when the status quo frustrates.

Post From Flesh-World

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

I have not been posting often because the flesh-world is getting in the way. I’ve been promoted at the Census, which means way more work for me. So if I haven’t responded to a comment, it’s not that I’m ignoring you or don’t want to address your post, it’s that in-depth responses are on hold.

I do want to make a quick mention that I’m getting really sick of people just rolling their eyes and saying “That’s government for you” when we have to fill out tons of paperwork, or the people who we’re enumerating saying that this is really inefficient for us to go door-to-door (then you should have turned in your Census form the first time around). The more and more that I see of this operation, the more I’m amazed it can get off the ground in the first place. It really is operating like a well-running machine. Of course, a well-running machine is the epitome of organized chaos- the fuel is squeezed together, explodes in a mostly directed area but out into all directions, and for the most part there is no errors in the running. The same is true of the Census- we’re trained, we’re directed where to go but we’re all going in slightly different directions.

We’re counting over 300,000 million people who don’t all want to stay in one place. The fact that we get it done in a very brief amount of time is pretty amazing in my mind.

Recovering! Slowly.

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I see there are even more comments on the Fun Feminism post…besides the usual excuse of laziness, I had surgery last week to repair a herniated disc in my back. Herniated discs aren’t actually that big a deal in of themselves; however, if they move sufficiently out of position to impact the large nerves running down the backs of both legs, then they do become a problem. Most herniated discs resolve themselves, or can be resolved with physical therapy and/or steroid injections at the disc site–however, after a year and a half of progressively worse pain, numbness and weakness in my right leg to the point where I was rendered mostly bedridden about a month ago, it was time to shoot for the surgery solution.

I had never had surgery, much less surgery involving a general anesthetic before, so it was an educational experience for me. (Not an educational experience I had actually ever wanted to have, but still.) Among other things, I learned that I am allergic to Valium. Also, having surgery, besides the acute pain in the surgical site, does all kinds of weird things to your body in general–I am still waking up every morning feeling achy and feverish and exhausted for no apparent reason other than that I had surgery–actually, it’s not that different from how I felt post-childbirth, which I suppose makes sense–traumatic injurious physical changes of state are clearly not episodes my body enjoys dealing with. I am a frail, delicate flower! :D

But I am recovering, and probably by next week will be back in the saddle again. So to speak. (No real saddles, please–the herniated disc was right above my tailbone.) Stay tuned!

Skeptifem is writing a book.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

And it will be awesome. Because Skeptifem is awesome. That I’m friends with her is utterly irrelevant, I promise.

Anyway, she is also looking for people to interview. So, if you’re interested in helping out on an expansive research project, and you are in the set of, I quote—feminists or non feminists, dudes and ladies, pro sex and anti porn, gay or not, trans, people of color, people of size, etc—then drop her a line.

Why Am I Not Supposed to be Offended Again?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I have, in the intern, been working for the U.S. Census. It’s fairly routine work- lots of paperwork, lots of calling people, but hey, I need money to pay the bills.*

Today we had an exterminator come to our house to take care of our ant problem. He noticed my Census badge, and started asking questions about why we need the census in the first place (because it’s in the constitution) and telling me that he only put the number of people in his household (then you’re going to get someone to come to the door). It was becoming increasingly obvious that this gentleman was a fan of Michele Bachmann so I talked about what the information was used for and why it was important. I explained to him that the information was used for a lot of really important things- districting of the state and federal governments, genealogical information, sociological information, and information for lawsuits and making sure the Voting Act is not being violated**. Finally, I reassured him the information is confidential.

We went on to talking, and he said that he had the solution for “fixing the deficit”. I said “What, taxing people more?” while my husband said “Cut Senator paychecks?”. He said “No- tax government jobs five percent more. If you work a lazy make-work job fixing up parks for 20,000/ year, you should only make 19,000″.

WTF? I just got done saying I worked for the federal government. Not two seconds ago in fact. We had a brief discussion of the amount of work it entailed, including him expressing concern that I was not allowed to carry any form of weapon on my person. And, without even knowing how much I made, he determined that it was 5 percent too much.

