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Showing posts from March, 2010

Teachers and Bullying

Nine Massachusetts students made news this week when they were charged in connection to the suicide of a girl they have been accused of bullying.

The argument is that what went on with this particular student went above and beyond normal bullying. Some news sites have actually used the words "torture" and "torment."

From what I've read, it doesn't seem like "torture" is an appropriate word, but then again, those of us who remember high school know that being locked in a building with people who hate you five days a week can sometimes feel like the equivalent of a prison sentence in Turkey.

Now, principals are required to call in law enforcement when they see bullying happen.

Here's a better idea:

Why don't principals and teachers just do their jobs to make sure this doesn't happen?

Anytime I saw bullying, both in junior high and senior high, the teachers were well-aware that it was going on. I saw some teachers who wouldn't tolerate it…

Dissecting 'Genie in a Bottle'

I decided to put my English degree to use and dissect a great piece of literature.

Then I looked at The Good Earth and said--Yeahhhh, I don't think so.

So instead, I've chosen Christina Aguilera's modern classic "Genie in a Bottle."

Let's begin:

-- I feel like I've been locked up tight
For a century of lonely nights --

Okay, right away, we have a master of allusion
A referral to the Arabian Nights
One amazing piece of literature
Doing a throwback to another

But we're getting the perspective of the Genie
Locked up in a bottle
For a hundred years

Waiting to get out

But who, oh who, could get her out of that bottle?

-- Waiting for someone to release me --

Perhaps...a pimp?

-- You're licking your lips and blowing kisses my way
But that dont mean I'm gonna give it away --

The genie has been released
And she's met her first John
A low-down cheapo
Looking for a freebie
In the hot sun
Of the Arabian marketplace

-- Baby, baby, baby
(Baby, baby, baby) --

She gets kn…

I, An Obvious Homosexual, Would Like to Announce That I'm Gay

I'd like to make an announcement.

I'm gay.

I know this is going to come as a shock to some of you. After all, some of you are blind, or deaf, or blind and deaf, or living in a bunker.

After all, I've only been having sexual relations with men for eight years now. Although many of you probably didn't know that, because I wasn't having those relations directly in front of you. I know that when you haven't actually SEEN someone have sex with another person, it can be difficult to determine just what sort of person that person would like to be personal with in that way.

Yes, it can be very confusing.

So to clear things up, I'm gay.

I like guys.

I knew that a lot of you would need me to announce this in a public fashion since everybody already saying that I was and the fact that I haven't been involved with a woman...ever.

So yeah, gay here. Big ole gay.

You may not have noticed, but all the signs were there.

I'm into guys. I've made out with guys. Guys …

My Brother Ryan

To celebrate his sixteenth birthday, I'd like to tell you my ten favorite Ryan moments:

10) He once got a jelly bean stuck up his nose on Easter.

9) When he was six, he asked to say the "F" word and was told he could not. He then turned to my brother David and said, "Fine. You're the worst effin' brother in the world!" To his credit, he didn't say the actual "F" word.

8) This happened many times, but I'll condense it into one moment. He used to jump off the couch onto my back, and sniff my head like a monkey. (Begging my mother to put him away did no good at all.)

7) He sprung up nine inches in a year thereby proving my mother's point that my brother David and I really shouldn't have picked on him as much as we did when he was a little shrimp of a thing.

6) The day I let him have my old room, I started to take down all the posters and theater clippings off my door. He stopped me and said, "Leave them in case you need…

The New Magic 8 Ball

I have an idea.

I think someone should design a new Magic 8 Ball that you can give to people you don't like.

That way, when they ask questions, they'll get the answers that everybody else wishes they could give them.

For example:

PERSON YOU DON'T LIKE: Does the person I love feel the same way?
NEW MAGIC 8 BALL: No, because you're a filthy scumbag.

PERSON YOU DON'T LIKE: Will I get the job I want?
NEW MAGIC 8 BALL: No, because you smell like exposed uncooked chicken.

PERSON YOU DON'T LIKE: Has anybody talked behind my back today?
NEW MAGIC 8 BALL: Everybody talks behind you're back because everybody hates you. We all want you to move to another country and be captured by a tyrannical regime. At that point, we'd like the regime to imprison you in a labor camp where you'll spend all day contemplating your wasted life and eating tree bark.

