Think before you lie

July 22, 2008

Recently a former presidential candidate from Columbia and three US contractors were rescued from their rebel captors after being held for over five years. (Here’s one of the first articles to cover the story.) Now besides the fact that these people were still alive after all these years there are some highlights that make this a particularly cool story. First, though the US provided equipment and intelligence, the rescue mission was carried out entirely by the Columbian military, a group that’s been plagued by political corruption (so I’d say that’s a step in the right direction.) Also the rescue team took acting classes (I mean how great is that.) (They used a rebel informant to trick the guards by saying they were here to move the prisoners on orders of some other leader.) And finally though everyone was armed with machine guns strapped to their backs, no shots were fired, no one was hurt, it was completely peaceful. When I first heard about the story I thought “wow, that would make a great movie.” But there may be a high cost for that peaceful mission.

Photographs of the Colombian military intelligence-led team that spearheaded the rescue, shown to CNN by a confidential military source, show one man wearing a bib with the Red Cross symbol. The military source said the three photos were taken moments before the mission took off to persuade the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels to release the hostages to a supposed international aid group for transport to another rebel area.

Such a use of the Red Cross emblem could constitute a “war crime” under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law and could endanger humanitarian workers in the future, according to international legal expert Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.

So next time the Red Cross wants to send aid worker or monitors to check on prisoners’ conditions, or news outlets send journalists (the mission was documented on film by rescuers claiming to be journalists) those rebels will think twice. And somebody’s life is going to be in danger.

I think it had to just be a mistake in thinking out the outcome. One step too far. They obviously convinced them that they were fellow rebel soldiers; I wish they had left it at that. Sometimes circumstances require a deception, like when you’re rescuing people, or conducting a social psychology experiment. In psychology you have to justify any lies that you tell your subjects and show how you can’t do your experiment in any other way.

Why? Because lies mess with people’s attitudes and perception of others, they are powerful. I just had some money stolen from me on an online purchase. It makes me rethink whether I want to use that system again. Even though I know that hundreds of thousands of trouble free transactions go on on the site and this is only my first problem, I am still disconcerted. The bad egg messed with my psyche. Because he lied to me, I’m taking it out on all the other good sellers out there.

So lying is mainly a bad idea (doesn’t the bible say something about that?) but if you do it just be sure to think through all of the consequences.


July 22, 2008

Sometimes people ask me what made me want to do all things theatrical. This is one big reason why.

Update: What a bummer, they removed the video. You can still see a flash video at Milk and Cookies, but some of the comments are a little unsavory.

Yes I do… and two finger scrolling on the trackpad is the best.

It’s just a pig nose

July 21, 2008

My Netflix selection of the week was Penelope, another fairy tale. Overall I think it was a good movie. The progam makes suggestions as to what movies you’ll like based on what other people with similar taste think. They guessed a 4.6 star rating for me, which I think is the highest rating that has ever shown. It makes sense because I love movies like Ella Enchanted, Ever After, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and Stardust. And I think that Pushing Daisies is my second favorite fiction series (I have a thing for reality TV and How I Met Your Mother.)

Here’s the premise. Penelope has a pig’s nose (and ears too but we never see them) because she is the first born daughter of a family which is cursed. In order to break the curse she must find someone to marry. Her parents keep her hidden away so that she doesn’t face ridicule and bring in suitors to get to know her while she is behind a one way mirror. When she is rejected one too many times she leaves home to claim her own life and learn to love herself.

Here’s my problem. It’s just a pig nose. A cute little pig nose that’s attached to the rest of Christina Ricci’s beautiful face, hair, and body. Now I think it is clear that all the other characters’ reaction to Penelope is exaggerated for effect (one of her dates even throws himself out of the second story window ala the Cowardly Lion when he sees her.) We are supposed to think “gee isn’t it great how she can overcome all the negative reaction to her deformity in order to become a self actualized person. Maybe I can do that too.” The problem is that to any realistic person her deformity is not repulsive and may actually be charming. What would they have done to her if something about her really was disturbing? Penelope’s message may help girls get over their gap teeth, or freckles, or big forehead, but what about people who face serious issues… real deformity. I don’t think we need a feel good film for that first group. Maybe if they spent some time with someone who is in a wheel chair or has had a stroke or any other number of real problems, they’d gain some perspective and celebrate the pig nose like the rest of us.

You know I’m such a ham, yeah, yeah, yeah I am.

The computer loving bug has not moved. I think it’s dead. Bummer. But there are many fewer fruit flies. At least there’s that.

Move toward the light

July 20, 2008

I think it may be revenge for cruelty, and oh how I wish this was not a theme. Today… when bugs fight back.

