Sunday, December 30, 2007

This is America

Via brownfemipower comes this story of an Icelandic woman detained by immigration, not permitted contact with anyone, and interrogated with little sleep, food or water.

It's all harrowing, but this part especially freaked me out.
I was photographed and fingerprinted. I was asked questions which I felt had nothing to do with the issue at hand. I was forbidden to contact anyone to advise of my predicament and although I was invited at the outset to contact the Icelandic consul or embassy, that invitation was later withdrawn. I don’t know why.
Emphasis mine. Serial rapists and serial killers, child molesters, wife beaters and child killers are all allowed to contact someone when they are arrested. Ladies who like to shop who happen to be from another country are not.

Although in a way this woman is lucky. She could have been Maher Arar.

Some things.

Some things you can try to choose for your child.

There are some things you, as a different person than they are, you cannot.

Among these include if they get to fucking live or not.

I know someone who has a DNR order for themselves. I know my maternal grandmother, before she died of lung cancer, had a DNR. I don't object to DNRs in general. If Katy Jones grows up and as an adult decides for a DNR (because she's not a "vegetable," she can communicate her feelings), I would support her fully informed, examined choice.

But to impose that on your child, to make a choice like that for them, strikes me as...well, I don't want to be insulting. But I don't think it's uncharitable to put them in the same category as parents who force their children to undergo FGM, or the parents who broke the bones of their children's feet so they could be more easily bound (or, for that matter, the parents who alter their children so they will never grow up).

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What is the point of this, exactly?

A missing woman police have been looking for returned home unharmed. Oh, that's good! She's not dead or killed by her husband or something. However, for the headline writers at ABCNews.com apparently that's not good enough.
Illinois Woman Back After $250K Search
Authorities in Illinois Say Woman Has Returned; Department Spent $250,000 Looking for Her
Who cares how much they spent looking? It's like they're saying "Police spent 250k, and she's not even dead!" What the hell is wrong with them?

Gah.

Now I have no idea what it typically costs to search for someone. Maybe that's a huge sum. Then do a story on how the police can't manage their budgets. Maybe they shouldn't have spent money on helicopters to search the forest or divers to dredge the river (however, if someone's last known location was a river in the forest...it doesn't seem so outlandish an idea, honestly). But the way this story (and the headline, specifically) is written puts blame on the woman. For being alive.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Surprise, surprise

Two people have been arrested in the terrorist act that destroyed an abortion clinic in Albuquerque earlier this month.

And, surprise surprise, it was all about controlling a woman.
According to criminal complaint, Baca's roommate told authorities that Baca allegedly confessed to setting the fire because his former girlfriend was scheduled to have an abortion at the clinic.
What an ass.

Now I wonder if the two fires at the Planned Parenthoods were related (one assumes that patients at the other clinic went there instead) or copycat-related.

Via The Curvature.

12 Days of Christmas

So my husband tells me the 12 days of Christmas actually fall *after* the holiday. Which I totally knew already. *koff*



Via Ren.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cripes.

Not sure what more to say about this news.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack. Her death threw the campaign for critical Jan. 8 parliamentary elections into chaos and stoked fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

At least 20 others were also killed in the attack on a campaign rally where the 54-year-old Bhutto had just spoken.

Her supporters erupted in anger and grief after her death, attacking police and burning tires and election campaign posters in several cities. At the hospital where she died, some smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf.
Some observations: One wonders what the U.S. response to this is going to be. And what it would be if Pervez Musharraf were not our "ally in the war on terror."

And there's always the thought that if this had happened in a country in Africa, no one in America would know.

I also find this oddly chilling.
"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said.
Emphasis mine.

This sort of political instability in a country that is our "ally" in a war on whatever always makes me think we're going to be demonizing them in the next decade. See also: Afghanistan, Iraq.

*added* Problem Chylde has a good link roundup.

Also, I'm annoyed at myself that I never really knew that much about Bhutto. The impulse when someone is murdered in such a horrific way (and, if I may add, cowardly way -- what's the matter, couldn't face the consequences of your actions? Had to blow yourself up after you shot an unarmed woman in the neck?) is to romanticize them. But I think it's possible to avoid that without being disrespectful to someone's memory or loved ones. However, I can't really judge the accuracy of the reporting as I ashamedly don't know much about the woman.

I've heard at least one person from Pakistan say they wouldn't have voted for her, which kind of makes me wonder if she was a polarizing Hillary Clinton-type figure. And I found the bloviating on MSNBC this morning (I swear, I watch that just to get off on being angry) about how hopes for democracy in Pakistan are over kind of, well, disagreeable. I'm sure the people of Pakistan are capable of overcoming. I think the real threat to democracy might be the guy who keeps declaring states of emergency and suspending their constitution, rather than a murdered woman.

I don't know. I think I'm having trouble coalescing my thoughts on this. Must be the toddler-related sleep deprivation. I guess I'll just shut my uneducated American mouth now, and read up on recent Pakistanian political history.

(Edited a bit to make my late-night ramblings less incoherent.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wow.

This is kind of mildly terrifying.
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Authorities are investigating a pair of suspicious incidents at two separate Albuquerque Planned Parenthood locations.

...The incidents follow a fire just weeks ago at Abortion Acceptance of Albuquerque. Federal and city investigators are looking into all three incidents.
Not terrifying in the "Oh, I'm so scared of the mean ol' people!" More like, these people are fucking morons. And that's scary.

Don't they realize all of the services Planned Parenthood provides? I know a woman who got affordable pre-natal vitamins there. A girl at my old job went there for pap smears and annuals. Or is wanting poor women's babies to be deprived of important vitamins and for poor women to die of undetected cervical cancer part of the whole pro-forced pregnancy agenda?

Also, regarding the fire at the abortion clinic a few weeks ago, are you fucking kidding me? That office was in the middle of a big medical plaza, with dentists and family doctors and whatnot. Are they willing to burn all that down too for their stupid little cause?

I mean, I have no problem with someone being so-called "pro-life." I also have no problem with people working for their pro-forced pregnancy cause politically (just know that I will be there, fighting against you). But this kind of "action?" Stupid. Scary stupid. Also, won't work.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Festivus

Happy Festivus

Taking a few days away for atheistic winter festivities. I'll check the moderation queue still so feel free to air your grievances.

Happy Winter Feast Day, in whatever mode your ancestors chose to practice it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Plucky Punk After Dark

Will I reveal myself as a total slave to the patriarchy if I mention that I find rugby players doing a pre-game haka the hottest fucking thing I've ever seen?



Oh my god of half-naked, leaping aggressive males. Swoon.

I think I could watch that all night long. Please.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Is this what democracy looks like?"

Today, police maced and tasered protesters trying to attend a city council meeting in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS - Police used chemical spray and stun guns Thursday as dozens of protesters tried to force their way into a packed City Council chamber during a debate on the planned demolition of some 4,500 public housing units.

One woman was sprayed with chemicals and dragged from the gates. She was taken away on a stretcher by emergency officials. Before that, the woman was seen pouring water from a bottle into her eyes and weeping.

Another woman said she was stunned by officers, and still had what appeared to be a Taser wire hanging from her shirt.

"I was just standing, trying to get into my City Council meeting," said the woman, Kim Ellis, who was taken away in an ambulance.

"Is this what democracy looks like?" said Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor who opposes demolition, as he held a strand of Taser wire he said had been shot into another of the protesters.

Quigley said he would explore legal action over the incident, which he believed violated public meetings laws.
Kactus has been posting about this at Feministe.

*Added* These police aren’t any more wholly to blame than the Abu Ghraib guards were wholly to blame. It seems to me the blame lies with the city council and whatever company is getting money for tearing down these homes and rebuilding yuppie condos in their place, and then trickles down from there to include the cops. All of them. Not just the cops.

I’ll go ahead and say it: It’s classist to blame it all on the cops, while the ruling class gets to look down their nose and clutch their pearls and say, “Oh, what brutes!” Don't ignore they systematic nature of this oppression by making it a singular incident of police brutality.

Kactus has a great post up here.

No more anonymous comments

Blogger now lets you use non-google logins to comment, so no more anonymous comments. If this leaves anyone out, please let me know via email.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

File this under "No shit, Sherlock."

Apparently, if you come down with cancer, and you don't have insurance, then you're totally screwed.
ATLANTA - Uninsured cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die within five years as those with private coverage, according to the first national study of its kind and one that sheds light on troubling health care obstacles.

People without health insurance are less likely to get recommended cancer screening tests, the study also found, confirming earlier research. And when these patients finally do get diagnosed, their cancer is likely to have spread.
And George Bush recently re-vetoed (not a word? Hell, if Shakespeare can make up words, then so can I!) a bill which would have expanded health insurance coverage to children.

Remember, class, George Bush wants kids with cancer to die. Apparently.

Oh, Jack.

You totally rule. I blogcrush upon you.

What I want to know is, why do people with no children always seem to think they know how to raise them and what exactly is appropriate behavior for them?

For instance, I must have heard variations on this story about a thousand times:

"I was in the store the other day and some kid was throwing a tantrum and the mother (note - it's almost always the mother in these stories) wasn't doing anything! I hate stupid bratty kids!"

You know what? If you removed your kid from a situation the moment they start to have a temper tantrum then they learn that the moment they want to leave somewhere all they have to do is throw a temper tantrum. And kids are smart, it doesn't take them very long to learn this.

And it's more important to me for my daughter to *not* learn that than it is to me for you to not be annoyed for a few minutes.

Deal with it. It's called living in a functional society.

The funniest thing I've read in a long time.

I laughed so hard Abbie looked at me funny.

Housekeeping

Okay, so I've trimmed down my blogroll because some people are apparently no longer blogging, and some people have taken me off their blogrolls (not sure why, really). So I need some new blogs to read again.

Suggestions?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

But you know what I *really* hate?

Reproductive Biology professors who don't post their student's final grades in a timely manner.

C'mon! I'm dying of suspense over here! How am I supposed to brag about my gpa if I don't know what it is?

Bonus YouTubing, Eastern Europe Style

Как по-русски "awesome?"





YouTubing, Eastern Europe Style

Gogol Bordello rocks.



You know you love it.



Seriously. Eastern European Immigrant Punk. I love America.



Now go -- make them famous!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I Hate You, Hollywood.

Why do you keep taking scary movies from Asian countries and remaking them with white people? I thought this fad had passed with the horrible Sarah Michelle Gellar "The Grudge" and the terrible Jennifer Connelly "Dark Water." The original "Ju-On," while perhaps slightly plotless was perhaps one of the scariest movies I've ever seen (seriously, the lady-ghost slithering down the stairs...total heebie-jeebies), and the original "Dark Water" had such a sad ending, I wept. The remakes were terrible, terrible films, and one would think you would stop. But no, you had to fuck around with "The Eye."

Here is the original trailer for "The Eye," or more accurately, "Gin Gwai."



Fucking scary. The scene where the protagonist is stuck in the elevator...eesh. Just rent it, okay?

Here is the new version
, starring Jessica Alba, in what appears to be a scene-for-scene remake. Just starring white people. Also, they give away the ending in the trailer, which annoys me.

Is this racism? Am I reading too much into it? I mean, Hollywood is perfectly willing to market foreign horror films to wide audiences when they're from countries where white people live (see also this), or if they speak english. And I think that's unfair, and that Hollywood is vastly underestimating American audiences.

We are capable of identifying with non-white characters. We are capable of reading subtitles. And we are capable of understanding a non-shitty script.

Well, most of us are, anyway. Stop catering to the lowest common denominator and underestimating your audience, Hollywood. Please.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Birthday

Brian. Love you!

I am an Elmo enabler.

But I'm glad I'm not the only one.
And as I bring her into the living room, she begins to beg for her fix.

"Mell mo? Mell Mo! Mell Mo? Mellll Mooooo?"

"Not yet, baby. Let's have breakfast first."

"MELL MO??" her voice moves up a few octaves and decibels as she begins experiencing withdrawals.
I too am an Elmo enabler. When Elmo is even mentioned in our house, it's like that old stock footage of 60s era teenybopper girls screaming at the airport for the Beatles.

And you know, sure, Elmo is annoying. But it's hard to hate something your kid loves so much.

So, here are my two differing feelings about Elmo. Here he is, being kind of cute and funny, getting Robert DeNiro to explain method acting to him.



Kind of cute, no? "Well, I could be a New York taxi driver, or an out-of-shape boxer, or a cabbage." "Oh, be a cabbage!"

And here, in a frankly disturbing (but disturbingly entertaining) video, some stupid teenage boys set Elmo on fire. Seriously, might not want your young Elmo fan to watch.



Creepy. But oddly cathartic after seeing the "shoes" episode of Elmo's World for the 10,000th time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sigh.

Dear white people,

Hi, how are you doing? Hope you're well. I know I don't blog about race issues very often. But I am a woman of color, and as a woman of color, something has been nagging at me lately. I have a question for you.

Let's talk.

Why do you always get so insulted when someone calls you out on your racist statements? Calling you out on your racist statements or actions is not intended as an insult to you. It's a request to stop committing racist actions or uttering racist statements.

It's not all about you. In our society, it is mostly about you, but sometimes it's about someone else.

So please, don't get our feelings hurt when you get called out. Rather, see it as an opportunity, like if you have some schmutz on your face, and your friend points it out so you can wipe it off.

Love,

Vanessa
Woman of Color

Ooo, evoluntionary neatness!

Ooo, cool. Scientists, those smarties. have figured out why pregnant women are able to adjust their center of gravity to accommodate the load they're carrying.
Harvard anthropology researcher Katherine Whitcomb found two physical differences in male and female backs that until now had gone unnoticed: One lower lumbar vertebrae is wedged-shaped in women and more square in men; and a key hip joint is 14 percent larger in women than men when body size is taken into account.

The researchers did engineering tests that show how those slight changes allow women to carry the additional and growing load without toppling over — and typically without disabling back pain.
Oh, evolution. You're almost always looking out of us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Finals Done!

Now to watch the A+'s come rolling in.

Hehehe. Just reveling in my college girl privilege!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No, no it isn't.

So Jill at Feministe posted this video.



This portrayal, which is only a slight minor exaggeration of my mother and several other women I'm related to, was described by a Feministe commenter as a "minstrel show."

This is a minstrel show.



It doesn't seem to compare.

You are not a feminist.

Some people just seriously mystify me and weird me out.

Case in point. If you claim to be some sort of anti-pornography radical feminist, that you want to free women from sexual slavery, and yet constantly refer to those same women as "moist pussies," "men's whores," "fucktoys-for-hire," "hawt nekkid chix," or "cum-hungry bi-sexee hoes," then I seriously doubt your motives.

Because if I were a sex slave, an unwilling prostitute, and if I heard someone constantly, obsessively using those terms, I wouldn't feel like that person respected me or wanted to help me or wanted to do anything but use me as an example of what's wrong with the world. And I'd probably be right.

Not to mention what I'd feel if I were a regular-old sexworker, just doing her job, and had my words used by this person, against my will and out of context.

The person making these statements is not a feminist. They are a self-righteous, holier-than-thou asshole. They belong more with this organization than with any sort of feminism, radical or otherwise.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Where has this song been my entire life?

Skippy saves my mortal soul by introducing this song to me. This is the greatest song ever. Why the hell have I not heard it before?

Oh, and happy thanksgiving, blah blah blah. One of the benefits of having divorced parents is that they try to outcompete each other in creating a better holiday experience for you. So today I get to go to two thanksgivings. Woot! Leftovers for ages!!

Happy times are here again...

My painful infected tooth? Removed. Thanks, Dad!

My broke-ass self? Employed.

My huge presentation on media representations of genocide? Done.

My huge research paper of Shakespeare's subversion of Elizabethan gender roles? Done.

Hooray!

I envy your clear-eyed gaze...

Iiznotlezbean128401963784557500
Dedicated to R.Mildred, Belledame, and Kactus.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

YouTubing, the "Wow. Parenting is actually really nice," version.

So, have I mentioned I have a toothache? Or, as I believe I put it earlier, tiny invisible pain faeries are driving red-hot nails of sadness into my maxilla with the hopes of making my sinuses explode.

I spent the day at school whimpering quietly to myself, then went home and moaned on the couch while the kid took her nap. I've probably turned my liver to pudding with all the alleve I've taken today.

But when the kid woke up and it was time to play, I put on a brave face so as to not freak her out.

Actually, I put on her favorite YouTube videos and danced around with her like an idiot. And I'll be damned, but it worked better than a bottle full of Wal-profin at easing the throbbing pain in my face.

Here's our typical YouTube retinue of the moment, in case anyone else out there has a toothache.







Enjoy. And if you happen to be a charitable dentist in Albuquerque with some time to kill and you've already made enough money for they year, please, send me an email.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Interesting. But not surprising.

I came across this video while looking for something else during a 2 a.m. procrastination-fueled half-ass internet research session. It's a video showing an experiment with male reactions to images of particular women. Thought I'd share.



My favorite part: "She's being, uh, suppressed, because that's not sexy."

Yeah. Because our only two choices are "uh, suppressed," and "sexy." Not to mention the thought isn't even entertained that the woman pictured might dress that way because, you know, she decided to.

As usual, people who are doing things differently from ourselves are seen as unthinking, coerced, or oppressed. Because if they were really free to choose, surely they'd be doing the same thing we do.

Count me out. Now I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Really quite busy

I'm working on a big project (which, incidentally, kind of stems from my general dissatisfaction with blogging recently) for my Human Rights class in school.

I'll either do some posts incorporating some information about it, or, I'll be too busy to breathe, let alone blog. So expect either a cool big post in the next few days, or a whole lot of nothing.

Heh.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blog begging.

So eh, I'm having a little trouble making the old ends meet, being still unemployed and all.

So I'll just mention, without expectation, that there are many cool items for sale at the following locations.

The Viking Fish Store*.
The Philosopher's Union Store.
The Taos Aelthing Store.

*Which, apropos of recent discussions elsewhere, I feel compelled to explain is meant as a historical joke, and not as any disrespect to Christianity.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Most Annoying Thing in Blogtopia.*

If I never, ever, ever hear anyone accuse another person of making a strawman argument in a comment thread ever again, I will die the happiest woman on the face of the planet.

I know I've complained about this before, albeit in a sort of veiled, ranty way. But it's really really annoying me recently.

Even worse are the hyphenations. "Straw-feminist" is a particularly common one. Even more awkward is "straw-animal rights" or "straw-AR." Somewhat more lyrical are "straw-theist" and "straw-atheist" which kind of sound like the same thing.

And you can totally see them coming, too. You get to a certain number of comments - oh, about 87, I'd say - and you're guaranteed to get a cry of "straw-whateverthefuckitiswe'retalkingaboutthisweek!"

Please, people. There are other logical fallacies you can accuse your opponents of. Whatever happened to good old ad hominem? It's been ages since I've seen that bandied about.

*Yes! skippy coined that phrase!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear People at ABC

Please do not cancel Pushing Daisies. I love it, and it seems like the sort of thing that you'd cancel.

Thanks,

Vanessa

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Pharyngula Mutating Genre Meme

So Evil Mommy (best blog name ever!) tagged me with this meme that's pretty cool.

--------------------------------

There are a set of questions below that are all of the form, “The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…”.

Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

* You can leave them exactly as is.

* You can delete any one question.

* You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change “The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…” to “The best time travel novel in Westerns is…”, or “The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is…”, or “The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”.

* You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…”.

* You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.

Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great--great grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Clubs.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Flying Trilobite.
My great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.
My great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Shakespeare’s Sister.
My great-great-great-great grandparent is Shayera.
My great-great-great grandparent is PoliShifter.
My great-great grandparent is Lizzy.
My great-grandparent is Candace.
My grandparent is Randal.
My parent is Evil Mommy.

1. The best time travel film in SF/Fantasy is: La Jette.

2. The best scary movie in zombie apocalype is: 28 Days Later.

3. The best novel in American period history is: Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut. Does that count?

4. The best writer in American comedy is: Matt Groening.

5. The best silent movie in Russian film is: Man With a Movie Camera.

6. The best English poet in the nineteenth century is: Robert Burns.

7. The best anthem in Punk Rock is: "Shelia is a Punk Rocker" by The Ramones

Now, to tag.

I tag Belledame, Ren, and Daisy, should time allow.

Disaster Areas

I've been following the California fires a little bit.
SAN DIEGO - Faced with unrelenting winds whipping wildfires into a frenzy across Southern California, firefighters conceded defeat on many fronts Tuesday to an unstoppable force that has chased more than 500,000 people away.

...Tentacles of unpredictable, shifting flame have burned across nearly 600 square miles, killing one person, destroying more than 1,800 homes and prompting the biggest evacuation in California history, from north of Los Angeles, through San Diego to the Mexican border.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the flames were threatening 68,000 more homes.
I hope anyone I might know in blogtopia from California is okay. And I'm glad that so far loss of life has been relatively minimal. It's kind of shocking to think that 500,000 people have been evacuated.

However, they've been evacuated. The cynic in me can't help but notice the contrast in response to a natural disaster that's happening in a location where rich white people live and a similar disaster that happened a few years ago, where poor black people lived.

I mean, I'm just saying.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Also, they had necks.

Kind of interesting article about the FOXP2 gene in Neanderthals.
A DNA analysis shows Neanderthals share with humans two key changes in the FOXP2 gene known to be involved in speech, raising the possibility the species possessed some prerequisites for language, the researchers said.

"From the point of this gene at least the Neanderthals could have had language like we do," said Johannes Krause, a biochemist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, who led the study.
Cool enough. But what's with the illustration accompanying the article? Dude, they were Neanderthals, not mole-men.

I've always had a soft spot for Neanderthals. Something about their giant nasal cavities and football-shaped craniums is somehow endearing. I mean, check out old Mr. La-Chapelle here. Don't you just want to give him a hug?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nostalgia

Ren's post with Siouxsie Sioux got me thinking about back in the day, when I was listening to music of that ilk on a general basis.

Here I am, circa 1996. God, I miss dressing up like a trashy flapper and going clubbing.
halloween 1996
Also, to think I totally thought of myself as a complete fatass back then. How sad. Now I am a complete fatass, but I love it!

And here I am making out with my mop.

make love to the mop

Hmm. I look totally butch here, despite this being the heyday of sparkly lipstick and excessive eyeshadow. Somewhere there's a really cool picture of me with a mohawk, wearing a babydoll nightie and lots of safetypins, full makeup, giving the camera the finger. But I think this girl I hitchhiked with in Vermont might have it.

Sigh. Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Please, kill me now.

I have a toothache.

More precisely, invisible pain faeries are driving red-hot nails of sadness into my maxilla with the hopes of making my sinuses explode.

I have no dental insurance.

I'm trying not to think about the raging infection taking up residence in my face-bones, centimeters from my brain.

Seriously, I need my brain. For thinking with.

I have two papers due tomorrow that I have not yet begun.

Calgon, take me away.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Maybe in ten years I'll be able to make lots of money for translating secret Russian documents.

Probably would make more money than the whole Anthropology gig, anyway.
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin warned President Bush's top two Cabinet officials on Friday to back off U.S. missile defense plans for eastern Europe as high-level talks yielded little more than a pledge to meet again.

Despite presenting new cooperation proposals intended to bring Moscow on board, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates failed in a series of tough meetings to turn around Moscow's opposition to the system and other strategic issues.
I am a total child of the 80s, when we expected nuclear war with the Soviets to occur at any second. So I've always found Vladimir Putin kind of extra scary. Especially in his dictator-lite mode (like when he plants flags at the north pole).

Although I guess to the general public Russians, being technically white people, are somewhat less frightening than scary Arab Muslim Terrorists. Although personally I prefer the Russians as movie bad guys.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

POLE DANCING!

Police in Albuquerque tore down a derelict house with an actual STRIPPER POLE IN IT!!!

Oh, and yeah, well, it was a crack house, too.
Police believe the people who lived in the home were not only into drugs, but also into exotic dancing.

"And there's a strange component to it, there's a dancing pole with mirrors, so there was a lot of activity going on in this house that did not meet the eye. We're delighted to be tearing it down," said Pete Dinelli of the Safe City Strike Force.
Watch the accompanying video for extra laughs (and some shots of cool crack-house graffiti art, actually).

Via Duke City Fix.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

1,000th post.

Hey, neat. Someone buy me a present or something.

Awesome.

I love body modifying science geeks.

"Pro-Life" and "Pro-Marriage" taken to their logical conclusion.

An interesting and sad example regarding honor killings in Iran and Iraq.
Banaz got pregnant in Iran after her boyfriend invited her to a party, and five months later she told one of her four sisters. They asked doctors to abort Banaz's child, but were refused.

Banaz knew the stigma would stain her two married sisters, and make it hard for her unmarried sisters to find husbands.

She tried to commit suicide by throwing herself from the top floor of her home, but a sister restrained her. She overdosed on pills but vomited them up. She considered dousing herself in gasoline.

"Burning was the final option. I was too scared to do it," Banaz said in an interview at the Rewan center. She spoke softly, but with confidence, and smiled easily.

Her father found out and sent her to Iraqi Kurdistan, ostensibly on a study trip, but the doctor she consulted in Sulaimaniyah refused to perform an abortion.
Emphasis mine. This is what happens when your culture becomes completely obsessed with the sanctity of babies and marriage.

Saturday NSFW Glam Rock YouTubing

So, let me pretty much invalidate everything I've been bitching about lately by posting something meaningless and content-free that helps no one. And is Not Safe For Work.

Ladies and Gents, the hottest movie ever, Velvet Goldmine.



This combines three of my favorite things: naked Ewan McGregor, punk rock, and sparkles. I love it. (Except for the sibling incest part, that's icky.)



Although Johnathan Rhys-Myers does not have such a good voice, I really like this. As with all the fey-ish male characters of pop culture, I'm not sure if I want to fuck them or be like them. But, as piny mentioned one time, why does that have to be an either/or thing? I think it's perfectly reasonable to both envy and covet the giant cigarette holder he's smoking out of here.

I think my performance of femininity is much more in line with peacock men like these characters. Maybe that's part of why I just don't comprehend the point of the Great Feminist Fashion and Beauty Debate (TM). Because for me (and I think for a lot of women), it's not so much about looking pretty and delicate for a man, but being a strutting sexy beast for myself. Just like these guys are doing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm sure the cold virus infecting my daughter's nasal cavity is pleased.

I however, couldn't be more pissed.
WASHINGTON - President Bush, in a sharp confrontation with Congress, on Wednesday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded children's health insurance.

It was only the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, and one that some Republicans feared could carry steep risks for their party in next year's elections. The Senate approved the bill with enough votes to override the veto, but the margin in the House fell short of the required number.

Democrats unleashed a stream of harsh rhetoric, as they geared up for a battle to both improve their chances of winning a veto override and score political points against Republicans who oppose the expansion.
Meanwhile (heh), I'm waiting to hear (going on two months, now) if we make too much money to get the kid on medicaid. Which I kind of suspect we do.

And really, we don't make that much money, I promise you.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Meanwhile...

I kind of feel like Laura Palmer.



Why? Because blogtopia is pissing me off.

I'm not saying "nobody blogs about stuff." Because, well, that would be a lie. Even "big name" bloggers actually post about these things. And hell, I'm not any sort of actionable information machine these days.

It's just that, post about boobs, get over a hundred comments.

Meanwhile...
YANGON, Myanmar - Soldiers and police took control of the streets Friday, firing warning shots and tear gas to scatter the few pro-democracy protesters who ventured out as Myanmar's military junta sealed off Buddhist monasteries and cut public Internet access.

On the third day of a harsh government crackdown, the streets were empty of the mass gatherings that had peacefully challenged the regime daily for nearly two weeks, leaving only small groups of activists to be chased around by security forces.

"Bloodbath again! Bloodbath again!" a Yangon resident yelled while watching soldiers break up one march by shooting into air, firing tear gas and beating people with clubs.

Thousands of monks had provided the backbone of the protests, but they were besieged in their monasteries, penned in by locked gates and barbed wire surrounding the compounds in the two biggest cities, Yangon and Mandalay. Troops stood guard outside and blocked nearby roads to keep the clergymen isolated.


Meanwhile...
GENEVA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Some 480,000 Iraqis have registered as internal refugees or IDPs since the start of 2007, bringing the total in the country to more than 2.25 million, the IOM relief body said on Wednesday.

The IOM, or International Organisation for Migration, said most of those leaving their homes were fleeing sectarian violence -- with 88 percent saying they had moved after being targeted for their religious identity.

"The situation is becoming a displacement catastrophe," Dana Graber Ladek, a Jordan-based official for the IOM, told a news conference. "It is certainly the worst crisis of its type the whole (Middle East) region has seen since 1948."
Etc., etc., etc.

I think all I'm saying is it gets really, really tiresome to see the more inconsequential things spark the most outrage again and again and again.

**ADDED**
Meanwhile...

Meanwhile...

Meanwhile
...

Sigh. I guess I'm not sure what my point is. I mean, beyond, 'What is the point of the Feminist blogosphere, anyway?' What are we doing with ourselves, besides "examining our choices?" There has to be something more to it, right?

Who's the master?

Belledame reminds me of the coolest movie ever.



Sho 'nuff, Shogun of Harlem has to be the most awesome movie bad guy ever.



"Who's the master?"

"I am!"

I also like the part when the little kid breakdances out of the ropes the bad guys tied him up with.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quote of the Day

seriously: how much energy would be left if people just decided to -leave other peoples' appearance/sexuality alone-? Like, for a -week.- Just one week.
-Belledame the awesome. Who I stole the 'quote of the day' concept from.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some choices to examine.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things I missed while I was studying for a test I was doomed to fail

I missed a couple of things last week that I wanted to give mention.

For instance, Talk Like a Pirate day went by again without proper celebration on my part. Could I possibly suck more?

More importantly, I missed the Jena 6 virtual march. Well, I will still try to participate and post about it.

In fact, I'm kind of sick of blogging about stupid shit like intra-feminist blogwars while all sorts of shit around the world is happening. So let's see what happens with that sentiment on my part.

Я не люблю...

Yeah, so I did really badly on a Russian test today. Like humiliatingly badly. And then I had to do an oral exam in Russian and screwed that one up too.

Dr Ivanova, I have shamed you!

I shall never drink vodka again!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Because I don't have time to read the news

And because it will please the relatives, Bonus Baby Blogging.

14 months 056

I love this one. You can practically hear her thinking, 'God I hate these fucking paparazzi. Where's my cell phone!'

Okay

So I changed my template around. Is it ok? Hideous? Did I screw up something weird that makes it look funny in Netscape?

The fancy new blogger widget thingie is both kind of cool and a huge pain in the ass. I wasn't able to get Haloscan to work with it, which kind of sucks because, there's years worth of comments in Haloscan.

But, I kind of always hated Haloscan anyway. So I guess we'll do Blogger comments and see if that works out.

Also, I need to update my blogroll. Suggestions?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Um.

My template seems to have taken a vacation. If it doesn't fix itself overnight, I'll try to figure it out tomorrow. It's probably just Blogger being stupid again.

Might be time for a new template anyway. Hmmmm...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bonus YouTubing

In counter to counter the effects of the last post, something perhaps only slightly less creepy.



Perhaps the cutest video ever made about the perils of stinky whale breath.

Ooh, creepy

Just thought I'd make anyone still around feel all eerie for no reason.

Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon.





I hate it when I dream about turning into three versions of myself while chasing a mirror-faced person while having a key come out of my mouth that keeps turing into a knife, and then I die.

Let's not even touch on Kenneth Anger's Fireworks.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Excessive Baby Blogging!

Because she's going to Grandma's this weekend and I will miss her.

14 months 006
Recently, Abbie has started enjoying sitting on the kitchen chairs. Apparently this is the funnest game ever. It probably helps that being a 14-month-old is akin to being high all the time.

14 months 010
It does give a good opportunity to snap a few pictures, though.

14 months 017
Here is a serious one.

14 months 024
And here she has properly identified the location of her teeth.

14 months 023
And here she is mid-shout that she wants you to put the camera away.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tch.

Man, I love the internet! Especially the blogosphere!

It's like, land of the strawman! Home of the straw-ubermench! It's like Mecha-strawman vs. Strawzilla in this place!

Please, can we have yet another stupid blogwar about dumbass shit that affects no one!? Because I really haven't gotten the chance to show off my shiny new privilege yet. Let's spend all our time bitching about sex and puppies while all sorts of bullshit is going down in the real world while we do nothing but spend all our time bitching about sex and puppies. (Oh, don't make me link to the threads. You know where they are.) We're so lucky we have the time to do nothing else.

Oh, but you say, there's no outrage shortage! We can bitch about sex and puppies and still talk about bullshit in the real world! We've just chosen not to!

Yay blogosphere! I mean straw-gosphere! Where everyone is evil and wrong except for you! And by you I mean me! But when you say it you mean you!

And this post is itself a straw-post. Of course it is! Everything is made of straw in the blogosphere! Because anything else wouldn't be as fun!

(Okay, so that was a pretty stupid rant. But next time, when we have a huge blogwar that lots of people who have never even met get all personally invested in, can we make it about something that actually affects the lives of other human beings? And can something good come out of it? Please? I'm getting tired of sounding like a dumbass when I try to explain these things to Brian.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Technically, I'm supposed to be writing a paper about this right now.

But, you know, I thought I'd share.

One of the classes in the "they're making me take this" category this semester is my Early Shakespeare class. Not that I don't want to take a Shakespeare class, per se, but I know Shakespeare already. Not only was I a total drama geek in high school (not to mention a poetry geek during my first round of college), but I've read a lot of Shakespeare recreationally. I mean, I married an English major. So it felt kind of juvenile having to sign up for "Early Shakespeare."

But I'm glad I did, because I love me some Titus Andronicus.

Here's the plot synopsis, if you're curious.

Titus has a bad reputation amongst the Shakespeare geeks. I have no idea why. It's fantastic, both on the literary analysis level and the oh-shit-did-he-just-slit-their-throats level. There's twisting of gender norms, twisting of the notion of "barbarian foreigners," insights into the development of racism in Western culture (in that you can see how it's starting to move from a religion and culture-based concept to an ethnicity-based concept), and other yummy goodness. Plus, there's at least one horrible atrocity committed on stage in each act. (Usually in Shakespeare, these things happen off stage. Easier on the budget, I guess.)

Much more interesting, in my opinion, than the dreary Hamlet. Yes, sighing emo boys were annoying even in the 16th century.

Better still is Julie Taymor's film adaptation Titus. It's the movie The 300 wanted to be (sorry Ren). Not only does a lot of 300's "original" visual style come from Titus (check out the trailer, here), but apparently they even stole the theme music. But the casting in this movie is perfect. Anthony Hopkins, whom I usually consider a scene-chewing hack, is perfect-perfect-perfect as Titus.

Here's my second favorite scene (of Taymor's film version), where the raped and mutilated Lavinia is discovered in a swamp by her uncle Marcus.



There's a line in the play that they're leaving out here, which reads, "Alas, a crimson river of warm blood, like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind, doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips, coming and going with thy honey breath." I think they captured that pretty good, eh?

My favorite scene in the film is the one where Titus hangs Chiron and Demetrius (who are still wearing their Rapine and Murder disguise make-up) upside-down and naked, tells them he's going to bake them into a pie that their mother will then eat, slits their throats, and has Lavinia catch their blood in a bowl she holds in her stumps. It's the scene in the trailer where Hopkins says "I shall griinnd your boooones to dust!"

I love it. If somebody finds it on Youtube, tell me and I'll post it.

Oh, trigger warning for this post I guess. And maybe NSFW I suppose.

