Thursday, December 31, 2009

Memo to the beasts

Eldest cat: Seeing the bottom of the bowl is not a giant tragedy. Also, stop hissing at everyone. It's getting embarrassing.

Middle cat: I understand that you are clawing my calf repeatedly because you want me to the throw the ball. But, as I have said repeatedly, I cannot THROW the ball unless I HAVE the ball. Fetch means you bring the ball back to me. It does not mean "bring the ball halfway back and then hassle me until I get up and go pick it up and throw it again." Whatever game THAT is, I'm not playing.

Youngest cat: I get that you need to be brushed ALL. THE. TIME. However, there are only 24 hours in the day and I do have other responsibilities. Don't worry, even with a mere 3.6 hours of brushing per day, your coat is lovely, sleek, and stripey.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Open Letter to Male Musicians:

We get it. You have a penis, and you would like to put it in someone. This is not brand new information, and you can stop writing songs about it.

Thanking you in advance,
Jezebella

Friday, December 18, 2009

Giftmas List

Dear Santa, enclosed please find my wish list for this year:

1. A day without rape.
2. A fifty-percent reduction in man-splaining (I'll take the rest next year, mmmkay?)
3. A better job
4. Free contraception for all, and abortions for anyone who wants one, on demand and without apology.

That should do it!
xo,
Jezebella

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Married Friends:

When you get married and stop calling your single friends, it's shitty. When you only invite other married people to dinner, to movies, to parties, it just sucks. What the fuck is wrong with you that you can no longer be friends with singletons? We're not contagious. We aren't a threat to your marriage. Go call one of your single friends today and invite her out to dinner, or to your holiday open house, or out for coffee. Or just, you know, fucking CALL her. Sheesh.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

An Open Letter to Apartment Therapy Commenters:

You are a denizen of a website that regularly features $4000 coffee tables and $10,000 sofas. It fetishizes *original* Eames and Saarinen furniture and all things mid-century modern. The AT philosophy advocates saving up and investing in quality design for your home, your furnishings, and your decor, rather than buying whatever cheap crap from China fills up Walmart this week. And yet you accuse me of snobbery for advocating the purchase of art made by artists, and suggest that just anyone can make good "abstract art" with some paper and black ink. How does this compute? Abstract art, like good design, is a matter of connoisseurship. Anyone who reads AT often enough to comment regularly should be able to understand this. Why, I ask you, should someone who has carefully designed their entire living space give up on quality when it comes to the artwork on their walls? This is not snobbery any more than preferring an original Eames to a knockoff is snobbery.

Quality artwork at reasonable prices can be found at your local gallery, your local college art department, and online. "DIY"ing abstract art will result for 99% of DIYers in splashy shitty decorative crap that looks like something from a reality design show on HGTV, not something good enough to frame and hang in one's home.

Finally, if you can't tell the difference between Modernist abstraction and Asian calligraphy, you aren't looking very hard, and you have proven yourself a less-than-capable judge of artistic quality.

Hugs,
Jezebella, PhD

Monday, December 07, 2009

"what does a rapist look like?"

I wrote a post with that title over two years ago, and I still get a zillion hits coming from that search string. I find it depressing that so many people ask that question. Why? Because they don't look *any* way. They are all ages, weights, races, heights, incomes, eye colors, and manners of attire. Let me reframe it: if 1 in 6 women is raped or attempted-raped in her life, and most rapists assault an average of 10 women in his life, then 1 in 60 men that you know is a rapist.

One in sixty. Look at your facebook friends list, or around your workplace, your church, the bar you go to, and you'll probably see a rapist. He might not even *think* he's a rapist, because he thinks that pressuring a woman until she gives in, or raping a woman too intoxicated to give consent isn't "really" rape, but he is.

A rapist looks like your neighbors, your relatives, your acquaintances, your coworkers. I'm sorry to say it, but I speak as I find. You can't see them coming down the street. They don't wear crazy-rapist shirts or come with warning labels. I wish they did. I wish we could tattoo "rapist" across the goddamned forehead of every dickblister that rapes a woman, but unfortunately we cannot.

Do you want to know how to prevent rape? Get dudes to stop raping women. Here's a handy primer that all men should commit to memory:

I got yer rape prevention email forward here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

iiiiiii

I am tired of people who say "iPhone" instead of "phone". Do you REALLY need to let me know you have an iPhone? Can you not just say "phone" like the rest of us? I mean, it's not like I go, "Oh, hey, my Palm Treo 755p was ringing but it was in the bottom of my purse." "I got a new app for my Palm Treo 755p." It's just a fucking phone, yo. Cut it out. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

holidays

It just seems like the holidays engender an endless pile of to-do lists. Today: dishes, cat maintenance, pack, drive 130 miles, dinner with nuclear family and Republican cousins. Sigh.

Monday, November 23, 2009

bad habit

When I'm in nearby college town I still drive past his house sometimes, and when I do, I feel like a junkie visiting the corner where he used to score.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Report from Voodoo Fest

Ahem, the Voodoo Experience Music Festival.

The Pogues: alternately sublime and sad. Shane MacGowan is going to be dead soon. He is a terrible alcoholic, a bloated, pale, shambling, mess. The rest of the band is tight, fierce, and brilliant. Shane stumbles on stage every third song or so and slurs his way through a tune. He's got a handler who walks him on stage, gives him a lit cigarette and the microphone, and makes sure he doesn't fall down. Awful. Honestly, they're better without him. Obviously they put up with him because the drunk yobs in the audience are all about how hilarious the drunk is, but the yobs are young enough to have never seen a man drink himself to death. Overall, they were brilliant, and I love the band, but the other singer is, frankly, better. Also, he was in a temper, and it put a sharp edge on their performance that I kind of enjoyed. Also, they had a hot accordion player in velvet pants. I mean, smokin' hot bald guy with an accordion. Whoda thunk?

Squirrel Nut Zippers: Listened from outside the tent while chatting with a friend I hadn't seen in way too long. They sounded excellent, but I can't say I paid a ton of attention.

