Friday, December 18, 2009

Cussing in German : "Schimpfwörter"

A while back I listed some French cuss words that brought readers back for months afterward. It seems people are interested in refining their anger at times!

I have a cousin who lives in Germany who I bet could tell me words that aren’t even listed here (or in the link I provided). What do you say Perry?

Note that in general, German is a very lenient cussing language. Seven-year-olds readily use the equivalent for "shit" in front of their mothers. It's just hard to get the same severity as in English. 

There are more nasty names that I won’t list here, but if you go here you can read the ones that really mean business!


House passes Bay Area lawmaker's bill to turn down volume of noisy TV ads

Wow! So it is possible to get a bipartisan vote these days. Look at the subject though: irritating loud commercials. How can anyone vote to keep them?

The English banned loud commercials last year.

I’m not letting this moment excite me too much as this was hardly reflective of what our legislators do when it comes to an important issues.

Excerpt from Dec. 15th Contra Costa Times:

Showing bipartisan opposition to blaring TV commercials, the House on Tuesday decisively approved legislation to turn down the volume.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and approved by a voice vote, directs the Federal Communications Commission to enforce a set of technical standards — recently approved by a body representing the broadcasting industry — to essentially ensure that TV ads are not noticeably louder than the programming they follow.

Jarringly loud commercials have been among the top complaints to the FCC for decades.” Read the rest of the story here.

Biblical bedroom billboard rouses ire

I’ve found that most churches have little sense of humor. Some religions, like the Islamic faith go beyond that, and get down-right angry if there’s even a drawing of Allah.

You can imagine if someone drew a funny picture of Allah. The extremist Muslims would put out a death bounty (like they did with Solomon Rushdie) a few years back.

A handout picture released by the St Matthew-in-the-City Anglican church in Auckland shows an apparently naked Virgin Mary and Joseph in bed together. The billboard has sparked the ire of conservative Christians in New Zealand.

(AFP/HO/St Matthew-In-The-City)

“A billboard sponsored by a local Anglican church that shows Joseph and Mary in bed has set tongues wagging in New Zealand, with the Catholic Church condemning it as others found it funny.

The controversial billboard, erected by St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, shows a dejected-looking Joseph under bedcovers beside a sad Mary. Underneath the image, a caption reads: "Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow."

Go here to read the rest.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Labeling People – Or, how to protect your brand

    As you go through life, labels follow you like endorsements you didn’t seek.

  The moment you take a stand on anything, the opposition to your stand will go after you with negative labels.

   When I got out of the Army in 1971, people labeled me a “baby-killer,” and other things some people felt were necessary to call anyone in the military. Back then, the stereotype of a veteran was so negative it was toxic.

   My eyes were opened and my world expanded serving in Vietnam and Cambodia. I knew the war was wrong. I knew what happened there was bad, and I didn’t feel good about some things I had to do. I came home with a mental condition that eventually cut my civilian career short. People know a lot about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) now, but back then people with this issue were called “crazy” and worse.

   The first time I ever voted, I voted for Richard Nixon. That was before Watergate. At the time I thought he knew what he was doing. Because I voted for him, people labeled me a Republican. I didn’t believe all the things the GOP stood for, but that didn’t matter.

   The next president I voted for was Ronald Reagan. I liked the guy. He was a great speaker and (I thought) patriot. I felt he would protect our country’s interests, so I voted for him. I didn’t join the GOP. I just voted for a guy I liked.

    One guy I didn’t like was Bill Clinton. When he ran the first time against George Bush Sr. in 1992, I voted for the Independent candidate Ross Perot (who ran under the banner of the “United We Stand” party). When Clinton ran again in 1996 against Bob Dole, I went with Perot again (this time he was under the banner of the “Reform Party”).

   When George W. Bush ran for president in 1999, I found myself voting for the Democrat Al Gore. When Bush ran again in 2003, the Democrats pointed out a lot of serious things, like having our rights trampled on and being involved in a war for oil. The “weapons of mass destruction” smokescreen for invading Iraq was exposed.

  Then Obama came along, and I thought he was a good speaker, but I voted for Bob Barr a Libertarian. My latest label, which I’m shedding now, will soon be replaced as others look for a way to explain my current political stance . When you write for the general public, you must be prepared to be labeled.

  The idea of voting on issues doesn’t get much play. Some people like to project an independent political stance (like me),but come across as liberal. I try to do this high-wire balancing act in my column and blogs, but sometimes I take a position because I have strong beliefs on a particular issue.

  The moment I do, I get labeled. The issue becomes secondary, and  people attach a label to me in order to refute my position with the chosen party line. By using labels, people don’t have to think too hard about their political stance. Their chosen party tells them what to say on every issue.

   When people hold up signs in public rallies calling our president a monkey (yes they called Bush a monkey too - but that same insult to an African-American immediately brings to mind a history of abuse from white Americans) a label is given to them. Racists.

   Past president Jimmy Carter recently brought up the race issue in regard to President Obama’s presidency. The reactions were immediate from some who said he was senile or a racist himself. Just another good example of a label attached so people can justify calling him names.

  Many Americans are comfortable with the two major parties which control this country. There are other parties out there, but they are labeled “fringe parties” and are seldom taken seriously by the Democrats and Republicans in power.

  If you choose to believe what Rush Limbaugh says, then you can only be a “hard-line” Republican. If you believe what Keith Olberman reports, then you must be a “bleeding heart” liberal Democrat. If you call yourself a member of either party, does that mean you go with “their party line” on everything - even if it’s wrong or inaccurate?

  Some people need to protect their labels, and are comfortable nestled in their ideologies. They don’t have to think of original replies when their political stance is challenged, as their “party” will provide it. Sound byte politics s is all the rage.

