Friday, December 28, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I'm about to take a couple of days off. Going out of town to see the cutest little nieces in the world. I don't know how much time I'll spend online, so don't get too worried -- unless I don't post by, say, Tuesday. In that case, I'll see you guys at Gitmo. I hear the eggplant parm's to die for.

The old and the clueless

Let's look at a couple of "responses" to yesterday's tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto -- after spending yesterday in a heightened state of anxiety (and it's not much better today), I could use a laugh.

First, and foremost, Fuckabee's response: the guy doesn't know his geography, offers prayers, and then of all things offers "apologies." WTF? (His handlers have since claimed he meant to say "sympathies." Because "sympathies" sounds so much like "apologies" and the words are practically synonyms, right?) Is there a doubt in ANYONE'S mind now that this guy is even dumber and more uninformed than W? (hardly thought that was possible, but I'm more convinced every day)

Second, Grandpa Hound Dog Thompson: "It reminds us that things can happen in faraway places of the world that can affect the United States. I think this should be of great concern to us." NO SHIT, Fred. Break it down for us in little words, Grandpa, because we need a big strong grandpa hick like yourself to point out the fucking OBVIOUS. Is that the best you can do? Why don't you tell us some more of your great earth-shattering thoughts, like "the world is round" or "people can communicate globally in milliseconds via the Internet." Fucking idiot.

McCain/Mittens/Rudy/generic republican response: I just have to group these because they're all exactly the same--fear fear fear!--featuring empty platitudes like "must be brought to justice" and "win the terror's war on us" (Giuliani, in an interestingly backward spin on our GWOT), "grave dangers we face in the world today" (McCain), "global violent radical jihadism" (Mittens).

I think the only people who've offered anything like sincere (or at least sincere-sounding) comments worthy of a president are the dems, and really only John Edwards' response made me sit up and take notice. I'm starting to really like that guy.

Conspiracy theories already

Been flying around the web, reading all I can on Bhutto, and only one thing is really clear: we'll never know the true cause of death for sure (no autopsy), or who really was responsible. This just opens the whole thing up for conspiracy theories, from convincing to wildly speculative.

Which raises the obvious question: Why don't officials do real, competent autopsies whenever a political figure dies? Why isn't there some sort of official investigation by a respected institution like Scotland Yard or Interpol? Or even some independent investigative body? Why is there always the rush to bury, the rush to cover up details?

It's incredible to me that the UN or some or other governing body -- or just plain public outcry -- has not put into place some system of official autopsy by competent medical examiners whenever a death as important as Bhutto's has occurred, no matter what the religious beliefs of the victim, etc.--just for the sake of learning the FACTS. I mean, after the whole debacle of the JFK "autopsy," you'd think people would've learned. You'd think that even IF Musharef was involved, he'd FAKE a freakin' autopsy. If they're gonna sell us a story, make 'em freakin' WORK for it, you know?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto assassinated

Benazir Bhutto's been killed in Pakistan. I know her administration was corrupt as all get-out, but she was also a symbol of hope in that country. She wasn't Bush's pal like Mushareff is.

UPDATE: Is it just me, or is it strange that McCain made a statement (just on Fox Nazi Channel) before Bush could sober up to make his statement? Why would they air his statement, in which he discussed what he would do if he were president (meet with advisors, Ntl Security Council, blah blah) right now, before the actual president's statement? WTF?

I can't help but think that events around the world are linked, as though a grander plan is being put into motion. The Russians are test-firing their latest nuke missile, Musharef's eliminating his enemies (most likely with BushCo's approval), Israel is showing aggression (as usual). The Turks are bombing Iraq.

A friend said to keep an eye on oil supplies: prices went up yesterday. Again.

I worry that what's happening in Pakistan--suspended elections, political unrest caused by assassinations and other machinations--is just a dress rehearsal being run for the benefit of BushCo. Testing the waters to see what will happen if BushCo tries this same strategy in 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Does this man look familiar, Mrs. Cheney?

THE WACKY 2008 TO COME!

Why not make some predictions for next year, right? It's what all the cool kids do.

1. Every single college kid in America will have an IPod or a cellphone, or both. Trust me on this: It's a rare day that I see even one person who isn't listening to music on an IPod or talking on his/her cellphone (or both, at once).

2. Articles of impeachment will be filed on Dick Cheney. Again--why not go all out? Of course, nothing will come of it, but some dems will be able to say they tried.

3. Someone--most likely Israel--will bomb Iran, and we'll be "obligated" to help out our good friends and join in the shock-and-awe-fest. Chimpy will get his war on, one way or another; this seems like an easy way to get it going.

4. The democratically elected and tough-as-nails president of Ecuador will be killed in an "accident" and be replaced by an American-backed puppet regime. Read John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hitman to learn how the pros (Nixon, Reagan, Poppy Bush, Big Dick Cheney) eliminate pesky foreign leaders who tell the US to stick it; read Greg Palast's latest post to see just how pesky Rafael Correa Delgado has been.

5. Vikkitikkitavi's Bells On blog will fail (yes, FAIL!) to win a third consecutive Drysdale Trophy for Least Influential Political Blog, because EVERYONE will be reading it, talking about it, and asking why the fuck they didn't listen to her in the first place before all this shit got so fucked up. You'd better start reading it now, so you'll be ahead of the curve.


6. The Monkey/Love campaign will kick it into high gear and sweep the early primaries in 2008, coasting to a landslide victory in the November elections. However, after prediction #3 happens, Bush will suspend all elections, so it won't matter. Then Cheney, in a emotive fit not unlike that of Darth Sidious screaming "Un! Limited! Power!" in Revenge of the Sith, will rip Chimpy's heart out of his chest, eat it raw on the White House lawn, and declare himself Emperor for Life.

