Rants & Raves

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Listen how PPLD B listin'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 10:55 AM

In the well-intentioned struggle to spread the rewards of reading, Pikes Peak Library District is pandering to a pretty low common denominator, and reinforcing some boring — if not negative — stereotypes.

At the East Library (5550 N. Union Blvd.), at the end of a couple bookshelves, are fliers that list suggested books grouped under a common genre. When you are an institution of prominence, must you resort to “It’s a Girl Thing. Hip Lit for Hip Chicks” and “Manly Lit”?

Librarys chick (left) and manly book lists arent politically correct.
  • Library's "chick" (left) and "manly" book lists.

The list for "chicks" has an animated girl in the background showing side boob and having half her face covered by some sexy hairstyle. Every tenth trashy book listed has clip-art of a single high-heel shoe next to it. The back — another chick, with more damaging shoes.

It’s just disappointing. The best works of women’s fiction (and presumably the majority) have story arcs where women learn that superficiality and materialism were pitfalls that hindered their goals.

The “Manly Lit” flier? Its heading is bookended by clip-art images of two flexing arms.

Curious, I called Sydne Dean, the associate director of administrative services, and manager of the East and Penrose libraries.

When I mentioned that there's baggage associated with the word “chick,” she replied, “There is?” She then read the definition Wikipedia has for “chick lit” and said, “It’s a pretty basic term.”

Since she's speaking from the city’s grandest library, I have to wonder whether she'd consider referring not to Wikipedia but to Dewey decimal number 305.420973 B493S, which points to the book Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future, by Barbara J. Berg, Ph.D.

Berg writes, “Terms such as chick flick and chick lit categorize and diminish women. [Chick] conjures up a person who is flighty, vacuous, passive, overly emotional, and dedicated to finding romance at all costs. And the fact that women, along with men, have embraced this term doesn’t make it any less derogatory, only more worrisome.”

Asked to take a look at the manly list, Dean guessed, “Manly, is that like tools or something?”

Dean noted that the library is always open to fielding recommended reading-list ideas. So here's one: Don’t cartoon the lists. Like a good salad, it shouldn’t need the dressing.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

On naked men: A love letter to the fig leaf

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Dear Men of the Downtown YMCA,

First, let me just acknowledge that if you're going to be nude anywhere, the locker room is a swell place to strip down; the YMCA's locker rooms even come in two flavors. If you're of a mind to show some skin in the poor-people dressing room, there are concrete benches, fans and a urinal or two. For the classier folk who know the secret code into the upper-crust locker room, there are flat screens, leather chairs and complimentary scented goo.

  • Oh, to be one of the guys ...

To that last, let me add naked men. Lots and lots of naked men, whose apparent goal is to never let this skin touch anything but God's grace.

"But aren't there naked men in every locker room?" ask the curious youth in the audience. To those inquiring minds I say, "Yes, but not like this. You may have never seen naked men like this." (And because I hate to leave the women folk out, I hear it's exactly the same in their parts, except maybe worse.)

I don't know if it's some product of the code on the door acting as a signal to begin male bonding, or if I just never got the notice that hanging out while hanging out is male bonding in the first place. But if it's a flesh feast in any normal space, it's a veritable luxury of riches in the executive suites. (Not to mention scientific confirmation that humans don't age — they melt.)

I'm talking bare bottoms enjoying a self-administered rub-down with lotion, or cologne or Oil of Olay. Or showering, drying off, then losing the towel and kicking back to catch the latest from Libya; or just chatting it up, bits enjoying their newfound freedom. I even had the pleasure of a nice young man falling asleep in a chair located right in front of my locker — balls to the walls.

Of course, inspired as I was, I even tried to get in on the act. I changed; I took my shirt off; I felt the sweet breeze of refined air. But then I put on my socks and instantly felt overdressed.

I know that clothing must be exchanged for clothing in the pursuit of athletic perfection. I just ask that the aura of au naturel from those dear devotees of disrobing be tempered with a little scrap of, um, anything.


