Wednesday, 31 July 2013

How many bullets do you need to stop an 18-year-old teenager?

Update: April 24, 2014: see below

Nine, apparently.

The city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada is in an absolute uproar over the killing of Sammy Yatim this past Saturday by the police no less. (July 27, 2013) The story goes that Sammy was riding a streetcar just after midnight when he brandished a three-inch knife and ordered everybody out. The police quickly arrived to find Sammy on the streetcar all by himself. Officers ordered the teenager to drop his weapon. He didn't. After a moment, one or more officers opened fire and a total of nine shots were discharged. Sammy ended up very much dead.

A tragic story indeed, however, there have been a number of videos posted on YouTube of the actual incident which completely brings into question why what happened had to happen at all. Sammy Yatim is seen on the streetcar all by himself. No members of the public are close or in jeopardy. The police are backed away at a distance and the number of officers far outweighs the threat of one teenager. The questions remain. Why shoot him? Why fire nine times? Why didn't anybody talk him down? Why didn't the police just wait it out? It has now been revealed that after the nine shots when the police did rush the streetcar, they then tasered Sammy. If they had a taser, why didn't they use that in the first place instead of shooting the boy?

The whole incident is horrible. It is startling. But the mystery to be solved is the videos which clearly show the entire story from beginning to end. Nobody can brush this one off. Nobody can fudge the facts. Everybody, absolutely everybody has been caught on video.

Constable James Forcillo has been suspended with pay and is currently under investigation.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair made a public statement promising to get answers about what happened and to offer his condolences to Sammy's family. He was quoted as saying, "As a father I can only imagine their terrible grief and their need for answers. Like many members of the public, I have viewed the video of this incident. I am aware of the very serious concerns that the public has. I know that people are seeking answers as to what occurred, why it happened and if anything could have been done to prevent the tragic death of this young man. I am also seeking the answers to these important questions."

I've watched the videos. I'm sitting here shaking my head. I'm a law abiding citizen as much as the next guy and I certainly support the police and civil order. But nine shots? Holy Hannah, is this a WTF moment or what? Who's the Dirty Harry yahoo with the department issued sidearm? For crying out loud, it's an 18-year-old kid. Was he drunk? Was he on drugs? Was he in his right mind? Whatever the case, what was the point of what is clearly excessive force against a teenager with a pocket knife? And the police had a taser but only used it after shooting at the kid nine times?


Published on Jul 26, 2013 by Martin Baron
Police shoot 18 year old Sammy Yatim at Bellwoods and Dundas, Toronto
18 year old Sammy Yatim was holding up a knife on an empty streetcar. The cops surrounded him and ordered him repeatedly to drop it. He wouldn't, then they shot him. Listen for the Taser at 1:01.



Amadou Diallo
In the early morning of February 4, 1999, four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers fired 41 rounds at a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, 19 of which hit the victim. The story is a tragic tale of mistaken identity, the officers thinking Diallo matched the description of a well-armed serial rapist.

The officers claimed they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and "show his hands". The porch lightbulb was out and Diallo was backlit by the inside vestibule light, showing only a silhouette. Diallo then reached into his jacket and withdrew his wallet. Seeing the suspect holding a small square object, Carroll yelled "Gun!" to alert his colleagues. Mistakenly believing Diallo had aimed a gun at them at close range, the officers opened fire on Diallo. During the shooting, lead officer McMellon tripped backward off the front stairs, causing the other officers to believe he had been shot. The four officers fired 41 shots, more than half of which went astray as Diallo was hit 19 times. (Wikipedia: Amadou Diallo shooting)

Jeffrey Johnson
On Friday, August 24, 2012, at around 9:03 a.m. by the Empire State Building in New York, Jeffrey Johnson, a laid off clothing designer, shot and killed his former boss. A witness followed Johnson and alerted the police as to what happened.

When confronted by the two officers, Johnson raised his weapon, but did not fire. The officers fired a total of 16 rounds, killing Johnson and injuring nine bystanders, none of whom suffered life-threatening wounds. Three of the bystanders were directly hit by police gunfire, while the rest of the injuries were caused by fragments of ricocheting bullets, or by debris from other objects hit by police.

At a news conference shortly after the shootings, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that it appeared that police might have accidentally shot civilians during the incident. The day following the shooting, Kelly confirmed that all of the bystanders had been wounded as a result of police gunfire. (Wikipedia: 2012 Empire State Building shooting)

Being Scared
Somebody points a gun at me. I think somebody is pointing a gun at me. I am scared that somebody could point a gun at me or cause me harm in some way. I get it. And I sympathise with any officer out there on the frontlines dealing with scary situations. I don't envy them their jobs and I wouldn't trade places with them for all the tea in China. You think your life is in jeopardy and the fight or flight instinct kicks in and the adrenaline starts pumping. Time to stop thinking and time to start doing.

The Globe and Mail, in an July 29/2013 editorial, brings up an interesting point to the story.

Officers who have made the split-second decision to use lethal force will rarely fire a single shot. This is because the average police-issue sidearm will hit a target that is between six and 21 feet away less than 25 per cent of the time, according to New York Police Department statistics that were analyzed by The New York Times in 2007. Police sidearms are chosen for their reliability, not their accuracy. Even at a range of six feet or less, the accuracy rate is below 50 per cent. Officers are consequently trained only to stop an armed person from advancing; there is no gain in attempting to inflict a wound, and the officer will continue to fire until he or she is certain the armed person no longer poses a threat. (I failed to locate The New York Times analysis mentioned above.)

Final Word
This is a tragedy. An 18-year-old teenager is dead. Even if, statistically, this is an anomaly, we are still faced with a dead human being. With the videos posted for the entire world to see, everybody is going to weigh in with their own opinion; everybody is going to play armchair general, Monday morning quarterback. What would I do? In the cold light of day, I can be calm and rational. The answer looks so obvious when reviewing the recordings. No matter what comes out of this, how the Toronto Police respond, how Constable James Forcillo is dealt with, Sammy Yatim is dead.

When I wrote about the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida (my blog: What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?), I was reminded that I too was once a teenager. Admittedly, I have done some stupid stuff, sober and drunk. Don't all teenagers? But, for the grace of God, I never found myself facing somebody who was armed. I wonder how many people will philosophically say, "Shit happens.". Thank God it didn't happen to me.

Update: April 24, 2014

CBC News - Apr 24/2014
Sammy Yatim killing: Const. James Forcillo back at work with TPS
The police constable charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim aboard a streetcar last summer has returned to work with the Toronto Police Service, despite an ongoing inquiry into the case against him.

James Forcillo:
* seven month suspension with pay
* 'super restricted duties' that are administrative in nature
* no direct involvment with any investigations or any direct contact with the public
* does not have a firearm and does not wear a TPS uniform

Update: July 2014

CBC News - Jul 22/2014
Sammy Yatim killing: More officers should wear cameras, report says
Expanded use of cameras is one of 84 recommendations contained in the report written by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci and released Thursday. The report focuses on how police deal with emotionally disturbed and/or mentally disturbed individuals, a group Iacobucci calls "people in crisis."

The Toronto Star - Jul 25/2014
Family of Sammy Yatim files multimillion-dollar lawsuit
Toronto police showed “reckless disregard” for the life of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, and used excessive and unreasonable force against a young man suffering an “acute emotional disturbance” on the night of his death, family members of the shooting victim allege in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed earlier this year.


