Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

beauty's link to terrorism

The following is from Carolyn McCulley's January 26 blog post:

"One of my favorite Bible passages is from Psalm 34. Verses 4 and 5 read: 'I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.'

"I have seen that kind of radiant beauty on those whose hearts are contented in God, who are eager to proclaim all of His blessings and mercies upon their lives. I firmly believe that is the most attractive beauty there is, because it edifies and builds up others. Yet, I also know the strong pull of the cosmetic and cosmeceutical industries and the promises they make to stall or turn back the ravages of time. So I write this post with a bit of ambivalence, because I know the money I spend at various salons.

"That said, I have never been Botoxed. My dermatologist did inform me a few years ago that it was time to start, because it would keep my fine lines from becoming deep wrinkles. I frowned (deepening those lines) and shook my head. There was no way I was going to stick a neurotoxin in my face, I announced. I was sure that in 20 years, we'd discover why that was a bad idea. She looked at me placidly and said, "I hope not because I have a face full of it." Maybe she was looking at me in wide-eyed horror, but I couldn't tell.

"Likely it won't take 20 years. We're now discovering a new problem associated with the Botox craze: an increased risk of terrorism. Yesterday the Washington Post ran an article about how officials fear that the toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool:

  • 'In early 2006, a mysterious cosmetics trader named Rakhman began showing up at salons in St. Petersburg, Russia, hawking a popular anti-aging drug at suspiciously low prices. He flashed a briefcase filled with vials and promised he could deliver more -- "as many as you want," he told buyers -- from a supplier somewhere in Chechnya.'
  • 'Rakhman's "Botox" was found to be a potent clone of the real thing, but investigators soon turned to a far bigger worry: the prospect of an illegal factory in Chechnya churning out raw botulinum toxin, the key ingredient in the beauty drug and one of world's deadliest poisons. A speck of toxin smaller than a grain of sand can kill a 150-pound adult.'
  • 'No Chechen factory has been found, but a search for the maker of the highly lethal toxin in Rakhman's vials continues across a widening swath of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. U.S. officials and security experts say they know the lab exists, and probably dozens of other such labs, judging from the surging black market for the drug.'
  • 'Al-Qaeda is known to have sought botulinum toxin. The Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which the United States has designated a terrorist organization, and other groups have bought and sold counterfeit drugs to raise cash. Now, with the emergence of a global black market for fake Botox, terrorism experts see an opportunity for a deadly convergence.'
  • '"It is the only profit-making venture for terrorists that can also potentially yield a weapon of mass destruction," said Kenneth Coleman, a physician and biodefense expert.'

"That last quote is important. I recognize that criminal elements can run scams on most anything to finances their ventures. In some ways, we can't take responsibility for what they choose to contort. But in an age of responsible consumerism, we also can't ignore what kind of markets our consumption creates. This article contains sobering news. I don't offer it to shame women who have had Botox treatments, nor to add one more temptation to those who are prone to fear. I am posting it because I had never heard about this potential link to terrorism. And I believe that having this kind of information helps us to consider our actions and motives from a broader perspective. It challenges us to rethink what is packaged as normal and acceptable.

"We live in an age that sells us a lie: that somehow or another we can get around the aging process. But we can't. Not in our own strength. Sickness, aging, and death are a consequence of our own sinfulness. They are inevitable consequences, but they are not irrevocable. Because there is One who paid the penalty for our sin and gave us His righteousness in exchange, this is not the end of the story. Jesus triumphed over death! His sinless life and substitutionary death on the cross for our sins has averted the Father's righteous wrath for all of our wrongs. Through this divine rescue, we can repent and receive Jesus' gracious gift of forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and life everlasting. And added to those amazing gifts is a new, glorified and ageless body."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

i told you she was tricky.

Mr. Banks: "Will you be good enough to explain all this?"
Mary Poppins: "First of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear."
Mr. Banks: "Yes?"
Mary Poppins: "I never explain anything."

I received a text before nanny duties began today warning that Rainbow (the bearded dragon) had been spending all of her time sulking in the corner of her cage, so C2 and I grabbed the grumpy lizard after all of our secrets were shared and cuddled in front of cartoons until she snapped out of her semi-depressed state. As C2 uncurled her from the towel and set her back under her heat lamps, a commercial for the new movie The Spy Next Door burst on screen: a potential classic (… I said potential), where Jackie Chan’s character is “part spy, part babysitter, all hero.”

I chewed on my pen cap and wondered if Mr. Chan carried a carpet bag. C2 snapped the cage shut. I flipped a page in my textbook as the trailer ended. You know..., I’m a spy.


Are you sure about that? He turned around and studied me.

“There’s no way.” He grabbed my pen and examined it. “But if you were a spy, this pen would blow up if I threw it.” He threw it. Gravity pulled it across the giant snake painted on the wall and down to the carpet. The sleeping cat lying beneath the mural opened a lazy eye, saw C2, and ran out the open bedroom door. “It didn’t blow up.” Naturally. You didn’t use it correctly. He squinted.

“Well, what about THIS?” My textbook hit the wall. (Sorry, Mom.) “It didn’t explode. You’re not a spy.” I smiled and jumped up to retrieve the nonvolatile study materials.

I reopened my book but, out of the corner of my eye, saw him place one bare foot on top of his giant basketball-shaped-chair. Oh no. “Oh YES!” He sprung off the chair with the most unnatural screech to ever come out of an eight year old boy’s throat and tackled me, pulling at my hair and screaming, “IS IT A MASK? IS IT A MASK?!”

He let go of my “real face” and toppled over my head. I sat up and grabbed my scalp to feel if any hair remained and heard him beside me, gasping for air, laughter filling the spaces between words,

“If you are actually a spy, why are you telling me?”

If I tell you, you don’t know whether I’m telling you because I’m not and want you to think that I am what I’m not, or if, in fact, I am and I’m telling you to make you question everything you know to be true.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

episode 14: a new season

CALEB and JOHN kick off a new season of

What is Your Problem? today!

Click to become a FACEBOOK FAN, subscribe to their YOUTUBE PAGE, follow their TWITTER ACCOUNT, tell your friends, submit your problems, and stay beautiful!

(To Save a Life - Trailer)

Monday, January 11, 2010

well, hip, hip, hooray! and don't stumble on the way out, deary

The sky was gray that day, trees sighing with the wind, an overcast and blustery afternoon (rather an unhappy Winds-day, Winnie the Pooh) as my car sped through the trees lining the roads. The clock on my dashboard rolled to 2:58, and I let my fingers slip the volume knob all the way to the right; louder music changes a red light to green, correct? 2 minutes. Three school buses sped past, and the knob was yanked the rest of the way to the right. The light changed colors, and my speed gauge hit 102mph. Just kidding. Mostly. The clock clicked to 2:59, and my phone began to vibrate in the cup holder setting off a few angry dimes: "Mom calling." One minute. “Are you there yet?” No! The neighborhood came into view, and I swung my car onto the final stretch. I spotted a tiny yellow speck in the distance: the race was on. I hit the accelerator as the yellow grew in front of my windshield. As soon as we were shoulder to shoulder, I veered onto the street and jammed on my brakes. One street over, I heard the roar of engines and the screaming of children. 30 seconds. I sprinted up the driveway and behind the gate, grabbed the key underneath the “Alien Attack Center” built the previous evening, and shoved my body through the back door. With one hand, I threw my textbooks on the counter, with the other, I grabbed the cat before he escaped into the cold; together we sprinted to every window to allow the gray of the afternoon to explode into every corner of the house. A whistle sounded, and I checked beneath the newly opened blinds. 10 seconds. I chunked the cat in a corner (Just kidding! Oh, bother.) and calmly opened the front door and waved to the competition, I mean, bus driver as my kid stumbled against the gust of wind and down the steps, backpack in hand.

(But C2 would have understood if I hadn’t made it back in time: I had a doctor’s appointment. He gets it. That one time when his dog pushed past him and out of the garage and down the street and beyond the neighborhood and all the way to Blockbuster he had to sit in the back, seat-belted in with my oxygen tank right next to him. He gets it better than most people. “Your headache-things hurt worse than having a baby, right?” That’s what they say. “Am I going to get them, too?” No, sir. “And I’m not going to have a baby either. Man, I am LUCKY!”)

I watched my kiddo, clad in shorts despite the freezing temperatures (because he “wasn’t cold”; he “wears jeans in the summer”), bounce down the last steps of the bus, mysterious blue container in hand. I closed the glass door and stepped closer to him. He passed in front of the bus and tripped, mysterious blue container flung at my feet. I stifled a scream as the bus engines revved up, my child on the concrete between the two front wheels. As the bus driver and I quickly made eye contact, C2 popped up and scurried into the house. The bus driver’s eyes followed him in, and as her eyes met mine, they spoke every exclamation of horror and relief that crossed our minds in that one moment. She threw up her hands to the sky (or rather, the gum-covered-ceiling) and then smiled and waved good-bye. Who would have guessed when my family moved that she would become one of my few friends on this side of town? I waved back and picked up the blue container C2 had forgotten and jogged inside to be with my kid.

“If the bus had started moving, would you have gotten fired?” Of all the questions…. You wouldn’t have been under there; we wouldn’t have let anything happen to you. He noticed the blue container I had in my hand and unzipped it’s long, slender body. He curled up against the pillows on one side of the couch and gently pulled out the piece of wood he had carefully stored inside. “I only know two notes.” Having already forgotten what occurred just minutes before, he began to play his tribal song for me (and at that volume, I assume, for all of the residences of the little planet we call Earth).

After he finished practicing (his two notes for ten minutes), he took off running, expecting me to keep up. If I stayed under the blanket on my side of the couch as the shadows from the hovering clouds danced across the walls, it would have only been a matter of time before he exasperatedly yelled my name and then attacked me from behind. Hang on, hang on….

"‘Come on!’
"‘Where?’ said Pooh.
"’Anywhere,' said Christopher Robin.
"So they went off together. But wherever they go and whatever happens to them along the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.” (A.A. Milne)

“Green pastures are before me
which I have not seen,
Bright skies will soon be o’er me
Where the dark clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free,
My Savior has been my treasure,
And He will walk with me.” (A.L. Waring)