Thursday, April 30, 2009

When pigs...

The WHO (the World Health Organization, not the band that sings the CSI theme song) is working desperately to save the pigs. Apparently, the Egyptian government slaughtered over 30,000 pigs in an effort to stem the tide of the Swine Flu pandemic that’s sweeping cities and towns by the…well, single digit numbers everywhere but Mexico. The WHO (whose members may or may not moonlight at PETA) have taken quick action to assure us that Swine Flu doesn’t come from pigs!


Apparently, this latest version of “Swine Flu” is not technically Swine Flu. It’s a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that derives from one strain of human influenza, one strain of avian influenza, and two separate strains of swine influenza. If my math is right, that makes it Flying Pig Flu, Now New And Improved for Human Beings! I think we should call it Flying Pig Flu for short though.

The WHO (once again not the band) disagrees. In a marketing effort that seems completely unlikely to fail, they want us to call this new strain by it’s scientific name: "Rather than calling this swine flu ... we're going to stick with the technical scientific name H1N1 influenza A,” said WHO spokesman Dick Thompson (not to be confused with Pete Townsend spokesman of the actual Who).

Obviously, while Flying Pig Flu may be fun to think about, it just doesn’t roll off the ole tongue like H1N1 Influenza A does. You wouldn’t be very likely to find a group of coworkers huddled around the water cooler talking about Flying Pig Flu whereas talking about H1N1 Influenza A seems commonplace to the point of absurdity.

“Hey Bob, did you hear they closed another school because of H1N3 Influenza A?”

[chuckling] “Actually Donna, I think you mean H1N1 Influenza A, but yes I have heard! In the future, it’ll be easier to say if you just remember that H1N1 was the original name of R2-D2 before the Flu lobby sued George Lucas for trying to use the name!”

“Oh silly me Bob! Thanks for the helpful hint!”


I suppose you just can’t argue with the logic of the WHO. By giving what we currently call Swine Flu an easy to remember name like A1N1 Influenza A, all pigs, even flying ones will be safe from harm and as a Cubs fan, I’m very interested in the health of all of the flying pigs in the world.

Now the Egyptians can leave the rest of their pigs alone and no one will bother to kill any more pigs—after all, it’s not Swine Flu, it’s A1N1 Influenza A! If we’re going to needlessly slaughter in the name of health, let’s slaughter numbers and letters! Ha! Not possible huh!?!? Take that!

Obviously the WHO knows what their doing. Who could ever forget A1N1 Influenza A? Still…something keeps nagging at me. Somewhere deep down I keep coming back to Flying Pig Flu. It might be kind of cool too.

“Where’s Frank?”

“Oh, he’s at home. He has a nasty case of Flying Pig Flu.”

“Why is school cancelled Mommy?”

“Because dear, Flying Pig Flu has invaded the area and we must be cautious!”

Think of the tee-shirts! I Survived Flying Pig Flu—2009! Think of the public safety ad featuring Jennifer Aniston, “…so please, wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing and keep your distance from any and all pigs you see that have wings.”

I know what you’re thinking. It’s not as much fun as the A1N1 Influenza A conversations, tee-shirts and commercials would be. They could probably get Brad and Angelina to do the A1N1 Influenza A public safety ad. It’s just more respectable. Sorry. A guy can dream though!

Well the WHO may want to call this A1N1 Influenza A and maybe they’ll get all of you to follow along. I certainly don’t want pigs to be needlessly slaughtered, but I think I’m going to defy them and call it Flying Pig Flu anyway. I encourage you to do the same. Since when do potentially deadly strains of influenza need to be taken so seriously anyway?
Flying Pig Flu it is then—I hope you don’t get it, but if you do, have a little fun with it huh?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Miss USA Denied Free Speech

I’d be lying if I said that I knew anything about beauty pageants and the questions the contestants are asked, but I have a problem with the controversy over the Miss USA pageant and the question asked of Ms. California, Carrie Prejean. That’s right, my issue is with the question, not with the answer she gave. Gossip blogger Perez Hilton was on the panel and asked the question of Ms. Prejean about her stance on gay marriage.

Prejean made the catastrophic mistake of answering the question honestly. She doesn’t believe in gay marriage. She believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Her honesty likely cost her the competition and the title of Ms. USA.

When she gave her answer, there was some booing in the audience and I have no problem with that—those people have the right to their opinions just as Carrie Prejean has a right to hers. The man who asked the question, a judge in this competition and a gay man should be ashamed of himself though. Hilton wasted no time in blogging that Carrie Prejean was a “stupid bitch.”

Let’s just take a look at this shall we? Hilton, an obvious and vocal supporter of the legalization of gay marriage uses his celebrity to gain the post of judge at this pageant. Then, as a judge he gets to ask a question of the contestants for them to be judged on and he asks a question to which he strongly believes there is only one answer and when the contestant fails to trumpet his own views in an attempt to pander to him, he freaks out.

My question is this: Is it fair of a judge in this competition to ask a question on which they have strong views and believe there is only one answer? Isn’t this a trick question? A catch-22? Take the social issues out of the equation for a moment. Pretend that the question was something innocuous like this: Which color is better, red or blue?

If the judge has a love for the color red and a hatred for the color blue, the contestant—no matter how eloquently she speaks, how well thought out her response might be, no matter how well-stated her opinion may be, will be judged poorly by that judge simply for having the nerve to like blue.

