Friday, January 29, 2010

Yatta!!!!

I know I can't be the only person that has ever heard a song but was then not able to identify it for the sake of my soul. It will rack your brain, work your nerves, and torture your soul. I'm still going nuts over the last song I ID'd after a long time thinking about it for a long time. Well I've put another one to rest.

Back when I was in high school there was this one song on the radio I like. It had a nice sounding beat...well the little that I was able to catch of it. For some odd reason it seemed like the only time I would come across it was in the last 10 seconds or so. Meaning no lyrics and only the very end of the beat. I spent a long time trying to ID this song but had no luck and after some time I eventually gave up. Now 14 years later I was watching a show on MTV called "The Buried Life" (its a show about 4 guys who have a list of things to do before they die and for each one they do they help a random person do the same) and this song came up. This time I heard enough of the lyrics to search and Vola!!!! Without further adu I present you "Your Woman" by White Town.



Truthfully the song isn't all that great but as one who hates to be beaten by curiosity I've A LOT of satisfaction out of identifying this song.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

So where's the firestorm now? Pt. 2

When I did this post recently on why there was almost absolute silence when Mary J. Blige punched her boyfriend at a party I knew people weren't going to like it. I was fully aware of the possibility of coming under fire. However there were something I didn't expect.

Despite the words some of the folks here are putting in my mouth I never said that the damage Blige did to her husband was the same as what Brown did to Rihanna. I mentioned Brown/Rihanna on a count of Blige asking Issacs if he was going to "Chris Brown" her (yeah she used his name as a verb synonymous with attack/abuse but I'm the one trying to minimalize/trivialize what happened to Rihanna). While I never said that the damage was the same I can understand people thinking I was trying to say that.

What I was trying to talk about was the gendered differences in how at least the mainstream media talks about violence. Yes m vs f violence happens more often and people are quick to chime in with that and things like "yeah its bad but its not the same context" and leave it at that. What they are missing (intentionally or not I'm not sure) is that bringing up numbers and so-called context has nothing to do with the obviously gendered method of how its covered or not covered.

When its m vs f violence for the most part the mainstream media lays into him. Yes there are those that will try to defend said man but mostly he is raked over the coals. However on the other hand when its f vs m violence it seems that the mainstream media seems to try to gloss it over with a "what did he do to make her do it" or "its not a big deal" approach. This approach undermines those male victims, gives justification to such violence, and keeps those women from being stopped/punished/treated.

One thing Renee has pointed out is that there is a victim culture when it comes to violence. Society tells us victims deserve to get attacked and/or make excuses to justify the attacker's actions. What I often see is that while people are quick to point that out when the violence if m vs f they this point rarely comes up when its the other way around.

So you can try to bring up context, damage, fear for life, intent or anything else you want. None of that answers the question of why Blige, as a survivor of abuse that has spoken out on it, attacked her husband unchallenged and hardly anyone said anything. (Oh and not only that but as a show of how people react to f vs m violence after she hit him HE was kicked out and she was escorted away.) I stand by my original point that violence will never truly be taken seriously if people continue to run a gender check on the attacker/target before deciding how serious to get about it.

I guess its a tell that I expected a firestorm but didn't get the one expected.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prison rape is nothing to joke about


 



I know it may be hard to see the reality of that title but its true. No matter how serious of a crime someone in prison may have committed (not to mention the ones that are falsely imprisoned) simply put they do not deserve to be violated in one of the worst ways possible. Yet it is common place to not just wish that someone would be raped in prison but to actually pass off being raped in prison as a joke (I'm reminded of the dream sequence in the movie Office Space where the characters were sentenced to "20 years of federal pound me in the ass prison"). Well someone is trying to do something about it.

Just Detention International is an organization that is dedicated to ending the sexual abuse/assault of detainees all across the world. From the homepage:
When the government takes away someone’s freedom, it has a responsibility to protect that person’s safety. All inmates have the right be treated with dignity. No matter what crime someone has committed, sexual violence must never be part of the penalty.

Even if those people have committed the heinous crime of murder those men and women are still human beings and do not deserve to be raped simply because they committed that crime.

They are already in prison as punishment for the crime and this de facto extra punishment is not right. It is a gross violation of human rights when a blind eye is turned to prisoner being treated in such a manner by shrugging it off as "they deserve it for what they did". The judge didn't actually sentence the guy that robbed* a bank to 20 years and a weekly rape session.

Hopefully this organization will help encourage some serious prison reform.




* - I don't care if the crime in question was rape the rapist still does not deserve to raped on top of the imprisonment. That is "Eye for an Eye" territory and that is dangerous turf (unless you have convinced yourself that rape is the only crime that should be punished in such a way).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday Shame: Dark Chocolate

Hey people its Danny again. I had an interesting conversation with Renee a week or so ago so as thanks I'm gonna throw my hat (I can't wear it with my afro anyway) into the Sunday Shame ring.


Oh Dark Chocolate How I Love Thee

When alone you are chocolate in its most tasteful state
When Ghirardelli fills your center with mint it is a wondrous treat
When coating a Resse Cup it is hard to find a better mate
When on a pretzel you create the perfect blend of salty and sweet

To consume you is to consume all that is good
To savor you is to savor a world where nothing is amiss
To taste you is to taste godhood
To partake of you is partake of bliss

Taking you into my mouth takes me to a place
Where my anger, sadness, and confusion can be unfurled
Taking you into my mouth opens me to your goodness and grace
And takes me to a peaceful and dream-like world


Yes it is like that. I enjoy dark chocolate so much that I really just took about an hour thinking of a love poem to it. For as long as I can recall I have been a fan of it and cannot get enough of it. Most people I know simply can't handle the fact that unlike other chocolates dark is not loaded up with milk to make it creamy or sugar to make it sweet. Too bad for them I say. I used to try to justify my taste for it by reminding myself that not only is it not as harmful as other chocolates but that it does actually help cholesterol in small servings but considering how much of it I can consume I stopped doing that ages ago.

I am not above trying just about anything with dark chocolate in it or on it. A few days ago I came across this candy shop that sold dark chocolate covered pretzels...and they were 1/2 off (this shop also had candy bars that were pieces of crystallized ginger dipped in dark chocolate...that was some goodness). Not the bagged ones made by like Snyders or something that would be on the shelf at WalMart and full preservatives I'm talking about the ones that are in large glass jars and are sold by the pound. I seriously had to limit myself to about a pound of them and they didn't even make it through the next night. After buying them I joked to myself that I would probably do hard narcotics if they were laced with dark chocolate (not the other way around mind you, who am I kidding I probably would do dark chocolate laced with hard narcotics too).

This is why you will very rarely if ever see me use it in my Weekly Menu posts. I'd precede to eat all of it, whatever it is, upon completion. Hell I don't even keep any in the house. That stuff is on a strict buy and consume immediately basis.

But all joking aide over the years I've actually made progress in cutting down my sweetness consumption but dark chocolate is one of those things that I just can't quit. And despite this post most part I have it under control but I highly doubt that short of hypnosis or suffering a traumatic experience involving the stuff I will ever stop enjoying its sweet, dark, decadence. Reminds me its Girl Scout Cookie time. Thin Mints for the win.

So what's your thoughts on dark chocolate? Yes, No, Maybe so?

Looks like I'm gonna face one set of assumptions or another

Okay being a man of color I'm no stranger to the idea that when at an airport people will see my brown skin and decide that I will be one of the "random" people chosen for a more thorough search. Last time this happened (about 7 years ago) I was pulled to the side and had to take off my hooded sweat shirt, take off my shoes and socks, and empty out my pockets. Well it would seem that my gender is a strike against me as well.

Mirko Fischer, a businessman, is suing British Airways for sexist practices. The practice in question?
...a policy that bans male passengers from sitting next to children they don't know - even if the child's parents are on the same flight.

By the policy a part of pre-flight is for the cabin crew to patrol the aisles to make sure that any children that are flying alone or are not seated next to their parents are not seated next to a male strangers. If such an arrangement is found the man will be "asked" to move to another seat. However the plane will not take off until he does so. In Fischer's case he and his pregnant wife were on a plane in which each row has three seats. His wife had taken the window seat thinking it would be more spacious which left him sitting between his wife and a 12yr old boy.