Now, to somehow turn this post into my paper...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dear Advertising Department at Salon.com,

Look, I'm sure the Washlet bidet is a very nice product. But do I really have to look at smiling asses whenever I go to your site? Isn't the fact that I change baby diapers enough?

Love,

Vanessa.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Biz-zay

I am busy. But there are several interesting things going on in old blogtopia that I'd like to record for posterity.

All these posts that Ren links to (in reference to the Feministe thread referenced a few posts down) are good, and hell, I'll probably add some of these bloggers to my blogroll if I ever get around to updating it again.

Some interesting conversation has begun here at Belle's, in regards to some wankery in the comment thread of a post by someone rhyming with "Shminshmar," which in turn is referenced here.

Kactus calls us all on our bullshit here whilst cracking me up here.

And, tangenitally related to the whole above brouhaha, let's see how this thread at Feministe turns out.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Well, it's true because the internet quiz says so.

You Are 100% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.


So there. Via Belledame.

Now I will return to not posting for weeks.

Hrm...

You Are 56% Feminine, 44% Masculine

You are in touch with both your feminine and masculine sides.
You're sensitive at the right times, but you don't let your emotions overwhelm you.
You're not a eunuch, just the best of both genders.


Does this mean the mean old radfems won't want to take my vibrator away?

Kidding! Kidding!

Via Daisy.

Other Bloggers Have More Time Than Me!

Or, two posts I wish I had written.

Firstly, Renegade Evolution, who is one of my blog heroes and has great taste in men, broaches this question while guest blogging at Feministe.
There is also the thought that a woman should not be judged or mocked for her appearance, and while her choices with regards to how she presents herself or what she may or may not do to modify her natural body can be questioned, she should not be judged or made fun of or disregarded because of those choices. One can ask why (or why not) a woman wears make up, or gets body waxes, or gets tattoos, works out or diets, gets piercings, dyes her hair or gets a nose job, exploration into the “whys” is…acceptable…but I’ve often seen feminists say that a woman, no matter who she is or how she looks or what beauty rituals she does, or does not, engage in, well, she should not be judged, mocked, or made fun of.

But that happens, even amid feminist circles. And rarely is the woman who does not shave, or diet, or wear make up who is mocked, it is the woman who does. Often times being thin, via nature or diet or time in a gym is thought of something horrible. The intelligence of women who wear make up or get any sort of cosmetic surgery is guestioned, and often they are made fun of. Women who enage in any sort of “Patriarchy Approved” grooming or body ritual, well, when they admit it, they appologize for it. They are appologetic or ashamed of being thin, or wearing eyeliner, or having blonde hair.

And I wonder why.
Me too.

Look, I'm a nearly 300 lb 5' 10" woman of color. I don't fit any patriarchal standard. However, I love my long hair. I love makeup. I'd consider some plastic surgery to remove some of the extra skin around my abdomen after childbirth. I usually wear dresses. I'm married with a child. I was a stay-at-home mom over the summer. None of this makes me any less of a feminist.

I like my long hair because it's a striking statement about my ethnic identity. Also, It's easier to care for, less poofy and all over the place, and requires less products to deal with when it's longer. I don't do it to attract men. I love makeup, mostly as a holdover from my punk days when I used to wear green glittery lipstick. I don't wear it to attract men. Ever since childbirth I have this hanging flap of skin around my abdomen that's hot and uncomfortable. I wouldn't remove it to make myself more attractive to men. I wear dresses because it's hard to find pants that fit my body type (my waist, despite the aforementioned skin flap, is narrower than my hips, so if I get pants that fit my hips they either fall off my waist or ride up my crotch). I don't wear them to attract men or to conform to the patriarchy. My husband and I got married for the tax breaks. Selfish, I guess, but more a pragmatic move than a wish to conform to the patriarchy. I had a child...well, right now she's screaming for me to put Elmo's World back on the TiVo, so I'm not sure why I had a child. Sigh.

The thing I've heard time and time again from radfems is that they want women to examine their choices. Well guess what, I have. None of the 'sparklepony,' or whatever the cutesy word for it is, things I do are to conform to patriarchal standards. Don't assume a woman is a mindless patriarchal tool just because she looks different or wants to look different or acts different or wants to act different than you.

And also, something that kind of bugs me on an academic level, there's nothing inherent about any cultural artifact or practice. Marriage is not inherently oppressive to women, BDSM is not inherently oppressive to women, porn is not inherently oppressive to women. These things and many others can and are usually practiced in a way that is oppressive to women. But there's nothing inherent about it. Study Cultural Anthropology for about five seconds and you see that calling anything inherently, universally oppressive is hard to support with cross-cultural data.

Go read the whole post, although I recommend avoiding the now 500-plus comment thread, where people are stomping their feet and holding their breath until they turn blue and pretty much acting like babies.

Secondly, Blue Milk, a blogger I've just recently discovered, writes this about non-parents criticizing the actions of parents.
Oh I love a pious non-parent’s thoughts on parenting. Blah, blah, blah, I’d never do this, and all you need to do is that, and why can’t she see it, when I’m around her kids I just do this and they always co-operate, she is just making problems for herself, stupid parents.

Hey, I’m not going to judge you too harshly for your judging, non-parents. I did a bit of that judging myself before I was a parent and truth be told I still do from time to time. But when we do, you should know that you and I are speaking out of our arses. Really, out of our arses. Becoming a parent is a humbling experience, I’m sure there are other ways to be taken down a peg or two but few with such rapid results spring to mind.
Yes, I've also encountered this attitude amongst supposed allies in the feminist blogosphere - the idea that people without children (or, as they rather loadedly refer to themselves, the "childfree" - might as well say "cootiefree") know so much better who to deal with crazy children having temper tantrums in public, or whatever mild annoyance they have had to face.

The first thing to go out the window when you bring a baby home is everything you thought you knew. Things like scooping a kid up and taking them out of the store the minute they start to squeal might seem like the right thing to do when you don't have kids. But it might not be in that situation. You might not want to teach the child that if they want to leave the store, all they have to do is scream. You might not want to teach the child that if they want your attention, all they have to do is scream. And you know what, making sure my daughter knows that screaming won't get her what she wants is more important to me than you not having to be mildly annoyed for five minutes. I am her caretaker, not yours.

Another phenomenon that happens when people with no children encounter children in public is that they have no idea how children look when they're a certain age. When Abbie was 10 months a woman at Target thought she was 2 years. Now a 10 month old is not capable of the same level of behavior as a 2 year old, so that may also be fueling some of the disapproving tsk-tsking of the "childfree."

Go read that post too. And wish me luck on my Russian quiz next week.

Friday, August 17, 2007

First Post!

In honor of my 6th Blogiversary today, I'm re-posting my very first post.
I hate Ann Coulter

Okay, so the above statement is a little harsh. I don't know Ann Coulter. I'll make the assumption that she's a very nice person to her friends and family. But she is definitely, without a doubt, the most insipid pseudo-celebrity this side of Darva Congers.

I'd never even heard of this woman (I don't watch Fox "News", or MSNBC, just like I never watched "A Current Affair") before her appearance on "The Daily Show" (which, recently, has given less sensationalist reporting to the news that anything I've seen on TV. Now whether that's saying something good about "The Daily Show" or something bad about the rest of mainstream news, I'm not sure). I don't believe she's real. I think she's really Andy Kaufman come back from the grave to play tricks on us again. It's the only possible explanation. The woman is so unfaceted that if she were a character in a book she'd be flat and badly written. You'd have to try hard to make up stuff like this.

