when the status quo frustrates.

Who Drives?

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Over at Pandagon Amanda talks about some poor dear to whom “sexism” isn’t enough of an answer to the question “Why do men do most of the driving when there’s a man and a woman?”

This is one of those times were I really wish that I could say I buck the trend, but alas, I don’t. When it’s Hubby and Me, or PE and I, more than likely it’s the guy doing the driving.* The short answer to why this is so is “Because I hate to drive” where the guys I hang out with it enjoy it. But, that is really only one part of this onion of sexism.

Like a lot of girls, I was not terribly encouraged to take a lot of risks. In fact, I was downright DISCOURAGED from taking any sort of risks, and in the car it was no different. I can remember one time when my dad got a three-wheeler, I near immediately put the thing in the ditch, and didn’t have the upper body strength to pull it out again. I burned with embarrassment, not only at the idea of not being able to get it out, but for getting it stuck in the first place. My dad, trying to be sympathetic, said “That’s okay- that’s what men are for, to do the heavy lifting for sweet little girls”. I wasn’t allowed to drive the thing any more. The neighbor boy took that thing through 3 feet of mud, bent some of the frame, and was still allowed to drive it around.

When I went to get my driver’s license, I was told, again and again, about how dangerous driving was, and how expensive the car was, and how much the family relied upon it to keep working. I was NOT allowed to go cruising around for the fun of it (I had to have a specific place to go, and I had to come back immediately afterwards).
My dad, who I’ve seen pull J-turns with the best of them and thinks the speed limit is a suggestion, freaked out if I went more than five miles over the speed limit.** Driving, instead of representing freedom and the fun of the journey, represented chores and ferrying around little sister.

I also tend to get really worried while driving. A couple of early accidents (people hitting me, not the other way around) makes me incredibly paranoid about being on the road. The accidents were ruled to be “Mostly their fault” but I had something like 20% responsibility for one of them, so my parents screamed at me for the increase in insurance for about a week after it. I see all of the possible accidents on the road, and that tends to make my adrenaline gland go into overdrive.*** Compare that with when I’m riding, where I can tend to have a more zen-like attitude (if we crash, it’s not my fault).

It’s nothing against the guys who do the driving- PE thinks so highly of my driving skills that I’m one of 3 people allowed to drive his car, and when Hubby and I travel in really heavy traffic, we’ve learned to let me do it (I’m less likely to take asshole drivers personally). For the most part, the guys I drive with are perfectly aware that I can drive quite well. They are also perfectly aware that I hate it. There are, of course, some exceptions. FiL and my dad need to be the ones driving- it’s very control-freaky on their part. A few of my guy friends will “let” me drive, but then make fun of me for driving like a “granny”.****

And I think my experience (aside from the paranoia- that’s all me) is not unique. We teach guys to take charge, we teach girls to be more passive. I just wish there was more public transit so I wouldn’t have to drive at all.

*The exception to this was when I was the only car in a group of car-less friends and college. Oh, and Bear, but that’s because he’s a TERRIBLE driver. Like, frighteningly bad, I would walk 5 miles than have him give me a ride in winter terrible.
** I’m to this a terrible driver when my dad is in the car. Probably a mental block- or possibly the sound of him slamming the invisible brake.
*** Of course, the flip side of this is I’m a very aware and safe driver. I’m very good at picking out when someone’s going to move over in the lane without signaling or checking their blind spot. I start emergency braking before being consciously aware of the need to do so.
****Apparently, driving like a granny means: I don’t go through yellow lights if I have enough space to stop, I don’t do more than 5 over the speed limit, I let people onto the highway from the off-ramp, and give people plenty of space if I’m going through an intersection. Also, I don’t do J-turns, or power turning, or donuts on the icy roads (on purpose).

It’s Banned Books Week!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I love Banned Books Week! Some of my favorite books of all time are banned books…I mean, check out this list of classics! Admittedly, a lot of the banning action took place decades ago, but lest anyone think we’ve relaxed our deathgrip on the minds of our children in this new millenium, here are a nice collection of more recent incidents to sneer at:

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sallinger: Removed by a Dorchester District 2 school board member in Summerville, SC (2001) because it “is a filthy, filthy book.”

