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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Movie Review—The Campaign gets my vote

Will Farrell has made some pretty stupid movies but The Campaign isn’t one of them. This is a movie that actually has something to say.

The Campaign starring Will Farrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, and Dylan McDermott is a satire on today’s politics. With almost every scene you see something familiar whether it is Cam Brady’s (Farrell) hair that is an exact replica of John Edwards’ or Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) homespun philosophy and lack of sophistication all wrapped up as neat as a glass of Southern Comfort.

Cam Brady is a career politician accustomed to running unopposed but when he is involved in a sex scandal (imagine that!) the Motch brothers (as in Koch brothers), sleazily played by John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd, decide to back a naive candidate who can be easily controlled, Marty Huggins. Huggins is an effeminate tour guide, husband and father who wears wild eye-crossing sweaters.

Although The Campaign is meatier than some of Farrell’s other movies it still has some of his trademark physical and slapstick comedy such as when he accidentally punches a baby. When Huggins decides to test Brady’s true conservatism and challenges him to recite the Lord’s Prayer the scene will be long remembered as his campaign manager (Jason Sudeikis) acts out a charades to feed him the lines. One can’t help but laugh as Brady mumbles through the prayer and asks “Give us this day our daily pizza.” Oh Lord, forgive me my trespasses if laughing at this is considered sacrilegious but it is funny. The scene also points out the ridiculous lengths candidates go to today in trying to be a more devout Christian and a better American than the opponent. In fact, Brady’s trademark slogan is “America, Jesus, freedom!”

 As the movie continues with one ridiculous incident on top of another a nagging thought persisted—this would be really funny if it weren’t true. The Campaign, directed by Jay Roach of HBO’s political dramas Recount and Game Change, manages to show us how insane our political process has become and does it in a humorous rather than an insulting and shouting way. For a thought-provoking and entertaining evening be sure to see The Campaign.

The Campaign gets my vote—I give it a B+.


Only a woman knows


No one knows what it is like to be a woman, except a woman. This seems to be such an obvious statement; so, why are so many men claiming to be experts on the functions of the woman’s body?

They are so knowledgeable that they are rushing to make statements and pass laws concerning our bodies. One man, Rep. Todd Akin, notoriously got it wrong when he claimed that few women get pregnant when they are raped.

Men have no idea of the physical pain and emotional upheaval our bodies cause us. A woman’s decision whether or not to have children and when is a very personal and emotional decision, one that no man can even begin to understand. Men can never know how much a woman loves and worries about her family. The hours spent caring for her family and creating a safe and nurturing home for them are all part of a woman’s nature. I sometimes think it must be built into her DNA. There must be a mysterious Mom gene that hasn’t yet been identified.

Decisions are not black and white

No matter how loving, caring, and devoted a woman may be, there are times when some women must face a gut-wrenching decision whether or not to bring a child into this world. Every circumstance is as unique as a woman’s fingerprints. I can’t imagine there has ever been a woman who did not face such a decision lightly. It would be easy if the world and its decisions were all black and white—a right and a wrong answer—but it never is.

Let me say right here, before you jump to conclusions, I am not advocating abortion. But I am asking for the right to be able to make our own decisions that will affect the rest of our lives and the future of many others. I am not against pro-life; rather, I am for pro-choice.  I feel a woman should be able to make her own decisions concerning her body, especially in cases of rape and incest.

A neighbor’s painful journey

I never gave the debate over pro-choice versus pro-life much thought until a neighbor told me of her very personal and painful journey. She was a young elementary teacher who found herself pregnant at the same time there was a rubella epidemic in her school. Rubella has been known to cause birth defects so she had herself tested and, yes, she had contracted rubella and they thought the fetus was affected. This was in the ‘70’s before Roe v. Wade and she had to petition the legislature before she could have an abortion. She had to undergo three tests with at least two out of the three showing positive results. Each test had to be spaced a few weeks apart and during this whole process she agonized over the results and decisions.

During this time she visited the school for the blind and the deaf where many of the students had been exposed to rubella while in the womb. This experience convinced her to terminate the pregnancy. She knew if she had a physically and/or mentally handicapped child she would never be able to bring herself to have another child. As we looked at her two healthy children playing in the yard, with tears in our eyes, she said she knew she made the right decision.

No one can know the fear, anguish, sleepless nights, and heart break she suffered. She put herself through this long and difficult process because she felt in her heart it was not fair to the child to bring it into this world with so much against it.

