Homeless Doll – Political Indoctrination or Important Social Commentary?

Andrea Peyser New York Post column caught my eye today. As a mother of a 10-year-old girl, anything with American Girl dolls in it is a must read. While I share Ms. Peyser’s distaste for the price and often cultish nature of the entire American Girl empire, I was somewhat surprised by the tone of her recent article on new American Girl doll Gwen. Gwen Thompson is part of this year’s “Girl of the Year” collection. Each year, for those of you without a daughter between the ages of 4-14, American Girl) introduces a “Girl of the Year” doll. As with all American Girl dolls, these dolls come with a story and many times a collection of one or two friends.


The girl of the year this year is Chrissa and her story is focused on the issue of bullying. In the course of this story we meet two additional dolls, Gwen and Sonali. Gwen is a girl whose father left the family and they are now living out of a car, homeless. Peyser’s column quickly highlights the ways in which she believes that this story line for a doll is inappropriate suggesting that it will lead young girls to believe that men are bad and women helpless. She goes on to call doll a tool of political indoctrination although I am unclear as to the political message that parent company Mattel may have been trying to send.

As I mentioned, I have my own set of concerns about the American Girl culture with its overpriced dolls and catalog of accessories, many of which come in around $100 too. Had Peyser led with the irony of a company that hocs $100 dolls promoting awareness of homelessness and economic hardship, she would have earned a loyal follower in me. However in

Homeless Politicians

Have you ever talked to the homeless? A strange idea to most of us that are too busy with our lives. Many of the homeless had normal lives once. Some where store managers in places like south Chicago, Boisey Idahoe and even Lincoln Nebraska. Others had once thriving business’s that are now just a memory. Most had wives and children. Many children are now homeless along with their parents.


On a hot day they will sit and talk about their former lives. Now that they are homeless practically no one will hire them. So sitting and talking about better times is the bulk of their entertainment. Like most americans many are intellegent and have opinions about the news of the day. The talk ranges from obscure topics like comic books of the eighties to solar flares. It is not the deranged talk of uninformed as many in the press would have you believe. These people once ran companies where managers, sales people in short ordinary Americans. The only diffirence between them and you is the sadness. After they talk about their former lives they often walk away dispondent. A dazed look on their faces as they ask themselves again how did this happen to me? They still can’t believe with all of their skills they are now in a homeless shelter. All over America this is happening. Brave people are dealing with being homeless.

I wish our politicians had the guts that these people have. The soft bellied Politicians that sent American jobs overseas are responsible for this. The politicians that to this day let big oil bleed us dry with high gas prices are responsible for this. The politicians that gave billions of dollars to wealthy companies for no reason are responsible for this.

I have a solution. Elections

How to Study Economics

Of all your new course mates, perhaps about 70% of them have graduated from high school having studied something related to economics. This only indicates that before the semester even begins, you are already at a disadvantage. Before you think you are never going to do better than these people and resign to just scraping a pass in every unit, take a look at these quick tips.


Build Up a Solid Foundation Quickly

Not having the basics does not necessarily imply that you will always be a par below the rest – it just means you have a whole lot of catching up to do. This requires discipline and extra studying outside of your usual tutorial classes and self-revisions. Once the semester begins, it’s going to be piles and piles of assignments so the best strategy is to get going before it even starts.

Visit the library and pull out economics books. Ask your older siblings or friends for advice. Go on the web and simply Google something like “How to study economics;” there are tons of useful guides out there. If possible, look up simple econ questions and attempt them on your own. With a solid foundation, it saves you the shock you will get when the uni professor starts handing out those baffling assignments (which will, by the way, most likely count towards your final grade).

 
 

Draw the Graphs and Charts: Practice, practice, practice!

Economics is all about the graphs. You are going to be drawing graphs all the time, so you need to get very comfortable with them. Remember those essays you did back in school? Well, over here instead of churning out paragraph after paragraph, we use graphs to do the storytelling.

In economics, it is all about the axis, curves, notations, what shifts where, what

How to Do a Close Reading: Writing Literary Analysis Essays

Once high school students make the leap to the college academic environment, they may be faced with terms that aren’t completely clear to them. Close readings seem to be one of these pesky concepts, as it’s easy to fall into summarizing a text without “reading closely,” as it were.