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck*: Banned from the George County, Miss. schools (2002) because of profanity.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Challenged in Foley, Alabama (2000) because of the depictions of “orgies, self-flogging, suicide” and characters who show “contempt for religion, marriage, and the family.” The book was removed from the library, pending review.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Burned in Alamagordo, N. Mex. (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.

If you’re interested in the most up-to-date reporting on the 2008 open season on communication of unapproved ideas, the American Library Association puts out a yearly list of the books that are challenged, restricted, removed or banned–see if your favorites are on there too!

Leaving you with the bittersweet taste of irony, from January of this year. Enjoy!

*I might sympathize with an attempt to ban it from required reading lists–yes, it was on mine in high school–based on the fact that it sucks ass and there are at least one hundred more interesting and compelling novels that could immediately and happily replace it…but no, I have to defend John Steinbeck’s biggest load of crap evar based on principle. A shame, but there you have it.

Oh, My Favorite! Yes, Please, a Double Helping of That Fatophobia Would Be SO Nice–

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Maybe I should just go back to being a hermit…

Regina Benjamin’s Country Credentials: What Rural Medicine Taught America’s Next Top Doc

Since starting her practice in 1990, Benjamin, 52, has become an advocate for patients everywhere. She became the first African-American woman to lead a state medical society and has won numerous awards, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and a Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. Still, she never strayed far from her roots, and currently serves as the CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, which she founded. This week, President Obama tapped Benjamin to serve as surgeon general.

Well, that’s cool, I thought to myself. We are living in historic times…the first serious female Presidential contender…the first black man elected President…the first Latina soon to be confirmed to the Supreme Court…not that Regina Benjamin would be the first black woman to be chosen as Surgeon General, but she would be only the second one…

So I’m feeling a mild warmth towards humanity in general as I scan down the story…til I get to the very, very end:

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Member Comments
Posted By: pdskep (July 16, 2009 at 12:51 PM)

Well, it didn’t help her put down the Hagen Dazs. Should the government spokesperson for public health and healthy living be so grossly overweight?


So I scrolled rapidly back up–I had noticed a picture of the Surgeon-General-to-be at the top of the article but had given it only a cursory glance, and honestly couldn’t remember having noticed that she weighed 1000 pounds–


…er, not. Well, I thought, maybe that’s a flattering picture of her and she’s somehow managing to hide the other 750 pounds below her neck. Let’s look for a whole-body shot–

…er, still not.

Aside from the fact that she’s not “grossly overweight” (hello?), why does her weight really matter, exactly..? Her weight specifically. Is the concern that the kids of America will look at her and go oooh look, the Surgeon General’s fat, that means it’s okay for me to be fat too! Yeah, because that’s what kids tend to base their eating decisions on…the Surgeon General’s weight. (Like the vast majority of kids, and adults if it comes down to that, even know who the Surgeon General is at any given moment.)

Is the concern that, because she is physically clearly not perfect, then her brain and her conscience and her dedication (which are presumably the things she was actually chosen for) are also not going to be perfect? (That raises the interesting corollary that someone whose weight is perfect, is more likely to have a perfect brain, conscience and dedication as well…oh really…?)

Because people with the magic BMI number are SO much more likely to be both smart AND saintly!

I am not the only one who has noticed this trend and commented on it–no indeed:

Since President Obama announced his pick for the nation’s Top Doc, Internet message boards have been atwitter with the observation that Dr. Regina Benjamin is fat.

Critics seem to believe it’s ironic that the nation’s top doctor would be overweight, and it’s led the most nattering of nags to conclude that she should not be picked for prom queen, er, I mean, surgeon general.

Thank God, too. C’mon, people, let’s make some noise–this is fatophobia at its most disgusting, and most ignorant as well. Spread the word.

You Offend Me

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to read the rest:

Study the topic of “taking offense” and you realize people are like tuning forks, ready to vibrate with indignation. So why do humans seem equipped with a thrumming tabulator, incessantly calculating whether we are getting proper due and deference?

Rarely does one see it put so colorfully, yet so succinctly…actually, rarely does one see it put so bluntly at all. People much prefer to jump onto the offense bandwagon than jump off it and God forbid they spend even a half-second coolly analyzing the situation.

