Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rah - Rah

Cheerleading - yes, that the topic today, cheerleading.

I must admit that I've never given cheerleaders much thought (aside from the hours I spent fantasizing about them during puberty, but I wouldn't actually characterize that activity as thought). I was on the track team, I was a swimmer, and played water polo, and at either polo matches or track meets there are no cheerleaders. To me they were an elite and remote group that I had little day to day contact with who went to football games and spend time decorating the lockers of my friends, and thus, for the most part, they were out of sight and out of mind. My only real relationship with a cheerleader was a short lived romantic one in college. The cheerleader, apparently, was on the rebound and only dated me long enough to reestablish her self-esteem after being dumped by the guy who she was certain she was going to marry. (I actually became good friends with the guy [who is M.D. now] who dumped her, I actually like him much better than her, but thatÂ’s a different story). Thus I havenÂ’t given the "sport" of cheerleading nor it's participants more than a passing thought in the past decade or so.

Today, however, I saw a documentary on cheerleading and it started out by asking if cheerleading was an empowering activity that teaches young women how to be athletic, participate in teams, compete, and become social (popular?); or is merely an activity that sexualizes them early, teaches them that they exist in order to be supportive of men engaged in real activity (football, basketball, etc...), and is damaging to there future self image.

As I was watching, I started asking myself if I had a daughter would I want her to be a cheerleader. My niece is entering those fragile teen years and is going to bjoiningng her jr. high squad and is all bubbly about the notion of it. Her mom, who was in drill team herself, is excited too and is happily scurrying about trying to get her to practice and to all the related social events the girls throw for themselves. She is apparently happy, and if I had a daughter who wanted to do this, to gain this happiness, what would I say?

I don't think I would flat out deny her, but I think I would do everything to dissuade her from joining. Although the documentary seemed to come down on the positive aspects of cheerleading, I don't think it's the healthiest thing a young woman can do. I would encourage my daughter to play on the basketball team, to play lacrosse, to swim, to do anything other than cheer. There are many activities that would teach her to be strong, athletic, and social aside from cheering on the football team.

The main reason that I wouldn't want my daughter engaged is that cheering is an activity that starts with the premise of putting women into a subservient, supportive role. Despite all the talk of competition and trying to win at certain cheerleading events, the primary job of the squad is to support other teams (mostly men - I don't remember how many time the cheerleading squad shows up at the women's basketball games, do you?) doing the primary sport. They spend hours devising way to encourage other, this manifest itself in action like decorating the football players lockers, baking cookies for the basketball team, painting there bodies with the number of there favorite players, all very actions of someone subservient and committed to anotherÂ’s success at winning some event. I want my daughter to be engaged in that actual objective, playing in the game, trying to win, not supporting others from the sidelines.

It is also over sexualized. While I acknowledge that women are sexual beings that should have power over how others view them and who should be able to use this power to their advantage, I don't really think that is they type of sexual empowerment that cheerleaders learn. Instead, they are given short skirt and tight tops then told to go out and prance around, all in order to give the males encouragement on the field of battle. They might learn that their mere physicality is valuable, that it is their prime asset. I don't think this is the type of sexuality I want my daughter to have, a womenÂ’s sexuality isnÂ’t her prime asset; it just isnÂ’t a true message.

This is somewhat moot, given that I don't have a daughter, but the documentary did give me something to think about when, as I type this, thousands of girls are returning to school and a few might just be asking their dads this very question, "Dad, can I join the cheerleading squad?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mike McGavick Probably Just Lost My Vote...

As a moderate democrat I was open to Mike McGavick's campaign. I personally believe there should be a healthy churn in our elected officials, and I am not opposed to voting republican to keep new ideas coming out of Washington.

But, over the course of his campaign, he has been racking up mistakes and faux paus that have finally reached my personal tipping point. His first mistake was his whole hearted embrace of GWBush early in his campaign, but hey, Bush was popular at that point, so why wouldn't he try to ride someone's coattails? I was willing to overlook it because it didn't seem out of place for a someone to suck up to the leader of their party. Nevertheless, strike one Mike.

The second instance was his comments about Seattle while campaigning in Eastern Washington. I like to read N. Idaho and E. Washington blogs because that is where I am from. I like the people, the values, the lifestyle, and someday hope to return. From reading these blogs though, I have ascertained a definite level of vitriol from our eastern neighbors toward those of us in the Puget Sound area. This vitriol runs deep despite the fact that they must certainly know that the wealth from Seattle and King County paves their roads, buys goods from their farms, and subsidized their schools. There is never any acknowledgement on the Eastern side of the state of the contribution of King County to the state, there is only resentment over King Counties voting tendencies. Therefore, it is clear that he was merely pandering to the receptive crowd. Although clearly a right of passage in politics, it was still disappointing and I expected more from him. Strike two.

