Word of the day


Women around the globe know that you don’t have to be sad to cry. You don’t have to be angry to lash out. You don’t have to be hungry to eat your weight in sweets. For a few days each month women go through a nonsensical time called Pre Menstrual Syndrome, or PMS. It’s a time when we are not in control of our emotions, but rather, our emotions are triggered by surges in estrogen. Within the course of 24 hours we can go from this,

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to this,

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to this

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This hormonal spike can also occur during menopause. There is a word for this phenomenon… HORMOTIONAL.

Why is Hormotional the word of the day? I just cried during an old episode of Ugly Betty and not even at the sad part.

Distracted by a shiny gold object


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Last night I watched the Academy Awards for the first time in years. My usual routine for Oscar night is to watch a good movie or two) in the time that it takes Hollywood to pat itself on the back, front and anywhere else their hands will reach, then check out who won online saving myself 3 to 4 hours of complete and utter boredom.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

This year was different, however because, this year it was to be hosted by Seth MacFarlane with his dazzling smile, mellifluous voice and irreverent sense of humour… not to mention he is an out and proud atheist. Yes, I am a Seth MacFarlane fan. The opening monologue started off as a bit of a disappointment, with jokes that were marginally funny at best, that is until William Shatner (or should I say, Captain James Tiberius Kirk) showed up. It was at that point that the show really got going and MacFarlane got to do what he does best… sing. As a true lover of old Hollywood musicals MacFarlane was the perfect choice for host on a night where the theme was music in the movies. Seth sang silly songs like “We saw your boobs” and old standards like The Way You Look Tonight and High Hopes

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Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum dancing to The Way You Look Tonight

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth MacFarlane, Daniel Radcliffe

MacFarlane with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliff singing High Hopes

*I am sure you’ve noticed by now that I am not posting video of the night. There are video clips out there, but they are being taken down as fast as they are being put up, so I decided not to risk it.*

All in all, MacFarlane as host was a throwback to the days when Bob Hope hosted the show. The jokes were tame (for the most part), but he was an affable, dapper and welcoming host. If the Academy brought him in to wrangle a younger demographic, however, they failed miserably. Seth MacFarlane is an old soul in a young body and a real fan of old Hollywood that, I’m sure us over 45 viewers appreciated, but the under 30 crowd must have been left scratching their collective heads, wondering why he didn’t do Stewie’s voice or tell any poop jokes.

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Dame Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger

Seeing that the theme was music in the movies, the night (as one would expect) was littered with some really wonderful musical performances. From Catherine Zeta Jones’s recreation of her Oscar-winning role in Chicago (I can’t believe that was 10 years ago already) and Jennifer Hudson singing her Oscar-winning song And I Am Telling You (Nice standing ovation. Even Jack Nicholson was impressed), to Adele and Norah Jones singing their nominated songs from Skyfall and Ted respectively, there was no shortage of talent on the stage. There were two spectacular surprises, however, that took my breath away. The first came at the end of the tribute to the 50th Anniversary of James Bond films, when Dame Shirley Bassey belted out Goldfinger, her voice just as strong as it was 49 years ago when she first sang the song. Then it was time for the in memoriam segment of the show. The last slide was a black and white photo of Marvin Hamlish, there was a pause and then… Barbra Streisand (looking younger more “well rested” than she has in decades. It’s sad to me that she was not vain enough to get her nose ‘fixed’ yet her forehead is as frozen as a glacier. Why Babs, why?) took the stage and honoured her friend and collaborator with a beautiful rendition of The Way We Were that actually brought tears to my eyes.

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Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were

The awards themselves were predictable, as usual. They gave the Best Actress award to the pretty young starlet with the lovely dress and not the most deserving nominee… as usual. Though if they absolutely had to get a pretty young starlet in a pretty dress on stage, they should have given the award to this young beauty who actually deserved the award.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Quvenzahne Wallis and her puppy purse

Even the Best Supporting Actress award, which is traditionally given to the actress who actually deserves it, went to the pretty young star in the dress that showed side boob, instead of Sally Field. On that note, I don’t understand why Field was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for a role that was clearly a lead, but I digress.

