Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where's the Seperation...

One of today's big news stories is that Prez-elect Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren to handle the invocation at his inauguration. There is, justifiably, outrage among liberals and particularly GLBT groups that a conservative religious leader who fervently backed Proposition 8 should be given a place of honor at the swearing in of our new leader. To pop in some NYT quotes, this sums up why this is a "bad" dude:

"The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives."

and yet he does seem to have some positive aspects:

"But Mr. Warren has also been one of the most prominent evangelical leaders calling for Christians to expand their agenda and confront global problems like poverty, AIDS, climate change, and genocide in Darfur."

I poked around Warren's website and they do seem to have some non-stereotypical christian right agendas, which is refreshing, but he is, nonetheless, an evangelical preacher. Which brings me to the real question:

WHY is there ANY polarizing religious figure at this event? The basis of the inauguration is a swearing in, by the Chief Justice, of the new president. If there is a peace blessing to be offered or something like that, it should be utterly free of any religious bias or overtones. Yes, the bible has been used in these ceremonies forever, but our "melting pot" nation does not need ANY intolerance up on that podium. I understand that Mr. Obama is appealing to the right, to bring people together, but I don't think this is a good idea. ----

----You know, I hit this point in writing and realized I'm about to launch into an atheist rant...which never fetches wide support and probably needs its own blog. But the CRUX of my feeling is that I don't want attention drawn to INTOLERANCE or RELIGION at this inauguration. I want it to be about progress, growth, change...all that campaign bullshit we are "praying" comes to fruition. I'm disturbed that there's a discussion or even a selection of a preacher to do this. How bout having a rabbi do it? Or an Imam? Or a buddhist? Offer a prayer for a peaceful and productive four years...without the baggage. So, you know what...LAME choice Obama.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Nice Reminder...

Though it's not Friday, so no Storycorps on NPR this morning, I still got a little misty-eyed while listening. There was a very sweet story about a family that buys xmas themed children's books every year and pulls out the box of them every Thanksgiving, reading a few every night to their kids before packing the box away til next year after the holiday. It was a reminder both that not EVERY American is obsessed with the commercialism beaten down our throats during the holiday season, and in a more general sense, how important reading to children is. I'm not going to quote studies or offer hard facts other than to say this story reminded me of my parents reading to me as a kid. We read childrens books when I was younger, but as I got a bit older, we read some young adult books, alternating chapters...I distinctly remember Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series...I think both Dad and I liked those. I actually reread them recently (in honor of the crappy movie being released...boooooo), and thought about how I hope parents still do read with their kids the way my dad did. I fear that parents, along with children, have become impatient, too busy to take 30 minutes for a bedtime ritual not including television. To be honest, the thought of reading kids books over and over to a child almost makes ME cringe, but I think it's too important to neglect. And once I actually HAVE a child, hopefully it won't seem like a chore at all. In the meantime, THANKS DAD! I still read every night before bed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recycle THIS...

I'm done. I'm fed up. It's not happening anymore. I REFUSE to recycle my bottles. I took my recycling to a Ralphs and was told they were only accepting cans that day. What?! That makes no sense to me. So fine...I drive to ANOTHER Ralphs...SAME THING. Cans only. WTF?! They said try back the next day. The next day, at 11:30am...they are closed! And similar situations happen EVERY TIME. Inevitably, if they ARE open, I am stuck behind someone with hundreds of cans/bottles (for some reason, they're often Asian...restaurant owners? dunno). So I'm done. Before moving here, I always thought CA, with it's health food and laid back lifestyle was a mecca of recycling and environmentalism. So WHY is it IMPOSSIBLE to recycle?! I don't even have bins at my apartment building. Growing up in Upstate NY, you could recycle at EVERY grocery store, whenever that store was open. It was automated. Easy. Why can't CA do that?! I shouldn't have to devote hours of my time to turning in $3.00 of bottles. So screw it. I'll leave them somewhere. Or give them to a homeless person. Or throw them out. Because really, it's gotten to the point where I don't care. I just want them gone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Morning glories...

I watch about 10 minutes of GMA in the morning while I dress (yes, ladies, TEN MINUTES AT MOST to look THIS good!), and this morning caught this commercial:

COMMERCIAL LINK

I don't find it offensive really, except that it insults my intelligence. Am I supposed to melt into a puddle of tears because he bought his deaf girlfriend a fancy bracelet? Seriously, they are saying, "wook at da nice bwacelet for da poor widdle deaf wadie." It's disgusting. And exploitative. So actually, I DO find it offensive. You know what, my deaf girlfriend is NOT getting jewelry from Kay's this year. Screw you, Kay's!

Then, the suity dude who does GMA's news shared this video which I had watched on the interweb the other day:

AWESOME VIDEO

Sharks do not attack divers. This shark was not attacking a metal cage with neoprene covered people in it. They don't like eating metal or rubber. They do like eating the tuna in the water or attached to the cage. Mr. Shark here went for the tuna and got stuck in the cage. It was an accident. And stupid GMA guy should not be making allusions to the shark attacking the divers. That's ignorant. You are ignorant, GMA News Dude. Sharks need to be protected, not feared or scorned. And that footage is AWESOME. I would LOVE to have been in that cage. Once in a lifetime experience. Live Free Or Die.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Get Off My Yellow Brick Road...

