Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Or wait, let's call for a permanent deletion of this phrase from the English language:

"the esoteric wisdom of the East"

Christ on a crutch, people, can we let go of the Orientalist tropes of previous centuries already? I ran across this phrase in a tome on Chinese snuff bottles published in 1993, a full 15 years after the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism. Any art historian worth her salt should've known better than to engage in such stereotypical and antiquated rhetoric by the 1990s. Alas, the snuff bottle obsessives who wrote this tome - and good lord, is it a high-falutin' tome - had been publishing since the 1960s and had probably been so obsessed with the ins and outs of snuff bottles, spoons, and stoppers that they hadn't bothered to keep up with, you know, *art history" per se.

I am also in a bit of a snit about Hester Bateman, but I'll save that for another day.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Stuff I am always on about, at least lately:

1. Antihistamine eye drops. Sheer freakin genius. Over-the-counter itchy eye relief for people allergic to, say, Mississippi. Take out your contacts, put in drops, wait ten minutes, toodle off to a world without itchy eyeballs.

2. Budget billing from your utility companies. Each month you pay the average of your last twelve months' bills. Also genius, because I don't get surprised with a giant bill when it's hella cold or hot. Makes budgeting way easier, because the bill never varies by more than 5 or 10 bucks. You have to have paid your last 12 bills on time for them to switch over, at least with Mississippi Power and my gas company, which has a long name I can never remember. I have it for electricity and gas.

3. [TMI alert!] Paragard IUD for the lady readership. I know the IUD isn't for everybody, but I love it. One moderately painful insertion, one doctor bill, and you're set up for a decade, with no on-going expensive prescriptions to refill. My insurance covered most of it. No hormones involved, which is awesome because hormonal birth control is bad for me. It makes me depressed, makes me gain weight, and also wrecks my libido. Highly effective, because, you know, I don't want to have sex, but that's not quite what I'm looking for in a contraceptive. Made for heavier periods for a while, and obviously still need condoms for STI prevention, but it's highly effective and once it's there, no worries. Love. It.

4. Planned Parenthood, y'all, seriously, look into it. They've got free condoms, low-cost scrips for contraceptives, the ones with a clinic can meet all of your reproductive health needs (and most have a sliding scale), STI testing for men and women, and their website is chock-full of useful info. I just recently recommended it to a friend feeling anxious about talking about sex with her 11-year-old daughter. She found it very helpful. They've got all kinds of literature about everything to do with sexual and reproductive health. PP was my primary health care provider during the no-insurance years, really. They're an absolute lifesaver for women who can't afford for-profit medical care.

5. Volunteer! DO! EET! Want to meet like-minded people? Volunteer for an organization that matters to you. Say, Planned Parenthood for example. Or your local museum. Museums would not survive without volunteers, seriously. Most orgs are happy to have a few hours a month of your time. It's a great way to tap into the community, it's a way to give back if you don't have extra money, and to be honest, I feel like the rewards are far greater than what you're giving to the org.