From the monthly archives:

May 2011

Source: I saw this cartoon via Paul Rieckhoff today.

 

My 13-year-old is working on a debate project for school. His topic? Support for Death Penalty. (He has turned in a written article against death penalty last week. The teacher wants them to be able to argue from both sides for the topic they are each assigned to)

He was telling me all about the horrible cases he has read on the Internet, including some high profile cases of brutal assault and murder on young children. I cringed. My first instinct was to tell him to stop. Aren’t there some things in the world simply to horrifying to learn about? Isn’t it sometimes better if one simply does not know such evil existed and still exists?

I don’t remember how we went from death penalty, to Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (from women’s right to vote, to the right to bear arms, to the freedom of speech), but all of a sudden I found myself telling them about Westboro “Church” (Church is in quotation mark for obvious reasons…)  Naturally the boys were astounded to find such ridiculousness is being practiced by a bunch of grownups.  I went on to tell them about the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that even Westboro “Church” is protected under the First Amendment.

“Can you just imagine these stupid people protesting at the funerals of soldiers who died just so these stupid people could have their stupid freedom of speech?” (Just substitute Stupid with Fucking)

“Can you imagine their parents who just lost their children having to see these stupid people at the funeral??!!”

I started tearing up.

 

I am trying to explain via my rambling above why I woke up this morning and decided to google “Memorial Day + Westboro” without even knowing that Westboro “Church” had planned to picket the memorial service in Joplin, MO because President Obama was going to be there. (According to tweets and the latest news I could find: POTUS was there; Westboro was not. Several unconfirmed reports said that Westboro crazies were in town but their presence at the memorial service was thwarted due to citizen actions…)

Then I saw the tweets from Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) who is there right now at the Arlington National Cemetery:

 

I will just stop here because, wow, I don’t know what to say…

 

 

 

Footnote: Although I self-process to be a bleeding heart liberal, I often wonder what the official definition of that label is. Does it include an unexamined stance against war? Coming from a different country, different culture, different hemisphere, I am not completely anti-war. *gasp* War becomes inevitable when your country is being invaded and your people is being physically attacked on your physical territory. China went through the pillaging and ravaging by the Western world in the beginning of the 20th century; the whole people suffered humiliation under the greedy and power-hungry paws of the colonial forces.  (How do you think Hong Kong ended up being “leased” to the British Empire for 99 years?)  China fought against Japan in the brutal Sino-Japanese war two years before the so-called World War II started in Europe when Poland was invaded. And Taiwan? Taiwan was a Japanese colony for 50 years. When the KMT first retreated to Taiwan, in order to consolidate and ensure their power, the KMT government massacred the majority of the intellectual leaders.  And now? Taiwan is constantly living with the threat that China may decide to invade one day. (Or from their perspective, simply “take back what is rightfully part of China”…) All the male children are required to serve in the army for 12 months (it used to be 2 years).

What I am trying to explain by way of the above rambling is that I have an instinctual respect and admiration for people who serve(d) their countries because I have learned the horror from Chinese histories of when a country was not able to defend itself and the brutality of war itself.

Instinctual the same way I feel about teachers. (Confucius is really quite influential despite my grumblings against all the stereotypes and stupid Confucius quotes on Twitter)

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National Jukebox

May 28, 2011

in random

Did you hear about the National Jukebox project unveiled by the Library of Congress earlier this month?

When I heard it on NPR, I was so excited I almost crashed my car into the truck with a Calvin peeing sticker in front of me.

The National Jukebox is, according to NPR,

“the largest collection of historical recordings ever made publicly available online.”

The new website provides access to more than 10-thousand historical recordings for free on a streaming-only basis – no downloads. It covers the first quarter of the twentieth century and includes music, poetry, political speeches and other spoken word recordings. Right now, it only includes recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company, which Sony controls. The project is also a collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara – and its Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Records – which is helping to create a searchable database for every recording in the National Jukebox.

 

I am so happy that the big shots over at Sony decided to grant the access to and sharing of the recordings they own. This is a truly amazing treasure trove of historical records that one could spend a lot of time on, just by randomly browsing the catalogue.

