The blogs of InTheFray Magazine.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This is unacceptable and a serious black smear on the face of humanity. The world cannot sit still while 17,000 children die every day, yes every DAY, because they don't have enough to eat.
If you are reading this post, please do your part to end world hunger. Here is what you can do—easy simple steps to save the starving children.
- Donate to Feeding America: "Feeding America is the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Our mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunge."
- You can also donate through SOS Children's Villages, which benefits orphans and abandoned children. Children are often time the ones most affected by lack of food.Your donation can help a child here at home or in another country.
- And if you are really willing to go the extra mile, then organize a food drive in your local community, school, workplace or church, and donate the collections to local food bank.
This Thanksgiving, please be generous and do your part to end world hunger.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"New York City."
She remains friendly but apparently less impressed than most of our classmates, who usually promise their first born in return for taking them back to the Big Apple. "So you're a transferee?"
I nod, glad that I've found someone who'll treat me like a real person, instead of some celebrity.
"From what school?"
Her eyes grow wide with enthusiasm so that I think they'll bulge right out of their sockets and pop her glasses off her head. "They say that Brooklyn is the next Manhattan!" she squeals. "Is that true?"
"Sure it is," I say, suddenly uneasily. "I'm just surprised that you know it, all the way in the Philippines."
"Well, of course," she huffs as she adjusts her glasses in a dignified manner. "I watch Sex and the City."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Kansas City Star says
Stupak’s amendment prohibits any public health insurance option from offering abortion coverage except for cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. It also prohibits individuals from using tax credits and subsidies to buy private insurance with abortion coverage from companies taking part in new health insurance exchanges.
I am a pro-life mom but don't agree with the language here. Why shouldn't a woman be allowed to choose when she is not asking the government for help? I mean, women don't have the right to buy health insurance of their choice? Tax credits and subsidies are NOT handouts; you don't get them for nothing. So what right does the government have to dictate how a person can use these?
This is yet another example of how the "establishment" views women and their health. I bet if men were designed by nature to give birth, then abortion and reproductive health would be covered by ALL health plans, no exceptions. Because society sees women as meek beings, they think it is OK to boss us around and, yes, use religion to scare us.
I hope female members of Senate and House of Reps stand up against the Stupak Amendment. This attack against a woman's right to choose has to stop.
Friday, November 06, 2009
There's no way of getting around it. At the teacher's discretion, classes will start with a prayer. (Most of the time, it's "The Lord's Prayer.") There is a statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus in the main corridor of the school. We are mandated to take several classes in values, where we explore the evils of abortion, amongst other things.
And yet, I can't help but feel like this closeness between academia and religion is somehow romantic, like the wild yet pure moors of Wuthering Heights or the emo underpinnings of gothic rock. In this country, there's something out of place yet essential about the appearance of religion in the classroom. Maybe, like ill-fated lovers, romance makes nonsensical things suddenly make sense. Or maybe, like the quakes of pleasure caused by sordid affairs, romance is just a convenient reason for doing something that's wrong.
They say that love is the answer, and even if that's true, romance can only ever be an excuse. I don't agree with mixing religion and academics, and I can't understand it, but I can't deny that it moves me. And in this place where I don't plan to stay permanently, I'll take that excuse, if only to experience something new, exciting, and temporary.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
For the month of October, I was involved in a musical theatre writing lab in New York City (produced by Michael Roderick of Small Pond Entertainment), where book writers, composers, and lyricists were asked to randomly pick two names out of a hat to collaborate on the writing of two ten-minute musicals. Within three weeks, we were to present our work in an industry showcase reading at Chelsea Studios. In our meetings that led up to this, we were enlightened by panels of seasoned Off-Broadway composers and book writers that gave us tips and advice about the business and our collaborative process.
From the moment we started, I was frantically swept into a whirlwind writing frenzy of this "Project Runway-esk" musical theatre challenge, coming up with lines, story, and lyrics ideas, usually spinning in my mind at around 3 a.m. I was fortunate enough to be paired with two very talented composer-singer-songwriters, Allison Tartalia and Anne Mironchik. My first piece with Allison was the beginning of a rock and pop musical with dark and sexy overtones. The second piece with Anne was a swinging cocktail of authentic jazz and modern art.