From Slate’s Emily Yoffe:

We like to think we go through life as rational beings…In 1982, some economists came up with a little game to study negotiating strategies. The results showed that rationality is subservient to more powerful drives—and demonstrated why human beings so easily conclude they are being wronged. The idea of the “ultimatum game” is simple. Player A is given 20 $1 bills and told that, in order to keep any of the money, A must share it with Player B. If B accepts A’s offer, they both pocket whatever they’ve agreed to. If B rejects the offer, they both get nothing. Economists naturally expected the players to do the rational thing: A would offer the lowest possible amount—$1; and B, knowing $1 was more than zero, would accept…

In the years the game has been played, it’s been found that almost half the A’s immediately offer to split the money—an offer B’s accept. When A offers $9 or even $8, B usually says yes. But when A’s offer drops to $7, about half the B’s walk away. The lower A’s offer, the more likely the B’s are to turn their backs on a few free dollars in favor of a more satisfying outcome: punishing the person who offended their sense of fairness.

Otherwise known as “cutting your nose off to spite your face.” Nice!


Fallout from the Edwards Affair: Part One!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008


For anyone who thinks that “feminism” as a practiced theory is narrow in either scope or defintion and that “feminists” are pretty much six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-the-other—not even clooooose. F’rinstance, recently on our very own PunkAssBlog, one of our feminist posters (violet) told off (in a kinder and gentler fashion, of course) one of our other feminist posters (yours truly):

…I don’t think in the context of feminist blogging and critique that shaming these individuals is either valuable or appropriate…I also tend to believe there isn’t a lot of room for shaming in feminist ethical critique in general, particularly when we’re talking about women who are already shamed by society. It’s just incredibly easy for that sort of criticism to support the patriarchal narrative, even unintentionally.

I blame punkass marc, who instead of emailing me Teh Feminist Blogger Rulebook upon my acceptance of his kind invitation to become a PunkAssBlogger, just tossed off some line about “write about anything you want–I mean anything!” and then abandoned me to my own sorry devices. I hope you’re reading this, Marc, and are hanging your head in shame and possibly even sobbing into your beer ’cause this is ALL! YOUR! FAULT!

Well, til Marc gets around to setting me straight, I am just going to have to keep forging ahead into the troubled waters of feminism, blogging and morality all on my own.


In the Company of Men

Monday, July 28th, 2008

When I was eighteen…

…I was an MRA.

Okay, not really. Not totally! and definitely not consciously. But I had some interesting ideas about men and women.


Russia wages war on emo

Monday, June 16th, 2008

emo beatdown
What Americans do half-heartedly, the Russians will attempt with gusto.

Russian lawmakers are weird.

Parliamentary hearings were held yesterday at which the “Concept for a State Policy in the Area of Spiritual and Moral Education of the Children of the Russian Federation and Protection of Their Morals” was discussed.

Really weird:

The draft law “On Children’s Toys” would ban the production and importation of toys that “provoke aggression,” “model actions of a sexual nature,” “justify extremism and a criminal lifestyle,” “depict horror or unbearable pain” or that are created “on the basis of the psychologically incongruous.” That might be, for example, candy in the shape of skeletons or stuffed toys in the shape of bacteria or viruses.

(Psychologically incongruous? But those are the best toys!)

But wait. It gets stranger. Apparently, the Russian government feels it necessary to fight the growing emo menace:

The drafters of the concept took a particular negative stance in regard to the Goth and emo youth subcultures, which are characterized by black clothing, piercings and a depressed outlook on reality. They authors compared the danger those subcultures hold for society to the dangers of skinheads, soccer hooligans, National Bolsheviks and even anti-fascists. Emo youths, according to the concept, “are subject to suicidal tendencies” and Goth children cultivate bisexuality. “The cost of the sexual services of an underage boy prostitute with Goth attributes is lower than for students in military schools but higher than for usual gay prostitutes,” the authors say, demonstrating their knowledge of life.

I like to think that the last sentence is just a poor translation, but really, judging by the rest of the proposed legislation, it probably isn’t.

If you’re a Russian emo kid now, though, don’t worry too much. You’re apparently already beyond hope:

The authors of the concept say that many of its clauses will have the power of law by the summer of 2009. “Nothing can be done with the current younger generation. It is lost,” said film director and Duma member Stanislav Govorukhin. “We have to save those who are two years old now and those who have yet to be born.”

Oh, just go read the whole thing.

Hat tip: shelestel

Writing on the skin, and below.

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I have some experience with rejecting self-taken identity. I have some experience with leaving communities. I have some experience with realizing that a thing you thought was good—and maybe it once was—is no longer a thing you can be part of.

I get this. In a really fundamental way. It is catastrophic to me that this shit happens, that it has to happen in this way, with so much damage, but it does. Communities become damaged; masks no longer fit. The preceding trauma looks like the cause, but it isn’t. It isn’t even the last straw. It’s more the light that flips on and shows you that the thing you thought was a camel’s back isn’t, and the thing you thought you were dealing with isn’t what you were dealing with at all.


Education: big mistake or bad idea?

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

“How much are YOU WORTH?” A shady computer tech school in my area begins their radio commercials asking people to pause and reflect on that question before going on to imply that a certification in information technology will be worth about 50K right at graduation, and creating a false sense of prestige by saying you have to pass a test (oh, god, not a test!) to qualify for their program. For a person stuck in some of the armpits of service jobs we have here, such an offer must sound pretty tempting – I know that at my least employed and most desperate I spent $200 on a bartending course that was laughably useless although by the time I was willing to admit that, the check had already cleared and the classroom had moved on to the next geographical set of suckers. I keep the certification just to remind myself that I’m not as smart as I think I am.

I thought about that a few days ago when Cog over at Offsprung touched a nerve on the topic of useless vs useful college degrees. Cog, who I guess got burned by his expensive but ultimately not lucrative undergraduate program, subscribes to “the idea of college is to spend lots of money to get a degree that will get you a job.” A view that drives others (like me) insane. By the middle of the thread, it was very clear that this was a highly personal subject that divided people into roughly three or four camps that were speaking different languages. And I thought about it when I ran into today’s MSN list’o'the hour, Top Earning College Degrees.

Of the top 10 starting salaries according to major, no fewer than five have the word “engineering” in them. Two or three others (depending on how you count economics) involve high finance, and the remaining ones are computer related. Unifying theme? Math, and plenty of it. And they’re freaking hard.

The participants in Cog’s conversation were heavy on the liberal arts degrees, no shock since college graduates in general are heavy on the liberal arts. As far as I can tell, they divided into camps roughly along these lines:

1) Cog’s Supporters: People who feel that since the conventional wisdom is that you need a degree to get a decent job then you should pick your major based on lists like the one offered by MSN to ensure that you’re not burning money.

2) People who feel that education is it’s own reward.

3) Sensible Educational Theory types, who’d like to agree with statement 2 but have been crushed by reality and would like us hoity-toity learn-for-the-love-of-it types to wake up to the real world, kids.

I belong to group 2, but I have to admit to being a bit of a hypocrite; I ended up trading a kind of joke major for a more impressive, and more reliably lucrative, one. You see, my original major was communications, which I studied at a University that cost as much per year as three or four years at the place I ended up graduating from. So really, I almost made the same costly mistake that Cog appears to think he made. But by the end of that year I was bored out of my mind, I hated the school, and I realized that for what I wanted to do, college was the complete wrong path.

So I quit, and spent a year in theatre, doing some prop stuff and stagehand stuff. But when I realized that I could -if I was lucky and worked my ass off- maybe someday have my boss’ job, I quit that too. I went back to school but this time I majored in physics, and it took 5 years which basically sucked the whole way through. But then I got my degree and it really was the magic piece of paper everyone thinks a college degree is, and I’ve been doing pretty OK ever since.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, I’d like to use this thread to sort out some confusion I saw between the camps in Cog’s thread, because it seems that a lot of people were talking over each other. The whole thing has a tawdry Mommy-war vibe to it, with opposing camps that each have really good points but are defensive and see only where they disagree. So let’s open this can of worms with an insanely long post!

The Diet Coke Apocalypse

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

You have to admit, if the Apocalypse had a spokesperson, he’d be it.

I freely admit I’ve been made lazy by American culture. No, I don’t buy the jar of peanut butter and jelly mixed together, but among other things, I’ve become accustomed to easy access to tasty beverages and non-coffee caffeine boosts. In other words, I drink Diet Coke. Depending on the day, I may drink a lot of it, too.