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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The "meaning" of 1-11-11

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I have to admit, today has seemed like a pretty normal day. I got up, got a little exercise, came to work, went to lunch with friends, and now am back at my desk.

But for those who attach significance to dates, this is supposed to be a biggie. Check this out.

The Huffington Post reports:

The mystical date does hold some significance for those who believe in the date's supernatural abilities. 11:11 holds a certain mystique, and kissing a clock at that time is said to bring good luck, especially on 1/11/11, according to the Washington Post.

I guess I missed my chance. It would have been hard for me to kiss my clock, which sits on the shelf above my computer screen. At that precise witching moment of 11:11 today, I was talking with someone at Fort Carson. What does that mean, I wonder?

Some say the real moment of significance will happen on 11-11-11. Or what about 12-12-12? That one even had a movie made about it, being the last date on the Mayan calendar and all.

1-11-11 adds up to 23, considered a prime number since it can't be divided evenly by any other number. 2 and 3 equals 5, another prime number. The fifth Month of the year is May. If you subtract 1 from 11 and add 11, then you have 21. May 21. The end of the world. Hey, there might be something to this stuff!!!

Happy 1-11-11!!


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Friday, December 31, 2010

Denver police ticket 12-year-old for getting hit by car

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 4:44 PM


As a kid, you know how it is: One minute you're sledding, thinking about what's for lunch — possibly the homework you have due the next week — and the next, you're thoughtlessly and deliberately careening out of control into the path of oncoming drivers, who coincidentally enough — because it's snowing like a motherfucker — are careening out of control, too.

So what do Denver police responders do? Why, they ticket the little bastard. After all, it was his malicious out-of-control sledding that caused a car to hit him, not to mention a man to run out and try and jack the car up and off the child, not to mention cause an ambulance to rush the child to the hospital.

Here's Denver's KDVR:

Even kids couldn't stop their sleds. Neighbors say a black car hit a 12-year-old boy who skidded into the street and ended up under the car.

Candace Villalovas' husband tried to help.

"He ran down, grabbed his jack from the garage, went outside to jack the car to take the pressure off Michael," she says.

The injured boy was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Police say he's expected to be okay.

Police ticketed him for being a pedestrian in the roadway.

We've e-mailed the DPD for comment and confirmation that they're keeping the snow-bound world of Colorado safe from marauding youngsters. We'll update if they brave a return.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Car repair: You've got a pal (UPDATED)

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 12:54 PM

UPDATE, 12:54 P.M., SEPT. 9:

Not only am I not qualified to perform car repair, apparently I'm not skilled enough to even write about car repair.

A half hour after this post went up, I got an email from David Sturtz, RepairPal CEO, asking for more information about the timing belt I was looking for. We traded e-mails, and then I got this reply from chief technician Bret Bodas:

Hi Kirk,

The Nissan Sentra engines all have timing chains, not timing belts. So unless you hear abnormal noises from the front of the engine, no actions are necessary.

Please feel free to email me directly with any technical questions you have or you can ask our expert technicians and the RepairPal community of repair shops in our Q&A forum. Just click the "Ask your Question" button on our home page>> http://repairpal.com.

So ... there's no reason to question RepairPal's comprehensiveness. Or, for that matter, its responsiveness.

——- ORIGINAL POST, 10:56 A.M. ——-

Many of us at the Indy have been blessed with good car-mechanic experiences. Whether we've cast our lot with Gregor or Butch, or someone else, we've generally walked away feeling satisfied, or as satisfied as you can be after having car trouble. (Those who've gone with Gregor have enjoyed the added bonus of hearing some unforgettable truisms, such as "When I'm done, this thing's gonna run like a scalded banshee.")

But those who haven't been so lucky should know about RepairPal.com. Maybe you're familiar with it already; I just learned about it in Al Tompkins' daily Poynter Institute e-mail.

Just enter the year, make and model of your car, and what is wrong with it. The site calculates what it should cost to have it fixed.

I've only spent a couple minutes on the site, and I have to say that it's not totally comprehensive; I was looking for a timing belt replacement, and couldn't find it. But there were about 100 other repairs to choose from, at least for my 10-year-old Nissan.

