Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Maybe I should have saved this for Friday, but....

I found this video embedded in a link that describes the various colorations of husky eyes as natural, so don't go thinking just because your husky has one blue and one brown/green eye, s/he isn't purebred. 'Cause I picked up Domino today and he has one full blue eye and one parti-eye, meaning it's blue with some brown sludge in it. He's beautiful and definitely a kid dog because once Peanut got in the car, Domino wouldn't budge from the backseat, not even to get some of my sandwhich.

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Why Richard Petty will always get a big FUCK YOU from me

Yes, I know he's retired, but that doesn't mean he still can't be a misogynistic asshole, right? Isn't it obvious when he and his wife had 3 daughters and 1 son, yet it's only Kyle Petty who followed in his footsteps? I wonder what type of supportive role the women are in.

"When I shook hands with Richard Petty I thought I'd get frostbite," Guthrie wrote. "Later, he would be quoted as saying of me: 'She's no lady. If she was she'd be at home. There's a lot of differences in being a lady and being a woman."'
Janet Guthrie was the first woman ever to compete in the World 600 in 1976 and there have only been 3 women after her: Shawna Robinson, Patty Moise and Robin McCall. Danica Patrick competes in the Indy 500 (of which she is currently in 6th position according to Nascar Nut since I won't watch it).

In 1976, what started out as a publicity stunt ended up breaking barriers for women in NASCAR much to the chagrin of drivers such as Richard Petty, who later had to admit Guthrie had gotten in the hard way, by earning the spot:

Petty admits he wasn't thrilled with the thought of women drivers 30 years ago. He still isn't, saying they are more of a distraction than a threat to challenge male drivers.
Because women are so distracting wrapped up in heavy flame retardant suits complete with helmets wrecking their perfect hair day, strapped into a car so tight that they can't move anything but their arms and feet. Yeah, I'd say that fiberglass shell they drive upwards of 250mph for 500 miles is very distracting ain't it?

What struck me most about this article is how feminist Guthrie's and the various women who supported their husbands racing careers were, including Lynda Ferrari who had never even been to a NASCAR raceway but was willing to support Guthrie regardless:
It was early morning and Guthrie was in the spectator's area changing into her uniform because there weren't any women's restrooms in the garage.

"Here's this good-looking gal that has hair teased up to about here and false eyelashes," Guthrie said. "She said [Guthrie uses her best Southern accent], 'Oh, I'm so tired. I didn't get to bed until this morning. I was lapping in the valves.'"

It was Katie Ballard, the wife of driver Walter Ballard.

"I said, 'Well, how come you're not in the garage area with the rest of the crew?'" Guthrie said. "She said, 'Oh, I wouldn't do that. That's for the men.'

"I used to see her sometimes on the outside of the chain-link fence peering in. Needless to say, there was the whole Steel Magnolias tradition going on down here."

That point was driven home further when Ferreri was denied entrance to the LMS garage because she was wearing a dress. Guthrie recalled a conversation with Ferreri later. "She said, 'Haven't you noticed how when a profession starts to be engaged by women, it loses some status?'" Guthrie said. "She said that's why NASCAR doesn't want us here. They're afraid the sport will be denigrated."
Yes, have they? Because its been happening throughout the history of humankind and that may very well be the main reason women are having a tough time breaking into the "good 'ol boy camp" of NASCAR as it threatens what has been deemed a manly power: the ability to drive a car. And by relinquishing that control to women, you know, those lowly Jezebels', men would thus be forced to abdicate some of their power and knowledge.

When cars were first made, women didn't drive them. Men made them so perhaps it was only *natural* that only men drive them. Even now, when we see a car on the road with all sorts of work done to it, we assume it's a male owner/driver and that it is an extension of his small penis, yes?

This is why women like Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick have made, and are currently continuing to make, great strides in a sport overwhelming run by white men. However, I see this great need to pretty Danica up and make her "feminine" as ludicrous and contradicting the point of women drivers in NASCAR.

Before I go off in another direction that I'm not feeling up to sparring with entirely (that whole Male Gaze and the need to pretty up Danica Patrick), I'm going to stop here.
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Minutemen, I don't like them.

Ya know, these people (because they aren't all men) really piss me the fuck off. Especially now that they've taken upon themselves to erect a fence at the Arizona border.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps plans to install a combination of barbed wire, razor wire, and in some spots, steel rail barriers along the 10-mile stretch of private land in southeastern Arizona.
Isn't it nice to have people so involved in our nation's border patrol when so many already here are starving and working for shitty wages? How about the mom's and/or dad's who have left their families behind in search of a better life?

Isn't their name, Minuteman, telling, especially when they have a female voice as their spokesperson?
Minuteman spokeswoman Connie Hair said it would take up to three weeks to build the estimated $100,000 fence. So far, the group has raised $380,000 for more border fences, she said.
Can there be anymore testosterone in the group?
"They're just anti-illegal," said Doty. "The Minutemen walk the extra mile to avoid being anti-immigrant and that's what we like about the organization and what got us interested."
No, it appears they are anti-Mexican/Hispanic/Latinos since they seem to be equating immigrants with only Mexicans/Hispanics/Latinos even though there are 2 rather large oceans that immigrants cross to get here. And yes, sometimes they are illegal, too.
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Friday, May 26, 2006

Out of Aggravation Came Promise

I woke up this morning at 7am on the dot, mostly because my alarm told me to. It usually rings at 6:30 but apparently I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep, which I don't remember doing.

Jumping up, I woke Peanut who then bounced out of bed saying, "I'm going to get dressed downstairs." Then he called from the closet, "Mom, what kind of temperature is it today?" When he heard my response of "tshirt and shorts," I heard a Woohoo then clomps down the stairs as he descended. It's his new routine to go hang out with my mom, watch Arthur and get dressed while she heats up Ego Mini's for him. He loves the dunk appeal.

