Butterflies on Snow

Butterflies on Snow
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Went to the botanical gardens to catch the Buterflies Go Free show. The butterflies were particularly active on the sun-filled greenhouse. More photos posted under my Flickr account.


Don't Hate Me Cuz I'm Too Smart Yesterday, Salon's Broadsheet published an item commenting on an op-ed piece in the New York Times in which the dean of admissions at a college in Ohio--the mother of a college age woman, no less-- admitted to rejecting qualified women. Why? Because there's a glut of smart women and not enough smart men applicants. To keep numbers equal, admissions officers are evening the playing field. I found this "admission" incredibly disturbing, maybe because I credit my university education with having provided me with so much. It gave me choices and offered an environment where I created life-long friends. To think that someone -- anyone -- would be denied an opportunity because they are simply too good is maddening beyond words. This is a practice sanctioned by women and mothers against their daughters. Power corrupts. Absolutely.
Tator Tot's Origins My friend A alerted me to this. Disturbing. Funny. Disturbing and funny.


Favourite Dollar Store Finds: Pepper Mill I have a beautiful Peugeot pepper mill that my parents gave me for Christmas many, many years ago. If I remember correctly, it was the only thing on my list because they can be quite expensive. I had had enough with cheaper pepper mills that never really worked. Peugeot mills provide finely ground pepper consistently. However, sometimes dishes scream for coarsely ground black pepper. What's a gal or guy to do? I found this little item and was kind of dubious about its ability to grind and the freshness of the pepper corns. The pepper corns were surprisingly pungent and the grinder provides nice chunky bits of pepper. Moreover, it's refillable.


Why I Despise the Cirque du Soleil I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds Cirque shows kinda cheesy. Now that they have a permanent home in Las Vegas -- along with Celine Dion (who everyone knows is cheesy) -- the cheesy argument is pretty easy to make. Cheesy isn't necessarily a bad thing--although, it gives cheese (a food I adore) a bad name. Cheesy doesn't hurt anyone. Being blatently socially irresponsible does. The Cirque pulled out of the Casino project late last week, after the release of the wishy-washy Coulombe report. The Coulombe report said that building the Casino in the Peel basin, in the poorest neigbourhood in Montreal (Point St-Charles), was probably a bad thing but they weren't against it or for it. Doh! The community of Point St-Charles really rallyed against this project (although The Gazette insisted on tainting everyone with the "activist" moniker, as if there wasn't grass roots opposition to this stupid, wacky project). As reported in The Gazette, the Cirque pulled out because "the project's many positive elements were overshadowed by the heated debate over whether the casino would help or harm Point St-Charles...." They then quoted the Cirque's CEO Daniel Lamarre. "I thought we had this debate in Quebec many years ago and decided as a society that gambling was acceptable. I'm not a politician, so I don't have to decide. I can build my project or not." Omigod. It's like he's saying I'm a big fat capitalist and I'll be damned if I'm going to be concerned about the social impact of my plans; if I have to be socially responsible, I don't want to play. Shame on you, Cirque du Soleil. And shame on the Loto Quebec and the City of Montreal. Now, if we could just get an outdoor pool for the kids of the Point, that would be a step in the right direction. Even better, how about a circus day camp for the kids in the 'hood, sponsored by the Cirque du Soleil?

Favourite Dollar Store Finds: Bag Clip

When I first purchased these, all my design-conscious friends demanded to know where I got them? Zone? Caban? They're a far cry from the plastic clips normally used for keeping half-eaten cheesies fresh. They're also useful for keeping a towel around your shoulders when you're dying your hair. Two for a buck--you can't go wrong.


Good Kitty

good kitty
Originally uploaded by kazzie*.

My friend A sent me this link last night as I was trying to get some work done. Alas, the distraction got the better of me and I spent hours trawling the 'net for more cute.


Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Run Lola Run, you may not want to read this post.

I was reminded of one of my favourite films the other day when someone sent this link to a 3D discussion board. He wrote that if he actually animated a character doing this, no one would believe it was possible in reality. The exhiliration of the dancer in this clip is like that of the main character in Run Lola Run. Ninety-eight per cent of the reviews you read of the film will use the word "kinetic". Certainly, my breathing gets deeper and my heart beat goes up when I watch the sequences in the film where Lola races (three times over) to save the man she loves. I want to run with her because her motion is so unbelievably and recklessly passionate. That's actually what the director, Tom Tykwer, says is the theme of the movie.

