Wednesday, September 30, 2009

With fellow filmmakers like these, who needs prosecutors?

I just read this. Whatever your feelings are regarding the Polanski case and arrest, I am sure you will agree that having Woody Allen on Polanski's side doesn't really build up his case. If I were Woody and really wanted to help, I would butt out and distance myself as much as possible from this petition.

Ironically, I haven't seen Steven Spielberg among the signatories for Polanski's immediate release. It might have something to do with Spielberg's being a father of a few teenage daughters. It might not, but who knows for sure?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How capitalism doens't always produce the greatest public good

I was reading article on swine flu this afternoon. One comment after the article caught my attention. It said something like: Why would people go to work sick and send their sick children to school? Hmm, I thought. You are reading this article and writing a comment in the middle of the work day: you must either have a cushy office job, work for yourself or stay at home. Therefore, chances are you wouldn't understand. So let me explain to all those who might have the same question.

Employers in the U.S. are not obligated to provide paid sick leave to their employees. As a matter of fact if employee's sickness or disability results in too many absences or is negatively affecting his/her performance, that employee could be fired. Jobs that pay the least tend to be the ones that give no paid sick time off and part with their workers the easiest; and because these jobs pay so little, people working there tend be the most dependent on every penny they earn and not be able to afford missing a single day of work.

Well paying jobs are not that much better, but for different reasons. Ever missed a critical meeting/deadline/project due to sickness? No? I have. I was out two days during the "critical time" with 103 degree fever. Even though my employer at the time encouraged everyone sick to stay home and provided sufficient paid sick leave, I still got "the look" from the manager upon my return. You know, THAT look that makes you think, "Shoot, I should've crawled in that day just to show them how sick I was. And maybe thrown up for good measure during that important meeting, just for illustrative purposes." THE look that makes you think twice before calling in sick again. THE LOOK that you worry might be the kiss of death.

When it comes to keeping kids home when sick, employers tend to be even less sympathetic. "Couldn't she just get a sitter?" is a common thought or comment. Take my case for example, if I kept my kids home every time they exhibited signs of cold or flu, I would have to keep them home anywhere between 20-80% of the time, especially in winter months, and no employer would put up with that. Add to this whole mess the current state of the economy, when jobs get cut left and right and employers can easily replace you with someone willing to do your job for less and without family dramas, absences count against you, frequent absences (more than once a month) are guaranteed to cause problems.

One might say that people coming to work sick are acting selfishly by thinking only about themselves and paying their own bills, but I would counteract with "isn't that what capitalism is all about? Acting in your own best interest and not worrying about the society as a whole? And thus creating better public good?" In this case everyone is acting in their best interest. Employers protect their profits by not offering paid sick leave, employees protect their money by showing up to work sick and sending their children to school with runny noses. The result, however, is far from the greatest public good: more sick people and the possibility of an epidemic that would be hard to contain if sick people don't stay home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Something in the air

We were all in the car this morning on our way to drop the kids off at their destinations when all of a sudden DS said, "Papa, do you smell something?" To which DD immediately replied, "It's not me!" After a bit of uneasy tension and us shifting in our seats, DS said, "I think I smell donuts." (And yes, we were passing Dunkin Donuts.) The sigh of relief and laughing ensued. Ahh, good times.

Friday, September 18, 2009


So I have been tagged by Hannah of Ink Stained Hands for the superpower meme. Normally I do not respond to memes for various reasons, but I liked Hannah's reasoning for tagging me ("I am tagging Subwife, because she sounds pretty stressed in her posts about work, and I would like to see if she wishes she could make people just disappear") and my holiday cooking is not done, so I am in, but insist of being flexible with the rules...

The rules are as follows:

Rule number 1: Read the rules.
Rule number 2: Write one superpower you would like to have and what you would do with it.
Rule number 3: Write why you chose that super power over everything else.
Rule number 4: Tag and link 7 people, and write why you think they will have an interesting meme.
Rule number 5: fix your broken links.