At 7:30 we left the house to pick up Kazu. He loves going for rides and walks so that's quickly becoming one way to get through to him and get him socialized. I gave him a bath last Saturday which he didn't particularly like, but afterwards I could tell did him a world of good in the physical therapy sense. He walks hunched and pulls something terrible though, as if always expecting the worst. Think of cops barging into a house, guns drawn, tag-teaming corners and large empty rooms; that's the same kind of cautious behavior Kazu exhibits all the time. I know that if I were to ever accidently let go of the leash, he'd be long gone with no hopes of a return.

Anyway, I had to get gas after I got Kazu, but that wasn't the problem. It's Memorial Day weekend and everyone and their sister is out on the roads. Yesterday I sat in traffic for 25 min while people rubbernecked and this morning I sat in traffic for 15 min for a reason I didn't get to see. That might not seem like a long time to those of you accustomed to DC-like traffic, but it's a long time when you don't have the time to give.

So I got to Prevent a Litter at 8:45 instead of 8:30, dropped Kazu off and explained how not cat-friendly he is (to the point that we know he'll kill them in one snap) and that he's shy, but not the biting kind of shy. The guy is wonderful; he even gave me 2 kisses on the way in and started acting puppyish (he's only 2) which made me very happy. Heck, he even kissed Peanut's hand just a little which made Peanut very happy.

I made appointments for the 3 kittens we now have and for Nascar's kittens and Casper. Then I got to leave.

We got in the car; I had 5 min to get Peanut to school on time. We made it considering his school is literally 2 blocks behind Prevent a Litter but sometimes traffic in Carytown can be a bit much, even that early in the morning.

I dropped Peanut off in the hallway that led to his class then walked into the cafeteria to give the lunch lady some money for his breakfast/lunches. Just as she saw me she said, "You're baby is out of money."

She laughed when I pulled out a check for $20.00 courtesy of my mom who sometimes helps me with money for Peanut since damn, I just don't have much. (But not for long!)

Then I hauled ass to my parking spot for work, walked the 6 blocks or so to the bus and finally arrived here at 9:40am.

So yeah, it was a harried morning but I got to recieve kisses from Kazu and see him act puppyish if even just for a second.

That made the whole morning worth it for me. :)
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How aggravating yet I'm too tired to rip it up

This from the Huffington Post:

"Who's Your Daddy? A reading of a pamphlet written by ex-con Stephen Donaldson for heterosexual men who are about to enter prison, about how to 'hook up' with a stronger man -- a 'daddy' or 'jocker' -- who'll provide protection in return for sex. He explains the rules and mores that govern this part of American prison culture. There's no graphic language and there are no graphic images in this story, but it does acknowledge the existence of sexual acts. Read by Larry DiStasi. (6 minutes)"
Wow. Interesting how everything settles around submissive vs. aggressive men and how they become each others "bitch" in order to not get hassled in jail.
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More catch up time

This I found interesting and somewhat of a relief:

Colombia eased their laws on abortion.

Last week, Colombia's highest court ruled that abortions can be allowed in certain limited cases, such as Gonzalez's, if incest or rape is involved or if the fetus is so deformed that it would be unable to live outside the mother's womb.
About fucking time.
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Catching up on some reading....

It's been a crazy week at work so far as I begin to prepare for my departure. I don't want to leave my boss in a weak spot so I need to get things to a more organized stopping point. So it's been slow-blogging during this transition.

Anyhow, on to bigger, better and seemingly more important matters!

Originally reported last week, King Abdullah has asked that various Saudi media discontinue publishing pictures of women and girls as they could cause men to go astray.


Given that Saudi women can't drive and or be outside without the abaya, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. My main thought is that really, when are they going to teach men the same thing I teach my son nearly everyday, "They are the only one who can control their actions."

But, this week, King Abdullah says he was misquoted.

The official, who heard Abdullah speaking to the journalists, said: “The king was referring to indecent pictures in general and not women’s pictures in particular. He didn’t allude to women at all.”
Exasperated, I'll let you all draw your own conclusions.
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dixie Chicks

Their new album is out today! And there is even a link on their website to their "regretful apology." I love this new album and everyone must go out and buy a copy, even if only to support their voice against Bush and his administration full of Cronies.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Hah! John Steward on Bush's Immigration Policy

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Pink and "Stupid Girls" revisited

In an article titled Pop Singer Makes Slaving for Beauty Look Ugly, Pink tries to explain the point of song Stupid Girls:

Pink--one part pop, one part rock and one part hip hop--pens her own testimonial to her song and video. "A lot of people are relieved that someone has finally said something about the mindless epidemic of unhealthy girls out there promoting consumerism and escapism," she writes on her site.
I'm on both sides of the fence. I love that she's got the video out because it reaches such a broad and diverse audience; the message is getting out there. Yet at the same time, she's pretty much saying girls are stupid for following this beauty regime instead of directing malice toward the society at large that requires this type of look from us.

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So because I don't want to make 5 differents posts,

I'm putting everything in one. hehe. It's my blog and I can do it if I want to, do it if I want to....

I've talked about this before and I'm sure you've heard of them by now: Child Soldiers otherwise known as "night commuters". A new documentary is out called Journey into the Sunset that I haven't seen myself yet seen, but it's on my wishlist. I agree with the commenter at the end of the Alternet article, What can you say?

And since we just can't stop at ignoring the atrocities happening in other countries not brought on by us, let us move to those that are: Guantanamo Bay.
GENEVA - The United States should close its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and avoid using secret detention facilities in the war on terror, the U.N. panel that monitors compliance with the world's anti-torture treaty said Friday.
I'm wondering how often the Shrubites need to be told to knock this illegal shit off. Of course, if we actually belonged to the Geneva Convention, maybe the UN would have more clout.

