Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Top Ten Lists Begin

Don't you just love the end of the year when everyone comes up with a different Top Ten list about the year? Some of them are comical, others are spot on. Here are a sampling of those lists.

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us."

Lauren Upton, the South Carolina contestant in the Miss Teen America contest, when asked why one-fifth of Americans cannot find the U.S on a map

Go here to read the entire Top Ten Quotes of the Year.

h/t to Towleroad

Want to know the Top Ten folks who fell from grace this past year? By grace, I don't mean God's grace but our national graces. Think Don Imus and them steroidal athletes. Go here to watch a Yahoo video on it.

Here are a scattering of more lists.
1. The Top Ten stories you missed this past year.
2. The Top Ten under-reported stories this past year.
3. The Top Ten list of ways the Federal Government enslaves you.
4. The Top Ten most dangerous college courses.
5. The Top Ten book recommendations for the year.
6. The Top Ten advances in Science over the past 50 years.
7. The Top Ten fastest cars in the world.
8. The Top Ten worst logos for the year. This one is hilarious.
9. The Top Ten stupid criminals of 2007.
10. The Top Ten most anticipated movie trailers for the next 12 months.

Morning Wrap Up

I have been reading several posts this morning and figured I'd share a few of what I've read.

Here are some "secrets" about men that is both an enjoyable read and so true. To me, this cuts across orientations. Go here to read about the Don't-Tell-the-Wife Secrets.

What is the most expensive drink you can order at Starbucks? One man found out when he received a coupon to get any drink he wanted. But to get the most expensive drink with the most 'add-on's, he had to be tricky. Go here to read that post. It is actually pretty funny.

Lifehacker has a collection of the most popular free webApps. I went through this list and downloaded a great .pdf reader that loads in like, one second. Funny thing though, I have most of what is on the list already. Check out the list and download what you want.

If you live in a place where you get a lot of freezing rain and ice, here is a homemade de-icer recipe you can use on your car windshields.

Here is a kick-butt video clip from a surveillance camera showing a woman defending herself from a purse-snatcher.

Archbishop Rowan Williams says the Nativity story is simply a 'legend'. Go here to read the post and most importantly, read the comments sections of this post.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why Nice Guys Finish Last ...

... because they are creepy and insecure. Well, at least this is the rationale behind a particularly well-written post from a woman who thinks nice guys are losers.

I have always thought of myself as " a nice guy". It is for that reason I found this post interesting. While I didn't read much of myself in it, I did find some things worth contemplating and re-evaluating.

There are particular days when I want to recapture a sense of self-worth by opening up a can of redneck and yell nasty colloquialisms at those who really tick me off. What other ways are there to capture (or recapture) one's sense of self and well-being?

Seriously though, we all need to face the reality that when it comes to love and other relationships, we must love ourselves first before we can expect to love others in a way that honors them. Otherwise, we'll meet the wrong persons who'll abuse us and we'll never find the intimacy and respect we deserve.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Melting Pot of America

One of the reasons I enjoyed living in New York City for 10 years was the fact that it truly represents the idea of a melting pot, where different cultures, races, peoples live, work, and play together in some kind of harmony. Anyone who has friends usually has one of each nationality as well as from different nations. Being and living in such an environment truly makes one feel metropolitan and ultra cool.

So it is so unfortunate when you hear of the reality that not everyone thinks NYC's melting pot is such a good idea. I found this video about a couple of Jewish kids being attacked by Christians yelling, "You killed Jesus!" Fortunately a man from a different faith stepped in and may have prevented a disaster. Unfortunately for him, he got the beat up too.


Midweek Wanderings

If you have a few minutes to spare and enjoy reading other people's comments (calling all blogreaders) then here is a fun site where readers of Craigslist nominate their favorite posts on the site. It is called 'best-of-craigslist" and I find myself there often. Having the juvenile humor that I do, I usually laugh at the inappropriate stuff. But you can find a lot of surprisingly funny stuff.

A guy writes to Amazon's customer service about not winning a chance to purchase a $1000 laptop for $299. He writes a humorous email, not intending to be mean but instead playful. As a result, he gets a playful response.

Remember the playgrounds of your youth? Before the "safe" playgrounds of post-sued schools and parks, there were junglegyms, slides, and monkey bars. A poster writes about his favorite playgrounds and finds that nothing lasts forever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Event

A new movie is coming out shortly about a gay man who dies of AIDS and the story about his life as it unfolds to the people who surrounded him. It stars Olympia Dukakis and from this preview, it looks like it'll be a tear-jerker.

