Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Clunky Neologism

I’ve recently come upon an expression that instantly earned its way into my list of language peeves:


This expression, used most often in reference to pets, means to find it a new home when its current owners can or will no longer care for it.

Though not yet listed as a bona-fide word (I checked), it follows a trend now common in our era of textspeak and passion of ever-increasing brevity. Like other words and expressions of this ilk, it accomplished brevity at the sacrifice of language fluidity. In other words, it’s jarring and awkward.

“Re-home” follows a tradition of coining neologisms using the prefix “re”. It follows such clunkers as “re-login” (used by Earthlink) and the older “relocate”, used the place of the simpler, more direct, “move”.

But it’s also pretentious, as it makes a verb out of a noun, in the same annoying spirit as many people use the word “impact” these days.

For those who can’t bear to simply say that they are looking for a new home for a pet because it’s not fast enough for them, there is a solution that uses a bona-fide verb: re-adopt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skewed Morality

In my book, there’s something seriously wrong with a church that would protect priests who molest children, but would immediately seek to excommunicate a priest who supports the ordination of female priests.

Nearly 5,000 Catholic priests in the U.S. have sexually abused over 12,000 Catholic children. The usual response from the Catholic heirarchy is not to excommunicate such priests, but rather their parishes or dioceses are taken away or they are simply transferred to another one. Essentially, such problems are swept under the rug, even if the priest in question has a long history of such behavior.

Father Roy Bourgeois, however, who helped celebrate the ordination mass in August 2008 for a female priest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, was swiftly informed by the Vatican that he had 30 days to renounce his actions or face excommunication. The case is currently still up in the air, according to my search on Google.

The Catholic Church has had a 30 percent decline in priests between 1965 and 2000. Good. A church with such a twisted sense of morality deserves to wither away and die.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Different View

Monday, April 20, 2009

Beauty Contestant Clones



These women were both contestants in the Miss USA pageant. I don’t find either of these women attractive, with the winner on the left especially unappealing to me, with her overly long, jutting jawline. Can you say “horsey”? I knew you could.

First of all, both women are very hard looking. Both appear to be between 35 and 40, even though these are only 21 and 22. I hate to see what they’ll look like when they are 40. The prominent jawlines, combined with an overtanned, overly made up, and overdyed appearance doesn’t do a thing for me, either.

I didn’t watch the pageant, but considering that these two are near clones, I wonder how many other clones they had among the contestants.

You may not agree, but I prefer my women to be less hard and angular looking. Getting in bed with either one of these would probably be like getting into a bed with a broom, I’m guessing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

While in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant last night, I noticed a large Help Wanted sign next to the pick-up window. At the bottom of the sign, in bold letters, was: "Do Not Call Back to Check On The Status Of Your Application".

This made me think of lists of job hunting tips I've read over the years. Every one of these lists has, without exception, strongly advised job seekers to make return calls after applying for jobs. The reasoning for this was to show the employer your sincere interest in the job and as a way to make oneself stand out from the other applicants, which would, presumably, give one a better chance of getting an interview, or getting the job after one had already been interviewed.

This was one tip I'd always felt uncomfortable with, even though I understand the reasoning behind it. I always felt like a pest calling back after I'd applied for a job, feeling as if I was begging for the job. I thought I'd make myself stand out, all right, but as an annoyance, rather than as a go-getter.

And in today's economic climate, I can understand why an employer would ask that people not make such calls. With even the crappiest jobs getting applications in the triple digits, if everyone was making repeated call-backs to check the status of their applications, the business wouldn't get much work other work done. This is especially true for small employers who do not have a separate personnel department.

But it still leaves a question -- how does a person make themself stand out from the 900 other schlubs who have also applied for this McJob if they are barred from further communication with the employer? To me, "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" has always been synonymous with being brushed off, never with being a prelude to being hired.

I was grateful yet again to have a job, though it's nothing special.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pretty Girls Are a Dime a Dozen

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard the story of Susan Boyle, a contestant who recently appeared on Britain's Got Talent.

Because of the 47 year old's unpolished, matronly appearance and manner, people in the audience openly mocked her as she took the stage. Similarly, the judges on stage, which included American Idol's, Simon Cowell, expected little to no musical talent from this contestant.

That all changed once she'd sung a few bars of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. Cowell's jaw dropped at Boyle's phenomenal talent and all the pin-headed morons in the audience suddenly shut their traps and later gave Boyle a much-deserved standing ovation.

Good for her. Kudos to her for shutting up Simon Cowell for once in his life and for showing the audience that musical talent -- or talent of any kind -- is not tied to a person's appearance. She has yet again proven the truth of the old saying, "Don't judge a book by cover.".

