Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Beware pickpockets and loose women

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Random complaining

I don't like:

...people who live in apartments and insist upon owning gigantic dogs that can't be exercised on a damn patio, so they bark all day long from boredom.

...southerners who claim various pot-luck offerings are vegetarian, but when pressed, admit said vegetable was fried in bacon grease.

...people who say the radiation in Japan is waaaay over there, so don't you worry yourself over it. The earth doesn't turn and the air never blows and water all stays in one place, so there's no way radiation can spread... oh, wait.

...de-clawing kitties. DON'T DO THAT. And I have the torn-up couches to prove that I don't believe in it. But I can also attest that torn-up couches are a small price to pay for well-mannered, happy felines.

...the way Farmville is always trying to separate you from your credit card, to purchase much-ballyhooed "Farm Cash"--with which you can buy cartoon lakes and donkeys and other dopey shit you don't need... hey, it's just like REAL LIFE!

...And finally...(((drum roll))

Male "enhancement" ads, like the endless infomercial I am listening to right now, wherein a dynamite sex-supplement promises to make you BIGGER and BETTER. It's probably just L-Arginine, an amino acid that can be taken by itself in large doses; up to 3 grams safely. (Works on women too! :D ) And it's lots cheaper than these TV-boosted supplements, which likely include Yohimbe, something that can adversely affect men with hypertension. (The difference between simple L-Arginine and these hotshot supplements can be as much as 100 bucks, so buyer beware.) I also hate the Viagra commercials for using the legendary and fabulous song "Spoonful" in the ads. The not-so-subtle racism of using a well-known black blues song directed at suburban white men with nice cars (not to mention the comprehensive medical insurance that covers these pricey Rx drugs; some insurers don't) seems a little obvious: If you take Viagra/Cialis/etc, you will be as sexy as black men, seems to be the significance of the blues-man message. And then there is the additional subtlety of the title and concept: you only need a spoonful of Viagra.

But even without music, all the winky-winky stuff in the ads (any moment can turn into a Cialis moment!) is offensive and junior high school. Yes, we all know how we get horny just by hammering nails (think about the Freudian implications of that for a second) and hanging out with the mister, as he does his manly household tasks. And then, a knowing look is exchanged, pecks on the mouth, and they leave the room together, arm in arm. We all know that our sexual experiences are EXACTLY like that, now don't we? (((rolls eyes)))

I do appreciate that the women in the ads are the same age as the men. In fact, these ads might be the only place on TV that this is true! Mostly, hot new actresses are paired with older, non-hotties. (Think about LAW AND ORDER and the age disparities.. gray hair and such are standard, but the women are all young.) This is true in movies as well. What can we surmise from this?: That BigPharma is aware they should try to be realistic in these ads--no Lolitas anywhere. And besides, maybe that is intimidating to older men? Or do they (as I suspect) just find the idea silly? (All they want is some familiar intimacy with the wife, not the babysitter.)

The CARS in the ads, and the fact that Viagra now sponsors NASCAR, well, that shouldn't be surprising. PERFORMANCE is a big word in all advertising related to men: Stereos, cell phones, cars, musical instruments, razor blades, athletic shoes, all promise various wonderful levels of PERFORMANCE, a word you rarely hear in commercials for women's products.

Now, I wonder why that is.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

And the angel spoke to the women, saying, you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth.

He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.

~*~

A Dead Air tradition revisited.

After the Goldrush - Prelude

[via FoxyTunes / Prelude]


Art by John Pitre. Song by Neil Young.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gone, when you find that there's no one sleeping

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Columbine shootings, and I meant to link my old post titled Me and Columbine. Sorry about that... posting one day late (and a dollar short). As I wrote in the post, it is also something of a spiritual anniversary of mine.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Wayne Harris, Katherine Ann Poole, Thomas Klebold, Susan Yassenoff... as so many pray for the victims, I know they often forget to pray for you too, but I don't.

I wish you had your boys back, and I am so sorry.

(The song below is also in the original post.)