Now let us move on to a different kind of war: birth control a.k.a. contraception. It's not good enough that abortion is now illegal in South Dakota and appx 11 other states have the same legislation pending, they want to knock out access to birth control, too. I love that the title of the article is The War on Sex. We have The War on Terror, The War on Drugs, The War on Poverty so why not include sex into all that war talk?

Only it's not a War on Sex, it's a War on Women since, hey, let's face it, we women are the only ones who can get pregnant and those pro-lifers aren't out to look after all the unwanted children that come as a result of both abortion and contraceptives being illegal.

Seriously though, I'm not calling myself "pre-pregnant" despite what the new federal guidelines are, mainly because my body is done having kids, but also because this generic form of Handmaid's Tale speak negates the experiences of each individual woman. Maybe she can't get pregnant despite her best efforts? Maybe her uterus isn't a place fit for a growing fetus? Maybe she was misdiagnosed by a faulty health-care system and ended up having a hysterectomy?

I wonder if Margaret Atwood is sitting in her house right now saying to herself, My book was supposed to be fiction. It wasn't supposed to actually happen!
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Friday Random Ten: I got the job!! edition

So I got a call this morning from a person who said, "Hey, we're offering you the job, are you still interested?" It's a job right up my alley, too, with an organization called ChildSavers. I'm very excited.(!) I start June 12th and my goal is that, by the end of August, Peanut and I will be moving into a place of our own. After that, when I'm broke I'll actually have something to show for it, lol.

1. When you Say Nothin' at All by Alison Krauss
2. Only Hope by Mandi Moore (from the Walk to Remember soundtrack
3. Me Time by Heather Headley
4. High by James Blunt
5. Supersonic by J.J. Fad
6. Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson
7. There'll You'll Be by Faith Hill
8. Canto Alla Vita by Josh Groban featuring The Corrs
9. Numb by Pink
10. Headstrong by 10,000 Maniacs
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Today, God told me Pat Robertson is full of shit!

Seriously, doesn't this "God told me so" stuff ever get old? Now he predicts that storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coasts this year.

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. Wednesday, he added, "there well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."
Hey Pat, here's a thought for you: those *storms* are called "hurricanes," "typhoons," or "cyclones" and they hit various American coastlines every.single.year with or without your useless predictions. Just thought you'd like to know so god could get a day off now and again.
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Friday Cat Blogging: NEW KITTIES!! edition

Aren't they the cutest? Sunday will make them 2 weeks old and I was there right after they were born, too. In fact, that's an interesting story I've been meaning to tell.

There are 3 kittens snorgled in the corner just in case you can't tell. On the other side of the orange one is a tabby. This picture was taken when they were only a matter of hours old.

Nascar Nut and I went out of town for the weekend and so did his parents. (We attended Pet Harbor's adoptathon in front of PetSmart where 3 huskies found homes, yay!) Sunday we showed up for his youngest daughter’s 5th birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese's. It went as most parties go.

Anyway, when we arrived back at Nascar Nut's house, we walked into the kitchen to find the tortoise shell kitty lying in the middle of the floor, umbilical cord and what I'm guessing the placental sac still attached. Apparently she began to give birth in the kitchen but not feeling safe there (it was very much in the open and cats love to hide), moved into the next room that is jam packed with stuff.

I immediately checked Little Dude to see if s/he was still alive while Nascar Nut set out to find Casper. I was elated to hear a tiny *mew* and see a shaky head jolt when I touched her/him. Not knowing Nacsar Nut's house, I screamed for scissors which he promptly ran into the room to provide me with, then resumed his search for Casper.

Hah! But my demands were not over!

I cut the cord then screamed for a towel since Little Dude was very cold and still very much soaked in all that birthing fluid stuff. Nascar Nut again provided me with what I needed. Once I had settled the little dude inside, both Nascar Nut and I began wandering around trying to locate the other little *mews* we were hearing. After a bit, I set to cleaning Little Dude off since s/he was kinda gross and smelly. I know the mom's clean the kitties off and dispose of every bit of waste the kittens create, but we were having a hard time locating her at that moment.

Finally Nascar Nut found her. Surprise! She was in the very room I had warned them about. But whatever. Don't listen to the animal lady and see what happens? :) It's all good.

I checked in on mom and much to her dismay, moved her in order to figure out how many she had given birth to. (Mom's clean their newborns completely after chewing off the umbilical cords. From what I understand, the mom's also eat the sacs that come out with each but don't quote me on that.) I needed to know how many Casper had birthed and to add Little Dude to her pile. She immediately began cleaning him off and when I came back a little later, her/his hair was sticking up at odd angles meaning her tongue had definitely racked over Little Dude's fur.

The sad part came later when I went back again to double-check Casper's belly more personal parts. I wanted to make sure Casper was okay and didn't need anything. Well, right at the end, lying oh so very limp on the floor, was a 4th kitten. Saddened, because I want them all to survive all the time, I picked her up (yes, I want to believe it was a she) gingerly, laid her in my palm and made sure she was really dead. Nascar Nut's step-dad came in the room at that point and I informed him that a 4th one had indeed been born but it had not survived.

I know it's not unusual especially given that Casper was mostly an outside cat (who had not been spayed, *cough*grumble*) and they tend to have small litters mainly for safety reasons with survival factoring in there, too. I know it's not unusual, but it's still sad. Yeah, I love animals way too much.

So we buried her in a fairly deep hole at the edge of their yard. I have to say, both Nascar Nut's step-dad and I were having a hard time covering her with dirt because it just made it all so final. Then there was the worry were really burying something alive; we were afraid we might have been killing it again.