References

Published on Jul 30, 2013 by SuperColinTV
YouTube: Shooting of Sammy Yatim Security camera footage
From the corner store located just where the streetcar stopped

Published on Jul 27, 2013 by Markus Grupp
YouTube: [New video] Toronto Police shoot man on street car - Dundas & Bellwood
I shot the video above at 12:03am on Saturday July 27 from Bellwoods Avenue, just north of Dundas Street.

National Post - July 29/2013
Sammy Yatim’s final warning: New audio reveals officer’s hostile words before teen was shot dead by police by Josh Visser

Toronto Star - July 30/2013
Toronto police didn’t need to shoot Sammy Yatim: Editorial

Gobe and Mail - July 29/2013
A knife-wielding teenager and standard police training: Editorial

Evaluation of the New York City Police Department Firearm Training and Firearm-Discharge Review Process
RAND Corporation - 2008
Nationally, as it is in New York City, the use of any force is rare. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimates that, in 2005, police used or threatened to use some force against a citizen in 1.6 percent of police-citizen contacts (Durose, Smith, and Langan, 2007, p. 1). Recent data for the NYPD shows the same general pattern as that reported by DOJ. In New York City, an analysis of the more than half a million stop, question, and frisk reports filed in 2006 shows that police pointed their weapons at suspects in about 0.5 percent of filed reports (Ridgeway, 2007).

NY Times - May 8/2008
11 Years of Police Gunfire, in Painstaking Detail By Al Baker
New York City police officers fire their weapons far less often than they did a decade ago, a statistic that has dropped along with the crime rate. But when they do fire, even at an armed suspect, there is often no one returning fire at the officers. Officers hit their targets roughly 34 percent of the time.

Wikipedia: Contagious shooting
A contagious shooting is a sociological phenomenon observed in military and police personnel in the United States, in which one person firing on a target can induce others to begin shooting. Often the subsequent shooters will not know why they are firing.

Examples
2013: In California, officers involved in the search for Christopher Dorner mistakenly fired at least 100 rounds at a truck occupied by three people, none of whom had any connection to the suspect.

New York City Police Department
2011 Annual Firearms Discharge Report
In 2011, the number of firearms discharge incidents involving members of the New York City Police Department remained unchanged from the previous year: 92 total incidents. As was true last year, this is the smallest number of firearms discharges since the recording of police shootings in the City began. While it must be acknowledged that the most serious category of discharges - shootings involving adversarial conflict with a subject - increased by 9 percent over last year’s record low, it is also true that experiencing 36 adversarial-conflict incidents during a year makes for a remarkably infrequent rate. In context, the rarity is even more apparent: in a city of 8.2 million people, from a Department of nearly 35,000 uniformed members who interacted with citizens in approximately 23 million instances, 62 officers were involved in 36 incidents of intentional firearms discharges during an adversarial conflict, with 19 subjects injured and nine killed. This is an impressive record of firearms control.

my blog: What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun?
What happened on the night of February 26, 2012? I mean what really happened? Like you, I've read numerous newspaper articles. I've read the sometimes conflicting testimony. I've read the analysis. While the CSI television shows arrive at a conclusive ending, it would seem real life leaves many questions unanswered. My kingdom for a time machine.

2013-07-31

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Anthony Weiner Redux: Outed to the World

We're all having a good laugh over this. Late night talk show comedians are having a field day. But let me ask you one little thing: What if it was you?

Of course, you wouldn't text a naughty picture of yourself. And of course, you wouldn't send a sex message. But somewhere, sometime, you've said or done something which, if released to the public and published on the front page of every newspaper in the country, would seem scandalous, funny, or just plain stupid. How would you like Leno, Letterman, and Fallon all writing out numerous comedy bits mocking you from here to kingdom come?

Just now I watched an episode of The Colbert Report during which our Conservative caricature reported on and mocked Anthony Weiner's latest transgression. It was funny. I laughed out loud. And now sitting here writing this, part of me wants to cringe. What if the world got a hold of something I had said or done and decided to make me the object of ridicule? But I'm not going to do that. Right? Right!?!

Issue: Sexting is bad
Apparently not. That is, the activity itself is not inherently bad. In fact, various bloggers, therapists, and online magazines offer tips on how to use this social media technique for spicing up one's relationship. Walker Thornton, The Diva of Dating, points out that sexting is not just for teenagers; it is a way to creatively get people in the mood even before foreplay has started. Think about sex and there's a better chance you'll want to have sex.

Issue: Selfies are bad
But everybody is doing it. Ah, but they aren't famous. Just ask Geraldo. (Fox News Latino - July 26/2013: Geraldo Rivera: A Bad Idea by Geraldo Rivera) Apparently Mr. Rivera tweeted along with his almost naked selfie that "70 is the new 50." As Stephen Colbert reported when the story broke, "And if there is one thing people want to see on their Twitter feed, it's naked 50 year old men." (Instead of Twitter, we should use Snapchat?)

Issue: Cheating on your partner
Sexting? Sex itself? Inappropriate behaviour? I spoke with a woman who told me she and her partner of over thirty years recently got married at the age of 62. But, during their whole time together, both of them have followed a polyamorous lifestyle, meaning that both of them have had lovers. And, even though they got married, they still are proponents of polyamory.

During #AdultSexEdMonth, I discovered the author @GoodDirtyWoman. She and her partner both write erotica publishing to the world their inner most thoughts and fantasies on all that is hot in sex.

In an ode to casual sex, psychotherapist and LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), Stanley Siegel explains at the age of 65 he has shared extraordinary tenderness, generosity and affection without long-term commitment.

Issue: Not satisfied with your partner?
People supposedly stay in a marriage or a relationship because their needs are being met. Those needs could entail family, love, and sex, what have you. In my posting "Why did that @#$%^* bastard divorce me?", I asked the question why a man (or a woman, I suppose) would eat his dinner, get up from the table, then drive to McDonald's and order a Happy Meal. Yes, he's a @#$%^* bastard but there just has to be more to it than that. He can't be full. He can't be satisfied. He didn't like his meal and fed it to the dog when nobody was looking. Bill Clinton had nine sessions of bobbing for apples in the "Oral Office". Does Hillary bob for apples? Yes, Bill is a @#$%^* bastard but somehow there has to be more to it than that.

Let's just say Monica was a sign that something was wrong, something wrong with Bill or something wrong with Bill and Hillary. This wrong was outed and I mean outed. I don't think there a person on this planet who doesn't hear the name Bill Clinton then immediately does a fist pump and yells, "Mo-ni-ca!"

I apologise but I keep bringing this following story up in my postings.

Back in the early 90's, I'm watching one of the talk shows, not quite as elevated as Oprah but not as low as Jerry Springer. A couple is being interviewed but we're given to understand they have a secret. Commercial break. We return to see... two women. I look closer. Woman number two is the husband; he's dressed up in drag. The wife explains that her husband has always had a fetish for women's clothes and once a month he dresses up and the 2 of them go out for a drink together as 2 female friends. She goes on to say that her husband is a wonderful man, a great husband, a good lover and an excellent father; he just seems to have this one special quirk and it is the only oddity out of an otherwise exemplary human being.

Now just mull that one over for a minute. We have a gentleman who has a fetish for woman's clothes. How in heaven's name did this couple arrive at a point where the man could bring this up with his wife? Who knows, maybe he told her about his fetish before they were married and she married him anyways. The point is that their relationship was open and honest enough that they could discuss this. But look at the alternative. What if she had reacted to this discovery with, "Eew. Get away from me your goddamn weird-oh pervert!" What if this man was so scared of a negative reaction, he stayed in the closet?