Got any other predictions?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Secret Santa Victim

Well, it's Christmas Eve, and Santa's in his sleigh, spending about .000025468 seconds per chimney, dropping presents all over the world. (except I'm sure in those Islamofascist countries who haven't been saved yet and don't believe in the Baby Jeebus and his brother Saint Nicholas--or something like that)

Anyway, my gifts are as follows, for you, my little Secret Santa gem: Dr. Zaius!

A lifetime membership to the Charlton Heston Fan Club! They say he's truly a "renaissance man" just like you, Dr. Z! (I can't believe they used that phrase for him, especially after we all know that Mittens Zelig is the true renaissance man).

Second, I give you this striking description of Heston from some web site that obviously didn't know what his most important films were, as The Planet of the Apes series was not mentioned!
"A brawny, virile classical actor whose physical presence, intelligent performances and authoritative voice left a distinctive mark on fifty years of Hollywood filmmaking, Charlton Heston's career encompassed roles in numerous historical epics, period dramas, and Hollywood adventure films, earning him the Academy Award as Best Actor (for his performance in BEN-HUR (1959)). At his best in the 1950s and '60s, Heston continued to play leading roles through the 1990s and was also called upon to lend his voice or imposing stature to certain supporting roles no one quite as large ever really emerged to fill."

Wow. Now THAT'S a description, eh? "no one quite as large ever really emerged to fill" indeed. Just like you, Dr. Zaius!

Finally, I've ordered you LIFESIZE PRINTS of all the photos from the movie! See this site for views of all the great movie stills! Just watch your little mailbox; I'm sure they'll turn up any day. They didn't have Paypal or anything, but the guy who emailed me from www.scamarama.apeworld.comeonman.orgy.com said he'd run my credit card through, no problem!

I leave with you my favorite line from The Planet of the Apes!

"It's a mad house! A mad house!"

Holy crap

Well, sure enough, I somehow managed an A in calculus. I know you were all waiting on the edges of your seats! I don't really know how it happened, but I hope that the lucky star or planetary alignment continues through next semester. One more math class, and I'll be able to apply for the forensic science major, and then it's CSI: State College for this gal!

Sadly, I had to miss the Christmas Bird Count, though--this morning was a little rough with the hives and the Benadryl. I suppose it's probably for the best; it was pouring rain the whole time.

I snuck up here to my office to get a little computer time during the Cookie-Baking ExtravaganzaTM that Kat and Em do before the holiday. Can't wait until those peanut butter blossoms are done--yum!

Oop--there's the timer--gotta go get some cookies!

Merry Holiday Kwaanza Happiness Joyeux Hannukah Yule to you all!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Gift for PoP

Once upon a time, when it was very cold in the north but warmer as you went farther south, although the scientifically proven phenomenon of climate change was wreaking havoc with the predictability of the weather, but you can trust me on this that it was warmer in other places than the north, though the north in some spots was unseasonably mild, there was a wonderful woman named PoP.

All PoP wanted for her winter celebration of whatever denomination you, the reader, would like to insert here, whether it be pagan, christian, muslim, african-american, jewish, icelandic, or otherwise, and I don't mean to slight anyone who doesn't fall into those categories but they're the only categories I can think of at the moment, so please just relax and read on, because that's not really the point of this story, now is it?--as I was saying, all PoP wanted was a snowman.

And so--after a few days of wishing and waiting, and checking this blog and being disappointed, but still I hope being hopeful that this storyteller/erstwhile snowman-builder would get her shit together and put up a damned snowman already, and doing other stuff that's really just her own personal business, thank you very much, PoP got her wish:

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah/Joyous Kwaanza/whatever whatever to you, PoP, and to the whole PoP clan.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mittens "Zelig" Romney

It seems that Mitt Romney's dad wasn't alone during that Michigan march with Martin Luther King, Jr. Mittens is now admitting that HE and his father both marched with King! It took quite a bit of expert questioning and trust-building, but Mittens confessed the whole thing to the Boston Globe.

Ever the avid historian, I did a little searching in the archives of all the great photo databases: Corbis, Getty, Fotosearch, the usual ones. Lo and behold, that Mittens gets around! Let me share the results I found; turns out that Mittens really was the "renaissance man" of the 20th century.

Here he is back in the early 1920s with the great Albert Einstein:

It's said they were great friends, and Al got some of his best ideas from the free-thinking Mittens. I know you're skeptical, but really! This is all in the archives.

Seems he also spent some time in India back then, helping Gandhi overthrow the British:

Mittens' contributions were such that he even helped Gandhi spin the cloth for his saris and sari-panties. Again--don't shoot the messenger! I'm just reporting what I found in my exhaustive search of the annals of history.

If you have doubted Mittens' experience with what the presidency can be like during wartime, doubt no more, dear friends:

Aides to FDR often reported that Mittens was never far from Roosevelt's side, and sometimes Eleanor even let Romney borrow some of her clothes when he spent the night at the White House after staying up late with FDR and talking about global politics. Mittens reportedly even made some contributions to the New Deal, suggesting letter combinations that amazed and delighted Roosevelt and his staff. An experienced war president AND an economic and social-programs genius! Who knew?

My search in the archives was really paying off. But what about the last half of the 20th century? Did Mittens lay low, or was he still out there at the cutting edge of history? My answers came swiftly -- and with photographic evidence!

Mittens shared a one-room apartment with Marlon Brando just before Brando hit it big in the movie version of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." Here's a candid snapshot, taken by Elaine Strich, Brando's gal-pal at the time:

According to her unpublished diaries, made available to me through special negotiations with the National Archives, Strichy often complained to Brando that Mittens was a little uptight and didn't drink enough to be really fun, but Brando knew talent when he saw it. Strich ended her affair with Brando shortly after this photo was taken. Wow. Mittens was there, in the thick of it, during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Amazing.