Okay, so reading rules wasn't so hard, though I admit I don't quite understand what #5 really means, but moving on. I have to pick one superpower, only one. Hmm. Would I like the ability to make people disappear, as Hannah suggested? I admit there are times when I would love for people to disappear, but wouldn't that be like a murder? Nah, I am not a murderer, though some people are doing their best to challenge/change that statement. And is this really a superpower? Just read Agatha Christie; it seems like making people disappear could be accomplished by literally anyone.

The next ones I thought of were Wolverine-like abilities. How I would love to have those, but dude, those sideburns and hair look good only on Hugh Jackman (because frankly everything looks good on Hugh Jackman). So let's keep that one as a "maybe"...

And then I had a thought. What I really, really, really would love is to have a complete understanding, a way to know the reason behind everything. Not just why people suffer, but why this particular person is suffering. Why the world is filled with so much pain and violence. Why we are here. I think I have considered the basic answers, but I just want to KNOW, TO KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT. Would it limit my freedom of choice? Probably. Would this ability make me lose my mind? Most definitely, but frankly not a huge loss as I am more than halfway there any way. Regardless, this is not for real, and I refuse to think about it too hard.

In any case, if anyone tries to talk me out of this superpower, I am going back to Wolverine's. Really, any superpower will do. At this point, I would settle for the superpower of making my food cook faster and cleaning up apartment without really trying or at the very least the superpower to hire a cleaning lady.

Ok, it's a free world, so anyone wishing to do this meme could consider themselves tagged.

Shana Tova to everyone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's check out time. Do you know where you MasterCard is?

1. Time needed to organize one's purse: 15 minutes tops
2. Time needed to return the credit card to its designated spot: 5 seconds tops
3. Time rummaging through three sections of my purse in the busy pre-holidays supermarket while hopelessly trying to fish out - ironically - MasterCard, because the store doesn't accept Discover, but instead pulling out various coupons/receipts/box tops/random pieces of paper all the while trying to avoid looking up - because my rabbi's wife is unloading her groceries at the adjacent register - or to my left - because DD's teacher is standing behind me waiting for me to pay so that she can proceed with her groceries - eternity.
4. Realization that doing EITHER #1 or #2 (not even both!!!) would've saved me from #3 - priceless.

P.S. Time wondering why the heck I cannot get organized - oh about thirty years or so...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

With future like this who needs Democrats?

I don't know about you, but I am getting a bit fed up with the constant barrage of news about Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin this, Sarah Palin that, blah, blah, blah. She's becoming the Paris Hilton of politics - lots of media coverage and little achievement.

When McCain announced his running mate about a year ago, I was rooting for her. I really wanted to like her. She was a successful career woman with a big family who somehow managed to have it all. In a very short time Sarah Palin proved to be one big disappointment to anyone for whom moose hunting is not a necessary skill in a vice president. By the voting day, Sarah Palin made me seriously doubt my choice to vote for McCain. I did anyway. And anyway they lost.

One would think as a loser, Ms. Palin would keep a low profile for a while, run her State of Alaska and regroup. No such luck. Palin never left the spotlight and seemed to care about her day job less and less with every passing day. And she proved to be a sore loser. I have read maybe 5 interviews with her since November, and she never missed a chance to blame McCain campaign staffers, liberals and media for her not so stellar public image. For a while one of my favorite Sarah Palin complaints was that seeing how badly her first interviews went, McCain's staff still insisted on doing more. Really, how dare they subject a politician to interviews and expect her to be able to coherently answer! After all, she was only communications major in college. Well, this favorite was replaced by a new one I read in the online magazine for joggers few weeks ago. Prepare to be shocked by the atrocities inflicted upon this woman by McCain staff - they didn't allow sufficient time for her daily jogs! Yawn.

And now, after abandoning her state and moving onto more important things like her political career than the people of Alaska, the most common thing we hear about Ms. Palin is her diva-like behavior: time after time organizers of some Republican event are waiting with baited breath whether Ms. Palin will grace them with their presence, and time after time Ms. Palin refers to some misunderstanding between the organizers and her staff. Funny this should come out from the same person who claimed that McCain's staff didn't know how to handle her or anything else for that matter.

Yet despite her inability to express herself, being unreliable, despite her whining and complaining, this woman has a huge following and is hailed by many as the future of the Republican party. Well, in this case I think that future is rather bleak.