~*~

Gone, when you wake in the morning
Gone, when you find that there's no one sleeping
Gone, pretty Penny was her name
She was loved and we all will miss her

Pretty Penny - Stone Temple Pilots

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kindergartner brings loaded gun to school, injures three

Damn, they sure do start em on guns EARLY in Texas! This was the lead story yesterday in the Houston Chronicle:

Houston Police Dept probing how kindergartner brought gun to school

Five-year-old Jarneshia Broussard was eating her lunch, a hot dog and beans, with her kindergarten class Tuesday when she heard a loud "pop" in the Ross Elementary School cafeteria.

The little girl at first thought a light blew out. Then she recognized the sound.

"I knew it was a gun because a gun goes 'pow,' " she said. "I got really scared."

A loaded pistol had dropped from the pants pocket of a 6-year-old male classmate and discharged, slightly injuring him and two other pupils in the legs or feet, officials said.

The three children — believed to have been hit by a single bullet or fragments — were in stable condition, smiling and playing video games, by Tuesday afternoon, said David deLemos, a trauma specialist at Texas Children's Hospital.

Investigators were trying to determine how the boy obtained a gun and brought it into the northeast Houston campus without anyone stopping him — sending fear through students and parents who trust that school is a safe place.

The boy's parents could not be reached for comment. Officials with Texas Child Protective Services plan to question the family within 24 hours, said agency spokeswoman Gwen Carter.

"It would be a concern about supervision, how a child gained access to a gun and was able to transport it," she said. "In cases like this, we look to the parents to try to understand what has happened."

A relative who would only identify herself as an aunt confirmed that the boy had brought a gun to school and still was in the hospital Tuesday evening.

For having a gun on campus, the boy could face a year-long expulsion to an alternative school, according to Houston Independent School District policy.

The Houston Police Department, which is leading the investigation, would not release details, including the type of gun or the owner.
Also see earlier article: Child, 6, brings gun to school

Three children grazed by bullet after kindergartner brings gun to school

NPR: The Two-Way News blog

Wordless Wednesday: Granddaughter and dolphin

At the Texas State Aquarium last month.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A way down south in Dixie

At left: Alexander Gardner's famous historical photo of the hanging of co-conspirators Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt, 1865.



Locally, the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War has brought them all out of the woodwork to dress up like rebel soldiers. (As I've said here before, I think a crucial aspect of this is the long-suppressed desire of grown men to play dress-up.) Before any of the rebels yell at me [1], let me present my credentials: I have an ancestor who risked his life to run away, and I qualify for this discussion. (And in my genealogy, there are a few more where he came from, on both the Union and CSA side. But great-great-great-granddaddy Hatcher is my pacifist DNA and my favorite confederate ancestor.)

I have never bought into the whole southern glamour of the Civil War, although I like Vivien Leigh as much as the next person. But getting starry-eyed and romantic over lost causes is not something I was raised to do. However, I have been paying attention, and I have figured out that much of this Civil War Nostalgia is bluntly nationalist in origin. White southerners still feel dissed by the mass culture, and this is a way of honoring those who feel continuously insulted. Just as there is a secessionist vibe all over Texas that has never quite abated, there is a similar tone running through discussions of the vanquished Confederate States of America. This is why so many of them protest that "It isn't about slavery!"--since for them, it isn't. It's about where they live NOW. It's about southern pride, about place, about the mass culture employing actors with bad southern accents to be the butt of sitcom jokes and commercials. It's about people making fun of rednecks for being uneducated. It's about global capitalism colonizing old neighborhoods, old folkways and rearranging everything so that it is unrecognizable to the people who grew up here. It's about yankees not understanding WHO DIED in the Civil War and/or who decided to swim across the river like Thomas Hatcher: poor white people. Not Stonewall Jackson.

We were used as cannon fodder, as always. [2] That is something to MOURN, not celebrate, and that is where I get off the bus. WE WAS HAD, WE WAS USED, a buncha rich planters USED us to jab at Abraham Lincoln. That should make you angry, not make you want to organize a charity costume ball.