Now it would be one thing if it was a blanket policy against any strange adult but that is not the case. For some reason this policy specifically classifies only strange men as threats that must be removed. Not only that but with the policy being in such a way that take off is actually held off until said man moves the onus is on him to "act right" and refusal to do so will lead to the other passengers blaming him for the delay in flight. Nice way to end run around that whole fair treatment thing by putting the blame on the victim's shoulders. So when Mirko told the flight attendant that confronted him that he was not going to move because his wife was pregnant the flight attendant played the trump card by raising his voice to say that the flight would not take off until he moved.

It doesn't take much effort to realize that this is a part of the stereotype that us men are just sex crazed beasts that will do anything to get next to our next victim targeted for violation. Now I'm sure a lot of people are going to try to defend such a sexist policy by saying that a lot of child abuse is committed by men. Well according to Fischer (in the UK at least):
'Furthermore statistically children are far more likely to be abused by a member of their family. Does that mean that BA are going to ban children sitting next to their own parents?'
And besides just because the majority of rape is committed by men does not mean that the majority of men are rapists.

Next the defender will move onto passing it off as being "in the best interests of the children". Now don't get me wrong the safety of the children is so important (and if they are flying alone then their safety is important) but why not have a few seats near where the flight attendants are seated reserved for them? That way there is no one near them except for the flight crew. If safety of the children is the reason for such wouldn't it make sense to do something to protect them from all risks instead of instating a clearly misandrist policy as assuming that any and all strange men are threats to them?

I recall a time when I read about policies like this on an MRA site and thought they were crazy. No one would actually pass a policy like this. I have been proven wrong.

Frankly I hope this guy cleans British Airways' clock to the turn of a healthy sum for I am sure the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children could use the extra funds (as long as they don't base their efforts on such sexist assumptions).

As long as people hold onto these old and damaging stereotypes and assumptions we as a human race will never achieve equality.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I guess they think its a distraction from the education process

Since last November four year old Taylor Pugh, pre-K student of Floyd Elementary School, has spent his days in in-school suspension at the school library with a teacher's aide. Why?

Because the school board, in Balch Springs near Dallasm TX, determined that his hair was too long and thus warranted suspension.

Amazing how in this day and age that gender roles are so rigid that they are grounds for keeping a boy from going to school to learn like he should. And that is just what it is, gender roles. For ages males have had a set of standards held over their heads that dictate how they must look, dress, act, talk, etc... in order to be welcomed into the arms of society.

If you look at the video on that page I linked to the end of it says that he is growing his hair out for his aunt that is currently battling cancer. Now while this is certainly a justified reason for one to grow their hair pointing it out feels like it is necessary to find a reason for it. Its not. The boy wants to grow out his hair and his hair is not disturbing or bothering anyone.

This past Monday the school board threw a bone in the form of holding a closed door meeting and coming to the conclusion that young Taylor would be allowed to wear his hair in a braid but said braid cannot come down past his ears.

Now I'm sure the system thinks they are making some grand gesture here but they are still trying to keep people's hair in check for what? Fear that he might like his long hair and keep it that way forever? Fear that other kids might decide they want to do the same? Fear that this one little boy might start a hair movement that will lead to social upheaval of their entire school district?

Crazy I know...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We chose to have a relationship with a married man, we're the victims!

Check the first part of this shit.

Apparently carrying on a relationship with a married man is more than "tell-all interviews and a shot at hush money". The poor dears.
According to author Sarah Symonds, who allegedly carried on a long-term affair with TV chef Gordon Ramsay, those on-the-side relationships mean hard work.

Symonds runs a support group called Mistresses Anonymous, the only known group to offer support women who are in bad relationships with married men (as if there is a such thing as a good relationship with a married man?)

Who would have thought that after all those secret rendezvous, extramarital sex, and home wrecking there was so much turmoil to be had for a woman that chooses to get involved with a man that she knows is married.

It must be hard to meet him, realize he is married (and in this case there is NO room to claim they didn't know Tiger was married) and decide to get down with him anyway. How hard it must be for her to know that she is betraying a woman in a manner that more than likely she would not want done to her. Oh woe is this woman for having a hand in potentially destroying the home and lives of innocent children.