PERSON YOU DON'T LIKE: Should I go out tonight?
NEW MAGIC 8 BALL: Yeah, go out and catch syphilis, you dumb whor…

What You'll Find in the New Texas Textbooks

Now that Texas textbooks have been revised to better reflect the beliefs of Texans, I thought I'd take you through a tour of what you'll find in the new Texas history books.

Here are a few historical nuggets that, up until now, were allowed to fall by the wayside:

- First, Texas was founded by this man: http://www.yosemitescouting.org/images/Yosemite%20Sam.bmp

- In 1888, Texas was overrun by drag queens. They stormed the Alamo and attempted to turn it into a mimosa bar. Luckily, the Texans got them out, and banned the drinking of mimosas within two miles of the Alamo.

- The Grass Fight near San Antonio was won by the Texans under Jim Bowie and Ed Burleson. Instead of silver, however, the Texans gained a worthless bounty of grass. (I'm not making this up, it actually happened. See http://www.lsjunction.com/events/events.htm)

- The Texas Declaration of Independence is signed by Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds, and several singing prostitutes.

- Sam Houston retreats from the Mexic…

Bret Michaels' Meta-Reality

You probably didn't see it, but Sunday night, physics and television merged.

Bret Michaels, while acting as a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice, acknowledged the existence of meta-reality while in the meta-reality.

I should probably explain.

During a challenge, Bret Michaels was becoming increasingly frustrated because his project manager (Sinbad, yes, that Sinbad) wasn't giving him anything to do.

He voiced his concern to Sinbad, and in doing so, created a new reality within a reality.

Michaels mentioned that the cameras were following him, getting shots of him doing nothing. He was concerned that he was going to be portrayed as being "lazy" and that would hurt him further along in the game in case his team lost the challenge. He also mentioned the three seasons he spent on VH1's Rock of Love series.

Now, let's consider what this means:

Michaels was bringing attention to the fact that reality television is not, in fact, reality, but rather, carefully edited …

I'll Pay for Abortions, But Here's What I Won't Pay For

Today, President Obama signed an executive order that keeps the existing limits in place regarding federal funding for abortion. As it stands, abortions can be federally funded if the mother's life is in danger or it's a case of rape or incest, but that's it. Agreeing to this helped get the Healthcare reform bill passed, because Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan basically blackmailed the Administration by refusing to vote Healthcare through unless these limits were upheld.

Apparently, Stupak doesn't feel like paying for abortions. Well, that's funny. I didn't realize we had a choice when it came to what our taxes can pay for, but I guess I was wrong.

In that case, here are a few things I don't want to pay for:

- I don't want to pay for my unemployed neighbor to sit at home and do nothing while claiming he's incapable of working. If the man can mow his lawn and swim in his pool every day in the summer, I'm sure he can find a job.

- I don't want a…

Duncan the Cat (1998-2010)

I'd like to tell you about my cat.

Don't worry; it won't be all that depressing.

You see, Duncan had a good life. A life of twelve wonderful years.

I got him when he was a kitten and my mom had promised me a dog. I wanted to christen him "Horrendous" since he was a mixed breed.

God, I thought, I couldn't even get a showcase cat.

Then on the way back home, he tried sitting on my brother's lap. My brother freaked, jumped up, and I grabbed the cat.

From that point on, we were inseparable.

We drove past a Dunkin Donuts, and I renamed him "Duncan."

He was so small he used to be able to hide anywhere. One time he spent an entire day in a tiny space behind my bed until we heard him meowing.

Duncan would fall asleep curled up next to me, or (his actual favorite sleeping place) directing on my forehead.

I can't tell you how many times I woke up and thought I had died in my sleep and gone to some weird, furry heaven.

That was Duncan.

About a year into his lif…

My Jane Austen Dilemma

I have a dilemma.

I don't like Jane Austen.

Ever since I was in high school, I've tried to like her. I really have.

I can't count how many times I've started and stopped reading Pride and Prejudice.

I've tried numerous ways to trick myself into liking her.

At the library where I work, I run a book club, and I've selected almost every one of her books in the hopes that I would stumble across one that appeals to me.