Her story moved me to the point that I became a believer in pro-choice. If this had happened to her during a time of legal abortions, she would not have had to undergo the humiliating experience of petitioning the legislature and endure the long wait for the testing, results, and finally the legislature’s decision. One look at the pain in her face told me the process had not been easy for her.

Rep. Akin and VP candidate Ryan sponsored “personhood” bill

Now women are faced with the prospect of NO legalized abortions—even in the case of rape or incest. By now we all know of the statement by Rep. Akin saying that a woman’s body has a way of shutting down in case of rape to prevent pregnancy. But did you know that vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Rep. Todd Akin have worked together in the past to cosponsor a “personhood” bill that would not only prevent rape victims from terminating the pregnancy but would also treat any abortions resulting from rape as a homicide crime. In addition they also sponsored a bill to prevent Medicaid recipients who are raped from obtaining an abortion unless it is a “forcible rape.”

What does that mean? Are we now at the point that we are defining degrees of rape? Rape is rape. Ryan admitted this in a recent interview however he also said that he still stands behind his position on abortion. In another interview Ryan stated that rape is just another form of conception. As a woman I find these words and attitude too cavalier and offensive.

Rape defined

Several terms have been tossed about recently in connection with rape. We have heard forcible rape, legitimate rape, and statutory rape. What do these terms mean? Let’s take the easy term first—statutory rape. The legal definition of statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person (girl or boy) who has not reached the age of consent. Rape is legally defined as the crime of forcing a woman to submit to sexual intercourse against her will. If this is the definition of rape why do we need to add the term forcible or legitimate to it? Does this mean that if a woman didn’t fight hard enough then it is considered legitimate? To examine this further, one of the definitions of legitimate is complying with the law, or having official status defined by law or complying with recognized rules, standards, or traditions.

As you can see, by adding qualifying adjectives we are opening Pandora’s Box. Rape is rape. So where did Rep. Akin and his colleagues get the idea that a woman’s body shuts down and does not become pregnant after a rape? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch looked into this and found the origins of this claim. It comes from a 1972 article by Dr. Fred Mecklenburg titled “The Indications for Induced Abortion: A Physician’s Perspective” published in Abortion and Social Justice compiled by Dr. Thomas W. Hilger. In his piece he states—a woman exposed to rape, “will not ovulate even if she is ‘scheduled’ to.”

Nazi experiment

Digging deeper they found this statement came from a study done by Nazi doctors. Dr. Mecklenburg, who wrote the paper, says “the doctors tested their hypothesis ‘by selecting women who were about to ovulate and sending them to the gas chambers, only to bring them back after their realistic mock-killing, to see what the effect this had on their ovulatory patterns. An extremely high percentage of these women did not ovulate.”

 There are two major problems with this theory. The first is that these women were malnourished and the second is they were abused and both conditions have been known to cause infertility. The Post-Dispatch quoted Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

“From a scientific standpoint, what’s legitimate and fair to say is that a woman who is raped has the same chances of getting pregnant as a woman who engaged in consensual intercourse during the same time in her menstrual cycle.”

Love, understanding and counseling needed

We will hear a lot about this topic in the future. Rather than rushing to judgment to condemn and convict women who seek abortions, wouldn’t love, understanding and counseling (without preaching) be better? These decisions are never easy and we don’t live in a black and white world.


So Where DID Akin Get That ‘Legitimate Rape’ Idea?


The Olympics—what I loved and hated


It’s a good thing the Olympics come only once in every four years. If it came any more frequently than that we would all be zombies after sitting glued to the TV for two weeks. We find ourselves watching all the events, even ones we never heard of, just because it is the Olympics.

We root for the athlete who walked ten miles barefoot to train and for the athletes who have been separated from their families for months or even years in order to achieve their goals of performing and winning on the international stage. This opportunity comes only once every four years.

The Good

We saw many amazing fetes this year. We watched as Michael Phelps swam to a record 22 medals in his Olympic career. After he helped the U.S. win the 4×100 meter relay, the swimming officials gave him a special trophy claiming him the greatest Olympic athlete of all time. Usain Bolt kept his title as the fastest man alive and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team wowed us with their nimble dexterity.

The opening ceremonies featuring the queen parachuting into the stadium with Agent 007, James Bond, is something we will long remember. The smiles of gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin are captured into our memories along with the tears of the many who didn’t achieve their goals.