However, here's the kicker. This man's wife accepts his fetish. They go out together once a month. All good. But... What if this man's friends, his boss, or the local newspaper found out about this? In San Francisco or New York, maybe nobody would blink an eye, but what about in Anytown, U.S.A.? What about in the religious fundamentalist far right anti-anything-but-married-heterosexual America?

Issue: Being outed
Scott Sassa was the president of entertainment and syndication at Hearst (it owns Cosmopolitan, among other titles) receiving a reported $6 million salary. He's single. As in not married. (divorced) He sexted a woman, supposedly an escort, a few times. They never met. At some point, she or her boyfriend attempted to blackmail Sassa and when he wouldn't comply, they sent the sex messages to his employer. Sassa was let go. I find it odd the company did not support their employee during an attempted blackmail, which, as I understand it, is a crime, but the word was out and Sassa had to go. (see Jezebel - Apr 9/2013: These Sexts Cost Former Hearst Exec Scott Sassa His Career by Katie J. M. Baker)

my blog: On-line, oh so not private and busted
Monica Day had a job offer rescinded when the company discovered her Facebook page and references to her second career as a sexual counsellor.

Pamela Madsen is the author of the book Shameless in which she writes about her personal journey of sexual self-discovery. Before the book, she wrote about her experiences in a blog under pseudonym The Riverdale Goddess. When her employer found out about the blog, they let Ms. Madsen go as they were worried about having to face a "sex scandal".

Judy Buranich, an English teacher for the past 25 years, is in hot water with her school board as the community has discovered she is also the published author of several racy romance novels. Parents are calling for her resignation.

Tera Myers, a teacher by trade, has now been fired twice after the school boards she was working for discovered she was once an X-rated movie star.

Lori Douglas is, or was, an associate chief justice of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench (family division) in the province of Manitoba, Canada. In August 2010 it came to light there were photographs of the judge in flagrante delicto posted on the Internet.

Sydney Leathers, the 23 year old woman who outed Weiner to the world, supposedly sent the mayoral candidate more than 30 nude photos of herself. Nobody is condemning her behaviour but was outing Weiner her ticket to fame and fortune?

Issue: Anonymity
As I have said elsewhere, anonymity gives a certain freedom to say what would be impossible otherwise due to peer pressure, censorship at work, or even public humiliation. Being totally honest may be the best policy but it is not always a doable policy.

I blog under a pseudonym. What would happen if I was outed? Pamela Madsen, mentioned above, was fired. Ms. Quote, aka A Good Dirty Woman's Mind, writes anonymously. She is a divorced mother and a working professional. Walker Thornton, The Diva of Dating, was writing anonymously but has recently "come out of the closet." Debbi Moynahan of A Few Good Bedtimes Stories seems to be using her real name but mentions in her About, "I am a mother of three grown children who would probably just up and die if they ever read anything on this blog." (She writes M/M erotic fiction.)

Samsung Galaxy S III
In a product advertisement with a little edge, Samsung offers up this personal take on their mobile device. To show how easy it is to share videos and other data — you just rub the back of your phones together — his tutu-wearing daughters tell him that they made him a video to watch when he's gone. Then his wife bends over to his open taxi window and whispers that she made him a video too, but he "probably shouldn’t watch it on the plane."



Final Word
Let me take a moment to clarify spellings. "Weiner" with "e-i" is the name of Anthony while "wiener" with "i-e" is the name of the frankfurter. The correct spelling of the joke is Weiner's wiener.

What exactly is my point in all this? If your partner is fully aware of what you're doing and accepts it, it's not bad. It's permissible. Okay, within the bounds of the law. Ha! But if you are in the public eye, you always run the risk of somebody turning you in, of outing you. Even if your partner accepts what you do or is forgiving about what you do, once the word is out you face the judgement of the public. Your partner may forgive but the public will not.

This entire story has many secondary issues besides a married man doing something questionable behind his wife's back. Even if any of us is not doing something against the law, how would we feel if it ended up in a headline on the front page of every newspaper in the country?

There's an old saying: "If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about." The problem is that what's considered right by one person may be considered wrong by the next person.

If you steal, defraud, or even murder, you will be forgiven. But sex? In our North American culture, whether we realise it or even admit it to ourselves, there is a stigma and a shame attached to sexual matters which is right off the charts. We live in a puritanical society that vilifies sex but accepts violence. We prefer to make war than love.

I'm not saying I condone Weiner's actions within the context of a marriage, the idea of a husband being faithful to his wife but there are a number of secondary issues which apply to all of us. #AdultSexEdMonth saw both amateurs and professionals come together for the purpose of expounding on how we all can have better and more fulfilling sex lives. But we all are carrying around with us the baggage of our puritanical traditions. Yes, I can get up the intestinal fortitude to take off my clothes and stand before you stark naked, but that doesn't mean I feel comfortable about it. And at the sound of the first snicker, I'm going to run and hide. But more importantly, me being naked may lead to me being blackmailed, being exploited for fame and fortune, or just humiliated for the sake of a headline.

I'm not Anthony Weiner. I'm not in the public eye. I'm not rich and powerful. But I read the headlines. Yes, they may not apply directly to me, but they still affect me. You want me to open up? Be honest? Discuss the more personal aspects of my life? I hesitate. I'm suspicious. I'm apprehensive, no, I'm afraid. It is difficult to forget a lifetime of puritanical traditions in a puritanical society. There is just too much to lose. I like having a job. I do not want to be ostracised by my peers. And I do not want to be humiliated by the world. Pardon me if I keep to myself and I keep my selfie.


References

Walker Thornton - July 25/2013
Weiner's Wiener - Not Fit For Office?
In general I think a person’s sexual (mis)conduct is really none of my business–as long as he/she is not my partner. Infidelity should be a private matter. Politicians make mistakes, just like the rest of us. Unfortunately the media and the public have become so obsessed with knowing all the personal details that we hear about indiscretions more often. I don’t think the incidence of inappropriate sexual behavior is happening more often. There are just more ways to express one’s sordid desire and, therefore, more ways to get caught.

A Good Woman's Dirty Mind - July 28/2013
Women Who Stick With Their Dicks by Ms. Quote
As much as I’ve been yucking it up over the latest Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, I’ve been seriously pondering why his wife, Huma Abedin, is standing by her man.
...
I was in a situation 13 years ago when I learned that the man I planned to marry had another woman in his life. She wasn’t a girlfriend or a booty call, but a wife.

A Good Woman's Dirty Mind - July 25/2013
Carlos Danger's Weiner Roast by Ms. Quote
A good selection of some of the funnier bits about Weiner's wiener.

Jezebel - July 23/2013
Should You Send a Lady a Dick Pic? A Guide for Men by Erin Gloria Ryan
Scenario 1: You're on OKCupid and you have been exchanging messages with an attractive woman who you strongly believe is interested in seeing your penis. She hasn't exactly come right out and asked you about your penis, but you're pretty sure she wants to see it. Like, 60% sure. Also, you're drunk.

Condom Depot TV - Apr 24/2013
The Do’s & Don’ts Of Safe Sexting by Kelly Steele
The average 20-something sends about 100 text messages per day; that’s, on average, 3,000 text messages per month. The average 20-something is also horny as hell, in their sexual prime and thinking about sex almost constantly. Now, combine the two and you’ve got the risky combination that is “sexting” – the act of sending sexually explicit photographs or messages to another person via text.

Vice - April 2013
How to Sext Without Looking Like an Idiot by Monica Heisey
There are a few things in life that everyone over the age of 16 should be able to do: cook a few decent meals, navigate a new city without Google Maps, enjoy a hangover, and, bear with me here, send a decent sext. Anyone who thinks they'll be able to track down The One without knowing how to turn their phone into an object of lust has another thing coming. Sexting is practically a requirement for living in the 21st century, no longer the reserve of predatory creeps or girls who give HJs to exchange students, being able to communicate just how horny you are over iMessage or Snapchat is a life skill, and you're going to have to learn how to do it.

