My Friend Aki Needs a Husband and What Are YOU Going to Do About It?

So I happen to know the cutest, smartest, funniest and most independent kick-in-the-pants Japanese girl on all the islands over there.

Her name is Aki (oh, wait, no it isn’t but I sure as heck am not going to write her REAL name here for all those freaky freaks out there to google) and last Christmas I sent her a Christmas card and this Christmas she sent ME a Christmas card (we keep in pretty good contact, huh?) and scads of pictures of her looking all cute and trotting around to her friends’ weddings and wedding showers and around Japan and around Bangkok and on the freighter she took to GET to Bangkok and her on her basketball team but with a tear in her eye because she is 31 and a half and isn’t married.

Do you know what it is like to be an Asian woman and be 31 and not be married? It’s like every single person you meet staring with dubious pity like you have 2 heads and asking you when you are going to get married every 8 minutes of every day.

I mean, I guess. Not being an Asian woman in Asia, that is just my rough approximation. Most likely it is worse than that.

Of course, the fact that she is, in fact, the smartest and funniest and most independent might have something to do with the fact that she is, in fact, still unencumbered by a long-term relationship.  It would be easy to say that Japanese men might tend to run away from women like that (but actually I think that MOST men would run away from a woman like that, what with the whole fragile egos and all).

(and also she is really, REALLY funny. I mean, FUNNY. Do you know how hard it is to be funny in another language?  Just think of the last time you tried to tell a joke in Spanish.  How many people laughed?  With you, not at you, that is?  AND humor is also not a very cross-cultural kind of guy. If you think it is, when was the last time you watched a Korean game show?  Was it funny? Or were you just bemused and also kind of scared in a nervous kind of I’m-glad-I’m-not-near-those-people kind of way?)

So if you or someone you love knows of any eligible and super-nice bachelor between 30 and 40 who is willing to undergo rigorous and grueling interviews by ME and also by AMBER, and also SHARON (even though she is in Africa) we would be happy to vet some individuals looking for a relationship with the cutest, funniest, smartest and most independent Japanese girl on the Japanese Islands.

Thank you and good night.

The one on the right. How cute is she?

Still cute, going up.

 

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Extreme Recycling

I am all for wasting not and wanting not, but I just heard about the practice of U.S. cattle farmers of feeding chicken poop to cows.

this pretty much just confirms to me that despite the price tag, searching out grass-fed beef (or doing without) is going to have to be the way to go.

A Reason to Smile

Last Christmas, the main gift I gave to my mom was a donation to her favorite charity. She chose to have me donate to The Smile Train, an organization dedicated to bringing what is a relatively cheap and easy procedure of fixing cleft lips and palates to poor areas throughout the world where access to this procedure–so far out of reach to the poorest of the poor–can make all the difference in a little person’s future.

The Smile Train has a record of having been able to accept every single applicant who has applied for this procedure thanks to donations received.

I think it is pretty cool.

And I’d like to introduce you to Galo, a big-eyed little guy from Argentina whose surgery was partially funded by Mom’s Christmas gift:

 

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Galo was 8 months old at the time of the surgery so he’s probably a year by now. Probably he’s walking. Probably  he’ll be talking soon. Thanks to such a simple surgery.  Thanks to that, he’ll have a normal life ahead of him.

If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what does.

WHAT Problem?

I think you know how I feel about this

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090225/ap_on_re_us/pregnant_woman_killed

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090225/ap_on_re_us/florida_four_dead

and that’s just the past couple days.

Oh, you say, but guns don’t kill people, people do.

Here’s a thought: since it isn’t possible, sad to say, in some cases, to get rid of people, what about getting rid of the guns, then? 

sure, there’s still knives, clubs, rocks, poison, you name it, but I betcha that pregnant mom might have at least had a fighting chance against a knife-wielding 11-year old.

Salma Hyack Gains a New Fan

I don’t really know much about Salma Hyack except that she is in the movie industry but I’ll tell you straight out that all those people raising their eyebrows and tut-tutting about her breastfeeding another woman’s starving child need to readjust their priorities.

La Leche League does not make recommendations about cross-nursing because of the potential risk of infection, decrease of supply for the donor’s child and the differing compositions of milk as the donor’s child ages.

However.

A starving infant?  You have a ready food source and not only a ready one, one perfectly tailored to the needs of a young homo sapien?  What would YOU do?

Frankly, it’s a no-brainer and Mrs Fussy Crankypants recommends that all the critics just shut up already.

