Friday, December 31, 2004

This is a test...of that BloggerBot Hello thingie...
The Wrath of Nature

The tsunami/earthquake thing in southeast Asia has me pretty horrified. Watching the death toll creep up from a sad 20,000 to a "holy crap!" 150,000 all week long has given me a new appreciation for my coddled, well-fed, inland, American life.

We should all stop complaining about our malfunctioning cell phones (you heard me, customers I spent all day talking to,) and our crappy McJobs (uh, that's me too I guess,) and donate some of that cash we were just going to spend on more crap.

Red Cross has set up a special fund specifically for the tsunami victims.

Or, you can go Red Crescent if you are so inclined.

The United Way has created the South Asia Response fund to deal with the disaster.

UNICEF is taking donations for South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts.

The Prime Minister of India has set up a relief fund and is accepting donations. is demanding America's 'leadership' offer more help.

Oxfam America is taking donations for an Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Fund.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has already set up shop, and is taking donations.

Habitat for Humanity has lots of homes to rebuild. has set up a way to donate using 1-click ordering.

The Karuna Trust, some Buddhist monk type people, are helping out.

As are the American Jewish World Service.

Islamic Relief is doing their whole 'One-of-the-Five-Pillars' thing.

Both Google and have put together respectable charity lists to choose from.

Want to volunteer? Check out

And if you can't do anything to help any of the above charities, I'm sure there's a prefectly good homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your hometown in dire need of cash or volunters. Hell, there's probably some poor people in your neighborhood who could use a hand.

So go help them!

Since I'm a person who still is in denial about New Mexico turning into a red state, I can't help but sticking in this thought: If people like Bill O'Rielly or all those Chirstian Coalition whiners spent as much time emulating the 'philosopher Jesus' (which sounds like a cool band name...Philosopher Jesus)as they did complaining that gay Jewish filmmakers are staining the souls of America's children, then all the victims of this disaster would be living in mansions and driving Cadillacs.

But seriously, go help!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Post-Christmas Schwag

Because I know you all want to buy some, there's new designs in the Plucky Store.

Don't forget the Taos Aelthing (Viking Festival) Store either! I like the Sack of Lindesfarne shirt...

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Whatever

Happy Secular Winter Holiday! Spring will come again!

UPDATE: Via skippy, you may now have a Festivus for the rest of us!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


In a move that will have Rick Santorum shouting "I knew it!" the Jim Capozzola over at Rittenhouse has had his bulldog, Mildred, ordained a minister.

I hereby renounce my secular humanism and worship at the altar of Mildred!
Ho ho ho, American Children!

The Little Hedgehog is also having a Christmastime creep-out.

It's one of those life ironies that a time where you're supposed to be nice to everyone is really a time when you're not...
Christmas makes baby Jesus cry...

The seasonal spending orgiastics of my fellow consumerist cogs is particularly offensive to me this year, what with the wake of all this chest-thumping in defense of Christmas done recently by the whiners on the right.
Throughout December, O'Reilly has positioned himself as the lone ranger, willing to step up and defend the baby Jesus. "Nobody sticks up for Christmas except me. Did Peter Jennings stick up for Christmas last night? I don't believe he did. How about Brian Williams, did he? Did Rather stick up for Christmas? No."
You know, Al Franken was right. Bill O'Reilly is a serious fruitcake (haha, for Christmas, get it?). You have to wonder if he really sees himself as the lone warrior standing to protect the helpless baby Jesus. This is a teeny-tiny baby step away from that "Gay Jewish filmmakers are ruining the world" guy that was so easily mocked on the Daily Show last week.

I have to say that it's almost refreshing, now that the election is over, that the ultra conservative right is dropping this whole "we love Jews and liberals are anti-Semitic, not us," thing.
At one point, O'Reilly told the caller, "Come on, if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then." (Media Matters for America, a liberal media monitoring organization, quickly posted transcripts from the radio show.) "It was offensive and over the top," says Steven Freeman, associate director of the civil liberties division at the Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish civil rights organization.
Jesus Christ (haha again). Imagine if he had said "If you're offended in this primarily white nation, then you gotta go to Africa then," to some black person? Maybe this is the next step in the new "First they came for the ______ but I did not speak out because I was not a ______," type situations. The day can't be far away when someone tells Mr. O'Reilly that "If you're so offended, then go back to Ireland!"

The truly funny thing is that Christmas was, only very recently, a religious and wholesome holiday. It's a feast day, for Christ's sake (literally, haha), having more in common with Mardi Gras than the more family-oriented (and secular) Thanksgiving. Not only does it have ancient, pagan roots...
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
...But until quite recently it was celebrated in a fairly debaucherous manner.
On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today's Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the "lord of misrule" and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
So I think it's Bill O'Reilly robbing Christmas of it's true meaning. I'm going to his house and demanding his best food and drink, lest I terrorize him with mischief.
Guilt-Free Christmas

Not that it's possible with all the Catholicism in my family, but here are some things to avoid purchasing in this year's consumerist orgy.

Beluga caviar, crocodile skin, ivory, and other grisly animal remains...



And pretty much anything made in China.

It's more than a little sad when you think of what Christmas is supposed to represent, theoretically anyway, and the destruction all the crap we buy wreaks on the environment and our fellow man. Look folks, there's a reason the 'West' is so much better off than the rest of the world. Because we (and by that I mean you and me, all of us) exploit the fuck out of them.

If we all try our hardest not to be greedy pigs, then maybe we can make the world a teensy bit better this Christmas instead of making it worse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The medal of what?!?

Irony is officially dead, my friends, and there's a shiny medal pinned to its chest.
Bush presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who oversaw combat in Afghanistan and the initial invasion of Iraq, former CIA Director George Tenet and former Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer.
Now I really can't speak with authority on the general, but this very article has choice worts for George Tenet and Paul Bremer.
Tenet left the CIA in July after seven years as director. He has been criticized for intelligence failures before the September 11, 2001 attacks and the never-proven prewar allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Bush credited him as "one of the first to recognize and address the threat to America from radical networks."
Bush then said, "Coughbullshitcough!"

Bremer, of course, is best known for this choice remark.
This fall, Bremer suggested the United States had paid a price in Iraq in the immediate aftermath of major combat operations because it did not have enough troops in place to stop the looting.

Those remarks gave Bush critics ammunition for their claims that the administration's postwar planning was inadequate.
Hey, I said that, too! Can I have a medal of freedom too?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Well, there's always something...

Okay, so how do I edit my archive template now that blogger has decided I don't have one? But it's there....oh, booger.
New Template

Too boring? Too hard on the eyes? I just figured it was time for a change...
Cause yeah, that's a real problem

Am I the only one that thinks that steroid use in baseball is about as important to the state of the world as plastic surgery in Hollywood? Who cares about this non-issue anyway?

John McCain, that's who. I have had a grudging respect for McCain, based mainly on the good-humored appearances he often makes on The Daily Show. But if we're really reached a point in our society that when we're fighting what appears to me to be an unwinnable war that we started for no reason, or that when a genocide just took place in the Sudan, or that when millions of our nation's children are being medicated to an inch of their lives, or even with the relatively banal plagues of poverty and homelessness all around us a respected politician is rebuilding his career based on steroid use in baseball?

Because, you know, steroids are a huge problem. Once we get rid of steroids, then everything will be great again.

Best quiz ever

Which Eddie Izzard line are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Via The Little Hedgehog.

If you're not familiar with the joy that is Eddie Izzard's comedy, then you might as well be covered in jam.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sunday, December 05, 2004

George W. Bush wants your teenaged daughter pregnant and date-raped!

That is the only conclusion I can come to after reading the recent study (Adobe Acrobat required) on the horribly sexist and, more importantly, fantastically ineffective abstinence-only sex education programs the White House is pouring $170 million of your taxpayer's money into.

These programs, failing to accept the fact that horny young people really want to fuck each other, fail to prevent teenage pregnancy or the spread of STDs, and may actually make both problems worse (by convincing teenagers that condoms are ineffective, so they are less likely to use them when they do give into their natural urges).