Cosmo - July 2013
Sexting 101: How to Send Dirty Messages Without Ugly Consequences by Ariel Nagi
Sexting is tricky. Since we know a lot of you naughty ones are doing it, we decided to compile a list of sexting do's and don'ts. The last thing you want is your naked photo leaked on social media.

Better After 50 - June 13/2013
Sexting - It's Not Just For Teens by Walker Thornton
There are things you can do to build a sense of excitement, for yourself and for your partner. Once you start thinking about sexually you’re more likely to want to engage in sexy activities. You just have to start thinking creatively.

Wikipedia: Snapchat
Snapchat is a photo messaging application developed by Stanford University students.[3][4] Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as "Snaps". Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps, ranging from up to 10 seconds to as little as 1 second, after which they will be hidden from the recipient's device and they are also deleted from snapchat server.

Controversy
On May 9, 2013, Forbes reported that the photos do not actually disappear, and that they can still be retrieved even after their time limit had expired with a minimum of technical know-how. A few days later, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint against Snapchat with the Federal Trade Commission saying that the company deceived its customers by leading them to believe that pictures are destroyed within seconds of viewing.

Jezebel - Apr 9/2013
These Sexts Cost Former Hearst Exec Scott Sassa His Career by Katie J. M. Baker
Now, Business Insider has the sexts that cost Sassa his career... Undeniably juicy, yes. But Sassa was single. He was texting a consenting adult. There's no evidence that he ever even met up with Kira, the Los Angeles-based escort who helped her boyfriend blackmail him by threatening to go public via TMZ or Us Weekly if Hearst didn't step up.

Fox News Latino - July 26/2013
Geraldo Rivera: A Bad Idea by Geraldo Rivera
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course the time was 2:30 Sunday morning, and one of my hard-learned life rules is that nothing good happens at that hour of the deep dark night, especially after a couple of tequila shots, except sweet dreams and maybe an intimate snuggle.

my blog: Weinerlogues: A reading by Bill Maher and Jane Lynch - June 13/2011
On June 1, 2011, RadarOnline released a PDF file purported to contain transcripts of Facebook exchanges between Congressman Anthony Weiner and a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, 40 year old Lisa Weiss. The conversations start on August 13, 2010 and go up to June 1, 2011. Note: All profanities are marked with asterisks.

On Friday, June 10, 2011, on the show Real Time with Bill Maher, Mr. Maher invited actress Jane Lynch, currently starring in the TV show Glee, to join him on stage for a reading of the "Weinerlogues". Bill played Anthony Weiner and Jane took the part of Lisa Weiss. The three minute video clip from the show has them reading lines verbatim from these Facebook dialogues.

2013-07-30

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Monday, 29 July 2013

When I get the news, how will I react?

This past Friday, I asked a colleague how his throat was. Apparently the other week, he had a polyp removed from his vocal cords and he has been talking in a whisper recently. He mentioned he had just been back for a follow-up appointment. I thought this was just normal but he then added, "You know what I mean."

Actually I didn't so I asked. It turns out the polyp had been cancerous. The first visit was to take a biopsy and the second one was to remove the malignant tissue. Even though he was speaking matter-of-factly about this, I asked him if he was freaked out. He had required some time off for the visits and recovery and he told me about speaking with the head of Human Resources and his boss. During his conversation with the head of H.R., he said he lost it. He didn't elaborate and I didn't ask but I'm guessing that "lost it" meant he had either gotten upset or had cried on the phone. I couldn't help thinking of what I would do.

I don't go around every day thinking I'm going to die, but I admit that now at the age of 60, statistically my chances of dying are steadily climbing. Sooner or later, the inevitable is going to happen. My doctor will tell me I have cancer (like my mother) or I'll have a heart attack and be incapacitated (like my dad). How am I going to react?

Am I going to break down? Am I going to freak out? Or am I going to face the inevitable because it's the inevitable and I always knew it was going to happen? Will I be stoic or will I "lose it?"

My mother was diagnosed with cancer in August, 1995. She died the following January. In life, she was a vibrant woman but at death, she weighed a mere 84 pounds (38kg). It was horrible.

My father had a quadruple bypass at the age of 72. Two days short of his 80th birthday in 2004 he had a heart attack. The doctor said the damage to the heart muscle was so extensive, that his pumping capacity had been reduced by 50%. That meant that if he lived, the quality of his life would be severely impacted. He would have difficulty doing something as basic as walking. Mercifully, the remaining 50% of his heart worked for just 48 hours.

Was I upset when my parents died? Yes and no. For a long, long time, I had known my parents would eventually die. I had thought about this often enough that when the time came, it wasn't a surprise. I knew it would happen. It was inevitable and I expected it to happen. The events were more surreal as in saying to myself, "Oh. The moment has finally arrived."

Everybody else in the family was quite busted up about this and I ended up being the one to speak at both my parents' funerals. I was calm and collected. I had psychologically prepared for this. I was prepared for the inevitable.

I've thought about that moment when the doctor gives me the news. It hasn't happened yet, but I have had some "I wonder" health moments. So far those moments have turned out to be nothing but sooner or later, the inevitable is going to happen to me.

My colleague has gotten a clean bill. He has had a scary moment but seems to be okay. However, he is 62 years old and sooner or later, like me, like all of us, he is going to get the news. How will he react? How will any of us react? The inevitable will arrive.


References

my blog: Barb Tarbox (and my mother): bigger warnings on cigarettes
My mother died in 1996 at the age of 66. She had smoked from the age of 14, a span of 52 years. Her cancer started in her lungs, spread to her brain then ended up in her liver. A vibrant woman in life, she had wasted to a scant 84 pounds (38 kg). She had but 6 months from the first diagnosis to her death.

my blog: I'm 60. Now what?
A friend a few years back referred to us arriving at the age of 60 as entering the fourth quarter. While an interesting football metaphor, I pointed out to him that the fourth quarter is also the last quarter.

my blog: Health: One Year Later, One Year Lost
April 7, 2012, this is the red letter day in my personal annals marking the worst physical injury of my entire life. At the one year anniversary, I am much much better, thank you very much, but I am still trying to climb out of the hole and still have a way to go.

2013-07-29

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Movie Review: The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman is back and as ripped as ever. When you see that this guy can sing and dance (Broadway) and truly act (non action films), you realise he is quite the talented gentleman. There is more to Wolverine than meets the eye.

As another in the series of movies about various Marvel comic book characters, this one is okay. And I'm saying, "Just okay." For some odd reason, the ending is somewhat unsatisfactory. I found it to be muddled and didn't quite tie the loose ends together for what one would hope would be the big finish. Up to that point, the movie was holding my interest and seemed to be fairly decent but then in the last ten minutes, the entire story ran out of steam. How unfortunate.

Like the spate of recent superhero movies which seem to be darker with more angst such as Batman or Superman, this Wolverine is also deeply troubled and trying to figure things out. Christopher Nolan set the bar with The Dark Knight and subsequent superhero scripts seem to be trying to present more meat and potatoes. Is it just me or do all these troubled heroes with their showdown with destiny and evil end up doing so in the rain? Superheroes never use an umbrella.