Since the Nutrasweet swirl first hit the can in the ’80s, we’ve been told of its potential harm (especially if you’re a lab rat). But back in the good old days of youthful naivete, I internalized the idea that the FDA knew best. Though I’ve had health-related reservations from time to time, and though I now know the FDA’s reliability rates just behind Satan’s, and even though it’s changed its name to the much less sexy “aspartame,” I’ve still allowed myself to drink the stuff.

Then a friend casually mentioned the one mood-related aspartame study performed to date, a study that found such strong connections between aspartame and increased depression (particularly if you have a family history) that they had to stop the study.

Then I heard about the chewing gum poisoning in New Zealand. Yeah, you heard that right — chewing gum poisoning. A woman in her 20s chewed 4 packs a day of sugar-free gum. Unsurprisingly, the sweetener used in the gum was aspartame. This is her story:

“I became very, very depressed and anxious and I wasn’t sleeping well. I tried to ignore it but it became worse and worse.”

A psychiatrist diagnosed Miss Cormack with mild depression but found it difficult to fathom as she enjoyed a very stable and happy family, social and work life.

She then began to experience panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.

“I started getting physical symptoms. Muscle cramps that started off in my legs. I put the muscle cramps down to weight training.”

She stopped the weight training but the muscle cramps spread and grew worse. Her doctors suspected multiple sclerosis but the numerous tests showed that everything was normal.

Now suffering from exhaustion and excruciating pain, and wondering whether it was all in her head, Miss Cormack said the last straw was when she lost control of her bladder at work.

At that point her mother suggested looking in to her heavy use of sugar-free chewing gum. After checking the ingredients, she ‘googled’ phenylalanine, and up came aspartame.

“And I clicked on that and my symptoms came up – every one of them.”

American researcher and endocrinologist, Dr H. J. Roberts, identified blindness as being ‘the most serious complication’ from the use of aspartame. Miss Cormack said her symptoms disappeared within days of stopping her sugar-free gum habit.

In no way shape or form have I experienced anything like this, but this anecdotal story combined with the earlier study of depression has given me pause. At the very least, it certainly can’t hurt to cut out Diet Coke from my, uh, diet. [There aren't that many good synonyms for "diet," are there?]

The hard part will be fighting the laziness. I like a drink that gives me a boost. I really like the way Diet Coke tastes, whether or not that means I’d also enjoy such beverages as pen ink and battery acid. And when I want a snack, I’m going to have to reach for something other than a soda. Or Frito Lay chips. Or Pop Tarts. Or whatever other over-processed monstrosity pases for food around here.

I just wish I’d decided all this before I bought two 12-packs of cherry coke zero.

Being a sinner is so 12th century, y’all

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Ask a liberal who drives an SUV if they feel guilty about their emissions and fuel consumption, and more often than not they’ll fall all over themselves explaining just how badly they feel about it. They may still try to excuse their need for a mini-monster on the road, but few will deny its harms.

Does that make owning the vehicle a morally defensible choice? Not at all. But at least they aren’t kidding themselves about the damage it’s doing.

Ask a conservative who drives an SUV if they feel guilty about their emissions and fuel consumption, and more often than not they’ll either deny that any damage is being done or argue that other people are committing far greater sins than driving one little SUV.

Where a conservative will usually argue any position that minimizes individual accountability for anything bad, many liberals have made peace with the interpersonal reality of “do as I say, not as I do.” After all, it’s nearly impossible to live a hypocrisy-free existence in the modern world. Certainly there are degrees of awfulness, and we have a duty to minimize our selfishness. If you live in a city, though, odds are you purchase/borrow/benefit from environmental ugliness, and we know this.

But it doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to take up the cause of environmentalism. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons we favor legislation to deal with such sweeping problems — it forces all of us onto a level playing field and blocks the individual temptation to screw the future for the sake of the present. We acknowledge personal weakness and understand its power.

Unfortunately, to many conservatives, the above paragraphs probably sound nonsensical. Take Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at Stanford. His editorial in today’s Chicago Tribune takes liberals to task for giving to green companies as “penance” for personal consumption:

Take the idea of “carbon offsets” made popular by Al Gore. If well-meaning environmentalist activists and celebrities either cannot or will not give up their private jets or huge energy-hungry houses, they can still find a way to excuse their illiberal consumption.