The last incident is what has probably pushed him out of consideration for my vote. It's a radio ad that attacks Sen. Cantwell for not supporting the vote to make the deduction that we get to make for our sales tax, when paying federal income taxes, permanent. While it is true she did vote against the bill containing the provision, it is false to characterize her as against the measure. I know that politician like to spin this game of asking why is someone for something but votes against it, but that a disingenuous stance given they know how the system works. It was Sen. Cantwell who led a bipartisan group in the attempt to get the deduction permanent. In truth, it was the republicans who opposed the measure and the tax break. For all the republican parties talk of being anti-tax, when they had the chance to give everyone in Washington and 12 other states a tax break they balked. Why was the republican leadership against this effort? I don't know. Perhaps they don't like a sweeping tax cut that is available to everyone; gay, straight, married, single, rich or poor. Given what they seem to endorse lately, the republicans seem only to like to give tax cuts to exclusive classes of people, such as: investors, people who stand to inherit vast sums of money, or to families with children. The state tax exemption must have been to inclusive for their liking.

Regardless, it was the republicans who contorted this bill and Mike M. knows it, he knows what Sen Cantwell position on the issue, but he playing a political game that works because it few people stop to think of how bills get passed and how the thing work in DC.

I guess that was has finally turned me off. I wanted someone new, I was looking forward to the notion that an citizen, a successful businessman, would be committed to this county and want to serve. However, I also want someone who is running because they have values and stand for something. But these three instances show someone who has simply tried to latch on to his parties leadership's buttcheeks, who panders to crowds, and blurs the facts a little just to win a vote. In the end, he has already met the definition of a politician who will say or do anything to win a vote. If he's already cut out of politician cloth before even being elected, than what will he turn into if he's send to D.C. A person like that is not what I want this Washington to send to the other Washington.

So, my vote is up for grabs, anyone interested?

This last incident coupled with

Thursday, August 24, 2006


It turned cold here in Seattle. The weatherman assures us that it will warm back up by the weekend, that summer isn't over. I know he's lying. Sure, it will get warmer, but there is something on the cool breeze, something that seems to tease the green leaves and flowers, taunting them, letting them know that the heat is escaping, running to the other half of the planet for another season, and soon the living plants will have to sleep for the winter. So, I will simply pull out one of my fleece vests and wait for summer to return.

The changing of the season also cements my transition back to a student. Law School has begun and we are all hustling from class to class, we spend our time in the library or huddled around cups of coffee talking about cases we've read, it's an exciting time for sure. In a couple of weeks the undergrads come back to school, I'm eager to see how their presence will change the atmosphere here, if at all.

Deep in my belly is a lingering desire to be in Moscow. I most closely associate the fall to Idaho, more than any other season. When the greenery starts to fall off the trees, the scent of the cold air mingled with the odor of decaying leaves brings me back to memories of walking around the Moscow campus, having a beer in the fraternity house watching the people go up and down the street outside, and going to football games. I wonder if I will even begin to associate fall with this new school, with it's smells and events, or if part of my heart will always be staked out by Idaho.

But what of the last four year and all the season inbetween. In truth, I barely remember the last four or five year of work. It is sad, I know, which is what prompted me to go back to school, I didn't want to wake up in 30 years and wonder where my life had gone to.

Anyway, I'll try to post again soon, perhaps give some commentary on current events (when was the last time I read the paper, a week ago?) and some updates on the house. For anyone reading, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Grit, Grime and Plaster

I've been very busy lately working on our house remodel. So much so, that I've completely lost touch with most things including: blogging, reading the paper, talking to people, bathing... To tell the truth, lately I've been getting all my current events from the Today Show, egads!!! Hopefully things will settle into more of a pattern soon, it's back to law school next week where I can talk to people other than my dog and my drill. It should offset the loneliness on the home front, the wife left for a couple of weeks in Europe with her mother and sister and left me here to study and finish the bathroom. Hope she sends a post card or two...

Anyway, here a few shots of what I've been up to.

Where it started, note the tile work and green tub.

Here it is after the plaster, lath, and about a half day of my life has been removed. Note the green tub is still biding it's time.

In this shot I'm introducing the iron green monster to my friend, the hammer, say hi hammer.

This what was left after leaving hammer, his bigger brother sledge, the green iron tub monster, and my latent aggression alone for half an hour.

Into the green iron tub's old slot, a nice new jetted tub.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Glad that's over, my first law school exam is under my belt and I'm on my way. I so glad the SU allows 1Ls to take one class early and get at least one class of experience with briefs, studying law, and taking an exam before having to dive in full time. For those that didn't take the opportunity, you have my sympathy, it would be tough diving into a full class load in addition to learning how to brief and have to take all your tests with out any expectations. At least those who took the summer class had an ability to figure out what worked and what didn't in studying the law, an thus far I've found that what you did as an undergrad isn't probably not going to work anymore.

A couple of updates..I feel ancient. Sure, there are people who are older than my, in fact the average age at the law school is suppose to be just a year younger than my own age. BUT, a lot of people are on the traditional track (four year undergrad and then straight to law school) which mean they were born in 1984, '84! In addition to that, they have facebook. What is facebook, for those of you who went to school circa '00, it's an online directory of people in your schools network that give you picture of people, there dislikes, likes, their freaky peccadilloes, and various what not you weren't suppose to know about people until you were married. When I was going to school you had to actually talk to people to find out what they liked, know you just have to narrow your search criteria to someone who matches you and sent out an email. Time changes, I'm still trying to determine if this is for the better or worse?

In other news, I'm spending the next few days between the start of fall term to work on our remodel. Here's a few pic for those of you who peruse the new looking to titillating pictures of plaster, paint, and powertools (yes, the dirty 3 p's of home improvement...Here you go you dirty contractors, you.)