when the status quo frustrates.

John Derbyshire Eats Mierda

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Does Derbyshire honestly think that knowing Spanish doesn’t already confer an advantage to the job seeker? N.B. the reference to trade partners in the preceding text. Is this preference for people with actual communication skills a thing Americans actually want? ¿Que carajo quieres, pajero? Life handed to you on a silver platter? Conservatives once claimed to reward hard work and study and sacrifice. Here Americans are rising to the occasion, ready to ensure their kids’ place in the anticipated new global economy by helping them learn a crucial skill, and Derbyshire? Derbyshire gimotea como un cochinillo sobre las conspiraciónes.

Because Derbyshire es un hipócrita. Jamais nunca estaba sobre el trabajo duro. Ha estado siempre sobre sembrar las semillas del odio. Y la cosa peor: tan muchos Americanos son ignorantes, y entonces lo creerán.

Que lástima.

Que maravillosa ese ensayo: tan mucho odio cabe en solamente doscientas palabras.

Heh. Indeed. If I knew Spanish.

A Quick Note

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Nothing cures a boring day in the mental hospital like a few tornadoes. Especially if you’re outside to enjoy them.

To the Comic Book Writers: For the last time guys, Lipstick Lesbians do NOT challenge heteronormitivity

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

I mean come on, heteronormitivity doesn’t care about two women sleeping together, hell, it makes films about it.

It’s the Behavior that Heteronormitivity cares about, not the sex, lesbians acting like femme het women who just occasionally sleep with other women, well that’s fine and dandy, men sleeping with men who are butch and manly, also fine, but women and men who step outside those boundaries, oh deary me, lock them up, get them out of sight, stop shoving them in our faces, ewwww!

If you want to make Batwoman a freaking minority token, at least make her butch, that way she’d be an actual minority token, rather than just another het male wank fantasy.

Why the fuck is a super hero wearing lipstick anyway!? Ugh… Practicality and style must be possible, so why don’t your design guys try it for once, hmm? Do you see batman flying around with socks stuffed down his pants? I didn’t think so.

Sharing Drunkle Stories With Ex-Cons and Junkies Whilst Trying Not To Peel Off My Tattoo

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

The title pretty much sums up last week.

My dead bird tattoo* makes my arm itch like hell, in part because the tattoo artist insists on shaving my arm (why can’t they tattoo around the hair? for me?) and in part because every time I get ink I scab up like a muthafucka. Luckily, half of the other addictions counselors I met this week were former tattoo artists who gave me helpful advice on taking care of my dead bird. Nevertheless, I peeled off half my scabs and my arm looks like shit. Nervous habit. Back to the shop.

If you ever venture to an addictions counseling convention, you will find that many of your colleagues are also ex-cons and ex-junkies. This provides for lots of entertaining dinner conversation. I met a former shop teacher who was caught with two grams of blow on school grounds (oops) and a guy whose fourteen year old daughter helped detox him as he quit his crank habit (ouch). My main buddy for the week was a notorious drug dealer for roughly fifteen years and finally decided to quit during a ninety day stint in solitary. This is, believe it or not, the norm. My own mentor at the office once lost her car in another state and didn’t remember where she parked it when she woke up the next morning and found herself at home, two hundred miles away from the previous day’s destination. No addict wants to hear how not to do drugs from a squeaky clean clinician who has never taken so much as a recreational valium or forty — your credibility is gained in part from having gone through the recovery process yourself and come out on the other end alive, productive, able and willing to laugh at the insanity, and overall, okay.

I’m supposed to come up with a program out of thin air for drug-addled adolescents in my work community, most of whom are into huffing, the stupidest high I can think of. I myself have been privy to quite a bit of illegal substances, but never huffing. Dumbasses. I never really drank until well after my 21st birthday, at which point I made sure to make up that sober time and then some. But nevertheless, I’m hard-pressed to come up with some exciting and educational stuff for the kids because I really identify with their adolescent angst and boredom and part of me thinks they should get it out of their systems while they have the opportunity to have it wiped off their records on their eighteenth birthdays. I’d like to think that they’ll grow out of it like I did — my own extensive record shows nothing but a couple of traffic tickets at this point — but some aren’t so lucky. I had the privilege of good insurance and, oh, three times locked up in a mental institution because of my insistence on getting high and being a really, really bad liar. And a bevy of therapists because my parents are just that crazy (not I).