Flaming Lips: Holy frijoles, what a freakin' spectacle! Psychedelic from the get-go, lights, screens, people dancing in furry animal costumes, confetti, Wayne Coyne in an inflatable ball, smoke machines, bullhorns, yes, and yes, and yes. I could've taken hours more of it. They played Yoshimi, and Do You Realize, and the Yeah Yeah Yeah song, and some new stuff, and they were terrific.

Meat Puppets: ROCK! SHOW! They played in the Bingo tent, so it felt like a rock show in a club. They were amazing. They were loud. Curt Yearwood is one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. Sometimes I forget how much brilliant noise a three-piece band can make. They fucking rocked it. SO good. It helped that the douchebags were all at the Lenny Kravitz stage. Not that Lenny's so bad, but you know, his audience? Not so much. It was intimate, and punk rock, and just so fucking good.

I caught a few minutes of Widespread Panic because they were on the opposite stage while the Flaming Lips were setting up, and man o man are they some boring stinky hippies. Jeebus. So boring. Allow me to share with you my Widespread Panic story. About, oh, a decade ago, the Squidophile and his friend K wanted to go to Jazz Fest and see Widespread. I tagged along, thinking, well, I'm just going for the food, really. Widespread had TWO lots at Jazz Fest, which is really unusual, and totally undeserved if you ask me. So we're watching Widespread and I'm eating this great veggie pita from the African food stand, and when my food is gone I am booooooooooored. I mean, yawn, right? So I ask K and the Squidophile: is this more interesting if you're high? And they're like, well, let's find out! So they spark it up (I do not indulge. Jez no like the weed). I wait ten or fifteen minutes and say, so? Is it better if you're high? And they're all, "No, we're just too stoned to want to get up and go away." Aha! I see it now: the entire appeal of Widespread Panic is that their audience is too high to leave.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I want a cape.

It's the 21st century, right? So where are my silver jumpsuit and my awesome boots and my cape? Why are we not wearing capes for every occasion, whether casual or formal? I'm ready. Science fiction, have you lied to me??

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

moment of clarity

So I've been trying to sort out what the fuck it is with Ann Coulter: why do the right-wingers love her so much? I mean, sure, she's a racist, homophobic, right-wing hate-monger, and they like THAT, obviously. But, she is also tall, leggy, blonde, miniskirted tanned, thin, polished, painted, buffed, and waxed. Normally this sexbot look adds up, for dudes, to someone they want to just shut up and look good. But they seem to like it when she says stuff. A lot. But then Mearl, a commenter over at IBTP said, “There is almost no way to be Dude-Approved hawt and be taken seriously." And she is absolutely right.

I had a light-bulb moment. I haven’t been able to parse it before, but I think I’ve got it now: they really *don’t* take her seriously. She is popular to the right-wing dudes the way a monkey singing opera might be popular: it’s not what she’s saying, but the fact that she is *saying it at all*. It’s like, “Look! Barbie TALKS!!” They surely, to a man, don’t think she actually writes her own books or thinks her own thoughts.

I feel so much better now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I learned while painting my bathroom

1. Lock the cats out.

2. Do yourself a favor and invest in the Benjamin Moore Aura low VOC (non-stinky) paint. I had to start with a coat of Kilz primer, which was brutally stinky, and then a coat of Aura, and it was like painting with heavy cream. Lovely. If you can't afford it right now, wait until you can. Worth every penny, especially when you consider it's truly one-coat coverage.

3. If I paint without a bandanna on my head, I get paint in my hair. If I wear a bandanna, I don't get any paint on my head at all.

4. Twelve years ago, I vowed never to paint behind a toilet again. Lesson learned? Never say never. I still hate painting behind the toilet.

5. Don't fool yourself: there is no painting just the walls of any room. As soon as you paint the walls, the paint on the woodwork looks dingy and shitty.

6. Lesson confirmed: the previous homeowners, aka Mr. and Mrs. Half-assed, did everything half-assedly. EVERYTHING. The wallboard is not tightly fitted, there's a gap around the window frame where he measured wrong and just left it, and the whole reason for this painting project is the half-assed wallpaper started falling off recently. Like, I brushed against it and a whole sheet came loose.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Stupidest thing ever

Y'all, there's a lot of stupid shit on the internet. Sport corsets. Fetish shoes. BDSM fans. But I swear, this shit is the stupidest ever: makeup. for your boobs. The "My Beautiful Breasts Kit" includes seven shades of powdery stuff, "primer", "setting spray", two brushes, and, get this: semi-permanent "bust stain". So you can have makeup on your boobs even when you're sweaty. For fuck's sake. I'm sure someone rad-femmier than me could produce a highly nuanced review of this fucking ridiculous product, but I am clearly reduced to swearing and sputtering.



How might a cranky old ranty-pants run across something so pink, so artificial, so patriarchally endorsed, so stupid? Well you might ask. I found a review of said product on a website called "Vital Juice", which purports to be a website about health and wellness. What the fuckity fuck does boob make-up have to do with health and wellness, I ask you?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pop Culture Guilty Pleasure

People, do not count me as a member of the Yay! Musicals! Club. I am missing the musical gene. I think they are silly and stupid and boring and highly synthetic and on the whole I loathe "musical theater" music. There are two exceptions: I thoroughly enjoyed Rent and Spring Awakening, but both have music written by people who came out of pop/rock and not out of Musical Theatah. Furthermore, I cannot carry a tune in a bucket nor do I know my f-string from my minor chord. Jezebella? She plays *the stereo*.

Never mind all that. My new favorite show is Glee. I luff it. It is campy, stylized, extremely silly, sweet, and I can't get enough. Jane Lynch as sociopathic cheer coach? Check. Socially "flawed" but musically talented student cast? Check. VICTOR GARBER AS TEACHER'S BOWTIED DAD??!! CHECK and CHECK.