But seriously I wonder if this is just a money/attention grab.
“Ideally what I'd like to do is a TV special with all of Tiger's mistresses, where they could discuss the downside to being ‘the other woman,’ and whether he was good in bed.”


I don't know about you but getting together all the mistresses of Tiger Woods so that you can do a TV special sounds a whole hell of a lot like a tell-all interview to me. Tiger himself is not innocent but unless he forced all of those women to have relationships with him there is plenty of responsibility to go around.

Monday, January 11, 2010

While it is a tech site...

...that does not excuse what is going on here.

Now with Gizmodo being a tech there is no question that the main point of this was to call attention to the tech behind someone using the Phostoshop software to meld two women together for the "best of both worlds" approach. Well the person here took it a few steps further and placed 16 women in a tournament like setup and blended 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, etc... After the "first round" the remaining 8 composites are blended 1&2, etc... until at the end there is one master composite woman that has traits from each of the original 16 women. (BTW I have to say that I find the Ann Hathaway/Angelina Jolie composite, the Hilary Duff/Jennifer Love-Hewitt composite, and the result of Duff/Hewitt blended with the Beil/Alba composite to be absolutely gorgeous.)

Don't worry people did call attention to the fact that all 16 of them are of European decent. However what you should worry about is the explosion that went off in the comment section.

Now since this seems to be a project done by a single person so while I do find it odd that the list is pretty monotone and limited to an narrow age range I'm not so quick to call this person racist/agist. I mean if this had been done as some official ad/ranking/experiment/whatever by Adobe (the creators of the Photoshop software) then I would certainly have problems with it. But even with the issues of beauty being equated with white and young if this is the work of an individual can you really go straight from seeing this project to declaring them racist/agist?

Not sure.

Hell that mean's he's blacker than me too...

Its almost funny when people get into listing the things that make them more of a ______ than some other _______. Or in this case more of a _______ than an actual ______ when the blank if filled with "black person". Yes Rod Blagojevich made the comment that he is blacker than President Obama.

I suppose it was an effort to build up at least some of the massive amount of political street cred he has been hemorrhaging since he was removed from office upon being brought up on corruption charges that include an alleged attempt to give away the Illinois Senate seat that was vacated when Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election in exchange for future political favors. But whatever the reason for the remark was he fucked up.

Blagojevich brought up his upbringing as proof of his blackness.
"I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived," Blagojevich said. "I saw it all growing up."

Okay if this is the list of criteria that certifies one's blackness then I'm sure I'm not the only that comes up short. I've never shined shoes. I did not grow up in a five room apartment. My dad did not run a laundromat in a black community. And I most certainly have not seen it all.

But I'll bet I can think of at least a few things he has not gone through to "verify" his blackness.

Had white people "joke" about him being a thief.

Made eye contact (mostly white) women in a parking and then their quicken pace...in daytime.

Gotten in an elevator with (mostly white) women and see them inch over while clutching their purses.

Having a bit of seriousness in his voice about not wanting to be alone at work if the security alarm goes off and police get dispatched.

Going into stores to have employees follow him around the whole time.

Wonder if he would become one of those "1 in 3 black men ages 18-25 that are in prison or have been in prison".

Being told to "Go back to Africa!" or told that the Atlantic Slave trade should be restarted.

But enough of that because even those things are not criteria for calculating someone's blackness. What I am trying to say is that it is pretty damn disrespectful to try to relate to a group of people just because you might have some things in common with that group as if those things are the standard. He could have simply said he's not had an easy life and then listed those things. But maybe because he was hoping to get sympathy by associating with a marginalized group, was trying to jab at Obama, or whatever he decided to go the extra mile and call himself black.

I mean its not like I can say that since I care about my nails, don't like horror movies, and can cook pretty damn good I can say I'm more woman than Hilary Clinton right?

Friday, January 8, 2010

So where's the firestorm now?

Recall when Chris Brown abused Rihanna and people were rightly calling for his head when the story broke?

Why isn't anyone calling for Mary J. Blige's head now?