The closest I came was Sense and Sensibility, but even that one remains unfinished to this day--gathering dust on my bookshelf.

So, you may ask, why do you keep trying to like Jane Austen?

Partly because Jane Austen always seemed like someone I should like.

I enjoy the movie versions of her books (again, Sense and Sensibility) and the plots and characters themselves intrigue me.

It's the actual reading of the books themselves that I can't seem to conquer.

I've had people tell me it's because I'm a boy, and that Jane Austen is a "girl&qu…

Keep Your Hands Off My Popcorn

This week, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton was reported in the LA Times as saying that he'd like to see healthier snacks offered in movie theaters in place of traditional concessions fare--like popcorn.

Now, I'm all for making America healthier, but wouldn't it make more sense to go after the fast food restaurants rather than the movie theaters? Are people taking their kids to the movies so often now that the kids are actually getting fat as a result of popcorn indulgence?

Highly doubtful--considering the price of admission. Not to mention that most people can't afford to buy more than the small size bag of popcorn, which holds about two and a half kernels, if that. If you buy a bag of peanut M&M's, you get half a peanut.

So pardon me if I'm a little skeptical about how much of a reform is needed.

Besides, the entire movie-going experience is one big splurge anyway. You spend too much, you eat junk food, you watch a movie with no …

A Funny Grandma Story

This is just a little story about my grandmother that I found humorous.

My grandmother had three kids, the youngest being my aunt, and my aunt was an absolutely nightmare of a child.

When my aunt grew up, she had a daughter--my cousin--who was pretty much the exact same way.

A few weeks ago, my grandmother was having dinner at my aunt's house and overheard an argument between my aunt and my cousin.

Upon hearing my cousin talk back to my aunt, my grandmother couldn't help but laugh at how similar my aunt and her daughter were.

My aunt turned to my grandmother and said--

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

To which my grandmother replied--

"No, sweetheart, I'm just listening. For me to enjoy it, I'd need popcorn."

The New Marriage Vows

On a recent episode of The Marriage Ref, Larry David suggested there should be more in the marriage vows than just the traditional sickness and health.

I agree.

Therefore, I have expanded the vows to include the following:

"I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad..."

--And by bad times, I mean job loss, hair loss, weight gain, weight redistribution, dieting, extramarital affairs, arrests, mid-life crises, career change, sex change, and the production of children who will hate us for the first eighteen years of their lives, and possibly longer than that.

"...In sickness and in health..."

--And by sickness I mean every kind of illness known to man. Cancer, lupus, more cancer, emphysema, trichinosis, food poisoning, obesity, diabetes, ebola, malaria, and whatever else we may catch in Peru on our twentieth anniversary that will make our ears turn blue and cause our tongues to swell twice their natural size.

"…

Five Ways to Create a Myspace Comeback

Let's face it.

At this point, Myspace may as well pack up and shut down.

It's become the old friend that we all forget to call.

Still, I wondered--is there anything that could create a Myspace comeback?

Well, I've managed to come up with ten.

Five surefire ways to put Myspace back on the map.

Here they are:

5) Crazy Advanced Search Options. Oh sure, Facebook can find people you went to high school with, but can it find the baby that was in bin next to you in the newborn wing? How about your Kindergarten teacher? Can Facebook find that guy who drove by you in traffic the other day? I'd say Facebook is leaving an awful lot of slack that Myspace could be picking up.

4) Status Updates? Pshaw, I say. What about Photo Updates? Instead of reading about what people are doing, be able to see what they're doing with easy to upload Photo Updates! Forget "John Smith is reading." SEE John Smith read! Forget "Carly is driving at a high rate of speed and eating…

The "Remember Me" Controversy

Warning: This Article Contains Major Spoiler Alerts--Then again, nobody seems to want to go see this movie anyway, so I'm not sure what difference that makes.

The movie I'm talking about is "Remember Me," and its ending is causing quite the debate.

This would make it the most debated critical and commercial flop since Battlefield Earth.

Here's why--

(Again, spoiler alert.)

The movie ends with the film's protagonist (played by Robert Pattinson) going to the World Trade Center on 9/11 to visit his father, and dying in the terrorist attacks.