Use this next time and see how your mechanic measures up. If the numbers look good, then consider giving him or her the real test: Ask for some help cooking dinner on your engine.

Gregor brings his magic touch to both shocks and shrimp.
  • File photo
  • Gregor brings a certain magic to both shocks and shrimp.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's that time again ...

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 7:00 AM


Voting starts today in the 2010 Best Of Colorado Springs readers' poll. And just for telling us what you like in food, nightlife, media and more, you get a chance to win an Apple iPad.

The earlier you vote, the more chances you have to win; we'll be drawing a voter's name each week. For more, watch the video below.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

From the copy editor

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 7:07 AM

I'm the copy editor on staff here at the Indy. Most people do not know what this means. And most people don't care. When I'm at parties, and people do ask me what I do, I've gotten it to a point where I often just say, "I fix writers' mistakes so you don't have to see them in print, and I check facts so we (hopefully) aren't sued."


Lori Fradkin of The Awl posted a piece today entitled: What It's Really Like to Be a Copy Editor.

Like Fradkin, I never dreamed of being a copy editor. She wanted to be a princess; I wanted to be Michael Eisner. (Yes, I realize that's not actually possible, but that's what I told people for many of my childhood years. The point was, back then, I wanted to run Disney.)

Anyway, her piece hit so spot on with me that I had to share — if only to enlighten a few folks and help her get a few more hits on her page.

And while you're reading that, I'll be here, making sure the "l" is always included in "public."

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Monday, July 12, 2010

The (omniscient) Denver Post

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 12:12 PM

We've run into the Denver Post's confusing proclivity to trash the current medical marijuana system before, and today, we hear it again in the form of a protest against Denver City Councilor Doug Linkhart's proposal to tax MMJ to pay for teen programs.

Now, the confusing aspect isn't the paper's protestations; be for, or against, at your discretion. It's this interpretation of the ubiquitous "will of the voters" — for whom, mysteriously, everybody seems to speak.

Do we really want to fund kids' programs with cash from a system rife with fraud, a system that has made a mockery of Colorado voters?

The piece does make a good point, however, when it says that MMJ advocates have reacted to news of taxation with glee. "Through taxation comes legitimacy," attorney Rob Corry has previously told the Post.

Legitimacy? We thought this was about helping gravely ill Coloradans.

In Colorado, prescription medications are exempt from taxes. And they should be. Why should those who argue that medical marijuana is a legitimate solace to truly suffering people wish to burden the patients with extra taxes?

Unless, of course, they're just seeking legitimacy.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Breaking news: Mel Gibson still a racist

Posted By on Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Just in case anyone had any remaining doubts about Mel Gibson being a hateful S.O.B., RadarOnline.com has posted audio of Mel Gibson screaming at Oksana Grigorieva, his ex and the mother of his child. In it, Gibson tells her that her breast implants make her look like a whore, and that it will be her fault if she gets raped by a bunch of (N-words).
But why take it from us? Listen to it directly from Mr. "The Passion of the Christ" here: on RadarOnline.com.

Frankly, I think Oksana looks smashing.
  • Frankly, I think Oksana looks smashing.

Of course, its hard to compete when your ex is every woman's fantasy.
  • Of course, it's hard to compete when your ex is every woman's fantasy.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Maggots on a plane — not joking

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Like this. But with maggots.
  • Like this. But with maggots.

And the quote of the day goes to...

Some lady in Alabama, who lent her grace to this sentence: "It only takes one maggot to upset your world."

Simple. Eloquent. True.

So anyway, get this: On Monday a U.S. Airways flight going from Charlotte, N.C., to Alabama had to return to the gate because MAGGOTS were falling from the overhead bin. Turns out somebody had brought a container of rotten meat on the plane, the maggots got out and started falling on the passengers.

I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Ewwwwwwwwww!"

