July 26th, 2004

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I feel like a teenage boy

Well, the cold is mainly gone, except for a few lingering effects... Namely, my voice remains completely shot. I've been having to make a bunch of phone calls (cancelling services, setting up appts., etc.) and I think the people on the other end of the line must think they're talking to a 45-year-old chainsmoker or a boy whose voice is cracking. It's not that my voice is gone, but that it's scratchy/patchy as well as deep with interrupting of squeakiness; I've got no control of it. I feel kind of like any time I want to talk I've got to pray the crazy accordion player inside my neck is in a good mood.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated
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You have to talk about sex to do sex ed? Oh no!

This editorial ran in the Atlanta paper today. I'm passing it along as an "action item" for those who might be interested in seeing how Right & the current administration's moral agenda is affecting public health policy. This was a problem several years ago when I worked in public health but it's much worse now.

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OUR OPINIONS: Abstinence alone can't end AIDS
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, July 26, 2004

When used correctly, condoms are the most effective way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among people who are sexually active. And when it comes to teaching people how to prevent AIDS, there's no way around the discussion of condoms and their proper use.

However, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now seeking public comment on a proposal to change its guidelines for federally funded community and school-based AIDS prevention education, including special review panels and more emphasis on abstinence. Critics believe the agency is trying to promote abstinence-only education and downplay the importance of condoms in the fight against AIDS.

If that's the case, it's bad science and politics.

"Once you've injected that level of political judgment on what is essentially a public health issue, you end up risking problems," says Ann Mintz, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Mintz fears young people may not be exposed to the materials they need to stay safe.

There's no way to talk about safe sex without presenting information that may be considered graphic by some. But the consequences of watering down AIDS prevention education are more graphic still.

To view the CDC's proposed content guidelines for AIDS-related educational materials, go to www.CDC.gov [direct link here]. You can post your comments there and view the comments of others [there are already over 1000 posted, many from doctors and health advocates]. Comments can also be submitted through Aug. 16 via email: HIVcomments@cdc.gov or by mail: HIV Content Guidelines Comments, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, Mailstop E56, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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I will send in some comments as soon as I read through the guidelines.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
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Early birthday present

Just got back from running an errand for Caleb and Kyle the security guard calls me over and says I have a package. I haven't ordered anything lately (cost-cutting, you know) and so I didn't have a clue what it could be. But then I saw the return address was Bristol, VT. My brother sending me a package? Not unheard of (he's sent pics of his kid before) but still, I was very surprised! Inside were 4 cool little "pocket movie guides" -- Federico Fellini, Fritz Lang, Luis Bunuel and Ingmar Bergman! Plus a CD labled "Jonathan Richman mix." Wow! Tom wrote me a note saying he didn't know if I was still into the topic (movies) to read them but that I might like "having them around" anyway, since he's like that. He he, he knows me well. I do like having books around on certain topics, even if I don't pick them up a lot. Though I will certainly look at these!

Meanwhile if I have my dates straight, Tom and wife Cathy and son Owen flew over to Scotland today! (I remember the date because they were leaving from Boston the first day of the DNC... what a pain.) They're going to Edinburgh and I think they got a set up staying in the apartment of a friend who's on vacation or something -- so not fancy hotels or arranging it. I bet they'll have a great time. And since they're Vermonters I'm sure if it's cold they'll be unphased. They probably brought wool sweaters anyway. I bet the worst thing of the whole trip was probably Tom having to fit his 6"6' body into the seat on the plane, although since they're taking Owen, BA probably gave them one of the "child rows" at the front of the coach section; they have more legroom. I hope their trip is great!
  • Current Mood
    refreshed refreshed
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I guess I'm just one of those anti-family nut cases

Call me crazy, call me nuts, but I don't care about any politicians wife or husband. Technically, yes, they may wield some power, and of course it's important to know who a candidate's close associates are, but it really ticks me off when the media run some stories on "the candidates' wives" or whatever.

And candidates for office who send me campaign stuff talking about their wonderful family -- I toss that crap, as it doesn't matter to me as much as their issues, plans, etc. Plus a lot of the time it seems to me they're just trying to show how "perfect" they are, how Christian, how typical American. I prefer to get info that is about what the candidate believes, what they have done, what their plans are. That's it. And the idea that a candidates family *has* to particpate in their campaign (remember all that fuss made over Howard Dean's wife?) really bugs me. I guess a candidates who's SINGLE just doesn't work well, huh?

The whole thing reminds me of what my dad told me IBM used to do, when they would interview people for jobs and you had to produce a "show wife" and kids so your family would fit into the corporate image. They'd have the whole staff gather up for picnics with their perfect families and take pictures for PR. My dad turned down a job with them b/c he wouldn't subject my mother to that crap. (The idea of my mom as a model wife, esp. assuming competence in cooking or cleanin, amuses me as much as it did my dad, I'm sure.)