From the study:
The report finds that over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two thirds of SPRANS grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health. Specifically, the report finds:
· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain False Information about the Effectiveness of Contraceptives. Many of the curricula misrepresent the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. One curriculum says that “the popular claim that ‘condoms help prevent the spread of STDs,’ is not supported by the data”; another states that “[i]n heterosexual sex, condoms fail to prevent HIV approximately 31% of the time”; and another teaches that a pregnancy occurs one out of every seven times that couples use condoms. These
erroneous statements are presented as proven scientific facts.

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain False Information about the Risks of Abortion. One curriculum states that 5% to 10% of women who have legal abortions will become sterile; that “[p]remature birth, a major cause of mental retardation, is increased following the abortion of a first pregnancy”; and that “[t]ubal and cervical pregnancies are increased following abortions.” In fact, these risks do not rise after the procedure used in most abortions in the United States.

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Blur Religion and Science. Many of the curricula present as scientific fact the religious view that life begins at conception. For example, one lesson states: “Conception, also known as fertilization, occurs when one sperm unites with one egg in the upper third of the fallopian tube. This is when life begins.” Another curriculum calls a 43-day-old fetus a “thinking person.”

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Treat Stereotypes about Girls and Boys as Scientific Fact. One curriculum teaches that women need “financial support,” while men need “admiration.” Another instructs: “Women gauge their happiness and judge their success on their relationships. Men’s happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments.”

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain Scientific Errors. In numerous
instances, the abstinence-only curricula teach erroneous scientific information. One curriculum incorrectly lists exposure to sweat and tears as risk factors for HIV transmission. Another curriculum states that “twenty-four chromosomes from the mother and twenty-four chromosomes from the father join to create this new individual”; the correct number is 23.
The report finds numerous examples of these errors. Serious and pervasive problems with the accuracy of abstinence-only curricula may help explain why these programs have not been shown to protect adolescents from sexually transmitted diseases and why youth who pledge abstinence are significantly less likely to make informed choices about precautions when they do have sex.
These programs also, in my opinion, will make the next generation of teenaged girls more likely to be pressured into sex and less likely on top of that to have a condom to use to protect themselves with when that happens. Take this little gem about what happens to 'uppity women'.
One book in the “Choosing the Best” series presents a story about a knight who saves a princess from a dragon. The next time the dragon arrives, the princess advises the knight to kill the dragon with a noose, and the following time with poison, both of which work but leave the knight feeling “ashamed.” The knight eventually decides to marry a village maiden, but did so “only after making sure she knew nothing about nooses or poison.” The curriculum concludes: Moral of the story: Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess.
What the hell is that? Asking the parents of daughters out there, why would you want your child to learn such a thing? Do you think the girl who has been taught this will be more likely to say no to sex if pressured? Or, if they want to have sex too, do you think they'll have a condom around?

What the hell happened to our society? When did it become Afghanistan around here? And why is there relationship advice, no matter what its nature, in a sex-ed class anyway?

Then there's the way these 'curriculum' paint an image of the sexually aggressive boy.
One curriculum teaches that men are sexually aggressive and lack deep emotions. In a chart of the top five women’s and men’s basic needs, the curriculum lists “sexual fulfillment” and “physical attractiveness” as two of the top five “needs” in the men’s section. “Affection,” “Conversation,” “Honesty and Openness,” and “Family Commitment” are listed only as women’s needs. The curriculum
teaches: “A male is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is sexually attracted. . . . Women usually have greater intuitive awareness of how to develop a loving relationship.

The same curriculum tells participants: “While a man needs little or no preparation for sex, a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation.”
So, not only are girls supposed to be accepting, adoring, meek little helpmates, but boys are brainless shallow horndogs who can have sex with anything at the drop of a hat. Oh, and they have really delicate egos, too.

Seriously, I wouldn't buy this crap in a cheap Kate Hudson romantic comedy, and the White House is spending 170 million dollars on trying to make your kids act this way.

Not that I want teenagers to have sex. It's a mistake of the right to say that comprehensive sex education encourages sex. The sex ed-class in my high school (during what are increasingly looking like the golden, halcyon days of the 1990s) encouraged abstinence as the only 100 percent effective method of birth control and preventing STDs. However, recognizing the fact that horny teenagers are going to lean enthusiastically towards wanting to fuck each other, they also talked about proper condom use and birth control pills and whatnot. The buzzwords "safer sex" were used.

And never once were the girls admonished not to nag the boys.