Thursday, January 31, 2008

not so tiny bubbles

I don't know if you can tell, but bath time is a big event in our house. Yesterday Maddie was walking around the house (in the middle of the afternoon) saying bath over and over again and looking really sad because it was not bath time. This girl loves the water. We recently bought a really cool bath time bubble maker that suction cups to the bathtub and blows bubbles when you turn it on. I don't think it's necessary to tell you how much she adores this new toy. We went through the entire bottle of bubbles that came with the bubbles blower in the span of 3 baths so Dan got the great idea to put bubble bath and a little bit of water into the blower to replace the bubble solution. The lesson we learned with this experiment is that bubble bath is a lot thicker than bubble solution and makes larger bubbles that don't pop when they touch something. Photographic evidence:

On the plus side, Maddie now knows how to say the word pop which she does with her finger pointed like she is going to pop some bubbles.  :)

The flu sucks

I can't tell you how many years it's been since I have had the flu, but it has been many......until Tuesday that is.  In my past I don't think that I could imagne anything worse than having the flu and the bodily functions that went along with it, but being pregnant and having the flu is a LOT worse.  Thank God I have the worlds best husband!!!  Not only did he stay home from work, but he didn't let me lift a finger.  He took care of Maddie, cooked and cleaned up the house, brought me water which I took 3 sips of, made me toast which I ate like half a slice of, let me sleep most of the day and even held back my hair.  I love this man!  I am feeling a ton better and it seems that it was just a 24 hour bug.....I'm really happy that no one else got sick, because that would not have been fun.  Cheers to feeling better and hoping it's many more years before I get the flu again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The best lasagna

I made the yummiest lasagna EVER! It was only my second time making lasagna and I believe that it turned out to be a masterpiece. A little bit too much stuff.....because it overflowed just a wee bit while it was baking, and it seriously weighed like 15 pounds, but it tasted like heaven! Dan even said it is the best he's had so far. I used spicy Italian sausage w/out the casing instead of the usual ground beef, zucchini, spinach, onion and mushrooms slong with the usual lasagna suspects. On top of this lasagna tasing wonderful I do believe that it is a piece of visual art. We have enough left over for a good week, so come on over for dinner!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mama's little helper

We went grocery shopping yesterday and while Dan and I were putting everything away, Maddie decided to help us by taking condiments out of the refrigerator. She made multiple trips to the fridge every time taking another jar or bottle with her.  I was wondering where she was putting all of the bottles she took out, but was too busy right then to check up on her. Once we got everything put away we discovered that Maddie put our condiments in the only place that makes sense.......on our couch in the living room. Makes sense right? Haha. She took the time to organize them and stand them all up. Such a precious girl.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The blue faced wonder


We recently got a new computer desk for our den, and in getting prepared for its arrival we cleaned everything out of our old desk and piled it on the couch in the den. As I'm sure you can imagine, our lives were a bit disorganized for a couple days and Maddie took advantage of our office supplies being all over the den and constantly made messes for us to clean up.

I was making breakfast the other day and Maddie was watching cartoons. I went in the living room to get her and discovered that she had a blue face from the nose down. Somehow she had gotten an old toner cartridge for our printer that Dan thought he had thrown out. I guess she decided that blue ink would be a better breakfast than eggs because it was all in her mouth and on her gums.

I washed her mouth out with water and wiped her face off, but the blue ink did not come off. By the end of the day it had disappeared, but I had to go through an entire day with a blue faced child. At least we didn't have anything big planned for that church, or getting her picture taken! Ahh, the antics of toddlers......I better watch out, soon I will have two of them! Yoikes!


rub a dub dub

My child seriously amazes me! She knows how to do things and say things and I really have no idea how she learns them! Out of no where a few weeks ago, she started saying up. Then this week she starts saying hot and wha dat (whats that for those of you who don't know the baby language). She was actually playing pretend yesterday and unloaded all of our tupperware onto the kitchen floor (thanks to Dan for picking it all up!) She grabbed a bowl and put a smaller lid inside the bowl and pretended to be drinking from the bowl and kept saying hot, hot. She would take a pretend sip and then say hot.....then she walked over to me and let me have a sip. She is too freakin cute!

Also yesterday I was sitting upon the porcelain throne with my court jester by my side (for those of you who don't have kids, once you do, you will never be lacking for company while using the restroom) and she just throws her leg over the bathtub edge and climbs right in and sits down!!!! When on earth did she learn how to do that? She's never done that before!

So Dan gets home from work yesterday and starts to run Maddie's bath and normally Maddie runs around like a chicken with her head cut off signing "bath" and being all excited. Dan leaves the bathroom to grab a towel while Maddie is running down the hall, and when he gets back, he finds this:

Needless to say, we laughed......A LOT!!! She is too funny. Now we are going to have to be on our A game to make sure that she is totally supervised while water is being run for her bath. What a cute little stinker!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 2008

  • The best lasagna

    Current mood:content
    I made the yummiest lasagna EVER!  It was only my second time making lasagna and I believe that it turned out to be a masterpiece.  A little bit too much stuff.....because it overflowed just a wee bit while it was baking, and it seriously weighed like 15 pounds, but it tasted like heaven!  Dan even said it is the best he's had so far.  I used spicy Italian sausage w/out the casing instead of the usual ground beef, zucchini, spinach, onion and mushrooms slong with the usual lasagna suspects.  On top of this lasagna tasing wonderful I do believe that it is a piece of visual art.  We have enough left over for a good week, so come on over for dinner!

  • Mama’s little helper

    Current mood:blissful
    We went grocery shopping yesterday and while Dan and I were putting everything away, Maddie decided to help us by taking condiments out of the refrigerator. She made multiple trips to the fridge every time taking another jar or bottle with her.  I was wondering where she was putting all of the bottles she took out, but was too busy right then to check up on her. Once we got everything put away we discovered that Maddie put our condiments in the only place that makes sense.......on our couch in the living room. Makes sense right? Haha. She took the time to organize them and stand them all up. Such a precious girl.
  • Curse of the curly hair

    Current mood:confused
    I have been talking about chopping my hair off for some time now.  I previously had been waiting until I had at least 10 inches to cut because I am going to be donating my hair to locks of love (check it out: and 10 inches is their minimum donation.  Well, I measured today and from my center part at the top of my head I currently have 23 inches of hair.....and thats with curly hair.....if I straightened it, my hair would be longer.  I think I might have enough!  lol
    So, I've been thinking about how I want to get my hair cut.  I want a short, easy, low maintenance haircut that will be easy to handle with a toddler and an infant but I still want it to look good without having to do anything to it.  Thats reasonable right? lol  I've spent a little time looking at short hairstyles on line and the biggest problem that I am going to have is that NO ONE with a really short cut has curly hair.  I have naturally curly hair.  Yes, my hair can be straight too, but it takes blow drying it and curling the ends and sometimes using a ceramic iron.  The whole point of me chopping my hair off is to save time in styling and maintanance, so if I have to blow dry it straight for a short cut to look good it totally defeats the purpose.....and that is time that I just don't have.  My dream is to have hair that I can get out of the shower and do nothing to, and it is cut so well it looks good just like that.....I do NOT want to look like bozo the clown with short curly afro hair!
    So I guess I'm at a cross roads.  My original plan was to wait until the baby is born to get the maximum benefit of having pregnancy hormones and have fast growing healthy hair, but I am getting antsy now and have too much hair to deal with.  Most often it is just in a heap on the top of my head, and doesn't look good.  I want to get it cut soon, but have no idea how I want it cut.  With really short hair is it like super fast to blow it dry cause there really isn't that much hiar, or is it harder to style because you don't have the margin of errror that you have with a bunch of hair?  Do salons do consultations where I could go in and they could look at my face shape and hair type and figure out what is going to work for me?  I need advice.....and I know a few of you are hair pros, so hit me up and help a girl out!
  • Heath Ledger has died

    Current mood:annoyed
    So, unless you live under a rock, you are aware that Heath Ledger died two days ago.  I have to say that I was a little bit shocked, not that a celebrity died per se, but it seems crazy that my generation is starting to die off pretty rapidly.  When I was young people died all the time, but they were older and affected my parents generation I'm seeing people who I could have gone to high school with dying.  Weird.
    I understand the shock that death brings with it, but what I don't understand is why a celebrity death takes over the entire world?  Why is the news of Heath's death on every television channel, every news and gossip website and every on-line forum?  Why are they continually speculating over how he died, where he died, what drugs were involved, was it an accident; when they really have no clue and won't know for over a week?  Why print slandering information on a man who was supposedly loved, just to retract the info. because it turned out that he wasn't in the Olsen twin's apartment and there weren't traces of drugs on the rolled up 20 dollar bill.  Why doesn't the media wait until there is actual truth to be reported and save Heath's friends and family a lot of heartache.  Why don't Heath's fans refuse to read the garbage that the media is putting out three that is full of untruths.....if they really loved and respected him as an actor, why speculate over the worst?
    I get that this is a big deal to some people, but there are a lot of other things going on in the world right now that are so much more important than a movie star's death.  We are currently still at war, we have an election coming up and should be educating ourselves on the candidates, we have poverty all over our world and disease is killing off more people than we can count.  I personally am done hearing about Heath's death.  I'm done reading false reports and honestly I could care less about the thruth of his death which I'm sure will be published after his autopsy is complete.  Is anyone really going to be shocked if all the speculation is true and drugs were to blame for his death??  Nope.....him and hundreds of celebrities before him met thier maker because of the drugs......what's new. 
    So, from now on I am not going to participate in talking about, reading about, or watching anything having to due with his death.  If anyone wants to chat about a topic with some meaning to our lives and the world we live in, you know where to find me.
  • rub a dub dub

    Current mood:blessed
    My child seriously amazes me!  She knows how to do things and say things and I really have no idea how she learns them!  Out of no where a few weeks ago, she started saying up.  Then this week she starts saying hot and wha dat (whats that for those of you who don't know the baby language).  She was actually playing pretend yesterday and unloaded all of our tupperware onto the kitchen floor (thanks to Dan for picking it all up!) She grabbed a bowl and put a smaller lid inside the bowl and pretended to be drinking from the bowl and kept saying hot, hot.  She would take a pretend sip and then say hot.....then she walked over to me and let me have a sip.  She is too freakin cute!
    Also yesterday I was sitting upon the porcelain throne with my court jester by my side (for those of you who don't have kids, once you do, you will never be lacking for company while using the restroom) and she just throws her leg over the bathtub edge and climbs right in and sits down!!!!  When on earth did she learn how to do that?  She's never done that before! 
    So Dan gets home from work yesterday and starts to run Maddie's bath and normally Maddie runs around like a chicken with her head cut off signing "bath" and being all excited.  Dan leaves the bathroom to grab a towel while Maddie is running down the hall, and when he gets back, he finds this:

    Needless to say, we laughed......A LOT!!!  She is too funny.  Now we are going to have to be on our A game to make sure that she is totally supervised while water is being run for her bath.  What a cute little stinker!
  • When Pigs Fly:The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent, and a Brief History of Record Industry S

    Current mood:content
    Below is a blog that someone posted in one of my mommy groups.  It is written by a guy named Rob.....I don't know him at all, but I don't want anyone to think I wrote this and am taking the credit for it! : )  It is long, but such an interesting read.  Here is the link to the actual blog because there are hyper links that refer to news articles:
    For quite a long time I've been intending to post some sort of commentary on the music industry - piracy, distribution, morality, those types of things. I've thought about it many times, but never gone through with it, because the issue is such a broad, messy one - such a difficult thing to address fairly and compactly. I knew it would result in a rambly, unfocused commentary, and my exact opinion has teetered back and forth quite a bit over the years anyway. But on Monday, when I woke up to the news that Oink, the world famous torrent site and mecca for music-lovers everywhere, had been shut down by international police and various anti-piracy groups, I knew it was finally time to try and organize my thoughts on this huge, sticky, important issue.
    For the past eight years, I've worked on and off with major record labels as a designer ("Major" is an important distinction here, because major labels are an entirely different beast than many indie labels - they're the ones with the power, and they are the ones driving the industry-wide push against piracy). It was 1999 when I got my first taste of the inner-workings of a major record label - I was a young college student, and the inside of a New York label office seemed so vast and exciting. Dozens of worker bees hummed away at their desks on phones and computers. Music posters and stacks of CDs littered every surface. Everyone seemed to have an assistant, and the assistants had assistants, and you couldn't help but wonder "what the hell do all these people do?" I tagged along on $1500 artist dinners paid for by the labels. Massive bar tabs were regularly signed away by record label employees with company cards. You got used to people billing as many expenses back to the record company as they could. I met the type of jive, middle-aged, blazer-wearing, coke-snorting, cartoon character label bigwigs who you'd think were too cliche to exist outside the confines of Spinal Tap. It was all strange and exciting, but one thing that always resonated with me was the sheer volume of money that seemed to be spent without any great deal of concern. Whether it was excessive production budgets or "business lunches" that had nothing to do with business, one of my first reactions to it all was, "so this is why CDs cost $18..." An industry of excess. But that's kind of what you expected from the music business, right? It's where rock stars are made. It's where you get stretch limos with hot tubs in the back, where you get private jets and cocaine parties. Growing up in the '80's, with pop royalty and hair metal bands, you were kind of led to think, of course record labels blow money left and right - there's just so much of it to go around! Well, you know what they say: The bigger they are...
    In those days, "piracy" was barely even a word in the music world. My friends and I traded MP3s in college over the local network, but they were scattered and low-quality. It felt like a novelty - like a digital version of duping a cassette tape - hardly a replacement for CDs. CDs sounded good and you could bring them with you in your DiscMan, and the only digital music you could get was as good as your friends' CD collections, anyway. It never occurred to any of us that digital files were the future. But as it turned out, lots of kids, in lots of colleges around the world, had the same idea of sharing MP3 files over their local networks, and eventually, someone paid attention to that idea and made Napster. Suddenly, it was like all those college networks were tied together, and you could find all this cool stuff online. It was easier and more efficient than record stores, it was powered by music fans, and, well, it was free. Suddenly you didn't have to pay 15 to 18 bucks for an album and hope it was good, you could download some tracks off the internet and check it out first. But you still always bought the CD if you liked it - I mean, who wants all their music to be on the computer? I sure didn't. But increasingly, more and more people did. For college kids, Napster was a Godsend, because you can all but guarantee two things about most college kids: They love music, and they're dirt poor. So it grew, and it grew, and it started to grow into the mainstream, and that's when the labels woke up and realized something important was happening. At that point they could have seen it as either a threat or an opportunity, and they, without hesitation, determined it to be a threat. It was a threat because essentially someone had come up with a better, free distribution method for the labels' product. To be fair, you can imagine how confusing this must have been for them - is there even a historical precedent for an industry's products suddenly being able to replicate and distribute on their own, without cost?
    For quite a while - long after most tech-savvy music lovers - I resisted the idea of stealing music. Of course I would download MP3s - I downloaded a lot of stuff - but I would always make sure to buy the physical CD if it was something I liked. I knew a lot of musicians, a lot of them bewildered at what was happening to the industry they used to understand. People were downloading their music en masse, gorging on this new frontier like pigs at a troff - and worst of all, they felt entitled to do so. It was like it was okay simply because the technology existed that made it possible. But it wasn't okay - I mean, let's face it, no matter how you rationalized it, it was stealing, and because the technology existed to hotwire a car didn't make that okay, either. The artists lost control of distribution: They couldn't present albums the way they wanted to, in a package with nice artwork. They couldn't reveal it the way they wanted to, because music pirates got the albums online well before the actual release date. Control had been taken away from everyone who used to have it. It was a scary time in unfamiliar territory, where suddenly music fans became enemies to the artists and companies they had supported for years. It led to laughable hyperbole from bands like Metallica, instantly the poster-children of cry-baby rich rock stars, and the beginning of the image problem the industry has faced in its handling of the piracy issue. But still, at the time, I understood where they were coming from. Most musicians weren't rich like Metallica, and needed all the album sales they could get for both income and label support. Plus, it was their art, and they had created it - why shouldn't they be able to control how it's distributed, just because some snotty, acne-faced internet kids had found a way to cheat the system? And these entitled little internet brats, don't they realize that albums cost money to create, and to produce, and to promote? How is there going to be any new music if no one's paying for it?
    On top of that, I couldn't get into the idea of an invisible music library that lives on my computer. Where's the artwork? Where's my collection? I want the booklet, the packaging... I want shelves and shelves of albums that I've spent years collecting, that I can pore over and impress my friends with... I want to flip through the pages, and hold the CD in my hand... Being a kid who got into music well past the days of vinyl, CDs were all I had, and they still felt important to me.
    It's all changed.
    In a few short years, the aggressive push of technology combined with the arrogant response from the record industry has rapidly worn away all of my noble intentions of clinging to the old system, and has now pushed me into full-on dissent. I find myself fully immersed in digital music, almost never buying CDs, and fully against the methods of the major record labels and the RIAA. And I think it would do the music industry a lot of good to pay attention to why - because I'm just one of millions, and there will be millions more in the years to come. And it could have happened very, very differently.
    As the years have passed, and technology has made digital files the most convenient, efficient, and attractive method of listening to music for many people, the rules and cultural perceptions regarding music have changed drastically. We live in the iPod generation - where a "collection" of clunky CDs feels archaic - where the uniqueness of your music collection is limited only by how eclectic your taste is. Where it's embraced and expected that if you like an album, you send it to your friend to listen to. Whether this guy likes it or not, iPods have become synonymous with music - and if I filled my shiny new 160gb iPod up legally, buying each track online at the 99 cents price that the industry has determined, it would cost me about $32,226. How does that make sense? It's the ugly truth the record industry wants to ignore as they struggle to find ways to get people to pay for music in a culture that has already embraced the idea of music being something you collect in large volumes, and trade freely with your friends.
    Already is the key word, because it didn't have to be this way, and that's become the main source of my utter lack of sympathy for the dying record industry: They had a chance to move forward, to evolve with technology and address the changing needs of consumers - and they didn't. Instead, they panicked - they showed their hand as power-hungry dinosaurs, and they started to demonize their own customers, the people whose love of music had given them massive profits for decades. They used their unfair record contracts - the ones that allowed them to own all the music - and went after children, grandparents, single moms, even deceased great grandmothers - alongside many other common people who did nothing more than download some songs and leave them in a shared folder - something that has become the cultural norm to the iPod generation. Joining together in what has been referred to as an illegal cartel and using the RIAA as their attack dogs, the record labels have spent billions of dollars attempting to scare people away from downloading music. And it's simply not working. The pirating community continues to out-smart and out-innovate the dated methods of the record companies, and CD sales continue to plummet while exchange of digital music on the internet continues to skyrocket. Why? Because freely-available music in large quantities is the new cultural norm, and the industry has given consumers no fair alternative. They didn't jump in when the new technologies were emerging and think, "how can we capitalize on this to ensure that we're able to stay afloat while providing the customer what they've come to expect?" They didn't band together and create a flat monthly fee for downloading all the music you want. They didn't respond by drastically lowering the prices of CDs (which have been ludicrously overpriced since day one, and actually increased in price during the '90's), or by offering low-cost DRM-free legal MP3 purchases. Their entry into the digital marketplace was too little too late - a precedent of free, high-quality, DRM-free music had already been set.
    There seem to be a lot of reasons why the record companies blew it. One is that they're really not very smart. They know how to do one thing, which is sell records in a traditional retail environment. From personal experience I can tell you that the big labels are beyond clueless in the digital world - their ideas are out-dated, their methods make no sense, and every decision is hampered by miles and miles of legal tape, copyright restrictions, and corporate interests. Trying to innovate with a major label is like trying to teach your Grandmother how to play Halo 3: frustrating and ultimately futile. The easiest example of this is how much of a fight it's been to get record companies to sell MP3s DRM-free. You're trying to explain a new technology to an old guy who made his fortune in the hair metal days. You're trying to tell him that when someone buys a CD, it has no DRM - people can encode it into their computer as DRM-free MP3s within seconds, and send it to all their friends. So why insult the consumer by making them pay the same price for copy-protected MP3s? It doesn't make any sense! It just frustrates people and drives them to piracy! They don't get it: "It's an MP3, you have to protect it or they'll copy it." But they can do the same thing with the CDs you already sell!! Legal tape and lots of corporate bullshit. If these people weren't the ones who owned the music, it'd all be over already, and we'd be enjoying the real future of music. Because like with any new industry, it's not the people from the previous generation who are going to step in and be the innovators. It's a new batch.
    Newspapers are a good example: It used to be that people read newspapers to get the news. That was the distribution method, and newspaper companies controlled it. You paid for a newspaper, and you got your news, that's how it worked. Until the internet came along, and a new generation of innovative people created websites, and suddenly anyone could distribute information, and they could distribute it faster, better, more efficiently, and for free. Obviously this hurt the newspaper industry, but there was nothing they could do about it, because they didn't own the information itself - only the distribution method. Their only choice was to innovate and find ways to compete in a new marketplace. And you know what? Now I can get live, up-to-the-minute news for free, on thousands of different sources across the internet - and The New York Times still exists. Free market capitalism at its finest. It's not a perfect example, but it is a part of how the internet is changing every form of traditional media. It happened with newspapers, it's happening now with music, and TV and cell phones are next on the chopping block. In all cases technology demands that change will happen, it's just a matter of who will find ways to take advantage of it, and who won't.
    Unlike newspapers, record companies own the distribution and the product being distributed, so you can't just start your own website where you give out music that they own - and that's what this is all about: distribution. Lots of pro-piracy types argue that music can be free because people will always love music, and they'll pay for concert tickets, and merchandise, and the marketplace will shift and artists will survive. Well, yes, that might be an option for some artists, but that does nothing to help the record labels, because they don't make any money off of merchandise, or concert tickets. Distribution and ownership are what they control, and those are the two things piracy threatens. The few major labels left are parts of giant media conglomerations - owned by huge parent companies for whom artists and albums are just numbers on a piece of paper. It's why record companies shove disposable pop crap down your throat instead of nurturing career artists: because they have CEOs and shareholders to answer to, and those people don't give a shit if a really great band has the potential to get really successful, if given the right support over the next decade. They see that Gwen Stefani's latest musical turd sold millions, because parents of twelve year old girls still buy music for their kids, and the parent company demands more easy-money pop garbage that will be forgotten about next month. The only thing that matters to these corporations is profit - period. Music isn't thought of as an art form, as it was in the earlier days of the industry where labels were started by music-lovers - it's a product, pure and simple. And many of these corporations also own the manufacturing plants that create the CDs, so they make money on all sides - and lose money even from legal MP3s.
    At the top of all this is the rigged, outdated, and unfair structure of current intellectual property laws, all of them in need of massive reform in the wake of the digital era. These laws allow the labels to maintain their stranglehold on music copyrights, and they allow the RIAA to sue the pants off of any file-sharing grandmother they please. Since the labels are owned by giant corporations with a great deal of money, power, and political influence, the RIAA is able to lobby politicians and government agencies to manipulate copyright laws for their benefit. The result is absurdly disproportionate fines, and laws that in some cases make file sharing a heftier charge than armed robbery. This is yet another case of private, corporate interests using political influence to turn laws in the opposite direction of the changing values of the people. Or, as this very smart assessment from a record executive described it: "a clear case of a multinational conglomerate using its political muscle to the disadvantage of everyone but itself." But shady political maneuvers and scare tactics are all the RIAA and other anti-piracy groups have left, because people who download music illegally now number in the hundreds of millions, and they can't sue everyone. At this point they're just trying to hold up what's left of the dam before it bursts open. Their latest victim is Oink, a popular torrent site specializing in music.
    If you're not familiar with Oink, here's a quick summary: Oink was was a free members-only site - to join it you had to be invited by a member. Members had access to an unprecedented community-driven database of music. Every album you could ever imagine was just one click away. Oink's extremely strict quality standards ensured that everything on the site was at pristine quality - 192kbps MP3 was their bare minimum, and they championed much higher quality MP3s as well as FLAC lossless downloads. They encouraged logs to verify that the music had been ripped from the CD without any errors. Transcodes - files encoded from other encoded files, resulting in lower quality - were strictly forbidden. You were always guaranteed higher quality music than iTunes or any other legal MP3 store. Oink's strict download/share ratio ensured that every album in their vast database was always well-seeded, resulting in downloads faster than anywhere else on the internet. A 100mb album would download in mere seconds on even an average broadband connection. Oink was known for getting pre-release albums before anyone else on the internet, often months before they hit retail - but they also had an extensive catalogue of music dating back decades, fueled by music lovers who took pride in uploading rare gems from their collection that other users were seeking out. If there was an album you couldn't find on Oink, you only had to post a request for it, and wait for someone who had it to fill your request. Even if the request was extremely rare, Oink's vast network of hundreds of thousands of music-lovers eager to contribute to the site usually ensured you wouldn't have to wait long.
    In this sense, Oink was not only an absolute paradise for music fans, but it was unquestionably the most complete and most efficient music distribution model the world has ever known. I say that safely without exaggeration. It was like the world's largest music store, whose vastly superior selection and distribution was entirely stocked, supplied, organized, and expanded upon by its own consumers. If the music industry had found a way to capitalize on the power, devotion, and innovation of its own fans the way Oink did, it would be thriving right now instead of withering. If intellectual property laws didn't make Oink illegal, the site's creator would be the new Steve Jobs right now. He would have revolutionized music distribution. Instead, he's a criminal, simply for finding the best way to fill rising consumer demand. I would have gladly paid a large monthly fee for a legal service as good as Oink - but none existed, because the music industry could never set aside their own greed and corporate bullshit to make it happen.
    Here's an interesting aside: The RIAA loves to complain about music pirates leaking albums onto the internet before they're released in stores - painting the leakers as vicious pirates dead set on attacking their enemy, the music industry. But you know where music leaks from? From the fucking source, of course - the labels! At this point, most bands know that once their finished album is sent off to the label, the risk of it turning up online begins, because the labels are full of low-level workers who happen to be music fans who can't wait to share the band's new album with their friends. If the album manages to not leak directly from the label, it is guaranteed to leak once it heads off to manufacturing. Someone at the manufacturing plant is always happy to sneak off with a copy, and before long, it turns up online. Why? Because people love music, and they can't wait to hear their favorite band's new album! It's not about profit, and it's not about maliciousness. So record industry, maybe if you could protect your own assets a little better, shit wouldn't leak - don't blame the fans who flock to the leaked material online, blame the people who leak it out of your manufacturing plants in the first place! But assuming that's a hole too difficult to plug, it begs the question, "why don't labels adapt to the changing nature of distribution by selling new albums online as soon as they're finished, before they have a chance to leak, and release the physical CDs a couple months later?" Well, for one, labels are still obsessed with Billboard chart numbers - they're obsessed with determining the market value of their product by how well it fares in its opening week. Selling it online before the big retail debut, before they've had months to properly market the product to ensure success, would mess up those numbers (nevermind that those numbers mean absolutely nothing anymore). Additionally, selling an album online before it hits stores makes retail outlets (who are also suffering in all this) angry, and retail outlets have far more power than they should. For example, if a record company releases an album online but Wal-Mart won't have the CD in their stores for another two months (because it needs to be manufactured), Wal-Mart gets mad. Who cares if Wal-Mart gets mad, you ask? Well, record companies do, because Wal-Mart is, both mysteriously and tragically, the largest music retailer in the world. That means they have power, and they can say "if you sell Britney Spears' album online before we can sell it in our stores, we lose money. So if you do that, we're not going to stock her album at all, and then you'll lose a LOT of money." That kind of greedy business bullshit happens all the time in the record industry, and the consistent result is a worse experience for consumers and music lovers.
    Which is why Oink was so great - take away all the rules and legal ties, all the ownership and profit margins, and naturally, the result is something purely for, by, and in service of the music fan. And it actually helps musicians - file-sharing is "the greatest marketing tool ever to come along for the music industry." One of Oink's best features was how it allowed users to connect similar artists, and to see what people who liked a certain band also liked. Similar to Amazon's recommendation system, it was possible to spend hours discovering new bands on Oink, and that's what many of its users did. Through sites like Oink, the amount and variety of music I listen to has skyrocketed, opening me up to hundreds of artists I never would have experienced otherwise. I'm now fans of their music, and I may not have bought their CDs, but I would have never bought their CD anyway, because I would have never heard of them! And now that I have heard of them, I go to their concerts, and I talk them up to my friends, and give my friends the music to listen to for themselves, so they can go to the concerts, and tell their friends, and so on. Oink was a network of music lovers sharing and discovering music. And yes, it was all technically illegal, and destined to get shut down, I suppose. But it's not so much that they shut Oink down that boils my blood, it's the fucking bullshit propaganda they put out there. If the industry tried to have some kind of compassion - if they said, "we understand that these are just music fans trying to listen to as much music as they can, but we have to protect our assets, and we're working on an industry-wide solution to accommodate the changing needs of music fans"... Well, it's too late for that, but it would be encouraging. Instead, they make it sound like they busted a Columbian drug cartel or something. They describe it as a highly-organized piracy ring. Like Oink users were distributing kiddie porn or some shit. The press release says: "This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure." Wh - what?? That's EXACTLY what it was! No one made any money on that site - there were no ads, no registration fees. The only currency was ratio - the amount you shared with other users - a brilliant way of turning "free" into a sort of booming mini-economy. The anti-piracy groups have tried to spin the notion that you had to pay a fee to join Oink, which is NOT true - donations were voluntary, and went to support the hosting and maintenance of the site. If the donations spilled into profit for the guy who ran the site, well he damn well deserved it - he created something truly remarkable.
    So the next question is, what now?
    For the major labels, it's over. It's fucking over. You're going to burn to the fucking ground, and we're all going to dance around the fire. And it's your own fault. Surely, somewhere deep inside, you had to know this day was coming, right? Your very industry is founded on an unfair business model of owning art you didn't create in exchange for the services you provide. It's rigged so that you win every time - even if the artist does well, you do ten times better. It was able to exist because you controlled the distribution, but now that's back in the hands of the people, and you let the ball drop when you could have evolved.
    None of this is to say that there's no way for artists to make money anymore, or even that it's the end of record labels. It's just the end of record labels as we know them. A lot of people point to the Radiohead model as the future, but Radiohead is only dipping its toe into the future to test the waters. What at first seemed like a rainbow-colored revolution has now been openly revealed as a marketing gimmick: Radiohead was "experimenting," releasing a low-quality MP3 version of an album only to punish the fans who paid for it by later releasing a full-quality CD version with extra tracks. According to Radiohead's manager: "If we didn't believe that when people hear the music they will want to buy the CD then we wouldn't do what we are doing." Ouch. Radiohead was moving in the right direction, but if they really want to start a revolution, they need to place the "pay-what-you-want" digital album on the same content and quality level as the "pay-what-we-want" physical album.
    Ultimately, I don't know what the future model is going to be - I think all the current pieces of the puzzle will still be there, but they need to be re-ordered, and the rules need to be changed. Maybe record labels of the future exist to help front recording costs and promote artists, but they don't own the music. Maybe music is free, and musicians make their money from touring and merchandise, and if they need a label, the label takes a percentage of their tour and merch profits. Maybe all-digital record companies give bands all the tools they need to sell their music directly to their fans, taking a small percentage for their services. In any case, the artists own their own music.
    I used to reject the wishy-washy "music should be free!" mantra of online music thieves. I knew too much about the intricacies and economics of it, of the rock-and-a-hard-place situation many artists were in with their labels. I thought there were plenty of new ways to sell music that would be fair to all parties involved. But I no longer believe that, because the squabbling, backwards, greedy, ownership-obsessed major labels will never let it happen, and that's more clear to me now than ever. So maybe music has to be free. Maybe taking the money out of music is the only way to get money back into it. Maybe it's time to abandon the notion of the rock star - of music as a route to fame and fortune. The best music was always made by people who weren't in it for the money, anyway. Maybe smart, talented musicians will find ways to make a good living with or without CD sales. Maybe the record industry execs who made their fortunes off of unfair contracts and distribution monopolies should just walk away, confident that they milked a limited opportunity for all it was worth, and that it's time to find fortune somewhere else. Maybe in the hands of consumers, the music marketplace will expand in new and lucrative ways no one can even dream of yet. We won't know until music is free, and eventually it's going to be. Technological innovation destroys old industries, but it creates new ones. You can't fight it forever.
    Until the walls finally come down, we're in what will inevitably be looked back on as a very awkward, chaotic period in music history - fans are being arrested for sharing the music they love, and many artists are left helpless, unable to experiment with new business models because they're locked into record contracts with backwards-thinking labels.
    So what can you and I do to help usher in the brave new world? The beauty of Oink was how fans willingly and hyper-efficiently took on distribution roles that traditionally have cost labels millions of dollars. Music lovers have shown that they're much more willing to put time and effort into music than they are money. It's time to show artists that there's no limit to what an energized online fanbase can accomplish, and all they'll ever ask for in return is more music. And it's time to show the labels that they missed a huge opportunity by not embracing these opportunities when they had the chance.
    1. Stop buying music from major labels. Period. The only way to force change is to hit the labels where it hurts - their profits. The major labels are like Terry Schiavo right now - they're on life support, drooling in a coma, while white-haired guys in suits try and change the laws to keep them alive. But any rational person can see that it's too late, and it's time to pull out the feeding tube. In this case, the feeding tube is your money. Find out which labels are members/supporters of the RIAA and similar copyright enforcement groups, and don't support them in any way. The RIAA Radar is a great tool to help you with this. Don't buy CDs, don't buy iTunes downloads, don't buy from Amazon, etc. Steal the music you want that's on the major labels. It's easy, and despite the RIAA's scare tactics, it can be done safely - especially if more and more people are doing it. Send letters to those labels, and to the RIAA, explaining very calmly and professionally that you will no longer be supporting their business, because of their bullish scare tactics towards music fans, and their inability to present a forward-thinking digital distribution solution. Tell them you believe their business model is outdated and the days of companies owning artists' music are over. Make it very clear that you will continue to support the artists directly in other ways, and make it VERY clear that your decision has come about as a direct result of the record company's actions and inactions regarding digital music.
    2. Support artists directly. If a band you like is stuck on a major label, there are tons of ways you can support them without actually buying their CD. Tell everyone you know about them - start a fansite if you're really passionate. Go to their shows when they're in town, and buy t-shirts and other merchandise. Here's a little secret: Anything a band sells that does not have music on it is outside the reach of the record label, and monetarily supports the artist more than buying a CD ever would. T-shirts, posters, hats, keychains, stickers, etc. Send the band a letter telling them that you're no longer going to be purchasing their music, but you will be listening to it, and you will be spreading the word and supporting them in other ways. Tell them you've made this decision because you're trying to force change within the industry, and you no longer support record labels with RIAA affiliations who own the music of their artists.
    If you like bands who are releasing music on open, non-RIAA indie labels, buy their albums! You'll support the band you like, and you'll support hard-working, passionate people at small, forward-thinking music labels. If you like bands who are completely independent and are releasing music on their own, support them as much as possible! Pay for their music, buy their merchandise, tell all your friends about them and help promote them online - prove that a network of passionate fans is the best promotion a band can ask for.
    3. Get the message out. Get this message out to as many people as you can - spread the word on your blog or your MySpace, and more importantly, tell your friends at work, or your family members, people who might not be as tuned into the internet as you are. Teach them how to use torrents, show them where to go to get music for free. Show them how to support artists while starving the labels, and who they should and shouldn't be supporting.
    4. Get political. The fast-track to ending all this nonsense is changing intellectual property laws. The RIAA lobbies politicians to manipulate copyright laws for their own interests, so voters need to lobby politicians for the peoples' interests. Contact your local representatives and senators. Tell them politely and articulately that you believe copyright laws no longer reflect the interests of the people, and you will not vote for them if they support the interests of the RIAA. Encourage them to draft legislation that helps change the outdated laws and disproportionate penalties the RIAA champions. Contact information for state representatives can be found here, and contact information for senators can be found here. You can email them, but calling on the phone or writing them actual letters is always more effective.

    Tonight, with Oink gone, I find myself wondering where I'll go now to discover new music. All the other options - particularly the legal ones - seem depressing by comparison. I wonder how long it will be before everyone can legally experience the type of music nirvana Oink users became accustomed to? I'm not too worried - something even better will rise out of Oink's ashes, and the RIAA will respond with more lawsuits, and the cycle will repeat itself over and over until the industry has finally bled itself to death. And then everything will be able to change, and it will be in the hands of musicians and fans and a new generation of entrepreneurs to decide how the new record business is going to work. Whether you agree with it or not, it's fact. It's inevitable - because the determination of fans to share music is much, much stronger than the determination of corporations to stop it.
  • excited for some weekend and other nonsense

    Current mood:chill
    Let me start by saying that Maddie has discovered how to make a new fun sounds a LOT like she is seriously choking on something.  I'm all for her discovering her voice and finding out new ways to use it, but this one gives us mini heart attacks on a daily basis.  It's not so bad when we are in the same room, but if she is out of sight and we hear the fun choking sound off we go a runnin' at break neck speed.  She hasn't even gotten close to choking before, but this sound is pretty horrible.  Hopefully this new fun-ness passes quickly.
    We finally got around to taking down Christmas yesterday.  There is absolutely nothing fun about taking down Christmas.  At least I don't go all crazy with the deccorations which made it pretty fast to clean up, but fitting bulbs into boxes and trying to cram everything into Rubbermaid boxes is not my idea of a good time....not to mention all of the fur needles.  Hard wood floors made that not such a disasterous mess, but it still is a mess.  But, everything but the lights (thats Dan's job) is put away until next year, and I will be happy not to see it all until about October when I'll start to get the Christmas itch.  Good bye Christmas!
    I think that we have officially hit the terrible.....uh.....16 months?  A little early for the terrible twos.  Maddie has started to make her opinion very well known by yelling, screeching and crying.....basically starting a tantrum, and mostly when I tell her no, or take something away from her.  It's weird because it is really hit and miss with what she is gonna get mad about.  Sometimes she'll let us take stuff from her and it rolls off her shoulders and she runs off to something else, and sometimes a meltdown ensues.  What I've been doing that has worked almost 100% so far is when she does start to tantrum, I touch her with both my hands either on her shoulders, hands or even cheeks sometimes (gentle touch, not squeezing or anything) and I crouch down so she can see my face and I say (an example from this morning lol), "look at Mama's eyes, those are Daddy's papers and we can not play with them, let's find somehting better to play with." and then we find an alternative for her to play with.  Hopefully it will continue to work but this child is a stubborn little stinker, so I anticipate some battles.
    I am so super excited for this weekend.  Dan has his 3 days off this weekend and we already have some fun plans!  On Friday we are taking Maddie to her very first movie in the theater......I know, she is a bit too young for a venture like that, but the new Veggie Tales movie is coming out and she LOVES Veggie Tales and we thought if she was gonna sit mostly still through a movie, it would be that one, and we are planning on going to a showing in the middle of the day which should be pretty empty, so if she gets the wiggles and needs to move around, it won't upset people.  I think it is going to blow her mind and I am so excited to watch her experience it.  Dan and I also have a hot date planned for Saturday night whcih we got a babysitter for.  Is it still considered a hot date if there is another couple coming with us?  I vote yes.  We are so happy because we have made friends with a couple our age who have a little boy 2 weeks older than Maddie and we get along SO well!  It's been a long time since we've have some good friends, and we have really been enjoying spending time together whcih seems to be happening once a week....anyway, we are going out to a thai/sushi place on Saturday night and introducing our friends to sushi for the first time.  I'm hoping they love it as much as we do, but you never can tell!  We'll probably spend the rest of the weekend hanging with Maddie and trying to clean our ever messy house.  How do people with toddlers have non cluttered houses?  I swear she is right behind us as we pick up, pulling things off shelves and getting thing back out.  It seems a bit pointless sometimes, but still we try!
    Okay, one last little thing......I am looking for a baby book for our new little peanut and thought maybe someone out in cyber world could reccomend one to me.  I tried finding the same one that I have for Maddie, but I actually bought it when I was like 18......what?? I was planning ahead lol, but they don't make them anymore.  Maddie's was a Mary Engelbreit baby book and I LOVE it, so I want to find something that I love equally for new peanut.  If you LOVE your baby book, and it's not from 10 years ago, let me know.  Gracias!
  • Following the leader.....Thanks Angela!

    Current mood:chipper
    On the coat tails of Angela's blog, I went and read the speech that the article refers to and LOVED it!  It is very long, but so worth the read!  It really validated the decisions we have made to not vaccinate our children, and it says all the things I wish I could say when talking to other people about our decision.  I've provided the link to the actual web page below because there is a lot of underlined information that you can follow which links to other great info.  Maddie has only had the one hep B vaccine in the hospital and I really regret not educating myself before giving birth because I would have prevented them from giving it to her if I had known it was SOP.  Even if you decide to vaccinate, don't just do it because it's what everyone else does.  Do some research, learn the pros (not that I can think of any lol) and the cons and then make an educated decision that you can feel confident with!  Okay, enough outta's the speech:
    Bartlett Democratic Club Speech, February 7, 2002
    by Sandy Mintz Copyright 2002
    Note:  As I have time, I will add links to points that have been made here.
    Hi everybody. Before I start, I want to thank the Bartlett Democratic Club, Jean Graves, and all of you who showed up today.
    You know, I don't know about you, but I really don't want to be here.  Virtually every person I know and love has been vaccinated.  The last thing I want is for there to be problems with vaccines.  So I am here, not because I want to be, but because I have to be.
    Please understand, at the outset, that I am not against an informed parent choosing to vaccinate his or her child.  What I am against is bad science being used to justify forcing parents to vaccinate.  What I am against is bad science being used to convince a parent to vaccinate.  And what I am against is a parent, any parent, being forced to do something that has even a remote chance of harming their child.
    What all parents deserve is good information, untainted by conflict of interest, on the safety of vaccines.  They deserve the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate their children.  And those that choose to vaccinate, after weighing the known benefits and risks, deserve safer vaccines.
    Given time constraints, I'm going to cut to the chase. 
    Vaccine manufacturers are behind pretty much everything we have been told about the safety of vaccines.  As Dr. Samuel Katz (who you will hear more about later), developer of the measles vaccine stated, "Government doesn't fund clinical studies of vaccines.  Industry does."
     We are letting the fox guard the henhouse. 
     It would be like trusting the propaganda the cigarette companies provide on the safety of cigarettes.
     And it gets worse.  Medical journals are supported by drug company advertising dollars.  Vaccine advisory committee members have financial ties to the vaccine manufacturers and routinely waive their conflicts of interest.  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, which makes recommendations to our pediatricians, is not immune (pun intended).  I have on my website copies of subpoenaed letters from 3 vaccine manufacturers to the AAP discussing the almost $1 million they donated to the AAP during a 5-year period alone!
     I'm going to use Dr. Katz as an example, because he is a very visible figure in the vaccine promotion world.  He has served on immunization committees of the CDC, World Health Organization and Institute of Medicine.  He was chosen as the expert on 60 Minutes defending the MMR vaccine, even though he developed the vaccine!    And he stated in the Congressional Quarterly Researcher,  "I make sure neither I nor any members of my family have financial interest in vaccine companies". 
     Then how does Dr. Katz explain the fact that in the year 2000, the FDA noted, he has "associations with firms that could be affected by the (vaccine) committee discussions"? 
    Unfortunately, there are many more like him out there, making recommendations while making money as a result of the recommendations they make.
    And it gets even worse.
    In 1986, after the vaccine manufacturers threatened to pull out of vaccine production due to all the lawsuits against them, guess what happened?  Instead of saying, gee, maybe we should be concerned, Congress passed a law covering the liability of the vaccine manufacturers!  So now we have universally mandated vaccines, no liability for the makers of the vaccines, and the vaccine manufacturers the very suppliers of the information we rely upon to justify vaccine use.  And guess who pays for the liability coverage?  The vaccinated! There is a surcharge on every dose of vaccine, paid by the consumer, which goes into a fund to pay compensation to known victims of vaccination.  So far around $1.2 billion has been paid out. 
    In spite of these facts, however, some good has come out of the Compensation Act.  Parents of vaccine injured children used to find it difficult, if not impossible, to get money to care for their children.  Now, more can.  Maureen Forceskie, from Anchorage, is one such mom who, thankfully, did.  Her April 2001 rally speech is included in your handouts.
    In the Compensation Bill that Congress passed, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, aka VAERS, was also created.  All suspected adverse vaccine reactions are required to be reported to VAERS.  From mid 1990 to mid 2000, over 100,000 adverse reactions were reported, many of them serious, many of them deaths.  That's a lot of adverse reactions.  But it's probably only a small fraction of what is actually happening.
    Former FDA commissioner David Kessler has said that it is thought 1% of serious drug reactions are reported to the FDA.  A vaccine manufacturer testified that in their experience, a passive system (which is what VAERS is) results in around 2%.  I don't know what percent of actual vaccine associated adverse reactions are reported.  I do know that parents are being told by their doctors that even deaths within hours are not related, and are being discouraged from filing reports.  Although reporting is required, there is a great deal of resistance to doing so.  Maureen's speech is a testament to that, as is the letter I've included from Em, Sophie's Mom.  Consequently it may well be that only 1-2% of serious adverse vaccine associated reactions are reported to VAERS. 
    Moreover, there is no good reason why 100% of all possible adverse vaccine reactions shouldn't get reported.
    To give you an idea why anything less than 100% is a problem, let me share with you some of what I have discovered or uncovered, as the case may be, in my investigation of the VAERS database, which I now have on my computer. 
    The initial examination has revealed some startling statistics.  To simplify things a bit, I looked at just one year, 1998.  Here is some of what I found:
    Among people vaccinated in the U.S. in January of 1998, just one month, 332 people reported an adverse reaction that began within 2 days of receiving one or more vaccines.  In 22 % of those cases, it was recorded that it was unknown whether or not the person had even recovered! 
    Why was there no follow up?  Does anyone from the CDC or FDA monitoring this data even look at it?  Do they even care?  Why collect all this information and yet allow it to be incomplete? 
    Making matters worse, because we don't know what percent of adverse vaccine reactions get reported, we don't know if it was a few hundred, a few thousand, or many thousands of January vaccinees who reacted within 2 days.
    40% of those January vaccinees also made a visit to the ER.  But because unknown portions of adverse reactions get reported, we don't know if those people represent hundreds or thousands of people who went to the ER after having a serious reaction within 2 days of vaccination in just one month alone.
    At least 81 U.S. infant deaths were reported to have occurred in 1998, most of them occurring within days, over 40% by the day following vaccination.  Not only that: around 60% had died by the 3rd day, and over 70% by the 6th!  But we still don't know whether those 81 reported infant deaths mean that hundreds or thousands died.  Wouldn't that be a good thing to know? (Note: percentages have changed somewhat with the addition of more reports since the speech, and may continue to change as more deaths are added.)
    We must demand answers to these and other important questions concerning our children's health.  And perhaps we should question whether our children should be routinely vaccinated, at least until we get and are satisfied with those answers.
    So I'm sorry, I am really sorry, but there is definitely evidence against the vaccines. And in spite of how difficult it is to get such information published, there is plenty in the literature to worry anyone who is paying attention.  Meanwhile,  VAERS is a gold mine and although it merely documents an association between vaccination and an adverse event, it is evidence, nonetheless.
    Just think of it - in most cases when an adverse event occurs shortly after taking a drug, the drug is considered the most likely cause.  Phenylpropanolamine, or PPA, (which is found in over the counter cold medicine), was banned last year for over the counter use by the FDA, because strokes were associated with it.  This is what should happen when a drug maims or kills.
    Yet thousands of children die, many thousands more are injured, often within hours of receiving a vaccine, and the vaccine is automatically said to be unrelated.  "It is only a coincidence", they will tell us.  They tell us this without even knowing what is happening, how many it is happening to, or how long after vaccination it happened. 
    When a child dies within hours or days of vaccination, the vaccination should be the first thing suspected, not automatically rejected.  And don't kid yourself - calling a death SIDS does not mean the death was not related to the vaccine.  For what is SIDS, after all, but an infant death of unknown cause?  Is no one curious as to the cause?  Again, they will say, "but that is when SIDS occurs".  Yes, that is when SIDS occurs among the vaccinated.  But what was the SIDS rate prior to vaccines, prior to smallpox vaccine, prior to DPT?  We don't have that information.  So we don't really know what would be happening were our children not being vaccinated at all.
    In fact, if your doctor tells you some new or unusual symptom or disease is not related to vaccination, don't believe him or her, because they CANNOT KNOW THAT and in fact are required, by federal law, to report it.  Not reporting these things just perpetuates the myth that there is no evidence.
    Which brings us to the poor quality of the research.  The Institute of Medicine, or IOM, which was mandated by Congress in 1986 to review the safety of the childhood vaccines, reported that it was "handicapped" by the lack of good research.  Handicapped!  How ironic is it that they used that term?  In spite of being handicapped, however, they found "evidence was consistent with" or "indicates a causal relation" in a number of cases, including between encephalopathy and the pertussis component of the DPT vaccine.  That's brain inflammation.  Brain inflammation in developing infant brains.  Imagine what that could be doing to our kids.
    The "experts", by the way, denied there was a connection right up until the IOM report was published.  Dr. James Cherry wrote an editorial, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association about one year prior to the IOM report.  It was entitled,  "'Pertussis vaccine encephalopathy': it is time to recognize it as the myth that it is."  Shortly after it was published, however, JAMA issued a "correction" – it seems Cherry had failed to disclose his financial ties to the industry…
