Friday, July 31, 2009

Odds and Sods - Hotter than July edition

Table Rock (and all other photos below) from my Flickr page.





Everyone's feeling pretty
It's hotter than July
Though the world's full of problems
They couldn't touch us even if they tried





The American right-wing is having a meltdown. Their carefully-constructed pretense of patriotism-at-all-costs, is crumbling right before our eyes. Politico reports:


Screaming constituents, protesters dragged out by the cops, congressmen fearful for their safety — welcome to the new town-hall-style meeting, the once-staid forum that is rapidly turning into a house of horrors for members of Congress.

On the eve of the August recess, members are reporting meetings that have gone terribly awry, marked by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior. In at least one case, a congressman has stopped holding town hall events because the situation has spiraled so far out of control.

“I had felt they would be pointless,” Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) told POLITICO, referring to his recent decision to temporarily suspend the events in his Long Island district. “There is no point in meeting with my constituents and [to] listen to them and have them listen to you if what is basically an unruly mob prevents you from having an intelligent conversation.”

In Bishop’s case, his decision came on the heels of a June 22 event he held in Setauket, N.Y., in which protesters dominated the meeting by shouting criticisms at the congressman for his positions on energy policy, health care and the bailout of the auto industry.

Within an hour of the disruption, police were called in to escort the 59-year-old Democrat — who has held more than 100 town hall meetings since he was elected in 2002 — to his car safely.

“I have no problem with someone disagreeing with positions I hold,” Bishop said, noting that, for the time being, he was using other platforms to communicate with his constituents. “But I also believe no one is served if you can’t talk through differences.”

Bishop isn’t the only one confronted by boiling anger and rising incivility. At a health care town hall event in Syracuse, N.Y., earlier this month, police were called in to restore order, and at least one heckler was taken away by local police. Close to 100 sign-carrying protesters greeted Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) at a late June community college small-business development forum in Panama City, Fla. Last week, Danville, Va., anti-tax tea party activists claimed they were “refused an opportunity” to ask Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-Va.) a question at a town hall event and instructed by a plainclothes police officer to leave the property after they attempted to hold up protest signs.
Why is no one calling these trouble-makers insurrectionists, wingnuts and psychos, as lefties have always been called?

Time to call them what they are: dangerous, anti-American wackos.

~*~

Apologies for being slack last month and overlooking the Carnival Against Sexual Violence, as well as Caroline's wonderful Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy (NSFW).

Lotsa good feminist reading for everyone!

~*~

Pretty echinacea, to cure what ails you. (Photo taken at Table Rock, above.)




Also required reading is Dw3t-Hthr's Some Things They Don't Mention About Pregnancy:
*Trying to get a ballpark figure for an appropriate amount of weight gain during pregnancy from the internet is not a good idea.

Take all of the crazy, interfering, I-know-better-than-you stuff that gets directed at pregnant women.

Take all of the crazy, interfering, I-know-better-than-you stuff that gets thrown around about weight and health issues.

Combine.

Or hit yourself in the head with a brick a few times. It's faster, and just as informative.

* Moods are not unstable. Moods are turned up to eleven.

Instead of "cranky" I was achieving "kill it and devour its heart that its lifeblood might sustain my offspring."

Instead of "I don't want to deal with this" I was achieving "I need to go live in a cave and contemplate the hopelessness of human interaction."

* Childbirth classes with any sort of natural bent will spend at least a quarter of the time in class talking about how to protect yourself from hospitals.

This is epically fucked up. Completely, totally, epically fucked up. Legalhusband and I would leave our childbirth class every time, exchange glances, and then he'd say, "I'm so glad we're not planning on a hospital birth. I'm so glad we don't have to go through that."

And this ranges from stuff like the friend of mine who went in for a post-term ultrasound to doublecheck that everything was okay and had the administering nurse lie to her in an attempt to panic her into admitting herself to be induced immediately to horrifying shit like a woman having her baby taken away because she refused a C-section.

They will lie. They will not talk about the risks of epidurals. They will insist on putting an IV shunt into your vein "just in case" and not mention that it's possible to refuse. They will pressure. This is why people hire doulas - when they can afford them - to help protect their families from the crushing stress and pressure. This is insane.

Ohhhh, hell yes it is.

Awesome writing and women's truth, read it all!

~*~

They want us to join their fighting
But our answer today
Is to let all our worries
Like the breeze through our fingers slip away


If you are up for a post with 68 comments (mine got 2 thumbs-up and 1 thumbs-down), check out Restructure's interesting conversation: Libertarianism is rational for rich white people only.

And while reading, always keep in mind John Scalzi's Law of Internet Invocation: If you name them, they will come.

So yeah, the Libertarians are present and accounted for.

~*~

Old railroad trestle is from West Greenville County, SC.



One of my least favorite subjects, one that makes me want to scurry away and hide, was addressed in a round-about way earlier this month, on a vibrant and interesting Quaker blog: Anti-Christianity and where it comes from.

Usually, it comes from us. (The Christians, I mean.)

Alice Yaxley at Quaker Quaker asks: How should Quakers deal with members who are openly hostile to Christianity?

She also poses this as a generational question, which is fascinating, also:

What do Friends have to teach me about how to deal with people at Quaker gatherings who are openly hostile to christians? I've encountered some of it in the most liberal Quaker gatherings I've been to. It's not ok. I know that some liberal Friends groups in their lack of openness attract some people who are really spiritually wounded.

How do we make such people welcome and address their fears whilst at the same time not tolerating hatred of Christ or people who follow him? It's not a loving favour to indulge the spiritually wounded. Our indulgence of each other is spiritually dangerous and I believe I have seen it pretty much kill the spirit of a Meeting. How do we challenge wounded people to heal?

I care about this because it's not just about sucking up the persecution. It's about whether liberal Quakers get to keep a whole load of smart committed highly motivated christian young folks who may already be bored to tears with boomer wooliness. This is a key issue for people in liberal meeting to address. I think lack of toleration for open hostility to Christ needs to be the very least we can expect, otherwise what on earth are we doing?

Her post was the catalyst for a thoughtful discussion about WHY people are hostile to Christianity in the first place. And yeah, I already know why, but I always force myself to read the gory details.

Betsy Blake comments:
Alice, it is soothing to me, to hear you address this. I have done intensive Quaker intervisitation work for 14+ years. I am a Jesus-loving FUM Quaker. I identify with traditional Christian language. I didn't learn until college (at a liberal Quaker school), that even if you have the best of intentions and are as grounded in love as one can be, it still hurts people just to say the very words that are associated with this past hurt. This in turn can trigger swift attack.

I really, really, struggle with this.
Yes, me too. And I identify as a dissenting Catholic, not even one of the cool-liberal hippie Quakers.

Blake adds:
My question is--do people WANT to be healed?
Hmmm. Good one.

I often believe they do not.

