Wednesday, October 28, 2009

High School Animals

"Police investigating the rape of a 15-year-old girl have arrested five people, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

"Three juveniles and two adults are in custody in connection with the rape Saturday, said the Richmond police spokesman, Lt. Mark Gagan.

"Authorities have described the incident as a 2½-hour assault on the Richmond High School campus.

"Gagan said police arrested three of the suspects Tuesday night. They included Salvador Rodriguez, 21, as well as a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old whose identities were not released because they are juveniles, he said."

This is all I want to say about this horrid crime: the rapists are animals. The people that stood there watching the attack, taking photos and videos, laughing and cheering, are all animals. I hope you are all identified, and if the police can't or don't do anything to you, I hope this girl's family makes you pay. If ever a situation cried out for vigilante justice, this one does. I'm not a mother, but I can't imagine the rage the victim's parents must be feeling.

"A 1999 California law makes it illegal not to report a witnessed crime against a child, but the law applies only to cases in which the child is 14 or younger."

Then what could those heartless, cold bastards be charged with? Accessory to rape? "The common law rule on accessory after the fact requires that a defendant have knowledge that a felony was committed and aided or assisted the felon in some way to avoid being caught by the authorities."

Find the witnesses, confiscate their cell phones and check for the pictures that were supposedly taken. Of course, those weaklings will just insist they didn't take those photos, their phones had been stolen or lost.

What about the rapists themselves? This had to be a planned attack. "The agreement to commit rape gives rise to the issue of whether any of the students are guilty of conspiracy to commit rape. The common law rule for conspiracy requires that two or more people actually agree and intend to agree to commit a crime and that one conspirator commits some overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy."

Given the fact the DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, is looking at an execution date, I think this crime should be considered as one for execution for the rapists. California does have the death penalty. Put it to use and get rid of that scum.

DirecTV's Spade-Farley ad criticized as in poor taste

"DirecTV has raised a ruckus by raising the dead" CNN reported on October 28, 2009. "The satellite TV company has relied on dead celebrities to push its satellite television packages -- last year's "Poltergeist" ad starred the late Heather O'Rourke, for example -- but the cable company's latest promotion featuring Chris Farley in "Tommy Boy" has stirred up fresh controversy, with many believing that the ad was done in poor taste."

So I saw the Chris Farley/David Spade commercial on October 27 and was amazed by how WRONG it seemed. Let me say right now that I have not see the commercial with Heather O'Rourke because that's just awful too.

Can we just leave dead entertainers out of these commercials?"The 30-second spot features Farley, who died in 1997 of heart failure because of an overdose, in the infamous "Fat Boy in a Little Coat" scene from the 1995 comedy that co-starred David Spade."

When I first saw that commercial, I thought, Wow, David Spade looks like he's hanging on to Chris Farley for his career no matter what! Besides Saturday Night Live, how many movies were they in together? Four? I hadn't even thought like Heather O'Rourke, someone (the family, most likely, as executors of the estates) had to give legal permission for the footage to be used.

"When DirecTV came to me and the Farley family with this idea about 'Tommy Boy,' we talked and thought it would be a cool way to remind people just how funny Chris was," Spade said in a statement. "It is a clever homage to my friend and a movie that we loved doing."

As for DirecTV, they were taking cues from Farley's loved ones.

"We should look to Chris' family and friends for the ultimate opinion on this subject," said Jon Gieselman, senior vice president of advertising and public relations for DirecTV. "They were on board with the concept from the very beginning and throughout the entire process and felt the spot was a great to tribute to Chris."

This is different than showing a movie in which an actor has since died (Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, Heath Ledger, Christopher Reeve, take your pick). Someone is still making money on those broadcasts (again, probably the estate of that actor). But at least those movies were made while the actor was still alive. He or she knew what they were doing, and not being manipulated later on for a commercial.

Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder if we'll ever see a commercial with Heath Ledger. That would seem pretty distasteful too. Can you imagine him, in the Joker makeup, having Batman interrogate him about his DirecTV usage?

The Joker: We really should stop fighting, we'll miss the fireworks!
Batman: We don't need to stay here to watch fireworks. We can watch them on DirecTV in HD from the comfort of the Batcave!
The Joker: And here... we... go!
[Silence. Nothing happens. Confused, Joker turns to look at the clock, which shows that it's past midnight and neither ferry has blown the other up]
Batman: What were you hoping to prove? That live fireworks are somehow more reliable than DirecTV's service and signal? You're *alone*!
The Joker: [sighs] Can't rely on anyone these days...