The real turning point for me was tricking myself into liking Narcotics Anonymous. During my final (to date) time in a boys’ home, I connived my parents into picking me up and taking me to a local meeting, because that was the only time I could get out of the damned home and chainsmoke. Plus, the old timers had fucked up stories. But soon I found myself among a bunch of like-minded souls and I kind of liked it. And then I worked some steps, and hey, I wasn’t so depressed anymore. And then there was no desire for the drugs because they clearly weren’t working in my favor, and ta-da, you had yourself a sixteen-year-old baby-junkie in recovery for his alarming prescription pill habit.**

I stayed clean for a long while continuing to go to NA and work the steps until I realized it was no longer necessary for me.*** Later on, I filled a once a year pot-smoking quota until I realized that weed is boring and I don’t need help being lazy anyway. And here I am, clean from my DOC for over ten years with only a few transgressions and nevertheless a serious, but healthy, obsession with fine wine.

But like my biker buddy once I decided to quit, I quit. No real temptation, no real trouble. The trouble for me, as it is with many addicts, is less of the drug and more of the change in lifestyle. Where do you go on a Saturday night if not the bar? Who do you call if not your old friends? The new playmates, new playgrounds gig is more than difficult, and I found myself pretty much alone and struggling with my recovery for over a year before I was able to make non-using friends and come up with shit to do other than drop acid and drive to an abandoned building in the countryside to watch the sun come up. And despite all the bullshit I had to endure and all the pain I caused friends and family, some of those times are still some of my favorite memories and best stories: Arrested on acid and telling the officer I was pretty sure they couldn’t arrest ovaries, caught stealing a car and refusing to let the officer take the puppy (whose puppy?) I was holding, wholheartedly believing that I could damn well change the world but forgetting the plan once the drugs wore off, and realizing the meaning of life.****

Right. And now I’m the boring old counselor telling kids to just say no and abstain from using drugs despite their small town boredom, their parents’ alcoholism and drug addiction, and their own maniacal depression. I feel for them, I do — but I also know how bad it can get, and thank my higher power I never got there. For that I owe the old timers that told me their stories, and in doing so, gave me a life I would have otherwise passed over in favor of oblivion.

I love a good recovery story. Share yours, among other thoughts, in the comments.

*Still not kidding. At this point you can see a series of faded spots where I dropped ink. Damn.

** My mother’s Xanax, mostly, but any pill would do. Later, lots and lots of acid. Lots.

*** The reliance on god and the group for many was obsessive and bothersome, my higher power being activism and everyone else’s resembling a Judeo-Christian god that I just couldn’t stomach. I find that atheists have a difficult time in step-recovery because of the insistence on relying on higher powers, in addition to many counselors pushing the god bit and refusing to validate a higher power that isn’t an omniscient being, in part because they believe that someone who picks a chair or the recovery group as a higher power just isn’t serious about getting clean. Regardless, clinicians are not supposed to be connected to groups like AA and NA, and an ethical clinician in recovery will find him or herself a home group that isn’t in the community they serve. This isn’t always the case, and sometimes non-addict addiction counselors will find ways to monitor the activities of these anonymous groups by mandating them in punitive Drug Courts and prying during therapeutic sessions. Just so’s you know, your therapist should never ask you anything about your time in AA/NA except whether or not you are attending and whether or not you think it’s working. Anything else is out of bounds because of the tenets of AA/NA, these tenets of emotional safety and anonymity being the reason that people are able to commit to such groups despite social stigma.

**** Brace yourself, this shit is deep: Life is fucked up. But it’s not just fucked up, it’s seriously fucked up.

We do it for the children

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Apparently, some Dutch citizens aren’t happy with their unreasonably puritanical society. Yes, they can to come to America and enjoy our liberal drug laws and easy access to the sex trade, but there’s nothing like making your home your own. Fortunately, one group is finally standing up for sexual freedom in the Netherlands:

Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals, sparking widespread outrage.

Let the outrage from the wackos pour forth — you can’t stop a good idea.

The only problem is that they’re not going far enough. 12 is so… overripe. Can’t they do away with the criminalization of something as pure as child rape?

The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether.

“A ban just makes children curious,” Ad van den Berg, one of the party’s founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper.

Right on. They do want the whole ban done away with, and they finally say what we’ve all been thinking: laws against sex with minors only hurt the children. I mean, it has nothing to do with preventing adults from abusing those too young to protect themselves physically or emotionally. The only fallout from fascist legislation like this is that kids get even more curious about what’s hiding in Uncle Hoefter’s shortpants.

