Thursday, November 30, 2006

On Living Together

As some of you may or may not know my boyfriend "The Chef" recently moved in with me. So far my desire to strangle him has been quite minimal. Though my hopes for a cleaner apartment and home Chefed meals so far have not become a reality. It's awesome having him around. And I should point out that not only do we live together, he also work sat my company. Ohhh the togetherness. ::vomit::

So Imagine his mirth when he opened up the Red Eye yesterday to an article entitled "Planning to live together? Only fools rush in." He showed it to me and I was hoping for some really interesting commentary on how living together is hard, and how long most people should wait, some statistics maybe (not that they'd be valid, but y'know... they're kinda factual).

But I should have expected less from a column entitled "Sex Playbook":

"I've grown accustomed to my alone time. I can't imagine a woman moving in with me. Like in the movie "Independence Day": When the aliens invaded, their plan to cohabit Earth didn't work. It wouldn't work if my personal space were invaded, either."

Clearly Jon watched a different version of Independence Day. The Aliens weren't looking to cohabitate with humans, they were looking to exterminate. I know they both end in ate, but surely someone who writes for a newspaper can tell the difference. And if your girlfreind is working on exterminating you...well... then perhaps we need to be a bit more choosy, eh?

He Goes on:

Yes, guys, your past can slowly slip away from you during a live-in situation. I once was exclusive with a woman who never wanted to sleep in my bed because she knew I'd had sex with other women in it. As comfy as the bed was, she said if we ever lived together I'd have to get rid of it. The bed's still here, so you know how that relationship turned out

It seems to me Jon, that your problem isn't so much that you don't want to live with women, it's that you don't want to live with PSYCHO women. This is NOT normal behavior, and that you tolerated it leads me to believe that this woman was either VERY hot, or that you are VERY dumb.

I keep waiting for the part where he talks about how he wouldn't be able to watch porn and jerk it anymore. That part is true. But y'know having a sex partner around all the time is pretty fun.

He ends with some good advice. "If, like me, you are not thrilled with the thought of living with your girlfriend, don't do it. Decline until you're sure you can handle it." This has been an update from the department of DUH! If you don't jump at the chance to spend every spare moment possible with someone, (well maybe not EVERY spare moment, but most of them)then you shouldn't even be considering living together.

The reason, in my opinion that Jon doesn't want to live with a girl, and therefore thinks it is a bad idea for everyone else, is that he hasn't actually dated a girl he really liked as a person. He probably liked them as girls, strange entities with breasts and nice concave parts. But it turns out girls are people too, we have interests and personalities. I know in his strange world where only getting a peice of tail matters this doesn't actually matter.

His view of women seems to be this shrill force that will invade your home and change all your habits. Well I have a few suggestions for him:
1. Date women you actually like as people ( see above) preferalby reality based life forms that understand you have a past and wont manipulate you with it.
2. Get to actually know them as a person before you consider moving in together. This means you have to like them beyond liking nailing them.
3.Don't move them into your house, or you move into theirs, move into a new place together. This way you can both bring your individuality together, to create a space where you will both be comfortable, but neither of you will be on "home" turf.

Or, y'know, keep dating multiple crazy chicks at a time. Sounds like it's workin for ya.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

On Being Overplayed

We're sorry Mr. Timberlake, but you can't bring sexy back without a reciept.

(stolen from a facebook group)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Single Sex Schools

Reading Jill's views against the idea of dividing public schools I see her points. I don't think that either boys or girls will benefit from the dumbing down of subjects to make them "easier to grasp" or "gender friendly" and I don't think that boys and girls should be divided during school because their learning sytles are different. In fact, I don't really buy the whole "making learning fun" thing. Learning, real learning, is hard, and if you aren't expected to do it you aren't going to, regardless of who is in your class.

However do think that they students can benefit from being split up during middle and highschool. Why? Because of sex.

I don't care if teenagers have sex, I'm not a prude. I remember very well that they do, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. In fact, I went to a single sex school. All girls, catholic, uniforms, blah blah naughty male fantasy blah blah. And nobody had any trouble getting laid.