Although, I do have to say that this makes my Monday look fantastic. And I also feel much better about all the lousy plane flights I've survived. Even the one out of Minnesota where I thought the piece of trash was going to fall from the sky because there was so much turbulence. To make matters worse I had a full bladder and no one was allowed to leave their seats. Also, (and I'm not joking about this) I noticed a loose panel behind my head where someone — presumably a staff person — had written "DO NOT TOUCH!!!!" in permanent marker.

Mmmmkay. I'll keep that in mind.

There was also the time that an 80-year-old man and his extremely overweight 40-year-old girlfriend wrenched their seats so far back that they were basically sitting on my husband's and my laps, and proceeded to make out loudly and wetly. His hands were down her pants. His hands were up her shirt. I'm not entirely sure, but I think one of them might be able to claim membership to the Mile High Club on a technicality.

By that point, I had been on a plane or in an airport for 12 hours. I nearly lost it. But then I remembered that screaming bloody murder on a plane is ill-advised these days.

But still. Still. Maggots? Maggots. That beats anything I've got.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The McChrystal ball is suddenly so clear

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 9:44 PM

This one goes out to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who could have spared his job and his dignity, and avoided an undoubtedly terrifying conversation with our "ass-kicking" president by living by the following sage words.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Celebrating elder abuse. No wait, we mean, uh...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM

I always love it when I get a well-intended press release in my inbox that someone should have read twice.

A press release like the Colorado Springs Police Department one I got today concerning the "community celebration" of "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day."

Um, guys. Not sure this is one of those holidays that you celebrate. Observe solemnly, yes, but celebrate? No.

For the full experience, I'll list the entire release for you below. But while a part of the text is certainly laughable, let's not forget that abuse of our senior citizens certainly isn't.

June is International Elder Abuse Awareness month, with June 15th commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. To raise awareness of elder abuse in our community, the local Coalition Against Abuse in Later Life (CALL) is planning a community celebration at 5:30p.m. on June 15th at El Pomar Foundation, Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Avenue. State Senator John Morse is confirmed to speak and several other community leaders are expected. Members of the public are welcome to attend and learn more about local efforts to address the problem of elder abuse.

The event is a collaborative effort of CALL and will include remarks from Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, El Paso County Department of Human Services Director Rick Bengtsson, District Attorney Dan May, TESSA Executive Director Connie Brachtenbach, and Silver Key Senior Services President and CEO David Shaffer.

The current elder population (age 60+) in El Paso County is about 87,000 people, and projected to reach 145,000 by 2020. (2008 Pikes Peak United Way QLI report). CSPD reports over 2500 crimes per year with elderly victims, ranging from physical abuse and neglect to financial exploitation. This population is vulnerable based on declining physical and mental capacity, and increasing dependence on others for help. The potential for increased episodes of elder abuse as this demographic grows is significant, and the current economic climate only exacerbates the opportunities for victimizers. As a community, we are taking steps to address the issue; the Pikes Peak Coalition Against Abuse in Later Life works toward building stronger collaborative efforts to address and prevent the problem.

For more information, the public may contact Cari Karns, 719-884-2377.

No party here.
  • No party here.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cops kill 13-year-old dog named Wrinkles

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 10:27 AM

A bullet hole from the execution of Wrinkles
  • A bullet hole from the execution of Wrinkles

Similar to the Columbia, Missouri story of SWAT team members shooting a family's two dogs, and killing one, while serving a search warrant that we brought you back in May, is the case of 62-year-old Boston grandmother Marietta Robinson.

After inviting police into her home to look for her 28-year-old grandson — who hasn't lived at that address for years — on drug-related concerns, Robinson put her 13-year-old dog named Wrinkles in the bathroom.

I asked his permission, "May I put my dog in the bathroom, or in the backyard?"

He said, "Go ahead and put her in the bathroom — we ain't going to hurt her."

Of course, while police were doing that whole "search every room" thing, they stumbled upon the bathroom, and were unsavagely not-attacked by Wrinkles, and shot her to death.

Click here for video.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Wars cost us $1 trillion

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Nine years and $1 trillion later, the bearded menace is still alive.
  • Nine years and $1 trillion later, the bearded menace is still alive.
It's been nearly nine years since the events of September 11th led America into two wars.