Close readings sound far more difficult than they are. Sometimes referred to as literary analysis (though there are many variations of literary analysis), close reading essays are actually easier to write than straight-up research papers because they normally only require a primary text. Depending on the class and professor, literary research essays usually require at least two or three secondary sources. So, close reading papers should be approached with an optimistic attitude.


What is a Close Reading?

Simply put, a close reading is exactly what it sounds like. Professors aren’t looking for summary; on the contrary, most professors will cringe if presented with a summary. Close readings (especially in lower level college composition classes) rarely demand that students write more than 5 to 10 pages, usually less.

Given the name, close readings mean that the student should be looking at a very small portion of a text, generally. Pick a paragraph, a page, a chapter; it is very unusual for a 101 or 102 English professor to ask for more than that, as they want to see a student’s ability to completely tear apart a passage. That is a close reading in a nutshell: the tearing apart of a passage or a small section.

Pick an Angle for Literary Analysis

There are many facets of literature to focus on while writing a close reading paper. They tend to be buzzwords of sorts around English classes: themes, imagery, tropes, language, metaphor, tone, etc. While it may be tempting to try and tackle

Book Review: How to Be Cool by Johanna Edwards

How to Be Cool follows Kylie Chase, a “cool instructor” who helps the insecure and socially inept become confident and more socially knowledgeable.

 

Despite what people may have heard, everyone has insecurities. Some people have so many, however, that they want to shed their old skins and completely transform into someone new, someone more sociable and intrepid, someone…cool. What if there was someone that could help, someone who specialized in “coolness” that could create this transformation?

Meet Kylie Chase

Kylie Chase can help. She is a bona-fide “cool instructor” who makes a living from helping the dissatisfied and socially awkward turn into trend-setters. Seemingly undaunted, Kylie is well-versed in pop culture, fashion trends, and anything else required for the great metamorphosis that is turning “cool.” But how satisfied and confident is Kylie herself?

A Hidden Past

As it turns out, Kylie isn’t as intrepid as she seems. Before she became the knowledgeable instructor of the highly popular How to Be Cool classes, she was far from cool–dorky, insecure, and seventy-five pounds heavier. And underneath all the size-eight glamour, Kylie is still uncertain at heart. She still loves Star Wars, she still has two left feet, and most unfortunately, she still really, really cares what people think, far more than a cool instructor should.

 
 

 
 

A Steady Unraveling

 
 

When Kylie’s apartment burns down in a fire, she has nowhere to go but her parents’ house, which has a great impact on her self-confidence. (Kylie is Not Thirty–or twenty-nine–and one of her “cool rules” is that no one should be living with their parents after the age of about twenty-six.) Her parents don’t make her look too cool, either–her father is still enforcing the same rules she had to live by when she was a teenager, and her mother, a size-two former

Massage Chair For Reading

We live in modern times when everything looks easier to do, more accessible, a world in which everything looks handy. Who thought that at some point we will not need a masseur, and we will be able to replace him with a handy device that we can have in your living room? With the massager chairs for reading, you can relax in the library while discovering the characters from your favorite books.

Massage chairs and armchairs for reading have diverse functions; they are complex and are the proof that technology advanced a lot. Today, choosing a chair is a matter of preferences, as there are many advantages offered by such devices.

Some believe only people with muscular and inflammatory problems can benefit from these chairs. People that are following physical recovery programs and clients looking to improve their incorrect position while reading are also common buyers of massage chairs.

Choosing a good massage chair for reading

There is no point in investing in an expensive massage chair just because you can afford one. The most expensive chair is not always the one with the biggest number of features or options, so here is what you need to look for while looking to buy a massage chair for your reading room.

Dimensions – if you don’t have a room functioning as a relaxing zone, you need to look for compact models that can fit anywhere. You can find expandable and foldable models, but also classic ones that would be easy to arrange in any part of the house.

However, the best massage chairs for reading are the big models allowing you full comfort and the right posture while submersing in the world of your favorite book. Professional chairs are able to concentrate massage in different zones of the body – head …

Ways that Moms Can Get Involved in Politics

No matter what your party affiliation, you as a mother can get involved in politics. It is rewarding to know that you are fighting for the causes you care about, and it shows your children that they can also one day become a part of the democratic process that exists in our great country. Moms are busy, and most of us will not ever get a chance to run for office, but here are some ideas of smaller ways we can get involved:

1. Be sure you are registered to vote, and vote. Most states now make registering so easy that you can do it at the same time that you get or renew your driver’s license. Once you are registered, be sure to keep your registration updated if you move or get married. Then, it is important that you do vote. Take your child(ren) with you to the polls and let them watch you vote. Explain to them the importance of voting and how men fought and died for us to have this privilege. I try to make “voting day” an exciting event for my son, and he already looks forward to the day when he will be able to vote for himself.