Or add the controversy back into the equation. Replace Hilton as judge with Rush Limbaugh and have him ask the same question. How different is the response and the outrage when he casts his vote against a candidate for believing that gay marriage should be allowed?

I’m not here to discuss the issue. I’m not here to debate gay marriage, I’m here to stand up and point out that we live in a country that stands on the principle (or the illusion) of free speech. We have the right to our opinions here and we are guaranteed not to be judged for them unless they threaten the life of others. So I’m sorry, but I’m a little uncomfortable at the idea that the woman who wants to hold the crown of Ms. USA was judged on her opinion, an opinion held by a large portion of our country—right or wrong, when asked a loaded question by a judge with an agenda.

The person who should be ashamed here is Perez Hilton, not for his beliefs, not for his stance, but for his manipulative question. He should be ashamed of asking a question that forced a contestant to answer the way he obviously wanted them to answer, or face the consequences. Whether purposefully or not, he tried to manipulate a contestant into publically agreeing with his particular stance on a controversial topic and when she had the gall to disagree with his stance, he voted against her and cursed at her on his widely read blog.

Let’s not pretend that we’re awarding the title of Ms. USA to our best and brightest. Let’s not pretend that this is anything but what it is, a beauty pageant. The question is a formality to give some validity to it being a “scholarship competition.” These women are being judged on their boobs and butts, not their intelligence. The purpose of the question is test the poise and charisma of the contestant. No one expects her to be a Rhodes Scholar, she need only show vocal ability above the level of the lower primates.

The question is supposed to be about pollution, or saving the whales, or whether babies born addicted to crack should be detoxed or punted around like footballs, they should be easy and obvious questions that allow no possibility for offense to be taken by the answer. They should be issues that are entirely one-sided in the collective opinions of our citizenry, or at least questions on which we are open-minded enough to see both sides of the issue.

When a gay man asks a question on a gay or anti-gay issue he is not judging a contest, he is using the contest as a platform for his personal beliefs and that demeans the contestants, the viewers, and the country which this contestant is vying to represent. He puts his cause in front of his integrity and by doing so, he also demeans his cause and the people who fight for it legitimately. He arms critics and cynics with the ammunition they need to push their own agendas against him.

Everyone seems to be so concerned with the answer Ms. Prejean gave, but I find no fault with her for voicing her opinion. Of the two of them involved in this mess, only one acted with integrity and it wasn’t Perez Hilton. You don’t change people’s hearts and minds by demanding it of them. You don’t create lasting change through ulterior motives and manipulation. When you do, you push them further and further away, you create and foster the kind of bigotry you want so desperately to do away with.

They’ll call her names and she’ll be disparaged by the left leaning media and she’ll become a hero and darling of the right. Mission accomplished Perez Hilton, you caused division and separation. That was the goal, right?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Iowa is soooooo gay.

Well, it looks like Iowa, a far west suburb of Chicago, has paved the way to make gay marriage legal there. I've always liked Iowa. No one will ever give them their own sports teams, so those crazy Iowans have adopted Chicago teams as their own. Specifically the Cubs. The Cubs have our AAA team based there and when I was at Spring Training last year there were as many people from Iowa there as there were from Chicago. Iowa was also the place where darkhorse candidate Barack Obama became a real contender for the job of President.

So, I'm excited and proud of my far-west Chicago suburb friends in the little town of Iowa today and I'm excited for their future. Since gay marriage is only going to be legal in three states, you have to assume there will be a large influx of fabulous coming to Iowa and not a moment too soon! Overalls have been in need of some glam for years and this will obviously help that to happen. It won't be long until you see overalls with glitter, pink and rainbow colored overalls, and of course designer overalls. It's been a much maligned article of clothing and I really think the influx of gay men specifically will help to revitalize and bring current this staple of American farming apparel.

And how awesome is it that the face of farming is going to be changing? Right now, the farming community has a bad rep. When you think of farmers, you think of redneck, inbred, dim witted field jockeys who speak slow and wear a constant look of confusion on their faces. Not for long! Fabulous Farmers are on the way! I mean, gay people got their name because they seem so damn happy--which, before they stole it, was the actual meaning of the word gay. The Fabulous Farmers will change the face of rural America. Say goodbye to the bland red barns you used to see while travelling through Iowa folks. Instead of seeing farm after farm that look the exact same, prepare yourself for barn watching to see what crazy color combination and decorative accoutraments those crazy Fabulous Farmers have come up with now!

And when you actually get onto the farm, don't be suprised to see that the cows aren't named Betsy and Daisy anymore. Cow names will now be Cassandra and Felicity and Porcia--you won't know if you're on a farm or in a stripclub! And the days of bland, unaccessoriezed cows is in the past. The bell will no longer be the standard neckwear for cowkind. Beautiful scarves, necklaces, chokers, feather boas and other fab accessories will take their place. And those numbers you see pierced through the ears of cows? No more! Oh, those ears will still be pierced, but now with cow jewelry instead! The fabulification of Iowa farms may actually be the turning point in the revitalization of our economy!

Its going to be great. I know, I know, this is a serious issue to a lot of people and my intent is not to demean it. I'm on record as being in favor of secular gay marriage and I'm happy that Iowa stepped up to the plate and did something about it. Its one thing for those liberal lefty pansy states on the East Coast to make gay marriage legal, but another entirely for a midwest stalwart like Iowa to do it. So with all sincerity to those who feel strongly about this issue, congratulations and may there be many who follow Iowa's example. Dye or not, I've always wanted to see a purple cow.