Friday, January 31
Wednesday, January 29
Tuesday, January 28
Friday, January 24
It's my favorite kind of journalism -- Choose Your Own Adventure!
Thursday, January 23
Wednesday, January 22
Who's to blame here? Fast food industry? Society? Individual responsiblity? Everyone wants to blame someone. Even though I can't stand the fast food industry, I do agree with the judge's dismissal of the case involving two overweight girls under 20 - one of whom said that a McMuffin for breakfast and a Big Mac meal for dinner was her regular daily diet. I'm immediately thinking, "Hmmm, if I'm 19 years old and weigh 270 pounds, eating this way every day might cause a bell to go off somewhere in my head that it's probably not good for me." Then there's the father, who believed McDonald's was "healthy for my children." While I agree with the issues in the story regarding billion-dollar advertising which targets mostly children, what the hell kind of dream world is he living in?
The judge ruled, ""Where should the line be drawn between an individual's own responsibility to take care of herself and society's responsibility to ensure others shield her? The complaint fails to allege the McDonald's products consumed by the plaintiffs were dangerous in any way other than that which was open and obvious to a reasonable consumer." Gotta go with the judge on this one.
Why can't we be like the French? This summer, McDonald's in France placed an advertisement in the popular magazine Femme Actuelle that said, "There is no reason to eat excessive amounts of junk food, nor go more than once a week to McDonald's." C'est bon.
Tuesday, January 21
Monday, January 20
This kind of stuff gets my brain buzzing (the ideas, not the enhancemements) and wondering all about what we will be doing to our brains in the next 20 - 30 years. While I am not sure how much I agree with the author's take on it, it's fascinating stuff, very real, and not far away.
Friday, January 17
Wednesday, January 15
NY Times login: opensewer; password: iswatching.
We’ve heard so much criticism of these much-maligned vehicles (a large percentage of it coming from us), but in the end the real victims are the drivers of SUVs themselves. Or perhaps I should say that “they get what’s coming to them.” Do they not realize that when they tailgate those of us who choose to drive smaller cars—when they behave aggressively toward us, when they are oblivious to all other drivers but themselves—don’t they realize that we retaliate?
I can’t tell you how many times Rose and I “mess with” SUV drivers after they behave aggressively toward us. (We’re not instigators, mind you—we’re reactive, not proactive in this situation.) It’s so much fun to drive real slowly when one of those big guys/girls zooms behind you in a hurry, headlights glaring in your eyes, the monster-vehicle wavering from side to side in an angry demonstration of impatience. It’s so fun to trap them at the next red light, or to box them in on the highway. And boy, oh boy, do they get angry. Their blood pressure must be zooming to an even higher level than it was when they first attacked.
Childish? Irresponsible? Perhaps. But no more so than driving an SUV in the first place.
Tuesday, January 14
Monday, January 13
Saturday, January 11
Of course, it’s natural, even good, to engage in a little gossip, people-watching and stargazing once in a while. Without it, life would be cold and quite boring. And without it, we wouldn’t recognize heroes. We need heroes, or at least role models. We also need meaningful human relationships.
But living vicariously in all its forms—reading People magazine, gossiping about others—is a parasite to stable culture when it goes too far. An existence centered on reactions to other peoples’ lives is an existence that lacks meaning. Pathological schadenfreude is the sign of a weak mind and soul.
(Indulge me—I’m getting to my point here…)
We all had high hopes that Reality Television would die a messy, painful death when lame-ass shows like Big Brother didn’t get the ratings media execs thought they would. But now, according to this article in a Pittsburgh paper (one of many articles like it), it’s been given new life. This, apparently, is largely thanks to American Idol, a show which, according to what I’ve heard people say about it, had some socially redeeming value. (Really?)
But the recent shows (Joe Millionaire, Celebrity Mole) reach new lows, drawing more than ever on desperation, embarrassment and voyeurism as key resources. Joe Millionaire adds a new resource: The Outright Lie. I’d like to think that those who watch these shows are victims of “evil executives” out to steal their money and attention and bent on world domination. But people are ultimately responsible for their own actions, so I guess that makes them (me? you?) just poor, bottom-feeding losers.
Cotton candy tastes good, but too much of it rots your teeth.
Friday, January 10
Wednesday, January 8
This is the kind of thing that scares me for the kids coming into the world. I don't plan to have any anytime soon, but I know people who do, and I fear the schools aligning themselves like this - against children, really - more than "dangerous" teens.
And besides, locking kids up for pot is un-Christian, too.
Tuesday, January 7
Monday, January 6
Friday, January 3
Thursday, January 2
The tail-end of the piece is clearly intended to sound chilling, and it does indeed make me shiver: "This agenda reflects a strategic shift among many anti-abortion advocates in recent years: While still committed to ending legalized abortion someday, many have adopted a more gradual, step-by-step approach intended to change attitudes and laws over the long haul."
It's hard to believe women (and thinking men) would allow abortion rights to be eroded, and attitudes to be changed via the passing of outmoded laws, but then I remember an article in The Village Voice last summer, talking about penniless teens trekking to New York and sleeping on people's couches just to get the abortions they needed in a country where one would think such procedures would not entirely disrupt females' lives.