But these guys don’t just want to help kids, they have a mature, robust platform to fix what ails the Netherlands:

The party wants private possession of child pornography to be allowed although it supports the ban on the trade of such materials. It also supports allowing pornography to be broadcast on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening.

Toddlers should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, the NVD said.

The party also said everybody should be allowed to go naked in public and promotes legalizing all soft and hard drugs and free train travel for all.

Even if you don’t care about helping the children, you’d be a fool not to vote for the free train travel.

We Need to Do This

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Spelling + Drunkle = Good Times

puppy v. gator v. man

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Sometimes, puppies stick their noses where they shouldn’t:

Coral Springs resident Michael Rubin took the 6-month old puppy, named Jasmine, for a run with his border collie Monday morning. They were near a pond in the Heron Bay development in northwestern Coral Springs, on the edge of the Everglades, when the puppy ran about 20 yards ahead to the edge of the water. That’s when Rubin heard the dog squealing.

When he went to check on her, he saw the puppy’s head inside the mouth of a 6-foot alligator.

Like in an alligator’s mouth. Gator 1, Puppy 0.

“The gator was flipping her over and killing her,” Rubin told our news partners at The Herald. That’s when he jumped into the water and started beating the animal with his fist.

Okay folks, let’s stop right there. This is a six-foot alligator. Big as a person. Clearly hungry — or at least peckish.

If you decide to get between a gator and its snack, I figure there’s a decent chance you’re losing an arm. I mean, maybe you get away without a scratch, maybe it nabs a finger, maybe it takes your face, I don’t know. But gators are on a bit of a killing spree in Florida right now, so I figure an arm’s about the average expected loss.

You have to ask yourself: is your pet worth an arm?

There’s no right answer, though I’m expecting half of you to be aghast that I would even think of letting a gator carry off my puppy by the head and the other half to think it’s insane to even consider fighting an alligator for something replaceable like a puppy. I fall somewhere in the middle. I like to think that I would dive in after my dog and go whup some leathery hide, but I also like my arms and using them and stuff. I could go either way, probably depending on whether I was full of rage and bile from reading one of those pathetic doublespeak posts from Jeff Low-self-e-stein or not.

Overall, I think the loss of an arm is a fair evaluation of the risk. Would you do it?

Rubin said the punches didn’t deter the reptile. The puppy’s head was locked in the gator’s mouth and she didn’t seem to be moving. Rubin feared she was dead. ”It was kind of like I’m not letting this gator have her,” said Rubin, 45.

Well, alright, then. You’re fighting a gator, it’s not killing you, but you’re at a standstill. Gator 1, Puppy 0, Man 0.

So you did the unthinkable but it didn’t work, and now you’re dog’s probably dead. About the only thing to be gained from pursuing your dog’s body in a gator’s mouth: it’s an excellent chance to find out how much God loves you. Or not.

He eventually pried the dog loose and rushed her to Coral Springs Animal Hospital where she was treated for cuts and puncture wounds.

Rubin said “I just reacted. Maybe it wasn’t the brightest thing to do. Thank God, my dog is alive. You love your animal, sometimes you do crazy things.”

Amazingly, the dog was alive and is probably playing friskily as we type. The judges deduct a point from the gator and give it to the dude, making it Puppy 0, Gator 0, Man 1. We have a winner.

Except it isn’t us, and it sure as hell isn’t the uncredited journalist of what has to be the worst-written article in news history.

Someone managed to fight off a gator in some fashion other than using his fists (punches weren’t working, remember), take a live puppy from its mouth, and toddle off with a scratch, and all you can say is that “he eventually pried the dog loose?” He had to open the jaw somehow, or else his pooch would be sans noggin. When he took the dog, why didn’t the gator take his ankle? How the fuck did the puppy live despite having its head enveloped in a gator’s maw for so long?

Augh. CBS4 in Miami, if I ever find the head of anything I care about stuck in a gator’s mouth and don’t know how to get it out of there, I am so totally suing your ass.

I’m sure the spooks aren’t interested

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Hey, good news, folks. Soon, the NSA won’t spy on your conversations via the telecom companies. In a few years they’ll simply station an officer comfortably in your living room, probably behind that plant you should really water.

You might be thinking, “That’s stupid, marc. You’re so stupid. I would see him. God, you’re so stupid.” Mayhaps, but I’m also here to scare you with tech news as I play the foil to Kyso’s “Yay! Science!” with “Boo! Abuse!” — ’cause I’m guessing there’s already been some parallel development in the ol’ NSA labs on this sweet gear:

Reporting last week in the journal Science, physicists J.B. Pendry of Imperial College London and David Smith and David Schurig of Duke University described a way to make high-tech “metamaterials” that can funnel light around an object and make it invisible.