Once we did refill the kitten grave, we chatted for a bit then I went back inside to wash my hands. I knew the kitten was dead because it had been covered in feces and reeked of urine, which meant it had struggled and most likely suffocated while in the birth canal. That upset me because had I been there, I could have helped and maybe she could have survived.

But I reminded myself that Nature works this way and she is more mysterious than god herself.

I had to eventually leave Nascar Nut's house to pick up Peanut but I left instructions. You know the funny part of it all? Every single cat I've had has been spayed or neutered almost immediately. I've only had one cat in heat ever and that was a HUGE mistake. I've simply paid attention through all my animal loving years and learned from it all. Did I mention that I love animals very much, right down to the wolf spiders and the snapping turtles who are constantly trying to cross the road?

Alas, Sunday means the kittens turn 2 weeks old. Their eyes will be fully opened and their crawling abilities will have gotten better. This means they will soon be tearing through the house in search of each other or something to get into. About their 3rd week, they will begin weaning from their mom and needing kitten formula as a supplement. In about 6 weeks they will be fully weaned little kittens tearing up Nascar Nut's house.

It isn't until 8 weeks that 2 of them, hopefully together as that is highly recommended, will find a very good forever home where they will live peacefully inside to live out the rest of their days.

Not to mention the fact that Casper will be getting spayed as soon as the kittens are fully weaned. The female kittens can be spayed as early as 10 weeks; the boys can't be neutered until their balls drop.

I will be watching for them like its New Years Eve.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

And Paula Caplan brings up a good point: women typically are over-diagnosed with mental health issues and/or suffer detrimental effects for being labeled psychiatrically (i.e. losing her job and/or kids). This is something history keeps repeating as women way back in the day were more likely to be committed to an asylum than men were, especially if she were deemed a heretic or witch.

In The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman tracks her ascension into madness. After giving birth, a male doctor recommended that she and her husband move to the country, hoping the air would cure whatever ailed her. She was constantly being told what she could and could not do, she wasn't allowed to write because supposedly it made her go bonkers; she wasn't allowed to be a whole person and her already fragile sanity suffered because of it.

Hell, Betty Freidan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, shed light onto "a problem with no name." (And if you watch Desperate Housewives, Bre is having a nervous breakdown from all the denial and the "I'm Fines".)

I believe Andrea Yates killed her 5 children because her husband didn't take her seriously. Mental illness is also something those on the outside cannot see so it's easier to deny. It's sad that it took the death of her 5 children to finally get the attention of the one man who is supposed to support her no matter what.

But I digress.

The above may seem as being antithesis to my original point, but I don't think so. I believe that, because women are so often dismissed as being irrational or overreacting, we aren't taken seriously even when a diagnosis of mental illness is made.

Of course, this can go both ways hence leading to the over-diagnosis of women, too.

Meaning that because women are so often dismissed as over-emotional, it's all too easy to shove a prescription in their hand and tell them whatever is wrong will go away with a few pills a day. Which is the exact point Caplan gets at:

Even women who never enter a therapist's office run the risk of being branded by family or friends with one type of demeaning non-psychiatric label or another, such as "cold, bitchy and rejecting" or "overemotional, overly sensitive and needy," so that even an average woman's emotions and behavior look pretty terrible compared to those of an average man. It should not be surprising, then, that the psychiatric field is riddled with diagnoses that are used to demean and pathologize women.
Do you ever hear a man being told he's overreacting to that woman who just made a sexist comment to him? How about when a guy gets felt up? Or groped in a concert crowd even. How about when a man brings allegations of sexual harassment against a female employee/r?

What is most interesting to me still is "Premenstrual Mental Disorder" or PMDD. Europe's version of our FDA does not recognize PMDD as an actual diagnosis so refused to sell Sarafem (repackaged Prozac) for what appears to be a made-up condition. (One thought up by 2 guys nonetheless.)

Hordes of women who watched Lilly's commercials that showed angry women who "had PMDD" and "needed" Sarafem rushed to their doctors, hoping that this pill would help them get rid of their "unfeminine" anger. The European Union's drug regulator--the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products--found that PMDD was not a well-established entity and forced Lilly to tell health professionals to stop prescribing Prozac for that "condition." However, Lilly took no such steps in the United States.
For some women PMDD might truly be something real, but I think it walks a thin line between needing a psychiatric diagnosis and just plain 'ol being how the woman's body copes with her menstrual cycles.
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A wonderful story

We don't see these stories much in the newspaper here so we relish them when they're published. It's a snippet about a woman (and man) raising a son with asperger's syndrome, which is similar to autism. I loved it now you can, too.

Eileen Jacobs, 43, won't say the word aloud. She whispers it like it's contagious -- Asperger's. Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder similar to autism.

"I know I will have to tell him one day," she said during a recent interview at her Hampton Park home. "But right now, I just tell him he is special. He is so incredible. His mind, always thinking. Such a beautiful and amazing mind he has."

Keep reading....

More on autism

According to a recently published study, persons with autism don't daydream.

The University of California research, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared brain scans of people with autism and those without.

Interesting. They say this further helps to understand what autism is and how it can be diagnosed earlier and better.

This finding could be key to helping those persons with autism better integrate into society and give those working with them a better understand of how their brains work. This could also help therapies better aim to the specific area instead of taking shots in the dark.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Getting Around

Thanks to Jill at Feministe, I found this absolutely wonderful essay that helps dispel the myth that people who use wheelchairs are asexual or, at best, have no sexuality. Please read the entire essay then check out my post on women with varying physical disabilities.

The three years that followed the accident were hell. I was abandoned by my friends, and, worst of all, ignored by boys. Before my injury, I wasn't considered hot, but I had kissed a couple of guys. After, I felt like a circus freak rolling down the halls. I'd see guys avert their eyes when I came by. Each time, I sank further into depression. I tried to focus on my physical therapy, but I was plagued by the prospect of no man ever wanting me because I was a cripple. What point was there to becoming stronger if I'd be alone the rest of my life?