I guess it's not really the same (like I said, there is some legit reason to want to know) but it feels the same.
  • Current Music
    Jonathan Richman mix
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I love the 90s: the good old days of techno

I was thinking back on some of my favorite dance music from college and basically, I think it comes down to this one album Caleb had which had probably my favorite techno track ever, the German "Helmut Kohl Ist Tot" ("Helmut Kohl Is Dead," which I assume was made in response to the extremely popular "James Brown Is Dead," which I also loved). Used to listen to that album over and over and I'm actually borrowing it from him at the moment because I wanted to burn a copy.

Amazingly, I have found a web page that is devoted just to that album, Radikal Techno that even has song samples! I will say it's kind of sad there's no sample for the Apotheosis song, which is the techno remake of Orff's Carmina Burana. It's a very obvious remix (I mean, some songs are too easy) but I still absolutely loved that.

Another great album was this thing Caleb had (which I'm also borrowing), This Is Techno, Volume 2. I'm sure the music was mainly made to be listened to while on Ecstasy (or made on it), but still, tracks like "Euphoria," "View The Universe," "We Want Information," and (he he) "Michael Jackson Is In Heaven Now" really appeal to me -- just the right mix of cool pleasure and absurdity. When I complain to Caleb I can't dance to trance (well, aside from slightly moving my arms), I think he'd best to remember what I CAN dance to. ("Michael Jackson has been shot in front of live studio audience!" whoomp click wheeeeee!)

Besides the European techno, some the best dance music I ever got into was Lords of Acid. OMG, I forgot how much I loved them until I was exercising and put in one of my tapes. Incredible. This was one case where Caleb and I totally were in sync -- it's got filthy "sexist" lyrics but it's highly enjoyable.
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic
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Next time it rings, I throw it in the toilet

My phone keeps ringing: financial advisor guy, Caleb, potential client, Gay Pages promoter, recorded phone spam... Aaargh! I find phones the most irritating thing ever. If I don't answer it, people will leave messages but then complain I'm "never home," "hard to reach," have "poor customer service," but if I DO answer it, I can't get any work done! Phft.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
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Dumb and Dumber

In the probably 5 years I've been webmaster for the Metropolitan, the condo building where I used to live, I've got some STUPID email.

For example, for a long time about 1/2 our email was from people who thought that because the site offered a "Downtown Guide to MARTA," that it was the MARTA web site and therefore we could give them schedules, accept resume, take complaints, etc. It's quite bizarre since clearly the web site isn't a transit agency web site, but people are in such a hurry, and so totally blind, that apparently they'd click Contact Us in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, be that as it may, I just got an email which is the dumbest yet:

    I have (4) Metropolitan Life insurance Policies. My mother passed away last
    month and two of the policies say at death only. They are 20yr.pay, thank You.


Now, OK, our building is called The Metropolitan but... a ZILLION things are called that! (Hello, my company is Metro Girl!) Anyway, I presume this is an older lady who is not too with it, so I did in fact write back politely saying she should visit MetLife.com.
  • Current Music
    "We Want Information"
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Rained out

Well, I'm glad I decided to skip the UMass alumni thing tonight. Not only do I have a major headache as well as Mat Man's web project to deal with, but around an hour ago, a huge storm broke out. It's better now, but apparently Midtown (where I was supposed to go) is now under water, with like a foot of water on Peachtree.

Caleb just called me from 10th Street and said he couldn't get home -- at least not on MARTA, since apparently they closed the trains because the tunnels flooded. (Although MARTA trains normally break down and get slow in "bad weather," a shutdown has never happened before and I'll be pretty surprised if it stays closed long.)

Last I heard from him, he was trying to cross the street but was stranded... or at least working up the nerve to walk through the water and find the least flooded way home. The good thing is, here Downtown we don't seem that affected at all at the moment.

Of course, I just checked the weather map on Weather.com and there is a giant storm stretching ALL THE WAY ACROSS ALABAMA so I guess there MIGHT be more rain tonight ;) The rule is that if there's bad weather in Birmingham, in 2 hours it will be in Atlanta.
  • Current Music
    "We Want Information"
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What is this from?

OK, this song "We Want Information" has sound bites that are obviously from something (I presume a TV show or movie) but I don't know which one. Anybody have a clue? Is it from The Prisoner or something?

    We want information.

    Who are you?

    The new Number Two!

    Who is Number One?

    You are Number Six!

    I am a free man!

    [Laughter]

It drives me crazy sometimes trying to place the sound clips that appear in a lot of the music I like. There's this one song (I think Tit Wrench) that uses all these quotes from Invasion of the Body Snatchers but I swear I didn't realize it until the movie was playing at a video store and I suddenly heard, "Sometimes it's only when we have to fight to stay human that we realize..." and said, "OMG, THAT SONG!"
  • Current Mood
    curious curious
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30s in the 80s

I've thought of doing this for ages (esp. considering chats I've had with madame_mercredi) but finally, here it is...