Or go out and look into the eyes of a malnourished child.

Mrs Fussy Crankypants salutes Salma.

Some more musings on the topic that everyone is musing about

Yes, more thoughts on the election.  To gloat? No. To express what it means to me and why it was so important.

I backed Obama. That’s no secret. Most people in my extended family  most likely did not. And that’s OK.  Senator McCain is a man for whom I have a great respect. I think he would have made a decent president. Certainly, as President-elect Obama said in his speech, he has served his country far beyond what most of us will ever be called on to do.  I didn’t find him to be the best candidate this time around, though.  I felt his election to office would have only ushered in more of the same legacy of generations before.

I have never been interested in politics. Mostly, it has frustrated me and made me come away shaking my head, throwing up my hands, and feeling tired and cynical.

But not this time.

This time, for the first time in my life, I felt caught up in the urgency and reality and vitality. I came to vote for someone for whom I desired the presidency, not just someone that I voted for because I didn’t like the other candidate, or not even voting at all because neither candidate seemed like the stuff of presidents.

I came late to the Obama bandwagon, it’s true, as I looked around and considered. But once I fell, I fell hard and felt that for once, here was a candidate who could quite possibly make true and actual changes, who could actually be a force for something better beyond just a figurehead (or worse).

As I waited on the days coming up to the election I felt keyed up and nervous, a kind of stage fright. I wasn’t terribly certain that the results were in the box…nothing is certain in politics.  Yesterday was a state of tense waiting and this morning, as I got up and watched President-elect Obama’s acceptance speech, I felt overwhelmed (yes, I cried. I did, too.  I’m cool like that). I felt euphorically happy. I felt that there was, maybe, a chance for this country after all.  I felt like a huge weight had lifted and today, I feel celebratory, like I want to shake everyone’s hand and have impromptu parties.

Did any Republicans feel that way about McCain?  When was the last time anyone felt that way about any candidate?  The incredible way that people who had never voted before were mobilized, the way that people coming from both parties came together and were united for a cause they all believed in beyond the partisan rhetoric.

Of course, he is only one man. And he has an incredible task before him given the colossal mess he is, alas, inheriting. 

But I feel, and probably most people who voted for him feel, that a new step has been taken, a step toward getting this country back on track, toward regaining some dignity with other governments and citizens of other countries (and yes, that IS important).

Yes, we can? 

I sure hope so. 

And I am excited in a way I have never been before.

(Sorry to have bored you; that is, if you are still reading.)

 

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(http://www.barackobama.com/index.php)

I didn’t know

You maybe know my obsession with chocolate.  I am or have been an indescriminate eater of chocolate for my whole life and had come to revel in the news that chocolate, or at least very dark chocolate (which is the only kind anyway), is good for you.

But no more.

Probably you have already heard about this. I hadn’t until my friend Sharon forwarded me a link about it.

Chocolate and slavery.  Or, let us be exact: chocolate and child slavery.

The Ivory Coast exports 43% of the world’s chocolate. It also aids that export by the exploitation of male children aged 12 -16.  It has been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 – 15,000 boys in forced labor (Save the Children), lured by promises of bicycles or money for their family, instead finding 12 hour days of heavy labor, beatings with bicycle chains or branches if they stumble and fall under the heavy bags of harvested cocoa, locked into small sheds at night with a group of other boys with a can to urinate in, given corn paste for their one meal (http://www.american.edu/ted/chocolate-slave.htm)

To me, this is horrific, this is appalling and it is nauseating.  The chocolate I have eaten now seems tainted with the taste of blood or sweat. And pain. And terror. And suffering.

Having children as a part of a workforce is not an uncommon practice in Ivory Coast or other countries. And that to me is not as great an issue. It is the abuse of this cultural practice and the abuse of young boys that is sickening. And even if it were “only” 5,000 or 500 or 100 or 12, to me the taint spreads through it all.

I hold my young son and feel his soft skin and head and I know that that is how their mamas felt about these boys.

What can I do?  What about the chocolate that I enjoy, the mocha lattes, the hot chocolate, the chocolate chip cookies, the brownies or the cake?  I’ve decided to buy organic chocolate (organic growers being under more scrutiny and guidelines) and, if possible, fair trade chocolate.

It’s much more expensive, that is true.  But how can I possibly weigh the price of a child’s life against my momentary gustatory pleasure?

This link is excellent if you yourself want to know more:

Stop Chocolate Slavery (this also has a Take Action page with links to people and companies to email asking for change)

 

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