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Showing posts from June 28, 2009

The Object of Desire -- Writer's Poke #246

My wife would have you believe that I'm a sexy beast. But here's the world's worst kept secret: For just about everyone in the world except her, I'm not.

Would I mind being a popular object of desire? That's an interesting question. And I guess the answer would be: no, I wouldn't mind, as long as being objectified didn't turn me into a Fabio-style running joke.

It's always made me curious, though: how do hot chicks feel about being sexualized? Do they dig it? Children, I know there's no right or wrong answer to my query, but most must. Although we've been told that the objectification of women is wrong, because it inevitably leads to viewing women as less than human, we know that such a belief is incomplete. In fact, such a belief is probably more damaging than the potential problem it warns us against.

Tangent: Ever notice that no one complains if you objectify someone for their IQ? Maybe it's time for fans of Einstein to unite and put an end …

Ten Light Years Away -- Writer's Poke #245

The past is farther away than the nearest star. We reach for it with our memories, but like a pawn in a game of chess, we can never move backwards.

How does one measure ten years? A decade is such a short period of time, and yet as I look back ten years, I make startling discoveries. Ten years ago, I wasn't married. Ten years ago, I had lived in the same state my entire life. Ten years ago, I had never made more than $20,000 in a year.

When we look at the stars, we see them from the perspective of the Earth, as though where we are in the universe is the center, and the stars are on the periphery. Likewise, when we look to the past, we assume that the present moment is the place we start when measuring distances of time.

With each passing day, we have the opportunity to achieve more. But paradoxically, the more we achieve, the less satisfied we may become. Achievement becomes a burden that some cannot escape, and the longing for a simpler time draws us back to the past. We may or may …

Digesting Memories -- Writer's Poke #244

Many consider Federico Fellini's 1963 film 8 1/2 to be one of the best films ever made. I don't know if I would go that far, but it certainly is cerebral. Much like Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, reality, memory, and fantasy blur together.

The scene from the film that sticks out most to me is when all of the women in Guido Anselmi's life assemble in one room. Here are his wife, his mistress, old girlfriends, and possibly even women that simply caught his eye for a brief moment on the bus. What an odd and potentially horrifying scenario! And yet, all the women wear big smiles, and everyone appears to be having a jolly-good time -- almost as if they are attending a pleasant memory reunion of sorts.

Why do certain memories stay with us? According to Edmund Bolles, "We remember what we understand; we understand only what we pay attention to; we pay attention to what we want."

So what exactly does Guido want? That's a question that works on many levels, but…

Bitch -- Writer's Poke #243

Meredith Brooks keeps releasing albums, bless her heart. But basically she's a one-hit wonder best known for her 1997 song "Bitch."

Some of you might remember that song, whose refrain goes: "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm mother" etc. In essence, Brooks is saying: there are many different facets to my being, so don't try to categorize me.

I have to tell you that I find it somewhat ironic that her entire musical career, then, has been completely engulfed by this one song. Although she's released a number of albums since this song, people heard "Bitch" so many times that they decided they never needed to hear another Brooks song for the rest of their lives.

And yet, I was sitting in my office the other day, and someone's cell phone went off in the hallway. Brooks' song was the ringtone, and someone was apparently calling for the "Bitch."

What does your ringtone say about you? Or, if you don't have a …

Daddy's Awesome! -- Writer's Poke #242

When I realized that Tavi could start repeating back what I was saying, I quickly taught her to say "Daddy's awesome!" Now she can say it on command, and sometimes she will even say it voluntarily out of the blue. Pretty cool.

And, well, I am awesome. No doubt. But am I more awesome than Eta Carinae, a star that is 4 million times brighter than our own sun?

Carl Sagan used to be fond of saying, "We're made of star stuff." And when you think about it, that's pretty darn awesome. But what makes humans more awesome than even the most humble star?

Some might say, "We have the ability to realize just how awesome we are." Really? Is that all it takes to make us more awesome than stars?

Where do stars go when they die? Nowhere. No one claims that there's a heaven for stars. Yet, we, that are made from stars, do have a heaven?

Strange what self-reflecting beings can come up with...

What makes you so awesome?

"If we long to believe that the stars ris…

I Want -- Writer's Poke #241

Those that have taught (or taken) Freshman Composition in the past 15 years are probably very familiar with Judy Syfer's classic 1971 feminist essay "I Want a Wife." In it, she assumes the voice of the typical male chauvinist, describing all the things a good wife must do: not complain, please sexually, put herself second, take care of the kids and all of the housework, etc. Throughout the essay, Syfer's running refrain is "I want a wife," and after she's done cataloging the wife's "traditional" duties, she rhetorically asks: "My God, who wouldn't want a wife?"

Of course her point isn't that a wife should be defined in the traditional way. She shouldn't be the husband's servant. The essay calls for liberation and a redefining of what we think a wife should be.

About twenty years later, RATT released a song called "I Want a Woman." This song is so complicated and deep that it would be impossible for me to u…