2D to 3D Conversion
According to my research, the film was originally shot in 2D then converted to 3D in post-production. Curious about how that is done, I looked it up. Certainly I'm not much more informed reading all sorts of technical jargon like disparity depth cue, depth budget, and depth maps, but I did see that such a conversion apparently costs from $50,000 to $100,000 per minute. Roughly speaking, that means this 126 minute film would have been converted for six to twelve million dollars.

The real question is whether or not the final results are worth it. Critics like Roger Ebert qualify 3D as a gimmick which distracts from the film. Supposedly filmmakers like Christopher Nolan concur. Some of the more technical critics go through an analysis of the conversion process and lay out point by point why it is inferior to true 3D filming which uses 2 cameras. Is any of this true? Does it come down to personal taste? Whatever the case, film studios are responding to the market, that is us, and offering up 3D as the new super duper ultra special enhanced movie going experience. And I might add, for a slightly higher ticket price. You didn't think you would get this for free, did you?

What do I think? I shrug my shoulders. I can't say that I'm watching anything in 3D and constantly saying to myself, "Wow. This is unbelievable." I wonder if I need to see 2D and 3D side-by-side to truly judge the difference and whether the quality of the experience has gone up. When HD TV first came in, I had the same impression. It wasn't until I changed the channel back to a non HD station that I could easily see how the HD image was so much sharper. So, for me, the jury is still out on 3D. Personally if the story is good and the characters are interesting, 3D has little to do with my overall satisfaction in the film.

The Credits
Do not... I repeat do NOT get up when the credits start. Are you people ever going to learn? Moviemakers have started inserting stuff into the credits and especially with the Marvel characters; they give us teasers of upcoming productions. You get up to avoid having to sit through the credits and you keep missing things! This film is no exception.

By the way, the absolutely funniest thing I have ever seen in the credits has to be the shawarma scene from The Avengers. I was laughing right out loud in the movie theatre and I was almost the last one left. Too bad, your loss! (see my blog at the very end for the clip: Movie Review: The Avengers)




Final Word
It's a Marvel Comics character. This is action adventure with special effects. The story does have a darkness and a richness of character which lends some weight to the proceedings but the ending doesn't quite live up to the quality of the first part of the film. As I said, overall this is an okay film. Would I recommend forking over the movie to see it at the theatre? I'd have to say, "No." Wait until it comes out on TV. It may be worth a look but remember that it is merely an okay film. There are other choices which would see you better spending 126 minutes of your life.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: The Wolverine: 68%
Although its final act succumbs to the usual cartoonish antics, The Wolverine is one superhero movie that manages to stay true to the comics while keeping casual viewers entertained.

Wikipedia: The Wolverine (film)
The Wolverine is a 2013 American-Australian superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine. It is the sixth installment in the X-Men film series and follows the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Hugh Jackman reprises his role from previous films as the title character, with James Mangold directing a screenplay written by Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Frank, and Mark Bomback, based on the 1982 limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.

Wikipedia: 2D to 3D conversion
2D to 3D video conversion (also called 2D to stereo 3D conversion and stereo conversion) is the process of transforming 2D ("flat") film to 3D form, which in almost all cases is stereo, so it is the process of creating imagery for each eye from one 2D image.

official web site: The Wolverine

2013-07-27

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Jenny McCarthy: Concerned Mother, Conspiracy Theorist

Jenny McCarthy as a mother has had the traumatic experience of having a son born with autism. (May 18, 2002) Jenny McCarthy as a wife has had to suffer the pain of divorce (Sept 2005) saying her husband could not deal with their son's autism. Like all of us, Ms. McCarthy has tried and is still trying to "figure it out." What is life all about? How does it work? What are the answers to our questions?

For those not in the know, Jenny McCarthy, American model, actress, author, activist, and Playmate of the Year for 1994, has become a controversial spokesperson for the theory linking vaccines with autism. Her son's autism was caused by a vaccine and she won't stop until the entire world agrees with her.

On Monday July 15, the ABC daytime talk show The View announced that Ms. McCarthy would be joining the panel. There was an immediate hue and cry about this public personality being given a platform from which she can further spread what is considered to be misinformation proven many times over by respected medical experts. How did this Jenny From The Block wind up at the forefront of the anti-vaccine movement?

Andrew Wakefield
In 1998, Andrew Wakefield, a British former surgeon and medical researcher, published a paper linking the administration of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the appearance of autism and bowel disease. Other researchers failed to reproduce his results. An investigation by The Sunday Times uncovered financial conflicts of interest. There were allegations of misconduct and a subsequent investigation. On January 28, 2010, the British General Medical Council found Wakefield guilty of three dozen charges including four counts of dishonesty. The research paper was fully retracted. Wakefield was struck from the Medical Register and is currently barred from practicing medicine in the United Kingdom. In January 2011, an editorial in the British Medical Journal identified Wakefield's work as an elaborate fraud designed to profit from an MMR vaccination scare.

Nevertheless, Wakefield's public recommendations led to a steep decline in vaccination rates in the United Kingdom and a corresponding rise in measles cases, resulting in serious illness and fatalities.

Antivaccinationists
It would seem that the anti-vaccine movement has been around as long as vaccines have existed. When the British government introduced compulsory smallpox vaccination in 1853, protests started almost immediately. In 1866, the first Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League was formed which changed into the National Anti-Vaccination League in 1896. According to the history of smallpox, this disease was the leading cause of death in the 1800s, killing an estimated 400,000 Europeans per year. Why in heavens name would anybody be against a cure? Wikipedia explains:

The success of immunization programs depends on public confidence in their safety. Concerns about immunization safety often follow a pattern: some investigators suggest that a medical condition is an adverse effect of vaccination; a premature announcement is made of the alleged adverse effect; the initial study is not reproduced by other groups; and finally, it takes several years to regain public confidence in the vaccine.

In other words, right from the get-go, people have drummed up all sorts of reasons to fight mandatory immunization: vaccines do not work; they are or may be dangerous; individuals should rely on personal hygiene instead, or this violates individual rights or religious principles. Smallpox has been eradicated but antivaccinationists persist.

The New England Journal of Medicine - Jan 13/2011
The Age-Old Struggle against the Antivaccinationists by Gregory A. Poland, M.D., and Robert M. Jacobson, M.D.
Today, the spectrum of antivaccinationists ranges from people who are simply ignorant about science (or “innumerate” — unable to understand and incorporate concepts of risk and probability into science-grounded decision making) to a radical fringe element who use deliberate mistruths, intimidation, falsified data, and threats of violence in efforts to prevent the use of vaccines and to silence critics. Antivaccinationists tend toward complete mistrust of government and manufacturers, conspiratorial thinking, denialism, low cognitive complexity in thinking patterns, reasoning flaws, and a habit of substituting emotional anecdotes for data. Their efforts have had disruptive and costly effects, including damage to individual and community well-being from outbreaks of previously controlled diseases, withdrawal of vaccine manufacturers from the market, compromising of national security (in the case of anthrax and smallpox vaccines), and lost productivity.

I read the above and can't help thinking of the conspiracy theorists who believe aliens crashed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 (Roswell UFO incident) and the World Trade Centre collapsed due to a controlled demolition. Facts, statistics, and science are meaningless in the never-ending quest for answers. As the X-Files said, "The truth is out there," and unfortunately, the quest for answers is more like I already know what I want to hear; I just want the government to admit it.

The Greater Good
It's an old philosophical conundrum. Would you sacrifice one person to save a thousand? Would you feel the greater good, the good of everyone, outweighs the good of an individual? (see Wikipedia: Trolley problem) Medical and scientific evidence surrounding vaccinations demonstrate that the benefits of preventing suffering and death from infectious diseases far outweigh rare adverse effects of immunization. (Wikipedia: Vaccine controversies) Smallpox was killing an estimated 400,000 Europeans per year during the 1800s... let me repeat, per year and yet the antivaccinationists persisted.