You know what won me over? The full-on perky show-choir treatment, with costumes and choreography, of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab". I mean, only an evil genius could come up with that.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Area Cats Stage Protest

The Bathroom - Area cats Pippin, 2, and Nigel, 1, staged a loud and vigorous protest outside of the bathtub late Tuesday night. No translator was available to determine the exact nature of the feline community's objection to the human habit of soaking in soapy water. The protest broke up shortly after bathtime, so the cats could return to their rigorous napping schedules.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Worst Week Ever

Reasons, in no particular order:

My shoulder still hurts and I still can't reach around my to my back and hook/unhook my good bras. Wearing old, stretched out, grey bras that I *can* hook in the front and twist around to the back is depressing.

My uterus is trying to kill me. Any woman in or past their 40s knows what I mean. Younger women, I will spare you the painful news of what you have to look forward to. Dudes, you just don't wanna know.

I can't afford my student loan payments and had to get a forbearance, which only adds to my interest piling up and is not a real solution.

My cat Bennet, who's been ill all summer, reached the end of the road: that place where I had to take him to the vet and have the kind doctor end his suffering. It was just awful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh! Also!

I forgot to mention my progress in my Year of No Gueros. Having inhaled all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I moved on to Kate Atkinson's intelligent thriller/mysteries. I've read Case Histories and One Good Turn, but the library doesn't have the next one, nor does Bookmooch.com. I found her male protagonist remarkably non-douchey for an ex-cop. Her book of short fiction, Not the End of the World was both comical and apocalyptic, if you can imagine it. There's a subtext of parental worry throughout all of her work, particularly fathers worrying about their daughters. Interesting. Also, she's making me want to revisit Edinburgh. I was only there for a few days and mostly we drank a lot, except for a trip to the National Gallery which is one of my more favorite museums. Anyhow, Edinburgh: I think I need to go back.

Also, Tayari Jones' Leaving Atlanta was short but deep and dark and she is one of those writers who remembers how children think and feel. Remarkable. I've got her next book in the mail to me directly.

I'm in the middle of Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup and I'm not so much in love with it. It's kind of slow, and, oh, I don't know, the complications of race in South Africa, why must they always be seen through the lens of an interracial romance? I find this trope tiresome. Her male protagonist, Abdu, is more interesting than her female protagonist, who's trying so hard to shed her privilege but so far, she just can't do it. She lands in his desert home, after he is deported, and asks where the bathroom is, she'd like a hot bath. In the desert. Sigh. Anyway, it's Nadine Gordimer and she's a Big Deal and so I will certainly finish this book, but I think I'm going genre next: Octavia Butler is up next on the reading list.

Mortality: bo-o-gus

Between my cats' various ailments, and my newly diagnosed bone spur, which seems to be the cause of all of this shoulder aching, I am a broke motherfrakker, yo. I have spent all of my money at the vet and the chiropractor, and I haven't even gotten the bill from the orthopedist, whose GIANT NEEDLE FULL OF STEROIDS really didn't help much at all. At least he gave me a Lortab prescription, which neither the chiro nor the massage therapist was able to do. I'm considering acupuncture because I fear the ortho's next recommendation will be surgery. I don't want some yahoo slicing my shoulder open and sanding down my bone.

I don't like this aging business, not one stitch.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Godwinned by the radio: Shouty White Men edition

So I'm tootling to work this morning and turn on NPR. I hear part eleventy-billion in a series called "Why Miss'ssippi So Fat, Y'all"? The discourse here has yet to be embiggened regardless of how much they talk about it on the radio. It's like everybody in the fucking state thinks it's all about french fries. I have yet to hear anybody mention the high cost of nutritious food, the link between poverty and poor nutrition, the genetic component, or the fact that we should be treating diabetes, high blood pressure, and actual diseases, rather than hassling fat people who may or may not be unhealthy. I actually heard the state health czar say that it was high time being fat was considered socially unacceptable in Mississippi. Because, you know, 'round here, fat people get all the love.

But I digress. Because what I really want to yak about is the snippet of Shouty White Man Radio I heard after I got disgusted with NPR. I flipped through a coupla stations and find a Shouty White Man talking about eugenics. Eugenics! Who knew Shouty White Men cared about such things, right? He mentions early eugenics, which were bad before the Nazis commenced to genocide, and I'm thinking - huh - is there now a Shouty White Man who isn't a total tool? [For those who like to skip to the end of the novel and read it first, the answer is no. I know you're shocked.] And then he says there are people making eugenics-type statements here and now! In the 1970s! In the 1990s! YES! [I will pass over in silence that it's no longer the 1990s.] They are comparing the value of babies and teenagers, old people and middle aged people! [And I'm thinking: is he talking about trial lawyers? Because that doesn't sound like eugenics to me. That sounds like those formulas that help juries decide how much to award survivors in the case of wrongful death.] I'm wondering if these new eugenicists are rising in Germany, or what? Where are they!? I'm on the edge of my seat. Y'all, you are gonna be shocked. I was.

They are advising President Obama on health care reform.

Yeah. THAT'S where Shouty White Man was going with this. And I roll my eyes, and slump in my seat, because it's true: all Shouty White Men on the radio are idiots. Sigh. He totally Godwinned the conversation from the git-go and I missed it. He's comparing health care reform advisors to the architects of the Nazi genocide. For fuck's sake, do the Shouty White Men have no integrity whatsoever? I can't take any more. I change the channel. And then, I need to know - who is the Shouty White Man - and I go back and find it's Glenn Beck. He's the one I hear is less of an asshole than the other guys, the one who's kind of "middle of the road." The one with compassion, because he cries a lot. No. He's a fucking moron, yo.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Thursday, July 09, 2009

My year of no gueros.

Inspired by a post by my friend Joy (her blog is linked over there on the right), I decided I've given enough headspace to guero writers.* Who needs more fresh! manly! wisdom! from white dudes, I ask you? I'd been reading the latest Thomas Pynchon and was moseying my way through a pretty annoying T.C. Boyle book when I thought: fuck it. I will put these books down and indulge in some women writers. As it happens, I've been out of town a lot this month, so my year of no gueros, which was to begin June 1, has started off slowly.

