Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Think you can't make a difference? Read on:
BANGKOK, Thailand - Women in several countries have begun sending their panties to Myanmar embassies in a culturally insulting gesture of protest against the recent brutal crackdown there, a campaign supporter said Friday.
"It's an extremely strong message in Burmese and in all Southeast Asian culture," said Liz Hilton, who supports an activist group that launched the "PANTIES FOR PEACE" drive earlier this week.
The group, Lanna Action for Burma, says the country's superstitious generals, especially junta leader Gen. Than Shwe, also believe that contact with women's underwear saps them of power.
To widespread international condemnation, the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, crushed mass anti-regime demonstrations recently and continues to hunt down and imprison those who took part.
Hilton said women in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, England and other European countries have started sending or delivering their underwear to Myanmar missions following informal coordination among activist organizations and individuals.
"You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Send early, send often!" the Lanna Action for Burma Web site urges.
"So far we have had no response from Burmese officials," Hilton said.
This woman is brilliant. Honestly, I had no idea that my used panties could serve as instruments of Burmese intimidation. It had never occurred to me that the contents of my hamper hid a deadly cache of political weapons. I also wonder if these women are sending in their ratty, second tier panties (the ones you wear when you know you're not going to get laid) or if they are sending in their uncomfortable, frilly panties that you only wear when your are absolutely sure you are going to get laid.
Which are deadlier and more "power sapping"?
And what about spin-off efforts:
Jock Straps for Justice! Bras for Brotherhood! Thongs for Thyroid Problems!
Let's keep the political ingenuity flowing...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
While calmly drinking coffee, I came across this harrowing news item:
LONDON (AFP) - Falling numbers of state dentists in England has led to some people taking extreme measures, including extracting their own teeth, according to a new study released Monday.
Others have used superglue to stick crowns back on, rather than stumping up for private treatment, said the study. One person spoke of carrying out 14 separate extractions on himself with pliers.
"This is an uncomfortable read for all of us, and poses serious questions to politicians from patients," said Sharon Grant of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health.
Overall, six percent of patients had resorted to self-treatment, according to the survey of 5,000 patients in England, which found that one in five had decided against dental work because of the cost.
One researcher involved in compiling the study -- carried out by members of England's Patient and Public Involvement Forums -- came across three people in one morning who had pulled out teeth themselves.
Okay, now the temptation here is to make the stale, requisite jokes about British teeth. But I'm not interested in that. Instead, I'd like to take the opportunity to compile a list of things that one should never be tempted to do in your own home, with or without a Home Depot salesperson's advice:
1.) See Above
2.) Removal of any internal organs with a Bic razor
3.) Constructing any sort of teletransporter device using a wrench and Silly Putty
4.) Slaughtering a pig with Macy's gift set knife and making your own sausage
5.) Giving oneself a boob job using bubble wrap/styrofoam peanuts as the stuffing
Friday, October 12, 2007
Lust? Greed? Sloth? Gluttony? Pride? Wrath? Envy? We've got 'em all.
For all the wicked sinners out there, Saturday, October 13th is your night.
Welcome to a night of devilish pleasures featuring lusty burlesque dancers Howling Vic and Gerica Molotov, diabolical live music from Mama's Birthday, perverse comedy from Rob Lathan, a weird short film and the 9 Circles of Hell trivia contest. Come commit a couple deadly sins with us on Saturday, October 13th at 10pm and save the repenting for Sunday.
Mama D's Arts Bordello
October 13th, 2007
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction
34 Avenue A (btw 3rd/4th streets)
NY, NY 10009
Thursday, October 11, 2007
We've had some very thought provoking topics around here lately. With reasoned debates, interesting perspectives and impassioned beliefs.
But today, I'm offering up THIS.
I suspect we all know a guy who could benefit from such a contraption. The fact that it is not currently available at a Target near you is a form of sex discrimination. And with all the idiotic shit offered up on HSN, all those enthusiastic bitches shilling endless forms of Tupperware and festive doo-dads, where is the entrepreneur willing to help the legions of fat naked men across this nation?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I was the kid who never thought Linus from “Peanuts” was an idiot for waiting for “The Great Pumpkin” to come every year. I would have forgone my candy corn and sat with him in that pumpkin patch too. Not necessarily because I believed, but because he did.
I have taken a pet to the Church of the Holy Family’s “Annual Blessing of the Animals”. I have danced during Shul at B'nai Jeshurun. I have paid my respects at the Buddhist Byodo-In Temple. I have skinny dipped with Wiccans.
Having traveled a lot and lived in many places, I’ve seen belief manifest itself in many forms. So I believe in pretty Southern Baptist girls in floral Easter dresses giggling on a sunny Atlanta morning. I believe in my Muslim classmates at college in London, who prayed together and fasted at Ramadan. I believe in Harlem choirs, gorgeous voices raising the rafters of their churches. I believe in the makeshift altars set up in even the grimiest of New Orleans apartments, often on TV trays, with glass-encased candles flickering in the warm afternoon air. And I believe in the hippie Reverend who officiated a wedding I attended on St. John Island, a woman who wore butterflies instead of crosses on her vestment, and told the couple to swim together in Trunk Bay, souls uniting in the water.