But Hollywood couldn't hold Mittens' attention forever; his father's political connections drew Mitt back into the Beltway ballyhoo that was Camelot. Here, he rides in a Florida motorcade (thankfully, not THAT motorcade!) with JFK and an unidentified general shortly after astronaut John Glenn's historic spaceflight:

In an impeachmentandotherdreams exclusive interview, John Glenn told this reporter that Mittens is the one who urged the astronaut to try his hand at politics. Mitt's eye for political talent and savvy?--pretty impressive, no?


After so many hours online and in the photo archives, I was chased out by an angry Giuliani-supporting librarian, who told me in a voice not unlike that of actress Rosie Perez that I'd "better get the hell outta here, yo, and quit scanning all these old photos of grandpas."

I'd clearly touched a nerve.

Finally, someone's fighting back against the Farter-in-Chief!

Ahnuld's had enough of that shit.
(actual screen capture from Talking Points Memo)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Splotchy Alert!

Passing by the TV in the work cafeteria, and sneakily switching the channel to CNN instead of Fox, I saw that the cops in NOLA are using tear gas and stun guns to dispel a crowd of protesters who are trying to stop the bulldozing of public housing.

What if Splotchy's in that crowd?

Should we get bail money together?

How will we know if anything's happened to him?
Bugs Bunny and Splotchy
I'm worried.

Simian Secret Santa!

Click on this link if you want to play--it's an online gift exchange, sponsored by our future leaders, Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein and Dr. Zaius.


Not everyone can play, however; some people are, in Dr. Zaius' own words, "a menace, a walking pestilence." The following walking pestilences will not under any circumstances be allowed to play:

Reason: Assholes.


Reason: Wannabe world-dominator sociopathic asshole. Oh, and he shot at Santa's reindeer last year, thinking they were part of his "wild" safari hunt.



Reason: greedy bloodsucking elitist wannabe asshole, shops only for self

But anyone else can jump on in!

I want to be a Lakota

You can just call me "Flies with Birds" or "Looks at twigs and rocks" or something. I want to be a Lakota:

from the great people at Raw Story:
Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US
The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday."We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference....

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old....

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

You go, people. And please--take me with you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Great first lines


KGMom
did a great post listing some of her favorite opening lines in literature, and I just had to steal her idea and give you a few of my own. One of my favorite parts of The Hours is the portrayal of just how freakin' long it takes Virginia Woolf to write the first line of Mrs. Dalloway; I can imagine that the first line of any literary work would probably be the hardest to write.

Her post is well-stocked with some of my favorites (Melville, Kafka, Fitzgerald, Homer, to name a few), so count those among my favorites. You're probably guessing the Melville ("Call me Ishmael") and the Kafka ("As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect"), but you may be wondering about the Homer. As an English major, I read a lot of the classics, and I even taught a course in Early World Literature way back when, and Homer's The Odyssey opens with a line containing a beautiful epithet, "rosy-fingered dawn," which has long been one of my favorite literary phrases. My photo at the top of the post is a decent example of "rosy-fingered dawn," but I've seen better.

Some of my other favorites:
"124 was spiteful." The Great Toni Morrison, Beloved -- one of the best books ever written by an American, period.

"When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun. " Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd -- is there any better description of a smile? Hardy could be rather verbose, but he really nailed it on this one.

"None of them knew the color of the sky." Steven Crane, "The Open Boat" -- not really a novel, more like a very long short story, but a beautiful piece of writing. There are so many phrases that I love in this story: "appropos of nothing" (nope, Sheryl Crow didn't write that one), "It was precisely like the point of a pin," (that's tiny!) and "It was less to him than the breaking of a pencil's point" (ouch!).

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye -- Salinger obviously remembered what it was like to be a teenage boy, full of pepper and sarcasm, and unable to understand the world around him.

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York." Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar -- In high school, when I read this book the first time, I felt incredibly depressed for about two solid weeks. It just killed me knowing that the protagonist in the book got better, but Plath never did. I also have remembered that phrase about electrocuting the Rosenbergs since then.

What are some of your favorite opening lines?

Friday, December 14, 2007

A brilliant mind at work

No, not mine, of course! But The Cunning Runt is working up something good, and it's a must-read.

Fun with Spam

I work in a pretty large company, and as a result, I receive two or three of those "chain-email" Spams every day from well-intentioned coworkers. Some don't bother me (when they have links to games, etc.) but the religious ones tend to grate on my nerves, as I'm a non-believer and don't appreciate being told about the power of prayer, the watchfulness of angels, etc.

I got one of these emails the other day, and I thought I'd share MY version of it with you. But be forewarned, if you take this Jesus-is-the-reason-for-the-season seriously and have no sense of humor about it -- well, perhaps you should not read this.

Why Jesus is better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole ...
JESUS has a cool pad in the Gaza Strip! …Oh wait…

Santa rides in a sleigh ..
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water. He leaps tall buildings in a single bound, and he don’t take no shit from you, asshole.

Santa comes but once a year ...
JESUS is celibate, thank you.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies ...
JESUS supplies all your needs, and I bet he even offers free shipping at Christmas.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited ..
JESUS might be a little creeped out by the breaking and entering thing.

You have to wait in line to see Santa ...
JESUS is as close as Mike Fuckabee’s cellphone.

Santa lets you sit on his lap ...
JESUS lets you rest in His arms, he’s got the whole world in his hands, and he is the wind beneath my wings... Oh, sorry, got carried away there.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?" ...
JESUS knew our name before we were born.
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and
He even knows how many hairs are on our heads. He’s even reading your email right now. But that’s because the Patriot Act allows his favorite commander guy George W Bush to collect all that information without your knowledge. Bet that makes you feel all safe and secure, doesn’t it? Of course it does.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly ...
JESUS has always worked out and has a six-pack.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO ...
JESUS would never call anyone a ho.

Santa says "You better not cry" ...
JESUS says "I’ll give you somethin’ to cry about!” when he’s in a bad mood. And let’s face it, humans are enough to put even Jesus into a bad mood, so shut the hell up with your whining.

Santa's little helpers make toys ...
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions. Too bad you commie atheist America-hating liberals can’t afford those mansions! You can just live out in the cold, you unpatriotic traitors!

Santa may make you chuckle but ...
JESUS gives you joy by telling some really kick-ass knock-knock jokes.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree ...
JESUS is kinda sorta in baby form at that time of year, so you better hope Santa doesn’t get pissed off by this little list, or it’s coal for your sorry ass. REMEMBER: We need to keep Christ in CHRISTmas.... Otherwise, it’s misspelled, although “Xmas” is acceptable in informal writing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bush discusses his priorities

Make mine a dubble... heh heh heh.


Just found this link, hidden on Talking Points Memo--we'll call it "Scenes of Delusion."


Bush: 'I Doubt I'd Be Standing Here If I Hadn't Quit Drinking
Whiskey'
-- ABC Nightline

. . . The president told ABC News he quit drinking over 20 years ago --
cold turkey.

"I had too much to drink one night, and the next day I didn't have any,"
Bush said. "The next day I decided to quit and I haven't had a drink since
1986."

"And you did it just cold turkey?" asked Raddatz.

"I'm a better man for it," Bush said.

Allow me to interrupt, disgusted readers. At this point, wouldn't a good journalist ask, "what about the cocaine?"

Back to the "interview". . .

The president said his alcohol problem wasn't severe, but said he still had
a hard time quitting.

"I wasn't a knee-walking drunk," Bush said. "It's a difficult thing to do, which is to kick an addiction."

Again, pardon my interruption, but that ridiculous sentence construction sure makes him seem drunk. Maybe it's just me. Anyhoo, back to the "interview:"


. . . Bush said in his case, he made the decision to quit when he realized drinking was interfering with his family.

"Alcohol can compete with your affections. It sure did in my case," Bush
said, "affections with your family, or affections for exercise."

Yes, he just said the two affections alcohol competed with were his family and his exercise. I'm reminded of Condi, upon finding out on the news (!!!) that Hamas had won the elections in the Middle East; she went back to her exercising. Why not? It's not like she was an important leader or anything.

Sometimes you just gotta read this stuff and laugh. Or throw up. You decide.

Now Hear This

If you want to read an amazingly written post that talks about the real problems with the way campaigns are covered by the media in this country, read this. It's smokin' hot truth.

And that pic of John Edwards is pretty hot too. (even I can spot a hot guy, folks)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And what would you know about that, Huck?

Courtesy of Talking Points Memo:
Huckabee: "Don't Mormons Believe That Jesus And The Devil Are Brothers?"
By Eric Kleefeld - December 11, 2007, 10:10PM

It was only a matter of time before Mike Huckabee said something about
Mormonism that they would find offensive — and it's now happened. In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, to be published this Sunday, Huck admitted that he didn't know much about Mormon theology, but did say this: "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?". . .

Huckabee also demurred when asked whether Mormons are a cult: "I'm just not
going to go off into evaluating other people's doctrines and faiths. I think
that is absolutely not a role for a president."

What the hell would YOU know about what is and isn't "a role for a president," you christofascist moron? You apparently think it's your "role" to

a. "not necessarily buy into" evolution and natural selection, though it's proven fact

b. claim you've had cellphone conversations with God

c. advocate that all gays and lesbians be quarantined before we spread AIDS to all you straights out there, not to mention that if we're allowed to marry, civilization will crumble

d. think wives should "graciously submit" to husbands

e. compare your diet-induced weight loss to the starvation-induced weight loss of Jews in concentration camps

I think you know where you can stick your opinions, Huck.

Norman Rockwell's America

This post has been rolling around in my head and in an email interchange with the Great FranIAm, and I'm finally going to post it. It was brought to mind by Fran's use of a Norman Rockwell classic,
when she was talking about religious freedom and the ridiculous "I'm a Mormon" Mittens Romney speech.

First off, I want to say I'm not ragging Fran for her use of this artwork. It's just the whole idea of Rockwell and the way he painted America. Whenever I see Rockwell's work, I just automatically think about racism. Why, you ask? Let me explain.

Rockwell is an American classic, of course -- but what I hate about his paintings is that they're so freakin' white-bread middle America. That in itself is not the bad thing -- I mean, the majority of Americans are white/anglo people, including my partner and most of my friends. I loves the blondes and blue-eyeds of this nation! (did that sound like an idiot politician speaking or what?!)

The thing that bothers me about Rockwell and his imagery is this: When I think about racism in this country, it is always with the wistful belief that it will never go away. It'll still be with us, long after the KKK and other hate groups are gone -- because there will ALWAYS be a quiet, insidious racism that is evoked (at least for me) by things like Rockwellian imagery. He painted an America in which white people were these simple, folksy, Lake Woebegone-like people who think themselves good christians and good people. (I also love Garrison Keillor, so don't be hatin' on me; it's just an example.) The people in Rockwell gather with their friends, at home or at the park, down at the fishing hole, etc -- and it has always seemed to me that at least in some people's minds, America is -- or should be -- like a Rockwell painting, in which these small-town communities of nice white boys and girls playing and watching fireworks on the 4th of July, and old white veterans and grandparents watching parades down Main Street, and old white guys sitting on the porch of the country store playing checkers.


When you think about this version of America -- which many people long for, whether it was ever even real or not--that version of America doesn't have any people of color in it.
Just think about it -- the whole 1950s-early 60s "good old days" era of Leave it to Beaver America (which was never even real, in my opinion, but nonetheless is still perceived as literally real even today) is completely WHITE. Can you imagine those old white men on the porch playing checkers, and a black stranger comes up onto the porch, and even though he's the same age, probably has a lot of the same experiences and same hopes and dreams as the white guys -- when this black stranger comes up on the porch, can you see those old guys pulling out a chair for him to sit in and talking to him? No way. But if it was a white guy -- a guy who looked just like them -- suddenly, things would change -- their reaction would change -- you know it would! They would say "howdy" or whatever, ask him if he's new in town, invite him to join them.

I realize this example uses older people, who (let me just generalize here) tend to be a bit more prejudiced, and of course younger people are different, right? Well, I don't think so. I see it all the time here in Central PA -- there are at least two or three race-related incidents per semester here at Penn State, a huge modern university where kids from all over come to broaden their education and their minds. Yet every damned semester, we have someone shouting racial epithets from dorm windows at people, or someone finds a Facebook page with racist stuff on it, or there's an altercation downtown between some blacks and some whites. These kids are no different at all than those old men playing checkers, old people whose memories go back to the time before integration -- when it was George Wallace screaming "Segregation now, segregation forever!" That happened in 1963, before I was born, and yet I remember growing up and hearing those words over and over when Wallace was trying to run for office later.

For some reason (maybe it's just naivete), I think the KKK and other hate groups will eventually die out, but I think we'll always have this kind of under-the-surface racism, the kind that a lot of white people don't even know they feel until push comes to shove. You get a Hurricane Katrina, and a whole swath of Americans just turn their backs and say things like, "well, they should've evacuated!" Or a black family will move into a previously all-white community and get "The Look" that we minorities know all too well: that "what are YOU doing here?" look. Or maybe the subject of incarceration and sentencing inequities will up in a converstaion-- and all of a sudden, even good people who never thought they had anything against African-Americans suddenly feel a strange twinge when they think about it. They think back to all those episodes of "Cops" and think, "well, those black people ARE always in trouble!"

I realize race is a hot-button issue, and that I might have overgeneralized or offended with this post. If so, I'm sorry. I just wanted to discuss the issue with all of you, hear what you have to say. So let me hear from you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hear this, all you godless liberal Jeebus haters!

It seems our Congress has -- thank goodness! -- found the time to vote on a resolution stating that, by golly, Christmas is important! Thanks to TPM for the link.
Generic Present Guy

Boy, I'm sure glad they got this important issue decided once and for all! I know Generic Present Guy was worried! I wonder when they're going to enact similar legislation for Hannukah and Kwaanza? I'm sure that's probably in committee right now, and they're ironing out the details. Because that's what they do in D.C., tackle the BIG issues! It's not all just photo-ops and bullshit!

- - - - - - -


Okay, my snarkopressure just shot through the roof, so I had to stop. Sometimes I get so freakin' mad I could just explode. I'm sure we've all felt it; we're probably feeling it right now. My face gets all hot, my blood pressure goes way up, and the blood pounds in my ears. It happens when I glance over at Fox "News" and read their ridiculous little blurbs at the bottom of the screen, like the ones yesterday during their broadcasts about the church shootings in Colorado--their blurb? Something about "attacks on Christians." Seriously. It happens when I hear W's voice. It happens when I think about politics in general.

Sometimes I just gotta take a break. In the interests of that, I want to post these photos I took at a bookstore a while back--each one has special meaning for its connection to someone I've met through this and my other (birdy) blog.

First, this one's for MattyBoy and Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein, whose unabashed appreciation of women just makes me love 'em more every day:

Imagine how happy both Matty and Monkey would be to have all the girlie mags shown in this book! Matty'd be looking for the Gigantic women, and Monkey would be scanning photos in for days on end! Randal would also appreciate this book, I'm sure.

Second, for all you man-lovin' female readers--Fran, PoP, Jess, WhiskeyMarie, Vikki--this one's for you:

Check out those big ole hunks o' man flesh! Tom Selleck! David Cassidy! Simon LeBon! ... Keifer Sutherland? Uh--okay, whatevah. I'm gay; what do I know?! Anyway--this book took me back to the days of watching Dex Dexter, doing Alexis Carrington wrong; of watching the Multi-Untalented Tracy Partridge trying to work that tamborine; of listening to Magnum's witty narration and his run-ins with a bristly Higgins.


Simpler times, simpler times.... I feel better now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Oprah Factor

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, left, wave to supporters with Oprah Winfrey, center, during a rally today in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

From one of my favorite sites, The Carpetbagger Report:
* Barack Obama campaigned over the weekend with Oprah Winfrey,
drawing some of the biggest crowds I’ve ever even heard of for a
pre-general-election campaign event. There were a variety of estimates, but it
appears that the Obama/Oprah show drew nearly 20,000 visitors in Des Moines,
10,000 in Cedar Rapids, nearly 10,000 in New Hampshire, and a jaw-dropping
30,000 yesterday in South Carolina.
* Recognizing Oprah’s appeal with women voters, Hillary Clinton’s campaign did its best over the weekend to counter Obama’s events with some women guests of its own. The New York senator campaigned alongside her daughter and mother on Saturday, in addition to events in Iowa with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
I heard during our morning drive this morning about the huge crowds that Oprah and Obama are drawing. They even played a sound clip of Oprah, channeling MLK and dredging up that long-lost Southern accent, talking about change and hope and trying to inspire the crowd. The NPR news guy then talked about the number of black women voters in South Carolina and how they’d be a powerful voting bloc if they go for Obama.