I started by re-reading Toni Morrison's Beloved, which I had read in college in a giant hurry, and was completely bewildered by at the time. The book drifts, jumps, and skitters back and forth in time, space, and imagination without warning or clarity, but this time around I was able to make sense of it. I don't know if I was less aware of the sexual violence built into slavery when I read the book as an undergrad, and therefore missed it, or what, but somehow I had forgotten that aspect of the book. It was perhaps the least fleshed-out, most casual references to the horrific sexual violence experienced by minor characters that most took my breath away. The woman who spent her adolescence "shared by father and son" ("the lowest yet", she called it). The guards abusing prisoners on a prison farm. I could go on, but it's more than I can repeat. It is a powerful book, and a difficult read, and I'm glad I picked it up again, twenty years on, with a more finely honed feminist consciousness and the time to move through the book slowly, deliberately, taking breaks when I needed to catch my breath.

Having no time to go out and buy something new just yet, I picked Mansfield Park off the shelf. I also, clearly, needed something a little more lightweight. I keep hoping that I will find a character in MP that I like, but I just don't like anyone in it. Never have. The character study, the plotting, the witticism, all are what I love about Jane Austen, but there's just nobody to grab ahold of. Fanny's nearly spineless, and when she does have a spine, it's because of some overly correct moral compunction. I'm not into religious people. Edmund's boring, Tom's an ass, Henry Crawford an insufferable egotist, etc., etc. The women are mostly dull or vain, except for the abusive Mrs. Norris, who I want to whack with a stick. I think perhaps this is Jane's pointiest book. I won't go so far as to say it's actually *mean*, but it's definitely got an edge.

I'm nearing the end and in need of more fiction, and so I went trolling through Joy's blog for some contemporary women writers to track down. I'm pleased to report that I have books by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Tayari Jones, and Kathryn Harrison headed my way. I've got some Kate Atkinson queued up but haven't ordered it yet. Book reports to follow, yo.

*I can't find the post I'm thinking of, but you should just go read her whole blog anyway.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

so hot no one knows how to act

So I'm walking up to the door of my fave tex-mex joint here in Buttcrack yesterday at noonish, and this little brown mouse comes HAULING ASS up the sidewalk past me. I thought it was a bird or something. I mean, who sees mice running around on hot pavement in broad daylight?* WTF? Fortunately he cruised past the entrance and took off towards the dumpster. I think he was disoriented by the heat. His little toesies were probably fixin to blister from the hot cement. Normally I'm a steady proponent of the "mice aren't cute" school, but this little guy was kind of ballsy, and I guess I appreciate that in a rodent. As long as it's not at MY house.



*You know, "broad" daylight, as opposed to the other kind of daylight. Which is, um, uh... I don't know. Not broad.

Giant Hosta, Niagara Falls

Friday, June 12, 2009

The American Funerary Ritual

So unsatisfactory. So morbid and creepy. So expensive. What a giant racket.

So help me, the person that decides to place my corpse on display will be haunted. I mean it. The people that show up and declaim that it looks life-like will also be haunted. Stick my hull on a boat, set it on fire, and float it down the river, yo. Forget this bullshit embalming, $4000 casket, crappy over-scented floral arrangement, rigmarole. Do not force my loved ones to stand over my corpse and smile and nod and shake hands for hours on end. Ugh. Hate it.

I went to the "visitation" for a colleague's sister the other day, is why I bring this up. I don't know who decided that the bereaved should be forced to play smiling hostess for hours on end, standing in the vicinity of the deceased, but it seems to me sadistic as hell.

I am grateful that my immediate family are as goobed out by corpses-on-display as myself, and we all plan to be cremated. My mom says she will haunt me if anyone plays "Amazing Grace," on account of she thinks it's the most depressing tune in the history of depressing christian tunes. Noted! The last funeral my brother and I attended, my uncle's, some terrible song started playing and we made eye contact because we both had the same thought: HOLY FUCK WE HAVE GOT TO PICK OUR OWN FUNERAL MUSIC BECAUSE THIS? IT SUUUUUCCKS!! Because we are music snobs, and heaven forbid someone play some cheesy-ass inspirational tune with no indie cred what-so-ever.

Friday, May 29, 2009

stupid reasons for eating meat

Here's a new variant I hadn't heard:

"Well, see, plants are alive, too. I have to eat living things to live. Therefore, I eat meat."

Because there's no difference between an apple and a cow. Right.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

working on being an ally

Have I mentioned, maybe once or a thousand times, that I love Jay Smooth and his Ill Doctrine? Yeah. I do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Economy check

In the last, say, six months, amongst people known to me personally:

1 local business closed (Mississippi)
1 systems analyst laid off (Illinois)
1 administrative assistant laid off (Connecticut)
1 local newspaper reporter laid off (Mississippi)

Just keeping track, you know?

Friday, May 15, 2009

PS

For the love of god, people, if you're going to name your daughter "Chastity" it has TWO FUCKING T's in it. It is not "Chasity". Christ on a cracker. Get a dictionary.

still not cromulent

There is a personality type that seems to thrive here in Dumbfuckistan, a peculiar combination of cocky and stupid. It's a lethal combination and it raises my blood pressure every time. I cannot, for example, eat at the local Applebee's because there are toxic levels of cocky+stupid on staff there. Not that it's even good food, but when you want to kill at least one employee every time you go to a restaurant, it's time to stop going. I think they hire the dumbest, highest, most ignorant, cocky little rednecks they can find. And you know what? This post isn't even about Applebee's. It's about my visit this noonday to a sandwich joint called Sweet Peppers. I ordered a vegetarian on ciabatta bread, an option clearly indicated on the menu. I get the "what the fuck" look from the cashier, who has no idea what I'm talking about. "You want what?" I point to the menu over her head and speak slowly and loudly:

THE VEGETARIAN SANDWICH ON THE CIABATTA BREAD. SEE? RIGHT THERE ON THE MENU?

She says, "Vegetarian wrap?" No, I want the vegetarian SANDWICH, SEE, RIGHT THERE, ON THE MENU OVER YOUR HEAD? Five minutes more of this, and finally she appears to have pushed the appropriate buttons on her touch screen, I order bbq chips and a diet coke, and we move on.

Ten minutes later, my lunch companions arrive, having apparently also needed five minutes each with Cocky McStupid to order their sandwiches.