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The New BK Burger

I don't really have anything to add to the already point-well-made commentary, so I'm linking it in order to spread the word. When is Burger King gonna make some decent commercials that don't alienate anyone, aren't soft porn or going creep people out?

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Erupting Volcanoes

I find them fascinating. But aren't most natural *disasters*? I find hurricanes and their influence over the ocean fascinating, too, and have stood on the boardwalk as hurricanes have churned off the coast. It's a very humbling experience.

So when I hear that a volcano somewhere in the world has begun to erupt, I get all kinds of excited and search for pictures and/or video of the explosion. Mount Mirapi is the latest and people have been flocking to watch. Is there such a thing as Volcano Chasers (you know, like Tornado Chasers)?

Update: It erupted again today.
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Feminist Carnival XIV

It was up over at Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereign Moments on May 3rd but sometimes I don't get around to actually reading much. However, I am advertising because, as always, there is good stuff worth reading! So grab yourself a drink or two, pull up a chair and sit a spell. You are all in for a real treat.

I know, I'm posting this one just in time for the next one which is to be published on Wednesday. What can I say.....
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Random Ten: "So it's Late Thursday Evening, Sue Me" Edition

I'm leaving the area tomorrow at 11:30am and won't be back until Sunday evening. That means I will be without an internet connection for 3 whole days. ACK! I'm not sure if I'm gonna make it, but in the long run it will be good for me, :). So enjoy yourselves peeple and make nice in the sandbox while I'm away, k? Maybe Nascar (I feel stupid capitalizing it over and over again. Besides, it's my blog so if any name should be capitalized, it's mine) nut will provide you with minimal entertainment tomorrow or something.

1. Delicate by Damien Rice
2. Slap! Slap! Slap! by Missy Elliott
3. Here I Am by Mercy Me
4. Hurts So Bad by John Legend
5. The Blowers Daughter by Damien Rice
6. More Than Words by Extreme (this is still my favoritest song ever)
7. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) by the Dixie Chicks (for all you mom's of son's out there, this is a song for you!)
8. The Joker by Fatboy Slim
9. I'm in the Way by Jars of Clay
10. Walking Away by Johnn Lang (if you have never heard him, you need to)

Bonus track: Ri Na Cruinne by Clannad (this was a family affair before it Enya struck out on her own)
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging: Check out the New Kid edition

His name is Kazu, not Kazoo. I thought the martian dude on The Flinstones at some point or another was Kazoo, but turns out his name is really The Great Gazoo. What a shame. Then there is always Kadzu, which is an evil vine that takes over everything wherever it touches. Once it shows up, it's hard to stop. It does look nice, but it suffocates the vegetation around it, essentially killing everything. That's not good.

But Kazu is such a sweetie. He's kinda dirty from being a stray and a husky. Try giving a husky a bath someday and you'll understand why it's such a pain in the ass. Anyway, Kazu is very shy/skittish meaning he was abused at some point in his short 2 to 3 year old life. Even still, he'll make someone a great dog someday soon. Unfortunately, he wasn't neutered so he can't be adopted 'til that happens. He loved the car ride home, even adjusting my side mirror for me! Tomorrow he goes to the vet to be tested for heart worms and such. Cross your paws and hope he's negative!!

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My missile is bigger than your missile, you wanna see?

Russia is threatening to bulk up military strength in order to better equip themselves against outside strengths and influences. Gee, could Putin be referring to the U.S. ya think?

President Vladimir V. Putin, in a blunt response to U.S. criticism of his domestic and foreign policies, declared Wednesday that Russia would boost its military strength to ensure its ability to resist foreign pressure.
And Putin wants Parliament to okay a plan to give $10,000 to women who have a second child. This is to encourage a population increase since it seems the Russians are rapidly disappearing...or something.

I loved that Putin reminded the rest of the world, including the White House, that while he plans on beefing up military spending, Russia will still not be able to match the amount our government spends on military forces by a long shot.
Putin said Wednesday that because the United States so heavily outspends Russia in the military sphere, Moscow's aim was not to match U.S. forces in quantitative terms.

"We should not burn money uselessly," he said. "Our responses should be based on intellectual superiority. They will be asymmetric, less costly, but they will undoubtedly make our nuclear triad [ground, naval and air] more reliable and effective."
*sigh* Men and their phallic obsessions. Too bad they're taking all us innocent citizens along with them.

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One Shared World

I just discovered this website today and it's really neat. It's called One Shared World and its premise is to "raise awareness of global poverty and make it a vital part of the American dialog — especially among working women." So click over and check 'em out.

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The past 25 years in fiction according to the NYT's

Toni Morrison's Beloved was given the #1 spot with Don DeLillo's Underworld a close second.

I personally loved Beloved but have been told by many people that it was a hard book to get through and to understand. Being the English and Women's Studies major that I am (not to mention my enthusiasm and passion for hidden meanings), I caught on to the premise of the book almost immediately. The movie version Oprah did is a whole other story of course, and naturally, one I thought did a horrible job with such a wonderful book. If you are as avid a reader as I am, you'd know by now that books are almost always better than the movie. (LOTR is a perfect example of the movie being better than the books but that's mostly because I have a really hard time getting into Sci-Fi.)

So if you haven't read Beloved and decided the movie was the way to go, shame on you! Get thee to your local library or used bookstore now, then spend the rest of the day (or your weekend) indulging your literary senses.

(And yes, I did not like Oprah's interpretation of Their Eyes Were Watching God either. Zora Neale Hurston was hardly romantic in any of her writing and it was always woman-centered.)
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Fascinating reads

I don't really have much to add to the 2 stories garnered from the L.A.Times, but wanted to pass them on anyway 'cause they're fascinating reads after all.

