Archive for March, 2007

Relieved?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Have you heard of Jennifer Elison? She is the woman who wrote a book sharing her relief over her husband’s death in an automobile accident. She was feeling oppressed and trapped in her 4 year marriage and wanted a divorce. In fact, she had told him so the day before he died in a car accident. As luck would have it, she didn’t have to wade through any annoying divorce proceedings and fret over the distribution of assets. Fate intervened and his young life was snuffed out just in the knick of time. She got her husband out of her hair and was able to retain all of his assets. Cha-ching! As the doctors informed her the man she had married did not survive, she was spared the pain of grief as the pleasure of relief overcame her.

Just when I think people can’t possibly become any shallower, someone like Ms. Elison comes along. There are plenty of people in this world who annoy and frustrate me, or make my life more difficult at times. I still recognize those individuals as living, breathing souls with feelings and families and dreams. Just because our lives don’t compliment one another doesn’t mean the planet is too small for the both of us. Perhaps Ms. Elison would be happy if some huge epidemic struck her city and killed off most of the population. Then she would feel relieved not to have to wait in line at the grocery store or suffer delays on the roadways. She’d also have a better chance of getting a first rate parking space at the local mall with fewer people to compete with and hold her back.

It’s so sick and sad to me. Ms. Elison is actually being praised by some who commend her for her honesty. There are some who have shared there own stories of relief when someone close to them has died. There are a few who had a right to be relieved. They were watching a loved one suffer horribly through a terminal disease. There were others who, like Ms. Elison, had simply tired of having another person around them. Some have justified this reaction with the argument that the after life is more important than the physical life anyway, so it’s not like it was any great loss for the dearly departed. It’s discouraging, but not a complete surprise. As a society we seem to be getting further and further away from valuing human life and recognizing how special existence can be.

So Many Of Us Do It…

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

I admit I slouch….badly. There are days when some might assume I am bent over in constant prayer. It all became painfully clear to me over the weekend. My husband and I went to dinner at a place frequented by senior citizens. (As a side note, those are the best restaurants because the prices are reasonable and the service is good or the seniors wouldn’t give them the time of day.) In any event, as I looked around the room I was struct by how many people in the room were bent over. I’m not talking osteoporosis bent over, I’m talking hunched from a chronic slouch condition. Patrons of all ages, ethnicities and genders were bent as if leaning in to share a secret conversation. I had this insane urge to walk around the room and straighten everybody out. Then I realized I was just as hunched as the rest of them. Heck, I’m hunched even now as I type this blog.

As a result of my realization, I’ve been trying to force myself to sit up straight. Amazingly, it takes work. I catch myself making multiple attempts to roll my shoulders the right way and then checking myself in the mirror to see how close I am to success. When I do manage to get myself arrow straight, oddly I feel more alert. Breathing becomes somewhat easier and the tension that is normally present in my shoulders eases a bit. Who would have thought my 6th grade teacher who would order us to sit up straight was actually on to something?

No Thanks Quiznos!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Yep, it has been confirmed Quiznos is the company running the offensive ad about girls liking their meat. How sad a food chain feels the need to join in the disgusting sexualization of our kids.

I logged a comment on Quiznos’ website today (www.quiznos.com). I invite you to do the same. Their creative minds should be able to come up with a better way to market their product. Here is a copy of what I sent them today:

“Your new commercial that makes a statement along the lines of “girls like a lot of meat” is disgusting. The suggestive nature of the ad is clear. Many of my friends who have heard the commercial are shocked, men and women alike. It’s one of those ads that seriously makes you stop what you are doing and drop your jaw. I think you should pull the ad and rethink things a bit. It’s great to get people’s attention, but if you have to do it that way you won’t be seeing any more of my money. I’m tired of all of the sexual messages our kids receive. There is no reason for a sandwich shop to contribute to the problem.”

Stealing Candy From A Baby

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Stealing candy from a baby isn’t nearly as easy as the cliche’ makes it sound. My daughter’s grip is tighter than most 30 year olds. If a child is holding something in his/her hand that he/she really wants, don’t count on it being an easy acquisition. I think one might be better off buying the candy than stealing if from a wee mite.

Throwing The Book At Me

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Tis the season for the thump on my doorstep. Living in a metropolitan area subjects you to the barrage of multiple large phone books. We have yellow pages, white pages and blue pages. I think there are some red pages too, but I haven’t examined the books closely in some time. Then there are city pages, county pages and community pages. It’s pretty insane. All total, I would say we get about 7 phone books a year all within weeks of each other. They arrive in plastic sleeves at the beginning of the week. By Thursday, our neighborhood recycling collection day, a majority of them are stacked up on the curb for paper recycling.

