Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anti-poverty campaigns during time of war

Have you heard this radio ad about donating hundreds of thousands of G.I.JOE dolls to poor US children? Don't fall for it.

Well, I did and was appalled. My reactions hit me like a rock. I couldn't believe that this apparently well-wishing ad promising to bring joy to all these kids for Thanksgiving was causing my liver to produce more and more bile - I was livid.
Dennis Quaid is the face of this doll and the voice of this campaign. When I heard and then saw the doll, here's what I heard:

We are in time of war. Our soldiers are dying. Let's give G.I.JOE dolls to the children of poor US children while advertising a movie in the meantime.

How cynical can we get?

I plucked this (see below) from a website advertising Quaid's most recent movie.

Hasbro has announced that the "G.I. Joe" brand, the Marine Toys for Toys Foundation and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra star Dennis Quaid will help deliver up to 300,000 toys to children this holiday season:

Over 14 million children live in poverty in the United States. They need a hero this holiday season and here to answer the call of duty is the G.I. JOE brand from Hasbro, Inc.

Hasbro’s G.I. JOE brand, the Marine Toys for Toys Foundation and actor Dennis Quaid are joining forces to help make this holiday season a little brighter for less fortunate children. For every G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra toy purchased at stores from November 11 through November 26 (Veteran’s Day through Thanksgiving), Hasbro will donate a new toy (up to 300,000 toys with a minimum $3.99 value) to Toys for Tots.

My issue is certainly not with giving toys to poor children.
My issue is with the fact that a large chunk of my country's economy is built on warfare and weapons. Children are socialized into ways of being that are acceptable to and drive the economy of war and violence. And, it is in large part the children of middle and lower-class families who end up joining the military as a way out of financial hardship. A lot of them grow up thinking that war is normal.
I think it's important that we challenge these taken-for-granted assumptions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Parasites are Here

The other day I was driving back from having taught my class at WCC and listening to wbur.org You should have seen my face: during that 1/2 hour my face went through a range of facial expressions and sounds expressing abhorrence, panic, fatalism and pure joy... all in that order :)

What was I listening to you ask?
Radiolab. Their performance of the report was very entertaining while the content was making me jitterry. The topic was Parasites...

This particular subject was quite fascinating. The subject was Toxoplasm gondii which is a common protozoan parasite. It causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. "Although not normally harmful to humans, in immunocompromised hosts and in new born babies toxoplasmosis is harmful," according to House Ear Institute. Below is a micrograph colorized with NIH Image.

Enjoy the story!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back from a Night Class at WCC and more

It's been some time since I wrote last...
A lot of things and some of them wonderful have been happening and keeping my mind away from self-expression in blog format.
The self-expression in other media is going strong :)

  • SOWA is done for the year. I think I will apply to do it again next year in part because of the new customers and the artists' community.
By the way, last time at SOWA I wasn't myself but rather shape-shifted by the Dark Spirits of Halloween. Below is a photo of me that a customer offered to take and he sent it to me recently.
What am I? If you guess "right" I will send you a bead.

  • My Mother-In-Law and her brother visited with us for a week or so and we all went to Acadia National Park and then Bar Harbor. Standing on Cadillac Mountain on a very very windy day was quite an experience. The marks left by the glacial waters on the mountain and the wild flora arising amidst the cracks in the ancient stone - one powerful and yet very fragile landscape. Bar Harbor, on the other hand, a very quaint town with beautiful by-the-sea scenery, is a great place to relax and enjoy aquatic culinary delights. We stayed at Bar Harbor Inn which is directly on the waterfront and the rooms were very comfortable. Visit there when you have a chance.