The royal family showed us they are human. The queen proved she has a sense of humor by agreeing to the stunt with James Bond. Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate sat among the commoners to watch the games and cheer on their athletes and William and Kate even showed a little PDA with some celebratory hugs.

The Bad

I was a little puzzled over the opening and closing ceremonies. I didn’t understand the full story behind what they were doing, if there was a story. In the opening ceremony who were the men in top hats and what were they doing? I guess the opening ceremony was meant to be a brief history of Great Britain and the closing ceremony was intended to give us a taste of British life and pop culture today. Judging from what I saw, am I to believe that the whole country and its people are covered in newsprint? I think that was a poor choice because all I could think of was Rupert Murdoch and the ease-dropping scandal of his newspapers.

The Olympics are a time for the youth of all nations to come together in peace. What captured this sentiment more than anything was the children’s choir singing John Lennon’s song Imagine. When Lennon, himself, appeared on screen singing along it sent chills through my body.

and The Ugly

NBC did a poor job with their coverage. For starters, they could have provided more information during the opening and closing ceremonies. Maybe, then I would better understand who the men in top hats were and why everyone and everything were covered in newsprint. People, performers, and athletes appeared without an introduction or name projected onto the screen. And, the biggest question of all was never answered—where was Prince William during the closing ceremony?

NBC also began coverage of the closing ceremony before the time stated in the TV listings. We tuned in to find the festivities had already begun. Since it was all on taped delay, that would have been an easy thing to fix.

Finally, what was NBC thinking to interrupt the closing and final wrap-up for a stupid doctor/monkey show? If they thought they would take advantage of a captive audience to promote a fall show, they were wrong. There are many other channels to choose from and we did just that. When they resumed the broadcast an hour later the excitement of the ceremonies had lost its appeal. Everything was anti-climatic. Many reviewers, tweeters and bloggers have compared this goof to NBC’s Heidi fiasco in 1968 when they broke away from the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders game in the last minute of the game. At the time the Jets led 32-29 with one minute left in the game. Instead of finishing the game, NBC went to a commercial and then began the movie Heidi which was contracted to begin at 7 pm. The Raiders scored two touchdowns in the last minute and won 43-32.

When NBC broke away from their final Olympic coverage to promote an upcoming sitcom and then local news, by the time they returned to the Olympics everything had lost its sparkle. It was like watching a dead firecracker. In addition, many fans were waiting to see rock legends The Who and were disappointed with the short amount of air time they had.

Long live the Olympics

In spite of the rough spots during the Olympics the things that will be remembered are the young athletes winning with style and grace; especially, the American athletes who took more medals, 104, than any other nation.

Long live the Olympics, God Save the Queen, and God give me the endurance to wait another two years for the winter Olympics in 2014.


Hot Summer

Brain freeze


I have a brain freeze. I don’t mean the kind you get when you eat ice cream too fast; no, I have the kind you get when you are overwhelmed with too many mental tasks.

Do you ever get to the point that you just can’t think anymore? My mind is frozen into a thousand pixilated squares, just like your frozen cable TV screen. My internal computer is buffering like the computer screen I have been staring at the past several days trying to figure out an email problem. My brain continues to whirl in circles just like the icon on my computer that tells me to wait until it completes the task.

Last night I went to bed with a headache and wondered why. Then, I remembered that the first half of my day was spent untangling and juggling bills (my least favorite thing to do) and the second half of the day was spent trying to figure out why my computer is sporadically sending out emails. It is now sending out only short emails. I guess it is tired and doesn’t want to send any with attachments or with more than one name. Complicating the process, it won’t let me send anything to myself so I can check it. I guess it has decided I know what I wrote and there is no need to deliver it.

I have two accounts, one with Gmail, and one with our cable company which I have used for 15 years. Just like a typical teenager, the one through the cable company has developed a mind of its own. As a test I have sent emails through both accounts but only receive the Gmail account back. The most frustrating part of this is I have had my new web site for a few weeks and have not been able to notify my readers. I send a personal email to our many friends and relatives every time I add a new post but have not been able to do so for the last couple of posts. In addition, I have not been able to find a way to transfer my address book, which is in Outlook, to Gmail so I can send out the notices through them.

I am going to have to bite the bullet and call tech support for help. In the past my sessions with them haven’t always been successful, especially if they transfer me to India.

I know the perfect solution to a brain freeze and that is a good frozen margarita. If I’m going to suffer the pain of a brain freeze I might as well go for the real thing. It may not help me find the answers to my problems but, then, who cares?