Proof I Was Raised in the Great Depression

Our house was heated by coal. Actually the house had electric heat but around 1982 my dad decided it was too expensive so we should install a coal stove, build a coal bin in the basement, and put little computer fans around the house to circulate the hot air (which had a very hard time getting upstairs since the house didn't have registers or vents). Every year a truck would come and pour a couple tons of coal in through a window in the basement and twice a day somebody in the family would have to haul up buckets from the basement. I've met one person my age whose family heated with a stove (Caleb's family used 3 wood stoves) but nobody whose family used coal.

Family fights over Roosevelt. You'd think in the 80s my family would've been arguing over Reagan, but no, my dad was still stuck on FDR. Every so often, usually started by something broadcoast on TV (like about WWII), my dad would go on a tirade about FDR. The speech was something like this: "Well, I never liked him and nobody in my family did either. They lionize him, but he was nothing but a liar. Look at the way he lied to the country about his health! And on top of that, he was a Socialist who ruined this country with his Socialist economics. But he was a rich, RICH man, a big phoney and a big liar! Hmmph!" (Dad also went on regular rants about JFK. I think he had a thing about presidents identified by their initials.)

Suspicion of doctors and dog food manufacturers. Excluding emergencies or major chronic conditions, my parents exhibited a deep distrust of doctors and the medical professional. Actually I should probably rephrase that because it was mainly my mother. According to her, it was best not to go to the doctor about anything because in the end, they only wanted your money or only wanted to sell you some medicine you didn't need but would fuel the drug industry. While there is some truth to that statement, statements like this had me suspicious even as a kid: "Hmmm, it says on the box to take it for a week. It's only been 4 days but the bottle's empty. I bet you only need one bottle worth but the company wants you to buy more so they lie about the directions." Mom said the same thing about dog food -- the recommended dry food serving for our dog would be like 2 cups but mom would do 3/4 of a cup because she said the manufacturers wanted you to overfeed the dog so they could make more money. (FYI, the dog didn't starve, as we fed her wet food and human treats as well.)

Old time radio shows... My parents were like the kids in Woody Allen's Radio Days, and grew up listening to radio all the time as a means of entertainment. They kept this up well into the 80s by borrowing radio cassettes from the local library. I distinctly remember going on long trips to the Adirondacks with the cassette player plugged into the cig. lighter -- and listening to Edgar Bergan, Jack Benny, etc. For a few years in the mid-80s we got really lucky and the local public radio station aired classic 30s & 40s radio shows every night from like 8 to 10, so we all enjoyed The Great Gildersleeve, Lone Ranger, Inner Sanctum, etc. I used to get SO creeped out by the Inner Sanctum type shows... horror is VERY scary on the radio!

WWII happened yesterday. Even before cable & sateillite made it possible to watch WWII docs & movies 24/7, my dad would watch everything he could, esp. submarine movies. Even though I knew it wasn't true, I always kind of had the impression WWII had happened somewhere right before I was born.

Rock and roll NOT here to stay. My parents didn't have a stereo. They had a record player, which they didn't listen to much (TV supplanted it) but which when in use would usually play old 50s "stereophonic" records, show tunes or stuff like Benny Goodman. There was no "modern" music in the house; I would listen to Oldies a lot on the radio and Dad would hear the Beatles and say "That was way after our time, we had 4 kids by the time that song came out." LOL. After I went to college they finally got a compact stereo so they could listen to CDs and books on tape inside.

No, Clark Gable did NOT win the Oscar last year. As I mentioned in a previous post, I watched a lot of old movies. I wanted to be a film historian at one time. Unsurprisingly, this passion of mine grew out of my parents watching a lot of old movies on TV. My movie trivia knowledge was increased by listening to arguments between them about movies, like who is that actress, who is that charcter actor who was in such-in-such movie, you know, the one with the guy with the big ears who was in the movie where he dated what's-her-name.

Old lingo. I'm reading a book about fads and crazes that incluces decade-specific "jargon" as well and my parents definitely spoke a lot of 30s & 40s things. I didn't realize until college that oleo and tin foil were out of use.

Pre-50s Hygiene. I've read a lot of 20th century American social history and know that hygiene changed in the 50s. At the time of the 1939 World Fair in NYC, it was still a "hope" that the majority of people would one day have indoor plumbing... and toilets. People didn't show and bathe like most Americans do now. Nobody gave my parents the memo, though. While *I* learned to shower, my parents probably had 5 showers or baths a month between them, plus mom washed her hair in the sink sometimes. I didn't even notice this until it finally occured to me when I was 20.
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic