Friday, December 29, 2006

Dolly For Sale

I heard that the FDA has approved that it is ok for us consumers to buy and eat the meat of cloned animals. One source says this is an extremely expensive process (you think?) and another reports that this is a good thing because then we can clone and subsequently mass produce only the very best specimens for consumption. *Gasp* What if we have been eating inferior meat? But then, as the BBC reports, we will never know if we are eating inferior meat or not because the FDA sees no reason why the meat should be labeled as cloned or not. For all intents and purposes, this meat is no different than the meat we are buying now save that it didn't cost an exorbitant amount of money to just let the cows and the bulls have at it and produce naturally. I think this whole thing is "udderly" ridiculous (and yes, the pun had to be made). Are we experiencing a sudden shortage of cattle, pigs and the like? Plus, what will PETA have to say about this? Perhaps the self esteem of the rejected cattle should be considered here. Poor Bessie didn't get picked for cloning. Farmers of rejected cattle should make sure to rid their farms of electric fencing lest all the ostracized cattle might try to kill themselves.


I got a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble from one of my students for Christmas and immediately went and spent it. I got 3 books...Night by Elie Wiesel, Heart of Darkness (with 2 bonus short stories) by Joseph Conrad and Turn of the Screw and the Aspern Papers both by Henry James. I decided to read Night first because it was a shorter book and I figured I'd be done reading it before I left for vacation. I did not really know what was in store for me when I bought the book, only having read the back of it and thinking it sounded interesting. Interesting was completely the wrong word for what the book was to me. If you haven't read it, it is Wiesel's account of what he experienced at the concentration camps of the Holocaust. The book left me with mixed emotions the greatest of which was feeling like I wasn't entitled to feeling any at all. Auschwitz was not my experience and it felt like I was patronizing his agony by feeling horrified and sad for what he and countless other people went through. One story he told was during a transport to another camp. A woman from the passenger part of the train they were on was throwing coins into the cattle cars and people were fighting to the death over this woman's pocket change. When she was asked to stop the woman replied "I like to give charity." I felt like I was as arrogant as that woman. I also felt that I was intruding on this man's very private and personal story. It seemed to be a sacred work, perhaps because this was not only his story but the story of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of others. I know well that he wrote this account down and published it so people would specifically read it, but it still felt as though this was information that I should not be privvy to. While it feels like saying anything to describe the book or my feelings about it does a disservice to his work and experiences, I felt that I had to say something just to process the whole thing. If you want to borrow the book let me know.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stress,'s a killer"

I can say that I have made it through my dental instrument exams successfully. That means I can go on to clinic next semester where I actually get to start hacking away at people's mouths (i suppose I should phrase that a tad more delicately, seeing as how i have to find my own patients). I cannot say that I made it through unscathed. So far this semester (with a week and a half left to go) i can calculate that I have taken 55 exams, 45 daily quizzes (for a class that meets twice a week and one that meets once a week) written 3 papers, completed 4 group projects (3 requiring presentations) read 3 books, and about 15 separate myths (each reading came with a daily quiz not accounted for in the exams or quizzes aforementioned), led 2 class discussion times and have committed countless (literally i can't calculate the number) hours spent doing homework or studying after 10 pm. I decided to take a mythology class this semester to make sure I had full credit for financial aid instead of gym. This was a stupid move. Not because mythology is stupid, the class was really great. It was stupid because it's an english course which actually requires time and intelligence to complete with any amount of success. Gym requires a pulse, somewhat regular attendance and doesn't even require you to close your mouth. At any rate, the stress of this semester is not one I was prepared for. I didn't mention yet that I teach lessons three nights a week. I am going insane. One classmate posed the question in an online discussion thread about where we saw ourselves after graduation. Would we be working in a strictly pedo office? How about working in an office for the underpriveleged? I suppose people's answers were honest enough, but I couldn't help feeling like I just watched the interview part of a miss america pageant. the last part of the discussion read "why don't you save your answer and print it out so you can get it out ten years from now and reflect on it?" yeah right. i have a place you can save your answer. it will probably take you ten years to dislodge it from your body. It's too bad, becuase the girl that asked the question is really nice and I have no real beef with her. But i hate retarded questions like that. And, while I am proud of what I've done this semester, i realize that i still have three more to go, each just a little more challenging than the previous. Graduation isn't even on my radar. I just want to make it to winter break. Now that I've gotten that out of me I think i'll go to bed.