I said “I don’t know, I think we could probably fix the deficit if we went back to the tax rate under the Reagan administration. You know, 50% at the upper end.”

He responded he didn’t like the idea of half his paycheck going away.

I said that the 50% was only income over 200,000 dollars (wrongly, it was actually 175,000). He laughed and said that’s twice as much as what he made. I then changed the subject to talk about my kitty which he was petting.

After he left, I got even more upset at this guy. Not only was he saying that government workers were overpaid (they aren’t) and that someone who’s not making a subsistence wage needs to make even less (20,000 is only 50% over the poverty line for one person, not accounting for relative poverty) but he has the audacity to say this while making 100,000 dollars a year. I’m sure being an exterminator is a hard job, and for all I know, he does his job very well (I’ll tell you if I see the ants disappear). But, all I saw him do is take 5 minutes to spray a can and then spend 15 minutes talking. I know for a fact that maintaining a park takes more effort than that- spraying insecticide is only one of there tons of jobs to do. And him going, to my face, that my labor is not as valuable as the unsteady pittance I made is quite frankly one of the rudest things I think he could say to me.

You know, some day the odds are that I will live in an actual house and make enough money that I will actually have to fill out the the long tax form. And I hope when I get to that age and that level of security, I will remember what it feels like to live in a shitty basement apartment, worrying about when the next paycheck is coming in (and how much it’ll cover) and if going out to see a 10 dollar play is a justifiable expense. I want to remember the burning embarrassment when I tell the local community choir that I don’t have 50 dollars on hand to pay for the dues (and have them pull me aside to say that there are hardship scholarships available for me***). Because that’s the only thing I can think of when people tell me that I make too much money while they’re making way more than me- they don’t remember, or they never were, in my situation.

*Everyone, send in your Census form.
**Seriously, send in your Census form. It’s really, really important that you send in your Census form.
*** It seems like a sick irony that when I have all the time to do the community building stuff, I don’t have the money, and when I can eek out the money, I don’t have the time.

Today’s Giggle Moment

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Scholars of boys and men converged Wednesday at Wagner College, in Staten Island, N.Y., to announce the creation of the Foundation for Male Studies, which will support a conference and a journal targeted at exploring the triumphs and struggles of the XY-chromosomed of the human race — without needing to contextualize their ideas as being one half of a male-female binary or an offshoot of feminist theory.

…I read that sentence like, three times in a row and it still made no sense to me…so I hadn’t reached the giggle moment yet–

More than anything else, the event was a chance for supporters to frame men and boys as an underrepresented minority

THERE WE GO! :D

Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, said the field takes its cues “from the notion that male and female organisms really are different”…The culprit, said Tiger, is feminism: “a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.”

Paul Nathanson, a researcher in religious studies at McGill University and co-author of a series of books on misandry — the hatred of men and boys — conceded that “there is some critique of feminism that’s going to be involved” in male studies. “There are some fundamental features of ideological feminism over the last 30 or 40 years that we need to question.”

He also decried “the institutionalization of misandry” which, he said, is “being generated by feminists, [though] not all feminists.”

Um…so basically what this is is the creation of the Foundation for Anti-Feminist Studies…it’s not really about men at all, is it? It’s Feminism Sucks 101! Which is why, truly, these folks are not calling their bullshit Men’s Studies, because, uh. Men’s Studies (an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning men, masculinity, gender, and politics) already exists and has existed for the past 30 years.

Male studies’ combative tone toward feminism and women’s studies programs is one reason why Robert Heasley, president of the American Men’s Studies Association, turned down an invitation to speak at the event.

Yeah, I don’t suppose he’s too crazy about the idea of his actual, real academic discipline getting associated with a hate movement.

Edward Stevens, chair of the On Step Institute for Mental Health Research, said he wants to see male studies search for ways to improve male academic performance. “What are the ethical concerns of devoting 90 percent of resources to one gender?” he asked (though without explaining exactly what he meant).

