Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekly Roundup! Or: Everything Important Happened on Wednesday

Just in case you were busy changing poopie diapers and cleaning baby barf on Wednesday (like me), I thought I'd do a quick roundup of all the weird and wonderful things that happened this week.

Technology: Apple Unveiled their Newest Gadget...
and then everyone made fun of it.

The much-anticipated, yet unfortunately-named Apple iPad was revealed on Wednesday, with Apple Supreme Overlord Steve Jobs billing it as "way better than a laptop, way better than a phone. It's the best web experience you've ever had."

There are lots of reasons to love or leave the latest addition to the Apple family, and I'll let you decide which side of the fence you want to be on with this one.  All you really need to know is that contrary to popular belief, the iPad will not do this (courtesy of the frogman):

Above: Heavy flow? There’s an app for that!

Politics: The Leader of Your Nation Gave A Little Speech...
called The State of the Union on Wednesday evening.  Maybe you've heard of it?

I'm going to try to round this up as bipartisanly (is that a word? Aha! Wiktionary says it is!  Score one for me) as possible, because it's not about whose side you're on, it's more about knowing what happened.  Or at least it's about knowing what the funny bits were.

Watching President Obama's first SOTU sort of reminded me of my dad during one of his lectures: "Oh, Mahreen.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  We are SO disappointed that you do not want to pursue medicine as your chosen career.  And what is this 'burnt out' you keep speaking of?  Good Brown Girls don't get 'burnt out'!  It is simply not in your genetic makeup!" (Okay, so maybe I'm projecting just the slightest bit.  I should work on that.)  

But it really was something to behold as the stern father figure of this great nation I have called home for almost a decade waggled his finger and basically called everyone out, from his predecessor, to the Republicans, then the Democrats - not even the Supreme Court Judges were safe from his disapproving tone. And then, the icing on the cake was that he even called his own Presidential self out!  Awesome (and if you have some spare time - yeah right, who am I kidding - please do check out the New York Times' full interactive transcript here to read all about it for yourself).

But perhaps the most entertaining portion of the SOTU spectacle was the stuff that happened afterward.  Namely, MSNBC's Chris Matthews on-air comment (which he later claimed was well-intentioned.  But it was still SO cringeworthy). The host of the show Hardball said following the speech:
"I was trying to think about who he was tonight. And uh, it's interesting. He is post-racial, by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour..."
Yikes.  I don't know about you, but where I come from that smells a bit like racist to me.  I think the internet nearly broke trying to handle the sheer volume of: "What the frack was THAT?!?" comments - and of course Matthews later swore up and down that he didn't really mean it that way...but I think the damage was done.

Maybe if I watch a few episodes of Hardball I'll forget that Chris Matthews is a moron. Then again, maybe not.

After all is said and done, however - I must admit that I'm a sucker for all this politcal pomp and circumstance. I think I'm a bit jealous because at least you guys HAVE a somewhat effective government.  You wanna know what's happening in my home and native land (Canada) right now?  The federal government decided to TAKE A BREAK until after the Vancouver Olympics (why they've decided to wait until after the Olympics to get stuff done is beyond everyone.  Maybe cheering for our hockey team is far more important than oh, I don't know - GOVERNING).  What kind of self-respecting country decides to take a governing hiatus?!?  Cripes eh?

Pop Culture: Giselle Announces She Gave Birth in Her Bathtub...

The only reason this appeals to me in the slightest is because I had a homebirth (Oh darn.  Now I'm going to get emails from half of you saying: "ohmygosh!  You're a special kind of crazy!!" and the other half of you are going to flood my inbox with: "ohmygosh!  You're crazy special!!" So let's be clear:  I don't care what kind of birth you have, just as long as you get the birth you want.  Some of you may not want or be able to give birth, or maybe you had to have a different birth than the one you envisioned because of safety concerns. That's all okay too.  Live and let birth, I say).

Now here's the thing.  In general I am a fan of celebrities having homebirths.  I am all for making homebirth more mainstream, because I think it's great when women can make more informed choices for themselves. My issue with this isn't even the homebirth itself. But when the new face of homebirth is giving interviews at a photo shoot in Brazil mere WEEKS after delivering her precious babe and looking totally Gisellelicious - well then I think we need to talk a bit about unrealistic expectations.  No, people.  As much as you may like to believe the hype - having a homebirth will NOT transform you from this scary sight (that would be me):

to this (courtesy of fashionologie):


Two notable passings occured this week, and I am so out of my league with ineptness when it comes to talking about how much these two men affected the world, or how they affected us personally.  So I'll just link to far more eloquent people than I and that will be that.

J.D. Salinger, the celebrated and reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye" passed away on Wednesday at the age of 91.  By far the best tribute I have read is here at The Onion, it's grumpy and funny and just reminds me of why we all loved this novel.  I think I'll best remember Salinger in his own words:
"Boy when you’re dead they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddamn cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sundays, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody."

Also on Wednesday (I told you everything happened that day), American historian, WWII Veteran and self-professed radical Howard Zinn passed away at the age of 87.  I am at a loss as to what to write about Howard Zinn because it's just not enough.  Perhaps I'll dig out our dusty copy of "A People's History of the United States" and reminisce about my college days.  I bet it's hiding under a box of diapers somewhere in the basement (oh how times have changed.  I'm so old!).

During his life, Howard Zinn wrote and campaigned for so many worthy causes, including but not limited to civil rights, civil liberties and the anti-war movement. During one of his last interviews, he was asked what he wanted to be remembered for. This is what he said:
"I guess if I want to be remembered for anything, it’s for introducing a different way of thinking about the world, about war, about human rights, about equality, for getting more and more people to think that way...I want to be remembered as somebody who gave people a feeling of hope and power that they didn’t have before."
And it's very telling that for so many of us, that's exactly what we'll remember him for.  Here is a touching tribute by NY Times Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert.  It's definitely worth a read.

Music: Matisyahu's One Day
I thought I'd end this post on a happy note. The remix of this song featuring Akon was released on January 2nd, 2010 but the original single has been out since June 2009.  Technically it's not "current", but I just have to share how much my uber-cute big girl loves this anthem.  This kid sure has great taste (and yes, I know we're such peaceniks):

That's it for now, folks...I hope you're having a great weekend.  See you on the flip side, peeps.
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