Bill Samuel, another commenter:

Some meetings seem full of sick people not wanting to get well. Healthy people are viewed as sick. What happens when good Christians stay in such meetings? Well, a variety of things, but one thing I've noticed is that they tend to take on some of the illness. I'm not sure it's healthy to stay.

Does it have to be like this? The faith community I'm in now (I resigned from a liberal Friends meeting in 2005) also attracts lots of people who didn't fit in typical evangelical, Catholic, or whatever churches. But our community focuses on discovering what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, not on rejecting Christ because others have distorted him badly
.
And then there was this comment, from Algirdas Davidavicius:

I guess on the level of interpersonal relationships with such "hostile" people one good Christian Friend can always keep in mind, that the hostility in question is not because Christ nor His message, but because some painful, rejecting experience these people or their important ones once have from institutionalized, formalized or self-proclaimed "christians", hence they are making this projective, negative blanket-statement, discounting everything "christian". This is not problem, solution is always to listen and inquire directly persons experiences, feelings behind those "anti-" statements, which are only kinda cries for positive affirmation and, actually, truly christian acceptance of anyone as possessing indelible "that of God in us".

Hold Thee in Light -- Algis, Lithuania (Eastern Europe)
I'll try, man, and thanks for that reminder. I needed it, today.

~*~

Yall knew I couldn't get through a post this size without AZALEAS, right? :)


Claire Hoffman's in-depth Rolling Stone coverage of Michael Jackson's last days, really brought me down. I shouldn't have gone there, but the lifelong scandal-monger in me simply couldn't resist. I wanted to know: how bad was it?

I guess I didn't fully realize that his entire nose was GONE.

GONE, a hole in the center. (He was wearing a prosthetic nose.) Didn't any surgeons wonder if he was able to give "informed consent" for that? Evil, money-grubbing greedheads; I guess if he wanted to destroy his nose, they were glad to do it for a hefty fee.

Likewise, the pharmacy bill totaling (!) over $100,000 in a year's time. Holy shit, people.

This brings to mind an AA discussion, back in the day...John Belushi died about 6 weeks into my sobriety, and I owe him for that. John Belushi died for my sins, right about the same time I was starting to dangerously waver and reconsider the whole sobriety enterprise. And then he died, and I thought, ohhhhh.

The AA-meeting question after his death: Is it worse to be a rich addict or a poor addict?

Everyone agreed: A rich one.

Sycophants, groupies, hangers-on and various assortments of fellow-travelers and dealers, will fuck you up. By contrast, when you're a poor addict, people rapidly desert you in droves. You are out in the cold and you have no choice but to clean up. No job, no money, no lovers, no place to go. There it is, cold hard reality, staring you in face. All your goofy, drug-addled ideas (like destroying your nose) can never really come to fruition. They become the stuff of mindless junkie-talk, pipe dreams and nonsense-blather.

And a good thing too, or you might have had the power and money to do something insane, like destroy your nose.

Michael, we hardly knew ye...

~*~

And finally, a Dead Air tradition at the end of July... he really needs NO introduction!

When you're moving in the positive
Your destination is the brightest star

Stevie Wonder - Master Blaster (Jammin')

[via FoxyTunes / Stevie Wonder]

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reverend Ike 1935-2009

Reverend Ike TV-advertisement from TV Party!




Before there was The Secret, before Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer, before Joel Osteen and Rod Parsley.... there was (native South Carolinian) Reverend Ike, born Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II.

There was no word for it in the 70s, so no one referred to Reverend Ike's unique approach as Prosperity Theology. But what has become fairly common among a certain school of televangelists today, was basically stolen from Reverend Ike, and later morphed into this modern media phenomenon.

Yes, I said stolen.

I've written about appropriation before in the area of music, which is what I am familiar with. But as my regular readers know, I also follow religion and spirituality. And I have always been struck by how Joel Osteen sounds like a suburban, squeaky-clean, white man's version of Reverend Ike. Nobody credits Reverend Ike, and in fact, as you see from the above-linked Wikipedia entry, he doesn't even get mentioned in the line-up with the other Prosperity Gospel preachers. Why not? T.D. Jakes and Benny Hinn are duly listed, and I might take issue with their places on the list. But Reverend Ike? He was first.

More cultural theft from African-Americans. So far, none of the formal obituaries I have read, have stated this outright, so I will.

From the Associated Press:

Reverend Ike preached the power of what he called “positive self-image psychology” to his 5,000 parishioners at the United Church Science of Living Institute. The church was housed in a former movie theater in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood.

In the 1970s, Reverend Ike was one of the first evangelists to reach an audience of millions through television.

“This is the do-it-yourself church,” he proclaimed. “The only savior in this philosophy is God in you.”

Reverend Ike stretched Christian tenets, relocating the idea of God to the interior of the self, with the power to bring the believer anything he or she desired in the way of health, wealth and peace of mind.

The philosophy did not sit well with traditional Christian ministers and civil rights leaders who felt black churches should focus on social reform rather than self-fulfillment.

His critics said he preyed on the poor and conned the faithful into giving him donations that he spent on cars, clothes and homes for himself. The IRS and the Postal Service investigated his businesses.

Others defended his philosophy of mind over matter, which appealed to middle-class believers who felt their hard work should be rewarded in this life.

“If it's that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven,” he said, riffing on the famous verse from the book of Matthew, “think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn't even have a bribe for the gatekeeper.”
Whether the good Reverend was right or wrong in his approach, he was the first to popularize this message and take it nationwide. In the 70s, he was famous enough that Richard Pryor played a character based on him (named "Daddy Rich") in the movie Car Wash (1976). Everyone knew who the character was supposed to be.

It's interesting that the official obits now focus on his money and possessions... do you think they will focus on Osteen's or Parsley's, when they finally depart this earth? Well, maybe.

But I can't help but notice that his "visualization" ideas, now transformed into suburban self-help literature, are reduced to lowly money-grubbing in a way that the Osteens (recently respectably profiled on "60 Minutes") and The Secret are not.

The New York Daily News, for instance:
Rev. Ike's ministry reached its peak in the mid-1970s, when his sermons were carried on 1,770 radio stations to an audience estimated at 2.5 million.

He also preached his philosophy of self-empowerment on television and the Internet, in books and magazines, and on audiotapes and videotapes.

From the stage of the former Loews movie theater on 175th St. in Washington Heights, which he restored and transformed into his United Church Science of Living Institute, Rev. Ike would tell thousands of parishioners "this is the do-it-yourself church. The only savior in this philosophy is God in you."

He then would exhort the believers to "close your eyes and see green ... money up to your armpits, a roomful of money, and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool."

As payback for spiritual inspiration, Rev. Ike asked for cash donations from the faithful - preferably in bills not coins. "Change makes your minister nervous in the service," he would say.

Critics called Rev. Ike a con man, saying the only point of his ministry was getting rich from the donations.

