26 April, 2008

Flirting with an Idea

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 4:49 pm by breathingbullets

Despite the insanity of the coming exam week, term papers, and “stress” of planning out an awesome summer, Red and I managed to have a decent bout of randomness yesterday. The question posed was: Will guys hug girls that ask them for one—whether or not they knew her. It wasn’t a precise or accurate study, but the results were actually rather entertaining.

5 out of the 15 asked said, “No,” and though the majority was hesitant, two-thirds ended up saying, “Yes” or…gave a “maybe” that was leaning closer to yes. They probably thought we were weird and excessively and eccentrically random, but I was rather daunted by their hesitation. I don’t expect others to be as…hug-oriented as I am. That would be an insane standard to hold people to.

Back in the day—a whole year ago—all of my relationships were defined physically. If I approached you and hugged you, you were a definite friend or close acquaintance. If you managed to get a kiss on the cheek, it meant I absolutely adored you and valued your friendship. Should you get bitten, it was probably ‘cause you tasted good, but predominantly because I trusted you.

Well, then I got here and the hugs stopped which was actually rather hard on me. I’m not an extremely social person, but I really considered that the hardest of all transitions from high school to college. School work’s not bad, and peer pressure is as ineffective as it was then. I went to three high schools, and the people…that had always remained the same in the ways that mattered. Despite social and racial differences among the schools, there was always someone to hug me if I casually desired it. The 33% that wasn’t “huggable” was a perfectly approachable set. They didn’t mind being stopped and asked a random question—at least, not to my perception. And I can understand why they would have denied someone randomly asking them for a hug—back in the day, they meant something, but I don’t think that I would have denied anyone who asked…if they looked clean and sane.

Three cheers for growing up, eh?

– * –    C.K.

25 April, 2008

The Pros and Cons of Living… in Florida

Posted in legislature tagged , , , at 6:30 pm by crazyredd101

Inspiration struck as I was listening to Panic! at the Disco. I realized that I cannot be the only one who is tired of living in Florida. I have a number of honest criticisms that need to be addressed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Florida. The beaches are beautiful despite all the litter; the weather is lovely (excluding hurricane season); there are tons of unique cities to visit if you avoid the sketchy graffiti areas; and people are really nice… excluding the insane drivers and the angry elderly. Florida does have a number of problems that cannot be ignored.

Taxes are insane in Florida, especially property taxes. With constant drama surrounding the tax situation in Florida, what can we trust? Many people voted in the recent primaries for a tax amendment that would help with homeowner’s insurance. We are still waiting to find out if it will really help. Unfortunately, this may mean less tax money allocated to schools. Anyone who has visited a public high school recently knows that they cannot afford to lose that funding. Plus, if you have read our article, “FRAG You Too,” you will notice the lack of funding for college students as well.

People’s property taxes have doubled and tripled; homeowner’s insurance has done the same. Though there is an upside: buyers will pay less and less for repossessed houses. It is definitely a buyer’s market. All in all, Florida is a beautiful place to live—if you can afford it—but it is hell on the working class.

If you want to live in Florida, you need to get a good job. In order to get a good job, a good education is usually necessary. Unfortunately, our education system is lax. Let’s start with high schools, and by high, I mean high on drugs and alcohol. Don’t think I’m being mean to teens-I’m including some teachers in that statement as well. When kids aren’t stoned or drunk at school, many are fighting or just being rude. I remember being in high school and spending weeks not learning anything. The teachers were more like babysitters telling students not to goof off or they just stopped caring.

I honestly do not have a solution for the current tax, homeowner’s insurance, or education problems. This is meant to be an eye opener that makes people aware of the increasingly alarming crises in Florida. If you have any solutions comment this, or just email your legislators; seriously, I think they are out of ideas (not that they answer your letters). Florida needs all the help it can get!

Sources:

“January 29, 2008 Election Information.” League of Women Voters. 25 Apr 2008

<http://www.lwv-alachua.org/LWV_Jan29_Election_Info.pdf&gt;.

22 April, 2008

Happy Earth Day!!!