    Always remember who's paying for the research. 
    There are many ways to skew research results.  One way is to compare the wrong groups.  How do you do it in the case of vaccinations?  By only comparing the vaccinated to other vaccinated children.  You use either the less recently vaccinated, or those receiving another vaccine, and then call them "unvaccinated".
    Any study which finds no adverse effects from vaccination, which does not use never vaccinated subjects as controls, is meaningless, and, in fact, has no control. 
    Any vaccination whatsoever is intervention.  A control group represents those who are not receiving whatever intervention is being studied.  When you are studying the effects of vaccination, the only legitimate, meaningful control group is the NEVER vaccinated.  End of story.
    Okay, but is there any research actually supporting the notion that we should be concerned?  Yes, and such research is plentiful, in spite of the obstacles against it ever getting published. The following are some of the issues being addressed:
    A new form of autism, called regressive autism, is rising at an explosive rate.  In some places the incidence of autism is 1 out of 150 children or more.  This autism, unlike the older one, occurs in previously normally developing children who lose their skills, often shortly after the MMR vaccine.  This is not a question of improved diagnosis.  You would not, could not, have missed these children – many of whom bang their heads, scream through the night, exhibiting all sorts of heartbreaking and frightening symptoms.
    The rate of behavioral disorders among children has skyrocketed, now thought by some to be around 1 out of 6.  When I was growing up, I don't remember any children in my classroom who could not control themselves.  Now such children are commonplace.  Remember that pretty much established brain inflammation problem?  Minimal to major inflammation could be causing all sorts of problems in children's developing brains.
    Autoimmune disorders and other forms of chronic disease like asthma have also risen dramatically, including among children.  It is now thought by many that there is a benefit to getting these childhood diseases, which may prime the immune system against chronic diseases.  Remember recent news that our children need exposure to germs or they are more likely to have asthma?  It is similarly thought that experiencing these infectious diseases of childhood boosts the developing immune system of children. There is also reason to believe that vaccines themselves may suppress the immune system, thereby contributing to chronic disease.
    The problem of cell-culture contamination has long plagued vaccines.  For instance, the polio vaccine given in the late fifties, early sixties, was found to be contaminated by a carcinogenic monkey virus, SV40.  All existing stock of the vaccine was allowed to be used up, rather than "erode confidence in the vaccine" by recalling it. Some time after that polio vaccine was introduced, cancer in children rose.   SV40 is also now showing up in tumors, including cancerous ones. 
    Vaccine additives, like thimerosal, a form of mercury, and a known neurotoxin, are thought to be serious problems.  Until recently, thimerosal was routinely used as a preservative in vaccines.  The symptoms of mercury toxicity are virtually identical to the symptoms that many of these autistic children display.  Of course the "experts" say there is no relation between this known neurotoxin and brain or other damage.  All the while they are warning pregnant and nursing women, and children, to avoid foods containing high amounts of it.
    Nature abhors a vacuum.  Just as antibiotic overuse has led to drug resistant strains, new vaccine derived strains of disease are emerging, and can be more serious than the original disease.
    There is evidence that vaccination may cause chromosomal damage.
    Although the so-called experts will argue vociferously against there being a connection between things like MS and vaccination, vaccines are commonly used to induce or cause demyelination experimentally.  MS is a form of demyelination.
    A study published in the Lancet provided evidence that measles without rash, that is, subclinical measles, causes a significant increase in serious adult disease, including cancer.  The vaccinated often get subclinical cases, i.e., rashless disease.  Measles and chickenpox vaccination in themselves may be a form of rashless illness.  Many parents are comforted by the idea that their children are only getting mild or symptom free cases of these diseases.  But should they be?  The rash is the body's way of removing the disease.  Is vaccination and the suppressed illness it causes going to predispose our children to serious things like cancer?
    A Science article found that 2 totally harmless herpes simplex viruses recombined in mice, killing 62% of them.  We are combining all sorts of diseases in these vaccines and in our children without any evidence that harm will not come of it.
    The epidemiology of these childhood diseases has changed so that high-risk groups, infants and adults, who normally don't get these diseases, and for whom they are considerably more serious, are now more likely to get them.  We were originally told, without any long-term research to support the claim - after all these vaccines had just been developed - that immunity from the vaccines would be lifelong.  Now that it turns out not to be true, we are being told the solution is to revaccinate.  But repeated vaccination may neither be safe nor work.  Is our future to be filled with large, uncontrollable outbreaks, with infants and adults getting and dying from theses diseases?  Might it not have been better to get these childhood diseases as children, when they are relatively benign?  Have we made these diseases vastly more serious because of vaccination?         
    The truth is, in developed nations like ours most of these diseases were declining both in incidence and severity prior to the advent of vaccination.  Many of them were considered a normal part of growing up, some of us never even knowing we had gotten them.  When death rates in developing or Third World nations are used as examples, rather than the rates in developed nations like ours, to scare us into using vaccinations, we are being manipulated to believe these diseases are more serious than they really are.
    And if these diseases have become more serious than they used to be, because of changing epidemiology and other adverse factors due to vaccination, then we should admit it.  The solution proposed for vaccine-caused problems should not, however, be more vaccination!
    An example of a disease which is really not all that serious, but which our children are now expected to get a vaccination for in order to attend school, is Hepatitis A.  Let me share with you what the textbook "Vaccines" says about Hepatitis A Virus or HAV.   "Infection with HAV may produce a wide spectrum of outcomes from silent or subclinical hepatitis at one end, through typical acute hepatitis with jaundice, to fulminant hepatitis at the other.  The single most important factor in determining the outcome of HAV infection appears to be age.  Whereas greater than 90% of infections acquired before the age of 5 years are silent, the proportion of infected individuals with symptoms increases steadily, reaching approximately 25% by 15 years and 90% or above in adults.  The duration of illness varies but most patients feel better, have lost their hepatomegaly, and have nearly normal liver function test results within 3 weeks.  In the large 1989 Shanghai outbreak, 90% of a subset of 8647 hospitalized patients observed carefully had completely recovered in 4 months and all had recovered in one year.  Relapse consisting of renewed symptoms, elevated liver function test results, and possibly detection of virus in stools has been found in up to 10% of cases, but recovery is universal.  Hepatitis A never becomes chronic."
    Is that a vaccine you feel your child should be required to have?
    What about Hepatitis B?  Unless an infant is born to a Hepatitis B positive mother (and don't forget that mothers can be screened to see if they have it), there is virtually no chance that an infant will get the disease.  Why should infants get a vaccine to protect sexually promiscuous or intravenous drug using teens and adults?  Why should anybody have to do that?
    And other than infants, most people who get Hepatitis B completely recover.
    So, infants aren't likely to get Hepatitis B, anyone else is not likely to have long-term problems if they DO get it, and those that do get it in most cases have only themselves to blame.
    And then there's the chickenpox vaccine, originally developed mostly to avoid the cost of  "work days lost".  Hey, why not let the parents decide?  Those that can and want to stay home and care for their normally not all that sick kids, how about letting them do so and still be able to attend our public schools?  (After they have recovered, of course.)  That way they can avoid the not so unlikely prospect of having their children get chickenpox as adults, when it really can be a problem.
    Public Health will say that these vaccines must be mandatory or these diseases will spread.  But if the vaccines work, anyone choosing them will be protected.  If they don't prevent the spread of the disease to the vaccinated, what is the point?  It hardly seems right that those who don't want to be vaccinated should be required to be vaccinated, because vaccines don't always work.
    And to whatever extent vaccines are being required because the "immune suppressed" cannot be vaccinated, and are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of disease, while my heart goes out to such people, they are not more important than children who are harmed by vaccines.  Nor should the notion that vaccination may in itself be creating immune suppression be left out of this equation.
    Besides there is documented proof of outbreaks in 100% vaccinated populations.  Now, whose fault is that?
    I also consider any notion of "public health" to be suspect, which sacrifices the individual to some alleged higher goal.  Many of us find it way scarier that the state would sacrifice children to someone's idea of the common good, than to take our chances with Mother Nature.  Who decides?  What's the right number?  Who's counting?  Even in wartime, the draft of adults is only used very judiciously and sparingly.  We also go to considerable effort to avoid enemy civilian casualties.  Yet we seem to think nothing of sacrificing our own innocent children.
    The bottom line?  We need good information, we need a choice, and we need it now.  If we had such a choice, the vaccine manufacturers just might improve their products.  Why, on earth, do they need to improve them now, when we are required to have their vaccines, and they are not accountable for the outcome?
    By the way, remember our old friend Dr. Katz?  He has a niece who chooses not to vaccinate her children, and yet he considers her a good parent, even though he personally disagrees with her decision.
    We parents deserve the right to choose what we feel is best for the children we love, and for whom we are responsible.  No one else will be expected to care for our children if the vaccines or diseases maim them.  No one else's heart will be broken like ours if they are killed or otherwise harmed.
    We must stop ignoring what is happening to our children.  Legislature will only change our laws if we ask them to.  And ask we must.  Please join me in this fight.  Our children need us.

  • A good ending to what began as a horrible week

    Current mood:content
    I'm not sure if anyone noticed that after my ultrasound appointment on Monday absolutely nothing was mentioned about the experience.  Most of you are probably having an "oh yeah" moment whilst scratching your head......I have no doubt that no one actually reads my blabbering!  lol
    Anyway, the reason why I didn't mention my ultrasound was because there was some questionable findings.  What started out as an exciting day with the hopes of finding out the sex of my baby became a very scary and emotional day.  My Doctor told me that they found a choroid plexus cyst.  I asked him what that was, and where it was located....thinking it was maybe in the heart.....he told me that he didn't want to tell me because he knew I would freak out, but he eventually did tell me it is located in the brain, and then I promptly freaked out!  He told me he wasn't worried and that in most cases this type of cyst goes away by the end of pregnancy, but they were going to send me to Duke to have a level II ultrasound because.......the cyst by itself doesn't mean anything, it's harmless, but the existance of the cyst increases the chances that my baby has trisomy 18 (edwards disease) which is a genetic disorder kinda like down syndrom where there is an extra no.18 chromosome.  Except unlike down syndrome, trisomy 18 is usually fatal.....most babies don't make it out of utero, and those that do usually don't make it to their first birthday.  The chances of a fetus having trisomy 18 is 1/3,000, the chances with a choroid plexus cyst present are 1/ the chances were really low that anything was wrong with my baby, but I was still devestated and so so sad.  It's not something that I was expecting at ALL, the biggest thing I was worried about was the baby having it's legs closed and not being able to find out the sex......there being a genetic problem never even crossed my mind.  I cried off and on most of Monday.....pregnancy hormones can make you crazy lol.
    Wednesday we had out level II untrasound.  I was really nervous but had been trying really hard not to think about it at all.  What they were looking for on the ultrasound were other signs of trisomy 18 which include; clenched hands due to nervous system malfunction, rocker bottom feet, small head size, holes in the heart, malformations of the digestive tract, the urinary tract, and genitals....basically it is very obvious when a baby has trisomy 18, and there are usually many visual signs.  I watched the screen that showed my baby and also kept a close eye on the technician's face to see any traces of bad news but........everything was FINE!  The baby is growing right on schedule, has no holes in the heart, has a normal sized head, normal feet and relaxed hands.  All of the body parts are intact and look just like they should....and we got to see them all VERY clearly with the new fangled equipment.  The cyst is still there, but should go away sometime before week 28.  I will have another ultrasound around 28 weeks to verify that the baby is growing well, and to check on the status of the cyst, but everything looks perfectly normal!!  Hooray.  What a scary thing to go though let me tell ya!  I would honestly be fine with having a baby that had down syndrome, but the idea that this baby was going to die sometime before it turned one was just too sad, too heartbreaking....I'm so glad we don't have to go through that!
    So, with all of that going on this week, both Dan and I lost our bet.  It was just too hard to try and keep secrets from the people we love when we were going through such a hard time.  We needed their support and prayers, and we both let the sex of the baby slip during conversations, so without further ado, Maddie is going to have a little..........

    SISTER!!!  It's a GIRL!!

County McCounterson