But now, knowing how much Chris Farley's family thought it was a good idea, I hate this commercial even more. It comes across like everyone is grubbing for money through a dead comedian. Chris Farley was a funny guy, ans sure, he had his problems, but that commercial just seems to be a slap in the face of his memory. Truthfully, enough time has passed since his 1997 death that until now, he hasn't really been relevant. This commercial just seems to come out of no where. When was the last time you heard someone yell, "My name is Matt Foley and I am a motivational speaker! I am 35 years old, I am thrice divorced and I live in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!" Okay, someone other then me. :)

But the sad thought is this: why do I think that Chris himself wouldn't have a problem with it? He might really think it's funny.

Considering we'll never really know how Chris feels about this commercial, I guess the point for hating it is moot. I'm not going to post it here. If you want to see it, I will link to it here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Same-sex marriage battle moves to Maine

"Voters in Maine will decide next week whether to overturn the legislation signed by Gov. John Baldacci nearly six months ago that allows same-sex couples to wed," as reported by CNN.

I can't believe that in 2009, the idea of same sex marriages is still debatable. Before we start quoting scripture here, all I want to know is this: why am I, as a heterosexual female, allowed to legally marry a heterosexual man? What makes us so special? There are probably hundreds of gay and lesbian couples out there, in devoted, monogamous relationships that would love to be allowed the right to have a legal marriage. Let's drop this "civil union" shit while we're at it. What really should be the deciding factor in a marriage is whether or not there are two legal-aged consenting adults involved.

And what the hell is a civil union anyway? "A civil union is a legally recognized union similar to marriage. Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in many developed countries in order to provide same-sex couples with rights, benefits, and responsibilities similar (in some countries, identical) to opposite-sex civil marriage."

Hmmm, sounds like a definition of marriage to me. Why can't we just call it marriage? Man-man, woman-woman, man-woman, it doesn't matter."Marriage is a social union or legal contract between individuals that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged by a variety of ways, depending on the culture or demographic. Such a union may also be called matrimony, while the ceremony that marks its beginning is usually called a wedding and the marital structure created is known as wedlock."

"Initially, I had the opinion for several years that civil unions were the limitations of what I was willing to support," Baldacci said. "But, the research that I did uncovered that a civil union didn't equal a civil marriage." [Baldacci said]

Love shouldn't be legally defined as a man and a woman. And anyone that argues heterosexual marriage is at risk if gay and lesbian marriage is allowed is not very secure in their own marriage. I don't fear for the sanctity of my own marriage. If Americans could be more open minded, this country might be a better place.

If you think about it, we again are on the cusp of history in the making. Can you see the parallels between same sex marriage and marriage between people of different races? According to Wikipedia, "Interracial marriage in the United States has been fully legal in all U.S. states since the 1967 Supreme Court decision that deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, with many states choosing to legalize interracial marriage at much earlier dates."

But as far as scripture goes, you can quote the Bible all day long if you want, looking for "proof" that gay and lesbians are "bad." I'm just not buying it. Maybe back in the day, sure God would have looked down upon gays and lesbians. Today, I don't think so. I'd like to think that God would be more open minded about that.

"Noting that the word "homosexuality" is never used in scripture, Myers and Scanzoni argue: "Nothing is said about homosexual orientation as understood through modern science, nor is anything said about the loving relationship of two same-sex persons who have covenanted to be life partners." Their conclusion: "It's important to keep those distinctions in mind when examining the small number of biblical passages commonly used in discussions of homosexuality." Referring to the key New Testament passages that condemn homosexuality, they claim that "many biblical scholars are convinced that these passages have nothing to do with homosexual orientation and committed homosexual relationships as we know them today."

God stated in Genesis 2:18: "It is not good for the man to be alone." For a homosexual individual, the only suitable companion is a person of the same gender. To say that gays and lesbians should not form committed relationships is to say that it is good for them to remain alone. This is a direct contradiction of God's statement; it implies that God is a liar."

My point about scripture is this: you can use the Bible, the Torah or even the Koran to argue each point of every argument you try to make. What it should boil down to is what is in your heart. Rely on your own strength and then find guidance in your book, not the other way around. Times change. People change. What was written as being truth thousands of years ago doesn't stand up in today's world. "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." These words still hold up today, written by our forefathers, so that we could live free. The ability (because it's probably not a right) to marry who we choose, in my opinion, falls under these words.

If there's someone out there for you, that you love, and they love you, then fight for your rights. If you want to marry, then fight for it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Lamps

Man, almost a week since my last post...I'm so bad. I really have lost all track of any kind of schedule since I went back to work and I need to really crack down on that...working out, stuff at home, walking the dog, etc.

So anyway, my homemade lamps...I really got into how easy and fun these things are to make, especially from empty bottles. Say you've got a really nice bottle of wine or something. Once the wine is gone, you want to keep the bottle, but you don't want it to be a dust collector. Why not turn it into a lamp?

What got me started on this was a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne my husband had brought home in 2007 for our anniversary. It was one of those "once in a lifetime" kind of deals. We saved it until March 2008 for our 10th anniversary, actually. But I couldn't bring myself to toss the bottle when it was empty. I'm kind of a pack rat, I guess. So what to do with it?

I went online and found a variety of companies that will take your empty bottles or what have you and turn them into lamps. You have to trust the postal service won't break your bottle in transit, of course. But the prices were a little high and some of these companies were pretty rigid in their choices. One place wouldn't let me pick the color of the lampshade! And of course, they said it HAD to come with a lampshade. Okay, whatever. I knew I could do better than that.

I found out Home Depot has a great little bottle lamp kit by Westinghouse, right there in their lighting department for just under $10. It comes with a couple different sized collars to make sure you've got the right fit, and the electrical part is as easy as pie.

The nice thing about these lamps is that they are totally customizable. I like going to A.C. Moore to get wood for the bases. I don't like leaving the bottles as stand alone lamps, because they tend to be a little thin and need some stature to them. A.C. Moore sells pre-cut wood in different shapes and sizes. I get two matching pieces (one larger than the other), epoxy them together and then stain them. The edges are usually already routered and have a nice look to them. Even their shallow wooden trays and bowls work well if you flip them upside down.

With a good epoxy, you can attach just about anything together. Once the base is dry, I like to set the bottle off center so I have room for something else next to it. This is a good place to add the cork from the bottle, if you have it. Personally, I think it's best to give the base a half day to completely dry before you attach the bottle. And once the bottle has been set, give yourself another half day before you start manhandling it to put the electrical stuff on it.

K-Mart or Wal-Mart tend to have a decent selection of smaller lamp shades to choose from. One thing I need to remember for the next lamp, is the addition of an eye hook in the back of the base. By adding that to the base, and then threading the cord through it before wiring up the socket, I think that will help keep the cord under control.

Since the Dom lamp, I've made three more lamps: a Jameson whiskey bottle lamp for a friend, a Vampire Merlot wine bottle lamp for me for Halloween, and a Marnier-Lapostolle lamp for some friends as a late wedding gift. (The Marnier bottle didn't have a cork, so I swiped one of their personalized coasters and a silver bell from the reception to use in it's place.)

The Jameson lamp was bought online by a friend for another man's birthday. It was some kind of special reserve, and when the friend ordered it, he didn't realize the conversion rate from Euros to US dollars. So when the credit card bill came, the friend decided he was keeping that bottle of Jameson for himself. For that price, there was no way the friend could toss that empty bottle!

The Halloween lamp was fun to make. I just happened to have the silk fall leaves here (see, again, I'm a pack rat!) because you never know when you're going to need a handful of silk leaves for something. The lampshade actually matches the little vampire's base. How cute is he...walking his little pet bat through the cemetery, holding a bag to clean up after his bat? Seriously, the bag is really labeled "bat guano."

The Marnier lamp hasn't gone to the newlyweds yet, as I'm waiting to hear back from them to see when they'll be home. They were married two weeks ago, and I'm not sure if they remember me taking the empty bottle with me when we left the reception. The bride wasn't sure if she wanted me to take her favorite bottle for a lamp. She had been collecting empty bottles to use at the reception as vases for silk arrangements. My husband actually suggested letting me take one for a lamp for them, and the groom loved the idea. I hope the bride is happy with it!

Depending on how fancy you want your lamp to be, these are actually quite inexpensive to make:
--a nice bottle you already have
--$10 for the lamp kit
--$10 for the lamp shade
--$6 for the base (if you decide to do a double layer base)
--$4 for some good epoxy or glue
=$30 to start

For me, I've decided I really like staining the base. The Halloween lamp base was painted because it's actually MDF board with a little fake turf on it. You can either use actual stain (the Marnier lamp has a light coat of poly on it as well) or you can water down some paint instead. You're only limited by your imagination. If you decide to make a lamp, let me know how it goes!