I remember in high school I'd occasionally go out with public school kids, and they'd recoil with horror, "how do you go to single sex school, how BORING what do you DO all day."

Shockingly, we learned stuff.

Without the distraction of flirting during school hours us ladies were able to show up, sans makeup and actually get some actual learning done. This is not to say that it is impossible to learn in a co ed environment, it is demonstrably not. But for some girls I think having the opportunity to focus on school without having to worry about the guy they liked sitting behind them was a big benefit. And I can imagine that guys would reap similar benefits. (Though I am not a guy, so...yeah)

I've heard arguments that single sex school makes it harder for the students to interact with members of the opposite sex. But in my experience, areas with a lot of single sex schools (St. Louis, where I grew up, being one) have a lot of co ed extracurriculars. Tons of events are created simply for the purpose of having different schools get to gether so guys and girls are able to mingle. Theaters open auditions to members of the opposite sex from other schools. There are even cross over classes in some schools, my school offered Latin III with another nearby guys school. And another area girls school had joint group projects with nearby guys schools, making the two genders work together on occasion.

So you go to school, all day and learn, and then AFTER school you flirt. I think this is a good plan. It takes some of the sexual focus away from school. Not that school shouldn't be social, after all, students need to learn to work together, but we all know how distracting having a crush can be, or wanting to flirt with someone, or impress someone. Taking those people away (for the straight folks at least) will help minimize the sex related distractions.

This is mentioned in the slate article Jill links to breifly. But I think it is more important than they realize. I think Most teenagers are distracted by attraction to others. It's a distracting thing, and I presume it has something to do with hormones, but I could be wrong. Another thing they mention breifly:

Proponents of single-sex education would protest that their approach gives
children more latitude to carve out a distinctive identity. Removing "the other"
from the classroom can help kids conceive of themselves as individuals rather
than as members of a gender.

This, to me is very personal. Because that has been my experience. I don't think of myself as a girl, I think of myself as a person, who happens to have female genetalia. I think the biggest effect my gender has on me, is making me a feminist, because I feel (now, I never did in highschool) that I am being pushed into traditional gender roles that I don't identify with. Now maybe that's just because I'm a masculine girl, that could be argued, I suppose. But I think it is because I am independant of gender classifications. I do girly things because I like them, not because I'm supposed to, and I do guy things because I like them, not because I'm trying to be a guy. It's not about gender, it's about doing what you enjoy and being who you are.

But ultimately I think schools should be a choice. A single sex school wont be a better place for a kid if it is a bad single sex school. Parents should be able to evaluate the schools and choose based on a free market type system. They know their child best, and know what kind of environments they will thrive in so they should be the "decider"s when it comes to their kid.

(Edited at 3:30, for content)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jon Stewart: Jokemaker

An article at town hall (via insty) declares that Jon Stewart was the kingmaker in this election.

But I think that the article couldn't be more wrong. While I agree that Jon Stewart gives voice to liberal frustrations with government through humor, I don't see him as a bastion of liberalism. And nothing he says changes my mind, but it does make me laugh, even when I disagree.

Rusty compares The Daily Show to Rush Limbaugh in the 90s. Seriously... What are you smoking?

What's wrong with Rush Limbaugh you say? Ah yes, I don't like him, this clearly must be because I am a liberal communism loving hippie who's about to go out and preform 1000 abortions. Or it could be because he is close minded and represents no opinions but his own.

Rusty seems to think that this is what Jon Stewart does as well. But he often has right leaning authors and political figures on his show. And while sometimes Jon will strongly and respectfully disagree with these figures, it rarely gets to the point of, lets say The O'Rielly Factor. He lets these people talk and sometimes one even comes away from the interviews finding common ground with the other side.

