Wednesday, March 29, 2006

coolest new gadget

KeyLights- Keys and Flashlight

I am a girl who LOVES a gadget. My new favorite: the key with a little flashlight embedded in the head. It's designed so the button is right where your thumb would be when you're opening your door anyway. I just bought one yesterday and it's just freakin' genius. I wish I'd thought of it. Totally worth $3.50.

My other favorite gadgets are my tiny Leatherman Squirt that I keep on my keychain, and the credit-card sized Swiss Army doodad that has a wee knife, a little flashlight, tweezers, a ruler, a magnifying glass and some other nifty stuff I can't remember. It fits in your wallet.

The *perfect* art-bidness gadget would involve a tiny level, a tape measure, and a flashlight, plus a few assorted tools (knife, screwdriver, tweezers). I'm still looking for that one.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Support Local Radio

Welcome to the WUSM-FM 88.5 Website

and check out WUSM, Hattiesburg's public radio station. They have lotsa interviews and some free downloads.

Current Media Report

movies: Mystic River, The Chumscrubber, and House of Sand & Fog

blogs: I Blame the Patriarchy, Blac(k)ademic, Cute Overload

magazines: Jane

TV: Home Movies on DVD, waiting desperately for Alias to return

music: Wilco, lots of Wilco. Also Flashback Alternative internet radio, and flamenco.

lunch: black eyed peas and rice, with chipotle salsa, and a spinach salad with clementines and craisins

Monday, March 27, 2006

Up Next: Tennessee

What's At Stake: Tell Your House Representatives - Vote NO On SJR-127

So, I hear South Dakota's anti-woman law now does allow a woman to have an abortion if carrying the pregnancy to term would kill her (real generous, those South Dakotan honkies, ain't they?). But Tennessee, the newest state to raise the red flag of woman-hating, now is readying a vote on a state constitution amendment making all abortions illegal - INCLUDING for women whose lives are at stake. No exclusions for rape &/or incest, which even most anti-abortion advocates agree to. Forced pregnancy for all women is the goal of these woman-haters.

I do not think the public referendum that South Dakotan choice advocates want is the way to go. I mean, would a public referendum on Jim Crow laws in 1950 have legitimized them? It's a dangerous move, and letting people vote on civil rights could be a public relations nightmare. It's not about what the majority of people want: it's about doing the right thing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

a few favorite things

1. volunteering at an arts festival for special ed kids. The kids are sweet & having fun, and just delightful. They range from profoundly disabled to garden variety LD. Also, it leaves me thankful that there are other people who can devote their lives to teaching & taking care of them, because I do not have the acres of patience and niceness necessary.

2. *fresh* sweet corn. boiled for a minute and a half, butter and salt.
purely delish.

3. Good live music. Wilco, for example.

4. All things pink and sparkly. Purple is good too.

I keep having dreams about bears.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Giago: Oglala Sioux president on state abortion law

Indianz.Com > News > Giago: Oglala Sioux president on state abortion law

Nice. White man's law does not apply on the reservation, which means South Dakota's abortion ban does not apply there. Their ass-kicking female president intends to open a branch of Planned Parenthood right there on the res, because who's gonna stop her?

Rant: South Dakota

Fuck South Dakota

Link goes to a foul-mouthed and righteous rant about South Dakota's new abortion law.

Vichy Feminist of the Day

Cathie Jung

So, this woman has deformed her body in order to "accentuate the natural and beautiful curves of the female figure." Natural? She wears a corset 23 hours a day. Her waist is FIFTEEN INCHES around in a corset, and x-rays on her website show her ribs are deformed. Her husband, a doctor, clearly has no problem with this. Her "feminine curves" outrank her "natural" health for him, clearly. He, of course, being the Expert Male Doctor, claims there are no bad side-effects to twenty years of tight lacing.

This is no different from foot-binding, neck-stretching, genital mutilation: it is deformation of the female body in order to conform to an extreme notion of what men find attractive. Like all Vichy feminists, she claims to be doing it for herself, this "waist training," because she likes wearing Victorian clothes. But she also likes to pose in her undergarments, with her husband (fully dressed of course), looking altogether like an unnatural Bellocq turn-of-the century prostitute. It's not about costuming: it's about being a sexbot for the male gaze. You can wear a corset with period costume without "tight-lacing" and deforming your body; this isn't about corsets or about period costume. Her actual bones are deformed for no good reason.

Ye gods, and don't even get me started on her smarmy-looking, smug husband in his leather suit. The whole thing gives me the creeps.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bleak House

I'm halfway through the new Masterpiece Theatre production of Bleak House, and boy, is it bleak. But also, Dickens is pretty funny. He throws in these broadly drawn comic characters for much-needed comic relief, and I think the actors playing these roles are having a hell of a time. The pawn broker, Mr. Smallweed, is freakin hilarious, riding around in his chair, always hollering at his carriers. He's just funny as hell. I'm not sure who the actor is; he sort of looks like Tom Waits with bad teeth and a big nose. Mr. Crook was a good one too, rest his gin-soaked soul...

Gillian Anderson should always wear English period garb, specifically, Georgian or Edwardian. Victorian is pretty good on her too. All are perfect for her classic face. I do wish she'd have a sandwich or two, as she's gotten a bit pointy and severe. It suits the Lady Dedlock character, but it makes me nervous for Ms. Anderson. I'd hate to see her waste away to nothing as so many actresses have done. Actresses over 35 need to have a bit of plump under the skin, or their faces start to look drawn & mannish.

But Dickens, now: I've never been a Dickens fan, really. But he's theatrical and the twists, turns, and multiple characters are perfectly suited to serial television. Subtle, he is not, but Gillian Anderson has managed to nuance her acting so that Lady Dedlock's drama is indeed quite subtle. Mr. Talkinghorn, on the other hand, is so downright Soap Opera Evil, he reminds me of Lucius Malfoy.

The first night we watched Bleak House, the Oscars were on. I called my fellow Bleak House viewer the next day and said: "Man, we are GEEKS. Did you know the Oscars were on while we were watching Bleak House on tape last night?" Nope, neither of us did. Proof of my irredeemable nerdiness, I guess. And proof that you're never a recovered English major, but rather a Recovering English Major for all eternity.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

the poor woman's crack

Community coffee, with a pinch of cinnamon, brewed in a french press. Better with real sugar, not sweetener.

Holy crap, it's good.

Friday, March 17, 2006 Maternal Mortality Maternal Mortality

Here you go: 660 women died "maternal deaths" in the USA in the year 2000. Somehow this isn't news, but two deaths vaguely but not definitively related to RU-486, THAT is news.

And, good gawd: 20,000 women in Afghanistan died of maternal causes in the same year. shocking statistics.

Two Women Die After Using Abortion Pill - Yahoo! News

Two Women Die After Using Abortion Pill - Yahoo! News

Okay, yes. Now, I ask you: how often does Yahoo (or any major news aggregator) announce deaths caused by pregnancy or childbirth?

Because I can fucking well guarantee you that more women are dying of pregnancy than dying after using RU-486.

AND furthermore: there is no evidence RU-486 even caused their deaths. It sure makes a sensational headline, though, doesn't it, boys and girls?


Molly Saves the Day: For the women of South Dakota: an abortion manual

Molly Saves the Day: For the women of South Dakota: an abortion manual

I can't tell you how very, utterly relieved I am to know that I will never have to have an illegal abortion, given my age at this time. I'm also glad I don't have a daughter entering her fertile years, faced with the shocking misogyny of a nation determined to force women to "pay the price" of having sex. "Pay the price" is the operative term here - in pro-life circles, the baby is the punishment for the sex. How wrong is that??? A baby shouldn't be a punishment - it should be wanted & loved. Make no mistake: pro-lifers don't love babies, or even fetuses: they hate women. They particularly hate women who have sex.