Two wars that have now cost America $1 trillion. Two wars that never brought to justice Osama bin Laden, the supposed mastermind behind September 11. Two wars that have cost us about 5,500 American lives, and the lives of countless innocent Iraqi and Afghani civilians. (By the way, if you have a little extra time this Memorial Day, take a break from the BBQ and take a look at this: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/. This is The Washington Post's haunting full archive of all our dead soldiers, most with pictures.)

All this may be pretty overwhelming to think about. So, let's just consider one part of it: the $1 trillion.

How much is a trillion? Enough to provide over 294 million people with health care for a year (or 440 million if the "people" are all children).

For your consideration:

Crossing the $1 Trillion Cost Of War Line
NPP’s Cost of War counter to hit $1 trillion on May 30, 2010

NORTHAMPTON, MA — On May 30, 2010, at 10:06am, the National Priorities Project Cost of War counter — designed to count the total money appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — will reach the $1 trillion mark.

To date $747.3 billion have been appropriated for the U.S. war in Iraq and $299 billion for the war in Afghanistan.

The pending supplemental making its way through Congress will add an estimated $37 billion to the current $136.8 billion total spending for the current fiscal year, ending September 30.

What Can You Get For $1 Trillion?

Federal Funding For Higher Education — $1 trillion would give the maximum Pell Grant award ($5,500) to all 19 million U.S. college and university students for the next 9 years.

For $1 trillion, you could provide:

294,734,961 people with health care for one year, or
21,598,789 public safety officers for one year, or
17,149,392 music and arts teachers for one year, or
7,779,092 affordable housing units, or
440,762,472 children with health care for one year, or
137,233,969 head start places for children for one year, or
16,427,497 elementary school teachers for one year, or
1,035,282,468 homes with renewable electricity for one year

In your community:

Taxpayers in Natick, Massachusetts will pay $206.9 million for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For that amount, instead of implementing a proposed 4 percent cut for Natick’s libraries in 2011, the town could double its total current library budget, and pay for it for 56 years.

Taxpayers in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York will pay $9 billion for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. That’s enough to supply renewable electricity to every household in Brooklyn for 19 years.

As college and university tuitions grow, community colleges are increasingly popular sources of affordable education. At Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, for the cost of the Afghanistan war "surge" (est. $37 billion) you could cover all tuition and fees for all full- and part-time (half-time) students for the next 762 semesters (381 years).

$1,000,000,000,000 (“1’ and twelve zeros)

If you earned $1 million a year, it would take you 1 million years to earn $1 trillion.

In Dollar Bills:

If you converted $1 trillion into one dollar bills, and laid them end to end, it would reach 98 million miles. That's 4,000 times around the Earth. Its 205 trips to the Moon. And back. It's more than the distance to the Sun.

In Silver Dollars:

If someone handed you a silver dollar every second, it would take almost 32,000 years for them to hand you $1 trillion. Not that you could hold them — they'd weigh nearly 9 million tons.

About NPP’s Cost of War Counters

NPP’s Cost of War counters provide information on the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for each of the 50 states.

The counters also provide cost amounts and “trade-off” data for hundreds of U.S. cities and towns.

To see NPP’s Cost of War counters and our Notes & Sources, visit http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels. For more information, visit http://www.nationalpriorities.org.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ronald, other clowns, hot gimmick?

Posted By on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Well-meaning anti-junk food groups are calling for the retirement of McDonald's iconic Ronald McDonald clown saying the advertising mascot is "clowning with kids' health."

The activists argue that the popularity of Ronald — and clowns in general— are encouraging kids to overeat. See here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/37254341#37254341


OK. OK. We all want kids to be healthy. And many of us are fed up with junk food pushers targeting our kids. But, um, guys...

Clowns? Popular?

Everyone - EVERYONE - knows that clowns are piss-your-pants terrifying.

Exhibit one:


Exhibit two:


Exhibit three:


Exhibit four:


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