Posted in Environmentalism tagged , , at 1:11 pm by crazyredd101

Just a little reminder. It is Earth Day, the one day a year everyone is guilted into recycling. Tomorrow you can go back to throwing out a dump truck’s worth of garbage. However, for today we would appreciate if you followed the Earth Day rules. #1 – recycle, #2 – carpool, #3 – turn off your lights, #4 – FOR GOD”S SAKE YOU CAN GO ONE DAY WITHOUT HAIRSPRAY!!!

Thank You,

Crazyredd and the Breathing Bullets staff

14 April, 2008

Relay For Life

Posted in Cancer tagged , at 4:41 pm by breathingbullets

I attended Relay for Life yesterday. I didn’t stay the whole time because it’s not about the length of time you stay, but the amount of money you’re willing to donate. I left a little while after the ceremonial walk, but there was something the chair person said during the invocation that struck me. “We will eliminate this dreadful disease. I said we will eliminate this dreadful disease.” I have the tendency to let my thoughts wander during invocations. Anything that starts with the words, “Dear God” usually gets me to tune out pretty quickly, but she was there and she was talking, so I did pay attention for most of it.  What really caught my attention was the number of people who seemed to be there “just ’cause” or…maybe…just for community service hours.  I guess, though…as long as they donated money to the cause, it’s all right.  It just…couldn’t make any sense to me.

Cancer wasn’t particularly well understood. In fact, oncology is almost a new branch of study/medicine, but cancer has existed throughout the ages. In order to “eliminate” this dreadful disease, people have to start taking preventative measures.

I’ve only known a handful of people with malignant tumors and all of them have survived, but I honestly wish the best to anyone who has the disease—and to anyone that has to see someone they love suffer through it. I wish I had more to give, but…all I can try to do is sort through various carcinogens and means of preventing them, and post them here.

– * – C.K.

5 April, 2008

Gender Fender Bender

Posted in Feminism, legislature tagged , , , , at 11:27 am by breathingbullets

I’m really sorry, but…I fail at keeping my head on the task at hand. I spent, say, forty minutes trying to figure out the exact federal funding for Viagra (and wow, I found some crazy shite to write about) as compared with federal funding for breast cancer research. So I decided to peruse WebMD, and I couldn’t find actual numbers there. I started flipping through articles, hoping to come across something that would help me figure out the alleged Viagra/breast cancer research disparity.

I don’t know whether or not I noted this, but I am a pretty militant feminist. That doesn’t mean every prostate coming my way is going to the chopping block; I just believe men and women should be treated as equals. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. However, unlike Summers, the former president of Harvard University, I don’t believe that my gender is confined to linguistic arts.

Anyhow, I click on an article called, “11 ‘Don’t-Tell-the-Wife’ Secrets All Men Keep. We’ll just say it aroused my curiosity. At first it was the normal, “He’s not going to tell you that he saw a really hot girl and his eyes magically got glued to her cleavage,” but then I stumbled across, “Earning money makes us feel important.” My first reaction was, “eh…that’s fine and dandy. I liked earning money, too.” But then, naturally, men feel the need to bury themselves in complete egomaniacal bull: “‘My wife and I are both reporters at the same newspaper,’ says Jeffrey Newton, 33, of Fayetteville, South Carolina. ‘Five years into our marriage I still check her pay stub to see how much more an hour I make than she does. And because she works harder, she keeps closing the gap.’”

I’m not concerned with the fact that he’s too insecure to just be content with the fact that they’re both talented reporters. I am bothered by the fact that he’s conscious of the fact that she works harder than he does, but is happy to know that the company is paying her less. If there’s anything I hate about American society, it’s that progress is so slow in this “land of opportunity.” The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed to Congress in 1923. Eighty-four years later, only thirty-five states have ratified it.

The ERA states this:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This article shall take effect 2 years after the date of ratification.

Does that really seem so hard? At the moment, women earn 76.5% of a man’s earnings and they may very well be doing the same work. And if we want to pull the race card, and today I do, Hispanic and African American women earn between 58.8% and 70.8% of their male counterparts earnings. Asian women close the gap amongst all American men with an astounding 86%. But in comparison to Asian men, they’re right back down to about 76.4% of the earnings. Is equal pay really so bad? Why is the Equal Rights Amendment so objectionable that it’s taken over eighty years to become three states away from ratification?