They noted that he made a show of sumptuous clothes, jewelry, posh residences and exotic cars. "My garages runneth over," he would boast.

But his supporters said Rev. Ike's love of luxury had roots both in the traditions of African-American evangelism and the philosophies of mind over matter.

Rev. Ike was born in Ridgeland, S.C., to a father who was a Baptist minister and a mother who taught elementary school. They divorced when he was 5.

At 14, he became an assistant pastor for his father's congregation. He briefly preached in Boston before coming to New York.

He leaves his wife, Eula, and son, Xavier Frederick.
I don't think Joel Osteen's obit will call him a con-man, although I would imagine he is LOTS richer than Reverend Ike, who certainly never had "60 Minutes" come calling.

The juxtaposition is interesting. Why is no one making the comparison?

In Harold Bloom's book The American Religion, there is a chapter about how American Christianity borrowed (appropriated?) certain Gnostic elements of African theology. I'd say the example of Reverend Ike gives us that lesson, right up close and personal.

RIP, Reverend Ike.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

50-things meme

All photos from my cheapie free Flickr account! Purty!



This 50-things meme comes courtesy of Natalia Antonova--an awesome feminist, individual, blogger, and Duke gal. :)


~*~

1. What time did you get up this morning?

My day off, so I got up at a delicious 10:30 am. Woo-hoo!


2. How do you like your steak?

Did you miss the last post? Do you mean tempeh or seitan steak? (Tamari and flax oil are fine!)


3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

Terminator Salvation. Ugh.


4. What is your favorite TV show?

Six-Feet Under, Sopranos, Mad Men, and the old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits shows--I try never to miss the SciFi network marathons on holiday weekends!


5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

One of the barrier islands of South Carolina, particularly Folly Beach.


6. What did you have for breakfast?

According to Ayurveda, Kaphas don't need breakfast. (I've never wanted or needed it--consequently, I don't do breakfast.)


7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Mexican! They know how to do it, my friends!!!

Also love Chinese, Indian, Greek...


8. What foods do you dislike?

Any animal being grilled or baked is disgusting.


9. Favorite Place to Eat?

Stax Omega--wonderful atmosphere and service.


10. Favorite dressing?

Most any, not real picky.


11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?

2000 Saturn with a dilapidated bumper ready to fall off.


12. What are your favorite clothes?

I'm an old hippie, and if old hippies would wear it, I usually do... long skirts, jeans, t-shirts, summer dresses, etc.


13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?

Amazon, Nile, Himalayas.


14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?

Always full. :)


15. Where would you want to retire?

Folly Beach, as stated above, except during hurricane season!


16. Favorite time of day?

Dawn and dusk.


17. Where were you born?

Columbus, Ohio


18. What is your favorite sport to watch?

Basketball


19. Who do you think will not tag you back?

I don't do all that tagging stuff; I am far too disorganized, I'm sorry to admit! I have pioneered the art of the HIPPIE MEME: do it if you want to, don't bother with it if you don't. :)


20. Person you expect to tag you back first?

See above.


21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?

I'm curious about most folks, one reason I enjoy blogging and reading other blogs.


22. Bird watcher?

Not as much as I would like. I've been to a couple of bird refuges though, and they were fabulous.


23. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night. I blame my parents, the musicians, who gave me bad habits.


24. Do you have any pets?

Two cats; one is still a baby all curled up and purring on my lap as I type. :)


25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?

My Senator, Lindsey Graham, voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor! ((faints))

Ohhh, wait... you mean PERSONAL news? Afraid not. :(


26. What did you want to be when you were little?

A musician, like my parents.


27. What is your best childhood memory?

Halloween with my friends, also a particularly sweet Thanksgiving with my stepfather's family in Navarre, Ohio. (Also, as I've said here before, I loved the drive-in!)

I have lots of great memories of my mother and stepfather's band; I was so proud of them.


28. Are you a cat or dog person?

Cat.


29. Are you married?

For over 21 years. :)


30. Always wear your seat belt?

Sure.


31. Been in a car accident?

Once with my mother as a kid; and four times as an adult while driving.

Two were my fault, two were theirs...


32. Any pet peeves?

Mostly work-related, can't really discuss here. (customer behavior)

One thing I will say: If you change your mind and decide not to buy something, how about you put it back where you FOUND IT instead of, say, sticking it back in the cracker aisle so it can rot, only to be discovered a year later during inventory?

Waste not, want not, etc.


33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?

Cheese, cheese and more cheese.


34. Favorite Flower?

Azaleas, as my regulars readers are no doubt quite aware!


35. Favorite ice cream?

I adore most ice cream, except plain chocolate and banana.


36. Favorite fast food restaurant?

Taco Bell.


37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?

Twice!


38. From whom did you get your last email?

(I frequently avoid my voluminous email, a really bad habit. Because of course, then it just gets more voluminous, yes?)

I just received a link to an anti-Lou Dobbs/birther petition from MoveOn.org.


39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

Loose Lucy's, my local Deadheads. Also, Horizon Records.


40. Do anything spontaneous lately?

Lately? Well, I spontaneously did an extra load of laundry yesterday!


41. Like your job?

When not totally bogged down in dumb-ass retail make-work bullshit like planograms and inventory, yes.


42. Broccoli?

Adore in all forms!


43. What was your favorite vacation?

Outer Banks, North Carolina.


44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

Mr Daisy.


45. What are you listening to right now?

I am listening to "Hang em High" from my weekend "instrumental oldies" post!


46. What is your favorite color?

Red.


47. How many tattoos do you have?

Four.


48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?

The entire world can consider itself tagged.


49. What time did you finish this quiz?

About 4:45 pm. (If I'd known you were gonna ask the time, I woulda tried to be a bit faster.)


50. Coffee Drinker?

Ohhhh you betcha, passionately! I prefer The Fresh Market brand(s), freshly ground and brewed. :)

Every autumn, I look forward to their pumpkin spice coffee, my all-time favorite, especially if served with real cream. ((faints from wonderfulness))

~*~

If you have the time and/or the wherewithal, consider yourself tagged!

Ain't nobody here but us chickens

All photos from my Flickr page.









Will somebody please explain to me how a bunch of meat-eaters can judge Michael Vick? As "key figure" of an extensive dogfighting ring, he was convicted and properly served his time. And now, various self-righteous asses want to continue to punish him, as somehow WORSE than other NFL players... and if you follow the exploits of various sports figures, as I do, you know how hilarious that is.

If I see one more condemnatory TV announcer blathering on, then --cut to a KFC commercial-- (!!!) I'm gonna hurl. Yes, eat eat eat that meat, endless profit-driven commercials for Hardees, Burger King and McDonalds, all while calling Michael Vick a BAD MAN. It's some of the most illogical mass-insanity I have ever witnessed.

All I can manage to say is: how dare you.

And before you say anything: YES, IT IS THE SAME.

EXACTLY THE SAME.

Ohhhh nooooo, the carnivores say, we LIKE TO EAT BIRDS. So, it isn't the same thing as dogfighting. We have said so!

Actually, it might be worse. At least the dogs get a fighting chance. The birds are raised to die.

Ohhhhhh nooooo, the carnivores say, WE MUST EAT.

Yes, I am fully aware that we must eat, but I haven't eaten meat in well over a decade now. I am alive and well and typing. YOU DO NOT NEED TO EAT MEAT TO LIVE AND BE HEALTHY.

Ohhhhh noooo, the carnivores say, there is sadism and unsavory pleasure taken in dogfighting.

Really?

There is also unacknowledged SADISM in putting an animal in your mouth and ripping it to pieces, chewing it up (GROSS!) and going MMMMMMM (instead of retching) when this is not necessary to live and is only for the pleasure of your palate. How is your deliberate ripping, slicing and cooking of birds, God's creatures (not yours!), any different from sport? It's all about entertainment of one kind or another. How is the entertainment of your palate supposedly superior to the entertainment provided to Michael Vick and his friends? The only difference is that one form of sadism is culturally acceptable and one is not.

In some countries, eating dogs is acceptable, too. Is that objectionable to you? Why? (Because as Samuel L Jackson instructed us, a dog has a personality, and a personality will take you a long way.)

I wrote this at the outset of the Michael Vick extravaganza, and my opinion has not changed one iota. In fact, I am more pissed than ever as I watch a parade of carnivorous cluelessness on TV and in Blogdonia.

ESPN comments on Vick's current situation:

Michael Vick, who has been conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, is free to sign with a team but which situation is the best fit for the league's former highest paid player?

Coming off a two-year prison sentence, many teams aren't sure about what Vick has to offer. There are questions about his fitness and skill level and the public relations hit a team could take is certainly in every owner's thoughts. Will he be the type of quarterback to stay in the pocket and throw the ball down field? Is he still the run first, pass second guy? Is quarterback even the right position for him?

Take all these questions into account as you decide which teams are most likely to step up to the plate and give Vick the second chance he so desperately wants.

It's right that teams should worry about his fitness level, but when they start the moralistic horseshit, I reach for my gun.

Meanwhile, PETA is up to their usual assholery. When they aren't doing "cutting edge" stuff like parading naked gals in front of every available camera, they are engaging in constant media whoredom, barging into every network news-show that will put up with them. They are now calling Michael Vick a "psychopath"--if you can believe it. Let's see if they have the guts to call every CEO of a factory farm a "psychopath" also. Ha! I smell hypocritical NEWS WHORES at work, once again.

From HuffPo:
To clarify misleading stories regarding PETA and Michael Vick, PETA withdrew its offer to do a TV spot with Michael Vick last winter when a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that he enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart. PETA believes that this revelation, along with other factors in the report, fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD), and we called on Vick to have a brain scan to help confirm this. People diagnosed with APD are commonly referred to as "psychopaths." They are usually male, prone to lying and manipulation, often take pleasure in cruelty, and cannot feel genuine remorse, which frequently leads to recidivism. PETA had previously been in talks with Vick's management, public relations, and legal teams about shooting a public service announcement to help combat dogfighting, upon Vick's release from prison. In December, after consulting with psychiatrists, PETA withdrew the offer for the TV spot, and in January, we called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a brain scan and full psychological evaluation before any decisions were made about the future of his football career.

I've seen people laughing their asses off and shoving baked cows, pigs and birds into their mouths at the same time. Unbelievable, but true. Let's see PETA call the majority of Americans "psychopaths" and start the bullshit-pop psychology on THEM! Oh, wait... if they did that, they might not get asked back on Fox News for comedy relief!

Assholes. PETA and Michael Vick's dogfighting droogs all deserve each other. Lock em all up in a dogfighting pen and see who comes out first... as the infamous tagline for "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" asked: Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

PETA does more damage to vegetarianism and animal rights than any one organization in the world.

And BTW, if you like your meat? You refuse to give it up because the pleasure of your palate is more important than animals? THEN LEAVE MICHAEL VICK ALONE. The meat-eating culture that devalues animals CREATED HIM. If you want respect for animals, you must have respect for them all, not just the cute ones that obey you.

~*~

Okay, rant over. Now for some lightheartedness...

Ain't nobody here but us chickens - Louis Jordan and the Tympany 5 (1946)

Wordless Wednesday: Victoria

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Instrumental oldies, pt. 1

As some of you have undoubtedly figured out, the problem with purely-instrumental songs is: No lyrics, so you can't look them up online.

And so, I've decided to play some instrumental oldies ... chances are, you've heard these tunes your whole life and never knew the titles.

One of the most pleasant parts of aging is knowing these arcane remnants of pop-culture. Young people I work with invariably call me on the extension: What's the name of that? (I am regularly called on to identify all kinds of music, spanning decades.) I have included a couple of tunes here that I am always asked about, as well as special favorites of mine.

Presented in more or less chronological order! Enjoy!


~*~

Stephen King used this song in his horror movie Sleepwalkers (1992), which is what I once believed the title to be.

Sleepwalk - Santo and Johnny (1959)



~*~

My parents played this in their band. I can't hear the bass line without thinking of my mother...

Walk, Don't Run - The Ventures (1960)



~*~

Before you all object to the bullfighting motif, check the title! The bull has won and is now all alone in the ring... he's a lonely bull.

The Lonely Bull - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (1962)



~*~

Grab that surfboard!

Pipeline - The Chantays (1963)



~*~

You've heard this one in countless TV commercials. Fantastic vintage visuals!

Music to watch girls by - the Bob Crewe Generation (1966)



~*~

Baby-boomers who grew up with the "ABC Movie of the Week" in the 70s, will recognize this as the theme song. Burt Bacharach named the song after his daughter with actress Angie Dickinson, named Nikki, who later committed suicide.

Nikki - Burt Bacharach (1966)



~*~

A big favorite of Mr Daisy's:

The Horse - Cliff Nobles and Co. (1968)



~*~

Love is blue (L'amour est bleu) - Paul Mauriat (1968)



~*~

As star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet snuffed it in Franco Zeffirelli's film, they played this song... and all of us little girls sobbed our hearts out.

A Time for us (Theme from "Romeo and Juliet") (1968)



~*~

Another well-worn TV-commercial tune...you've always wanted to know the name of it!

Outa-Space - Billy Preston (1972)



~*~

Daybreaker - Electric Light Orchestra (1973)



~*~

Big finale! Originally recorded in 1968, this is a live version from 1991. I was looking for the original when I found this, and of course, I simply couldn't settle for less.

I think this might be the greatest organ riff in history. Also check out legendary session musician Steve Cropper on guitar.

