Thursday, October 26, 2006

What an Ass!

Unless you've been living in a cave the past few months, you've undoubtedly seen some of the political ads floating around. They haven't been very nice, for the most part. Some of the criticisms of the ads have been even less kind. But no one has shown himself more of an asshole than Rush Limbaugh, for his criticism of Michael J. Fox's endorsement of a particular Senator in Missouri for her support of stem cell research. Specifically, Limbaugh had the nerve to insinuate that Fox was "exaggerating" his tremors just for effect.

According to Fox's website, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1991, which means he's been living with the disease for around 15 years. Anyone who either lives with or knows someone who is living with Parkinson's Disease knows that, like other diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's has several "stages".

Stage 1: Mild tremors, loss of balance/posture, facial grimaces
Stage 2: Symptoms are bilateral, difficulties walking, maintaining balance, everyday tasks are
more difficult
Stage 3: Symptoms of stages 1 and 2 are more severe, with difficulties walking or even
standing, and noticably slower physical movements
Stage 4: Rigid movements, bradykinesia (extreme slowness of movement) , inability to live on
their own, sometimes tremors lessen during this stage
Stage 5: The disease takes over all physical movement, may not be able to walk or stand alone,
may be unable to take care of self
*description of stages from

Depending on the stage, the day of the week, the amount of sleep a person has gotten, what time of day it is, if they are "in between" meds, if their current meds aren't working, their stress level, and how the stars are aligned in the night sky, a person's symptoms can worsen or get better from one day to the next. To have your mind intact and be able to watch your body deteriorate is a horrible thing to deal with, especially because your dependence on a caregiver is inevitable, which means a loss of independence. Can anyone honestly blame Michael J. Fox for endorsing a senator who is interested in finding a cure for this disease? Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm Gonna Wash That Blond Right Outta My Hair

So last Saturday, I took the plunge and went to a brand-spankin'-new salon in San Jose called 5 Color Cowboy. I found this place off of, which has been very helpful. True, it's all based on customer reviews, which need to be taken with a grain of salt, but I figured that not much harm could come out of keeping an open mind. The salon itself was very nicely decorated in a trendy Asian theme and the place was hopping with business, which I took as a good sign. What was most important was that all the stylists had "good hair", which boded well for even my head of hair.

So, no more blonde highlights for me - they were eating up my hair and making it generally look like crap (especially on the ends). Not only did the my stylist do a great job coloring my hair, she also colored my eyebrows so they'd match. At first, I was a bit worried because, after putting the goup on my eyebrows, I looked strikingly similar to Groucho Marx, but without the mustache. My stylist, Angel, assured me that it was just a temporary effect, which made me feel slightly better. After about an hour and a half of being pampered, I left the salon with considerably better hair than when I went in, which is what Angel had promised. I have achieved what I thought was the impossible - I found a stylist who has proven herself a worthy "tamer of the tresses".

Monday, October 09, 2006

What I get for $100 a month

Usually I do not look at my paystub because I shit bricks at all the money that gets taken out. But for this post, I actually had to look, and under my "voluntary contributions" (cough, sputter), are my union dues. The term "voluntary" supposedly means that I have a choice about whether or not I'd like to belong to the CTA, but it's never explained that way by union reps. It's more like "fill out these papers, turn them in on time, then watch your paycheck shrink". It wouldn't burn so much, but then I get told by "higher ups" that people who go to the union with issues are "troublemakers" and we should all go through "proper channels" with any grievances. Translation: Go to the union with caseload/workload issues, and I can make your life hell. To make matters worse, at voting time, I get the CTA "Voter Guide". Maybe some union members like this perk - a nifty little packet that tells educators what to think and how to vote. I don't like it. This packet recommends that I not vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor, that I instead choose Angelides, who came off as a major slime-ball in the televised governor debate last week, and whose policies I don't agree with any more than I agree with the Governator's. The proposition that I'm to vote "yes" for (bonds for schools) is labeled in bold green lettering, and includes only information aimed at supporting the measure. The props that I'm to vote "no" for (parental notification of abortion, public campaign financing, and eminent domain) are labeled in bold red lettering and only state the the negatives of the measure. No information is given on opposing viewpoints for each measure. To top it off, on the back of the ballot, CTA has kindly included an absentee ballot so they can monitor my voting habits and be forewarned of any kind of independent thought on my part. How's that for getting what I pay for?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I Watch Too Much TV

I readily admit that I should not watch as much television as I do, but I do have my favorite shows. When I'm home sick, I love watching "The Price Is Right" - I've watched it ever since I was a young girl. At night, I watch reruns of shows, plus "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy". One thing I noticed is that there is a stark difference between "daytime ads" and "nighttime ads". The ones during the day are noticably worse than the ones at night. Here are some doozies I've seen during daytime programming:

Just For Men - Because you know a man can't be a real man without a beard. Not only does a real man need a beard, but there must be no gray. What ever happened to men getting away with gray as "distinguished"? Now we have to suffer through watching women revere and marvel at their very-noticably-dye-job-bearded-real man. Gag!

Yaz Birth Control - First of all, when I'm with my girlfriends, contrary to what commercials would have you believe, I don't talk about birth control or feminine hygiene products. Secondly, all the girls (not women) in this commercial are too young to be doctors, so I would not take a bit of advice from them regarding best methods of birth control. Usually I just try to bear through bad commercials, but when this doozie comes on, I actually change the damn channel. It's just that annoying.

Cingular Go Phone - You know, the one with the mom and the teen girl arguing. Supposedly, this is supposed to make me think about getting a cell phone for my teenage son, because jeez, every kid needs a cell phone right? Unfortunately, the whole argument scene is so excruciating that I cannot even focus on what they are trying to sell me.

Life Alert - Remember the commercials that used to be on during shows like "The Price Is Right"? The one with the elderly person on the floor, with the caption "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!". Not only do they still have these on tv, but I get them in my ValPak mailer. These commercials are not very flattering to elderly people. I know what they are trying to sell, and the idea is not a bad one, but there has to be a better way to sell a safety device.

Burger King - Some of my favorite nighttime commercials include the ones with "The King" to advertise Burger King. I gotta tell ya, it's just funny to see a guy dressed as a king with the big happy king-head on doing everyday things like making touchdowns and popping up to say "hello" outside of someone's window and scaring the shit outta them. Cracks me up every time.
Career Builder - Everyone knows that anything with monkeys is just better. Besides, who can't relate to ineptness of some co-workers? Sometimes it really does feel like we're just working besides monkeys.

GEICO - Some of these ads are hit-or-miss, but I love two of them - the one with Little Richard and Burt Bacharach. These are the ads that have a real GEICO customer paired with a celebrity who tells their story. MMM... mashed potatoes and graaaaavvvyyyy!!

I think that daytime target audiences need to campaign for better commercials, since they have to suffer through them just like the nighttime target audience!