I wonder how far the Women’s Rights Movement has really gone. Beyond female suffrage…what did we honestly get? The American government couldn’t make it any clearer—power wrests in stupid pieces of green paper marked up with dead men’s faces, phrases of false patriotism, and the misleading belief in a righteous god. To my understanding, the mystic powers of the green paper are not meant to be equally distributed amongst all people.

What does it take to get stuff done in the legislature? The country was founded in, say, 1776. The Civil War ended around 1865. So it took one hundred years for slaves to be free. Hmm…But then, as I recall, it wasn’t really freedom because Jim Crow came to play, and he was pretty good at fucking people over. Female suffrage was won after World War I, so around 1918. Then the Civil Rights Movement blasted through the 60’s…So about two hundred years to get things really rolling. I, personally, can’t wait another 200 years for some startling change. I have something called a limited lifespan. Worse still, I’m not that patient. Sometimes, I really think that if it were possible, some faux-Gilead society would be created. Want to know the most disgusting part of that statement? Everything in that book—The Handmaid’s Tale (if you didn’t catch the reference)—is perfectly plausible.

-*- C.K.

Sources:

WebMD article by Ty Wenger from Redbook Magazine

Department for Professional Employees (for statistics)

Equal Rights Amendment

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.J.RES.10:

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/

The Handmaid’s Tale

Response to Summers Speech (U.K. perspective)

Awesome movie that needs to be watched by anyone who considers themselves a feminist:

Iron-Jawed Angels

Depiction of Jim Crow

Jim Crow

http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/

4 April, 2008

Volcanos: The only way to rid the world of Douche-Bags and Morons

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:56 pm by crazyredd101

I never realized how often people make racist comments and don’t get called out on it. It really pisses me off, so I’d like to share it with you. I was at Publix waiting in the customer service line to buy a lottery ticket (I was having a good day and figured I might get lucky). The man in front of me had bought some fruit ate it and decided he did not like it. He brought it back wanting a refund and the cashier told him he could not have one. The man made a big deal and started yelling but the cashier could not do anything about it. The man did not have a receipt or the bag the fruit cam in or any proof that he had bought it from Publix.

The Douche said to the cashier, “Look Paco, just give me my money back”. I seriously started laughing at this moron. He asked me why I was laughing and I was like, “umm, cuz you’re a douche”. I explained to him that: one, yelling at a cashier because you lost your receipt does not solve the problem; two, calling someone Paco just because he was Hispanic is really disrespectful; and three, the cashier was wearing a name tag that said Robert. How dumb can you be? I just laughed, bought my ticket and left all the while wondering why we don’t shove morons into volcanoes.

En-light-ened

Posted in Female Image tagged , , , at 3:25 pm by breathingbullets

 

Your skin is your body’s best friend. It keeps everything that’s meant to be inside you in, and it puts up a pretty good fight with everything else. Out of love for Dane Cook, I have to add that if you’ve ever been fully engulfed in fire, that’s gotta be so hot. But it’s your skin receptors that let you know how much it burns. So…why’s everyone so determined to change it? I’m not talking about the, “Myeh, I have acne…I should probably clear up these blemishes” or the, “Wow, that’s a lot of cellulite, how do I reduce it?” I’m not even talking about the gullible person who thinks that a $90 bottle of lotion will remove stretch marks when all you need is time, Vitamin E, frequent exfoliation, and a workout plan that tones the area. I’m talking about the tanners and the skin lighteners.
Having been born a few shades beyond a perma-tan, I never really got to be a part of the tanning craze. I know that way back in the day, if you were really pale, you were a porcelain goddess. I’m not entirely sure about the shift, and I am too lazy to research it (yes, naughty me), but I think it may have a lot to do with the change in the societal role of women. A long time ago—post-Jesus but pre-Martin Luther King Jr.—a young Southern Belle would stay indoors while slaves would do, well, slave labor. Already dark slaves would get darker, and the wealthy belle would maintain her ivory tone. If she had to go out, it was probably with a parasol in her gloved hands.