Hang em High - Booker T and the MGs (live 1991)



And I hereby promise, one of these days I'll get around to pt. 2 and beyond! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

SC Senate investigating Mark Sanford

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford holds forth at a press conference at the Greer DMV on Tuesday. He was mostly baited about the mysterious Maria from Argentina, and the fact that he was not wearing his wedding ring. (Photo by Owen Riley Jr of the Greenville News)

Yeah, sports fans, it got ugly!

~*~


More on the never-ending saga of Mark Sanford:

S.C. Senate's probe of Mark Sanford has little precedent
Only twice before has governor been investigated, historians say
By Tim Smith • Capital bureau • July 24, 2009
Greenville News


COLUMBIA — A Senate subcommittee today will begin what historians are calling an unprecedented investigation of a sitting governor in modern times when it convenes to look into the travel of Gov. Mark Sanford, with the governor and his family in Europe on a two-week vacation.

Sen. David Thomas of Fountain Inn, chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Constitutional Officers, announced the probe last week as part of his panel's oversight responsibilities. He has said it has nothing to do with his race for Congress.

Sanford announced June 24 that he engaged in a yearlong extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Belen Chapur. He denied spending state resources on the affair, but wrote the state a check for more than $3,000 after admitting he had met Chapur on an economic development trip to Argentina and Brazil in June 2008.

A State Law Enforcement Division review of Sanford's travel expenses on the five trips during which the governor said he met Chapur in Argentina or New York found no wrongdoing, SLED's director announced earlier this month.

Thomas said, however, the SLED review was based entirely on trips volunteered by Sanford. He said he wants a more thorough look at the governor's travel, to see where he went during the dozens of times he told his security detail not to follow him.

“It (the SLED review) only looked at five trips that zeroed in on Chapur,” Thomas said. “It did not look at the mass of trips and the issue that is in front of the committee, which is was there any misappropriation of state funds on non-state-related business.”

The other members of Thomas' three-member subcommittee may not appear today because they are on vacation, Thomas said, but he hopes at least one may attend anyway.

“If they can come, they can come,” he said. “If not, I can at least lay out the outline of what we're going to be doing.”

Thomas had planned to call SLED Director Reggie Lloyd as the panel's first witness but Lloyd said he couldn't make it on Friday, Thomas said. Lloyd is providing a memo about SLED's review but not the agency's formal report on the matter, Thomas said.

Jennifer Timmons, a SLED spokeswoman, said the report is “not available yet.”

The subcommittee's probe of a sitting governor is unusual, according to historians, and unprecedented in modern times.

A.V. Huff, a retired Furman University history professor who chairs the State Archives Commission, said only twice since reconstruction has the Legislature confronted a governor with an investigation or vote of nonsupport.

The last time, he said, was in the 1930s, when then-Gov. Olin Johnston demanded the resignation of the State Highway Commission, which refused, prompting the governor to call out the state militia to surround the agency.

The commission, he said, appealed to the Legislature, which refused to support the governor and the crisis faded.

“It was a political standoff, which I suspect is what is going to happen here,” he said, referring to Sanford.

The Legislature in 1872, Huff said, investigated then-Gov. Franklin Moses Jr. and he was indicted for stealing. Moses then surrounded the governor's mansion with troops to avoid arrest, he said.

University of South Carolina political science Professor Blease Graham said he doesn't know of any other instance in modern times in which lawmakers investigated a sitting governor.

“It is very unusual,” he said.

Officials in Sanford's office have reacted to the probe by Thomas' committee by saying the office will be cooperative but view the inquiry as unnecessary after the SLED review.

Thomas said he has invited other members of the Senate Finance Committee to attend.

He said he hopes the hearings can be finished in 30-45 days. Should the panel need subpoena power, he said it will need to request that from the full finance committee. He said his panel also might simply note that certain witnesses or officials were uncooperative in the subcommittee's report, should that happen.

Senator Thomas claims none of his colleagues have openly opposed the hearings. He says there are "innuendos" and "undercurrents" that he should not be continuing, but nobody has come right out and told him to stop.

I think they call that, talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Stay tuned, sports fans!

John 'Marmaduke' Dawson 1945-2009

John Dawson, aka Marmaduke, of New Riders of the Purple Sage, has died of stomach cancer at age 64.



John Dawson, a founder of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, dies at 64
By Paul Liberatore
Marin Independent Journal


John "Marmaduke" Dawson, a singer-songwriter who co-founded the psychedelic country-rock band the New Riders of the Purple Sage with the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, died Tuesday in Mexico after a bout with stomach cancer, the band announced. He was 64.

Mr. Dawson, who retired to Mexico in the 1990s, formed the New Riders in 1969 with Garcia, who needed a band outside of the Grateful Dead to practice his nascent pedal steel guitar playing.

Fronted by Mr. Dawson, the lead singer, the New Riders released eight albums on Columbia Records from 1971 to 1976, including "The Adventures of Panama Red," a gold record that featured Peter Rowan's pot paean "Panama Red."

As a songwriter, Mr. Dawson co-wrote the Grateful Dead classic "Friend of the Devil," as well as "Glendale Train," "Garden of Eden" and "Last Lonely Eagle" for the New Riders.

The band became a successful touring act, and in 1974 played for 50,000 fans in New York's Central Park. They shared an office on Second Street in San Rafael with another Marin band, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen.

Saying he was weary of life on the road, Mr. Dawson retired in the late '90s. In 2001, he rejoined his former bandmates for a one-off concert at a California party, but he chose not to participate in a version of the band that regrouped in 2006 and remains active today. But he gave his blessing.

"John Dawson had a great knack for writing classic American songs," said Marin resident Rob Bleetstein, the New Riders' archivist and Web master. "A song like 'Glendale Train' could be looked at as a traditional American folk song.

"In terms of American music, the New Riders were the quintessential psychedelic country band," Bleetstein added. "In 1969, there wasn't anyone doing what they were doing. With Garcia's sound on pedal steel and Dawson's great songs and imagery, they really had something special."

Thanks to Doc Anchovy and Paul Liberatore.

Goodbye Marmaduke, we'll miss you, your tunes and your wry humor.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vegan peanut brittle

At long last! I have finally located the long-sought-after vegan peanut brittle recipe that I can live with, i.e. that isn't too difficult and time-consuming.

This one takes 20 minutes, max. (YES!) Also, you can substitute pecans or walnuts for a change of pace...

Thanks ever much to The Urban Vegan.

~*~

SCRUMPTIOUS VEGAN PEANUT BRITTLE


* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* Pinch of salt
* 2 1/2 cups peanuts [or other nuts]
* 1 t vanilla
* 1 t baking soda
* 1/4 cup water


Spray a 9" x 13" rimmed cookie sheet and a spatula with cooking spray. Fill a short glass with cold water and set it next to your stove top.