I'm glad the Civil War anniversary has at least produced an interesting film; I do want to see the new movie The Conspirator. Lots of people do not know who Mary Suratt was, and that she was the first woman executed in the USA. Nice to see some of this history brought out in movie-form, where people will actually see it... those of you who think all southern white women were Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, you should have a look. I don't know if the movie takes the position that Suratt was guilty or innocent, but she was likely guilty. Death by hanging, of course, is rather harsh.

But you know, you kill Abraham Lincoln, people are going to be pissed.

~*~

How SHOULD we commemorate this awful, violent period of American history? Is there a way to honor the dead (including dead slaves) in a respectful way that includes everyone? Or is this simply impossible?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

~*~


1) I knew if I tried hard enough, I could work "rebel yell" into the post, so congratulate me. That's as close as I could get.

2) We are being used as cannon fodder right now too, but they don't seem too worried about that. (((Daisy scowls in disapproval)))

Garbage television addiction update

Although I proudly bragged in Monday's post about being a bad bitch, goodness mercy, folks... ain't no way I could measure up to the current crop of REAL HOUSEWIVES on the Bravo network. I'm currently watching both the New York and Orange County editions, she admitted, embarrassed. These shows put one in mind of slo-mo trainwrecks; gaudy, narcissistic, hedonistic, expensive, collagen-injected, botoxed, designer-clad, exquisitely-decorated, very thin trainwrecks. On another level, they are one long commercial for capitalism as The Entire Lifestyle, the Alpha and the Omega. (The human flaws, then, are also a manifestation of the lifestyle.)

Unfortunately, this season's bitchitude doesn't reach the mythic levels of RHO-New Jersey. RHONJ was totally in a class by itself, featuring such Golden Moments of Reality TV as Teresa's now-legendary table-flipping routine (even satired on SOUTH PARK), hair-pulling at chi-chi country clubs, psychic-healing by telephone and lots of other suburban fun. The New York/California crowd simply can't measure up to the cheesiness of our beloved Jersey Girls. You could wait all season and NOBODY will pull anyone else's hair, or their weave either. (sigh) Now, the Atlanta gals, especially NeNe, have engaged in some hair-pulling, and that show understands WHY WE WATCH. Don't be tardy for the party!

The one consistent sign of intelligence in these shows, Bethenny Frankel, got her own (well-deserved) spin-off TV show on Bravo. I enjoy watching her wittily fuss about her new baby, hubby, business, in-laws, etc, but it certainly isn't as much fun as listening to her dish about the other New York Housewives in her very honest, snarky, funny, acerbic, barbed fashion. And the fights! The Bethenny vs Kelly bouts were almost as good as Teresa turning over tables in posh restaurants. Any chance of a rematch between you girls? Your fans demand it!

Will Kelly guest star on Bethenny's show, maybe do a bunny-boiler routine? Not a stretch at all, and it's certainly better than Kelly pretending to be a reporter; Brenda Starr on crack. (And we can all do without more of THAT, please.) Yall need to jazz this stuff up, or I'ma quit watching.

Teresa raised the bar and now we want housewives attacking each other. And what's next? "Housewife snuff"?*

The ratings would go through the roof.



*I am suddenly reminded of the amusing short story "The National Pastime" by Norman Spinrad. Can't find a link.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The static hurts my ears

As stated in previous comments, I don't know from tumblr, despite various net-savvy people attempting to explain it's sacred mysteries to me. Therefore, I couldn't respond to the latest charges being lodged. So, I will have to do it here.

For the record, I'd really rather not, but it does appear necessary, at this point. (sigh)

This is from the tumblr blog The View From My Brain:

I didn’t read the post when you linked it before, so I didn’t realise who it was. Daisy Deadhead of Daisy’s Dead Air is a hateful bigoted and privileged asshat.

She is the feminist who literally told me to go die, because my coping methods for my autism issues were not approved by her holy vegan standards. And she did this in a discussion about something completely irrelevant, rather than on the post where my coping method was actually mentioned.
Good God, yall.