Here's a few quotes, taken from Anti-Coulter:

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

Funny, that's the same thing the terrorists say when they kill civilians. Another gem:

"The only beef Enron employees have with top management is that management did not inform employees of the collapse in time to allow them to get in on the swindle. If Enron executives had shouted, "Head for the hills!" the employees might have had time to sucker other Americans into buying wildly over-inflated Enron stock. Just because your boss is a criminal doesn't make you a hero."

Why is the person who says she loves working-class Americans playing Devil's Advocate for the Corporate Executives who ruined their retirement funds? I bet if Ken Lay were best friends with Al Gore instead of George W. Bush, she'd be singing a different tune.

Here's an older quote that, I sincerely hope, raises eyebrows.

"I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don't need any more." Asked how far back would she go to repeal laws, she replied, "Well, before the New Deal...[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start."

Wow. That one speaks for itself. This one, though, is my personal favorite. On a recent new York Times article asking the "man on the street" about their opinions on a possible invasion of Iraq:

"...the New York Times managed to locate the only eight people in America opposed to attacking Iraq? (By "America," I obviously mean to exclude newsrooms, college campuses, Manhattan [...my emphasis...] and Los Angeles)."

How dare she!?! This made me so mad when I read it I was literally shaking. Look, either the attacks on September 11th were an attack on real Americans, many of them liberal, many of them Muslim, many of them even (to use a favorite phrase of hers) "swarthly males", or it wasn't. You can't say that the country that you're faithful to was attacked and then turn around and say that the place that was attacked wasn't really America. Make up your mind, Ann. Either you love freedom, or you don't.

Since I, unlike, it seems, Ann Coulter, do love freedom, I'm glad that we live in a society where she's allowed to prattle on about whatever she chooses. Because, in the America Ann Coulter and others of a like mind to hers would create, anyone as outspoken as herself would be among the first sent off to re-education camp. But then again, I never did "...appreciate the benefits of local fascism." Thanks, Ms. Coulter.

Thanks to Anti-Coulter for most of the info.
Oh man. A post about hating Ann Coulter, before it was cliche. Such innocence!

Plus, a Darva Congers reference!

Bye-bye Summer!

13 months 046

You were fun while you lasted.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Clothing weirdness

Should I be concerned that Abbie wears a 24 mos-sized shirt but a 6 or 9
mos-sized jeans?

It seems she has already started on the lifelong oddessy that is being
female and trying to find jeans that fit you. Depressing.

That look on our faces isn't confusion...

This is the best Daily Show bit I've seen in awhile.

Via Crooks and Liars.

They also interviewed Heywood Jamblome

This is pretty funny.
But hold on. Did you catch the name of the young Anbar tough who is the chief informant for the article? Abu Lwat. That's kind of an odd nom d'guerre for a tough former insurgent. See, in Arabic, "Lwat" (اللواط) means "the practice of homosexuality" or, more specifically, sodomy. As a sharp-eyed friend of mine put it, "Either the toughs of Anbar have some sense of humor with their noms due guerre or a coded message is being sent to readers who know Arabic." So.... what exactly is this young Anbar tough, chatting to an American reporter about his alignment with the American military in an interview evidently arranged by the American military, signaling by identifying himself as - with apologies for the crudity here - "father of the fag"? Or, since the luti is the giver rather than the recipient, as it were, perhaps it is "father of the guy giving it to the Americans up their posteriors"? (*) Inquiring minds would like to know... and might also want to know what the military translators who presumably set up this interview were thinking.
I think this is what happens when you fire all the good Arabic translators for being gay.

Via Cursor.

Friday, August 10, 2007

School starts...

Well my freaky darlings, it's that time of year again. I'm going to
spend my last weekend taking kiddo to the park and trying to remember
everything I learned in Russian 102 before 201 begins.

Expect little to no posting until Fall Break, then little to no posting
again until it's time to procrastinate for studying for finals.

Richard Leakey has the vapors

Someone get him a towel.
NAIROBI, Kenya - One of the world's leading paleontologists denounced Ethiopia's decision to send the Lucy skeleton on a six-year tour of the United States, warning Friday that the 3.2 million-year-old fossil will likely be damaged no matter how careful its handlers are.

..."It's a form of prostitution, it's gross exploitation of the ancestors of humanity and it should not be permitted," Leakey told The Associated Press in an interview at his office in Nairobi.
It's really easy for white people from wealthy countries to make statements like this. Kenya has a resource that could earn them lots of money, money that they could really use. If you're so worried about Kenya whoring out their fossils, how about working to ensure that they're not that ass broke in the first place?

No, it's easier to blame the Africans. Leakey has a similar obsession with shooting poachers. Now poaching is particularly odious in my opinion, and certianly a threat to Africa's endangered wildlife species. However, shooting poachers on the spot is fucked up, and bound to be much less effective than helping the native people so that they're not so poor - or have so little opportunity to do anything else - that they have to sell ivory or eat bushmeat or whatever.

It's hard not to notice that poachers are only shot on sight in countries where black people are doing the poaching.

Zozobra on TV

Every year of my adult life I've been meaning to attend the burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe, but something always comes up without fail and I wind up not being able to go.

Yes, even atheists love a good Pagan ritual.

Now, though, I'll be able to just watch it on TV.
KOB-TV 4 and the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe have reached an agreement to provide the first-ever live presentation of the Burning of Zozobra on broadcast television.
I'm kind of surprised they've never done this before. I wonder if they'll be able to capture the drunken atmosphere.

Neat!

I seriously can't wait for school to start again. All this anthro/archeo-geekery in the news lately is whetting my appetite.
Erosion on the floor of the English Channel is revealing the remains of a busy Stone Age settlement, from a time when Europe and Britain were still linked by land, a team of archaeologists says.

The site, just off the Isle of Wight, dates back 8,000 years, not long before melting glaciers filled in the Channel and likely drove the settlement's last occupants north to higher ground.

...Despite the logistical problems of underwater archaeology, the Isle of Wight site and others like it are usually better preserved than their counterparts on land, Momber said.

When the floodwater rose slowly in the English Channel, it deposited layers of silt atop the settlement, encasing it in an oxygen-free environment that preserves even organic materials such as wood and food.

"With underwater sites, all the trappings of a society are going to remain, not just the stone," Momber said. The trade-off is an environment that can carry away the precious remains at any time—a real concern at the Isle of Wight settlement.
I find this early-ish Holocene stuff interesting. And I would love to do some underwater archeology.

Or, you know, watch a show about it on TV.

More on the skulls...

Afarensis weighs in on the recent H. habilis/H. erectus skull 'controversy.'

Am I annoyed by this?

Because I kind of don't think I am.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Governor Bill Richardson skirted a thorny debate on homosexuality during a Los Angeles forum that included six of the eight Democratic presidential contenders.

Richardson was asked Thursday whether homosexuality is a choice or biological and said he doesn’t see it as an issue of science or definition. He says he sees gays and lesbians as human beings.
The AP story makes this out as skirting a tough question, and maybe it is (I certainly don't think homosexuality is a choice). But I don't think it's an annoying or homophobic answer. I kind of had the same response to a big thread where people were debating gender identity and the whole trans thing.