The first is about a murder case in Illinois that moved venue to Orange County because it involves the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremisist gang that clearly has mades a big name for themselves throughout the U.S. even though it only consists of approximately 100 members. They, apparently, are a no-holds-barred type of gang who will do anything to make sure blacks know not to mess with whites, including vicious murders while prison guards watch.

Wanna know why the Illinois jurorists found the Brotherhood not guilty? Because the government's witnesses who testified were scarier then the defendents themselves. Sure itimidation might have been a factor as not to many people are willing to sign their own death warrant, but when something as horrible as murder because the guy was black was committed, it's time to punish the offender regardless. Hell, it's not like the defendants were getting out again anytime soon.

The second piece is from the op-ed section of the L.A.Times. Jonah Goldberg says, "Of course guns get men riled up." There are so many places to go with this, I'm not even going to pin it down to one. I'll just let you all read and decide for yourselves.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On the other hand....

TIME Magazine has a great article titled Inside the Autistic Mind. I highly recommend it.

There is also a new book out titled Send in the Idiots, a memoir that details the author's youth when he attended a school for children with autism.

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Autism and a Recruiter

I've been hesitant to post on all things disability for a while now, but yesterday found myself wondering why. After all, there isn't any reason not to share the resources and/or news articles I find in the MSM that help regular people understand what certain disabilities, like autism for example, are about. So here goes.

Military recruiters are going all dumbass and signing up persons with mental disabilities, like autism, which would ordinarily make them ineligible for service. Per The Oregonian, one family in Ohio pressed for an investigation to see if recruiters hid their son's disability on the paperwork.

Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he not only had enlisted, but also had signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.

Officials are now investigating whether recruiters at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Southeast Portland improperly concealed Jared's disability, which should have made him ineligible for service.
Isn't that nice? This is why recruiters need to take a more responsibility for their recruiting practices especially if/when they purposely sign someone up who doesn't fully comprehend what they are getting into.

Tracking by the Pentagon shows that complaints about recruiting improprieties are on pace to approach record highs set in 2003 and 2004. The active Army and the Reserve missed recruiting targets last year, and reports of recruiting abuses continue from across the country.
The U.S. is desperate for soldiers now that we are in Iraq indefinitely. The problem they are having? Selling the military life when a war such as the one in Iraq is going on, where an average of 2 soldiers are dying everyday, not to mention the number of civilian casualties as a result of the new instability.

Then there is this, which only furthers my point,

in Colorado, a high school student working undercover told recruiters he had dropped out and had a drug problem. The recruiter told the boy to fake a diploma and buy a product to help him beat a drug test.
Can they be anymore hideously negligent? And then to not investigate Jared's paperwork until The Oregonian got in on it, only to find that there was absolutely no mention of his disability anywhere?
After learning that Jared had cleared this first hurdle toward enlistment, Brenda said, she called and asked for Ansley's supervisor and got Sgt. Alejandro Velasco.
She said she begged Velasco to review Jared's medical and school records. Brenda said Velasco declined, asserting that he didn't need any paperwork. Under military rules, recruiters are required to gather all available information about a recruit and fill out a medical screening form.
This frustrates me mostly because military recruiters are purposely being disingenuous by not informing every recruit of her/his choices, options and, well, pretty much not telling the whole truth. Their *recruiting style* purposely takes advantage of someone else's ignorance and I think that is wrong on all sorts of levels.

You know, I think this was the best part of all,

Recruiters in Portland and nationwide spend several hours a day cold-calling high school students, whose phone numbers are provided by schools under the No Child Left Behind Law. They also prospect at malls, high school cafeterias, colleges and wherever else young people gather.
Yep, you read that right, our NCLB Law provides recruiters with phone numbers and addresses of high school students because they shouldn't be left out of the military experience either apparently. Of course, you could always go to Leave my Child Alone! now and opt your child and her/his school out now. I doubt that would take care of things though.

I don't want this to be construed as anti-military or that I want the U.S. to be left defenseless either. In fact, we have the largest military in the world. Even now with most of our military in several other countries besides Iraq and Afghanistan, we are still the largest military who loves to invade other countries and cause general chaos. (Or we sit back on our asses. There doesn't seem to be much of a happy medium when it comes to our military strength.)

We can't protect over 300,000,000 people with only a few hundred thousand soldiers so it's time we got a clue and started to be more proactive, not merely defensive.
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It's My Life

and I'm livin' it. Or however the song goes.

Thursday Peanut decided he wanted to hide himself in the closet (in his class) after he was told he couldn't get water immediately because he didn't come in from recess immediately. Then the teacher bumped his head when she was trying to get him out of the closet for which he got mad and threw a book nook chair. At some point in his day, Peanut also decided it would be hilarious and, in keeping with his "usual goofy self," pulled a chair from under his classmate.

Friday was much better and so were the 3 days prior to this incident.

Saturday Peanut thought it would be neat to steal Auntie L's $11 out of her glove compartment. When they were in the McDonald's drive thru, she went searching for it and when she realized it was missing, Peanut suggested to her that "it might be in [his] pocket."


Thankfully dear 'ol Dad punished him for stealing and actually stuck to it.

Hence, I got back a totally different kid on Sunday evening and I loved it. Yesterday and Monday were excellent days in terms of temper/anger management so I'm hoping maybe if Dad is more like a parent from now on, Peanut's overall behaviors will start to get better.

Now on to me.

Saturday Nascar Nut and I spent the day at an adopt-a-thon for our beautiful siberian huskies. (I'd show you pictures, but blogger is still not liking the picture part of the blogging deal so hopefully I will be able to get them up soon.)

Three of our furry babies were adopted this weekend!