First it’s fruit flies. Maybe they came from the watermelon that I bought. They are becoming a problem in my kitchen. It doesn’t make for very appetizing meals. So I bought some fly tape and set up some homemade vinegar traps. So far it’s just made my kitchen smell like vinegar. We’ll see what happens after I leave it out for a night.

But this is the most unkindest cut of all. My baby three month old Macbook has a bug inside the screen. Yes you read that right… underneath the plastic there it is crawling around. This apparently is not unheard of, you can read about it on message boards and see videos on youtube but no one really offers solutions. Some people say that have squashed their bugs and now have permanent black spots. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound very smart. So my idea is to turn the computer off and set it under a lamp. I think bugs are attracted to light so maybe it will go back out how it got in or at least into some less visible area of the computer. So far I’ve done that twice, once for 30 minutes under the lamp then for about 4 hours. Both times when I started the computer up again the bug was still on the screen but not moving. Not a good sign. But then like five minutes later it starts moving again. It’s currently not moving and is located about a half inch from the left side of the screen and two inches from the top of the screen. I guess I’ll go put this back under the lamp for the rest of the night and hope for the best

This is not my video but here’s what it looks like.

I don’t know what it is about going to the grocery store with a short list. I always end up buying extra frivolous things. So I think that Oreo Cakesters have been around about a year. I haven’t had them until a few days ago. They were on sale, which is like my Kryptonite. So I sprung for a package, but I needed some milk to go with them. And then I would have extra milk so I got the bag of powdered doughnuts that were right there on the end cap.

Now it is not often that I am repulsed enough to throw food away. But those Oreo things and the doughnuts both went in the trash; I am obviously not a good impulse buyer. And this after the gross perogies. Plus to add insult to injury the cheese packet from the Light Deluxe M&C (that was actually on my list) was separated into orange chunks in oil.

Could it be that I am being sent a message?

Two Paper Towels

July 18, 2008

In case you were wondering no AC and windows open equals more bugs. It’s gross. Most of them are dead by the time I find them (thanks Florida Pest Control) and I get rid of them with my dust buster. But occasionally I’ll find one that’s still very much alive. At first I was swinging shoes at them but that ended in bug splatter and broken knickknacks. So now I’ve made the determination that I can kill the bug with my hand if I use two layers of paper towels and then I wad it up and throw it away. It has to be two though, so you can’t feel it as much and there’s insurance against bug-gut seepage.

I once had to dispose of a dead mouse. Luckily only once. I found the traces in my cabinet so my exterminator brought me some glue traps. We spread peanut butter on them and closed them up in the cabinet for a week. Then I psyched my self up to go check on it. I didn’t know whether I wanted it to be there or not. It was there… So i took a wire hanger and bent it into a long hook and got one of the boxes I still had left over from packing. I used the hanger to scoot the whole thing into the box. Then I through all of it out in my big trash container and rolled it right out to the street.

Oh yes and I was also wearing disposable latex gloves. Working at Superkids in the infant room introduced me to the magic that is latex gloves. It was part of the diaper changing routine. Wash your hands, put on the gloves, change the baby, dispose of the dirty diaper by flipping your glove around it, and wash your hands again. It’s a great system.

Now I am a cleaning fiend when I have my gloves on. I can touch all sorts of gross things. I consider listing them here but you all know the gross things that need to be cleaned. I even tried gardening in latex gloves, which I do not recommend. They don’t hold up well against rocks and trigs. But I didn’t want to get my hands dirty.

I can’t decide whether this is a good or a bad thing. The perception of protection that I have empowers me to do all sorts of stuff… things that I maybe would not have done. But it’s protection only as far as you don’t run across a stray stick, or a sharp knife, or a counter corner, or a bug with a little more will to live. Then it throws your well ordered, germ free, protected plan into a tail spin.

We live a lot of our lives relying on this fragile protection: things that don’t last, and people who leave at the first sign of trouble. So I guess you have two choses, get better gloves, or be ready to wash your hands.

Dr. Horrible

July 17, 2008

Go watch it now, while it’s free for a few more days.

Cold Tea

July 16, 2008

I learned the other day that you can cold infuse tea to make iced tea. You use a little less water and (two tbsp of tea or two tea bags for a half gallon of water) and put the tea bags in and let it steep in the fridge for at least eight hours. It is supposed to work great for green tea especially but he said it would work on any kind. I’ve tried it with pomegranate oolong and summer fruit black tea it is ok it doesn’t quite look like iced tea because it stays pretty light in color and the taste is less acid-y but it still brings out the fruit flavors really well. So it’s super easy and you don’t have to heat the house with boiling water. So I have a new technique in my repertoire.