Mix sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Over medium heat, bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Continue to boil, stirring constantly. Every few minutes, drip some of the boiling sugar mixture into the glass of water. Once it is the texture of taffy--not hard, but not watery (This is called the "soft ball" stage), toss in the peanuts. Continue to mix constantly so the nuts don't burn. Once this mixture turns a medium brown, turn heat to low. Stir in vanilla and baking soda. BE CAREFUL! Sometimes the mixture foams up, at this point.

Spread onto the greased cookie sheet using your oiled spatula. Work quickly. The layer should be about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.

Let this cool for about an hour, then break into pieces.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stubborn old goats

No matter what I did, they resolutely refused to look at the camera.




My post on women going shirtless got major hits from Reddit, StumbleUpon and other link-sites. I think I hit a nerve, particularly in this kind of heat.

This also means, if I may borrow a line from Rancid: And out come the wolves. Trolls, trolls, everywhere. As I've said before, I used to be jealous of the Big Bloggers, until I fully understood what-all they have to put up with. Yech.

Highly amusing was watching the anti-feminist trolls try to figure out what they should be fussing about. Ordinarily, men are lusting for women to be naked, so....what exactly is the issue? Unfortunately, the thread's Head Troll has deleted all of his convoluted comments in a huff, or you could chortle at the logic: We shouldn't be showing our breasts because.... men like breasts. In other words, they might see some breasts they don't like! Another fascinating argument was all about hard-ons: Men have involuntary reactions to breasts! And of course, this means women should live their lives to make men's penises more comfortable at all times. When they want hard-ons, we should be stripping. When they don't, we shouldn't.

That seems easy enough to figure out, huh?

Meanwhile, let's hope some hearty gals out there start organizing some shirtless-days for women... as several posters noted on Reddit, they can't arrest everyone. This is the same way women started wearing pants: en masse. The only way.

It was the 8th grade. The note was passed: JEANS ON FRIDAY. That was all it said. We all knew, yes. Jeans on Friday. Only a couple of goodie-goodies primly preferred to continue "dressing as ladies"--although I noticed that a few years later, they were wearing jeans with the rest of us.

And so, we wore the jeans on Friday. Fat, thin, middle-class and poor. Rich jeans, poor jeans. And I remember that day very well, because all the girls grinned at each other: haha, look at us!

We just kept wearing them. We didn't stop.

About a month later, an official school announcement was read: Girls can wear pants now! We laughed our blue-jean-clad butts off; we were already wearing them! And then we learned something important (also applicable to laws like jay-walking and pot-smoking): Your "law" means shit if nobody follows it. [1]

We might do the same with the laws governing the exposure of women's chests. Can they arrest hundreds of women on a beach at the same time?

Actually, that might turn into quite a party!

~*~

Speaking of pot-smoking, the New York Times ran a big Reefer Madness pot addiction story last week. We were even warned that legal ganja would result in a rise in "fatalities"--and silly me, I wasn't aware there was ever ONE fatality from marijuana-overdose in the entire history of the known world.

For those of us who know from addiction, the NYT article was like the proverbial fun-house mirror, as they offered the example of someone who kept a residence, job and dog for 20 years as an "addict"... say what?

Can somebody say raise the bar?

One of the problems with AA turning everybody into an alcoholic in the late 80s (no, everyone isn't, even if you were barfing into the toilet a few more times than you intended), is this kind of nonsense. Addiction is something very specific, and there are signposts. When you are homeless (I was), can't keep a job (I couldn't), systematically drive away everyone who cares about you (I did), start getting sick all the time (oh dear God)--then you got trouble. [2]

Just being extremely bummed out? No. That is called depression, and self-medicating is a symptom.

I have no college degree and nevertheless, I understand this distinction. As they say, it isn't rocket science.

What it is: AA was colonized by the middle classes in the late 80s/early 90s. In these suburban enclaves, if someone dared to speak honestly about something like sleeping in their car for months at a time, or jacking mama's last 3 bucks, the middle-class, still-gainfully-employed types would shift uncomfortably in their seats. [3] If you wanted gritty reality, you had to go to the meetings with names like Darkness on the Edge of Town (apologies to The Boss). Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Steps became transformed into a lifestyle-thing, rather like eating organic.

For some reason, the 12-Steps seemed tailor-made for the narcissism of the affluent. They jumped into the process with aplomb, as if it was psychoanalysis. And in the meantime, you couldn't get a genuine addict or alcoholic to even read the 12-Steps out loud without pausing to argue with you about them.

And the 12-Steps changed, and AA changed... and someday, I will attempt to grapple with the whole subject, and my feelings about that. And why I stopped being an active member, as my beloved late sponsor also did (for religious reasons of her own).

I heartily recommend Elayne Rapping's book, The Culture of Recovery, Making Sense of the Self-Help Movement in Women's Lives, a feminist reading of this whole phenomenon. And I hope to revisit the topic at a future date.

~*~



[1] William F Buckley was (believe it or not) in favor of legalizing (and taxing) marijuana for that reason. He believed marijuana laws turned regular, law-abiding people into criminals. He said law served people, people do not serve law, and if a majority of people want pot, keeping it illegal eroded respect for authority and law. (Ya think?)

[2] Notice the very dramatic addiction-themed TV show Intervention doesn't bother with "marijuana addicts"--which as one of my friends said, would consist of an entire hour of potheads watching TV and eating bags of Cheetos. (The "intervention" would be someone's kids complaining that they had to change the kitty litter: Do you ever think of MY feelings?!?)

Not exactly cutting-edge reality TV. And the proof is in the pudding.

[3] An AA friend once told me about attending a "rich" AA meeting in Hollywood. One woman's idea of "hitting rock bottom" was the day she was forced to take the kids to McDonalds for supper. (People shook their heads, wow, that is terrible.)

Lord have mercy, can you believe anybody would FALL SO FAR?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On Norma McCorvey

Norma McCorvey (on left) aka ROE of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision (which made abortion legal in 1973), with her attorney Gloria Allred, at a pro-choice demonstration in Washington DC during the early 90s. (Photo from PBS)




Jovan reported that Norma McCorvey was arrested for demonstrating during Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. Once pro-choice, McCorvey met up with the Operation Rescue people while defending a women's clinic and started attending church with some of their members. She was subsequently baptized in 1995 and now strongly identifies as pro-life.

News of McCorvey's recent arrest sent me looking for an incisive article I once read about her in the Village Voice, written right after her conversion to the pro-life side...which of course, I can't find now. The author made the case that the pro-choice, feminist movement had systematically dissed McCorvey as a low-class white-trash embarrassment, sending her over to the pro-life side, which welcomed her and feted her. She was in the widely-viewed pro-life documentary titled I Was Wrong (2007). She speaks to pro-life groups throughout the country, and tells them she feels used.

Was she used?

