This is on Sears website, in their description of a clothes dryer:

“Large durable hinge is strong enough to withstand repeated openings and closings”

Um, yeah.

For $934.99 (on sale, mind you) I sure hope I can open it more than once. That would be a very expensive load of laundry.

Really people, can you not be a little more creative? Do you think I’m going to say, “Well, honey, it says with this one we can open the dryer door repeatedly. I think that’s worth the extra $500 right there”.

Do people market windows with enticing prose such as “Large window that will allow you to repeatedly look through it time and time again”?

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I should expect the door to fall off the first time I open it unless it expressly advertises that it won’t.


Ode to Omar

This is from the Baltimore citypaper about my man Omar Little, who you already know I love. Omar is pure poetry, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so. This is a little old, but is a good description of why I love this character.

Best Character on The Wire
Omar Little

Over the first season of The Wire, we grew to like Michael K. Williams’ Omar Little–the same-sex-loving African-American tough who rips and robs drug dealers sporting a never-explained scar extending from the middle of his forehead to his right cheek. Omar was a shadowy local figure, a thug who went to Edmondson High School and remembers lacrosse-playing Detective “Bunk” Moreland from back in the day, but who mysteriously moves in and out of the streets almost magically. Omar also had some of the best lines, quotidian observations that Williams delivered with better timing than a Baume and Mercier.

In this past season, however, Omar became a being of complex beauty–a dazzling street-level philosopher deflating a high-priced drug lawyer’s cross-examination as nonchalantly as he sticks a gun in people’s faces; an urban Robin Hood passing his blood money to a blind bartender to save for his peoples; and a killer oddly possessing the most consistent sets of morals on a show that provocatively examines the constantly sliding scales of right and wrong. Rare is the show willing to reach into these crannies of the human character, and rarer still is the actor who can portray it with such bold conviction, creating a man you can’t take your eyes off on-screen, yet who you’d hate to run into on the streets after dark.

Omar Little

adoption thoughts

The adoption process in America is, well, kind of wack. I keep meaning to write an intelligent, thoughtful post on the topic, but I never seem to get around to it. So I’ve decided to just write down my jumble of thoughts, as messy and imperfect as that is. Otherwise, I might never write anything.

Ok, here is where I mainly am coming from. Obviously we need to do something to protect kids and make sure they don’t wind up with parents who cannot or will not adequately care for them. So we need to make sure adoptive parents aren’t criminals, aren’t abusive, have enough common sense and money to take care of a child or children. They should have room in their life for a child and no major relationship or personal problems. They should be loving and kind. Good citizens, good role models. Nurturing. All this makes sense to me, and I know I’ve left out other important attributes. And of course, this is a REALLY REALLY important thing to do. As a society, we have a responsibility to protect our children. So, there is a whole lot at stake here.

Well, here is what gets me. In terms of vetting parents and overseeing the adoption process, there is very little to no oversight by the federal government here in the US. Not only does each state have different rules, but each county within each state has different rules. For example, if I lived in the next county over, I would have to have the fire dept come inspect my house. In my county, the health department comes to inspect (after the adoptive parent pays them $75), and they do various things like look in your closets (because they are not allowed to be cluttered and things can’t be too close to the floor), they check to see if there is a thermometer mounted in your refrigerator (doesn’t everyone have one?), review the fire escape plan, fire alarms, check pet vaccination histories, check water test results (you pay for that separately), and on and on (there are six pages of regulations). And that is just one county requirement.
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Where is season 4?

I don’t understand why season 4 of the wire hasn’t been released on DVD yet. I mean, how hard is it, when the episodes already exist? On netflix it says “coming in 2006”. Uh, right…

What’s up, HBO?

I get so tired…

of sexist language. Apparently there are only male bloggers here at wordpress, did you know that? Or maybe they assume no one would link to a female bloggers post…

Pingback lets you notify the author of an article if you link to his article…

Trackback helps you to notify another author that you wrote something related to what he had written on his blog, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article.

Newsweek, can you really be that biased?

A month or so ago I was reading Newsweek, and I noticed something about a column called “A Life in Books“. Each week in this column an author is featured and asked to list the five most important books in his or her life. What I noticed was that it always seemed like a male author was selected, and it also seemed to me that these authors nearly always chose books by other males. So I thought I would do a little investigating, since it was entirely possible that the problem was just with my perception.

I went to the Newsweek website a few weeks ago and did a search for the past columns. I selected the past eight columns. I selected eight because that is how many showed up on the first page of the search, and because I wanted to limit how much time I wasted in this endeavor. So how many of the eight were male? Eight.

Now, I think I remember seeing a female author now and again, so I’m sure if I dug deeply enough, I would find one. But, last time I checked, women made up about a half of this planet. So, why would they be so underrepresented in the newsweek column? Certainly there are plenty of talented female authors who could be featured.

It was also interesting to look at the books selected by these authors. Since each of these eight authors choose five books, this produces a total of forty book selections. How many of these were authored by females? Three. In other words, 92.5 % of the books in eight columns were authored by men. Wow. I wouldn’t have expected this in 2007. Maybe we haven’t really come as far as we think.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Newsweek is being malicous, or that they even realize how lopsided their column is. But that doesn’t make it any less worrisome. It only shows how insidious our biases can be and how they can operate without our awareness. Which is scary. For all of us.

As I said, I did this research a few weeks ago. A couple of days I got a Newsweek in the mail, and a female author was featured. But don’t get too excited. There was at least another male author featured since I did my assessment. So, I don’t know exactly what the stats are for the entire history of this column (I do have a life, you know), but it sure seems like a huge gender imbalance. And in case you were wondering, the woman who is featured this week in newsweek’s column selected three books by men and two books by women.

Here are some of the questions I ponder. If we did a racial assessment of this column, what would it show? Are these mostly white males? My guess is yes, but I didn’t look at that. It took me a long time just to figure out the sex of some of the authors (who knew Emile was a man?). Of the hordes of people who read Newsweek each week, has anyone else besides me even noticed this imbalance? Does anyone even care?

It is kind of funny that the cover story this week is on gender. Go figure.

newsweek cover

Season Three

OK, I’ve started watching season three of The Wire. And I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. I thought the first two episodes of season three were good, but not great.

So far, season three seems somewhat lackluster, and then there are things that are just preposterous. The drug-slinging Barksdale crew is really using Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct their meetings? Really? OK, I get the point that the guys who run this organization are really smart dudes. And I really like it that they aren’t portrayed as one-dimensional, heartless idiots. But it seems the writers are just hitting us over the head trying to make this point with the Robert’s Rules of Order scenes. Seriously, a little more finesse would be appreciated. My take on it would be that they would invent their own rules of order instead of conforming to something first published in 1876 by some white guy.

I was surprised when I started the second season to find that they kept the same theme song, but it was sung by someone else and arranged differently. At first I didn’t like the second season rendition as much, but then it really started to grow on me. Eventually I loved it. I hope that happens with season three with both the song and the story line, but I’m a tad worried.

Oh, and I thought Ed Norris was awful! I hope he got some acting lessons.