Okay, I'm writing an industry blog that's been bubbling around my head lately. But first, a disclaimer: I love Australia. It's a beautiful country that I would love to go back to someday. The people I met there and those I know here are lovely. And there are some wonderful film actors from Down Under, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette...but that said...

One can't help but notice the number of new US TV shows headlined by Aussie and British actresses these past two years. Yes, there are actors as well, True Blood's Ryan Kwanten comes to mind, but I'm most disturbed by the number of females filling roles that American actresses could easily be doing. For those who don't know this, it is virtually impossible for an American to work as an actor in Britain or Australia...even in roles AS Americans. However, here, producers have willy nilly to hire anyone from anywhere. Whose fault is it? Most likely, it's SAG's. They are more than happy to increase their numbers and collect a percentage of an Aussie paycheck...but for a union that is supposed to be supporting its members, this seems wrong to me. Shows like Fringe, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Chuck, and the canceled Bionic Woman are all headlined by foreign females and while I wouldn't say any of them are BAD (okay, two of those four I'm not a fan of at all), I could name 10 actresses that I KNOW PERSONALLY who could fill those roles, not to mention the thousands I don't know. So why is there such an explosion of Australians on our TV sets? Honestly, I don't understand. I've been asking around and people say, "they want new talent," which doesn't make sense because we have certainly not exhausted our American talent pool, "they are better actors," which is just bullshit, "they're more attractive," come on...Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
It's not fair. I guess it's not SO surprising that in a time when so many jobs are lost overseas in every industry in America, the entertainment biz is no different. But I want to think our unions actually care about protecting the interests of their current members and their fellow citizens. And while it's mostly "pretty people" that get the import and don't really effect me directly, I genuinely feel for my fellow thespians and wish SAG would step up and support us all. It's not just about money, SAG, it's about the art form we love and want the most opportunities possible to practice in our own country.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ticket To Bitch

First of all, please check out Jen & Abby's new CD: jenandabby.com or on itunes. They are the best!

Secondly, I despise buying tickets for pretty much anything. Let me share my most recent Ticketbastard (master) experience. Today at 9:59am I logged on to buy tickets that went on sale at 10am. The SECOND they became available, I clicked the link, selected to tickets, and was told I had a six minute wait. So I watched the little light circle of waiting and six minutes later, was told there were NO TICKETS AVAILABLE. 10:06am...sold out. I hate ticketmaster, I think they should have lost the Pearl Jam lawsuit from the 90's, though the Supreme Court did find an accurate, if not socially responsible, way to dismiss the suit. Ticketmaster, through their monopoly of every major concert venue in the country, thereby has a monopoly on ticket sales for every major artist and sporting event. That said, they are not the sole problem, and thankfully, their contracts with many of these venues expire soon and can pass on to other, probably equally evil conglomerates, like Live Nation. Large blocks of tickets are sold to secondary vendors and you can then buy them online for grossly inflated prices at ticket broker websites. So effectively, as I found this morning, it is nearly impossible for an actual fan to purchase tickets to an event at market value. You are either screwed with an outrageous ticketmaster fee, I have seen them in excess of $20, or forced to pay, often, hundreds of dollars over the listed price of the tickets. And because ticketmaster has these contracts with the venues, there is no way around them and no way for bands to book appropriately sized venues without using ticketmaster. Monopoly? Clearly.

What can be done about this? Lawsuits failed. There's no other way to secure tickets. Is this an urgent issue like lack of health care or financial crises and such...not really. But it sucks.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bail us all out please...

As AT&T lays of 12,000 workers, has it not yet become apparent that bailing out US auto companies is a bad idea? Where will this bailout money come from? President-elect Obama promised us affordable health care for all Americans. Let's put the $100 billion towards THAT, so laid off workers from ALL industries can afford to take care of their families. Let's use that money to stimulate smaller businesses and promote growth in that sector. So the Japanese build better cars...we lost, let's start over. Chevy, do you really believe in your Volt? Great! Then stop building your other cars and focus there. Many of you know Eliot Spitzer as the NY Governor who got busted with a high priced prostitute. That aside, he is a very bright man and offers some great insight here:

http://slate.com/id/2205995/

Hell, I'd rather see the government take those billions and turn them into trust funds for people losing jobs...let the money go towards them feeding their children while they look for new jobs or save it for their college education. The bailouts will never end...no matter who you bailout, others will follow. Yes, the auto industry is huge and thousands of jobs might be lost...but that's capitalism. That's what we forced down Japan's throat after we won the war...we made our bed, now we lie in it. I could care less that the CEOs did or did not use private planes...that's not the point. They have wasted congress' time twice now with no CLEAR plan for how to successfully use their requested bailouts. I say good riddance.

In related news, as someone who dealt with the possibility of losing health care this year, I feel very strongly that our new president MUST honor his pledge to ensure that all Americans can be insured for a reasonable rate:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/index.php

And have you seen this garbage:

http://www.emaxhealth.com/1/158/27162/united-offer-insurance-against-health-insurance.html

What?! You are going to pay 20% of a premium so that IF you lose insurance, they will give it to you?! Seriously? Seriously?! Obama wants to be transparant and have contact with his supporters online. So drop him an email and thank him for his pledge to reform health care...and then do it again if wheels aren't in motion soon after taking office. We have a Democratic congress, senate, and president...now is the time.