Today, we are still very much focused on our freedom, the freedom of the individual. But what if your individual freedom affects somebody other than yourself? Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions. In the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that in cases of "an imminent threat to a child's life", physicians in some cases may "intervene over parental objections". Christian Scientists do not believe in medical intervention. In July 1977 16-month-old Matthew Swan died of bacterial meningitis after his parents were persuaded by two Christian Science practitioners not to take him to a physician; they did eventually take him to hospital, but the infection had by then caused irreversible brain damage.

The United States and other countries followed the example of England's Compulsory Vaccination Act of 1853. Nevertheless, over the years, exemptions were granted on religious grounds.

As of 2013, 48 states allow religious exemptions to compulsory vaccination. Christian Scientists are less likely to recognize and report illness to physicians, and Christian Science practitioners are not allowed to diagnose (which might expose them to allegations of practising medicine without a licence), so infection may remain undetected. There were several outbreaks of infectious diseases at Christian Science schools and camps between 1972 and 1994. In 1972, 128 students at a Christian Science school in Greenwich, Connecticut, contracted polio and four were left partially paralyzed. In 1982, a nine-year-old girl died of diphtheria after attending a Christian Science camp in Colorado. In 1985, 128 people were infected with measles at Principia College, a Christian Science school in Elsah, Illinois, and three died. In 1994, 190 people in six states were infected with measles spread by a child from a Christian Science family in Elsah, after she was exposed to it on a skiing holiday in Colorado.

If somebody decides to not have a blood transfusion, that's their choice. If somebody decides to not go to the hospital, that's their choice. But what if that individual is making a decision which affects their child? What if that individual's decision makes them infectious, a carrier of a communicable disease? Their decision now affects other people. Their freedom is no longer their individual freedom; their freedom is the freedom to affect the lives of others.

Hypothetically Speaking
Let's say - and I emphasize that no expert agrees to this - your own son's autism or any bad condition even death was caused by a vaccine. Vaccines have proven over and over again to be an effective, no a miraculous means of combating infectious diseases which in previous centuries have sometimes killed millions of people. Would you stop vaccinations, would you give all of us the power to choose whether or not to have a vaccination if there was a risk of death to countless citizens?

I'm sorry about your son but I do not want you or anybody else convinced by you to be running around without following the prescribed regiment of vaccinations. I don't want you to be a possible carrier of infectious diseases. I don't want you to be promoting the avoidance of known preventive methods which could leave others sick or possibly dead.

Am I being draconian? Am I unfeeling?

What if Jenny McCarthy told us a story of her son being saved by not wearing a safety belt? Her son was in a traffic accident and was thrown clear of the car and lived. He would have died if he had remained in the car.

That is a strange case. That is unusual. But I'm sure it has happened. But I am also sure that statistically speaking we are all safer by wearing a safety belt than by not wearing one. Should Jenny McCarthy be telling us all to not wear a safety belt based upon the story of her son? Yes, it's her son. Yes, it's her story but standing back and looking at the entire population, at the collective we, safety belts save us from injury and protect our lives. Do we think of the one as opposed to the many?

Final Word
I'm sure that in reading this piece, some people are going to feel I am mocking Jenny McCarthy. Okay, sometimes I am but I do feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for any parent who has had to go through the anguish of autism. All parents start with the greatest of hopes for their children and the diagnosis of this condition is a major blow to those dreams.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jenny McCarthy has been desperate, beyond desperate as a mother, trying to help her son. Modern medical science doesn't know everything. Modern medical science is far from perfect. Unfortunately, people in their desperation turn to anything and everything in the vague hope of finding a miracle. And I am not just saying that. Having gone through my own health crisis in 2012, I too have had my period of desperation trying fruitless and unproven alternative treatments. I understand Jenny McCarthy's quest for the truth, her quest for anything to help.

However I must return to statistics and scientific investigation. Unlike Jenny McCarthy, my study of alternative treatments relied on a scientific method. Independent scientists doing independent tests must independently, reliably, and conclusively arrive at the same results. I want to see numbers confirmed by a university sanctioned analytic methodology of double blind testing with a statistically significant cross-section of the population. I cannot let my own personal pain cloud my judgement and cause me to avoid the statistical truth. I know that science is not perfect but it's the best we've got. Even if I was talking about my own child, I would not risk the health and possibly the death of thousands of children because of my one child.

We all are trying to "figure it out." We are trying to understand how the world works. We are seeking to understand the issues of health, marriage, sex, the economy, and global warming. The list goes on and on. Pundits, politicians, and even shamans are all vying for our attention and our belief. We must all be the utmost vigilant to ensure we remain committed to facts and not to faith. Sometimes the distinction between the two can be very blurry. I have faith in God but facts show that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any possible risks.

My Final, Final word
Jenny McCarthy is not a scientist. Jenny McCarthy is not a medical professional. Jenny McCarthy has not applied the scientific method I outline above to her quest for the truth. I believe vaccinations must be mandatory. I do not believe individual freedom trumps anyone enacting courses of action known to lead to illness and death or possibly becoming the infectious carrier of a communicable disease. If you want to endanger yourself, fine. But I do not want you to endanger me. Period.


References

Some may question the validity of my referencing Wikipedia but I would be quick to point out that each article, although a summation of a topic, contains references to original articles. In preparing any of my postings, I don't just read the Wikipedia article, I look at the linked pages, the original works upon which Wikipedia is based.

Wikipedia: MMR vaccine controversy
The MMR vaccine controversy centered around the 1998 publication of a fraudulent research paper in the medical journal The Lancet that lent support to the subsequently discredited theory that colitis and autism spectrum disorders could be caused by the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The media has been heavily criticized for its naive reporting and for lending undue credibility to the architect of the fraud, Andrew Wakefield.

Wikipedia: Andrew Wakefield
Andrew Jeremy Wakefield (born 1957) is a British former surgeon and medical researcher, known for his fraudulent 1998 research paper in support of the now-discredited claim that there is a link between the administration of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and the appearance of autism and bowel disease.

Wikipedia: Jenny McCarthy
Jennifer Ann "Jenny" McCarthy (born November 1, 1972) is an American model, actress, author, and activist. She began her career in 1993 as a nude model for Playboy magazine and was later named their Playmate of the Year. McCarthy then parlayed her Playboy fame into a television and film acting career. More recently, she has written books about parenting, and has become an activist promoting research into environmental causes and alternative medical treatments for autism. She has claimed that vaccines cause autism and that chelation therapy helped cure her son of autism. Both claims are controversial and unsupported by any medical evidence, and her son's autism diagnosis is disputed.

Wikipedia: Vaccine controversies
A vaccine controversy is a dispute over the morality, ethics, effectiveness, or safety of vaccinations. Medical and scientific evidence surrounding vaccinations demonstrate that the benefits of preventing suffering and death from infectious diseases far outweigh rare adverse effects of immunization. However, since vaccination began in the late 18th century, opponents have claimed that vaccines do not work, that they are or may be dangerous, that individuals should rely on personal hygiene instead, or that mandatory vaccinations violate individual rights or religious principles. These arguments have reduced vaccination rates in certain communities, resulting in outbreaks of preventable, and sometimes fatal, childhood illnesses.

The Washington Post - July 15/2013
Jenny McCarthy on The View — not The Medically Correct View, Just The View by Alexandra Petri
I realize it’s “The View,” not “The Correct View” or “The View That Is Actually Substantiated By Any Science Whatsoever.” There is no reason to assume that, just because someone is on your TV, that this person has opinions that are grounded in fact and that you should go about implementing in your life. In many cases, it’s the exact opposite. Usually, the presence of someone on television indicates little more than that this person is slightly louder than most people and would be unpleasant to sit next to on a long flight.

Slate - July 15/2013
The View Hires Notorious Anti-Vaxxer Jenny McCarthy by Phil Plait
Yet despite these facts McCarthy has gone everywhere and anywhere protesting vaccinations. And she’s done this while actually injecting herself with the single most toxic protein known to medical science. Seriously. And over the years as the anti-vaxxers get more of a voice, we’ve seen outbreaks of pertussis, measles, and more, putting people, especially infants, at risk of serious illness and even death.

That’s why giving McCarthy a large public forum to share her views is a terrible idea. I’ll note The View has more than 3 million viewers, and given the time slot, I suspect a lot of those folks watching are parents of young kids—precisely the demographic most prone to listen to anti-vaccine views.

Slate - Mar 3/2009
Why you should listen to celebrities by Phil Plait
What [Jenny McCarthy] says is so mind-numbingly mind numbing. Vaccines cause autism. She cured her son of autism. Her son is an Indigo child. And so on.

Her latest?

"I love Botox, I absolutely love it," she said. "I get it minimally, so I can still move my face. But I really do think it's a savior."

I see. So injecting kids with scientifically-proven medicine that can save their lives and the lives of countless others is bad because of a fantasy-driven belief that it causes autism, but injecting a lethal pathogen -- in fact, the most lethal protein known -- into your face to help ease the globally threatening scourge of crow's feet is just fine and dandy.

Jenny McCarthy Body Count
Number of Autism Diagnoses Scientifically Linked to Vaccinations = 0


God Will Save Me
There is a story told about a man who was stranded in his house during a flood. A boat came to rescued him while he was standing on his doorstep, surrounded by water. But he waived the rescuer off, saying "God will rescue me!"

The following day the water rose and another boat came to rescue the man now stuck on the upstairs balcony. He again refused help, shouting, "God will rescue me!"

Late the next day, he found himself sitting on the chimney, the waters swirling around him. A helicopter hovered overhead, a man shouting, "Let's help you!" But the man shouted back, "God will rescue me!"

As fate would have it, the water rose and the man drowned. He arrived in heaven in a not-so-good mood, complaining to Saint Peter, "I expected you to rescue me!"

"Frankly, I am surprised to see you here," Peter replied, "because we sent two boats and a helicopter to pick you up!"

2013-07-25

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Robin Thicke, Mod Carousel, and Sexual Objectification

On March 23, 2013, the R&B singer Robin Thicke released the song "Blurred Lines" and quickly generated controversy over the degradation and sexual objectification of women both in the lyrics and in the video. Since then, Mr. Thicke has said the song and the video were meant to poke fun at the traditional misogynistic view of women. I'm not sure everybody got the memo.

On July 21, 2013, Mod Carousel, a Seattle based boylesque troupe released a parody video of Blurred Lines in which the male and female roles are reversed, that is, the men get objectified. The results? See for yourself below but so far, Huffington, Jezebel, and others are all giving it a thumbs up.

Below

video #1: the "clean" version of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines: I've included the lyrics so you can follow along.

video #2: the unedited version (Ooo la la)

video #3: Mod Carousel turns the tables (Ooo le le) (Le = French masculine article. Okay, not my best joke)


Published on Mar 20, 2013 by RobinThickeVEVO
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell


[Intro: Pharrell]
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

[Verse 1: Robin Thicke]
If you can't hear what I'm trying to say
If you can't read from the same page
Maybe I'm going deaf,
Maybe I'm going blind
Maybe I'm out of my mind
[Pharell:] Everybody get up

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature
Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
You don't need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
[Pharell:] Everybody get up

[Verse 2: Robin Thicke]
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky
Hey, hey, hey
You wanna hug me
Hey, hey, hey
What rhymes with hug me?
Hey, hey, hey

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby it's in your nature
Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
You don't need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker
Hey, hey, hey

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
[Pharell:] Everybody get up
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

[Verse 3: T.I.]
One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain't bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it's almost unbearable
Then, honey you're not there when I'm
With my foresight bitch you pay me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don't smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn't pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin'
I'm a nice guy, but don't get it if you get with me

[Bridge: Robin Thicke]
Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don't like work?

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur, uh huh
No more pretending
Hey, hey, hey
Cause now you winning
Hey, hey, hey
Here's our beginning

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
I always wanted a good girl
(Pharell: Everybody get up)
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
(Pharell: Everybody get up)
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

[Outro: Pharrell]
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey



Published on Mar 28, 2013 by RobinThickeVEVO
Blurred Lines (Unrated Version)




Published on Jul 21, 2013 by Mod Carousel
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell
Mod Carousel, a Seattle based boylesque troupe, does a sexy parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines music video.

It's our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions.



References

Wikipedia: Blurred Lines
"Blurred Lines" is a song recorded by American R&B recording artist Robin Thicke, for his 2013 album of the same name. The song features guest vocals from American rapper T.I. and American singer and producer Pharrell; all three share writing credits on the song. It was produced by Pharrell. The song was released as the lead single from Blurred Lines on March 26, 2013 through Star Trak Recordings.

Music videos
The music video, directed by Diane Martel, was released on March 20, 2013. The video focuses on Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell casually standing around while they flirt with scantily clad models who pose and somewhat frolic around in the video. At various points throughout the video, the hashtags "#THICKE" and "#BLURREDLINES" flash on screen. The video came in two versions: the original and the "edited" version. The original version features the same models seen in the edited video – though they do not appear topless , instead wearing revealing clothing. Thicke said in an interview with the Associated Press that he had received the approval of his wife, actress Paula Patton, before the video was filmed.


After being on the site for just under one week, the unrated version of the video was removed from YouTube on March 30, 2013, citing violations of the site's terms of service that restricts the uploading of videos containing nudity, particularly if used in a sexual context. However it was later restored on July 12, 2013. The unrated video remains available on Vevo, while the original version is available on both Vevo and YouTube. The unrated version of "Blurred Lines" generated more than 1 million views in the days following its release on Vevo. The three female models are Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M'Bengue, and Elle Evans.

Asked about the racy content of the video, Thicke responded: "We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, 'We're the perfect guys to make fun of this.' People say, 'Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?' I'm like, 'Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before. I've always respected women.'"

Wikipedia: Blurred Lines (album)
Blurred Lines is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Robin Thicke, to be released on July 30, 2013, by Star Trak Entertainment and Interscope Records.

Wikipedia: Robin Thicke
Robin Charles Thicke (born March 10, 1977) is a Canadian-American R&B singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and actor.

GQ - May 07/2013
Robin Thicke on That Banned Video, Collaborating with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar, and His New Film by Stelios Phili
Robin Thicke's latest music video features mostly-naked models, allusions to drugs and bestiality, and a balloon arrangement that reads, "Robin Thicke has a big dick." So when I met the singer-songwriter for an interview at GQ headquarters, I didn't expect that we'd first talk about mercy killings, home eviction, and cancer (the topics of Thicke's upcoming self-penned short film, Mercy) before moving on to his controversial music video, "Blurred Lines," which is banned, like, everywhere. "What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman," he said. "I've never gotten to do that before." Calm down, folks, it's a joke and everyone in the video is in on it. Thicke's a real Southern gentleman and his soul's as good as his hair.