Ten minutes after that, a sorry little sandwich arrives. It is missing three ingredients: red peppers, green peppers, and a side of ranch. It has four correct ingredients (lettuce, tomato, cheese, and cucumber). I'm calling that, what 55% accuracy? Not so good. I ask for the side of ranch. It gets there, eventually. I get up, look at the menu to be sure I ordered what I think I ordered. I send the sandwich back for correction. I see the dude in the kitchen give the waitress the stinkeye, like I'm an asshole for wanting the sandwich I ordered and why on earth would she cater to my arrogant desire for a correct fucking sandwich. Ten minutes later, the sandwich comes back with green peppers, but not red peppers. I know perfectly well that if I send it back again, it'll come with extra ingredients I do not wish to consume. I sigh and eat this sorry little sandwich and regret ever moving to dumbfuckistan. Again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

not feeling cromulent

Nor like embiggening the discourse. Instead, I feel ranty. Very, very ranty.
Why? Because I'm pissed off at patriarchy, at rape culture, pop culture, agritheomedicorporatocracy, workplace bullies, fake organic milk, ludicrous pollen levels caused by mass plantings of cloned male trees, animal cruelty, arrogant rude omnivores, whiny dudes, homophobes, beauty pageants, dude-centric "science", evo-psych pseudo-science, people who won't vaccinate their children, religion (ALL OF IT!), the sky, the earth, and everything in between. You name it, it's on my shit list today. I don't think men are fit for leaving the house without a chaperone, a muzzle, and a leash. I'm sick of their shit. I'm sick of the violence, the rape, the entitlement, the whining, the incessant fucking bloviating, and the owning and running every goddamn thing. They need a time-out, and a long one, and when they've carefully mulled over the reasons for their time-out, they might, maybe, POSSIBLY, be allowed to go open their mouths again. Asses.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obligatory Bea Arthur post

One day in the mid-1990s, I was standing in the tiniest Kinko's in the world, at the corner of Broadway and Zimpel in Uptown New Orleans, waiting to buy a course packet.* On the tiny television, facing away from me, was a sitcom that sounded for all the world like a bunch of drag queens doing a campy send-up of a sitcom. I spent probably ten minutes listening, in fascination, wondering how on earth I had not heard that there was now a sitcom - a NETWORK SITCOM! - starring an entire cast of drag queens.

And then I heard, "Golden Girls will return after these messages." Ahhh. I see. It wasn't drag queens, it was freakin' Bea Arthur and the gang, with their excessive performance of femininity. Eye-opening, that was.

My other favorite thing about Bea Arthur isn't really about her. It's that my friend M. dressed as Bea Arthur for Halloween when she was in grammar school in the mid-70s. Which I think is hilarious. Perhaps I shall dress as Bea Arthur-as-Maude for Halloween this year. Where ever will I get such a wig, though?


Herewith, Bea and Rock Hudson (Rock! Hudson!) singing about doing drugs. This would never happen on network TV in this day and age. It's hard to imagine that the 70s were more progressive than the 'Oughties in some ways, innit?



*For those of you too young to remember a time before the internet and digital reserve readings and J-stor, a "course packet" was a xeroxed collection of readings for a class. Kinko's would bind them up and make a tidy little sum on these suckers. Eventually academic publishers decided that Kinko's definition of "educational use" had gone over the line, copyrights had been sullied, and the course packet went the way of the 2400 baud modem.**

** For those of you too young to remember the 2400 baud modem..... oh, never mind. Just pretend like I'm talking about an abacus or a slide rule.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ligustrum

Ay, me. I am allergic to the entire state of Mississippi, but today, this weekend, I am, specifically allergic to Ligustrum sinense, the Chinese privet plant, an invasive species in North America.

Ligustrum, how do I hate thee? With my swollen sinuses,
my hacking lungs,
my itching eyelids.
I loathe your lurking presence just outside my air conditioning unit, spraying pollen into the air, up my nose, onto my car.
Yes, you smell sweet, poisonous, sickly sweet, with your disarming floral array.
My scratchy throat, my sneezes, they know better.
Antihistamines: drowsy
decongestant: dizzy
I nod out, leave incoherent messages, ramble instead of lecture.
Oh, ligustrum sinense, go home. Invade not these foreign shores, my Southern immune system, my head and my chest.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who's Buddy Holly?

Yeah, so, I had a relapse and watched a lot of Celebrity Rehab this weekend, because I had a lot of ironing to do and it seemed like a good idea to watch something brainless while I did the ironing.

I was in error, my friends, ERROR. Let me assure you, it's never a good idea to watch Celebrity Rehab or Sober House. Learn from my mistakes, I beg you. I will tell you the single most shocking thing I heard said on Celebrity Rehab (which for some reason I keep wanting to call Celebrity Apprentice):

"Who's Buddy Holly?"

Sean Stewart, son of Rod Stewart, asks this question of Gary Busey. You should've seen Busey's head whip around and say, "WHAT?" "Who's Buddy Holly?" was the repeat. I just, I can't imagine how someone who grew up in the music business doesn't know who fucking Buddy Holly is. Addict behavior, abuse, tantrums, lies, overdoses, yeah, that's to be expected, but "Who's Buddy Holly?" just ripped a hole in the fabric of the universe for me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

A word on cat ownership.

Never turn your back on ranch dressing.

I kind of love Texas.

Went to college in San Antonio, spent a few years in Austin during the slacker years, but on the whole, Texas has been a little douchebaggy of late, there's no denying it. I mean, I've got a passport, so I could visit for Taco Cabana and visits with my college friends, but if no Texan ever became president again, that would be A-OKAY with me, ya know?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ayiyi.

Look, I've been paying taxes to the frat boy, supporting his stupid wars and abstinence-only sex ed and his war on women for eight fucking years. Yet I am not such an asshole that I think my disgust with his choices has anything - ANYTHING - in common with the American colony's objection to taxation without representation back in the 1770s. What a bunch of fucking whiners. We won, you lost, fair and square, which is more than the R's could say about 8 years ago. I fully intended to go document the Teabagging in downtown Buttcrack today, but professional commitments forced me to leave town for the day. Alas. However, nothing I could post here could be as hilarious as Rachel Maddow covering this story:



I mean, seriously, have none of these people ever seen a John Waters movie, even by accident??

