Sunday, April 30, 2006

Reality Bites

A Children's Cartoon From the Middle East Has a New Mideast Peace Plan

From the article-

But the real goal of "Ben and Izzy" is more serious: to help young Americans and Arabs steer clear of the prejudices of their parents and grandparents, which may have been reinforced by the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Iraq. In promotional materials, Ben the American is described as "a symbol for his country" who is "big" and "energetic," but "on the negative side, he is a bit xenophobic, self-centered, needs-to-win competitive."

"Like his native land," the creators write, "he sometimes blunders into situations without thinking."

Izzy the Jordanian, by contrast, is "slight of build, sinewy and studious," but "on the downside, Izzy can be a little too serious, self-righteous, superior, even devious."

The boys don't like each other at first, they argue but don't fight with guns or knives, the promotional materials point out, but they will ultimately learn "that as a team, they can outsmart almost anyone."

While I'm not convinced that this cartoon from the Middle East can really claim a new Mideast peace plan (the plan of burying heads in sand is pretty common, after all), I can understand why it's not more realistic. Asking why it's not more realistic would be like yelling "Why are you going out there?! Everyone knows what happens when you go out!" when the third in a group of five ventures out to see what happened to the first and second who ventured out into the foggy night while watching a horror flick. Like the cartoon in question, they have to follow a certain plot or there will be no movie. In reality, Izzy would strap bombs to his body shortly after Ben stopped walking on eggshells or forgot that the price for being oneself (and daring to actually believe in individual freedom) in less civilized parts of the world, is death.

I mean, imagine a realistic episode. It would be all over in ten minutes or less.

Izzy tells Ben that his mother is a whore who deserves to be buried to her neck and stoned to death because she doesn't cover her head, ventures into public without a male chaperone, and wears those risqué calf and ankle revealing capri pants and dare I say blue jeans (gasp). Ben explains to Izzy that his mother behaves in a manner comparable to many American women, which inspires Izzy to verbally damn the entire Western civilization, which inspires Ben to yell "Bring it on!". Somewhere between his fear of seeing Middle Eastern women catching American capri wearing cooties and his anger over the exchange, Izzy finds his slim form laden with explosives. Ben has calmed himself but only by deciding to just stay away from all those of such uncivilized cultures who aren't happy with merely liiving their own lives but also seek to try to change the way everyone else lives theirs. The bomb laden Izzy soon pulls Ben from his isolation though, so Ben decides to blow the hell out of Izzy before Izzy blows the hell out of a bunch of little girls in blue jeans.

Hooray Ben! The show's over, folks.

The very basis of the cartoon is about attempting to improve personal relations and those issues cannot possibly be touched upon in a realistic manner so they just have to make stuff up to deal with instead. I think most Americans don't really care how those in the Middle East choose to live as long as they are left alone to live their own lives as they see fit, free from threat. Most not only don't care but couldn't have even found them on a map until after the horror of Sept. 11th. The very basis of this cartoon ignores the important fact that this struggle between the Middle East and the West is more about barbarian behavior and beliefs versus modern and civilized behavior and beliefs. Seriously, I wouldn't expect a cartoon for children to contain this type of reality but one wonders why they bother with the cartoon at all. If the cartoon is not for pure entertainment and only deals with fake issues, what's the point?

Besides, I'm rather fond of Ben (America), just the way he is.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Say It Aint So

Yup, it's Monday.

The most exciting things have occurred today, despite the Mondayesqueness of the moment. Not only did my special SPF girly stuff arrive but my t-shirt from Striving for Average did as well. Hooray! This definitely lessens the bluntness of its actually being Monday. Ok, so I ordered it way back before the hiatus (if you can call it that), but I'm just now getting around to picking up the mail sooo, it's a very exciting day. Now all I need to do is replace the IMAO gear (eaten by an evil dryer) with new IMAO gear and my evil conservative wardrobe will be complete!

Also exciting on this fine Monday, Michelle Malkin (who I fully support despite the fact that she is a really hot chick and a minority though perhaps I'm a bit late in the game) brings us Hot Air. Add Hot Air to your side bar to remain informed as well as entertained.

See, Mondays don't always completely suck. :)

{Update: Even as I typed the Monday post the uber-teen was asked out by an apparently very cute 18 year old who lives just 20 minutes away. I've been sent his MySpace page and no I can't share it with you all for the purpose of some good old fashioned "threatening ridicule" nor will she tell him that I could easily fix him up with his desire to some day meet God and am perfectly capable of eating chocolate chip cookies over his cold dead body.}

I joke, I joke... He may very well be, even likely from what I'm able to gather, a very nice young man. I bet he'll love going to the movies, with us, sometime in the near future. Heh

Dang Mondays.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm Alive!

Ok, just barely.

The past two years I've made the mistake of fooling around until late spring to even start any outdoor projects here in uber-land (otherwise known as hell, here lately) and every year I'm out there in June, still at it but not accomplishing much, ready to pass out from heat exhaustion. This year I decided to do things a little different since it would seem that I can only take the heat in spring and fall.
So, I participated in the standardized test thing, even though it's only a suggestion that you have someone else test your child and not a requirement at all, some actually care what the state suggests (just not me). The rest of the month of March was spent with children of various ages playing Q&A...

"What would happen if you ate a suppository?"

You didn't eat a suppository, did you?!


Oh, ok. Not sure exactly, nothing good. Never eat a suppository.

"What is a suppository anyhow?"

Ask your grandma or grandpa.

"Where do babies come from?"


"I know that, but how do they get in there?"

Uh, God.

"But, how do they get out then?"

Ask your mom and dad.

"But I already asked you."

Break time! Who wants ice cream? Yay!

Ah, kids. Gotta love 'em.

After the inquisition I did a few things around the property like clear another half acre, mow two and a half acres (twice), plant 3 Japanese maples, two rhododendron, one unidentified flowering tree (see photo below to help identify) an innumerable amount of flowers and took several long nature walks through the wooded areas of the property in search of rare plants and trees to transplant & attract certain wildlife. Hooray! Translated, all that means briars kicked my ass, I broke another mower, fell into a hole while laughing at the uber-teen (attempting manual labor for the first time in her entire life), got lost in the woods and slid down a mountain of wet leafy forest goo (head first).

I now know why all the country folk get up at dawn and are in bed before dusk. It's like being two all over again and falling asleep with your face in your dinner. I have a new respect for these individuals but I'm totally looking forward to staying up until all hours and sleeping in again, beginning each day with lip gloss and a curling iron, ending it with a nice bubble bath and scented lotions (which makes one a creepy bug magnet outdoors) with plenty of blogging in between instead of waking to an alarm and aching muscles and going to sleep to the sound of my own sobbing.

There goes my dream of farming for a living, dang. Ah well.

My new goal in life is to never sweat again, at least not without an AC blowing at me from all directions. I've a new plan to get things done around here without paying someone an ungodly amount of money to do it for me. It's so brilliant that the word maniacal comes to mind. The downed trees waiting to be sawed into logs? Plan A- Buy a friend that chainsaw he's been wanting for his birthday. Plan B- Ask to borrow it soon after, wearing daisy dukes and batting eyelashes. Plan C- Put an add in the paper that goes something like "Free wood, you saw and haul. Contact me at"



Here's the photo of the unidentified tree which grows wild in North Carolina. Bonus points for anyone able to identify this tree (I've searched high and low to no avail).

p.s. Thanks to everyone who keeps stopping by, I really missed you guys! It's great to be back. Think I'll take a nap now. ;)