I know that in other societies, darkened skin was often associated with the laboring class. I remember reading somewhere that the young Cleopatra would have to use harsh exfoliates to remove the dead, darker skin after her journeys outdoors. But times changed, and girls were entitled to roam about the big bad world, and the sun-kissed tan became associated with good health while the once-prized blanched hue came with the accompanying connotations of sickliness. But how healthy is an unnatural tan?

I found a New York Times article from 1987, and the interviewed doctor said that women were more responsive to the fact that excessive sun exposure caused “large pores and blackheads” than they were to the whole skin cancer thing. Catching up with our decade, it’s been found that some side effects of excessive tanning are malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma (yes, all three are different types of skin cancer). So, just in case cancer isn’t enough of a threat, excessive tanning has also been associated with premature aging…so tan today for collagen shots tomorrow.

There are some sites, like this one, that promote tanning salons. They say that the cancerous qualities are often exaggerated. The FAQ ends with the lovely note that tanning beds are all FDA approved. Though we all know how great the FDA was when it came to Fen-Phen, trusting them with products that haven’t undergone thorough longitudinal studies is perfectly reasonable. Just in case we missed the sarcasm, here’s the new trend in skin cancer:

Skin Cancer Chart

 

And in case Ashley Lynn’s Tanning is more trustworthy than an arbitrary graphic from the Center of Disease Control, the National Cancer Institute claims, “Studies suggest that reducing unprotected exposure to the sun and to artificial light from tanning beds, tanning booths, and sun lamps can lower the risk of skin cancer. Avoiding sunburns, intermittent high intensity exposure, and other damage from these sources—especially in children and teens—reduces the chances of getting melanoma skin cancer. All of these types of skin cancers are most common in light-skinned people, although they also occur in people with darker skin.”

But remember…tanning beds are FDA approved, so we know they’re safe even if the National Cancer Institute says otherwise, and Ashley Lynn does seem to have a pretty good head on her shoulders, so why not listen to her quack doctors skew evidence? But then…maybe that’s not the issue at hand. People know this shit and do it anyway. Anyone care to tell me why?

I’ll do the flip side—skin lightening creams and soaps—another day. This was getting to be too long.

– *- C.K.

Special thanks to:

Ashley Lynn’s Tanning, National Cancer Institute , Center for Disease Control , The New York Times (Linda Wells), Kate Cohen , the American Academy of Dermatology, and of course, Dane Cook. ❤

Oh, and an easy to read site with lots of information that I didn’t bother incorporating: Study of Tanning Effects

3 April, 2008

Introducing: An Angry Pelican… (and other things that piss me off)

Posted in Environmentalism, Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:42 pm by crazyredd101

As I was fishing with my dad, (for the record: I am an animal lover, but I’m okay with fishing as long as laws regarding size and seasons are respected) he accidentally hooked a pelican. The plan of action when one hooks a bird is to run to the bait shop and borrow a hoop net. You would then lower it into the water, scoop the bird into it and slowly bring the bird up. While holding bird’s beak closed and gently restraining the wings you would push the hook through the skin and cut off the barb. Once you are sure the bird does not have any line wrapped around its wings and is not ill you would release it.

As seasoned fishermen people we are used to doing this, so when others face the problem of hooking a bird we help out. What do you know, that same day, a man close to us hooked a pelican. I ran over and told him I would run to the bait shop and grab the net. He said, “Chill out,” he’d just cut the line. I was like, “Uhh no!” I explained to him very calmly that the fishing line was wrapped around the pelicans beak and if we didn’t get it off the bird would not be able to breathe or eat and it would die. His response was, “I honestly don’t give a damn”. I, again very calmly, explained to him that I honestly wanted to punch him in the face but I chose not to, as he would choose not to cut the line lest he wished to have me kick his balls up his throat.