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Reduce the Rate (on student loans)

I'm just going to put this out there. I've been off the parental dole since age eighteen, and I have three college degrees (BA, MA, PhD), all paid for at least partially by student loans. I now have a six-figure student loan debt, that gets bigger *every single month* because I cannot afford to even pay the interest on it each month. My payment plan right now is the Income Contingent Repayment plan, in which I pay a percentage of my take home each month (right at 15%). This figure, as noted, is less than the monthly interest, so every six months, that extra interest is capitalized. Yeah. So. My student loan debt is three times the size of my mortgage. It's brutal.

The interest rate is around 8%, and there is no amount of re-consolidating that will improve it. My first student loan was in 1984, when 8% was considered low. These days, a new student loan runs somewhere below 5%. If I could even drop the interest rate to something reasonable, I might be able to make some inroads into the capital.

My only hope, my only consolation is this: after twenty years of ICR payments, the capital will, supposedly, be forgiven. OR, after ten years of payments while working for a non-profit (which I do), my balance may be forgiven. This latter plan is a new Obama production and is supposed to go into effect this summer. I'm not one for praying, but if I did, I'd pray and pray that this actually happens. I could be out of debt before I'm fifty years old! Holy crap!

I have been working very hard to get my finances in order and pay down my credit debt. I've scrimped and saved a $1000 emergency fund. I've quit using credit cards. But always, looming, is this enormous student loan. E-NOR-MOUS.

Here's the thing: I'm a middle-class kid. Dad worked for the federal government, mom worked part-time office jobs. We lived in the suburbs, had two cars, my brother and I went to private schools on and off. But even if my parents had paid for my BA, they would not have forked over for the next two degrees, because, frankly, they couldn't have afforded to support me for another 8 or 10 years. College education - even just the BA - is getting to be out of reach for even the middle classes, never mind the poor and working classes, who are increasingly unable to go to even the most affordable junior colleges. This is unconscionable.

I bring all of this up because of a post I just read at The Angry Black Woman's Blog about a movement to Reduce the Rate. As in, reduce interest rates. Make student loan payments affordable. Stop penalizing universities for studens who default. Here's the agenda:

* Reduce the interest rate on all student loans to 1%.
If banks can borrow at 1% or less, then so should our students.

* Extend the grace period before loan repayment begins from 6 months to 18 months for students who graduate.

In these tough economic times, it takes a college graduate an average of 6 months to 1 year to find a job. The rules should reflect this reality.

* End the penalties assessed to schools for student loan defaults.
Schools should not be held accountable for students who don’t pay back their loans.

* Increase Pell Grants to cover the average yearly cost of a public
4 year institution instead of the amounts in the current stimulus package–$5,350 starting July 1 and $5,550 in 2010-2011


I would like to add: reduce the rate on existing student loans - not just new ones. I work for a museum. I'll never make enough money to pay off my student loan. Seriously. Never. Even if I were to be able to get a tenure-track teaching job at a university, the pay is similar. I know guys digging ditches in oil fields who make twice what I do. This is my choice, yes, but it's also a choice that benefits my community. Those of us who work in non-profits are highly educated, under paid, and deserve a chance at one day, somehow, some day, being DEBT-FREE. It's not a lot to ask.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

cheesus fucking christ on a popsicle stick

I am sick and tired of people - feminist people, even - calling Nadya Suleman "Octomom". She's got a fucking name, and she is a human being. Common courtesy, is it too much to ask?

That is all.

Monday, March 30, 2009

completely fucking insane

check this shit out:

From the New York Times comes news that the Roman Catholic Church is allowing indulgences again. The revelation compelled the Times to write this improbable paragraph:

There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a
certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead. You cannot buy one — the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 — but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day.

Let's party like it's 1599, yo.

Hat tip to Blucas at Reading Too Much Into It. for drawing my attention to this little matter, which I had not heard about, even though it happened over a month ago.

Friday, March 27, 2009

when I am queen of the world, part one

When people actually listen to what I have to say, they will know and understand this:

A birth control failure, and the resulting pregnancy, is not a sound basis for a long and healthy marriage.

Disclaimer: I'm not convinced that anyone should be getting married, at all, ever, BUT, if people will insist on doing it, they should at least find better reasons to do it. Like health insurance.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

actual crime

If this doesn't simultaneously break your heart and make you fire-spittin furious, then you probably need to check and see where you left your soul:


1 Year-Old Lilianna Goodmann Beaten to Death By Mama’s “Boyfriend” for Being “Disrespectful” While Others Watch

crime scene?

I came home Monday afternoon to discover this tableau in my back yard:



Perhaps someone familiar with the psyches of children can explain it. Has Santa been naughty? That's a heating pad element hanging off the tree. Perhaps Santa was cold and needed warming up while he went trick-or-treating? I'm at a loss. I can't imagine what the yard guy thought when he had to move them onto the pavement in order to mow yesterday. All items, by the way, were brought to the yard from some other location, and now they are on the curb in the trash zone, where the perpetrators can retrieve them any time between now and trash day, Monday morning.

I also discovered a pair of lacy purple panties with a bedazzled heart on them on my front porch last week. I'm trying my best to pretend that a neighborhood cat carried them up, rather than imagining neighborhood teens fucking on my porch.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Speaking of Los Angeles

Here's some brand new information*, courtesy of The Field Negro:

So here is the story: Out in Los Angeles a serial killer has killed at least 11 (that we know of) poor black women since 1985. And as I write this post the killer is still on the loose, and has probably killed as recently as 2007, again. This serial killer even has a name: "The Grim Sleeper".

Have you heard of the Grim Sleeper? Nope? Me neither. I know all about any number of pretty white girls who went missing on spring break, but a serial killer in Los Angeles who targets poor women of color? Heavens, no, that's not of interest to anyone, right? Why bother covering a real live serial killer when we have umpteen fictional shows with huge ratings that are all about fictional serial killers, their profilers, their lives and loves, their shoe sizes, their "motivations", and what they had for breakfast?

Gee, wonder why it's not all over the Nancy Grace show? Wonder why it's not on Dateline, and Sixty Minutes, and the New York Times? Oh, wait.

Click the linky for more info.

*By "brand new", of course, I mean "brand new to me." And maybe you.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Surprise!

Los Angeles does not suck. I was SO sure it would. The legendary L.A. weather really is amazing. I was in downtown the whole time, where there is, you know, *diversity*? Like multiple ethnicities, sizes, social classes? Yeah, I dig downtowns. I did not go any of the trendy celebrity kind of places. I didn't even see anybody that looked like Stripper Barbie, which I totally expected to. I guess I sort of believed the television image of L.A. Error! Error!

Got in Wednesday night, ate amazing Greek food (downtown takeaway joint), did meetings all day Thursday, ate at California Pizza Kitchen Thursday, then Friday, a morning session.

Friday afternoon: Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Holy freakin' moly, the place is huge. HUUUUUGGGGEEEE. I spent four hours there and saw only European, American, modern & contemporary stuff. Honestly I just sort of trotted through the European galleries. The German show (Art of Two Germanys: Cold War Cultures) was an absolute revelation. I know a lot about contemporary art, but to be honest, Germany since WWII was a bit of a blank spot for me. I mean, okay: Anselm Keifer, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Hannah Hoch, Hans Haacke, sure. But this was two floors in the Broad Museum building of artists from both East and West Germany. I feel like I should get the catalog because there was just so much brand new information, beautifully contextualized, and clearly, they had ACCESS. And MONEY. The loans were from private archives, artist's estates, I mean, they were tracking stuff down in the far corners of Europe. I can't say I loved everything I saw, but I do feel like I have a grasp of 60 years of German art after only spending 2 hours or so in those galleries. It was, I will not deny it, a tad grim. I mean, you know, defeated in the war, Cold War, East Germany, poverty, terrorism, etc. But art, after all, does not have to be happy and pretty. It ended on a positive note (for me anyway) with a completely amazing and enormous Gerhard Richter painting. Ah, Richter, how do I love thee? My wee formalist heart adores you, mon herr, master painter, wizard with brush and oils. He may - it's possible - be gaining on Mark Rothko, who I usually put at the top of my favorite artists list. I see one more painting like that and Mr. Rothko may be demoted to No. 2.

Finally, Friday night, my internet feminist buddy FH took me to a vegan Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo called Shojin. SO. GOOD. So good. I want to live in a city with vegan & vegetarian restaurants. It's such a joy to sit down, open a menu, and know that every single thing on the menu is something I could order. A menu like that is a glorious sight to behold, and it usually brings me near to tears. Srsly. I usually open a menu to see if there is, maybe, hopefully, ONE thing I can order. It usually involves cheese and starch. Sigh. Anyway, FH is a lovely and adorable goth girl who took me on a scenic tour of Skid Row on our way to Shojin and we had a great time at dinner talking about art, boys, radical feminism, and Los Angeles.

Get this! They let homeless people pitch tents on the sidewalks there! It's kind of humane, if one can say that sort of thing in the context of urban homelessness.

So, I am a convert. Will have to go back because I need a day to go to the Getty. Also need to get out to Pasadena for the Norton-Simon Museum, and should go back to the LACMA. It's an all-day haul to get from here to there (drive 2 hours to Jackson, wait an hour, fly to Houston, change planes, wait some more fly to LA, wait for a shuttle, hour to hotel, adds up to a whole day), but with good weather and the miracle of modern medicine (read: Xanax), it's tolerable.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tomorrow, McComb, Mississippi

Wednesday, Los Angeles.

Ah, my glamorous life.

I have a lot of half-written posts swimming around in my head, about the trials and tribulations of being a hetero radical feminist, for one thing, and then there was this review of The Other Boleyn Girl I was going to write (right on the tip of the news cycle, I am, right?), but then my students, damn it, gave me another freakin cold and so I have spent the last four or five days on the sofa sampling the absolute worst cable TV has to offer. I mean, for one thing: Sober House. I thought addicts were self-absorbed toxic motherfuckers. Until I met: celebrity addicts. Cheesus Fucking Christ on a Cracker. The entitlement! The stupidity! It's not a train wreck, it's a train wreck on the Titanic, with a side of the Inferno. Hey guys, we're four days out of rehab. Let's go clubbing! Idiots. The poor women on that show need man rehab. Like 28 days without men bossing them around and treating them like meat, and then an all-female sober house. And no boyfriends. Gah. So much to blame, so little time.

So anyway, I am off to a conference in Los Angeles later this week. If I see any of those celebrity addicts I'll let y'all know.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

new favorite swear word

I have a bad habit of saying "son of a bitch" for various sweary reasons. Family legend has it that it was, in fact, my very first swear word (awwww!). At the age of two or three, I was in the car with my dad, he hit the brakes pretty hard, and I piped up with a toddler-sized "son of a bitch!". Dad came home feeling rather sweary with Mom, who hadn't realized I was listening and learning that one says "son of a bitch" when one has to slam on the breaks.

Having decided to try to eliminate anti-female gendered slurs from my swearing vocabulary, I've replaced "bitch" with "asshole", for example. I never did use the four-letter c-word, in case anyone is wondering. I finally - finally - after cogitating and wondering for some time - came up with my New Favorite Swear Word. Are you ready? Because it's awesome.

SON OF A COCK!

Say it loud, say it proud: SON. OF. A. COCK.

So satisfying. So pointy. So leaving-other-women-out-of-it. There's really been quite enough mother-blaming in the world. I'm quite happy, however, to blame somebody's behavior on his father. Son of a COCK!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

not really news

Rich people don't pay taxes. Everyone knows this. Why is anyone surprised that Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty of avoiding taxes whenever possible?

I mean, duh.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Etiquette

So, I've turned into the sort of person who says, upon being notified of an engagement, "Congratulations... wait a minute, are you even old enough to get married?" And then, upon being informed that the betrothed are 18 and 20, proceed to tell them that they are far too young to be married, in fact, I was married at 19 and it was MUCH TOO YOUNG, and they should wait.

I'm pretty sure Miss Manners wouldn't approve.

So now I'm faced with the dilemma of responding to the news that a friend is pregnant with twins, a FORTYISH friend, and all I can think of to say, I swear to Maude, is:

"Better you than me!"

Perhaps I shall let the moment pass in silence.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm just gonna say it.

Drag is the new blackface.

I used to kind of love drag performances with their over-the-top-ness and wacky fashion and shiny glittery stuff, but now it just looks like a perverse mockery of the practice of femininity that is forced down women's throats every single day in every single way. And I can't consider it fun, or funny, or anything but misogynistic. Every single stereotype of femininity is ramped up, overdone, and made to look ridiculous. THEY can step out of it, just try it on for size, but women? No. We are supposed to be painted, plucked, shaved, high-heeled, push-up-braed & corseted, pantyhosed, dyed, buffed, and dipped in wax EVERY SINGLE DAY. Which is expensive, time-consuming, painful, toxic, and, well, just go read The Beauty Myth if you want the full breakdown.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I sound like Tom Waits today.

I was trapped in a small room with 200 dusty, moldy, mildewy artworks for several hours yesterday. Not so much "trapped" literally but I had to dig through them for the 6 or 7 shite things left to us by a donor whose will was, shall we say, VAGUE and LACKING IN FUCKING DESCRIPTIONS. So I breathed in rather a lot of shit and now my throat and tonsils feel swollen and sore and raspy, and I sound like Tom Waits. It's awful. I barely made it through a 45-minute lecture last night, and tomorrow I have to teach for 75 minutes. I want a pill to make it better. My woo-woo friend K. was all, like, take some probiotics and echinacea and maybe an Airborne and some vitamin-C. And because I am irritable I went off on how bloody fucking stupid the Airborne concept is: "Hi, I'm a teacher! I don't know anything about nutrition, health, or science, so please buy my totally untested unverified snake oil because IT WAS MADE BY A TEACHER." I consider this pro-stupid thinking of the highest order.* What I want is some sort of synthetic over-priced snake oil that my insurance will pay for that ACTUALLY WORKS, even though it may have a lot of possibly deadly side-effects. Because not only am I feeling like ass, I am irritable. Because I THOUGHT I was merely going to go pick up some stuff, I didn't know I would be in an unventilated room full of airborne toxins for most of the morning and some of the afternoon.


*"Pro-stupid" is my new substitute term for "anti-intellectual." Let's just call a spade a spade, knowwhaimsayin?

media check


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Friday, January 23, 2009

DNA, wev

I am off this evening to a family reunion, although in truth I would prefer to be watching Battlestar Galactica. We aren't a sociable people, my paternal side of the family, so in my forty-mumble-mumble years of life, we've never had a reunion. I have no idea what to expect, except that there will probably be a large quantity of anti-social, stubborn, big-headed individuals. Sounds fun, right? I just hope there's alcohol. In fact, I just realized, I need to stop and get some beer on the way.

Wish me luck. I am alarmed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"abstinence only" "sex education": the ultimate oxymoron

Here in the US, sex education dollars are tied to the 'abstinence-only' agenda, which not only does NOT provide useful information, it provides misinformation. Mississippi, being a poor state, and very conservative, was happy to take those dollars and git-along with the abstinence-only agenda. And guess what this agenda reaps?

Mississippi is now first in the nation in teen births, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

We are so proud.

And now, let me share with y'all a nugget of teen wisdom learned in the trenches by a friend of mine who, as part of her job, does *real* sex ed sessions for any organization who asks. Get THIS shit:

According to the teens of the Piney Woods of Mississippi, there is a surefire way to tell if a girl has an STI. What you do is, you take a bit of your earwax (yes, you read that right: earwax) and put it on her "pearl" (yes, you read that right: her pearl, not her clitoris). If it burns, she has an STI. If not, she don't.

How ya like that one?

{Also, if she floats when you throw her in the creek, she's a witch.}

On the upside, it means that teenage boys are now aware that girls have "pearls" and apparently know how to find them. Whether they know what to do once they've found it, well, I am doubtful.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fleet Foxes

Believe the hype.

I don't buy music much, as I have three linear feet of record albums, three binders full of CDs, and a couple of baskets of old cassettes. I figure, I've got plenty of music, why spend $20 on new music when I can hear it on pandora.com or on college radio? And I categorically refuse to spend money on mp3s, as they are a shitty, lossy format. Start selling .wav files, iTunes nazis, and you might start getting my dollars, but until then, eff that. Mp3's suck. So the last CD I bought was Wilco's Sky Blue Sky, which came with a bonus DVD, and that was like, um, a year ago?* However, last night I stopped in at Hattiesburg's own T-Bone Records (and coffee shop) to visit my pal Mik D and get caffeinated before teaching a class, and so I said to Mik, I said: "Fleet Foxes. Should I believe the hype?" And he said yes, and so I bought the CD - for $15, which is a reasonable price for an album even though I think $20 is not, what can I say - and, yes, I say unto thee: believe the hype, and go buy it yr own bad self.

*Fucking BONUS, yo! Wilco's playing Jazz Fest this year. I am SO for that.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

decree

HENCEFORTH, there shall be no Cats in the Closet, for it has come to my attention that someone has decided to spend his free time peeing in shoes in the closet. Until such time as I can test the pee to determine which furry hooligan has picked up this unsavory habit, the closet is now a No Cat Closet.

That is all.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

That fancy stomach virus you've been hearing about?

It's true what they say about it: the puking, the pooping, the chills, sweats, aches, and pains, every symptom, you couldn't ask for a finer flu, no sir. If you want a stomach flu, this is the one for you. Come over here, let me drink out of your bottle if you're looking for a reason not to go to work for the next, oh, four or five days? After which, if you're lucky, Herr Stomach Flu will allow you to eat an entire bowl of ramen noodle soup! And you will feel like the luckiest girl in the world, slurping that twenty cents' worth of salty, noodly hotness.