I'd never have the nerve to set up or try to run an illegal clinic, but I'm hoping there are women who do have the cojones to do it when it comes down to it. In fact, in South Dakota, the time may be now. The kind of abortion clinics run by the Jane Collective were used primarily by women of limited means - women who couldn't fly to Mexico or France to get an abortion. Hell, even driving to the next state and taking a few days off work is a financial hardship for most women, and an impossibility for teenagers who don't have adult assistance. I hate to see it come to this but I'm thinking it will. The morning-after pill is an option in some cases, as is RU-486. However, both are only for early in the pregnancy, and a minority of RU-486 patients will need access to a D&C followup. Birth control pills can be repurposed as a morning-after pill (there is info on this online); but how often do you know your birth control has failed? More often than not, you don't for at least six weeks or so.

What it comes down to is this: women, all women, need ready access to surgical abortion, on demand and without apology. Nothing less is acceptable.

If it takes some brave women with a little medical knowledge setting up an illegal clinic - and it has in the not-so-distant past - well, then, Molly's started the ball rolling by getting information out there. More power to her, I say.

War is Peace. Hate is Love. 6 is 9

"The Final Word Is Hooray!"

The war in Iraq is over? It has been for three years now?

Huh. Could've fooled me. And they call the media "liberal."

congress giveth, and it taketh away

House Approves $4.2 Billion in Aid Sought by Louisiana - New York Times

Sounds like good news, yes?

Two points I wish to emphasize:

1. conservative Republicans in the House tried to eliminate ALL of the hurricane spending from this bill, but were defeated eventually.

2. There is not enough money in this bill to rebuild the New Orleans levees. The House defeated an amendment which would have provided enough money to rebuild.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Q: What do you blog about?

A: "The usual stuff: knitting instructions, odes to my cat, recipes for LSD, nekkid pictures, and confessional poetry."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

notes on home improvement

1. If you have a giant water stain on your ceiling, just go ahead and come to terms with the stinky mess that you will have to deal with after using the oil-based Kilz. The Kilz-2, water based stuff, is useless when it comes to a big nasty water stain. Two coats into the process, I was still seeing the stain. I called Jeni-jen-jen, home improvement queen, which is what I should've done in the first place. She said I could put multiple many more coats of Kilz-2, or just suck it up and buy disposable brushes and latex gloves. She was so right. My house stinks, but my ceiling is white again, after just one coat of the smelly stuff. Why do I have to learn everything the hard way? What could've taken an hour took FOUR. Alas.

2. Cats do not care for home improvement activities. Like most men, cats fear change. When things are moved around, strange smells arrive, ladders are put up, they hate it. Add in the inevitable broom and/or vacuum cleaner and you have a cat's idea of a really lousy afternoon. Maybe I will give them tuna later.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

imaginary weddings

My very best friend sinced junior high is getting married in May. I'm throwing the wedding shower, which I'm really excited about. A friend's sister is getting married, and she too is deep into wedding magazines. How does this happen? We both talk about our "imaginary weddings," conversation fueled by our loved ones planning actual weddings. We love that we have an excuse to buy wedding magazines.

I've been married once, done that, over it. Being married to the perfect person would be great. I'm convinced it would add greatly to my overall happiness, it would be lovely to have someone by my side, on my team, always and forever, yes. But I'm not at all thinking I need to get married just to BE married. If I'm single forever, so be it. Better alone than stuck with the wrong man. And personally, I'm far more interested in the marriage than the wedding.

The idea of planning my own wedding (never mind paying for it) gives me hives. But vicariously enjoying someone else's wedding: THAT, I'm into. I love looking at her wedding dress online, and picking out shower invitations and talking about centerpieces and signature colors. It's out of character for me, but I think it has something to do with being raised to be a hostess. It's the ultimate hostess test, isn't it? You have to bring all your skills to bear, and part of me thinks it might almost be fun to be a wedding planner. Except spoiled princesses get on my nerves, and you have to work weekends. It's sort of like decorating: I like it, I'm good at it, but you have to please OTHER people, not just your own taste. Nevah mind. And if there is one thing I've learned in the art bidness, it's this:

You Can't Buy Taste

Rich does not equal tasteful. Old money, new money, no money: some people got it and some people are just fucking tacky. It's almost worse when the rich are tacky because they have the means to do better, and the means to pay someone to do better for them. Except those of us in the lower rungs know you can have Nice Things and a tasteful home and tasteful wedding without being a zillionaire.