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Even Hollywood royalty, Sally Field was reduced to a desperate sex object

Over all the show was entertaining. My one complaint (cause it wouldn’t be a windupmyskirt blog with out one) was all of the sexist ‘jokes’. There was the aforementioned musical number “We saw your boobs” which comes across as a teenaged boy giggling that he saw boobies (even the Gay Men’s Chorus couldn’t class that up) and the comedy sketch wherein Seth MacFarlane, dressed as the Flying Nun, successfully hits on and goes home with Sally Field because apparently, she has nothing better to do than go home with someone just because they are a fan who makes her feel bad about herself by telling her that she won’t win her category anyway. Even though the women seemed like they were “in on” the joke they also seemed like they did so rather grudgingly. Now if either of those examples were actually funny, I wouldn’t take such issue with them, because I believe that nowhere is off-limits for a joke that is truly funny. Unfortunately for Seth MacFarlane (and his team of hackneyed writers), while he was harkening back to the Bob Hope days of hosting, he forgot to update the jokes to reflect a little thing that happened in the interim called the women’s movement. Then there was Dustin Hoffman creepily coming on to Charlize Theron as they presented an award together. You could feel her discomfort. The whole show seemed hell bent on making sure that women were praised for how good they look rather than the fact that they are accomplished actors in their own right. But maybe that’s just me, as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t watched the show in years. Is this something that happens every year or was it more glaring this year?

**Edited to add-

My DVR stopped recording before the show was over, so I didn’t get to see the final musical number or Michelle Obama present the award for Best Picture. (WTF??? Doesn’t she have better things to do with her time?)

Put up or shut up. The best war ever.


Liberal MP Trudeau and Conservative Senator Brazeau fight during their charity boxing match in Ottawa

Canadian Members of Parliament, Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau boxing for charity.

Someone once suggested that, instead of sending young men and women to war, we should round up all of the world leaders, put them in a field somewhere and let them duke it out among themselves. Sadly, this suggestion, while a good one, won’t solve the issue that war is profitable. The above photo is from a boxing match that took place last year between Canadian MPs Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau. This match raised $230,000 for Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. If this kind of cash can be raised with just one local match lasting just 2 and a half rounds that didn’t even air on pay per view, imagine how much could be earned by a world leader boxing tournament.

We could separate the world into 4 quadrants, using the equator and the International date line as our lines in the sand. Each quadrant would have their leaders fight each other until there were two winning fighters left, then both leaders would enter the quarter final round, boxing the winning rulers from other quadrants until there were just 4 heads of state left to enter the semi finals, then the winning 2 would fight each other in the final match for all the marbles. The United Nations could oversee the matches and negotiate the terms that each match would be fought over… free trade, oil etc. I can just see Don King salivating at the thought of all those dollar signs.

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Putin the Punisher.

I would pay big bucks to see Vladimir Putin taking on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey or Angela Merkel taking the piss out of David Cameron. In North America, it would be a tough call for the Vegas odds makers between Barack Obama, Steven Harper (the commonwealth countries would have to put up their heads of government, though it would be funny to see the Queen in the ring with her crown and knighting sword!) and the young Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto. Every country would participate, except, of course, Switzerland, who would get an automatic bye.

Of course, we’d need an undercard. What better way to whet our appetites than to have the religious leaders of the world (aka the other war mongers) beat each other senseless?

I would be glued to my sofa to see this guy,

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pounding on this guy.

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The election of a new Pope would sure be a different proposition if he had to put up his dukes.

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Terry Crews as the American President in the movie Idiocracy

This might really separate the cowards who hide behind 18 year old kids, doing their dirty work for them from the real leaders who are willing to get punched in the face for their convictions. Unfortunately, we would likely end up with a world akin to the one in the movie, Idiocracy where we elect the strongest and not the smartest, although its not like the smartest are in power now, so maybe it wouldn’t be so different after all.

Bad Penny. The evolution of women in sitcom culture.


THE BIG BANG THEORY

Penny and Leonard from the Big Bang Theory

I was raised on sitcom culture. One thing I have noticed in the past decade or so is a shift in how women are portrayed. Unfortunately, it’s not for the better.