  Too many people don’t really examine political issues in detail. America is polarized politically, and the effects are slowly destroying this country. We have a do-nothing Congress,  and neither the Democrats or the Republicans, are prepared to put their “brand” aside to really serve the American people.

  As It Stands, I suspect I’ll be labeled a trouble maker, for even bringing up this subject.

image via Google Images

There's something wrong with redheads?

It seems to me red heads have been picked on for a long time.

I remember one phrase, “they beat him like a red-headed stepchild…” while growing up. It always struck me as odd, as I think red hair is cool.

“An ad for a TV dating show has been banned for suggesting that redheads are unattractive, Britain's advertising watchdog said on Wednesday.” Go here to read the story.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Magnetic Hill Draws Visitors to Ladakh

I may have to put this destination on my “bucket list” of things to do. I just wonder how safe the area is to visit?

You may not believe that a vehicle with its ignition off can move, but in Ladakh seeing is believing. Not only do vehicles move without the engine being turned on, they even defy gravity by climbing uphill.

A hill on the outskirts of this picturesque cold desert town is so full of magnetized iron that it has the power to pull any vehicle in its vicinity towards itself. Perhaps inevitably, it is called Magnetic Hill.
The hill is situated about 25 km from here on the Leh-Kargil-Batalik national highway and is bordered by the Indus river, which originates in Tibet and flows through Ladakh on its way to Pakistan.

Go here to read the rest of the story.

Intel faces new antitrust accusations as FTC files suit

The chip maker has deliberately tried to hamstring its competition, the commission says. Intel says the case is 'misguided.'

 Excerpt from 10 a.m. update:

The Federal Trade Commission today sued Intel Corp., accusing the computer-chip giant of abusing its market dominance for a decade to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly.”

Go to the LA TIMES to read the story.

In France, horse falling off restaurant menus

 While draining a cup of Joe this morning, I found out, to my horror, that people in France eat horses!

I had no idea these beautiful animals were on anyone’s menu these days. I’m glad to see that the practice is slowing down, and hopefully will end soon.

Many people love horses and traditionally, many French people have loved them even more with a side of salad.

That passion, however, has slowed to a trickle in the last couple of years as crisis-hit French consumers buy less meat and years of campaigning by animal rights groups take effect.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

Photo via

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Diamond Bigger than Earth lurks in Constellation Centaurus

Like an episode out of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced in 2007 that the discovery of a mass of crystallized carbon formerly known as star BPM 37093, now known as the biggest diamond in the galaxy, is fifty light years away from Earth in the constellation Centaurus.

The star, named "Lucy" after the Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," is estimated to be 2,500 miles across and weighs approximately 10 billion-trillion-trillion-carats – a one, followed by 34 zeros. Travis Metcalfe, an astronomer from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the team who discovered the gem, says “You would need a jeweler’s loupe the size of the sun to grade this diamond. Bill Gates and Donald Trump together couldn’t begin to afford it.”

The diamond is actually the crystallized interior of a white dwarf – or the hot core of a star that is left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.

Five billion years from now, our sun will die and become a white dwarf. Approximately two billion years after that, its ember core will crystallize as well, leaving a giant diamond in the center of our solar system. A paper announcing this discovery has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters for publication. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. Scientists within the organization are classified into six research divisions where they study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

Posted by Casey Kazan @ The Daily Galaxy

Black nativity angers Italy's "White Xmas" party

It seems that the Italians have their racists too. We talk about the KKK, and other white hate groups, but none have the power that Italy’s Northern League Party has.

“A nativity scene featuring a dark-skinned Jesus, Mary and Joseph that has gone on display in a Verona courthouse has created heated debate in a city with strong links to Italy's anti-immigration Northern League party.

The nativity's appearance coincides with the League's controversial operation "White Christmas," a two-month sweep ending on Christmas Day to ferret out foreigners without proper permits in Coccaglio, a small League-led town east of Milan.”

Go here to read the rest.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Back from combat, women struggle for acceptance

I highly recommend this article for all Americans to read. This is a subject that has yet to get it’s due in the media. Not enough has been written about the serious challenges a woman faces in the modern military services.

I became aware of some of their challenges while attending local Stand Down’s for Veterans.

Some of the women I talked to said the exact same things that you’ll read in this well-written report. This is Part 1 of a 3-Part series by The Seattle Times.


“Even near military bases, female veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't often offered a drink on the house as a welcome home.

More than 230,000 American women have fought in those recent wars and at least 120 have died doing so, yet the public still doesn't completely understand their contributions on the modern battlefield.”

Go here to read the whole story.

Photo via Impact Lab which also offers many more photos of women in the military, and their historical involvement in the services.

California's neediest high school students have the least prepared teachers, study says

The good news: A steep drop in the total number of 'underprepared' teachers.

The bad: Aspiring teachers aren't being taught how to emphasize critical thinking skills and 'real world' learning.

Go here to read the whole story.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Future holiday meals may feature 'miracle meat'

By Dave Stancliff /For the Times-Standard

Posted: 12/13/2009 01:27:15 AM PST

December 2014 -- A typical American family gathers around a table to enjoy their holiday meal.

They might be celebrating Bodhi Day (Dec. 8th), Hanukkah (Dec. 12th), Christmas Day (Dec. 25th), or Kwanzaa (Dec. 26th).

The amazing thing about this season is a new culinary delight with something for everyone. Scientists have developed a meat -- the press dubbed it “miracle meat” -- that satisfies all the dietary needs of the various religious holidays.

Go here to read the rest.

Image via flickr: goatopolis

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...