Huckabee's Viewpoint

This past week, I've read where former Southern Baptist preacher and Governor of Arkansas and now a Presidential contender made the following statement about AIDS in 1992:

"It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents," he said then.

I've been reading the various posts around the Internet and am rather shocked that I have not read one post about what troubles me with his statement. I am most concerned with his belief that the AIDS virus, to him, is a "genuine plague". When one things of plagues, images from Israel's slavery by the Egyptians in the book of Exodus and Charleton Heston's performance in the Ten Commandments. Plagues. Locusts, water turning to blood, the firstborn child in a family dies. Plagues. That which God delivers upon humanity as either punishment or something that is meant to "wake them up" or simply to reveal who God is to those who do not know.

Sure, there are other plagues that have existed since the notorious ones in the Old Testament. We've had the Bubonic Plague. We've also had mass illness of the colds and flus that has wiped about hundreds of thousands of people. And, to get technical, the definition of a plague is a virus spread by rodents. But no one believes that AIDS is caused by wayward rats--no, the image of a plague is "God induced" and it's to this allusion that causes me concern.

In Huckabee's mind, AIDS is (and continues to be) a plague. That "continues to be" part is evident in his refusal to backdown from his 1992 confession. He still believes those who had AIDS should have been quarantined, isolated, moved from here and put over there (lest a person would actually have to look at someone dying). He believed and believes that instead of allowing those with AIDS to confront medical and religious establishments and demand action and accountability, that they should have been treated as a medical crisis and be damned with who those who actually contracted the disease.

Today he still isn't sorry for making that statement; instead he hides behind his historical revisionist memory that at that time, no one knew anything about the disease. When in fact, by 1992 the medical establishment knew quite well what it was and what it did and how it was spread. Instead of simply apologizing for making such a discriminatory statement masked in the guise of religion, he actually continues to believe he said nothing wrong. Does this mean he thinks AIDS patients should continue to be quarantined today? Does this mean AIDS continues to be God's plague upon gay men?

Without going into an argument that challenges the notions of who gets the disease and who doesn't, and without articulating a religious notion that God gives diseases to men and women as a sign of punishment and retribution, one has to wonder how a nation could elect a President who views diseases as God's punishment. But you know, he probably doesn't think that heart disease is God's punishment on those who have poor diatary practices. He probably doesn't think that certain cancers are God's punishment for smoking and sexual promiscuity (although he might!). His rhetoric may be popular among the fundamentalist Christians who think that the feminist movement is really about making young women into witches and lesbians (as the late Pat Robertson suggested). Is that the camp he wants to be in? Will the next storm in Florida or the ice storm in Oklahoma represent God's displeasure at the porn shops along I-35?

When a President is less concerned about the real issues that affect and cause harm and more about religious doomsayers, then he or she cannot offer a solution that actually addresses a workable solution. This is one danger of scapegoating someone whereas the problem is not addressed and solutions get presented that fail to confront the real problem. If you think AIDS is God's punishment on the homosexual, will you be less inclined to search for a cure? Will you create measures and policy that offers a way that other homosexuals from getting the disease? Or, will you preach on a stump that contracting AIDS is what sinners deserve?

One of President Reagan's biggest criticisms during the beginning of the AIDS crisis has been interpreted to say if he hadn't thought this was only a "gay disease" then more would have been done sooner to protect others from contracting it. When AIDS was first diagnosed, you can understand why the many AIDS activists challenged the original name for the disease: GRID: Gay-related Immunodeficiency Disease. When a person realizes this isn't just a gay disease, then you move outside of your stereotypes and into an arena of better solutions. It is believed that Reagan thought this was only a gay problem and he didn't need to get involved. As a result, the disease spread.

Huckabee and others might argue that the best solution to this problem should have been quarantine, but others know that the disease laid dormant for years and years before the first person died of it. Those who do know better appear to pander to those who scapegoat for their particular political issues and religious messages of God's condemnation--and as a result, don't do a damn thing while the disease spreads.

I believe Huckabee's continued position on AIDS and its care demonstrates that he cannot be trusted in the future to tackle and handle new crises and dangers to America without believing that the next catastrophe will be God's punishment upon a sinful America. We might have worried that Ted Haggard had George Bush's ear--how scarier would it be if the Rev. Fred Phelps has Huckabee's ear!?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day, December 1, 2007

In 2007, you'd be surprised how much some people do not know about HIV/AIDS. If this is you, take time out of your day and read up on what it is, what it does, and how folks are trying to help those who have it and prevent others from getting it.

Go here to begin your journey.