Jezebel - July 22/2013
This Gender-Swapped ‘Blurred Lines’ Video Is Fucking Awesome by Lindy West
Seattle boylesque troupe Mod Carousel created their own version of Robin Thicke's controversial (and catchy) single "Blurred Lines"—they changed the lyrics, rerecorded the vocals, and restaged the video with all of the genders swapped. The result is pretty amazing.

Feministing - July 23/2013
Mod Carousel remakes “Blurred Lines”–but does it subvert the misogyny? by Alexandra
Yesterday, Lindy West at Jezebel introduced the feminist blogosphere to this maybe brilliant “Blurred Lines” re-do from Mod Carousel. I say “maybe brilliant” because I really want to be into the video, which is fun and sexy and cheeky, and because disagreeing with everyone I follow on Twitter is scary. I can almost convince myself based on the “everything is better queer” rationale, but I’m hung up on two things.

Huffington - July 23/2013
Gender-Reversed 'Blurred Lines' Parody By Mod Carousel Is Sexy, Thought-Provoking
Given the massive controversy -- not to mention runaway success -- of Robin Thicke's summer hit "Blurred Lines," it's not surprising that someone eventually decided to create a gender-reversed version of the video. Luckily for us, the newest parody, created by Mod Carousel, is clever, thought-provoking and very sexy.

official web site: Mod Carousel

Ha ha ha

The Atlantic - July 23/2013
A Guide To the World of 'Blurred Lines' YouTube Parodies by Zach Schonfeld
With its relentlessly inescapable melody and questionably misogynistic (also: NSFW) video, Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" is clearly destined for YouTube parody heaven. By now, it has dozens of spin-offs—some more ill-advised than others. Many play with the gender objectification question raised by the initial video, while others are just, well, yeah.

Time - July 23/2013
VIDEO: ‘Blurred Lines’/Growing Pains Mashup: Robin Thicke and his dad Alan are better together by Melissa Locker
While Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is the song of the summer, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which features T.I. and Pharrell Williams, is a close second. The insanely catchy and controversial earworm with the racy and NSFW video, has been omnipresent on the radio this season and hit number 5 on our list of the best songs of 2013. Now finally, someone (The Hood Internet, specifically) has paired up Robin Thicke’s track with the theme song to Growing Pains, the 80s sitcom that starred his father, Alan Thicke.

Published on Jul 22, 2013 by The Hood Internet
BLURRING PAINS


Published on Aug 30, 2013 by Auckland Law Revue
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines [Feminist Parody] "Defined Lines"
The Law Revue Girls want to define those supposedly "blurred lines". Enjoy our parody of Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. Lyrics below.


Every bigot shut up (x 2)
Hey hey hey (x 3)

Boy you'd better quit all your sexist ways
So hear our manifesto of the modern age.
It's time to undermine
The masculine confines
Coz we don't wanna grind,
Gri-ii-iind.

You think that you're so slick,
Let me emasculate ya!
Because your precious dick
Can't beat my vibrator.
We're feelin' the frustration
From all the exploitation.
Prepare for your castration.

(Chorus)
So we can fuck this man's world,
With all its bullshit,
Girls don't deserve it.
We ain't good girls:
We are scholastic,
Smart and sarcastic,
Not fucking plastic.
Listen mankind!
If you wanna get nasty,
Just don't harass me:
You can't just grab me.
That's a sex crime!
Yeah we don't want it -
It's chauvinistic.
You're such a bigot!

What you see on tv
Doesn't speak equality,
It's straight up misogyny.
Don't want you to come on my face!

You think you're hunky (hey hey hey)
You wanna hug me (hey hey hey)
Don't you mean fuck me?

One thing I ask of you:
Don't assume that we all just wanna screw.
Gotta respect me for me to be your boo.
We don't want no scrubs, no we don't approve.
Need a universal role reversal,
In real life not a dress rehearsal.
Gotta resist all the gender roles,
Time to put misogyny on parole,
Put exploitation on probation,
Time for you to witness our liberation!
There's more to life than penetration,
And sexual discrimination.
So tonight we ignite our civil rights,
Resist chauvinism,
Win the fight,
Coz you're livin large just like a montage
Of you and your friends actin' out Entourage.
But we ain't whores to do your household chores,
To make you a sandwich when we're on all fours.
From history to herstory.
Know you got some opinions that we don't agree.
Need to call my sister Joan of A-R-C,
Bake a feminist cake, Antoinette Marie.
Yeah, guys, we got spies,
Know all you wanna do is fertilise,
But avert your eyes from my thighs,
Never tell a bitch that she gotta drop a size.
You wanna box gap? Show me your six pack.
Wanna landing strip? You'd better get ripped.
I apologise if you think my lines are crass,
Tell me how it feels to get verbally harassed.

(Chorus)
So we can fuck this man's world,
With all its bullshit,
Girls don't deserve it.
We ain't good girls:
We are scholastic,
Smart and sarcastic,
Not fucking plastic.
Listen mankind!
If you wanna get nasty,
Just don't harass me:
You can't just grab me.
That's a sex crime!
Yeah we don't want it -
It's chauvinistic.
You're such a bigot!

2013-07-24

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Science: We've given erections where before there were none.



Published on Feb 22, 2016 by SkepticalViews
Creationism by Lewis Black
Lewis Black talks about Creationism and Evolution

I was browsing around the Net, reading the news, researching, and exploring, when I ran across this old video of Lewis Black on The Daily Show. The comedian shows up once a while to do a bit called "Back in Black", a signature monologue in which he rants about something or other. As well as being hilarious, Mr. Black is an astute observer of life and his analysis of our foibles is very spot-on. Just what the heck do we put forward as the truth? What do we believe? I have no doubt the Lord is sitting on high laughing at us. After all, Lewis Black is pretty funny.


References

Wikipedia: Lewis Black
Lewis Niles Black (born August 30, 1948) is an American comedian, author, playwright, social critic and actor. He is known for his comedy style, which often includes simulating a mental breakdown, or an increasingly angry rant, ridiculing history, politics, religion, trends and cultural phenomena. He hosted the Comedy Central series Lewis Black's Root of All Evil, and makes regular appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart delivering his “Back in Black” commentary segment. When not on the road performing, he resides in Manhattan. He also maintains a residence in Chapel Hill, N.C. He is currently the spokesman for Aruba Tourism, appearing in television ads that aired in late 2009 and 2010. He was voted 51st of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time by Comedy Central in 2004; and was voted 5th in Comedy Central's Stand Up Showdown in 2008 and 11th in 2010.

Wikipedia: The Daily Show: Back in Black
Back in Black with Lewis Black is a popular segment on the show, where "America's foremost commentator on everything" and comedian Lewis Black catches the stories that, according to his introduction, "fall through the cracks", and comments on them in a humorous rant. The segment starts with an opening riff in the style of the AC/DC song "Back in Black". The segment originated in 1996, when Craig Kilborn was still host of The Daily Show. As of 2013, it is the longest-running recurring segment that still airs on the show, aside from the Moment of Zen.

Wikipedia: Creation–evolution controversy
A 2012 Gallup survey reports, "Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God's guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process."

Wikipedia: Ken Ham
Kenneth Alfred Ham (born 20 October 1951) is an Australian young-Earth creationist who advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. He is the president of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and the Creation Museum.

Wikipedia: Kent Hovind
Kent E. Hovind (born January 15, 1953) is an American young Earth creationist. Hovind has spoken on creation science and has aimed to convince listeners to reject theories of evolution, geophysics, and cosmology in favor of his interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative from the Bible. Hovind's views are contradicted by scientific evidence and some of his ideas have also been criticized by young Earth creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis.

2013-07-23

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