Any belief that attempts to connect people in a positive way, to focus on something greater than the polluted commute to work and boring TV line-up is worth listening to. As long as there is belief, there is concern for what happens beyond the next company progress report or condo association meeting. True belief requires commitment, struggle and devotion. It demands attention. Apathy is too easy. Apathy lets you off the hook. Apathy belies a lack of imagination.
In my home, I have a mezuzah on my doorframe, three Bibles, a copy of the I Ching, The Tibetan Book of The Dead, a jade Buddha, and a statue of Ganesha right by my computer. After all, he is the Lord of New Beginnings, Destroyer of Obstacles. As a writer who is no stranger to rejection letters, I need his blessings quite frequently.
But when people ask what this buffet of spirituality all means, I tell them I believe in believing.
Monday, October 08, 2007
A friend of mine had a little girl recently, so I’ve been perusing the children’s section of the bookstore. Naturally, I gravitated toward the books I knew from my childhood: “Where the Wild Things Are”, “Green Eggs and Ham”, and of course, “Goodnight Moon”. I loved that book not because of the story (which I thought was boring) but for the black and white photo of the illustrator, Clement Hurd. Unlike grandfatherly Dr. Seuss, he didn’t look like he’d give me a hug. No, he belonged at our house during cocktail hour, sitting in a floral chair on the patio, telling stories by the light of the tiki torches.
But when I turned “Goodnight Moon” over to look at this photo after all these years, I saw that it had been photoshopped. The cigarette in his hand had been removed, altered to suit modern parenting sensibilities. I stared at it for a while. The picture looked so strange, his hand clearly posed for holding a cigarette, but nothing was there.
It occurred to me that certain child-protective measures are entrenched today in ways they weren’t when I was a kid. Maybe it’s because people demand a greater level of control now, with the rise of “helicopter parenting”. But it seems like we are cocooning kids too much, and denying ourselves some of the fun of adulthood in the process.
When I was a child in Honolulu back in the late 1970s, my parents and their friends didn’t surrender their adult interests and make everything so “family friendly”. The adult stuff coexisted with kids’ stuff. But there was a distinct divide between us and them, and we knew it. Parents and kids both liked it that way. Of course the term “family values” hadn’t been coined yet.
In the fridge there was Mr. and Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix next to the milk. Moms had vinyl cigarette purses with golden snaps and a separate little pouch for their Bic lighters. If we asked, they’d take out their Virginia Slims and lighters and let us use the purses for our dolls. Dads often kept copies of Playboy (just out of our reach) in the bathroom. Under the sink, you might find a box of Today Sponges. If you asked about it, you were just told, “That’s for adults.” Believe it or not, that answer was good enough for us.
People in our neighborhood all had cocktail hours out on their patios, with fully stocked wet bars, olives and colorful swizzle sticks. We kids would color in our books as adults smoked and drank outside. They didn’t try to include us. They told dirty jokes or talked about politics or neighborhood gossip. This wasn’t some type of family fun. Friday night was theirs, distinctly for the adults. When told to go to bed, I’d leave my bedroom door open, loving the sound of all that laughter, the clinking of ice in a vodka tonic. And as they nursed hangovers, Saturday morning was all ours. We’d get up alone, make a bowl of Honeycomb, Lucky Charms or any other cereal that would tear up the roof of your mouth and watch Scooby Doo, Laff Olympics and Superfriends.
If parents took their kids to an upscale restaurant, there was zero tolerance for misbehaving in that adult realm. Mothers didn’t lecture fellow diners by saying, “You were a kid once too.” When I hear this, I often think, “You’re right, I was. And I had to sit there, sip my Shirley Temple and behave. Otherwise I’d get the evil eye from my mom, and that look alone was enough to keep me in check.”
Adulthood used to be this amazing mystery. I’d watch my mother put on her disco clothes; sexy sparkly outfits and platform heels as I sat there in my cords and juice-stained t-shirt, dreaming of all the fun I could have when I grew up. Now it seems like some parents are so worried about teaching their kids the wrong message, that “family friendly” activities have overtaken their lives.
These parents don’t appear to want a separate world for themselves. They are willing to completely morph into “Mom” and “Dad”, leaving nothing left for an outside identity. But I think constantly catering to kids deprives them of the wonder of adulthood. They don’t have the understanding that certain activities are just for adults, and that this unknown world can be something to look forward to.
When I was a kid, the adult world was visible but not accessible. It seemed fascinating. But I knew that adults had problems, they weren’t always right, and life wasn’t perfect. My parents didn’t try to hide this from me, and neither did their friends. So I don’t think we give kids enough credit these days. We shield them a little too much, not realizing how smart they are. And all the while, toy companies keep scaling back on “traditional” toys, because kids are so advanced now and want cell phones instead.
So I say put that cigarette back in Clement Hurd’s slender fingers. Call it a cautionary tale. Kids will understand. The photo is creepier now without it, because it’s obvious something is missing. The vice is photoshopped, but the stance remains.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I hate people who order Guinness and say, "I love Guinness. I mean, what's not to love- it's a meal in a glass!"
They say this like they are the first person to ever utter this "witticism". Then they laugh, turn and look at their friends and say "Am I right? I mean, c'mon. It's a meal in a glass."
(See, a repeat of said witticism to get another laugh.)
Just fuck off and drink your Guinness.