Putting his money where his mouth is, Simon Cowell is reported to be setting up a contract with Boyle with his SyCo Music company label, a subsidiary of Sony Music.

With a talent like Boyle's, it doesn't (or shouldn't) matter what she looks like. She's the real deal. The entertainment world is chock full of pretty girls with only the barest modicum of singing talent, but a talent like Boyle's is a rarity and should be valued for the treasure it is.

Indeed, the outer packaging is of supreme importance for the dime-a-dozen bimbo singers, precisely because their talent is mediocre at best, and the flashy appearance is to make audiences forget their less than stellar vocal skills.

As far as I'm concerned, the singing world needs more Susan Boyles and fewer Ashlee Simpsons.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recent Studies Show Circumcision Benefits

In March, the New England Journal of Medicine released the findings of a random clinical trial study show that circumcision not only reduces the incidence of HIV infection in men, but also reduces transmission of herpes simplex virus Type 2 and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

After analyzing the results of the study, done on 3000 Ugandan men, the researchers estimated that circumcised men had a 25 percent reduced risk of HSV-2 infection. For the types of HPV. that cause genital cancer, it was found that the circumcised men had a 35 percent reduced risk of infection. Both studies were controlled for various health and behavioral factors.

The authors of this study suggest the difference might be because of the retraction of an uncircumcised man's foreskin during intercourse exposes the penis to infection, and that the moist area under the foreskin may then provide a protected environment in which the viruses can flourish.

“The findings suggest that there are important lifetime health benefits to the procedure,” Dr Ronald H. Gray, a professor of reproductive epidemiology at Johns Hopkins and the senior author of the study, said. “I think it’s important that pediatricians consider the lifelong benefits that might accrue from circumcision when they are advising parents on whether the procedure should be performed in baby boys.”

In 2007, prompted by the results of other similar studies, a consortium of experts convened by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS (the United Nations' HIV program) announced that circumcision should indeed "be part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package." A package which, of course, includes safer sex practices.

Also, a team of researchers from the CDC, Johns Hopkins, and the Baltimore health department examined the records of more than 1,000 African American males — all heterosexual — who tested positive for HIV at Maryland clinics. Uncircumcised men were 50 percent more likely to be infected.

An editorial published with the first study reported noted that U.S. circumcision rates were declining, and that they were lowest among black and Hispanic patients, groups with disproportionately high rates of HIV., herpes infection and cervical cancer. Sixteen states also have eliminated Medicaid coverage for routine circumcision, which may exacerbate the problem among the poor.

Many American doctors in recent years had no longer been recommending routine infant circumcision, backed by anti-circumcision organizations, who claimed that it was merely a cosmetic procedure that caused unnecessary pain to infant boys, as circumcisions were done without anesthesia. In light of recent findings, however, many of these same doctors are reconsidering their position.

According to Marvin L. Wang, co-director of newborn nurseries at Massachusetts General Hospital,says that since the 1990s, it's become routine in U.S. hospitals to anesthetize babies before the procedure and complications are now rare, about 3 in 1000 and are minor and treatable.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, circumcised boys have a lower risk of urinary-tract infections and penile cancer, and a slightly lower risk of getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Uncircumcised men are also subject to balanoposthitis (inflammation of the foreskin and glans), phimosis (a foreskin that's too tight to retract over the glans), and paraphimosis (a foreskin stuck in the retracted position).

After reading about all of this, I was glad yet again that I am circumcised and I'm confident I made the right decision for my son. Even if the benefits of circumcision to prevent the problems mentioned above were only minuscule, it would have been worth it in my book

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fat Lip

I’ve read about collagen injections and “lip plumpers”, which are designed to make a woman’s lips bigger. I have to admit I don’t really get the appeal of this; kissing a woman who has done this to herself is kind of a rubbery, blubbery experience.

And when I’m going in for a kiss, I’m not concerned with the appearance of her lips. It’s all about the tongue for me.

Fat Lip

This one looks to me like she went a few rounds in the boxing ring.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Self Censoring Readers

Recently, I overheard two women at work talking about the books they'd read. One mentioned to the other about a novel she'd read where the main plot was about one woman's adulterous affair. She asked the other woman if she wanted to borrow the book. The other woman declined, stating she didn't want to read about such things because she thought adultery was immoral.

I rolled my eyes at this, thinking this woman must be very limited if she restricted herself from reading books about topics she didn't agree with, even if it was fiction. What was this woman afraid of, I wondered. Did she think if she read a story about adultery, that she would suddenly want to have an affair?

People read about things all the time that they'd never do in real life. Mysteries and crime novels are quite popular with a lot of people, but it doesn't mean that such people approve of murder or will suddenly go on a killing spree because they like reading a good mystery.