So of course that was a great weekend for both the sibes and the humans that care for them! We're very glad they have been adopted and it really looks like they will not be back. Yay!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Just so's ya know

I've been trying to post on this thing for 2 damn days but blogger keeps disagreeing with me on whether or not it should actually work when I need it to.

I've got a few decent posts up my sleeve if you'll just be patient with me a bit more. I've also been thinking of moving over to WordPress or TypePad but I can't customize my template at the former and I have to pay for the latter. So it's a work in progress at least.
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Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging: Meet the Crew edition

These pretty boys and girls are who we have right now waiting to be adopted. Tomorrow and Sunday is our adopt-a-thon event at a PetSmart in Stafford so here's hoping some of them go home (or at least get good applications that eventually lead to good homes).

Shimmy and Asher have been with us for a long time. Supposedly Asher is 4 years old but acts more like he's 4 months and Shimmy is only 1.5 years old, is a wonderful dog and would prefer to be outside all the time.

Kara is tiny but loves to run and play with all her foster siblings. She looks purebred, just a little on the smaller side. But heck, good things come in small packages, right?

Luigi, on the other hand, is my man! He really is a great dog but prefer he be the only male dog in the house because he's more than just a little Alpha. However, he loves people and will cuddle up to you as long as you want. He's a great listener and learned all the tricks/commands C taught him in about 1 or 2 weeks. Unfortunately, he thinks, at 80lbs or so, that he's a lap dog, : 0.

The only thing Mario wants you to do over and over again? Throw the damned ball. If you don't, he'll stand there and bark until you do. The cool thing is, he'll bring the ball right back and place it in your hand whereas my dog, Shia, drops it about 2-3 feet away then slowly rolls it in your direction when you don't get up right away. So if you know anyone who wants an older dog who loves to play fetch, Mario is the one for you!

I've introduced you all to Trini and Neil on two other occassions so I'll stop talking about them now.

Edited to add: Shimmy, Trini and Luigi all got adopted this weekend, yay!

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Friday Random Ten: the "Celtic music is so great I dl'd 3 whole The Chieftians albums last night" edition

I find it really hard to listen to Celtic music and not dance a jig. In fact, when we go to Busch Gardens, Ireland is my favorite country to visit mostly so I can listen to the music and dance around. (Yes, I did just say I like to dance around.) Scotland can be nice, too, because I do love me some bagpipes, but nothing gets to your soul like Celtic music - at least in my opinion that is.

1. The Dingle Set by The Chieftains
2. Whatever You Say by Martina McBride
3. Bele Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus
4. Promontory by Joel McNeely - from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack
5. Control by Poe
6. Somebody's Gettin on my Nerves by Salt-n-Pepa
7. Train Wreck by Sarah McLachlan
8. Amazing Grace by Jars of Clay
9. Wild Horses by Natash Bedingfield
10. Bring me to Life by Evanescence
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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Today Show finally gets it right!

They aired a segment that proved working moms should get an extra $86,000 a year. I'm all for it, are you?
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National Teacher/Educator Appreciation Day

National Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 9th. Don't forget to take a moment and say thanks to the wonderful teachers/educators in your life (especially those who teach your kid all day long).
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is this finally enough proof?

This is a great story. I double-checked, as you will see throughout as you read, so I know the story is true.

Good News About the Bad Breed
Mar 31 2006 6:11PM
by Audrey Thomasson

Weela and her littermates were dumped in an alley when they were less than four weeks old. Lori Watkins discovered the five pit bull puppies whimpering from hunger and took them home to foster. Once they were old enough, the four male puppies were placed in loving homes, but the family decided Weela was special and decided to keep her.

As with most dogs, Weela grew up to become a reflection of her owners personalities and the training and care she received. Raised in a loving, responsible environment, she displayed traits typical of the best of her breed loyal, strong, brave and intelligent.

She was such a gentle companion to the family’s children that when she charged across the yard one day and hurled herself into Loris son with a body slam that sent the 11-year old boy sprawling, Lori was shocked. But shock quickly turned to horror when she saw a rattlesnake sink its fangs into the dogs face. Weela had sensed the snake’s presence from across the garden and rushed to push the child out of striking range. The boy was unhurt and his heroic canine companion recovered from the poisonous bite.

But the courage and fortitude of this family pet did not end here. Several years later, Weela’s bravery during a flood resulted in her being named Dog Hero of the Year and she became one of the most courageous pets of all time.

This is the rest of her story:

Weeks of heavy rain put so much pressure on the local dam several miles upstream that the wall gave way and turned the narrow, three-foot wide stream into a raging river. Lori, her husband Daniel and Weela worked for six hours battling heavy rain, strong currents and floating debris to reach a friends ranch and rescue their12 dogs. Weela displayed an amazing ability to sense peril, steering them clear of drop-offs, muddy bogs and quicksand. After that, the pit bull took the lead in dangerous situations, assisting anyone in need of help.

She led a rescue team to 13 stranded horses just as raising waters were about to engulf them. During weeks of flooding, Weela made several trips across the river to bring food to 17 dogs and one cat, all stranded on an island. With each crossing, the 65-pound pit bull had to pull 50 pounds of food harnessed into a backpack.

On one of her crossings, she found a group of 30 people who were attempting to cross the treacherous waters. Weela ran back and forth, barking at the group refusing to allow them to cross at that point because the waters ran deep and fast. She led them upstream to a shallower area where they were able to cross safely.

During that flood, the pit bull saved a total of 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and one cat.

Over the years, America has celebrated pit bulls as the family pet. There was Petey, the faithful dog on the TV show, The Little Rascals, who was one of the most intelligent Hollywood dogs of all time. Petey spent countless hours with children day after day and never hurt anyone unlike Timmy’s collie Lassie who was known to take the occasional nip out of the cast and crew. Other famous pits include Nipper of RCA logo fame and Tige from the Buster Brown Shoe advertisements. Helen Keller was one of many famous people who claimed a pit bull as a canine companion. The breed is very successful as therapy dogs because of their high pain threshold and stable temperament. They do not bite or snap when accidentally bumped by a wheelchair or walker.