The article pointed out that Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued Roe, went and got her own abortion while the case was going on, while McCorvey was forced to go ahead and give birth. Why didn't Weddington use herself as "Roe"?

McCorvey and Weddington comprise the tale of two pregnant women, one from the elite class, one from poverty. One argues Roe v. Wade and becomes internationally famous, the youngest lawyer to win a Supreme Court case. She writes books, holds elected office, teaches at UT Austin, and now has her own Weddington Center. By contrast, McCorvey earns her keep by traveling the church-chicken-supper circuit, telling people that Weddington used her for her own political and professional ends.

Did she?

I think so.

As one who has also been repeatedly dissed, let me say, I know the feeling. Feminism often has the unfortunate appearance of a high-class country club, filled with educated, affluent, snooty white people. This is one reason activists like Renee call themselves womanists. This is why many working-class women say "I'm not a feminist, but..." Feminism is often seen as the territory of highly-educated, elite women. When one of these influential feminists disses you and acts like you don't know any better (especially if you are my age, or Norma's age), it can be deeply humiliating. And confusing. I can remember one of the huge pro-choice rallies in Washington, DC in the early 90s (see photo above, McCorvey and Allred) during which McCorvey was not permitted to speak--an incident also mentioned in the Village Voice piece. Why wasn't she? Too redneck and uneducated? Good Lord, people, the damn SCOTUS ruling was named after her!

I can just imagine Norma tearfully wiping away tears in some fast-food restroom somewhere, after the rally, wondering why they would not allow the person whose life was necessary for the ruling, to speak to a crowd of women celebrating said ruling.

Or maybe she did know why. I mean, I immediately knew why. And if you have ever listened to McCorvey, you know she is pretty intelligent.

And now, I echo the Village Voice author, whose name I can not remember (and therefore can not properly credit), who suggested there was an element of "I'll show you bitches!" involved in Norma McCorvey's defection.

And there is also the matter of basic respect for who she is, in a culture of symbols.

It is no mere coincidence Norma eventually converted to Catholicism under the auspices of the head of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone. Catholics understand martyrdom and sainthood. Norma being USED by the pro-choice side became a form of martyrdom. Every time the words Roe v. Wade are used by the mass media, Norma is martyred once again. She is used by a group of people, so the story goes, who needed a pregnant, poverty-stricken stooge who could not afford an illegal abortion. Her own lawyer sure could afford one, and didn't waste time procuring one. Why didn't she do the same for Norma?

She needed Norma. Norma was Roe.

~*~

This whole story makes me cringe; I am typing it in perpetual-cringe position. But I think I know why Norma turned to the other side, where she is a pretty good fundraiser, the Catholic pro-lifers tell me. Most have heard her speak at the aforementioned chicken-suppers. She is a very good speaker, intelligent and earnest. Regular folks. She makes an impact. And when she talks about being used? Home run. Every time. The deep pockets open up and the collection plate is full-to-overflowing.

What does it mean for feminism that one of our heroines, a woman we should have honored and given a place of respect, has jumped ship? A woman who was a lesbian (I am not sure if she still identifies this way, but at one time was in a long-term relationship with a woman and called herself lesbian) and should have seen us as the allies, and not them?

I consider the case of Roe, Norma McCorvey, our own failure. It's on us.

Can we please have some class awareness in feminism? Can we stop exploiting each other? Will this ever happen?

And meanwhile, let me guess....who bailed Norma out of jail?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wedding Party at Table Rock

At left: Me and my ever-fabulous Cousin Bethie.

(I guess my redneck cred is intact, since both my bra strap and shamrock tattoo are on full display!)

~*~

All the way up to the mountains yesterday, to a wedding party at Table Rock. As always, it was stunningly beautiful, but hotter than a July firecracker.

I decided to grant the bride and groom some privacy, although I have already blogged about the groom's mama (Cousin Bethie), so she doesn't get to sit this one out!

Believe it or not, I once was in good-enough shape to climb to the top of Table Rock. That was, umm, some time ago. (Going back down was scarier!) I loved it and would like to get in that kind of physical shape again. (sigh) Well, maybe.

Below:

Table Rock State Park Lodge, exterior and interior. The buildings were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30s and are on the Historic Register.

View of Table Rock itself, surrounding area includes the park, camping grounds, hiking trails and two lakes.

And finally, from the trail skirting the lodge, WILD DAISIES! :D

Everyone needs a WILD DAISY or two in their life.

Enjoy! And breathe in that mountain air!

~*~





More photos on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Women should have the right to be shirtless!

Photo of topless men from Legal Juice.[1]





I saw what I initially believed was a topless old woman walking a dog outside the apartment building across the way... Looking closely, I saw that the person was bald. But still, mincing along in his pajama bottoms, waiting for the dog to poop, you could clearly see that he had breasts. Like, pretty big ones. It is impossible to guess his age, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were over 80 or so.

Shouldn't he cover his boobs? Oh wait, he's a man, so he is allowed to have big old naked boobs.

So, why can't I?

~*~

I used to write for an alternative youth newspaper called Subversive Scholastic, and one of my first diatribes for said publication was all about how women are not legally allowed to go shirtless and men are. It still infuriates me, decades after I first wrote that.

It is one of the most sexist cultural conventions IN THE WORLD.

Women's breasts, originally intended to nourish babies, are greatly fetishized by men. In a patriarchal culture, this makes them sacrosanct, so they must be covered up as something dirty. Dirty = arousing to men. (Men's chests might be similarly arousing to women, but in a patriarchal culture, what is arousing to women is regarded as being of no real importance unless it suits male fantasy.)

Of course, as fetishized objects, boobs must also be made into ornaments (just like cars, also fetishized by men). So, they are primped and prodded, alternately bound and pumped up, displayed like prize ponies. Even if you don't want to. (Have you tried to buy a non-wire bra recently that didn't look like a Playtex Cross-your-heart? Good luck with that.)

When I first wrote the Subversive Scholastic essay, I got a lot of reactions from males who said, basically: You wanna take off your shirt? Hey alriiiight! Do it, babeeeeeee!

No, no and no.

If I should take off my shirt, I want you to be as lackadaisical about that as if your best male friend took off his shirt. Are you saying Hey alriiiight! to your best male friend and encouraging him to take off his shirt? Then I don't want that either. Optimally, it would be nice if you didn't even NOTICE.

Hey, says authoritative male voice, you can't expect guys not to even notice, okay?

Question: Do women act like asses when men shed their tops? You know, we might be as excited about that as you are, has that ever occurred to you? But we have learned to behave ourselves. I am utterly confident that men could learn the same, if expected to.

