Monthly Archives: August 2005

Knock me your lobes

Blonde Justice has a recent post about getting annoying tunes stuck in your head—she wonders if it ever caused suicide…

My advice: plug your ears with an iPod. 

Ipoddog_1

Although I have had to overcome my initial fear of looking like a rich white consumermensch, I routinely wear my iPod on those large family grocery shops.  I do, even in summer, figure out how to run the wires in as inconspicuous a way as possible.  But here’s my reasoning: supermarket chains feel they have the right to routinely and continuously bombard you with musical crap that marketing research has demonstrated will calm down fretful consumers.  This is just the kind of musical dreck that is designed to stick in my head, where it completes its initial assault by morphing into a repetitious sonic brain cancer.

So I run my own radio show.  I pause the feed whenever I have to talk to someone (e.g., at the meat counter, or while checking out) because I think it is rude not to knock them my lobes, as Lord Buckley says.  But otherwise, I’m marching to the beat of my own damn soundtrack.

Sounds like a small thing, but: I bet I can remember at least 30 jingles from the TV ads of my youth ("its Kenner, its FUN—AWK").  They are permanently wired into my brain and I can’t reuse the storage.

It reminds me of a scene from some Dustin Hoffman film, I don’t know which one, where he’s riding in an elevator and winds up into a huge rant about the elevator muzak: "WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?"  he screams.  I feel just as (perhaps eccentrically) enraged by commercial sonic assault.

Have a jingle-free day.

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Help for pre-adolescent proto-gays

Twisty over at I Blame the Patriarchy (acerbically well-written and very funny) gives props to Norbizness’s expository response to some Very Important Information from Focus on the Family about homosexuality and how to prevent it in children (presumably extermination is the only option for the adults).  You can click through from there to the set of linked sheets on the FoF website.

"Helping Boys Become Men and Girls Become Women" is the overall title—sounds to me like these outcomes would sorta happen anyway, but paranoia can cause us to even doubt that we evolved.  Here, for example, is "Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?" (links preserved/tighten your seatbelts):

Before puberty, children aren’t normally heterosexual or homosexual. They’re definitely gender conscious. But young children are not sexual beings yet — unless something sexual in nature has interrupted their developmental phases.

Still, it’s not uncommon
for children to experience gender confusion during the elementary
school years. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi reports, “In one study of 60
effeminate boys ages 4 to 11, 98 percent of them engaged in
cross-dressing, and 83 percent said they wished they had been born a
girl.”

Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11 may include:

1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.

2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.

4. A strong preference to spend time in the
company of girls
   and participate in their games and other
pastimes.

5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”

6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.

7. A repeatedly stated desire to be — or insistence that he is — a girl.

If your child is experiencing several signs of gender confusion, professional
help
is available. It’s best to seek that help before your child reaches puberty.

“By the time the
adolescent hormones kick in during early adolescence, a full-blown
gender identity crisis threatens to overwhelm the teenager,” warns
psychologist Dr. James Dobson. To compound the problem, many of these
teens experience “great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of
divine retribution.”

If your child has already reached puberty, change is difficult, but it’s
not too late
.

      

 

Well—I’m left a little speechless.  I’m wondering, *who* exactly is it that is suffering from "great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of divine retribution"?

The best response is from Giblets on Fafblog, presenting expert guidelines on  "How to tell how gay your gay son is" (hat tip simonedb commenting at I Hate the Patriarchy).

And here is Tiny Tim—wearing his Budweiser jacket to get a little compensatory testosterone into his life.
Tiny_tim1_1

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Coffee, Tea, or Save Your Life

I fly fairly frequently for business, mainly internationally, so I am interested in a lot of what goes on at the customer end of the airline world  For such a fucked up industry, it’s amazing how often front line people (who are mostly looking at their pensions getting trashed and their companies raping them via chapter 11) actually are helpful.  You just have to avoid the "screw you I know my rights" approach out of the gate—which is tough, because overall, the process causes most of us to feel more or less like herded animals.

050803_pearson_crash_gal[Photo: Toronto Star]

In the initial coverage of yesterday’s Air France crash in Toronto, I searched in vain for any credit for the cabin crew.  What was known pretty early, certainly before most copy hit the wire, was that the craft was emptied with minimum loss of life (none, as it turned out).  Anyone who flies these 300-series Airbuses knows how effective the evacuation has to be for this result.

As more data became available, it turned out that almost 300 passengers were emptied out in 1:30 minutes—most in fact were out in under 50 seconds, despite malfunctioning slides.  (I never have much faith in any of the ancillary "safety" equipment—my particular favorite is the "seat which can be used as a flotation device").  For sure the cockpit crew was busy trying to shut off fuel lines and engines—so who organized this nice little evacuation, did anyone think?  Bear in mind, also, that until sanity reigns, much of the customer-facing material in a passenger jet is highly toxic when it burns, and by god it burns fast.

Even an AP piece carried in the NY Times, written long enough after the event to summarize the statistics, with the headline "Canada Plane Crash Has Textbook Evacuation", can only manage to say, halfway down the piece,

The flight crew responded immediately, said Dominique Pajot, 54, a
businessman from Paris, who was sitting in first-class. ”They were
very quick to get up and open the doors and help people and calm
them.”

and a bit further down,

”Stewardesses started pushing everyone out,” said Diezyn, who said she jumped down a chute in the back of the plane.

In keeping with the traditional role models, the first part of the piece details the interchange of the pilots and tower on approach, including a seemingly self-contradictory point in the third graf about crediting the pilots:

For the 297 passengers and 12 crew, a harrowing landing in Toronto on
Tuesday would end in a textbook evacuation. Most were out in just 52
chilling seconds, and no one was killed. Some credited pilots who
fought the raging weather surrounding Pearson International Airport,
which was on ”red alert” status because of the electrical storm.

I have a huge deep regard for pilots, who keep me alive in a thin metal tube at 36,000 feet over the frigid North Atlantic, but really—"most were out in 52 seconds" (unbelievable!) but "some credited the pilots who fought the raging weather" when, excuse me, they had enough gas to circle the storms or go to Montreal.  It would have been more discreet to gloss over the probable pilot error—yet even so, so little acknowledgement for the attendents who apparently remained on the burning craft, pushing folks out the door!

In a later AP piece from today, we at least hear credit from the airport fire chief:

…Mike Figliola said three-quarters of the passengers
and crew managed to escape in the 52 seconds it took for emergency
crews to arrive. “The crew did a great job, they’re trained to get the
people off,” Figliola said.

And just following, a positive comment from the Air France chairman:

At Air France headquarters in Roissy, France, airline chairman
Jean-Cyril Spinetta also praised the flight crew. “I don’t know if we
should speak of a miracle … but above all the professionalism of the
crew,” Spinetta said.

Of course, the "flight crew" includes the pilots.  Fire Chief Figliola, who’s probably more of a working stiff, uses the word "crew", which actually refers more to the cabin crew (where the pilots are "officers").

Maybe my teenage lifeguard job gives me some extra empathy for flight attendants—you mainly have to spend hours doing bullshit or nothing, keeping an eye on things, and very occassionally you have to save someone’s ass.  My consolation is that I’m sure all the frequent fliers who read about this crash and its amazing outcome will immediately understand the kind of credit the cabin crew deserves.  On a bad day, I might have pulled one sputtering kid out of the deep water.  Yesterday ten cabin crew got 297 people, mostly within a minute of the accident, off a toxic firetrap that was about to explode.  Too bad we can’t figure out how to stop them getting screwed out of their pensions.

 

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