Now, here's where the controversy begins:

The movie has absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. It would appear that it's the first movie that includes 9/11 in its plot, but is NOT what someone might call a "9/11" movie. In other words, 9/11 is basically used as a plot device.

Obviously, this has some people up in arms.

The filmmakers say that they only meant to show how life is fleeting, and we have to be grateful f…

The Other Woman Business

Before I begin, let me say this.

This is not an article about the immorality of extramarital affairs.

I'm not interested in writing about that, plus I don't believe anybody's in any sort of place to judge when it comes to who's sleeping with who.

This is an article about business.

The Other Woman Business.

This week, Rielle Hunter made a big splash all over the news simply because she's the "other woman" in the John Edwards scandal.

I say "simply" because I can't understand why in the world that would warrant a page in GQ. Yes, I know--sex sells, but this isn't just sex. This is a woman capitalizing on her bad behavior.

Aha! You think you caught me moralizing, but I'm really not.

I don't call people out on their bad behavior, but when they call themselves out on it, and then proceed to spin it into a book deal, I get a little irritated--if only because then they clog up my television.

When the Tiger Woods scandal broke, there was a mis…

Should A 12-Year-Old Spend Life in Prison?

One of the bigger news articles today concerned Jordan Brown, a 12-year-old from Pennsylvania, who shot and killed his father's pregnant fiance.

Brown is now facing life in prison, as prosecutors plan to try him as an adult. If this happens, he will be the youngest person in America serving out this sentence.

I was appalled watching the video of the prosecutor and some of the victim's acquaintances saying that the boy's actions are that of an eighteen-year-old's.

First of all, murder is not the action of any age. To say that when someone commits an murder, they are automatically an adult is to completely overlook the reason we have juvenile courts. We recognize that when someone under the age of eighteen commits a crime, it is not the same as when an adult commits a crime.

Now, I can see there being some room for argument here when talking about sixteen or seventeen-year-olds, but this isn't even a teenager we're talking about, it's a twelve-year-old.

Part of…

How I Became a Redneck Racist Who Hates Fat People

So I recently posted an article here on Open Salon, that then got posted on Salon, regarding Gabourey Sidibe and Howard Stern's comments regarding how she's never going to work again.

I tried to be very careful when writing the article, because I don't agree with Howard Stern lambasting her for her weight. I did agree that it's ridiculous for people to say she's going to get so much work in Hollywood if Hollywood stays as it is right now, a shallow place obsessed with appearance. In closing, I asked to be proved wrong because I loved Sidibe's performance in "Precious" and watching her on talk shows is always delightful.

Cue floodgates opening.

First, most of the people who looked at the article (and I say "looked at" rather than "read" because anyone who read the article would have noticed some things that many overlooked) and commented on the fact that Sidibe is doing a new television show and has another independent movie coming o…

How to Throw a Mississippi Prom

Since the kids in Mississippi might have to throw their own prom this year, I thought I'd give them a few pointers:

Tip #1: Figure out ahead of time which drag queen you want to emcee. Do you want more camp in your evening? Do you want a queen that can do her own singing? Should she have at least four different gowns? These are all things to take into consideration. Choosing a drag queen is like choosing which of your older brothers is going to buy you booze before the big event; it requires a lot of forethought.

Tip #2: Make sure your DJ is a Darwinist, and invite him to read snippets from "Origin of the Species" in between Gaga songs. If you really want to have him mix it up, throw in a little of the Kinsey report too.

Tip #3: For the photos, make sure the background is the cover of either 'God is Not Great' by Christopher Hitchens or 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins. (I'd go with Hitchens, Dawkins' cover is grey--who wants a grey ba…

Gabourey Sidibe Will Never Work Again

Yesterday Howard Stern got into quite a bit of trouble for going on the air and saying that Gabourey Sidibe, the Oscar-nominated star of "Precious" will never work again.

So that you don't think this is me coming out in defense of Howard Stern, I found it distasteful (but really, this is Howard Stern we're talking about) that he made comments about her weight.

That being said, I think he was absolutely right.

This girl has peaked.

Not because she's not talented, but because she's an overweight African-American girl in Hollywood. I think we all know the odds there.

E! Online mentioned that Sidibe is already working on a Showtime drama starring Laura Linney, but if anyone's wondering when her next big movie role is, I think you're going to be waiting for a long time.

People are attacking Stern for his comments, but they're not bringing up the white elephant in the room--the truth.

Normally, when a woman is nominated for Best Lead Actress for her film debu…

American Idol Recapped: Put the Damn Guitars Away

First off, how awkward and homoerotic was that introduction? It looked like Ryan was trying to determine which guy was going to be in charge of his evening spongebath.

Lee Dewyze: Great. The show starts off with my least favorite song of the past five years, and it sounds like John Mayer's singing it. Then a minute or so in, it actually got...interesting. For one thing, he took a techno song and made it sound a lot like a straight-up pop song. He ended up improving on the original, though the original wasn't all that great, so I'd give him a B+ overall. I think he's got one of the better looks in the competition from the boys, and that's a factor when you consider that when you line up all the contestants they look like a traveling circus.

Alex Lambert: Another guy with a guitar that sounds like John Mayer. How angry do you think Alex is that he lost that coin toss with Lee? Overall, I thought song choice became an issue. The song just sort of meanders alo…

American Idol: Top Eight Girls

I blame Kara for Idol having this group of girls.

I feel like she must have had a hand in pushing through all these guitar-playing girls rather than dynamic singers, which is what's been prevalent in seasons past.

This show is meant to find pop stars, not NECESSARILY musicians. If the performers can play instruments--great. More than that, they need to be able to fire up a stage, and none of these girls can do that.

Even when they do well, they're just okay, because they're not dynamic.

Kara, I'm looking at you.

Here's the girls--in the order they performed:

Katie Stevens: This was sooo lackluster. I thought it was incredibly bland, and it certainly doesn't help that her main criticism from people is that she doesn't have a personality. Last year, Allison wasn't one of my favorites, but she was definitely memorable, and I don't think Katie is, which is unfortunate, because I really like her voice. That being said: Judges, please stop putting childr…

10 Stupid Things for Facebook Walls

Here's my list of 10 Things I'd like to never see on a Facebook wall again:
1) The Boyfriend Report
John Smith is--thinking about his boyfriend CONSTANTLY!!! <3>
Do you realize every time you put something like this on your wall, you make it that much harder for anyone to feel bad for you when the relationship ends two days later?
2) The Vague Expression of Passive Aggression
John Smith is--Some people are really making other people really angry by doing certain things that they shouldn't...
Gee, why don't you just tag the person you got into a fight with two hours earlier? Are you hoping to make all your friends worry that you're mad at them? The comment section on these are even better--
John Doe: OMG! You're not mad at me, are you? John Smith: Noooo, OMG, I love you!!! It's just someone doing something that they shouldn't. They're just a someone. Jane Doe: Is it ME??? LOL No, but is it? John Smith: LOL Nooooo! Someone else.
Pretty soon i…

My Oscar Acceptance Speech

Wow, I just...

I don't know what to say.

I had NO idea I was going to win this.

Especially considering I didn't actually make a movie this year, or last year, or ever really, unless you count that video I made freshman year where me and my friends pretended to be our teachers and got suspended for a week.

Is that what this is for?

Because if it is--it's been a long time coming.

No?

It's not?

Wow, okay.

Well, it's still an honor.

I have so many people to thank, and all of them have crazy names and share many inside jokes with me.

Pop Tart, thank you for the baked Alaska. We'll always have Samoa.
Fandango, who taught me that blue turtles aren't always skinny.
Kiki Rosenfeld, thank you for being the best Googler a boy could have.

God, this is so overwhelming.

I look good, right? Make sure that left camera is on me, not the right one.

Okay, where was I?

Princess Ding Dong, your wisdom...

God, I'm tearing up.

It might be the lights in my eyes. That might be it.

Left Camera! …

The Central Falls Situation

I recently read an article on CNN coming out in favor of the mass firings in Central Falls. This isn't really a pro- or anti-teacher rant. I can understand where both sides are coming from on the issue.

That being said, I'm amazed nobody is using the c-word here.

Community.

I find it confusing that nobody is suggesting that in addition to the teachers, the parents need to have some responsibility regarding the education of their children. As someone who works in a community in an educational setting with a high drop-out rate and a less-than-stellar high school that nearly lost its accreditation, I can say without a doubt that a lack of parental attention can often make a huge difference--not just in their individual child's education--but towards the school as a whole.

The town next to mine is practically worlds away in terms of schooling. They don't have more money than my town. They don't have a more affluent population. There's seemingly no advantage to li…

My Octogenarian Book Club

I run a book club at the library where I work.

It consists of myself, a twenty-five year old man, and a small group of ladies who are all fifty or above.

To say that I have fun running this group would be a huge underestimate. I look forward to our meeting every month the way some people might look forward to receiving tax returns.

Part of the reason for this is because I rarely take the age of the club's members into consideration when I pick what we're reading.

Sidenote: Let's be honest. I totally do the Oprah voice every month when I announce the book and hold it up like there's a camera there.

"This month we're reading CUTTTTING FOR STOOOOOOONNNEE!"

Except rather than giving out copies, I put their names on hold so they can get the books from different libraries.

Admittedly, it's not as flashy.

I have to hand it to them, my ladies are pretty hip.

When I had them read one of my favorite trashy novels--"A Density of Souls" by Christopher Rice, I…

Leave My Starbucks Alone

Recently, Starbucks has become a center of controversy for absolutely no reason.

Allow me to explain.

There is a law in some states that prohibits people from being firearms into businesses.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but apparently many states do NOT have this law.

There is a loophole, however, for the states that don't have the law, which says that businesses may use their own discretion when it comes to allowing customers to carry firearms.

Starbucks has decided not to exercise this loophole, and has said that they don't feel it's a good idea to have their employees ask people who might be carrying firearms to leave their stores.

They've also said that they don't believe it's their place to make a judgment call on something like that, and that it should be decided by the state.

Again, I see their point.

All that being said, I cannot believe that it's actually an issue of contention whether or not people should be allowed to bring firearms into a place of…

American Idol: Top Ten Girls Recap

Tonight was about notes.
The judges' notes--mostly bad.
And--
Money notes--few and far between until the money note heard 'round the world.
Once again, I fail to see why the performers turn in consistent performances during Hollywood week, they get to this point, the judges say--"Stop doing what you've been doing, and do something else," they do, and then the judges say, "Why aren't you doing what you used to do?"
It's infuriating.
That being said (you'll be hearing me say "that being said" about as much as Randy says "I don't know...") here are the girls in the order in which they performed.
Crystal Bowersox: I loved Crystal's performance tonight. I thought it had soul and focus. Not sure what she came down with yesterday, but it certainly didn't set her back any. Now, I have to say that I don't think this is a girl who can win this competition--she's not flashy enough. But for me, she's one of the …

Writing for the Middle Class

I read a really interesting interview with Dan Chaon, the author of Await Your Reply. In it, he talks about writing for the middle class, a demographic of people that he believes have been represented by other writers as "TV-watching, twinkie-eating hicks."
He believes this is a reflection of the overall status gap in America. Chaon (pronounced SHAWN) cites Faulkner having lived amongst both the wealthy and the poor while growing up, and so there's a much greater respect for the middle and lower classes in his writing.
Until I read this interview, it hadn't really occurred to me that I rarely read novels about the middle class anymore. Most authors today seem to pen novels about the incredibly wealthy or the destitute, but never anyone just getting by, and what that entails.
Part of this might be that extremes are interesting--the very term "middle class" implies a lower level of interest in terms of material. That being said, I've looked over the past…

The Play That Changed My Life

A few people have already posted entries regarding the book "The Play That Changed My Life," so I thought I'd follow suit.

Oddly enough, this play is not my favorite play, but it made me think about plays in an entirely new way.

The play is "The Skin of Our Teeth" by Thornton Wilder.

Until I saw a production of this show, then went back and read it, I never thought about all the different things theater could be:

A roller coaster ride.
A meeting between strangers.
A fun house mirror.

It was the first time I understood doing less, working with less, having nothing but a bare stage and a few actors and producing something powerful.

I loved how the play weaved in and out of the surreal and real. I loved how Wilder founds real moments in fantastic situations, and makes reality seem surreal.

The play showed me that there was a way to express your ideas and beliefs without banging someone over the head with them; without making theater therapy.

Like I said, I've seen bett…