My question is this: Just how many people will actually be influenced by Oprah to vote for Obama? Sure, a lot of people came to see them – but how much of that is because she’s Oprah and she’s on TV, and Obama’s a leading candidate for president?

Kat and I discussed how many African-Americans will actually go to the polls as a result of seeing Oprah and think, “yeah, I’m voting for Obama! Because Oprah likes him!” I mean, what kind of influence does Oprah really have in the black community, among everyday people? None of the African-American people I know even watch Oprah. Most of them call her an “oreo” (black on the outside, white on the inside). Will her appearances really translate into votes in November? Or will black people just link their perception of her oreo-ness with what they perceive as Obama’s oreo-ness?

Maybe I don’t really have a feel for Oprah’s influence in the black community; most of what I’m saying and thinking here are really just some impressions based on my interactions with the few African-Americans I know in my mostly-white community. So, because I am after all a member of another minority group, I’m trying to think of a similar situation happening: What if there were a Hispanic candidate—someone relatively young and energetic, educated, talking about hope and overcoming the barriers, and all that—and he (or she!) was a leading candidate for president? How would I feel? And what if that person came to town with some big Hispanic icon—I’m trying to think of one! Um—I don’t know, with Gloria Estefan or somebody. (Not a whole lot of brown people in the bigtime, man.) Now I’m no big celebrity ass-kisser and I’m certainly not much of a “La Raza” type Hispanic. I majored in English, had a college-educated professional for a dad (though he was a migrant worker as a kid—does that count?), and all my siblings attended college as well. I’m not exactly your first-generation-to-make-it kind of Hispanic; I don’t even speak very good Spanish!
But back to my little scenario. Despite the fact that I’m not all into that ethnic thing or whatever (especially up here in rural PA!), I gotta tell ya – the very idea of this happening with a Hispanic candidate kinda excites me.

What do you think? Will Oprah make a difference?

Finally meme-ing

I had been tagged with Splotchy's virus last week, but with the help of lots of orange juice and some garlic, I'd been able to fight it off (translation: I hadn't copied the text and then promptly forgot who'd tagged me). Now, however, it's got me.

I'll start with Splotchy's instructions, then the story as it stood before, then my addition at the end. (smart, huh?)

"This has probably been done before, but that is not stopping me, oh no. Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours."

I woke up hungry. I pulled my bedroom curtain to the side and looked out on a hazy morning. I dragged myself into the kitchen, in search of something to eat. I reached for a jar of applesauce sitting next to the sink, and found it very cold to the touch. I opened the jar and realized it was frozen. (Splotchy)

I was used to the house being quite cold in the mornings, as the night log usually burns out around one AM when I am dreaming cozily under my covers, not normally waking to put a new one on until morning. I was surprised because on the rare occasions that it actually had reached sub-freezing temperatures in the house, I had awakened in the night to restart the fire. I would have been worried about the pipes before P-Day, but there hadn’t been running water in two years and that was one of the few advantages to being dependent on rainwater, no pipes. (Freida Bee)

I rummaged around in the kitchen and found one of the few things that hadn't frozen overnight to eat- an expired granola bar. "Better than nothing", I muttered to myself as I tore off the wrapper and took a bite, trying to not chip a tooth in the process.I thought I should go out to the shed and bring in more wood. The mind-numbing cold snap that had set in over the last few days seemed to be in no hurry to leave. Pulling on my heavy coat and wool hat, I considered for a moment what lay ahead for the day. Normally I would spend much of the day making any needed repairs to the house, cleaning, reading various newsletters, cooking, and just trying to keep busy in general. With no job to fill my time anymore I have found my newfound "freedom" to be both a blessing and a curse. Ever since P-day, the only job most of us have is to sit in our homes and find something, anything, to pass the time.Well, that- and to stay alive. (Whiskeymarie)

I reached the woodshed I’d built from the remains of our fence, and heard a rustling. Fearing one of the wild dogs that now roamed the neighborhood, I crept back to the house for the gun my husband left with me before he volunteered to join the fighting. My hand was shaking so badly, I didn’t think I could pull a trigger, so I also grabbed an old broomstick to use as a club. My son tried to follow me, and I ordered him back inside; he obeyed, frightened by the harshness of my tone. He seemed not to sense how terrified I was and I was glad. Inching toward the shed, glancing backward every few steps to be sure the children were staying inside, I heard the rustle again, accompanied by a very human cough.“Who is it?” I shouted, in as angry and menacing a voice as I could muster.No response.“Damn it, I know you’re in there! I have a gun! Come out with your hands up, or I’ll just start shooting!”“Don’t shoot!” said the voice, and(CDP--someone else will have to pick up at the cliffhanger and tell us who was attached to the voice).

...and a tall figure stepped out of the morning mist.

“Don’t shoot, please,” he said again, holding his hands in the air. “I’m not here to steal anything, I promise. I’m just looking for my cat. She got out this morning, and she’s the only thing I have. I have to find her. Have you seen her?”

I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Granted, after P-Day, I thought nothing could surprise me—tanks in the streets, people sleeping in the abandoned and gutted malls and grocery stores, thieves and looters trying to make up for not having prepared for the crisis. But this guy—looking for a cat?

“Come on,” I said, still holding that broom handle and trying to look threatening. “Looking for your cat? Do you think I’m stupid? You better just move along, man. And don’t come back.”