When it came time to showcase all the musicals, Heidi Klum would have had a hard time proclaiming who was in and who was out. From the clever and catchy stories of Seth Bisen-Hersh and Michael DiGaetano, to Melanie Weinstein's hilarious one-woman show, to Michael Roderick and Mark Weiser's poignant educational theatre piece, no one would have had to pack up their knives or clean up their work stations. Tim Gunn and Tom Colicchio would have been proud. Stay tuned and look out for the names of these talented musical theatre artists—coming soon to an Off-Off, Off, or Broadway theatre near you.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was accused of fraud in elections, but now the U.S. and allies have accepted him as a legitimate elected leader of Afghanistan. The runoff, in an effort to correct massive fraud and voter intimidation, was canceled after Karzai's challenger backed out. So now Karzai wins the elections in spite of committing fraud.
It is clear that America and its allies are more concerned about winning a war than doing the right thing. Don't be surprised if this war drags on for another ten years because you cannot expect to win a war by accepting a fraud.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Q. What do you get when you combine 10 sets of twins, random New Yorkers, and the 6 train?
A. One of those fun sociology experiments that shows how New Yorkers have a completely unique response system.
Check out this experiement by the group ImprovEverywhere.
Monday, November 02, 2009
He would carry the title of "great-uncle," and no matter how wonderful of a relative he truly is to my son, that "great" would never be a superlative. It would stand as a reminder of the distance between he and my son. It would be a permanent label, saying that he is not a part of my son's nuclear family. (No sir, not even close.) It would state the widely-held assumption that his relation to my son — what he knows about him, how well they interact, how much time they spend together — is negligible at best.
Outside of the nuclear family, the standard titles of relatives in a common Filipino household are limited to five: cousin, uncle, aunt, grandfather, and grandmother. No one is removed from each other.We are all easily accessible, just as close an acquaintance in loyalty and reliability as your most trusted and valuable friend. It is not uncommon for cousins to be as close as siblings, for second cousins to be as close as siblings, for generations to be linked by the kind of psychic empathy and understanding that most Americans are used to getting only from their immediate circle of close-knit friends.
Maybe that's why the children of my first and second cousins take an immediate interest and liking to me: because, as far as they're concerned, I'm their aunt, plain and simple. Maybe that's why I can walk into any establishment in town and mention that I'm so-and-so's (insert one of the familial titles here) and I'm treated like family. Maybe that's why I instantly feel comfortable with my family in the Philippines, regardless of the fact that we haven't communicated regularly and thousands of miles have separated us for over a decade.
Or maybe it's just some deceit of linguistics and mind tricks.
The fact remains: here, in the Philippines, even extended family is close, and that comes in handy.
*subdivision = Filipino-speak for gated community
Sunday, November 01, 2009
The smell is unmistakable, and yet I must be mistaken. Here in the Philippines, drug use is a serious offense, and punishments are severe. Until recently, carrying a sizable quantity of the green stuff guaranteed the death penalty.
I stand in the upstairs living room, look into the vacant lot next door, and watch as plumes of smoke carry the familiar smell of marijuana over the neighborhood. The smell drifts high and sinks low, contaminating everything it touches with the heady aroma I am so familiar with.
I ask my brother what it is they're burning, and he laughs. "They tell me they're just burning leaves, shrubs, whatever is growing in the empty lot, but I don't buy it."
"Late at night, I see neighbors sneaking in and carrying something away."
I wonder what will happen when someone finally buys the lot next door.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
In the lawsuit, Jess Zimmerman is accused of posting "defamatory and libelous" statements against the school in his blog.
Stu Kriesman at Huffington Post describes the situation as "Guantanamo Bay: College Division" and says that, despite announcing that they will drop the lawsuit, the school is still pursuing the case:
"Once word of this abuse of the legal system spread outside the tight-knit world of academics and into the main stream media, plus seeing the outrage of its own students, Butler backed off and announced that they would drop the questionable lawsuit against Jess Zimmerman.
Wrong! They were kidding! The lawsuit is still on and just in case, the Butler administrators are also going to hold their own "Kangaroo Court" to make sure Zimmerman gets what's coming to him. If they can't kick his keister legally, they'll take the law into their own hands and dish out their own punishment. All this because the administration can't take criticism on the Internet."
In Zimmerman's blog, you can read reaction from some local leaders and members of academia who are outraged at the way the university is trampling on the free speech rights of this student. I am posting one here:
"Too many colleges and universities are using their resources to bully and intimidate their faculties and students. This case appears to be an egregious example that is a disgrace to Butler University and the whole of the Academy."
-Bruce A Voyles, Ph.D., Grinnell College
Please spread the word and, if you can, contact Butler and let them know what you think of their actions against this student.