Monday, 28 February 2011

Musical Monday - Born This Way (Lady Gaga)

Okay, so everyone and their auntie's dog has probably said something about this song.  But I can't help it, the lyrics are great.  Okay, so I know some people will have an opinion about different parts, but you know what?  Who cares?  She starts off by referencing God, but she also points out that it doesn't matter if you're gay - we're all equals, we all deserve to be here, no matter our religion, race or sexuality.  And I think that's a great message.

Friday, 25 February 2011

What? Just.....WHAAAT!?

I try to keep my posts as happy as I can given that I am not that much of a cynic.  However, given my disjointed sleep last night and a 7am start at work tomorrow morning with the last thing I need is for my bed to vibrate from the bass volume coming from the rest of the family watching what sounds like a very action packed Bruce Willis movie (very selfish of them as I love both genres!) - all this makes me a very cranky woman indeed.  As such, I end up online and come across this article from Yahoo News.
Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican from Marietta, Georgia, has introduced a bill that would criminalize miscarriages, making abortion and miscarriage -- or "prenatal murder" in the language of the bill -- potentially punishable by death.
 Excuse my language, but WHAT THE FUCK!?   Punishable by DEATH!?  As pointed out, even trained medical professionals can't say for sure what causes a lot of miscarriages.  Heck, a lot of women don't know they're pregnant when they miscarry, or even if they were pregnant in the first place!  But oh no.  According to this pleb:
Women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was "no human involvement whatsoever in the causation" of their miscarriage.
 Okay, so unless you can prove that you were very good in keeping still, letting nature do its silent secret work in your uterus making a bunch of cells into something resembling a human a few months down the line, you could be arrested, jailed and ultimately executed.  How do you even prove that crap in the first place!?

The article points out in some digression to the main point that no one is quite sure if Mr Franklin is married or not.  I don't see why he shouldn't be.  What woman can resist his obvious caring, intelligent nature.  I sincerely hope this is just me finally having fallen asleep and having a bad dream, or if it isn't, that Congress has some sense and flat out laugh this bullshit bill out of their halls.  I mustn't be as tired as I think because I can feel some glimmer of hope that the latter is true. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see playing some loud piano music can drown out the explosions downstairs and help me sleep before I become anymore snappy and cranky.

EDIT:  Okay, so Bobby Franklin has been married for 27 years.  I guess it takes all sorts.

Facebook's new relationship statuses

Just noticed this when someone on my friend's list had changed his relationship status to "In a civil partnership".   It just gave me a bit of a warm-fuzzy that Facebook have acknowledged the LGBT community in this way and thought I'd share that.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Not my turn yet.

So, I hear that from the 20th of March until the 26th, it'll be 'A' Week. As the website states:
'A' Week is not about being disrespectful to religion or people who have religious views, it’s about quietly showing that there are more people than may be realised who are ‘Good without God’ and who don’t need religion to influence their lives. 
It's kinda encouraging, really.  But as much as I would like to join the ranks in this movement, the time is not right for me just yet to come out.  One friend knows, and I suspect more have their suspicions, but no point in me coming out as agnostic/atheist yet.  Why?  Simply, because I don't think my otherwise traditional Muslim family know.  I wouldn't say they're fundamentalist in their thinking and practice, but I don't think they'd take too kindly to one of their own blood coming out as a heathen.  Especially my mother, who as of late has been rather morbid and developed a very skewed and hypocritical religious viewpoint.  No, once I move out of the family nest, and by the cultural rules am thus my own woman, I can come out a bit more freely.  Although I will say that if everyone in my family is surprised then (extended family and immediate family included), I would be shocked and maybe even a little bit appalled at their apparent short-sightedness.  After all, I haven't been a model Muslim woman since I was born, so why would it be any surprise if I told them I thought it was bull?

So yeah, to those of you who are out, or are planning on coming out very soon, well done.  Whilst I may not be waving my flag on Facebook, I will at least do so here.  Heck, I doubt anyone I know reads this anyway, so it's not like I'm burning my own boat down or anything.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Musical Monday - Pachelbel's Canon in D

I love music.  Rock, Pop, R'n'B, Classical, Country, Cheese - anything that gets into my head and touches my soul really.  I've always lamented that I couldn't play an instrument (though hopefully that will change once I buy a guitar and practice) and I love singing and dancing.

Anyway, music is a very moving medium.  It stirs up the soul, can make you cry, help you fall in love, heal your heart or get you motivated to get out there and embrace the world.  So, to extend my love of music, I am going to try out a weekly segment to help everyone else start the week with a song in their heart.  To kick off, I offer my favourite classical piece - Pachelbel's Canon in D.

Not exactly a rare find, but I ADORE this song.  I love that it can be played at the background of an elegant afternoon garden party, or in a ballroom, or at a wedding.  In fact, I will confess - I would love for this to be played at my wedding, whenever that may be.  Preferably during spring or early summer with the cherry blossoms in bloom. 