Metamaterials, assemblages of small artificial bits of patterned metal films, can be engineered to bend almost any kind of electromagnetic energy. Schurig said that “probably this year” scientists will produce a metamaterial that can shield equipment from microwave radiation. However, protecting objects from visible light — creating an invisibility cloak — is “further out,” he said in a telephone interview — “maybe 10 years.”

Smith compared the process to a stream flowing around a stone — essentially creating a “hole” in the water, where anything can be hidden and remain unnoticed from the outside. “We have shown it can be done for almost any frequency,” he said in a telephone interview. “Being able to build it is another story.”

So we’ve got ten years, maybe less if the military labs are ahead of the game (which the conspiracy theorists assure me is true). After that, cops and spies may soon be able to suit up like the Predator. Hopefully, they won’t make that creepy Predator noise, though.

For my money, I’d like to get my hands on this tech and rent it out to untrusting spouses and parents as a Do-It-Urself PI kit. Then I could retire to my own private island with my infrared cornea implants and live a life of privacy.

Until then, though, I’ll just keep my eye out for any extra crumbs in the corners of my pad. The conspiracy theorists also assure me that, as a side effect of the brainwashing, no NSA man can resist a Cheeto.

More like The Dunce’s Corner

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Warren Bell writes his contender for the 2006 Unintentionally Ironic Post:

I am going to save you some time. You no longer need to email me every time I take some position in favor of the War on Terror , the invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan, or in fact any pro-military stance. I now am completely and thoroughly informed that I am a chickenhawk, that it is “easy” to support a war when I don’t have to put on a uniform and fight, and that I am a coward who would only sacrifice other people’s loved ones. And to save you further time, I am going to expose myself even more. I am a hypocrite and chickenhawk in the War on Crime, as I continue to avoid donning a badge and a gun and busting down doors to catch bad guys, even though I support sending in real police to do the job. I am a complete coward in the War on Fire, because I have never put on a yellow slicker and an oxygen mask to go stand on the front line in the battle against a burning building. And that’s while completely admitting that I would be great at squirting the big hose. Additionally, and this is a little painful, I am a loser, hypocrite, chickenhawk, and barely half a man in the War on Weeds. I tried digging them out of my yard, but found I didn’t have what it takes, so now I sit in my comfy chair and watch while other people’s loved ones put themselves at risk. I’m sorry.

Now Teh Kung Fu Monkey tears this idea apart, and it’s a good post, better than this one, so go read,

But Kung Fu Money misses the crucial Irony of this paragraph, namely that when it comes to the “Wars” on crime and fire, these morons are still chickenhawks.

You see the crux of Kung Fu Monkeys post relies on the fact that conservatives gleefully send troops into a dangerous and utterly pointless mission, while also refusing to actually Do Anything to support them, like not voting into office and supporting and ignoring people who don’t care that they’re sending troops into a meatgrinder without proper equipment, supplies and actual, you know, Support.

In much the same way you can’t really be “supporting” the firefighters and police if you’re also against paying the taxes that pay those people’s wages. If you in fact are actively against the sort of infrastructure that enables firefighters and the police’s to do their jobs.

It’s about the hypocrisy, stupid, in other words.

And no, once again, illegal wire tapping is not neccesary for the police’s job, try to remember these very simple ideas: Breaking the law does not actually help maintain the law, refusing to pay firefighters does not help put out fires, sending troops into pointless meatgrinders without equipment IS NOT SUPPORTING THE TROOPS.

What’s l33t sp34k for “cry for help”?

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Or, An Example of How Patriarchy Hurts Men As Well.

Hey, what’s cooler than pretending you’re Tyler Durden?

If you said, damn well nearly anything you derivative fuck, you’d be right. You also wouldn’t be these guys.

They may sport love handles and Ivy League degrees, but every two weeks, some Silicon Valley techies turn into vicious street brawlers in a real-life, underground fight club.

Kicking, punching and swinging every household object imaginable — from frying pans and tennis rackets to pillowcases stuffed with soda cans — they beat each other mercilessly in a garage in this bedroom community south of San Francisco.

Rule 1: Don’t talk about Fight Club.
Rule 1a: Talking to CNN.com fucking counts as talking about Fight Club.

And wasn’t there something about only using fists?

Inspired by the 1999 film “Fight Club,” starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, underground bare-knuckle brawling clubs have sprung up across the country as a way for desk jockeys and disgruntled youths to vent their frustrations and prove themselves.