Even though the paper isn’t being thrown away, the entire process seems like such a waste to me. First, not everyone is inclined to recycle so some are making their way to the garbage. Second, when you think of all of the labor and resources that go into producing the books you get whether you request one or not, it really is astounding. With the advent of the internet, I honestly can’t even remember the last time I used a phone book. My guess would be I’ve gone approximately 5 years without letting my fingers do the walking through newsprint. Many of my friends and family members are cancelling traditional phone services and are turning to cell phones or VoIP options. Those who are staying with the good ole phone company are choosing to remain unlisted to try to curtail unwanted phone calls. Essentially, many of the people I want to call aren’t listed in a phone book anyway.

I’m sad to report the phone book is just one of those things that has long since died yet keeps showing up for dinner. It’s a bit strange to think of how little excitement I have over the thump on my doorstep. There was a time when receiving the phone book was thrilling. We’d immediately thumb through the pages to see our listing and those of our friends and family. The phone book would be wrinkled with constant use and stored close by for easy access. These times they are a changing.

That’s It!

Monday, March 5th, 2007

I’m going to really start paying attention to advertisements, movies and television shows that target kids with sexual messages. When I see them, I’m going to post them here under the title “No Thanks (offender’s name)”. These are the shows, movies, products, etc., I won’t be supporting as a result of their messages to our kids. If you spot any offenders, you are welcome to share them with me. Anyone who wants to join me in not financially support these offenders is welcome to do so.

As you know, my mind is still spinning from the blog I did the other day on HPV in kids. As my husband and I played with our infant daughter last night, I was barely paying attention to the television in the background. I heard a snip-it of a commercial that horrified me. I’m not sure of the company (and I will be listening in the future so I can accurately report it here), but a sub sandwich company was advertising its new sub packed full of meat. The pitch was something along the line of “every girl likes a lot of meat.” Even in my partial state of attention, the sexual message of the commercial burned my ears. I stopped in the middle of what I was doing and asked my husband if my ears heard what I thought they heard. He heard the same thing and was equally as shocked. Once I find it, I will post the details here. They aren’t getting my money in the future. If any of you have heard this ad, let me know. I am reasonably sure I know the company behind the advertisement, but I want to be sure before posting a name here.

Another ad I’m on the look out for is a mascara ad targeted at teen girls. The product is something like XX, Double X or Triple X. In any event, the pitch is that “every girl needs to get it on.” The company can play innocent if they like, but the shock intent is clear to me. I only caught it briefly and was so shocked at the message, I didn’t pay attention to the company marketing the product. The ad involves two teenaged looking girls putting on make-up. That much I remember.

I’ve Been Linked

Monday, March 5th, 2007

A person who I do not know has linked me to her Blog. I will refer to her as Madeline’s Mommy. I visited her site the other day and was blessed with beautiful pictures of her gorgeous infant daughter. I attempted to comment, but I have yet to create a Google Account and wasn’t able to do so. If you are reading, Madeline’s Mommy, thanks for the link and I love your pics.

In any event, Madeline’s Mommy was writing about a special memory of her Grandfather. Her Grandfather wore OshKosh overalls on his farm. She shared pictures of Madeline in her OshKosh dress and expressed how special it was for her to have OshKosh items to put on her daughter. It’s amazing all of the warm memories OshKosh has been a part of. They symbolize a simpler life with family as the centerpiece. When people don OshKosh overalls, they aren’t doing so to make a fashion statement and impress anyone. They are doing so to work the land and tend to animals with comfort and without concern of how messy things may be. There is a great sense of satisfaction over the hard work logged in overalls while doing such basic and important things. The best ones have rips and stains that serve as a diary of experiences.

My Grandfather also gave OshKosh quite a bit of business. He forever wore (and still does on occasion) the pinstriped bibbs. My sister and I would call them Grandpa Drawers and we were ecstatic when we got our own pair. Of course, some of the enthusiasm died when we realized they can be hard to get out of if you wait too long to head to the bathroom. Fortunately there weren’t any OshKosh tragedies. I know fifty years from now when I call up a vision of my Grandpa, he will be wearing those overalls. It will bring a smile to my face just as it does today. Grandpa mentioned a short while ago they are hard to find now. He believes OshKosh has lowered production if they haven’t ceased making them all together. So sad. What article of clothing could stand a chance as an adequate replacement to the OshKosh overalls? I don’t see my Grandkids getting cozy feelings over my Gap Bootleg Cut Jeans or my husband’s Columbia Jacket.