Okay, I will stop with the sap now.  I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Date with a Comet

I have somewhat of a mild interest of outer space.  I remember in my first year of high school putting together a presentation on space exploration in front of the class, building a model space shuttle and describing the launch process to my slightly bewildered classmates (presentation partner included).  My favourite physics classes had focussed on planets and I enjoyed reading sci-fi fiction and watching shows like Stargate SG-1 and X-Files, trying to teach myself how to identify constellations as I watch the night sky - I'd even attempted writing a sci-fi story in college sometime later but that failed (apparently sci-fi is too difficult a genre to write for in children's literature).  Admittedly, that once burning adoration for space waned as I grew older for whatever reason.  However, I still get that old familiar little tingle when I look up and spot Orion (my favourite constellation) on a clear night or watch a video about space that really gets you in the seat of your heart.  I got that old familiar feeling this morning when I found this:

NASA Stardust Mission photos

(I was looking at these whilst listening to this song - I recommend you do the same.)

Looking through these, I wish I at least kept enough of a casual learning curve in astronomy to identify what some of these photos are (I'm guessing one of my favourite ones, which I have dubbed the Ring of Fire, is of a galaxy or a supernova).  The photos of the planets are also breathtaking on their own. 

I sure hope that USA's planned NASA budget cuts don't affect these kinds of missions any more than neccessary.  If we're to keep exploring further outside our little blue dot and help future generations grow, we need these missions to keep showing us the beauty out there.  I for one would love to reach out to the night sky and grasp a star in my hands and when I see pictures like these, I really feel like I could. 

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Some people need a sense of humour

Comedy is a hard business, I can understand that.  After all, it's difficult to cater for a wide audience with different opinions on what's funny.  I myself boast a sometimes strange sense of humour (according to people around me, and my bad/odd attempts at jokes).  There are times though where jokes are little more than attacks on people and then the lines of humour blur.  I refer to the infamous BBC event known as "Sachsgate", where comedians Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand had phoned up Andrew Sachs, an elderly actor and started ragging on him about his grandaughter and making very lewd and crude comments that no grandfather wants to hear.  Especially whilst live on radio air time.  Now, whilst it may be a "harmless" prank call, it did distress someone who is basically a pensioner in the name of comedy - that leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

However, that leads me onto something else.  Reading this article on Yahoo News, I can't help but wonder whether people need to lighten up just a tad.  I happen to be a fan of Top Gear; whilst my knowledge of automotives barely goes beyond identifying different models, the humour and stunts in the series makes it for some very entertaining viewing.  Whilst watching the series, you also become familiar with the humour the presenters have - brash, laddish, quite often crude but good-natured.  I mean, c'mon!  Jeremy Clarkson is not exactly known for his tact and finesse with the English language!  The editor highlighted a particular piece of dialogue that actually had me in stitches and wish I caught this particular episode.
Hammond: ...Cars reflect national characteristics, don't they, so German cars are very well built and ruthlessly efficient, Italian cars are a bit flamboyant and quick, a Mexican car's just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight... leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus, with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat.
May: It is interesting, isn't it, because they can't do food, the Mexicans, can they? Because it's all like sick with cheese on it, I mean...
Hammond: Refried sick!
May: Yeah, refried sick.
Hammond: I'm sorry, but just imagine waking up and remembering you're Mexican: 'awww, no'.
Clarkson: No, it'd be brilliant... because you could just go straight back to sleep again.
Okay, so they went after the stereotype of Mexicans.  So what?  We're all guilty of using a stereotype to make jokes about particular groups - the English can't cook and are uptight, the French are pompous chickens, the Germans are no-nonsense doms, the Italians are very...metrosexual.  And it maybe that they hate Mexican food, and whilst I love the stuff, it can sometimes look less than appetising (presentation is the key - it's so easy to make a nice burrito fall apart into a gloopy, meaty, spicy mess that does sometimes look like it was digested once already).  Now, that exchange doesn't strike me as anything spicy or controversial.  The only shocking thing on there to me was that most of it was Hammond and not Clarkson!  Whilst browsing about the Internet on this, I did come across one youtube video of a Mexican giving his own commentary about the storm in a teacup.

I will conceed on one point he made - yes, the stereotype used was an American born one and you can accuse the Top Gear team in being lazy with their jokes.  But really, a stereotype's purpose is supposed to be a quick caricature of a group that everyone can recognise and unfortunately for this guy, this does mean that we Brits are more familiar with the American version.  Perhaps he could petition one of the more upper brow comedians to make a higher class of stereotypical joke - Stephen Fry comes to mind but I think he's still trying to dig himself out of his Japan shaped hole. 

It seems people just want an excuse to be angry or outraged nowadays for no reason.  Okay, so these three boy-men are on the world stage now thanks to Internet TV, but I think they wouldn't do too bad in showcasing British humour.  Next to other classic British examples Frankie Boyle or Al Murray, I think these three boys are pretty tame.  Let them have their playground humour and let's laugh with them.