From what I can tell apparently back in December at an album release party Mary J. Blige got into an argument with her husband Martin Kendu Isaacs and punched him. And it would seem that after the punches HE was thrown out of the party.

Frankly I hope the only reason this has not gotten as much press as Brown/Rihanna is because it can't be proven the abuse did not happen...otherwise this is a shining example of the double standard when it comes to domestic violence in which the coverage and reaction depends on not what happened but the genders of the abuser/abused.

So much for taking domestic violence seriously...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

10 Things Not To Put In Your Hair

If you recall a while back I mentioned I would be finding and putting up the list of 10 things not to put in your hair. These 10 items are chemicals that are a serious detriment to your hair but are hard to avoid because the vast majority of today's hair care products have large amounts of these chemicals. I have to say that I've been mindful of these chemicals and my hair has been improving. Stay Frosty folks.

Courtesy of Nappturality I present to you 10 Things No To Put In Your Hair:
Written by deecoily

10 THINGS TO AVOID PUTTING ON YOUR HAIR!


Most of the commercially available hair care products today use harmful, potentially carcinogenic ingredients. In the interest of good napptural health, I list below, what are in my opinion, the 10 worst commonly found product ingredients thngs you can put on your hair (and body). Check the list of ingredients on your hair products. The more of a particular ingredient you have in a product, the closer it is to the top of the list of ingredients on the bottle:

1. ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL: This is a solvent and denaturant (poisonous substance that changes another substances natural qualities). Isopropyl alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. This petroleum-derived substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. Napptural hair reacts very badly to isoalcohol and this ingredient should be avoided at ALL costs. It will dry your hair out and break it off. According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and even coma in extreme cases.

2. MINERAL OIL & PETROLATUM: The best baby oil is made from almonds. But the oil which being sold as baby oil is 100% mineral oil. Mineral oil is a derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting fluid and lubricating oil. This commonly used petroleum ingredient coats the skin and hair just like plastic wrap. The skin's natural barrier is disrupted as this plastic coating inhibits its ability to breathe and absorb the Natural Moisture Factor (moisture and nutrition). The skin's ability to release toxins and wastes is impossible through this "plastic wrap," which can promote acne and other disorders. It further hinders normal skin respiration/transpiration by keeping oxygen out. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age. Holding in large a mounts of moisture in the skin can "flood" the biology and may result in immature, unhealthy, sensitive skin that dries out easily. Petrolatum - A petroleum-based grease that is used industrially as a grease component. Petrolatum exhibits many of the same potentially harmful properties as mineral oil.
Honestly, this stuff belongs in your engine, not on your hair. Regardless of "Well, my Grandma used vaseline on her hair and it grew ", the bottom line is this stuff is bad. It was bad for Grandma and it is bad for you. Period.

3. PEG: This is an abbreviation for polyethylene glycol that is used in making cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as thicken products. Because of their effectiveness, PEG's are often used in caustic spray on oven cleaners and yet are found in many personal care products. PEG's contribute to stripping the Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic.

4. PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG): As a "surfactant" or wetting agent and solvent, this ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste. It is also used in food processing. Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact, as PG has systemic consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. Consumers are not protected nor is there a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than that in most industrial applications.

5. SODIUM LAURYL SUFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES): SLS is used in testing labs as the standard ingredient to irritate skin. Used as detergents and surfactants, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Yet both SLS and SLES are used more widely as one of the major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioner and about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam. They are used in personal-care products because they are cheap. A small amount generates a large amount of foam, and when salt is added it thicken to give the illusion of being thick and concentrated. (SOME OF THE NITROSATING AGENTS ARE: SLS, SLES, DEA, TEA, MEA). Shampooing the hair with a product contaminated with these substances can lead to its absorption into the body at levels much higher than eating nitrite-contaminated foods.
Mark Fearer in an article, Dangerous Beauty, says, "...in tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion and death." According to the American College of Toxicology states both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children's eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. It is possibly the most dangerous of ad ingredients in personal care products. Research has shown that SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which causes the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate contaminated food." According to the American College of Toxicity report, "SLS stays in the body for up to five days..." Other studies have indicated that SLS easily penetrates through the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain. This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpaste,"
Studies show its danger potential to be great when used in personal-care products. Toxicity - A serious problem with these chemicals is that they may be contaminated with NDELA (N-nitrosodiethanolamine), one of the nitrosamines and a potent carcinogen, according to a 1978 FDA report.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) - SLES is the alcohol form (ethoxylated) of SLS. It is slightly less irritating than SLS, but may be more drying. Both SLS and SLES can enter the blood stream. They may cause potentially carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients. Large amounts of nitrates may enter the blood system from just one shampooing. Contains ether.