LOL, seriously! which gender is that and how can I join up? Cuz that doesn’t describe either of the genders that I’m familiar with…this is SO funny! And amazing that anybody would want to waste their one-and-only adult life on this kind of crap, either founding it or, er, “studying” it. The Westboro Baptist Church, Ann Coulter, “Male” Studies…it takes all kinds…what would a deck of cards be without the jokers? I mean, I’ve never actually played a game of cards in which the jokers were ever used but I’d have missed them if they weren’t there in the deck when I pulled it out of the box! If I even noticed they weren’t there in the first place, I would SO miss ‘em! :D

Luckily for Ann, speech rife with hypocrisy is TOTALLY protected by the First Amendment

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Normally I ignore Ann Coulter completely, but this is just too priceless to pass up. See, it appears that Ann is terribly, terribly upset by the evil deeds of the Westboro Baptist Church.

…[The Westboro Baptist Church is a] Kansas-based cult, consisting mostly of members of a single family, traveled to Maryland in order to stand outside Matthew’s funeral with placards saying things like, “God Loves Dead Soldiers,” “God Hates You,” “You’re Going to Hell,” “Semper Fi Fags,” “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Thank God for IEDs” and “God Hates Fags.

..Unlike many legal concepts, the tort of IIED is not an obscure legal doctrine written in pig Latin. It means what it says: speech or conduct specifically intended to inflict emotional distress. The usual description of the tort of IIED is that a reasonable man viewing the conduct would react by saying, “That’s outrageous!”

The Second Restatement of Torts (1965) defines IIED as conduct “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

…Thanks to idiot lawyers, who think it makes them sound smart to say “Black is white” and “Up is down,” one of the biggest problems in society today is the refusal to draw lines. Here’s a nice bright line: Holding malevolent signs outside the funeral of an American serviceman who died defending his country constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress.

(…excuse me, I’m having a wft?! moment..?)

This from the woman who has stated publicly, several times, that four specific women whose husbands died horrible deaths as firefighters trying to save the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack, areself-obsessed witches who enjoyed their husbands’ deaths?

Oh, but she does anticipate this. She, you know, only participated in the exact same outrageous, extreme, atrocious behavior while “publishing [her] views in a magazine, announcing them on a…radio program, proclaiming them on…”Countdown With Keith Olbermann”. Which makes it perfectly okay; the reason the Westboro Baptist Church should be slammed by the forces of Justice but she should be allowed to drip venom without so much as a hiccup is because, you know, the Westboro protesters were standing outside the soldier’s funeral doing it. All she did was list her targets’ names on national TV, public radio and in published print…over and over and over again…which is clearly much less specifically and personally directed with intent to inflict emotional distress!

Sorry, Ann. I can’t tell the difference between you and the Westboro Baptist Church, frankly. But maybe you could genuinely help the rest of us stop their insane, disgusting behavior–if you could tell us what would stop yours, then maybe we could put that information to good use shutting them up, too.

I’m all ears.

Me and Al

Monday, April 5th, 2010

If only 70 million more had followed my lead.

I, for one, despise internet memes. Don’t you? You come across a video on some obscure blog of a young Governator sexually harassing women in Rio or a Russian dude expertly singing on “Oo ya ya ya ya ya”, and you think, “Whoah. I found this. This is mine. I have discovered a secret treasure of the internet!” Proud of your triumph, you forward it to everybody and their brother, you feature it on your blog, you help your grandmother set up internet access just so she can watch it, and she’s all like, “Meh. I saw this three years ago.” Oof. Like a punch to the gut, it is.

There is one glorious exception. The video I saw last week. I don’t care if you already saw it two weeks ago. Watch it again, and cry tears of joy anew.

I know there is no god. But Dear God: I’ll take back all those things I said about You if You just make sure this gets made into a real movie. Please?

I first saw this over here at the Onion A.V. Club. At the time I saw it, literally the first 10 comments were all folks saying, “His was the first concert I ever went to.”

Funny thing. His was the first concert I ever went to, too. Put on a helluva show, too.
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Okay, This Is Ridiculous

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I have kept my mouth shut about this…til now. But this is really the outside of enough, folks. I mean, come ON!

Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars

(CNN) — If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year,

Let me note now that I breastfed both my children til each one was a year old and breastfed exclusively through the first four months, so my absolute disgust with this article is in no way some kinda guilt-fueled defensive huffiness. I was a good little Mommie! I saved nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year! (I could use some of that money right now too, thanks–drop me an email, whoever is holding onto that?)

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Easter

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

When I was growing up, Easter was a Big Deal in our family. We all got Easter outfits* and took lovely photos. We then sat through a lecture at church that was a rehash of the lecture last year, about Christ is risen, savior, yadda yadda yadda.

But then, we got home, tore off our uncomfortable clothing, and the real Easter began: the Easter Egg Hunt. Oh, it was glorious. My mom really knew how to hide eggs. It didn’t matter how many eggs you found, or didn’t find- we all got an equitable split in our eggs. Eggs, chocolate bunnies, little toys- the day was so much fun. But the big one was we each got our own Easter “Egg”. This was the one in our color, and in it it held a special gift just for one of us individually. We couldn’t tell the other if we found it- they had to find it on their own. This was like Christmas, but better because we actually were encouraged to find it. Inside it was never the most expensive thing in the world- a t-shirt, a cd, one year I got a hat, but it was picked out with our tastes in mind, and it was just something new to look forward too.

We also had confetti eggs, which were blown out eggs with confetti stuffed in them with the hole covered with tissue paper. The point of these eggs was to run around smashing them on people’s heads.

We did the Easter Egg hunt every year until I left for college. From that point on, I was on my own, so no Easter Egg hunts any more. I was happy to ditch the church, but I am quite sad to ditch the other rituals.

What about you, Punkass Community? What Easter/ Belatane/ Spring/ Et cetera events do you remember?

*Dresses, unfortunately- my sisters and I all went through a “We hate dresses” stage which led to much consternation.

Not All The Whackadoodles Are Republican, Really!

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

I WAS going to write a followup today on “Fun Feminism,” since I didn’t really get a chance to finish exploring the assumptions about monogamy and sexual self-control I brought up in the original post, but after yesterday’s exciting and informative trip to the MVA* I couldn’t resist blogging about this instead!

Photobucket

What the heck is that, you might ask? (And more pertinently, what is it doing on state property..? I shot them an email this morning asking that exact question–if I get an answer, I’ll definitely share it.) So I decided to take a closer look:

Photobucket

Notice the awesome “Obama as Hitler” headshot on the far left!…so at this point I’m thinking “Teabaggers…I mean TeaPARTIERS**…oh sigh” but then I started to really look at the rest of the pictures…is that Franklin Roosevelt there perched on top of Obamahitler’s head..? And whattheheck is that map of the world with “New Bretton Woods” inked across it..? And–

While I was staring bemusedly at the table, one of the two guys manning it approached me. “We’re ready to kick Obama out of office!” he said enthusiastically. “How about you?”

“Er,” I said. “Um, so, who are you guys..?”

“We’re supporters of Lyndon LaRouche. We just got a representative elected in Texas…! Did you know that Obama’s conspiring to shut down NASA?” he demanded.

“Um, no–”

He didn’t object to me taking pictures, he said, but didn’t let me escape til I agreed to take the handouts he pressed upon me and give serious consideration to the merits of Lyndon LaRouche (I didn’t have the nerve to tell him I’d never heard of Lyndon LaRouche before in my whole life; dude was pretty wild-eyed at that point).

So who is Lyndon LaRouche? According to Wikipedia:

Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. (pronounced /ləˈruːʃ/; born September 8, 1922) is an American self-styled economist, political activist, and the founder of several political organizations known collectively as the LaRouche movement. He has been a perennial candidate for President of the United States, having run in eight elections since 1976, once as a U.S. Labor Party candidate and seven times as a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination. He is the founder and contributing editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, and has written prolifically on economic, scientific, and political topics, as well as on history, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.

