30 November 2007

1 December 2007: World AIDS Day

Statistics on youth STDs and youth AIDS are astounding.

Some quick facts:
In the USA
* As many as one-third of those infected with HIV do not know they are HIV positive.
* At least one-half of all new HIV infections are estimated to be among those under the age of 25.
* Although African Americans and Latinos represent 12 percent and 14 percent of the U.S. population respectively, in 2002, they accounted for 50 percent and 20 percent of newly reported AIDS cases.
* Women are estimated to account for 30 percent of new HIV infections.
* African American women account for 64 percent of new HIV infections among women and Latinas account for 18 percent.

Throughout the world
* The global HIV/AIDS pandemic has claimed over 20 million lives.
* Every 7 seconds someone contracts HIV.
* Forty million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
* Every 11 seconds someone dies from HIV.
* AIDS is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and the number one cause of death in Africa.
* Women make up a growing percentage of adults living with HIV/AIDS around the world, rising from 41percent in 1997 to 50 percent in 2002.
* Young people ages 15-24 account for 42 percent of new HIV infections and represent almost a third of the global total of people living with HIV/AIDS.

It really makes me fearful for all the students I teach when I (over) hear stories of their weekends, or see one guy get with a girl (or vise versa) right after the girl was with a different guy the week before. I also worry about all the people out there who are just not thinking smart when it comes to getting tested or who are doing things for a few moments of pleasure rather than thinking about themselves or the partner/needle etc. they are with at the time.

Rates of infection in the African American community and in various communities in nations in Africa.

Some sites to check out:

* World Vision - Building a better world for children

* World AIDS Campaign - Stop AIDS. Keep the promise.

* US Department of Health and Human Services - HIV Awareness Days: Educate, motivate, and mobilize against HIV/AIDS

* AIDS.gov - Serves as an information gateway to drive traffic to Federal domestic HIV/AIDS information and resources.

* National HIV Testing Resources - Find an HIV testing site near you

* World AIDS Day - HIV: Let's Get Talking

* UNAIDS - Uniting the world against AIDS

* AIDS.org - Information. Education. Action.

* World AIDS Day -Yahoo site. Allows you to go over nations and see how many in each have HIV

Allow me to vent

I can't stand when people act/are ignorant. How can you have worked somewhere for more than 15 years doing the same thing year in and year out -- multiple times through out the year-- and still not be able to understand a concept? Why must you waste 40 minutes discussing issues that are basically irrelevant causing me to miss 40 minutes of my only prep period during this day? That is my time to prepare, veg, and feel like an adult. Now I'm pissed leading into the hardest stretch of my week -- afternoons on Fridays. I get no break and I have to deal with several annoying kids for a long stretch.

Thank goodness for weekends.

27 November 2007

The Church of Stop Shopping

The name of an actual church run by Reverend Billy. He recently made a movie produced by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) called What Would Jesus Buy. You've got to see this dude. He is wild. Not your typical preacher-man. I would like to follow this man just because of the entertainment value. He was on Democracy Now last Wednesday and it was ENTERTAINING!! Homie would complete a sentence to Amy Goodman and say Amen. He called her sister Amy. He is hilarious.

But his message is good.

"We exorcise the cash registers, we drive the demon monoculture out of that cash register, sister Amy. You've got a billionaire at the top of that company and impoverished, as Charlie would tell you, impoverished coffee families at the bottom. We just ask that some of those dollars start blowing in the other direction. Amen."

He basically wants people to stop buying so much without thinking about their purchases. Especially at holiday time. I should have put this message out before Black Friday, but there is still time. His message is not just a message of stop buying, but also of buying local and supporting businesses that are being run out by places like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Target. Read the excerpt in the transcript of the interview from the men's clothing shop in Traer, Iowa. Sad. And avoidable if only Wal-Marts and malls would stop popping up all over the place.

What ever did happen to driving around your city to shop in a store rather than the one-stop shopping of the department stores and the Super Wal-marts? Morgan Spurlock put it this way: "I think there’s no better time than right now to start asking ourselves, where do our products come from? Why am I buying this? Is there a better way to shop and live? I am in full agreement with a lot of people who say there are some people that need to shop there, that make a choice because they have to, based on their income. Most of us choose to shop at places like this out of convenience more than anything else. I think we have to take that step back from rushing in to make a purchase somewhere just because it is cheap and easy and quick, and saying what does this purchase really mean? Who is affected? How is it affecting my life, my community, the world at large? Who made this product? We don’t do that enough." People just do not care any more. It is all about the quick fix. Finding the product fastest, getting the best deal, being able to get back down to your couch to watch the latest reality show on tv, or even being able to watch your favorite sports program while you shop from the comfort of your fatty recliner.

The site has some links to shops that support a cause, are fair trade, and are not connected to sweat shops like the crosses some churches are selling that are made in sweatshops in China. But hey, I guess it's all about the profit and the message, rather than the processes involved in the making of the symbols, right?

Rev. Billy goes around to different malls and Starbucks to try and share his message of the Shopocalypseto the masses. He even went to Disneyland on Christmas Day. As he and his choir belted out songs of the Shopocalypse the security followed him urging him to leave. This line they gave is classic -- "This is not like the United States on public land where you are free to … sing." Granted, I understand that most places you go to are technically private property -- such as the mall, and many stores you go into, but come on now. Why you kicking Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir out of Disneyland? The land of fun. You can see the people Main Street rocking it out with the choir. Main Street -- which Rev. Billy points out is more happening that most Main Streets you see in American cities, due in part to the expansion of so many fast-shopping stores.

Lots to not really have to think about. Just shop smarter. Or do like me and shop less. I don't do gifts except for the secret Santa I do with the siblings and soon to be sibling-in-law.

And if you do buy, you should also shop smart for the environment.

05 November 2007


I am a lover of words. I constantly am looking up words I hear that I may not know. I also love to look for the origins of words to know why people use them the way they do.

Yesterday I heard someone on the television say that someone had "scared the bejesus out of" someone else. Of course I have heard the phrase, have even used it mockingly. But I have never really looked into the origins of the phrase.

Most dictionaries have the basic definition of bejesus being that it is an exclamatory term. All fine, but I wanted more.

I ended up coming onto this website. Which is hilarious. Absolutely had me laughing aloud with its explanations of bejesus and how to gain and lose bejesus. It is a bit long, but it flies by as you laugh and read and share with whoever is around you.