"What happens is absolutely universal as far as both theme and content are concerned. It is this woman's passion alone that brings down the rigid rules and regulations of the world surrounding her. Love can move mountains, and does. Over and above all the action, the central driving force of this film is romance." What no review I've found mentions (nor does Tykwer) -- though it's there plainly in the movie -- is whether in the end it's actually worth moving mountains. In the context of this movie, Lola runs to save the life of her cute-but-whiny petty criminal boyfriend, Manni. In the bedroom scene that divides the first and second "runs", Lola and her boyfriend have a classic post-coital conversation where she asks Manni why he loves her. "Because you're the best," Manni fumbles. "The best what?" Lola probes. "The best girl," Manni fumbles again. "Of all the girl's in the world, I'm the best?" Lola challenges dubiously. "Ja." Lola's not convinced, but wills herself back to life and begins her second run to save Manni. The song lyrics that accompany her go "I don't know if your love is true." The theme of unrequited love is echoed in the scenes between Lola's still-married father and his mistress, who tells him she's pregnant. "What am I going to do, wait around until I'm too old for the man I love to decide whether he wants me?" The film is ambivalent about Manni's love for Lola--and about men's love for women in general--but is certain of Lola's passion for Manni, or, more likely for passion itself. She acquires powers to heal and control the fates (perhaps even stop time) whilst Manni at best attracts blind luck. When I first saw Run Lola Run, what struck me most was how wasted her actions were. All this energy, all this power, expended for whom, exactly? For cute-but-whiny Manni? Tykwer ends the film on another ambivalent note; the final shot focuses on Manni, implying that his future beyond the film with his "best girl" may not be a long one. I'd like to think that Lola's passion for Manni actually pushes her to another (higher) plane. Of course, I realize that this plays into the oldest German literary trope, Goethe’s Ewig-Weibliche (the eternal woman who elevates and civilizes man). But, in my fantasy, Lola rises for herself and not for mankind—or for womankind for that matter—and runs for the sheer pleasure of sensing her body in space.

I can’t wait for Spring.
Butressing my post on Laura Kipnis' book, Against Love, yesterday Salon published an article on the growing business of bringing singletons together. You can now take classes in finding the right person for you. Once you've graduated, you can go out into the world with a shopping list. Don't forget to pick up some butter.
It's almost as if I have a finger on the pulse of something.... Yesterday, the Australian reported that Maureen Dowd (see previous post) was in Australia to promote her book, Are Men Necessary. Maureen--bless her!--told the newspaper of her desire to connect with a worthy Aussie dude. Some of the replies are here. The funniest one: From SSS : If she can answer this question I`ll let her have me. How many blokes does it take to open a beer can? None. Maureen should of had it opened when she brought it to me. She better be able to cook and clean also. Why do I think it's the funniest? Because it's a play on an obvious stereotype. Because it's politically incorrect. Because it reminds me that lurking underneath seeming sensitivity is often something that will really, really hurt you (which is true of men and women). I like it for the same reason I adore Charles Bukowski's writing (and probably for the same reason women adored Bukowski when he was alive). He was a man's man and, as such, you knew he was going to be a shit. When you know the truth, there are no nasty surprises. What's that burning on the barby?


Juxta Position

At this month's Yulblog get-together, I had two books with me: Laura Kipnis' Against Love and Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary. For the record, I want to say that I'm not against love (nor is Kipnis, really) and I don't think men are unnecessary (which I realize isn't quite the same as saying unequivocally that they are necessary). Dowd's book came out last November and I was eager to read it if only for the title--a very saucy provocative one, don't you think? I haven't finished digesting it yet, but Rebecca Trister's review in Salon comes closest to my own feelings about the book. I had the Kipnis book with me because the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex scandal play an important role in both books. It's almost as if among all the things America has experienced recently--the Gulf War, 911, Brad and Jen breaking up--the seminal event sparking American feminist thinking was one that could have easily remained from the public gaze had it not been for Ken Starr. Interesting, non? One of Kipnis' principle arguments, and one that resonates with me, is why are relationships considered something we need to work at? Aren't relationships about love? Pleasure? Yet, common parlance says that a good marriage takes work (watching Dr. Phil should put anyone off marriage and children). Kipnis places this observation in the context of adultery. With more marriages failing than not, and with a President caught and then forgiven for being in flagrante delicto, surely it's time to throw off the yoke of the tyranny of love and re-think our attachment to conjugal bliss. Down with love, indeed. (I'm eager to re-read Shulamith Firestone's book The Dialectic of Sex within the context of Kipnis' Marx-inspired view of love as surplus value). Dowd sees the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal a bit differently. Drawing from her memory of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, she calls attention to the fact that whilst feminists opposed Thomas precisely because of bad-boy behavior, feminists rolled over an forgave Bill his dalliance--Hillary included. "Even if I felt like raising a ruckus about Boys Nation, who would care? Feminism lasted for a nanosecond, but the backlash has lasted for forty years." The thing that resonates most for me in Dowd's book is her observation that we seem to have moved forward without having moved forward ar all. How *is* baring our breasts in Girls Gone Wild videos liberating? Why is our earning potential perenially stuck at 77% of what men earn? Why do we continue to covet scented candles (okay, the latter observation is mine). The questions these books raise are interesting--also interesting is that neither offer any prescriptives. A fellow Yulblogger had the book Search with him, and something in the small of my brain wanted to bring these three books together in some kind of gender politics face-off. In fact, the title of his book proves to be a presecriptive. Moreover, and not without irony, this entire post was enabled by the Google search engine. Thinking the dialectic just isn't what it used to be. (Thanks to Blork for the photograph.)