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Nov. 1st, 2013

Movember is Offensive Now?

As today is the first day of November, all around the world there will be men shaving off all their facial hair to grow a mustache for Movember. For those not in the know, Movember is a fundraising drive for prostate cancer awareness and research that sprang up on the back of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which happens in October. During the month of November, guys grow a mustache and collect money for research on prostate cancer. Women can participate too, by helping to collect money as well. Sometimes they'll draw eyeliner mustaches on themselves while doing the collections and fundraising.

Until recently, I never thought there would be people who have a problem with raising money and awareness for cancer research. Cancer sucks. The sooner we can find a cure the better off humanity will be. But with the Susan G. Komen disaster last year, I started to realize that maybe all of this fundraising wasn't as good as it seemed to be. Still, though, I never in a million years would have thought to tell anyone that they shouldn't try to raise money for a cause like that.

And then, this morning, one of my relatives posted this link on Facebook with the caption: “WHAT THE FUCK.” Which pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter.

In case you don't want to click the link, it's an article about how Movember is offensive. Apparently, it is offensive because only cisgender men (as in, not transgender) can grow mustaches, and that it leaves out transgender men. Which, okay, fine. But transgender men can't get prostate cancer. Because they don't have prostates. And you don't have to be a cisgender man to participate in Movember. You might not be able to grow a mustache, but there's no law that says you can't help raise money or participate in other ways. Prostate cancer doesn't care what your gender identity or sexual orientation is. If you have a prostate, you can get prostate cancer.

Secondly, the author goes on to say that Middle Eastern men can't do Movember because of racial profiling. Now, I'm not saying that racial profiling is not a problem, but last year, I knew a number of Middle Eastern men who participated. In fact, in one of my classes, I was in a group project with a guy from Saudi Arabia who ended up raising almost two thousand dollars in November, and he donated it all to research.

I seriously don't get what the writer of that article hopes to accomplish by hating on a charity that helps to combat a serious illness. Would she rather people died of prostate cancer? Would she rather that nobody really cared, and that this disease continued to kill people? I don't want my dad or my brother or my male friends to die of cancer. I don't want anyone to die of any kind of cancer.
If you don't like Movember, don't participate, don't donate money. But don't cause problems for the people who are participating, either.

Apr. 15th, 2013

Regarding Today's Attack

By now everyone is probably aware of the bombing that happened in Boston earlier today. It is critically important that if you are in Boston that you stay inside and do not congregate anywhere in large groups. The government is reporting that this is a terrorist attack, and large groups of people make good targets for the terrorists. It is also important that if you live in or near any major cities, and not just American ones, that you be extra careful over the next few days. I know London is already stepping up police presence in case something happens there.

But even more than that, I have two more things I want to say. If you live in Boston, their communications networks are experiencing periodic outages due to the high volume of people trying to use the cell phone bandwidth. I normally would not suggest this, but because it is an emergency and there are many people who are still waiting to hear from their friends and family that they are alright, consider unlocking your Wi-Fi so that people may be able to use it. If you are not comfortable doing that, and I can understand your feelings, at least tell the password to anyone who asks. You can change it or set it back up later, but right now I highly doubt that anyone in Boston is going to be going around war driving at the moment, you're probably okay to drop the WEP key. And in this case it could help people get in touch with their friends and family.

Secondly, while the government that is reporting that this is a terrorist attack, it is incredibly important that no one jumps to conclusions, and/or starts to panic. To use a very cliché phrase, if you panic, the terrorists win. That's what they want- they want to scare the shit out of people. By carrying out these attacks, the people they kill are not actually their primary target- they want to incite panic, although they don't give a fuck about anyone they kill in the process. Several news outlets have prematurely reported that there is a Saudi Arabian man in custody with connection to the attacks- this is false. There was a Saudi Arabian man who the Boston police and the FBI were questioning... because he said he'd seen something. He was not a suspect. Please do not jump to conclusions regarding the ethnicity, race, and motives of the attackers. I have already seen a lot of people pinning the blame on groups like Al-Qaeda. From what I heard on the radio, it is unlikely that Al-Qaeda is behind this, because they usually immediately release statements after any attacks they carry out. It is also important to note that this day has some significance for Americans. Today is Tax Day, when all Americans are required to file their income tax returns with the government, and is historically a day when extremists attack. It is also an important day in Boston, for reasons other than the marathon- it is a municipal holiday called Patriot Day, commemorating the American Revolution. Today also happens to be the birthday of the late Kim Il-Sung, former dictator of North Korea. Tomorrow, April 16, is the sixth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. In four days, it will be the 20th anniversary of the Waco, Texas siege, and the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Of course, today could also have just been an arbitrary date chosen by the terrorists with no significance whatsoever. We don't even know if this was done by domestic terrorists, or foreign ones.

There are a lot of crazy people out there in the world. Whatever happens, whoever or whatever group is revealed to be behind the attack today, it is important that no one give into fear, because the terrorists win.

Aug. 17th, 2011

Recovery Buddies

Today I found out about a charity that helps people recovering from addictions and dealing with mental illness. Recovery Buddies makes cute, friendly-looking square pillows to give to those in need, and they need donations for the buddies. I've got a ton of yarn lying around my house, and need something to do to keep my mind occupied, so I'm going to be making a few for this project. If you know how to knit or crochet, it would be wonderful if you'd consider making a few of them. Apparently there is a long waiting list for the buddies.

I've never really tried to knit anything that was supposed to be used/go to anyone other than myself, so we'll see how this turns out. Hopefully it will go well, I want to be able to do something useful for once.

Mar. 11th, 2011

Help Japan Linkspam

Considering the magnitude of the disaster that has hit Japan today, it's incredibly important that they get all the help they can. The Japanese disaster relief effort does not have enough supplies to cope with this, so please make use of these resources to help, if it is possible for you.

If any of you have important people in Japan, I extend my hopes that they are safe and healthy. The Douglas and I are trying to get in touch with our friend, who lives in Ichihara near the Cosmo oil refinery, which set a good portion of the town on fire. I do hope that your loved ones are safe.

American Red Cross: Takes Visa, Discover, AmEx, MasterCard, and Amazon Payments. You can also text "REDCROSS" to 90999.

Save the Children: Takes Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, and Discover.

Peace Winds Japan: Takes Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, and several Japanese credit cards. Please note- you will need to use a translator to make sense of this site if you cannot read Japanese, and be aware that you will be donating in yen, not in dollars.

Operation USA: Takes Visa, MasterCard, AmEx

Doctors Without Borders: Takes Visa, Discover, MasterCard, AmEx

Salvation Army: Takes PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, Discover. You can also text "JAPAN" to 80888.

If it is possible for you to donate, please do so.