Monthly Archives: January 2008

Worldwide Sculptures

Policeman I’ve always been fascinated by sculpture, from ancient times to today. There’s room for abstract in this medium but I find it’s at its best when it is representational, and when it sends a message. I stumbled on 33 Weird Statues and Sculptures Around the World from toroller.com.

What strikes me is the difference in, shall I say, boldness between European and American sculptures, in topic and in content. No way would a fifteen foot vulva be displayed in a prominent park in Canada or the United States, although I could see it in some South America States.

What does that say about us? That we are more prudish? That we have better taste? That we are more limited in our art appreciation? That our governments have less courage?

On the other hand, maybe Europe is more broad-minded only when it comes to the secular. Terence Koh’s sculpture of an erect Jesus has created an uproar (“Christ is risen!” said the Sun). Hmmm. Although he was supposedly fashioned as man’s image, that part of the plumbing wasn’t supposed to work. He obviously wasn’t a perfect god.

Sarcasm aside, and religion aside, it is still interesting to think that our city’s sculpture may be a reflection of who we are as a people, or, more likely, who our government is. In Ottawa, our sculptures are mostly of dead, important political people. Perhaps fitting, since we are the capital of Canada, but oh, so boring.

Not surprising for a city that stows its sidewalks (metaphorically, of course) at 10pm on a Saturday night.

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One step forward…

…and two steps back. Sigh.

Or maybe it’s just the pendulum effect and with time, mores and attitudes move from one end of the spectrum to the other, from conservative to liberal then back again. Or from women fighting for equality to women accepting — no, touting– that men are superior and must be catered to.

While surfing blogs this morning I happened on one post that made me shudder: Why my Marriage Works. It made me shudder not only because of what it says but because it links to other blogs that say the same thing or things in the same tone.

I think my job as a wife to take care of the house, stay home and raise the children, and make sure my family has what they need-when they need it. I wrote a post a loooooong time ago about how to keep your man happy. It was NOT well received by the women and I completely understand why but it works for us. I’m not some slave that bows down to her man but I make him FEEL like he’s DA MAN!

Whether as a woman you see your role as staying home for your children, there are several things wrong, in my opinion, with the previous paragraph. First, raising children is not a one-parent activity. I’ve met too many women who married to have kids but didn’t take into consideration that their husbands may not understand how a child disturbs a household. Because he’s not prepared, either mentally, emotionally or physically, he abdicates. How many time have I heard “you’re the one who wanted kids”? Parenting, just as making the kids, takes two people, two involved people. How kids are raised should be as much a shared activity as budgeting or making love.

Coming back to the paragraph above, “I make him FEEL like he’s DA MAN!” Huh? You mean a man doesn’t know he’s a man without a woman using her wiles to convince him he’s the boss? Why should there be a boss in a relationship anyway, especially one with children, where a couple presumably should make decisions together about the future? Why would a man even need to have someone to make him feel like a man? I say if he does, he’s not a man, he’s a boy playing at being a man. If I had to cater to my man to make him feel like he’s in control of this relationship (even though, according to the blogger quoted above, he isn’t) then not only do I not respect him, but I don’t respect myself.

Which doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take into account how men and women approach and solve problems differently. That’s just smart, and that’s understanding human nature.

Our blogger above also proudly quotes another who tells us how to keep your man happy and where a woman’s place is. This woman talks to us, independent women (her italics) as if we had a terminal disease or a moral flaw. She argues that “a woman works, most likely she is going to give it her all at work..she has to in order to get respect and keep her job.” Which means that when she gets home, she has no energy left for her kids or her husband. And that won’t do, especially if you want to keep your man, because “…making love to your husband and making him feel like a man…that is also part of a wife’s job. Meeting his physical and mental needs are essential to a marriage. ”

Huh. Again.

If it weren’t so illogical, it would be funny. This woman is actually saying that:

  1. raising kids is not work;
  2. raising kids is less tiring than outside work;
  3. she doesn’t have to “give it her all” when raising her kids because she can’t lose her job and doesn’t need to get respect;
  4. that her husband needs sex to feel like a man;
  5. that, despite working outside the home, and giving it his all, he’ll have as much energy as if she stayed home and therefore is always ready to have sex, whereas a woman working outside the home can’t and isn’t.

I won’t go into the fact that she takes for granted that if both work outside the home, it falls to the woman only to take care of the children and the household chores.

And of course, keeping your man happy has nothing to do with treating him as an equal, as an adult (and not the extra child in the family), as a partner, and expecting the same thing from him. It has all to do with wearing attractive clothes, not nagging, asking permission (to make him feel in control, and therefore, a man) and taking the initiative in bed (only once in a while, mind).