I have no idea at all what this refers to. I do not know Jemima Aslana, although I have seen her name before. I have never interacted with her, although I think she may have commented here once or twice. I have commented (in the past) on lots of blogs, but as stated above, have not figured out how to "do" tumblr and Aslana's blog is a tumblr blog. So the comments she refers to could not have been made on her blog. I'd like to know where this (mythical) exchange took place?

As regular readers know, I am not vegan and could not live more than 72 hrs (at most) without cheese--preferably smoked gouda or Tillamook aged cheddar. I think she has me confused with someone else.

Further, "literally" telling people to "go die"--that just isn't me. That is somewhat ungrammatical and unpoetic; I am more likely to quote Lou Reed, "I'm just waiting for [them/you] to hurry up and die," which I've been saying since the release of Sally Can't Dance. Old habits die hard. (I have never quite broken the habit of saying "far out" in, well, far out circumstances.) Simply put, I am not a person who tells people to go die, all while upholding holy vegan standards I don't have.

Of course, Jemima Aslana didn't bother to link to this very incendiary accusation. She was so eager to join the junior-high-school pile-on, she couldn't be bothered to check the facts. And said pile-on does get ugly, as I am enthusiastically called a "total shithead" and suchlike, by people who have never met me... including an individual I once foolishly complimented for their writing. (For some reason, I especially feel like the archetypal dumb hillbilly when someone I have lavishly complimented turns on me.)

As for the other spin-offs from spin-offs from Tweets and Twats and alllll the rest? I can't keep up. It all started here, but I am now getting links from strange corners of tumblrville and beyond. It's like that child's game "Telephone"--now they are writing about the writing about the writing about me, not writing about what I exactly wrote. If that makes sense. This is why I decided to address Jemima's accusation, since it seems to have taken on a life of its own and is getting repeated even more than anything I wrote on Renee's blog [Womanist Musings].

And it simply isn't true.

But I saved the best for last! Jemima's last paragraph:
Believe me, sweetheart, you aren’t getting anywhere with Daisy. She will first derail and if that doesn’t work for then she will assault your mental health until you become suicidal. I advise you to pull out now, because it can never end well with her. Never.
Jemima darlin, I have to say, that paragraph is one of the most bad-ass things ever written about me, and I love it! Thank you!!!

Am I a bad bitch or what?! ((((preens))))

My mother (who would have happily slit all their tires by now) would be so proud of me. Seriously, I wish she had lived long enough for me to read that paragraph to her, since she often considered me a silly, bubbleheaded peacenik and believed I let people walk all over me. Wouldn't she be thrilled to learn that the apple didn't fall far from the tree?

I must end here, on a decidedly positive note. :)

~*~

When the world is running down - The Police



turn on the radio
the static hurts my ears
tell me where would I go?
I ain't been out in years
turn on the stereo
it's played for years and years
an Otis Redding song
it's all I own

when the world is running down
you make the best of what's still around

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reedy River Falls

Have I mentioned how much I love having a waterfall downtown? Below, photos from Falls Park, yesterday. Stunningly beautiful! Azaleas!

Last photo: Unfortunately, this IS Greenville, and when you try to grab a bite to eat, they force you to watch Fox News.








Friday, April 15, 2011

Ain't this boogie a mess?

I need some soundtrack to getting tarred and feathered over at Womanist Musings. Comments welcome, here or there.

I am told there is something... off... about the language of my post, according to one gentleman-commenter. I told him, it is likely because I use the language of his mother, rather than his friends.

And a story from the 70s gets translated into a story from NOW, and found weirdly wanting. Well, that was then and this is now, could be why. (I am very, very weary of today's standards being applied to the past. Yes, we all know better now, but that was not the point of the story.)

(sigh)

See, this is why I am so reluctant to guest-blog. HERE at DEAD AIR, yall know I am an old hippie, and I am not taken to task for calling someone ELSE a hippie. Jesus H.

If I recount a story from the 70s, some of yall can even REMEMBER the 70s. ;)

Anyway, speaking of old hippies, Frank on Friday to the rescue! What would I do without this show, centering me every Friday at noon?