6. CHLORINE: According to Doris J. Rapp, M.D., author of Is This your Child's World? exposure to chlorine in tap water, Showers, pool, laundry products, cleaning agents, food processing, sewage systems and many others, can effect health by contributing to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium diabetes, dizziness, irritation of the eye, mouth, nose throat, lung, skin and stomach, heart disease, high blood pressure and nausea. It is also a possible cause of cancer. Even though you will not see Chlorine on personal care product labels, it is important for you to be aware of the need to protect your skin when bathing and washing your hair.

7. DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethnanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine): DEA and MEA are usual listed on the ingredients label in conjunction with the compound being neutralized. Thus look for names like Cocamide DEA or MES, Lauramide DEA, etc. These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. . These are commonly found in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers. On the show, CBS This Morning, Roberta Baskin revealed that a recent government report shows DEA and MEA are readily absorbed in the skin. Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois said "repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of two cancers - liver and kidney cancers." John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic division for the FDA said the new study is especial important since "the risk equation changes significantly for children."

8. FD & C Color PIGMENTS: Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer's dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Debra Lynn Dadd says in Home Safe Home: "Colors that can be used in foods, drug, and cosmetics are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic."

9. FRAGRANCE: Fragrance is present in most deodorants shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes," (Home Safe Home).
For better health try purchasing unscented products and for fragrance, adding a natural essential oil.

10. IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DMDM HYDANTOIN: These are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde (formaldehyde-donors). According to the Mayo clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, Chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients.

If the above information is not enough to make you read labels on things before using them on yourself of your babies, nothing will.

A collection of 101s

As you may notice I've been making changes and considering others (namely pondering registering my domain). I've been blogging for a year and a half covering many topics here and there but I feel like I lack focus.

Well when you are looking for focus you have to start somewhere. Keyword being start. No matter what classes of people you are a part of you started your activism/blogging/speaking up/education from somewhere. And based on that I think I'm going to start collecting various human rights 101 materials. Nothing wrong with getting some education and sharing it.

So just in case you don't know what a 101 is let me try to explain.

In the college education system most courses have a number behind them such Calculus 300. That number is a reference to the difficulty level of the content of that course where the lower the number is the lower the difficulty. So when you have something called Men's Rights 101 that would be content relating to Men's Rights that is meant to serve the purpose of introducing people to the basic concepts of that movement. You will not likely come across things like why the concept of chivalry damages men (and undermines women) or why men speaking up does not automatically mean that they are trying to oppress women but more like things like looking at how men are kept out of the lives of their children.

If you look over at the side bar you will see a new section called "Haunting Grounds 101". As time passes and I come across various 101 materials (not just human rights stuff I'm talking tech, money, cooking, sewing, whatever) that catch my attention I will add them. And please don't be afraid to drop links to any 101 material you think should be added. This isn't just for me but is for anyone that comes to visit my corner.

Here's to good beginnings.

Should I take the plunge?

I've been setup here in my corner of the universe for a about a year and half now and I'm wondering I should go for it and register the domain?

I'm able to do plenty with the free space that Google has provided me with in this time but I wonder if I could take this place to new heights and get some recognition if I were to purchase it. But I'm not sure exactly I would get out of registration.

To anyone reading this that has registered their domain and gone up from free spaces what more do you get out of it?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If you don't play by the script you will be destroyed...

I just got one hell of a reminder yesterday that having certain characteristics are not the key to the kingdom people prop them up to be.

People like to talk about "The Boys Club" or "The Good Ole Boy Network" like having a male body means a life a lap and luxury. Its not.