The wedding business, like the baby business and the funeral business, has consumers by the short hairs. Put the word "wedding" in front of anything - flowers, stationary, catering - and the price triples, at the very least. The funeral business preys on the grieving, and the baby business preys on - and feeds - the insecurities of women about whether they will be good mothers or not. Ever been to Babys'R'Us to buy a baby present and seen the registry list? It's like 8 pages long, full of stuff they have convinced a pregnant woman to register for, convinced her that she NEEDS all of these things to be a good mommy. The wedding industry is the same way: who needs all those favors? really? How many wedding favors does anyone remember, ever? I know it's In the Rules but damn, at my imaginary wedding: no favors.

See how that works? You're talking all hypothetically about consumer bullying and suddenly it's "at my imaginary wedding...". There must be some if-then coding in my brain that causes that.

Friday, March 10, 2006

backyard wrestling.

Why is 20/20 doing a piece on "backyard wrestling," in which teenagers with videocameras "wrestle" in, you know, the BACK YARD? For one thing, backyard wrestling videos have been on the market for a solid five years. Don't even ask how I know this. Let's just say I heard about it from a friend whose boyfriend bought one, okay?

But more than that, shit is fucked up all over the place:

Germany is about to import tens of thousands of women for the upcoming World Cup games, install them in phone-booth-sized stalls, and proceed to sell them over, and over, and over again to football fans. How much you want to bet most of these women are practically slaves and were forced into prostitution? How many are underage or were trafficked as sex slaves while underage?

Also, there was a huge oil spill in Alaska. Sounds like it's bigger than the Valdez.

But no, teenage boys wrestling and breaking an arm or two, THAT is national news. What planet am I living on?? Who are these people?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

this video does it even better


Jason Berry's "State of the forgotten part of the union" video is not to be missed. But he's right: if you don't stand in the middle of it, you don't Get It.

Like him, I hate that so many people I know are going to leave New Orleans. The ones with children are making the decision much more quickly, but I think there are many others who may ultimately find it too exhausting to live under those conditions.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And now the bad news...

As I was leaving the Mid-City Arts Market on Sunday afternoon and heading out of town, I realized there was nowhere to stop and get a coke and a tank of gas between Mid-City and Slidell, on the entire Eastern side of Orleans Parish. I used to live near Morrison and Downman in the East, in Pines Village, which is a working-class, mostly African American community. I felt like I should get off at Downman and see my old house, which my ex was still living in at the time of Katrina. I'd seen it once, at Thanksgiving, before I had a digital camera. I thought: no. I can't go back. I don't want to invade his space. But then I got to the Morrison Road exit and I was too compelled not to turn off. I rode through the neighborhood and there were maybe half a dozen trailers in the whole subdivision. A few houses had been gutted, but most were moldering. So I stopped at my old house. I painted every wall in that house. I hand-dug and planted beds all along the fence and out front. I'm thinking of going back and digging up the day lilies I planted, as they are just now coming up.

What needs to be said, over and over, is for every victory (NOMA reopening, etc.) there are battles yet to be won. I haven't asked the ex what he will do, because I don't think he knows. No flood insurance, you see. The house hadn't flooded since Betsy.

The pics are of the back yard, the kitchen, the garage, and the front of the house. In the garage picture, you can see a chest freezer: only it's upside down. The flood waters picked it up and turned it over. It was full of fish and meat, and the smell still lingers. The back yard was a lovely little lawn with a pecan tree, gardens, a grill, a smoker, and a picnic bench. All weeds and shingles now. The flood waters shoved the window a/c into the kitchen and overturned everything. The front of the house: you can see the water line, the ruined plants, but one little pink flamingo whose wing was spinning valiantly while I was there.