Popular music (3585)
Ethnic music (1525)
Opera (1366)
Classical music (1223)
Ethnic characterizations (729)
Humorous songs (613)
Ragtime, jazz, and more (603)
Religious (486)
Comedies (222)
Monologues, dialogues, and recitations (205)
Descriptive specialties (133)
Blues (112)
Ethnic spoken word (94)
Traditional/Country (73)
Whistling (62)
Speeches (35)
Yodeling (32)
Spoken word (13)

 

Some of these categories intrigued me: “Ethnic spoke word”. “Ethnic characterizations”. Remember, these were from the first quarter of the 20th century and we all know what it was like back then. Therefore, the LOC posts this warning on every single page:

WARNING: Historical recordings may contain offensive language.

and the full disclaimer says:

These selections are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these recordings, which may contain content offensive to users.

Good times, eh?

 

My favorite feature has got to be the Jukebox Day by Day. You select a date, and out pop the available recordings made on the said date. Naturally, I tried my birthday.

 


By Paul Whiteman Orchestra recorded on July 11, 1924. I was truly not born then. (For once, I am being honest about my birth year…). And it was composed none other than George Gershwin.

 

How amazing that we now have free and open access to the following recording, with George Gershwin himself playing the piano?

By Paul Whiteman Concert Orchestra, recorded on June 10, 1924.

 

Technology rocks. Internet is awesome.

 

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I don’t know what else to say. I will just quote extensively from this news report from KSN News 3 on May 25, 2011.

Sometime in May Representatives in Topeka, Kansas “were debating a bill that would ban insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in regular health plans. The bill, that was signed into law Wednesday, means women will have to buy a separate health policy to cover abortions.”

During the debate, Barbara Bollier, a Kansas lawmaker “pointed out that abortions would not be covered, under the new Kansas law, for cases of rape and incest.”

Kansas Pete DeGraaf responded by saying, “We need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier then asked, “And so, women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?”

Are you ready for DeGraaf’s response to this question?

“I have a spare tire in my car,” said DeGraaf. “I also have life insurance. I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

 

“I have a spare tire in my car.”

 

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I just have one question…

May 21, 2011 random

I went out for emergency shopping for Mr. Monk, my second grader. The school field trip next week requires in addition to everything else, RAIN FUCKING BOOTS. Rain boots. Seriously, where the fuck could I find rain boots on a random day? So I ran to Target. I also discovered that Targets carry clothes. (Ok, […]

29 comments

Guilt is the trip

May 20, 2011 therapy in session

Dear Blog, I am very sorry for ignoring you for so long. I have not logged in for at least three days. I am so happy that you are still here. Let’s see… It is 1:40 am right now. I am sad to say that I can at most spend 15 minutes with you. A […]

27 comments

The Perfect Storm

May 16, 2011 random

When I was pregnant with my number two child, Mr. Monk, I suffered Deep Vein Thrombosis (aka blood clot) : my entire left leg was swollen before I realized it was not a muscle strain that’s been causing me excruciating pain, but rather something that could be life-threatening. My Obgyn immediately sent me to the emergency room […]

32 comments

Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.

May 15, 2011 no manual for parenting

Because of my racial/ethnic/cultural/educational make-up, I do not watch what I tell my children: I tend to over-explain everything and over-analyze everything for them. I also like to point out instances of racial/cultural prejudices and stereotypes disregarding whether they may be too young for such identity politics theory talks. Sometimes I feel sorry for them ’cause […]

32 comments

A Love Song for Sandi

May 12, 2011 random

A dear dear friend recently had a medical scare. She is home safe now but I did not know about this until tonight. Sandi over at Being Peachy and its wicked twin The Pits of Being Peachy had a heart attack and drove herself to the hospital. At this moment I am confused about the […]

24 comments

“I am swamped” sayth Prince Humperdinck. He said it, not me.

May 10, 2011 random

I know it is kind of lame to keep on writing posts about how I am totally swamped and apologizing for MIA. I am being a selfish blogger at this moment: all taking and no giving back. I am compelled to write this post because I want to use this quote: “I’ve got my country’s […]

15 comments

Mother’s Day. Schmother’s Day.

May 8, 2011 random

I am so glad Mother’s Day is finally coming to an end. In less than 30 minutes. I was not going to write anything about Mother’s Day today. Apparently I have written several posts on how and why I hate Mother’s Day ever since I started blogging. The act of “Oh I don’t really care […]

18 comments