Yesterday about an hour after I got to work my boss (the Director of IT of the bank I work for) was fired. Why? Simply put he didn't play his role like he was supposed to in order to stay in his position of power.

A new president came into the company last June and shortly after getting here my boss pretty much let it be known he was not going to be a Yes Man for anyone. That put the bullseye on him. I personally had a love/hate relationship. He had his good moments and his bad. On one hand he would back me up and face down the gods themselves for his people...well depending on what day of the week it is, which god it is, and what mood he is in at that moment. People in power don't like having underlings they can't control. Such people are a challenge and threat to their own power.

In fact to illustrate this it is worth noting that in the last six months this new president has created two new positions despite saying his goal is to save money and help the bank grow. Both of these new positions are upper management positions (so between the two of them we are probably looking at $150k/yr in salary alone) and guess who he filled them with. People he has worked with in the past. And to drive the point home my new boss is a young management type guy. From the little I've seen of him and chatting with the guys in my department he seems to be the young eager to please type which means he is ripe pickings for this new president. Young managers that are eager to please are easier to mold to your liking.

So moral of the story: Even if you are a middle aged white heterosexual male that is married to a woman and have kids you are still expected to play by the script and if you don't you will be fucking destroyed.

Where race and gender seem to tell the same story

There is a post over at ethcofem that is discussing male and female privilege lists. Boy is that thread interesting. There is this one commenter named Melissa that I have had the pleasure of having a long discussion on gender and oppression and the movements of people that seek to correct those things. Well during the discussion I was thinking about how the system harms me because of my gender and my race. More precisely I started thinking about how the system as it stands benefits from the self destructive cycles that target my gender and my race.

Being black I'm expected to go down in a spiral of gang violence, drugs, prison, and not being in the lives of the children I helped create. The gang violence, drugs, and prison are meant to keep the numbers of my race under control. We are out there on the streets literally thinning our own numbers just as fast if not faster than the direct actions of "the man" By not being there for the children we help create we are destroying the black family (I assure you that despite what Obama may take the time to say on every Father's Day the destruction of the black family is not solely the fault of men) by way of not giving our kids the safe place and guidance they need to grow up and become responsible adults themselves. And often when a child is denied that they there is a good chance they will then repeat the cycle by doing the same to the children they help create one day.

And to complete the circle people of my race are taught that to want something more in life is proof of being a traitor to one's race. Want an education? You're an Uncle Tom/Thomasina. Want to move to a safer place for your kids? You are turning your back on where you came from. Want a high end job with a good salary and benefits? You're acting like a white woman/man.

With influences like that its no wonder people of color get stuck in self destructive spirals.

Being male I'm expected to toil my life away working outside the home to provide for children and to "protect the women" from the dangers of the outside. Yes protecting women from the dangers of the outside is a very big part of the male gender role (and very damaging, chivalry can kiss my ass). However as far as children are concerned I am taught that my worth to my children is measures in how much money I can give. A part of my job of protecting women is to take on the dangerous jobs so they don't have to and my character is often weighed by this. Another part of this is that when compared to women and children my life is worth less than theirs but I can prove my worth by risking and even losing my life to help them live. (Don't get me wrong there are few things that are more noble than risking one's life for another. Yet there is a big difference between doing it because you care and doing it because your gender role says so.) And as far as children are concerned I am not supposed to be around them because I am supposedly a molester waiting for the opportunity to violate them.

And to complete the circle there are people lining up with taunts to keep me in line if I stray. Don't want to risk your life to help a woman? You're a coward. You're the primary caretaker for the children? You're a molster/rapist. You're doing it because you aren't a real man by not being the one to work outside the home. You're doing it to hurt their mom. Take your pick. You're talking about your pain. You're not a man because real men don't talk about their pain they hold it in.

No wonder men hold in their pain and frustration until they go on rampages and die way too soon.

Just pondering over how my gender and race make me the target of some sinister shit.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I guess it all depends on who says it.

Hey folks its Danny again. I was out at Wal-Mart today when I had the oddest thought about the words boyfriend and girlfriend. What makes it odd is that I was on my way to the bathroom when it crossed my mind out of the blue. I have neither boyfriend or girlfriend so I don't know why I thought about it but I did so here goes.