“This is as close as you can get to a real fight, even though I’ve never been in one,” the soft-spoken Siou said.

OK, boys, but just remember that in real life, Project Mayhem will get you a lot of jail time, all right? And Silicon Valley employers no likie the programmer with the assault record. Or the one that admits things like this to reporters:

Despite his reserved demeanor, he daydreams about inflicting pain on an attacker. “I have fantasies about it,” he said.

Not that he has anything to prove, you see.

“But I don’t need this to prove I’m macho — I’m macho enough as it is.”

Note to this man’s employer: Sending him to company psychiatrist now will save you money, hassle, and bad PR later.

“You get to be a superhero for a night,” Klimanis said. “We have to go to work every day. We’re constantly told to buy things we don’t need, and just for a couple hours we have the freedom to do what we want to do.”

And what we want to do is what Brad Pitt in that kind-of-but-not-really underground but still mainstream movie tells us to do! Right down to the bullshit justification! Ok, guys, I agree, Fuck IKEA. But beating each other senseless does nothing about America’s overconsumption. Just don’t buy IKEA. If the hot chick in marketing is only impressed by expensive consumer goods, then fuck her as well, leave her to her own devices. Pounding yourselves into pasty white pulps in Joe-from-R&D’s garage is not doing anything for anyone, least of all your sorry selves.

Cry for help? The experts think so.

“Real-life fight clubs are the male version of the girls who cut themselves,” he said. “All day long these guys think they’re the captains of the universe, technical wizards. They’re brilliant but empty.

“They want to feel differently. They want to get hit, they want to feel something real.”

Get some fucking help. Talk to a friend. Change your meds. Get a hobby. Volunteer at the homeless shelter. Paint a picture. Join Habitat for Humanity-you get to build houses! How manly is that?

PS: The kind of girls (and you can’t tell me that on some level this is not about girls) who are not into that consumer bullshit also like original thought. Patterning your weekends after a 7-year-old movie will not score you any points. Besides, as much as I enjoy a Chuck Palanuck (ever heard of him? Look at the cover of your DVD of Fight Club. His name’s on it) novel, he is not subtle to the point of wearysome and enjoys an oversimplifed worldview in order to make his point. For example, you do not have to resort to hurting yourself in order to opt out of consumer culture. Really. I promise.

X-Men 3

Monday, May 29th, 2006


Warning: Possible spoilers below and in the comments (comment, dammit. No more of this “I don’t feel informed enough to comment” crap), but if it is past Wednesday and you haven’t seen it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?


Monday, May 29th, 2006

Robin: Look, Batman! it’s the Joker!
Batman: Quick, Robin, into the batmobile!
[Robin slaps forehead]
Batman: What is it, lover old chum?
Robin: I forgot to fill it full of cow shit.

Okay, not technically cow shit, but the methane culled from it. This could be the future of alternative auto fuel, people.

I print the ABC story in its entirety, thanks to Raw Story:

May 29, 2006 — – The secret to cheaper gas could lie in cow dung.

The Vehicle Research Institute of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., has been turning cow manure into fuel that can power a natural-gas car. Researchers are not shoveling manure straight into the gas tank but pumping the methane — a gas created by the manure — into the car.

They have some hard-working cows at a dairy farm in Lyndon, Wash., to thank for this experiment, which could mean cheaper car fuel for many people.

“We are talking about dairy cows,” said Eric Leonhardt, an engineering technology professor and director of the Vehicle Research Institute. “So they are very well-trained. They go in one spot. They feed and do their business in one location. And then that material is pumped into a holding tank.”

For 21 days, the manure sits in an underground tank and stews. Then, using regular old garden hoses, researchers siphon floating methane out of the holding tank. They must purify the methane to remove other gases before pumping it into the car.

Every cow can produce enough manure in a day to make a car go about 15 miles. If you take 20 cows, you get 300 miles of gas in your car.

There are not enough cows in the United States to power every vehicle. But Vehicle Research Institute researchers say a natural-car powered by methane could be a great solution for certain rural communities.

The price of cow fuel will put some consumers, well, over the moon.

“The gas is currently being sold at one-fifth the pump price,” Leonhardt said.

Cheaper? Check. Renewable? Most definitely. Unbelievable stinky? You betcha. In the right places, this could work, and I’m all for it — until McDonald’s realizes its awful overpopulated feedlots make it the Iran of the cow shit industry.

Let’s hope the methane collectors stick to sweet old dairy cows.