~*~

Now that I am older, I realize there is another reason women won't shed their tops. Not just a dislike of salaciousness, but a genuine fear of male ridicule. As I watched my old neighbor waiting good-naturedly for his dog to pee, I realized that he has never had that fear, and of course, does not have it now. He has boobs and doesn't care. By contrast, I would now be too afraid to take my shirt off, even if my boobs look better than his. Mine would be considered far more offensive that his [2] even though his are more unexpected and startling (and many would say unattractive and/or grotesque), since he is a man. I would still get arrested, and yet he is allowed to walk outside in the stifling heat, topless, without comment.

It's not fair.

But what would the world be like if the law were changed and women could go topless? Would only attractive women take advantage of this, as seems to be the case on various topless and/or nude beaches? Because if so, that will mean nothing... only when the whole group of us, every single one, takes off the shirt simultaneously, from 15 to 100 years of age, all colors, all body types, the fattest and the skinniest and the disabled and the one-breasted and former-breasted and everything in between... just like the men... only then will we be free of this SEXIST, FETISHIZING BULLSHIT, that keeps our sweaty boobies swathed in fabric as we swelter in 90 degree heat and pine for the sensation of ice-cold chlorinated pool-water on our nipples. Nobody should pay any damn attention... but of course, they do, we do, and it seems an impossible Daisy-dream, one I've had since I was a mere kid, back when I had pretty, perky boobs. Now, I am old, and mine tend to look like the dog-walking neighbor, but you know what? I feel the same. I still want it. I still want the freedom. Nothing has changed.

And I repeat, nothing has changed. We are still covering up them all-sacred titties.

I keep hearing we live in a post-feminist society, blah blah blah. And yet, one gender can shed fully half of their clothes outside, while another doesn't have that right, enshrined by LAW. All because one gender is the subject, while the second is the object; one gender makes the rules and defines the sensibility, while the other must live by those standards. [3]

...


[1] Ironically, Legal Juice (the blog I got this graphic from) mentions the fact that the town of Easton, Maryland, has made it illegal for any person (including men, children and babies) to go topless. This was considered weird enough to rate comment.

[2] Looking for graphics for this post, I found one guys' insulting, indignant blog post titled "Why do fat old women go topless?" Apparently, it has never once occurred to this fellow that we might do this for ourselves, and not for him or other men. God forbid! (Imagine the title "Why do fat old men go topless?")

[3] Paraphrasing Simone de Beauvoir.

[4] Nikki Craft and other radical feminists briefly took up this call in the 80s, but later abandoned it due to increasing co-optation by various unsavory profiteers. Craft was arrested in June 1986 in Rochester, NY, as one of the Rochester Topfree Seven. Interviewed later in Off Our Backs, I can still remember Craft's correction of a male reporter's coverage of the event, about "the right of women to appear topless"; Craft said she was supporting the right of women to BE topless, not to APPEAR topless, and to note the difference.

And I always have.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Take the chains off the dogs!

Left: Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne is chained to a dog house for her second day in a row in Piazzo Bergamo in downtown Greenville, SC, as she demonstrates alongside another group, Pawsitive Effects, an organization that helps build fences for pets. She is demonstrating in the annual "Chain-Off"--which brings crucial attention to the danger of chaining dogs. Photo by Heidi Heilbrunn of the Greenville News.

Some of the participating folks are my customers, so I am very proud and pleased to report this demonstration! The event itself is seven years old, but this weekend marked the first year it has been held in Greenville.

Dog activists in Greenville send message about chaining dogs outside

By Paul Alongi • Staff Writer • July 13, 2009
Greenville News


Animal-rights advocates shed their chains Sunday after spending two straight days tethered to doghouses in one of downtown Greenville's most visible venues.

Their message was simple: “Don't chain your dog,” said Tamira Thayne, founder of Tipton, Pa.-based Dogs Deserve Better.

Advocates said that chaining dogs is legal in many areas but takes away their ability to run away, making them more likely to bite people.

At least two Upstate child deaths have been blamed on chained dogs since 2003.

Advocates said children are particularly at risk because they often don't recognize dogs' warning signs.

“When you realize you are no longer able to flee the scene, you're just always amped up for the fight,” Mikael Hardy said. “And dogs don't distinguish between a cat, a squirrel and a 2-year-old toddler.”

Being chained also is painful for the dog.

Some people buy a puppy, chain it and as it grows, the collar becomes embedded in its neck.

One alternative to chaining is to keep dogs inside fences, Hardy said.

Her Greenville-based group, Pawsitive Effects, helps build 600-square-foot fenced enclosures for dog owners who can't afford them, she said.

About 120 people chained themselves in demonstrations throughout the country, but the main Dogs Deserve Better event was in Greenville, Thayne said.

Six demonstrators kept themselves chained for about 28 hours, starting Saturday morning and ending Sunday afternoon, Thayne said.

They spent their days at Piazza Bergamo to draw attention to their cause and slept under a barn overhang at a local farm, Thayne said.

Several others tethered themselves part of the time, she said.

It takes a dog lover to give up so much time and comfort, and Hardy fits the profile.

She has nine dogs, all rescued animals, in addition to two children and a husband.

There is plenty of room for all on their three-acre spread, she said.

Of the nine dogs, she said, three are pit bulls and two of those, Martha Goldfinch (a male) and Seymore (who is blind) had been chained.

When she put Martha on a leash to take him for a walk, he went in a circle.

She finally had to put him on a treadmill so he would walk forward.

Even for dog lovers, being chained made for a grueling, exhausting weekend.

When Thayne finally threw off her chain, she said she had “the best shower of the year.”

Unfortunately, chained dogs are extremely common here in the south. Admittedly, it's better than being charged by a large, angry rottweiler, which happened to me while on an evening walk, around 1991. But I later learned the dog that charged me was usually chained up. (My defense: I ran right into the street, a busy thoroughfare, and took my chances; the dog actually attempted to cross the street after me but became confused by the heavy traffic and retreated. But the dog was confused, not scared and not chastened, by any means. One of the most unnerving, frightening experiences I have ever had.) Neighbors agreed the dog seemed perpetually angry and ill-tempered, and predictably, wore one of those spiky collars, which made him appear even scarier. But I now realize that even for a rottweiler, the dog had been trained to be mean and "amped up" (see above) for a fight by being chained all the time.

Once you chain such a dog, it becomes dangerous to UNchain them, as I am here (but almost wasn't!) to attest...

My other dog-charging story involves a large unchained pit bull that started charging toward me at several hundred yards... I nearly died on the spot. Nowhere to run, deer in the headlights, I just stood there. I said my Hail Marys and prepared to meet my maker, hoping it wasn't too painful.

Well, the dog turned out to be a VERY LARGE pit bull PUPPY, delightedly galumphing toward me in welcome, tail wagging.... happy to make my acquaintance. He jumped on me, ecstatically happy and licking me with puppy-love. I nearly wet myself as I petted him, weak with relief, burbling insanely "...what a good doggie, what a good doggie...."...Oh dear God. Whew.

As the expression goes, good fences make good neighbors, and I would add, good fences also make good dog owners!