“No really, I’m looking for my cat!”

As if to magnify the surreal quality of this moment, a kitten mewed and stepped out of the shed. I couldn’t believe it; this guy really had a kitten, and he’d found him. The kitten rubbed his little body against the man’s legs; the man picked up the kitten and began muttering to him in that baby-talk way people used to talk to their pets, back when people had pets.

I stood there, pondering the scene. Since P-Day, cats and dogs were like an endangered species. Most people had long ago been forced to cook them for food; some refused, only to watch their beloved pets die of starvation as the food ran out. (dguzman)

Your turn! Let's see--how about I tag... Fillip, KarenZipDrive, and MattyBoy. You've probably already been exposed anyway. Might as well enjoy the accompanying fever and swelling.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holy shit, W's gone completely batshit crazy. Why all the scat in that lede? Because according to Carver, a diarist at Kos, Chimpy's got some very crazy-ass "security precautions" for (get this) his feces. Here's the original link to Daily Kos, courtesy of brilliant commenter The Cunning Runt at I Can't Believe It's Not a Democracy!

You'll remember the hilarity that ensued when The Smoking Gun got a hold of Cheney's pre-hotel-stay checklist, which included TVs set on Fox "News" Channel, Diet Sprite, and thermostats on 68 degrees? Well, we now have word of Chimpy's freakshow demands.

Somehow, the Austrian newspapers got a hold of W's protocols when Chimpy last went to Vienna (no doubt he asked for some of those yummy little sausages everywhere he went). Seems they have some "security" personnel in charge of collecting McStagger's feces and urine. Yes, the doody that comes out of his bu-bu (I don't know whether they collect that which comes out of his mouth), and the wee that comes out of his wee-wee.

He also has people who test his food for toxins, using certain chemicals (according to the story). Paranoid much, Chimpy?

Plenty of people are commenting on this -er-situation, including a hilarious one by my bloggy hero Distributorcap asking whether they capture W's farts in a jar (pure gold, that one). But what I want to know is this:

What are Cheney's poop and piss (and God knows what other bodily emanations) protocols?

The mind reels...

Just in time for Holiday Gift-Giving

Only $9.95. In stores now!

University of Utopia, Home of the Fightin' Librarians

Oh my, my, my, the fall semester draws to a close and I’m still trying to work out my course schedule for the spring! It’s not easy to work full-time and go to school, as I’m sure some of you know! What with the 8-hour J.O.B. getting in the way, I’ll be hard-pressed to take some of the fun classes in my major without getting a hold of Hermione Granger’s Timeturner so I can be in two places at once.


Speaking of Hermione Granger:
I realize she's probably like 18, but gees--the girl is hawt. Anyway....

I’ll give you a peek at some of the courses I’m looking at, courtesy of FranIAm’s tag from Aunt Dahlia. To quote FranSheIs, the purpose of this meme is as follows: “You must write about 5 classes you would like to take if you could make up your own curriculum. AND- and this is important, ONE of them must come from your tagger's list.” So I’ll start with the course I’d like to take from FranIAm University’s Real Life Curriculum Distance LearningTM:

How To Eat More and Weigh Less! No Exercise Edition!
This course is a must for me; I may have to use some Authorized Absence time to attend class, apply for a scholarship, or perhaps do work-study, but who cares? No prerequisites, other than an inability to say “no” to cookies, chips, soda, and empty-caloried liquor. Thank goodness my hours transfer from my old university!

Introduction to Corporate Politics
Feeling like you’ll never find a job that pays a real living wage unless you sell your soul to The Man? Don’t fret. This course will show you the ins and outs of learning how to “play the game” and “go along to get along” with “the good ole boys” in all facets of your job, yet still keep your progressive soul intact. The key? Stealth, my friends. Let’s face it; most of us have no clue how the most stupid people who watch Fox News and vote republican, kiss the boss’s ass, give 2-hour PowerPoint presentations on corporate goals, wear the required business dress uniform somehow always get promotions; most of them can’t even write a decent email! But based on my observations of the corporate world during a long and varied career, these are the skills you need to learn to fake in order to make enough money to both feed your family and contribute to all the charities that need our dollars. This course will teach you how to inconspicuously read other people’s documents at the printer so you find out what’s really happening at the management level, how to hypnotize managers to do your bidding (i.e. make well-reasoned and actually feasible business decisions), and how to smile-and-nod-smile-and-nod with the best of them!

Advanced Reading for Profit
In which we learn how to get paid for doing what comes naturally! All those hours spent reading blogs, mysteries, Harry Potter, gardening magazines, and the newspaper really can pay off once I’ve mastered the art of reading for profit. The Federal Department for Reading Comprehension grants alone can fund one’s Amazon.com addiction for years to come! Get paid for spotting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors on public signage! This course can make the difference between just being an annoying know-it-all and being an annoying know-it-all for BANK.

How to Earn Prize Money Watching Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on TV while Drinking Yuengling Lager and/or Grey Goose Dirty Martinis with 8 Olives
If I actually got prize money for all my correct answers and puzzle solutions on Jeopardy! and WoF, I could retire by now. Of course, I would never actually be ON the shows, but I would get paid all the same for every correct answer I shout while downing that second martini at Chumley’s downtown. In the second half of the semester, they’d have to cover the chapter on how to get paid for other people’s correct answers too, because that drunk guy next to me always knows more geography and history than I do and even when he’s sloshed, he can still shout out his answers faster. This course can be taken concurrently with Advanced Concepts of Completing NYT Crossword Puzzles, which for me, I’m proud to say, would be a blow-off course (except on some Saturdays, when the puzzles are really tough).