Huh.

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Living with an Engineer

As much as I love him, I think my husband has the heart of an engineer. Or is it just that he’s a guy?

You might be an engineer if …
1) choosing to buy flowers for your girlfriend or upgrading your RAM is a moral dilemma.
2) you take a cruise so you can go on a personal tour of the engine room.
3) in college you thought Spring Break was metal fatigue failure.
4) the sales people at the local computer store can’t answer any of your questions.
5) at an air show you know how fast the skydivers are falling.
6) you bought your wife a new CD-ROM drive for her birthday.
7) you can quote scenes from any Monty Python movie.
8 ) you can type 70 words per minute but can’t read your own handwriting.
9) you comment to your wife that her straight hair is nice and parallel.
10) you sit backwards on the Disneyland rides to see how they do the special effects.
11) you have saved every power cord from all your broken appliances.
12) you have more friends on the Internet than in real life.
13) you know what “http://” stands for.
14) you look forward to Christmas so you can put the kids’ toys together.
15) you see a good design and still have to change it.
16) you spent more on your calculator than on your wedding ring.
17) you still own a slide rule and know how to use it.
18) you think that people yawning around you are sleep deprived.
19) you window shop at Radio Shack
20) your laptop computer costs more than your car
21) your wife hasn’t the foggiest idea of what you do at work.
22) you’ve already calculated how much you make per second.
23) you’ve tried to repair a $5 radio.

Actually, I know what he does at work –although some parts are definitely murky– and I got extra memory for my computer for Christmas instead of the CD-Rom, but the rest pretty much fits. Fortunately, he hasn’t chosen to memorize Monty Python lines. Small mercies.

Lifted from Freaks, Geeks, and Engineers (The Other White Meat)

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Cooking up music

Two Jamies. Two very different men –young men– with maybe the only thing in common being that they are both British. One was born in 1975, the other in 1979. Both grew up in Essex.

Sure, there are other similarities: both are cute, shaggy-haired, and have more energy than a cooped up panther. Both have followed their passion and are making a name for themselves, despite the odds: one cooks, the other sings jazz.

What ties them together is that they are both chefs and musicians, in their own way.

I’m talking about Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, who sees food as an instrument and recipes as the score — you must follow the basics, but there’s definitely room for interpretation.

The other is Jamie Cullum, who uses music to cook up a feast for the ears that is totally personal and unique.

Whether it’s for your stomach or your ears, with either of these two, you’ll end up replete.

Try out some of the Naked Chef’s recipes in his latest, Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook, and listen to Jamie Cullum in Pointless Nostalgic, which you can also find on iTunes.

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A Quotable Quote

Every morning, when I boot up my computer and check my email, I’m greeted with the Word of the Day from A Word A Day. Sometimes the words are obscure and simply add to my understanding of the language although there is little chance that I will use them. Sometimes, like this week, the words are shiny new and reflect the culture we live in. For instance today is:

carbon-neutral (KAHR-buhn NOO-truhl, NYOO-) adjective

Adding no net carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

[A greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide is a contributor to global
warming. Carbon-neutral means contributing zero total emission of the gas
into the atmosphere. The earliest citation of the term is found in a 1992
article in The Independent (London, UK).]

Being carbon-neutral doesn’t necessarily mean producing zero carbon dioxide.
What it means is that the net addition is zero, offset by other actions,
such as planting trees, buying clean energy, etc. And it doesn’t have to be
all or nothing. If you cannot be completely carbon-neutral, you can definitely
reduce your carbon footprint.

Calculate your carbon footprint: http://carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

“As an award-winning leader in green design, it’s no surprise that
Vancouver architect Peter Busby is planning North America’s first
carbon-neutral office tower.”
Kerry Gold; Carbon-neutral Building Sets a Standard; The Globe and Mail
(Toronto, Canada); Nov 20, 2007.

What I like about A Word a Day, apart from its being completely free, is that in addition to the definition, it gives you the pronunciation an explanation where necessary, and its usage in a “real” quote from the world to put it in context.

There’s another thing I like about my daily word email: the quote section. A daily quote is included with the word definition, although it’s not always directly related to the word itself. Anu Garg, the owner of A Word A Way, always selects a thought-provoking one from a well-known person. Today’s especially resonated with me since I made a lifestyle choice ten years ago of leaving a well-paying job to write.

For money you can have everything it is said. No that is not true. You can
buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not
sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but
not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not
faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace. The
shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot
be had for money. -Arne Garborg, writer (1851-1924)

I’ve never regretted my choice, not for one minute, but it’s often been interesting to juggle the necessities of life. This quote reminded me why I do what I do. Thanks, Anu.

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