And there are other pit bull heroes. America's first war dog was a pit bull named Stubby who earned several medals and the rank of sergeant for his service in WWI. He received a hero's welcome and was even honored at the White House. Stubby was the inspiration for the U.S. Military K-9 Corps and become Georgetown University's mascot.

NASA requested the assistance of two search and rescue pits, Kris and Dakota, in the recovery of the Astronauts after the tragic 2003 shuttle disaster. These two dogs were also involved in the Laci Peterson investigation.

There are numerous stories of pit bulls protecting people like the one in Austin, Texas that jumped up and took a bullet in the chest to protect his guardian. Bogart is another pit bull that saved a four-year-old boy from drowning in a swimming pool, and in Chicago, a pit bull saved a small child from an attack by a dog of a different breed.

On an undercover drug raid, a federal agent discovered a pit bull half frozen in a freezer. The dog survived and became the officer’s partner. Popsicle is now a narcotic sniffing dog for the federal government.

Today’s generation of pit bulls get a bad rap because of careless people who either abuse their dogs or fail to control or train them properly. But as responsible owners of pit bulls will tell you, Judge the deed not the breed.

Go online to Animal Tails to view more animal stories or request a story on your furry companion.

(For adoptions in Lancaster contact the Animal Welfare League, 435-0822 or 462-0091, the Lancaster Animal Shelter, 462-7175, Friends of the Shelter, 435-0737, or Animals First, 462-5067.In Northumberland, call the Friends of the Shelter, 435-2597 or for cats, A Place in the Sun, 580-6484.)
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Hah! In your face Shrubites.

Is it bad that I enjoyed reading how Bolivia, just one of the growing many, wants more control over their natural resources and is kicking outsiders, namely the US, to the curb?

Morales's announcement was expected, but his deployment of troops to gas fields was a strong statement in a region where governments are moving to block outside influence, particularly from the United States, and exert more control over the energy industry. Venezuela recently voided drilling contracts with private companies at 32 oil fields, demanding new contracts that give the state oil company a 60 percent stake. Ecuador is finalizing a law that could limit excessive profits by foreign crude producers.
That's what he and his cronies get for trying to be the narcissistic vapid bullies they are.
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But what about the children?

With all this talk of deporting illegal immigrants (read Hispanics) going round and round, hardly anyone is talking about the children who are left in the middle of all this. Women leave Central and South America in search of a better life and more money to send home to their kids and whoever is taking care of them.

There are news stories and book out that inform us that the children aren't necessarily staying behind, patiently waiting to see if their mom's will ever return.

The journey is hard for the Mexicans but harder still for Enrique and the others from Central America. They must make an illegal and dangerous trek up the length of Mexico. Counselors and immigration lawyers say only half of them get help from smugglers. The rest travel alone. They are cold, hungry and helpless. They are hunted like animals by corrupt police, bandits and gang members deported from the United States. A University of Houston study found that most are robbed, beaten or raped, usually several times. Some are killed.

I don't believe deportation solves much in cases where families have been law-abiding citizens for the past 15 years. The murderers, gang lords, rapists and so forth are the exception of course but deporting them back to "wherever they came from" only works to inflict the same social ills on their home country as they were doing here where in many cases, punishment is not forthcoming or even in existence wherever that may be.

Now about this argument that illegal immigrants are stealing our jobs. Huh? If the opportunity didn't exist in such a society as ours, we wouldn't be able to use that line of bullshit. The bigger problem is not the people who will work for cheap and tax-free, regardless from which country they hail, but the societal economy that provides such opportunities. Can we say Capitalism? Nothing in our country is ever as easy as finger pointing at individuals or groups of people, especially where the economy is concerned.

My answer is if you don't want illegal immigrants to "steal" jobs, start requiring (demanding even) all American businesses to pay a living wage. And while we're at it, how about increasing the national minimum wage, too?

I say let our government start deporting illegal immigrants and then they'll see just how integral they are to our way of life and national economy. Like a caller said on The Russ Parr Morning Show this morning, if it weren't for "illegal’s", New Orleans would still be a standing mountain of rubble and water damaged buildings. Hell, the very meat that you buy in your local grocery store is probably cut up and packaged by illegal immigrants, yes?

For those of you who don't seem to notice the eerie parallels between this movement and the Civil Rights Movement back in the 60's, go back and brush up on your history. (Yes, I know it had been happening for hundreds of years before this, but I'm specifically referring to the intense movement that completely shook up the U.S. when Dr. King and many others organized individuals into one large singularly impactful movement.)

How about this:
"We remind the gringos that they are a country of immigrants. The work that gringos don't like to do is being done by Mexicans," said marcher Felipe Gomez, 50.
He's right. The United States of America is made entirely of people who were once immigrants themselves. Those immigrants, our Founding Fathers, made sure they almost completely eradicated the Native's who lived here before they did. Our beloved Thomas Jefferson was known to practice "miscegenation" and believed white men having sex (or raping as was usually the case) with black women slaves would dilute the African race, eventually wiping out their skin color completely. So is it any surprise to see history repeating itself once again? The gringo's in the White House don't seem to be getting the message.

They are just as much a part of this country as I am and they did something very American yesterday: they exercised their right to free speech and a peaceful protest.

Where are all the children in this debate?
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Monday, May 01, 2006

Guess what people?!

I just accepted the offer to join the School of Sociology's Graduate Program at VCU! Yahooo! I'm very excited and will be even more excited if I find out it's all paid for by financial aid.


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