As most people understand boyfriend and girlfriend are labels attached to an intimate partner of that gender. Well along with those two basic definitions girlfriend seems to have another. When a woman/girl talks about another woman/girl who is a close personal friend but not an intimate partner she still refers to her as her girlfriend. (It also seems that in at least tv/movies girls/women also refer to close person homosexual male friends as girlfriends as well but I've never heard it in actual conversation so I'm not sure about that. Any women want to chime in on that?)

So you have:
Girlfriend: An intimate partner of the female gender.

Girlfriend 2: A close personal friend of the female gender or (possibly) male of homosexual orientation.

Boyfriend: An intimate partner of the male gender.

Boyfriend 2: ???

Odd right?

Being a heterosexual (for the most part) male I can fully understand why this is. Nearly everyone on the planet understands the main meaning of girl/boyfriend. Well as guys one of the things that we are taught is that while we can be close to each other in a non-intimate manner it should only be done under certain circumstances (and if it is intimate then it should NEVER be done). I think that out of fear of of it being understood as the definition of Boyfriend (and therefore intimate) 1 we don't use what I would think Boyfriend 2 (a close friend of the male gender and I suppose women of homosexual orientation) would be.

Yes I have male friends that I'm close with, could tell anything to, and would walk barefoot into hell with them or for them. But I would never call them my boyfriends. I'd call them my boys, my fellas, my bros, etc...but never boyfriend because of the thought that someone would interpret it as intimate partner rather than close friend. It almost feels like avoiding that wording is something like a "no homo" moment.

But I also notice that women also don't use boyfriend in regards to a close male friend so it seems like there is plenty of fear to go around when it comes to the thought of referring to a close male friend as a boyfriend.

Weird.

What's your thoughts on the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing?

Friday, January 1, 2010

One situation, Two problems

It seems like I'm linking to Robert Franklin's work at Glenn Sacks' place at least once a week but since he does a good job as exposing the ways that society harms men I don't feel bad about it.

One of his latest (source) is of how a few weeks ago Mike Kelly, (now former) head coach of the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was released from his job after being arrested after an altercation with former girlfriend Andrea Peterson. Now one problem is obvious but the other is not so. Allow me to explain.

According to Bridgeport (about 30 km northwest of Philadelphia, PA) police:
...Peterson told them she was in the process of moving some of her possessions out of Kelly’s home when he confronted her and an argument ensued...Kelly denies hitting his ex-girlfriend and claims she started punching him in the face and that he grabbed her in self-defence.


Here's where it gets tricky. Under Pennsylvania domestic violence laws, police are required to make an arrest if there is evidence of assault of any type, no matter how minor.

Wait for it....

According to Bridgeport Police Sgt. John Cane:
“She told us they had an argument and (Kelly) grabbed her and she showed the officers that she had some redness around her neck, she had a small bruise or cut on her lip and on her knuckle,” Cane said. “His face had some minor swelling to it. He accused her of hitting him.”


See it? Yeah I know with the way people talk about DV it could be hard to catch if you aren't careful and get caught up in the rhetoric that dominates the discourse on DV these days.

Under state law on domestic violence, an arrest is required if there is evidence of any type of assault, no matter how small.

So under this you have a former couple get into an argument that turned physical. By the time the police got to the scene she had a red spot on her neck a cut on the lip and bruise on her knuckle and his face was swollen.

Can someone explain to me that despite it being mandatory to make an arrest when there is the smallest evidence of assault only the man was arrested?

I would think that at the worst both of them would have been busted but since people still think that women aren't violent or assume she only did it in self defense he gets arrested and she walks free. Until people can start seeing and acknowledging the truth about DV (and that truth is that DV is NOT gendered) we are not going to see much in the way of progress towards preventing it and helping the victims that need help.

So much for equal protection under the law...

Oh and about his getting fired the official word from spokespeople for the team is that his termination had nothing to do with the arrest. Yeah an emergency meeting was called after his arrest became public knowledge and they just happen to decide to terminate him for other reasons not related to the arrest. Good to know.