Women used to be shown as the subservient wife and mother who surreptitiously leads her husband from behind in order to get her way, like June Cleaver, Donna Stone, Samantha Stevens and Lucy Ricardo. There was always an unspoken (or even sometimes actually spoken “One of these days, right in the kisser.”) threat that she was risking violence if she were caught going behind the back of her husband in order to get what she wanted.

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The Ricardos

Then, in the 1970’s women were portrayed as feminists for the first time. Maude, Mary Richards, Margaret Houlihan and Emily Hartley to name but a few. These were women who are unconventional and ground breaking. Maude fought for women’s rights and raised an independent daughter. Mary was the ultimate working woman who, not only didn’t need a man, but refused to settle. Major Houlihan worked alongside her male counterparts in the most dangerous of settings. Emily Hartley was seen as a woman who chose to work and a true partner in her marriage with her husband. These women were much healthier role models then the women who came before and after them. These sitcoms are proof that female characters can be well written, fully actualized, real women who are also funny.

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An iconic symbol of feminism.

Now we’re seeing women who are perennially annoyed with their husbands, or single women who continually make bad choices in men. Take, for example the show Everybody Loves Raymond, featuring Debra Barone, a woman who gave up her career in order to raise her children (which is a luxury in today’s world and an admirable choice). She is shown as constantly finding fault with her husband, who is somewhat childish, but all in all, not a bad guy. One of Debra’s most frequent insults is to call him an idiot. Another example of the continually annoyed wife character is on the show Rules of Engagement. The character of Audrey Bingham who is a childless, married, working woman. Audrey is married to Jeff, a former frat boy, jock type who is an excellent provider, a bit childish and a tad oblivious at times, but again, all in all a good guy. Audrey’s default setting is mildly annoyed with her husband and it just gets worse from there. She seems generally disappointed with life for the most part. This type of character reminds me of a great quote from Bill Maher, “Women cannot complain about men anymore, until they start getting better taste in them” These women go around unfairly blaming their husbands for behavior that they were fully aware of when they said I do. I have zero sympathy for this type of woman. They have no one to blame but themselves.

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The bickering Binghams from Rules of Engagement.

Then there is the other prevalent female sitcom archetype, the single woman who makes bad choices. One of the most frustrating examples of this is Penny from the Big Bang Theory. Her father gives some examples of her previous boyfriends in the following clip.

She has dated white rappers, cow tippers, a guy who blogged about their sex life and a guy who cheated on her and had violent tendencies (Kurt). When faced with a relationship with Leonard, a genius physicist who is, admittedly, a little clingy, she pulls away thinking that she can do better. I will never understand why young women would rather be abused by the bad boys than have something real with an intelligent guy who will treat her well. Okay, maybe I do understand it… young women are inherently insecure and feel undeserving the majority of the time. What bothers me most about Penny is that she thinks that she is the catch in her relationship, when clearly the real catch is Leonard. Looks fade, but intelligence is forever.

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The cast of the HBO series, Girls

My final example of the single girl who makes bad choices is from the HBO hit, Girls. All four of the lead characters in this show are hot messes. Yes, they are young, insecure and still ‘finding their way’ but they all have absolutely no respect for themselves. These young women were raised by mothers who would have come of age during or after the feminist movement and yet every character is clueless and self sabotaging. I would have hoped that their mothers would have instilled in them, some sort of sense of self by the time they were out on their own. For me, the most disappointing thing about this show is the fact that it was created and written by a woman.

It seems that women can’t write good parts for women in Hollywood, so how can we have the audacity to expect men to write them for us?

If


I have no regrets about the way I have chosen to live my life. I did the best I could with the information I had at any given time. However, lately I have been thinking about what I would change if I could do it over again, knowing what I know now.

DEU KABINETT GESUNDHEIT RAUCHEN

For starters, I would not smoke. The money I could have saved over the course of 33 years of smoking would have been enough to buy an apartment, or a small house. Not to mention the toll it has taken on my body.