Does 'choice' matter? Would it mean the people in question deserved rights and respect any less?

**added** Coincidentally, there's a post kind of about this at Pharyngula this morning, where PZ talks about some of the biological, hormonal factors of homosexuality.

Also, though, from an Ethnology student's point of view, other cultures don't really have 'gay' like we have 'gay.' In some cultures it's a life-stage thing, where young men are paired with each other, then when you're older you take a wife. In some cultures the separation of the sexes is extreme, and men have sex with women only during a special ceremony that is considered traumatic for the men. It would be interesting to see if the hormone levels or whatever in these cultures are any different, but that's all it would be - interesting. As an argument to base public policy on, it's pointless.

At least, that's the opinion of this straight cisgendered woman, if it means anything.

Happy Blogiversary!

It's my 6th year blogiversary next week.

Woot!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bring it on.

The Happyland comments are currently under attack by "Anonymous."

To which I say, bring it on. I am not afraid of you.

Jill has more here.

Added*** So, if any real comments get accidentally deleted, don't take it too personally.

Ummm...No?

Some instinct of mine tells me that this is full of crap.
The discovery by Meave Leakey, a member of a famous family of paleontologists, shows that two species of early human ancestors lived at the same time in Kenya. That pokes holes in the chief theory of man's early evolution — that one of those species evolved from the other.

...It's the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London.
Now, without going into the fact that Homo habilis, the 'great-grandmother' they're talking about here, is kind of a trash-can species, and many anthropologists (namely, my Biological Anthropology professor) argue that it may not even be a separate species, that is not what this discovery is the equivalent of. Rather, it's like finding out your grandmother and great-grandmother were alive at the same time and lived in the same house for awhile. Which I'm willing to bet they did.

The article goes on to make several references to how this proves a 'bush' theory of evolutionary development over a 'ladder' theory, with a more linear development. This seems to me to show a huge misunderstanding in the way both evolution and the fossil record works, and scientist's understanding of them. Of course human evolutionary development is more 'bushy.' That's how evolution works. No anthropologist I've ever studied under, talked to, or whatever has believed this. The evolutionary trees of modern animals are 'bushy.' Why would humans be any different?

The reason that it may seem, with the fossil specimens we have, to be 'ladderish' is because we have so few fossils. The conditions that created, say, Lucy or Turkana Boy in the first place are exceedingly rare. Then you have to consider that they went millions of years without being destroyed and that we happened upon them in the first place. The amount of fossils undiscovered, combined with the amount of fossils already destroyed and the amount of individuals that were never fossilized in the first place is probably overwhelmingly huge.

(Now this is not to say that evolutionary theory is somehow flawed - even with our sparse information, the theory stands. It's like making a map of a coastline you're exploring. Just because you have to keep adding details to the map as you find out new things doesn't mean that maps are 'wrong.')

I blame cheesy articles like this one, combined with poor science education, for the lack of understanding regarding human evolution in the general public. It's really not that complicated to not explain it stupidly.

**Added** Quoth PZ Myers (whose grammar is much more coherent than mine):
These discoveries do not put any seriously held theories in doubt. They do nicely demonstrate that a linear progression is not to be seriously held.

Just as your mother's life most likely substantially overlapped with your own, the persistence of a parental species so that it overlaps in time with its daughter species is not a challenge to evolution at all.
What he said.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A story in 5 parts.

Mama, put this pirate doo-rag on my head, please. It matches my stopwatch necklace.

Please, put this pirate doo-rag on my head.

Eh - needs some adjustment. And no, I don't know where my other shoe is.

Needs Adjusting.

Ah! Okay! Too much adjusting!

Okay!  Too much adjusting!

Perfect.

Perfect!

Now I will ride my bike across the toy-strewn living room. Which you really should clean already.

I will now ride my bike across the toy-strewn living room.

The End.

Neat!

Hey, look, the Schmap Las Vegas online guide thingy used my photo of the New York New York casino! I am cool.

Youtubing

An odious troll at Feministe reminded me of this movie today.



Awesome. Isn't Roddy Piper oddly hot in his package-hugging ultratight 1980s Levis?

Sista Big Bones




CONGRATULATIONS!! You are a true, 100% Fat Girl. You
may be fat but your confidence, positive attitude and
beauty are what people notice about you. Celebrate by
getting your nails done - your hands will be that much
more attractive as you're taking the last chicken wing.

Take the How Much Of A Fat Girl Are You? Quiz!

Woo! Damn right. Via Butterfly Cauldron.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Presented without (much) comment.

Because what is there to say?

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A soldier convicted of rape and murder in an attack on an Iraqi teenager and her family was sentenced Saturday to 110 years in prison.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement attorneys for Pfc. Jesse Spielman had made with prosecutors that set the number of years he could serve in prison, regardless of the jury's recommendation.

The jury had recommended life with parole, a sentence under which he would have to wait longer for the possibility of parole. He will be eligible for parole after 10 years.
Meanwhile, the family of Abeer Qassim Hamza, her father Qassim Hamza Raheem, her mother Fakhriya Taha Muhasen, and her 5-year-old sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza will not be eligible for parole from the hell they have been sentenced to in the knowledge that their family members were murdered and raped...ever.

I'm against the death penalty, but hearing about cases like this makes sticking to that conviction tough.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wow, I suck.

You can tell I'm not a film student anymore, because I didn't even notice that Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni both died on Monday.

As they say, D'oh.

Read Roger Ebert's (who has started writing reviews regularly again, yipee!) memorial write-ups on both men.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oh please. Put your clutched pearls away, Mary.

Maybe I was too much of a modern primitive in my younger days but when I hear people talk about this-and-that being 'mutilation,' my eyeballs just about roll out of their head.

Tattoos are mutilation. Piercings are mutilation. Black women straightening their hair is mutilation. Boob jobs are mutilation.

Or, sex change operations are mutilation.
Wednesday the BBC reported on a recent debate about the validity of sex change surgery organized by BBC Radio and the Royal Society of London. Opposing four experts on transsexuals, Julie Bindel, a British feminist and journalist, argued that sex reassignment surgery is an "unnecessary mutilation" based on unscientific ideas and a reactionary idea of gender. She contended that the very idea of "being trapped in the wrong body" is a homophobic diagnosis invented by psychiatrists in the 1950s and that the "highest number of sex change operations take place in Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death."
Okay, can I just say upfront that a sex change operation in an oppressive theocratic culture is not going to be the same thing as a sex change operation in the US (well, not yet anyway) or the UK? The two situations wouldn't seem to compare.

The Broadsheet article goes on:
Voicing support for Bindel's controversial position was Claudia MacLean, a transsexual woman who told the audience she should never have had sex change surgery, and that she was recommended for it after a 45-minute consultation. Also interviewed for the story were a couple of other transsexual people who regret their surgery.
Okay, now I wouldn't get *any* major surgery after a mere 45-minute consultation. But this sounds like an extreme case. Anyone out there in the trans community with more information than me on this issue?

Really, though, this all sounds like the same old aghast pearl-clutching cries my punk friends and I used to get walking down the streets of Boston in the 90s. How could you mutilate your face with all those holes! How could you mutilate your skin with all those tattoos!

Hey, it's your body, and as long as you're not being forced into it by someone else, modify it however you want.

(Evil fizz also wrote about this at Feministe.)