It really boggles my mind at how depressingly narrow-minded so many people can be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Marriage and Children

Many people who oppose same-sex marriage base their opposition on their belief that the purpose of marriage is to provide a legal structure in which to raise children, preferably of their own biological origin.

But I believe that issues concerning children and those concerning marriage should be viewed as separately for a couple of reasons.

One is the fact that people marry for a wide variety of reasons these days with almost no one marrying for the single purpose of raising children. People most often marry now for love and because they want to share their lives as a legally and socially recognized unit. And though many people would be happy to just live together to achieve those goals, they enter into legal marriage in order to gain the myriad legal benefits that come with making their union official.

Though most people do have children, it’s almost never their sole reason for getting married in the first place. It’s not as if couples who love one another but who don’t want to or can’t have children decide to simply remain friends because of that fact.

People who have no intention of having children, along with infertile people and people past reproductive age get married all the time, and no one is clamoring to remove their legal rights to do so — as long as they are heterosexual, of course.

Secondly, the law no longer distinguishes between children born to married parents and those born to unmarried parents. “Illegitimacy” has not been a legal status for non-marital children since the late 60s. The law now focuses on how children relate to their parents, rather than so much on how their parents relate to each other.

Hence, this makes opposition to same sex marriage for the “marriage is for having children” reason moot and invalid.

Disgusting Internet Ads

What’s up with all the disgusting, puke-inducing internet ads I’m seeing everywhere on the net lately.

You know the ones: magnified, close-up pictures of yellow teeth, toe fungus, severe acne, distorted photoshopped photos of belly fat, animated asses that swell and reduce over and over, and the like.

Such ads are always placed front and center, where you can’t avoid them by averting your eyes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have a magnified picture of toe rot staring me in the face when I’m trying to read a website.

Most of these ads have the clickable words “learn more” below the nasty image being foisted upon us. Learn more? I’m already nauseated having seen the first picture. Do these idiots think I’m going to click to go se more pictures, so I can make sure to lose my lunch?

I understand that those selling products to cure these various problems have a right to advertise. But do they have to show us graphic, billboard-size images of the “before” pictures? People who have these problems and who could benefit from the products know what it looks like and don’t need to see it plastered all over the internet any more than the rest of us do.

Pardon me while I go blow some chunks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Three Stooges Movie

As a kid in the sixties and seventies, I grew up watching The Three Stooges on TV every afternoon after school. I must have seen every episode dozens of times. Even now, I could accurately reproduce the opening music for each episode, as the tune is burned into my brain.

My friends and I would imitate Moe and Curly, with one doing the eye jabs, and the other putting up a hand between our eyes to block it. We'd do some of the other gestures, such as Moe slowly raising his hand in front of Curly, whose eyes would follow it up, and who would then be surprised brought it down suddenly to slap him on the face.

We'd do Curly's "woob, woob, woob, woob, woob, woob,", "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk", "wiseguy, eh ?", and his high pitched hum: "la da DEEEEEEE, la, la, la, la, deee". And naturally we'd try his breakdance-like thing of lying on the floor and spinning ourselves around in circles.

I've missed watching the Stooges, as I've never gotten around to buying their DVDs.

I heard the other day that a Three Stooges movie, which will be a modern version of the 1930s and 40s episodes, will be released in 2010. Jim Carrey will play Curly, with Sean Penn as Larry, and Benecio Del Toro as Moe. I think Carrey will be great as Curly, though he'll have to gain quite a bit of weight or put on a fat suit to pull it off. The other two I'm not so sure of, but perhaps Carrey can carry the entire movie if the other two prove to be miscast.

The movie will be released some time in 2010.

Health Care: A Right or a Privilege?

While listening to Neil Boortz the other day, he stated quite categorically that "Health care isn't a right, it's a privilege".

I don't know about you, but I was brought up to believe that an essential tenet of morality is that anyone who is sick or injured deserves medical treatment, no matter who they are and regardless of their ability to pay.

Indeed, when I worked in law enforcement it was considered cruel and unusual punishment to deny sick or injured arrestees and jail inmates medical care. Access to medical care most certainly is a right in this instance.

Providing health care to anyone who needs it is part of living in a civilized, humane society. It's not just for those who can afford comprehensive health care, Nor should it be limited to those whom the powers-that-be in this country consider as "worthy"; no one should have their character judged prior to being deemed eligible to see a doctor.

To deny someone health care because they are poor or, as Boortz would have it, lazy and don't want to work, is nothing less than repugnant in my book.. No one should have to work hard to earn the right to see a doctor when sick or injured.

Driving a car is a privilege. Getting medical assistance to maintain health and to live life free of pain and debility is not. It's a basic human right.