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I would never set foot into a tanning bed. I spent a LOT of time during my 20s in tanning beds because they were supposed to be safer than going out into the sun, and it was the 1980s and having tanned skin was all the rage. After having melanoma cancer that can only be linked to my tanning bed days, I can honestly say they are NOT safer than the sun. I would chose to remain alabaster from head to toe and save myself, not only the cancer, but the wrinkles and other UV damage as well.

fitting in

I would not waste so much of my childhood and teen years trying to fit in with the cool kids. I never succeeded in becoming one of them anyway, and now that I am a grown up nerd I realize that being different is what makes me interesting.

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I would not waste one second worrying about what other people said or thought about me. I would stand up for myself instead of letting the bullies get to me and turn inward.

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I would spend more time immersed in books (not that I wasn’t a voracious reader). Books that could teach me something instead of books that let me escape. I would love school unabashedly (with the exception of gym class) and proudly sit in the front of the classroom soaking it all in. I would go to university and get at least one degree. I would explore the varied interests in my life scholastically and seriously instead of dabbling in them casually.

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I would stay away from love relationships until I could create the life I wanted for myself, instead of putting so much importance on having someone love me that I lost myself in a long series bad relationships.

And finally…

Lottery-Winner

I would win the lottery multiple times! Cause if I am getting a do over, knowing what I know now, then I would also know what the winning numbers were.

Sometimes it’s fun to think about hypotheticals. They give you an insight into what might still be possible and let you re-think your priorities.

A Papal send off


Those of you who read me regularly may have noticed that I try not to use profanity within the confines of this blog. In this case, there is no way to express what I am feeling after hearing the news that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation without being somewhat profane. Seeing that I would like to keep my reputation for eloquence in tact, I will let someone else do the swearing for me… as his sentiments, set to music, mirror my own.

So without further ado, may I present the very talented Tim Minchin singing The Pope Song.

 

 

And, may I add, good riddance to bad rubbish.

The dangers of magical thinking.


When one thinks of the people of Papua New Guinea, one might conjure up an image similar to this.

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A 16 year old girl from a Mount Hagen tribe.

But Papua New Guinea is not just tribal paint, shells and grass skirts. For instance, the bystanders who watched a 20 year old woman as she was tortured with a hot iron rod, bound, doused with gasoline, then set alight on a pile of car tires and trash in the Western Highlands provincial capital of Mount Hagen, were dressed in T-shirts and shorts. Why am I mentioning what they were wearing? It makes a difference in the way people will view the act.

Papua New Guinea Sorcery

Bystanders watch as a woman, accused of witchcraft is burned alive in Papua New Guinea.

If they were dressed in tribal garb, this story might never have been made global. It might have been excused as just a barbaric act carried out by a people who don’t know any better. The fact is those, not so innocent, bystanders were educated in a place that has long been civilized. They have a police force and a government. It is a democracy and is part of the Commonwealth. The most popular religion in Papua New Guinea is the Catholic Church, with 27% of the population identifying as Catholic, followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church with 19% and a slew of Christian offshoots. I mention this because it is important to understand that, by and large, the people of Papua New Guinea are taught the same religious doctrine that the rest of the Western World is taught. Yet, Kepari Leniata, a 20 year old mother was not only accused of sorcery, but tortured and killed in front of hundreds of people who took pictures and cheered, because people believed in magic.

Or was is that simple? Were she a man, would this have happened? Accusations of witchcraft and sorcery are usually targeted toward women. Is this just another instance of a woman cut down in the prime of her life as an example to other women not to get too comfortable? Either way, if people didn’t believe in magic, or if women weren’t painted as the enemy, it would never have happened.

The good news is that the Police Commissioner isn’t having any of it. He was quoted as saying, “We are in the 21st century and this is totally unacceptable.” The Prime Minister is also on the right side of history, calling for the arrest of the killers and saying, “It is reprehensible that women, the old and the weak in our society should be targeted for alleged sorcery or wrongs that they actually have nothing to do with.”

It is unfortunate, however that the Police Commissioner wants to establish courts to deal with sorcery allegations as an alternative to villagers dispensing justice, instead of stating outright that there is no such thing as magic. I guess that would mean that the religions that have a foothold in the area might lose some members of their congregations. If the people actually come to their senses and realize that if there is no such thing as magic, then maybe, just maybe, religion’s biggest role is keeping the people from the truth. The truth that they exist solely to rob you of your money, your intellect, your dignity and your human rights.

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