. But you do and I am way thankful for that. (I'll be really thankful when I can stop saying 'thankful'.)

I'm thankful for the time we've spent together and how you've shown me different ways to look at a lot of different things. (Things like polite (or civil) social interactions.) I'm thankful for your reassurance. And I'm most thankful that you seem to like me for me. I just think that's the coolest thing. (I don't know if this even does it all justice, but that's only because it might not be something that can be all that word-ized.) Thank you so much.

Happy Thanksgiving, Dude.

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