Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stuff and Nonsense Cafe, 5-10-06

Welcome to the Stuff and Nonsense Cafe! We do hope you enjoy our myriad selection of meals actually being served by our content mistress, Sleepless Mama, in her own home. Please have a seat, enjoy your meal, and read on as Sleepless Mama rambles about anything that happens to cross her mind.

Today's lunch menu:
Potato Soup
Leftover Potato and Egg Tacos from Breakfast
Ice Cream Sandwiches

In entertainment news, Mission Impossible III is or is not doing so well, depending on how you spin the numbers. According to The Houston Chronicle, MI3 made $48 million its opening weekend, more than the rest of the weekend's top ten films put together, and the second largest opening weekend this year so far. However, the Chronicle also admits that the expectation was a $60+ million dollar opening. It also says that MI3 cost $150 million to make and millions more to promote. Finally, the first two Mission Impossible Films had much better opening weekends when you figure in the cost of inflation. MI1 made $45.4 million (the equivalent of $67 million today), and MI2 $57.8 million (the equivalent of $70 million today).

Clearly, two problems are at work here. 1) Not enough people want to see Tom Cruise's movie now that he's gone completely overboard. I already thought he was a buttnugget back when he and Nicole split up, but in the past year he's upgraded to full-on assclown publicity whore. People are sick of him already. 2) The box office slump is almost entirely due to the rising cost of movie tickets. No, seriously. That MI2 figure I presented you with? Yeah, MI2 was released only six years ago. Ticket prices have gone up THAT MUCH. It doesn't matter whether the movies up on that screen are awesome examples of their respective genres or flaming turd piles, if ticket prices are too high then more people are going to say "screw that, I'll just wait until it's on DVD and rent it at Blockbuster for $4."

The following was taken from this week's column of News of the Weird:

The Continuing Crisis
Eleven women in the area around the nation's capital have bonded, according to a February Washington Post story, around a tall, athletic man of German heritage (with a master's degree and who tans easily), whom none has ever met. The man, known as donor 401, is the one whose sperm each of the women chose to be inseminated with, selected from a biographical catalog of the Fairfax Cryobank. That the women's 12 offspring have a common father has provided powerful motivation for them to learn about each other, as a way of learning about 401 (who has now retired as a donor, though there is still a waiting list for his stored sperm.) [Washington Post, 2-27-06]

This goes to illustrate the point I've been trying to make for years, which is that there is an unregarded danger in having children by anonymous sperm donation: the potential for future children to not know they are biological siblings, and form relationships with each other that would be considered incestuous. Just think, what if these 12 women had not rallied around each other and decided to meet, play getting-to-know-you, and wonder which of their kids would get the tanning gene? For all we know, some of the sons could have grown up, met one of the daughters, and thought "Hey, she's cute, and she tans so easily. Maybe we should hook up." Studies show that people are attracted to individuals who have facial features similar to their own. What's to stop these anonymous sibs from getting jiggy with each other by mistake?

Every time I brought this up in school, or with a health care professional, I got the brush off. "Oh, that's not a problem. More than likely they'll be separated geographically and will never meet." Excuse me, but how does anyone know this? Are the sperm donations of a single man separated and sent to different parts of the country? (If the article quoted above is indicitave of standard procedure, then the answer is no.) Does the fertility clinic ensure that all women who accept sperm from the same donor live in different parts of town? If one of those women move in close proximity to another, do they get little fliers in the mail saying, "By the way, one of the children in this community was fathered by the same donor as your child. For reasons of privacy we cannot actually tell you who that child is, so to be on the safe side, don't let your kids make out with anyone who bears a slight resemblance to themselves." WHY don't people make more of a big deal about this? Here this man with the nice tan has 12 children on the way in DC, and a WAITING LIST to have more (also in DC, I'll bet), and nobody wonders what will happen when a man's seed has been spread anonymously throughout a community. People, WAKE UP! Do we really want the next generation to be the children of unknown inbreeding?!

Product Review: LCD Cleaning Wipes by MG Chemicals
According to the label, it safely cleans LCD screens, laptop screens, and plasma screens, is anti-static, non-streaking, and germicidal, and is available in a plastic canister of 90 wipes. Cost: $7.99 USD. Consumer opinion: This stuff ROCKS on our LCD computer monitor! Very effective at removing grubby fingerprints provided by the children. Be aware that it contains isopropanol; if it gets in your eyes or on your skin you should rinse well with water. Also, remember to close the container after each use to avoid wipe dry-out.

Spanish language version of the American national anthem: good, bad, neither?
Personally, my national anthem will only mean something to ME when I hear it in English. I wish the translation into Spanish had been a direct translation, because then there would have been less fuss about it. Nonetheless, I recognize that not everything has a direct translation, and that someone was simply trying to do a nice thing by providing a way for new immigrants to understand the meaning behind the words to our anthem.

My husband, the Marine, is all pissy about this new version. "It will never mean the same thing! It's a symbol, you can't mess with it! How long before it's being sung at baseball games! Why can't people just learn it in English?!" (I wonder what his grandparents, who spoke only limited English, would have to say about his point of view.) His brother J, also a Marine, doesn't have a problem with the Spanish version, and made the same points I did. I pointed out to my husband that since he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, he can't demand that this Spanish song be taken off the air or never be sung in a public venue, since it is protected by the First Amendment. He looked at me, blinking his eyes, and asked what on earth the First Amendment had to do with it. I blinked right back. "Free speech, honey?"

I am completely supportive of our servicemen. I know they don't start wars, politicians do; military members just go where Big Daddy sends them. But I think perhaps there needs to be some fine-tuning of the education going on in basic training. Because if thousands of men and women are going going to fight, be wounded, and/or die to uphold our Constitution, then damnit, they need to know what it says! Is that too much to ask?

No comments: