Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Evolution Man by Roy Lewis

Evolution Man or, How I Ate My Father is a book I recently picked up from the paperback picks shelf at my local library. Originally published in 1960, Evolution Man is a dry, Python-esque look at human evolution, if evolution had occurred within one family, and with the willful participation of our human ancestors. (I'm quite sure Jean Auel must have read this book). It's written with old fashioned, no nonsense British sensibility. While no modern reader should view Evolution man as any kind of textbook, it's an interesting fictional take on the story of how we came to be.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

On boycotts, voting with our dollars, and what we're really accomplishing.

As I have have read people's reactions this week to the boycott of Chick Fil A, I've come to the conclusion that some people are so passionate because they have a distorted view of what boycotting a company can actually accomplish. I say "passionate" because I see misapprehensions coming from both sides of the debate. As a long time believer,and practitioner, of voting with one's dollars, I'd like to share my perspective.

I want to start by saying that I wouldn't say I'm boycotting Chick Fil A. If there are any such restaurants in Western Washington, I've never come across one. But even if there were, it would be disingenuous for me to say I was boycotting them, as I NEVER eat at fast food restaurants and have not for years. Yes, I have raised my kids without fast food ( Cue the shock and horror).

I do choose to vote with my dollars, and two companies I have not done any business with in over a decade are Nestle and Wal Mart. You can read about why at Baby Milk Action and WalMart Watch . Obviously, my family's boycott of Nestle and Wal Mart have done nothing to bring down their bottom line. Which brings me to one of the accusations leveled at Chick Fil A boycotters by conservative activists : that they are trying to "run them out of business" because their COO practiced free speech.

Well, yeah, I think a lot of gay rights activists would love that. But it's not realistic. Really, if we as a nation can't agree enough that our workers should earn a living wage and get health benefits to stop shopping at WalMart before they step up to that plate, then citizens are unlikely to drive a company out of business on an issue as divisive as gay marriage.

That isn't to say gay rights advocates should throw in the towel and go for that chicken sandwich. Boycotting a company you disagree with, for any strong reason, is still worth it because it's about how WE, as individuals, feel about where our money goes.We probably had to earn that money, and it makes so sense for us to trade our labour for a message or practice we find offensive. That goes for liberals, conservatives, and those who defy category.

It's also true, as I have seen some conservative activists note, that bringing attention to the issue may cause some people to shop there MORE. It's been said that there's "no bad publicity" and I suspect Chick Fil A will gain new customer's based on Dan Cathey's anti-gay stance.  On the other side of the issue, the only issue of Archie Comics to sell out and go into second printing was The Marriage of Kevin Keller .  Whether this issue boosts, lowers, or does nothing to affect Chick Fil A's bottom line, the people will have spoken, and in the only language American business understands.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: Viral by Leonard Sweet

I'm part of an Online Outreach Ministry group at my church, and some of the members, including myself, have been reading Viral:How Social Networking is Poised to Ignite Revival by Leonard Sweet . Viral looks at the differences between  Googlers  and  Gutenbergers    ; a distinction that frequently but not always refers to people born around 1973- when the mobile phone entered public use- and those born before. I was born on the cusp-  in late 1972- and have chosen the Googler side of that cusp for many years.The relationships I've built online have been a source of great joy and support for me; many of my "real life" relationships with friends and family have been enriched by social media in ways that they never have before.
We are at a time in our society when the differences between these two cultural types can cause discord in general society, in faith life, and in relationships. These differences pose a real threat to The Church; most congregations will tend toward a Gutenberger leadership, with an old guard that fears change and has the power to quash it. The fact is that we live in a swiftly changing world, and we- as both people and the Church- MUST adapt. I feel that this is a valuable book not just for Christians of the Googler culture, but for those who want to understand them (especially the Gutenbergers in their lives!), or those who want a deeper understanding of social media in our world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All is vanity

     Recently, I wrote about wearing makeup . Today, even though I am in the middle of my poorest two months of the year, I went to the store and bought hair dye. Sadly, not the good stuff; the cheap stuff, but which is still better than nothing.
     Tomorrow I have appointments with both my regular doctor and a dietician to see if I can get a step closer to being well. I have grey roots showing. While I'm positive neither health care professional would care, I feel I'm in a position of needing to advocate for myself, and it will be easier for me if I feel my best and strongest. Yes, I am vain enough that covering my grey and looking young makes me feel stronger. Call it my own kind of courage in a bottle ( and it lasts longer than alcohol!) 

     My husband and our two sons got their yearly haircut yesterday. prior to his haircut, the DM complained that he'd been carded buying hard cider. "It's this long hair, makes me look too youthful" I confess I can't wrap my mind around that complaint. On the very rare occasions when I buy alcohol, I make sure to shop at a store where the cashiers DON'T know me, and without my kids, because I'm upset if they DON'T card me.
     Yes, I know I'm buying into a mindset the cosmetics industry wants me to buy into. But it's a fact that I feel more confident when I look young, put on a little make up, and wear something at least put together enough that people don't think I just rolled out of bed. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Be not annoying

I try to teach my kids a lot of things, and one is to not be annoying. To not grow into an annoying adult. I try-TRY_ to do this without harping on every little thing they do and choosing my battles. Part of this is being frank with them because, hey, I hope I have raised kids resilient enough to handle it. I only wish some adults had a clue on some of these.

Number One; don't be smelly . This applies to both daily bathing and NOT using smelly chemical products. Most people don;t like either of those things. If my teenagers have rank armpits mid day, I tell them so and require them to go do something about it.

Number Two; accept when your attempt to bring the funny fails and move on. If you say something you think is funny and no one laughs, it means that what you said isn't funny. Laughing at yourself , then pausing dramatically, will not get you sincere laughter.

Number Three; Never be rude to your waiter ( or barista, or any of those). These are the  people who are bringing you something you supposedly plan to EAT. Do you want them spitting on it? If you have a real gripe, wait until you're done eating. If you complain before that, I don't want to hear about the loogie in your lasagna.

Number Four ; Retail workers are not paid enough to put up with jerks. So don't be one to them.

Number Five ( and this is a big one for me!) If you are about to say something that you will feel compelled to conclude with "Oh, I couldn't help myself" you need to either STOP and  not say or not do it or seek professional help for your poor self control issues.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A few quick, not too spoilery impressions of The Amazing Spiderman

Today is my youngest son's 10th birthday, and I took him to the early bird showing of The Amazing Spiderman.  Here are a few impressions I had about the movie, without spoiling too much. (For those as familiar with Spiderman as my son and I are, the origin aspects would be more spoilery in what's excluded than in what's included)

-Peter Parker's hair...what's up like that? He looks like he's planning to audition for Twilight. The hair very much got in the way of my ability to take him seriously, as did his black hipster skinny jeans.

-I am nut buying Emma Stone as a high schooler. Not.at.all.

-If you have ever experienced bullying (as I have) there are several scenes that will make you want to stand up and cheer.

-I love how they emphasized the geek aspect of Peter Parker. It's an integral part of who he is, and the geeks all say, "Huzzah!"

-If you're arachnophobic, you'll want to close your eyes twice; once after the Marvel Studios montage, and again after Peter enters the restricted access area.

-Martin Sheen and Sally Field were BRILLIANT as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. However, Uncle Ben never uttered his iconic line, which is like having a Star Wars movie where no one ways "May the Force be with You".
- One of the funniest Stan Lee cameos in a few movies.

All in all, I think this movie is better enjoyed by those who have not read ASM books extensively, and just want a superhero movie. Long time Spidey fans will find it hard to resist the urge to pick it apart.

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