Okay…

He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 1988 for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax code violations, but continued his political activities from behind bars until his release in 1994 on parole. His defenders believe the prosecution was a politically motivated conspiracy involving government officials and a mass-media brainwashing campaign.[1] His appellate attorney, Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. Attorney General, argued that the case represented an unprecedented abuse of power by the U.S. government in an effort to destroy the LaRouche movement.[2]

LaRouche provokes sharply contrasting views. His supporters see him as a political leader in the tradition of Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr., and a brilliant thinker who has been unfairly persecuted, while critics regard him as a cult leader, a conspiracy theorist, a fascist, and an anti-Semite.[3] Norman Bailey, formerly with the National Security Council, described LaRouche’s staff in 1984 as one of the best private intelligence services in the world, while the Heritage Foundation has said that he leads “what may well be one of the strangest political groups in American history.”[4]

Indeed! So what would a LaRouche presidency strive to bring us..?

#colonization of the planet Mars by 2025
#the screening and quarantine of AIDS patients
#low interest rates and opposition to the Gramm-Rudman balanced-budget law
#opposition to environmentalism, health maintenance organizations, outcome-based education, gay rights, abortion, and the nuclear disarmament movement
#opposition to the legalization of recreational drugs
# opposition to the idea of man-made global warming–LaRouche proposes that cosmic ray radiation, including that from the Crab Nebula, “determines much of the climate on Earth”.
# opposition to the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
# opposition to deregulation. According to EIR, “LaRouche has consistently called for reregulation of utilities, transportation, health care (under the “Hill-Burton” standard), the financial (especially the speculative markets) and other sectors, and a return to traditional American-System practices, set aside over the past 40 years.”
# opposition to the United Nations and any other international organization
# proposal of the “Homeowners and Banks Protection Act of 2007,” which would freeze mortgage rates, ban foreclosures and put the banking system through a bankruptcy reorganization.

Wowie! …hey, at least it explains both the NASA remark and the picture of FDR proudly adorning the top of their table. Definitely NOT Republican, in spite of the hatin’ on gay people and abortion and global warming! …you learn something new every day, you know…

*That’s “Motor Vehicle Administration,” for those of you living in states that use the more traditional “DMV” appelation (Department of Motor Vehicles).

**For those of you who are under the impression that the “Tea” Party isn’t just a particularly fussy faction of the “Republican” Party but is actually an independent political party, I don’t know how else to put this to you…you’re wrong.

April F***s

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Ah, good old April Fool’s day. The day that corporate entities across the planet strive to prove that they, too, have a sense of humor! Almost as if they were a real person.

Award for most disappointing April Fool’s prank goes to Wikipedia, whose shtick this year is that all of the links on the wacky front page go to real bona-fide articles. Taking primo spot as “Today’s Featured Article”? Why, Wife Selling, of course! Because nothing conveys good humor and lightness of spirit like a jaunt down memory lane, back to the days it was acceptable to parade one’s woman around the village square in a halter and then sell her for a few bob. All in good fun, and fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke, ha ha!

Award for best goes, naturally, to Fafblog.

Fun Feminism? Part One

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

I was over at Ren’s place and came across a concept mentioned there that I have encountered before: “fun feminism.” Frankly, I’ve never found feminism to be that much “fun,” so I’ve never really paid much attention to the concept, other than formulating a vague notion that “fun” feminism had something to do with makeup or wearing high heels or bikini waxing or something like that. (The fun-ness of those activities has been highly variable for me personally–making up my face for work was always a chore but fun for a night out on the town, for instance. High heels got a boost up on the “fun” scale when I realized that one particular boss of mine, who was a total ass, found my heel-wearing height of six feet to be massively intimidating next to his five-foot-nine stature. Bikini waxing only occurs when I’m going on a beach trip lasting more than a few days, sort of like my Scopolamine patch-wearing for a boat trip lasting longer than half an hour–unpleasant at the time, but worth it in terms of suppression of nasty rashes or vomiting later).

But really, the chick Ren was blogging about appears to have some serious issues directly related to the concept of “fun feminism.” Nobody could possibly get that worked up about makeup/heels/waxing etc. so clearly, I realized, I have not actually understood what “fun feminism” is all about. So I decided to look it up.

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