One of the things that Daily Show segments frequently poke fun at is the partisanship and combativeness of most news shows. (Not to mention some of the TERRIBLE coverage on 24 hour news networks.) The Colbert Report alone is a huge spoof on The O'Rielly Factor, the idea that one man's opinions are all that matters when it comes to news. And there used to be a segment called Steven versus Steven where Steven Colbert and "The guy from 40 year old Virgin" argued about absolutely nothing. This mocking isn't brainwashing college students against network news, or telling them to go vote democrat. It is pointing out how ridiculous our news coverage has be come, and laughing at the ridiculous things the folks in washington do.

The Daily Show is making Jokes, and Rusty has it right, the audience already knows the punchline to all these jokes. The Daily Show is giving vent to a frustrated younger audience who are tired of combative political commentary and ridiculous headlines that don't mean anything. It allows us to laugh at the painful news coverage of other networks, and the cringeworthy stupidity of some of our politicians.

Jon Stewart didn't make the Democrats more popular. He made Jokes. The Democrats were more popular because they haven't been able to screw anything up for the last 6 years.

Maybe the reason the Democrats won is just what it seems like, people were tired of the Republicans.

Below is a quote from a commentor at townhall called FlimFlamman, I'm re-posting it because I can't link it and I think it is a much better rebuttle of Rusty's article than my post was:

flimflamman writes:
Friday, November, 10, 2006 10:45 AM
Same-old, same-old
Even for its great length, this column is just the same tired, specious argument against The Daily Show. For starters, the main thesis -- that Jon Stewart and cohorts scored the election for the Dems -- doesn't even make sense. Shackleford charges that the nation's youth are zonked out on Stewart's anti-GOP yuks. But that didn't help back in 2004, when the show kicked into far higher gear than it did this past month. (Indeed, the Daily Show mocked the importance of midterm elections as recently as Monday night.) Not to mention: have you not read the polling data? It wasn't only the youth who came out, but everyone. Even 1/3 of Evangelicals turned their back on their conservative brethren and voted Dem. Betcha they're not injecting the Daily Show into their veins every night!

But the problem with this column runs far deeper. The Daily Show has a liberal bias?! What a scoop! Shackleford tries to balloon this into a case that Stewart and Rush Limbaugh are one and the same. But he fails to remotely back this up with evidence -- unless you count claiming that both are stumping for one side of the political spectrum is proof of equivalence. If we're going to define partisanship so narrowly, then who isn't an extreme lunatic who mocks and questions the validity of those suffering from major diseases for ratings and attention?

Shackleford asserts that Stewart's attempt at bi-partisanship has failed miserably, but can't cite a single example, or at least one that holds up to scrutiny. He mentions Bill O'Reilly getting booed when he comes on the show. But that wasnt' Stewart encouraging the boos; in fact, if anything it was O'Reilly who was explicitly encouraging the boos, even scolding the audience. Stewart tries to engage those who disagrees with in a debate. His problem is that he's actually too polite, and winds up cowering when his opponent gets worked up. A year or so ago, he had Rick Santorum on the show. Stewart was nothing but polite to him, and sincerely tried to get to the bottom of his extreme beliefs. When Santorum ducked a question and went off on a rant, Stewart all but hid underneath the desk. Just like Rush Limbaugh! Oh wait...

You also cite Dan Rather being on the show Tuesday night, and how Stewart joked with him rather than grilled him on the events that caused him to prematurely retire. But he fails to mention that this wasn't a typical interview -- it was a special, covering the Midterm Elections. They were joking, sure, but they were joking about...the Midterm Elections. It wasn't a typical interview. He was there as a specialist, someone who's covered elections for most of his life.

There's no doubt that Stewart is a little easier on those with whom he agrees. But not by much. Shackleford claims, "Conservatives are lampoon for being conservative, liberals for not being liberal enough" [sic]. But he fails to cite a single example of Stewart and co. being extreme. They mock the democrats for being wimps (like conservatives!), but never for not being extreme.

And then there's the claim that they have it out for Fox News. What Shackleford fails to note is that they back this hatred up with evidence on a near-daily basis. The way Shackleford words it, it's as though they simply mock Fox News for no good reason. But that hatred is well-founded and buttressed by a neverending supply of clips and analysis.