Instead of the local parish priest, green companies exist to take confession and tabulate environmental sins. Then they offer the offenders a way out of feeling bad while continuing their conspicuous consumption.

You can give money to an exchange service that does environmental good in equal measure to your bad. Or, in do-it-yourself fashion, you can calibrate how much energy you hog, and then do penance by planting trees or setting up a wind generator.

Either way, your own high life stays uninterrupted.

What an absurd reason to chastise someone. In the midst of an American culture destroying itself via its excesses, that some individuals choose to mitigate their personal damage by doing equal amounts of good should be cause for celebration. Instead, all this conservative can see is people who commit the same sins they’re trying to fight, and that hypocrisy simply doesn’t compute.

If you think about it, this kind of self-denial helps explain why so many conservatives continue to refute the existence and consequences of global warming. If all of it were true, then they’d be personally guilty of crimes against humanity, and they simply can’t own such a thing.

This also explains the blind allegiance to the moral correctness of the US debacle in Iraq. It’s simply unfathomable that the country they support would be anything other than the good guy each and every time it takes up arms. Again, anything else would make them partially culpable for its evils.

Hanson’s article ridicules liberals purchasing carbon offsets for acting like “medieval sinners” trying to buy off their sins. Of course, what’s ridiculous is asserting that trying to offset one’s harm is the same as trying to buy away its existence. However, Hanson’s analogy may provide one of the keys to assuaging the conservative fears that inhibit social progress.

I’m pretty sure that somewhere in Christian mythology it reminds us that we’re all sinners. Each of us makes terrible mistakes for selfish reasons, but that doesn’t mean we should excuse them or pretend they aren’t harmful. Rather, we should work to minimize our collective evil while acknowledging its individual existence.

In this case, it’s not okay to sin against the environment, but it’s understandable to be an environmental sinner. We’re all one at some level or another. So now that we all share in the blame, howzabout we share in the solution?

[And yes, I promise your kids and their lacrosse sticks will fit just fine in one of these.]

Does this mean if I changed the name of our blog to Heroin that we’d get busted?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Ummm-um-um-um-um! You can’t sell a product with a naughty name in this country or else you get in big trubs with our dictatorial overlords. Just ask the makers of the energy drink name “Cocaine,” who have decided to temporarily halt production of the brand after receiving “threats” from the FDA.

Cocaine energy drink: now in powdered mix form!

Confession: other than my continuing fascination with the Tab Energy Drink, I have zilcho interest in the energy drink phenomenon. To me, they seem like a wussy stand-in for some blow… which is precisely why I like the idea of calling one what people really wish it was. Maybe in the interests of accuracy they should’ve called it “Cocaine, A Pale Imitation Of” or “LoserBlow” or “Emergency Buzz For When You And Your Dealer Are On The Outs,” but that’s more of a quibble.

The bigger issue ought to be why this is a real cause for concern for the FDA. Shouldn’t they be worried about industrial pollutants in our food and such? Shouldn’t actual ingredients be more important than some lame PR stunt by a company trying to carve out a niche in a flooded market?

What’s really the worst that could happen here, anyway? I guess some kids could assume there was real coke in the drink. Then they might start running around with their Izod collars up and Risky Business sunglasses on acting like Charlie Sheen in Wall Street because they think they’re hopped up on the real thing. But those kids would have to be morons, wouldn’t they? Because everyone already knows cocaine is illegal. And if it were ever legal, it wouldn’t come in a can. [Maybe a Pez Dispenser, but I'm saving those diagrams for the day when it *is* legal and I can make millions off people wanting the ironic satisfaction of flipping back Speedy Gonzalez's dome for some nose candy.]

And what “threats” could the FDA be leveling at the company? Are they gonna send an army of Christian pharmacists after them to pelt them with birth control pills until they change the drink’s name to “The Blood of Christ?” Honestly, I can’t imagine what “threats” they could be making.

We live in a weird country. Last I checked, alcohol is often more dangerous than cocaine or marijuana, especially when driving. Then again, so are cell phones. But not only are coke and weed illegal, invoking their names on a label is apparently verboten. Meanwhile, books like Fast Food Nation engender almost no response from the FDA, which is more interested in playing games with Plan B than meaningfully policing the food and drug industries.

I think I’ll change my name to PCP. That way, my business cards will have the extra cache of being contraband.