I Propose…

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

I propose a National Learn How To Drive In The Grocery Store Parking Lot Day!  For all of the fantastic things humans are capable of, parking and making relatively simple decisions while going 5 mph aren’t amongst them.  It makes me fret at the thought of them charging down a highway at 70 mph while listening to the radio and talking on a cell phone.

It’s All My Fault

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Well, I received some startling news yesterday. I am to blame for how bad the world is today. Yes, me. Throw eggs if you must. I’m readying for law suits. I’ll warn you I don’t have much so participating in a class action suit will likely net you a baby book and a Fig Newton.

How did this revelation come about? I was chatting on line with a group discussing the new HPV vaccine and the ‘supposed’ fact that 25% of girls aged 14-19 have the virus already. I dared to question the accuracy of the study considering most girls under the age of 18 have never had a gynecological exam and would be unlikely participants in such a study. I imagine those included in the study were a handful who were being treated for a known problem. Hardly a strong foundation for launching such an aggressive campaign to suggest one in four girls in junior high have contracted an STD. Never mind the fact that would require at least 50% of junior high school girls be sexually active.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a naive soul living under a rock. I’m fully aware our kids are becoming grossly sexualized and I know more and more are engaging in risky behavior. The messages and influences are everywhere. I am suspect of this report because it was released on the heels of an aggressive push by Merck for its HPV vaccine. This vaccine is expected to rescue the company from its bleak financial position. How handy to imply so many of our youth are sexually active and on the verge of infection. It makes it a lot easier to encourage mandating the HPV vaccine for young girls. A mandated vaccine makes a lot more money than a recommended vaccine. It’s pretty hard to mandate something for adults. Once the females turn 18, the company’s earnings potential dips drastically. It’s not that I know or feel the findings are wrong. I just have no reason to believe they are correct. There is a lot on the line here and I want accurate information.

My concern in the data being incorrect is that it will be used as a platform for other strategies with our youth. On top of mandated vaccinations, I can see sex education in our schools taking on a more extreme form in younger grade levels. I mean, if 50% of 7th and 8th graders are potentially having sex, the schools owe it to our kids to address the issues and teach them how to be safe with their sexuality. In my crystal ball, I can see schools eventually passing out condoms to our kids as an extra precaution. I mean, that’s the responsible thing to do, right? We must keep our kids safe.

Getting back to how I am to blame for the sorry state of the world, an individual I was conversing with felt my inclination to challenge the findings equated to sticking my head in the sand and avoiding the issue of teen sex. Avoidance and running from the problem was the reason our kids were poised to become damaged and infected. He went on to say that a good parent would put their child’s health first and equip him/her with all tools necessary to be safe. To an extent his words ring true with me. I will do what I need to do to keep my daughter healthy and safe. I don’t feel I’m a bad parent, however, for not wanting to put a condom in a 14 year old’s hand and carting her off for her HPV vaccine so she is prepared for some good ole middle school sex.

If 14 year olds are indeed sexually active and contracting STDs, my first reaction is not to start shooting them up with experimental vaccines. It’s not to line their pockets with contraceptives and provide graphic details on all the different types of sex with pros and cons. My first reaction is to stand up and scream at the elements of our society that insist on sexualizing our children. The parents who want to hold on to some shred of hope they can instill morals and values in their children aren’t to blame for how bad the world is. The individuals and organizations that continue to put the almighty dollar they earn for producing filth ahead of the safe and well being of our kids are at fault. The movies, magazines, pop artists, fashion gurus and advertising companies who continue to make raunch, promiscuity and unhealthy choices cool should be the ones on alert. So many companies and individuals are profiting from the continued sexualization of our kids. Now pharmaceutical companies are poised to do the same. Sure, at least they have a more noble angle. Still, a lot more money is generated by our kids being sexy and promiscuous than is generated by our kids making sound and conservative decisions. That should get every parent’s attention.

I’m not removing parents from the equation in the solution. Parents must stay close to the process and be prepared to take action if there seems to be no way to avoid a negative outcome. I certainly don’t want my daugther to get sick or pregnant to prove a point. Parents need to step up to the plate and get more involved in their kids’ lives. They need to do it collectively too. A mother and a father are no match for the multi-million dollar campaigns targeting our children every day. 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 parents might make a difference though. We need to stop buying products promoting (or endorsed by those who promote) irresponsible behavior. We need to quit handing money over to the very people who are acting against the best interests of our kids. We need to demand more information on how our kids are spending their time. We must put our foot down on the clothes our kids are wearing. We need to turn the television & computer off and spend real time with our kids. We need to make it clear what expectations we have of them and why they are important. We need to live in a manner that sets a positive example of the choices we are hoping our kids will make.