Blogging: Philosophy and Practice (with Lab)
This course would be the highlight of my day, because all my bloggy heroes—D-cap, D-cup, FranSheIs, Jess Wundrun, Matty Boy, Princess Sparkle Pony, Dr Monkey, Splotchy, Whiskey Marie, GetKristiLove, VikkiTikkiTavi, and everyone else whose blogs I love would also be enrolled in the class! The Lab would be wall-to-wall laptops with WiFi of course, and a few TVs on all the classic content-inspiring channels – CNN, Discovery, Animal Planet, Faux “News” Channel, Style Network, E Entertainment, etc. Talking, food, and fellowship required!

Between this and my second calculus course, I'll be one busy bee next semester....

I hereby request detailed course curricula from the following professors:
Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein
Whiskey Marie, PhD
Mary Ellen, the Divine Democrat

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why I like Joe Biden

Joe and Jill Biden--she's cute!

One thing's for sure: Joe Biden can come up with some great lines when the press is in his face.

Exhibit A: during an MSNBC dems debate, Biden says this about Rudy Jewels:
"There's only three things he mentions in a sentence -- a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There's nothing else! There's nothing else! And I mean this sincerely. He's genuinely not qualified to be president."
ZING! Take that, Rudy!

Exhibit B: his response to Bush's claims that he didn't know what the NIE was going to reveal; just that McConnell had told him there was something big in it--so he hasn't been lying for the last eight months about Iran. Biden's reaction:
"Are you telling me a president who is briefed every single morning, who is fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the United States government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in ’03?” Biden said in a conference call with reporters.
“That’s not believable,” Biden added. “I refuse to believe that. If that’s true, he has the most incompetent staff in … modern American history and he’s one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.”

Amen, Joe. Tell it like it is!

If she hasn't already thought about it, Hillary Clinton might want to consider offering the VP spot to Biden (can you tell I'm convinced that she'll be nominee? And if she is, I'll vote for her).

At least then she'd have ONE honest person on the ticket.

Carolina Wren

So I've been tagged by math genius and all-around hottie Matty Boy for this iPod music meme thing I've seen going around. I don't own an iPod, though, so all I have here at work is the few random CDs and a couple of prolly illegal I, Splotchy and Cup of Coffey downloads I've loaded onto my Windows Player. My results will be pretty lame and might bore you to tears, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice . . . tee hee!

Da roolz:
1. Put your music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT

MattyBoy says that's in caps because it's IMPORTANT! so here we go--you'll get what Player gives ya.

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY? California, Joni Mitchell

2. WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY? Song Sparrow, Lang Elliott (from my "Music of the Birds" CD)
UPDATE!--Lang Elliott used to work at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and he's a big-time bird guy. He does recordings of actual bird songs and puts them together on CDs (and usually an accompanying book with text about and photos of the birds).

I tried to put up the intro/first track from "Music of the Birds" up here, but I don't know how to upload it. Here, however, is a link to a photo and recording of one of my favorite bird songs, that of the wood thrush.

I wish I could load the intro to his CD, though, because you should hear how he talks--it's just the funniest, dorkiest, but cutest thing you'll hear all day! First thing--here's his photo:

Now imagine him saying, in a funny little old guy voice, like Mr. Rogers only not so gay: "Hi Friends. This is Lang Elliott. Welcome to the audio portion of Music of the Birds." It sounds like "Music of the Burds." It's so cute! Anyway--back to our previously scheduled programming.

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Nothing Can Come Between Us, Sade

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Common Yellowthroat (typical and flight songs), Lang Elliott

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? Nothing Compares 2U, Sinead O'Connor

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Lark Sparrow, Lang Elliott (god, I'm a dork)

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? Red-eyed Vireo, Lang Elliott (indeed!)

8. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS? 'Tis of Thee, Ani DiFranco

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Kid, The Pretenders

10. WHAT IS 2+2? Acadian Flycatcher, Lang Elliott (sounds like "pizza! pizza!")

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? Ghost, Indigo Girls (that's kinda scary)

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Eastern Wood-Pewee, Lang Elliott

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? Brown-headed Cowbird (male and female calls), Lang Elliott

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Silver Springs, Fleetwood Mac

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Black-capped Chickadee, Lang Elliott

16. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Savannah Sparrow, Lang Elliott (so accurate, you know?)

17. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? House Finch (extended courting song), Lang Elliott (wow!)

18. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? No Ordinary Love, Sade

19. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? Hello Birmingham, Ani DiFranco

20. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? What Child is This?, Vince Guaraldi Trio

21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? All That You Have Is Your Soul, Tracy Chapman

22. WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS? Carolina Wren, Lang Elliott

See, cool people like Matty Boy have Elvis Costello, or opera, or They Might Be Giants on their music players. People like me have bird songs and some very old lesbian favorites. Sheesh.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Splotchy made me do it

Here's the translation of the ROT13 coded post; Splotchy made me do it!

Doin' what I'm told

I'm kinda wiggin' about a post at Pharyngula today. I'm not a religious person, nor do I really believe in God, but I don't believe that everyone who does believe in God is stupid. But he kinda does. Still, read the post not for that, but for the link to a new poll that shows that more people believe in the literal existence of a hell and the devil than believe in natural selection. This country is going down the fucking tubes in an intelligently designed basket.


I've been discussing this post a bit offline with the lovely and intelligent FranIAm, a person who proves that not all people of faith are morons or a-holes. I don't doubt that some people's version of religion has only served to mask their corruption and true inner evil, and I also agree that it's sad when more people believe in hell and the little red-tailed, horned guy who supposedly lives there than believe in Darwin's theory of natural selection. That's just scary. But to condemn all religion and all religious people is going too far.

Just sayin'.