Lastly, there's this sorry claim: that the youth are getting all their news from The Daily Show. To even understand what the Daily Show does (or for that matter, The Daily Kos), one has to have a working knowledge not just of the news that day, but of news history -- news in general. Young people may not be watching CNN, Fox News or the 6:00 network news. But you don't have to these days. The web has many places one can get news, analysis, and so forth. These days, it's next to impossible to remain ignorant of the news.

The saddest part? Had the Dems won in 2004, this column could've come out, with only minor variations. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Shackleford had written it before Election Day '04 and dusted it off after Election Day '06. That's how relevant and trenchant it is.

P.S. Jon Stewart's name is spelled "Jon." It does alternate between having an "h" and not having an "h," as it does serially throughout this column. Not that fact-checking need be applied to soapbox rants.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Update On Anand and Sudeep

The two students are still being charged, but the feds have declined to take the case. Turns out the two bomb hits in the lexus were false positives. (Shocker)

It is now up to the ADA to prosecute. But as far as I know the two are still being held with $1 million dollar bond.

Evidence indicates that they were in fact trying to shoot a music video. Which may in fact be the dumbest idea two seemingly smart kids have ever had.

But if people went to jail for being dumb, lets just say I'd spend a lot less time being pissed off.

CMU students are starting to get organized and have a facebook group put together. (Free Anand and Sudeep!) But no one has been able to get in touch with either of their parents. And as far as we know no hearings have been scheduled to get their bond reduced.

UPDATE: Anand and Sudeep were released on recognizance. I hope the rest of their legal issues are speedily resolved!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Funny Story

Some kids from my school tried to break into a football stadium from the pittsburgh post gazette:

Heinz Field security officers spotted the men on a security camera trying
to enter the stadium, a Steelers spokesman said. They first opened an exterior
door at Gate B without going inside, police said. They then took a folding chair
to the fence at Gate 5 on Art Rooney Drive, and one student allegedly stepped
up on the chair to scale the fence.

Heinz Field security officers then approached the pair, and as they
tried to walk away, they were apprehended by Pittsburgh police officers who had
been summoned. They told police initially they were trying to check out the
stadium because they had tickets to yesterday's 4:15 p.m. game against the
Denver Broncos, Chief Harper said.

Oh Ha Ha, college prank:

He said they told investigators later that one student was trying to
complete a music video featuring the other, and they intended to do the
last scene inside Heinz Field. A video camera and tripod were found inside the
vehicle, parked nearby, which police towed away.

Both were charged with criminal conspiracy, one with criminal trespass. The $1 million straight bond has to be paid in full for release.

Doesn't this seem just a tad extreme? A little odd that they would arrest some kids for trying and failing to get into a football stadium? I mean I've never tried to break into anything, but I imagine that security would just tell you to get the hell out. I know Pittsburgh loves their football, but listen to the bios on these two kids:

University-related Web sites suggest that both men have been active, involved
students one student is listed as activities director of the Undergraduate
Finance Association, and the other as a committee chairman of the Undergraduate
Entrepreneurship Association. Both also were involved in Carnegie Mellon's Mock
Trial competition, a program in which students take on judicial roles to
practice their speaking and analytical skills.

One student, on his own Web home page, lists his grade point average as 3.7 out of 4.0. He made the dean's list last spring.

They sound like real troublemakers.

Until you find out that these two students are arabic.

I took their names out of the excerpts from the PPG article above. What would have seemed a harmless prank by two white students is now treated as a potential terror threat because of the color of these boy's skin.

I don't know either Sudeep Paul or Shankar Durvasula, they are several years younger than me and in different departments. And I don't know if they are terrorists.

But I do know that they deserve a speedy investigation and bail that reflects the crimes for which they are being held.

The CMU community has started a petition group on face book to free them. And I am posting this here in the hopes that publicising this incident will prevent them from being sent to any "secret prisons." These boys are Americans born and raised and I hope that they are treated as such.