He must have taken my threat seriously because when I returned with the net he had not cut the line. I proceeded to unhook the line and had the pelican taken to the bird sanctuary to make sure it was okay. As I was walking away he chose to mutter a comment along the lines of, “Stupid Bitch, I should have just cut the line”. I spun around and proceeded to curse him out. I’ve never before or since used the phrase douche-fuck as many times as I did that day. The fact that even after I explained that the bird would die if he cut the line and that it was a threatened species he still did not care made me very angry. I explained to him that if I ever saw him cut a line with a bird on it I would take down his license plate number and report him for animal abuse. At that point of time I decided that I hate all people, I have since changed my mind and decided that I just hate d-bags. Moral of the story: don’t cut lines when you hook a bird.

Don’t piss me off,

Crazyredd

Sources:

“HELP FOR HOOKED BIRDS.” Seabird Sanctuary. Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. 31 Mar 2008 <http://www.seabirdsanctuary.org/hookedbirds.htm&gt;

2 April, 2008

Frag you, too!

Posted in college tagged , , , , at 10:34 pm by breathingbullets

So…Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, posted a bid to reduce a grant called FRAG–the Florida Residence Access Grant. And I’m really sorry, but that’s really dumb. So….the letter I’m sending to my senators and house rep’s:

The proposal to reduce the Florida Resident Access Grant is one of the most dangerous bids that could pass through the state legislature. I’m not certain whether or not it is a response to the property tax cut that passed earlier this year, but unless Florida’s private institutions plan on reducing their tuition (and I highly doubt they do), it negatively impacts the lives of my generation.

It is relatively easy to say that three thousand dollars is not a major contribution to one’s tuition, but when the tuition is thirty thousand dollars, it can make or break a student’s ability to attend a private institution. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average Floridian household earns $37,998 (Advameg Inc.). That is approximately twelve thousand dollars less than the cost of attendance at Rollins University, although it doubles the tuition of smaller universities like Flagler.

Granted, students could relieve the financial stress with loans. However, that only postpones the issue. An extra three thousand dollars a year for four-year students is twelve thousand dollars that may not be readily available. A Bachelor’s Degree is not worth what it used to be. Many people leave college without jobs that pay too much more than minimum wage, and in today’s reality, it is an insufficient living wage.

The other option is to turn to a public institution. Twenty-seven percent of Eckerd’s freshmen are Florida residents which is approximately 145 students. If approximately half of them have the means to pay on their own merit, that leaves around seventy people turning to a public institution like Florida State University. Assuming they qualify under Eckerd’s standards, the vast majority should be Bright Future’s eligible. And there’s the same three thousand dollars, if not more, being used to cover a student’s tuition. The downside, though, is the excessive strain on the public schools, leading to larger class sizes and, eventually, a higher rate of rejection.

Personally, I attended a private school throughout the entirety of my formative years, and most of my funding came directly from scholarships. Without them—without that school and environment—I know I would be an entirely different person today. I currently attend the University of Tampa, but I am leaving, so holistically, the issue doesn’t effect me. I simply know and understand the impact of the money received. Without the Florida Residence Access Grant earlier this semester, I’m certain I would not be here now, and I’d hate to know that people who could have benefited from a school as brilliant as this one, will have to look elsewhere to satisfy their needs and secure their futures because of something as stupid and meaningless as money. I happen to know that the school does plan on increasing its tuition by 5%. To the school board, it may not seem like a lot—just as three thousand dollars may not seem to make a difference—but to us, we may as well have been rejected.

I hope it all goes well I’m not yet certain about that one person can make a difference thing.

-*- C.K.

Jimmy Eat Grief

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 12:30 pm by crazyredd101

WTF! That’s just how I have to begin this tangent. As I sit here listening to Pain, my favorite Jimmy Eat World song I think, “What the fuck?” And, why the fuck have they not made another album? Yes, I know they have made a bunch of albums, but I want more! I have been a fan of Jimmy Eat World since we were introduced when I was about 10, and it has been a love affair ever since. I am appalled that they would abandon their avid listeners. Listen guys, you’re the most important part of my Jimmy Eat World, the center of my Jimmy Eat Universe, (at least for the remaining 1 minute and 37 seconds until this song is over) so please, get back to work. We miss you. Do me a favor; Jim, Zach, Tom, Mitch, please hook back up and make some beautiful music together. Pun intended.

Yours Truly,

Crazyredd