I hope he doesn't mind me putting these pictures up. I think it's important for everyone to know that there are houses in this condition for miles and miles and miles of streets in Orleans Parish, six months later.

New Orleans: good news, bad news

It's been six months since the hurricane. I went to New Orleans this past weekend to the first exhibit opening at the New Orleans Museum of Art since then. They are on a skeleton staff (maybe 25 of the pre-storm 85), will be open only three days a week, but they pulled together and did a fantastic job of bringing the museum back to life. Friday they opened up,Saturday was the party for the Kipniss opening, and Sunday they hosted the Mid-City Arts Market. Music, dancing, vendors, food (Juan's Flying Burrito!!!), and lots and lots of people on a beautiful spring day. Here are a few pics from Sunday. In the next post: the bad news.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Janeane Garofalo, I Love You

There are so very many celebrities in the world and there are so few I want to go out and have a drink with. Janeane Garofalo, in fact, is the only one I can think of right now. Funny, smart, and real. I wish I could listen to talk radio while working so I could listen to her on Air America Radio.

I rented The Truth About Cats and Dogs this week and found myself in the midst of my usual cognitive dissonance about Janeane Garofalo and her looks. I think she could not possibly be cuter. Cute figure, beautiful face, great hair and smile. Yet the whole movie is predicated on the idea that she thinks she is too ugly to meet a boy she clicked with on the phone. Even the boy, who adores her personality, appears to find her mediocre in person. What is that? I don't get it. Why does Janeane think she is fat? I was watching the Ben Stiller show a few weeks ago on DVD - and again - she referred to anyone attracted to her as a 'chubby chaser'. She's NOT CHUBBY! Gawd. I just want to yank her out of Los Angeles and into the real world where she is not going to be beat over the head with her lack of conformity to the Uma Thurman ideal. I loved her role in Steal This Movie because there was none of that self-deprecating chubby business in it.

I hope, I hope, that the self-loathing about the looks is in her past, that she is milking it for humor and jobs, but somehow I think it's still there. And I hate that for her. If I had one wish for Janeane Garofalo, it would be that she looks in the mirror and really sees how very cute she is, how very pretty she can be when she feels like it. I know: looking good isn't the most important thing in the world, and good looks without a personality are ultimately ephemeral and meaningless. (i.e., Uma Thurman's role in Cats & Dogs). But feeling good about your looks is really important and stupid Los Angeles is fucking with a brilliant and funny chica who deserves to be happy with herself.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fat Wednesday

Okay, okay: Ash Wednesday.

Arrived in the mail today: two (2) tickets to see Wilco at the masonic temple in Meridian, Miss.! The Temple seats a maximum of 1800 people, so I'm expecting an awesome intimate Wilco experience. Also, Meridian is hometown to one of the band's new members, Pat Sansone, whose name I have probably spelled wrong. My music scenester pals in Hattiesburg all know Pat from Back in the Day, and they say he has always seemed destined to be a Rock Star. Wilco isn't exactly the Rock Starriest of bands, but he couldn't have found a better national act to join. All the better.

I heart Wilco, and haven't seen them in ten years or so, since I lived in Lawrence, KS. I went with a grad school colleague who pronounced them "too un-ironically classic rock" for her taste. Well, she's a pretentious bastard, so fuck her anyway. Wilco has it all musically & lyrically and they put on a great show, and I got the tickets for the poet for his birthday, so we are going to have a big time and I don't have to work the next day and I haven't been this psyched about a concert in a VERY LONG TIME.

I used to work in NOLA with John Stirratt's then-girlfriend but they broke up ages ago so, alas, I got no hookup. Even my scenester Hattiesburg pal had no hookup. So we both had to spend ages on the redial to even get tickets. We so rock, I tell you.

check Wilco out: WilcoWorld