2. Join your party’s Women’s Chapter. Both the Republicans and Democrats have women’s chapters, and probably the lesser known parties do as well. Join so that you can receive emailed updates of issues that are important to you. You will also receive ideas of other ways you can become involved in your political party.

3. Donate money if you are financially able. Obviously, as a mom with one or more children, you may not be in a position to help out your party financially, but if you are, consider donating even a small sum.

4. Be …

Books About Moms

Whether you are a mother, have a close personal relationship with your mother, or not, one of the following books is sure to peak your interest.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

This commonly recognized line of books contains nineteen different titles devoted to mothers. Each book contains a collection of stories on a wide array of motherly subjects submitted by the general public. Emotionally charged tales have been compiled and published about expectant mothers, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, and one Chicken Soup for the Soul is a compilation of recipes for the busy mom.

Any one of the titles in this heart-warming collection is sure to bring a smile to the reader’s face.

Traveling with Pomegranates

Published in 2009, Travelling with Pomegranates is a memoir by mother and daughter co-authors, Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. As 50-year old mother, Sue and 20-year old daughter, Ann travel to places of sacred significance throughout France and Greece, each writes of her own distinct journey to define herself. As each woman struggles with her own life challenges, mother and daughter come together and create a familial bond like no other.

If you are a mother or daughter with a strong relationship to your daughter or mother, this is the book for you.

Daughter’s Keeper

Ayelet Waldman shows the strength of the mother-daughter bond in her fictional novel, Daughter’s Keeper. Over the years, daughter, Olivia and mother, Elaine have grown apart: each not agreeing with the other’s chosen lifestyle. In a significant twist of the novel, Olivia finds herself pregnant and in jail with no where to turn except her mother.

For the reader who is looking for a suspenseful, yet heartwarming tale, this novel will surely do the trick.

White Oleander

The story of Astrid Magnussen, a …

Hollywood Politics: The Effect of the Stars on the 2008 Presidential Campaign with John McCain and Barack Obama

Hollywood stars always seem to think it’s important to tell the world about their politics and views, whether they are on the right or the left and whether they support Barack Obama or John McCain. Since we’re exposed to it whether or not we want to be, the relevant questions become: 1) What effect do the political views of the stars have? and 2) What effect should the political views of the stars have?

Hollywood Politics Question #1 – What Effect do the Political Views of the Stars Have?

This is a very difficult question to answer. There is a reason that celebrities are paid millions of dollars to endorse products and companies. In that line of thinking, you would imagine that Hollywood endorsements would carry an enormous amount of weight with the general public. However, I’ve not been able to find any research to back that claim. It may be that a celebrity can influence the type of pop that you drink, but not a more important decision like the political future of the United States.

One way that celebrities may affect the Presidential campaign, however, is fundraising. Star power could help when the celebrities throw a fundraising bash that includes all of their ultra-rich friends. Typically, you hear about the fundraising assistance of celebrity democrats like George Clooney, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, etc… However, according to the Washington Times, even John McCain is also getting into the act with a fundraiser set to include John Voight, Robert Duvall, and Jon Cryer. No offense to the latter group, but the serious star power still appears to be on the side of Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Hollywood Politics Question #2 – What Effect Should the Political Views of the Stars Have?

The answer to this question is hopefully, no …

Continuing Education

Many of us seek to continue our education after graduating college and going into the real world. Recently, I discovered a few continuing education sources on the Internet. The courses offered range from Grant Writing to Medical Encoding. There’s a little something for everyone.

This aspect of continuing education is good for those who seek to learn something new and for those who want to expand on what they already know. It’s a great idea for resume builders and job enhancement for promotions.

My recent experience was completed in a 6-week course on Ed2Go. The course was basically built around my busy schedule, this allowing time for lesson reading and assignment completion. In the end, I received a certificate for my hard work and dedication.

For those seeking to expand on their knowledge or simply for those who want to learn a little…