This one contains one of those incomparable Zappa guitar solos... and of course, Frank's famous dissertation on the meaning of the apostrophe, containing today's blog post title. (It sure is!)

Frank Zappa - Stinkfoot

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Odds and Sods - Aries 2011 edition

Happy Aries and happy April. Hope all is well in Blogdonia!

As for me, I am doing much better than, say, Ashley Judd, who started a controversy with this quote from her recent book:

"As far as I'm concerned, most rap and hip-hop music -- with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as 'ho's' -- is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny."
And now everybody is mad at her. (sigh)

See yesterday's post. This is why the current discourse remains at kindergarten level, because public figures are chronically afraid of "offending" someone by offering an honest opinion. As Ta-Nehisi Coates writes at the above link, Judd is already backpedaling and trying to minimize the impact of her statement.

~*~

By way of Suzan, here is the always-amazing truth-teller Chris Hedges:
Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.

Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.
Amen, amen! Preach it!

(And my kindest, most loving thoughts go out to my favorite teacher, whom I hope is reading.)

~*~

If you eat fish or even take fish oil supplements, please read this account from TIME magazine, titled How My Mercury Level Hit Double the Safety Limit:
But here's what I want to know: How was I exposed to mercury? I don't exactly handle the metal in my job, so I probably wouldn't be directly exposed to it. But I do eat seafood — a lot. I probably have a tuna sandwich twice a week for lunch, and I eat sushi — a habit I picked up during my reporting stint in Japan — almost as often. I always thought those choices were healthy — and indeed, fish like tuna are a valuable source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart. But those same fish can have high mercury levels.
~*~

This post is a MUST READ work of art, hands down. Thanks to the intrepid Mr Daisy for forcing me to read it. The graphic alone is worth an award!

Money quote:
I’ve spent the last month helping my neighbors deal with their current health care crisis. She’s not really my neighbor, as she and her sister live next to my parents down the street, but when you live in a town of 300, everyone is your neighbor. They’ve lived next to my folks since I was thirteen. The elder sister (76) was married to an American, and they fled Beirut to America in 1983. Her husband died, so now it is just her and her sister (70.) Her sister had been having some problems, so they went to a doctor, then went to an endocrinologist, and long story short, it appears that she has a thyroid tumor the size of a canned ham in her chest. If she does not have it removed, it will continue to grow and kill her. We don’t know if it is cancerous, and there is no real way to know for sure, as it is so big that any biopsy of one area may not show anything, but cancer may exist elsewhere. Over the past few weeks, we have been to ENT doctors, cardiologists, thoracic surgeons, general practitioners, we’ve had biopsy, nuclear stress tests, cat scans, EKG’s, EEG’s, the works. In a couple weeks, she will have life-saving surgery, and she is healthy as a horse and will probably live for another twenty years.

Why am I telling you this? Because Medicare is paying for it. You, me, and everyone else who pays taxes is keeping this woman alive, and I am here to tell you it is worth every penny. She’s a wonderful, witty, charming woman with a lot to give the world. Without medicare, and under the Ryan “plan,” there is no chance she would be able to afford insurance, no one would insure a woman of her age with this health problem (just like it was before there was no medicare), no chance she would be able to afford the work that has and will be done, no one to provide the care she will need after surgery, and this tumor would be a death sentence. Her options would be… to die.
~*~

Sometimes, you think they must be making this stuff up. For instance: GOP Marks Oil Spill Anniversary With Drilling Push. Are they joking with that?

Nope.
We're one week away from the first anniversary of the worst oil spill in the nation's history, and to commemorate it, House Republicans spent Wednesday marking up a trio of bills that would dramatically increase drilling in the US.

The bills, all from Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, would open new areas for drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans, as well as Alaska's Bristol Bay. They would also speed up the process of approving drilling permits; after 60 days permits will be considered approved regardless of whether an environmental review is complete.
(((screams)))

~*~

And when I read stuff like the following, I just shake my head, stunned... see, in these parts, the dispute would be that someone did NOT want to say the Pledge of Allegiance:

Town wrestles with Pledge of Allegiance
BROOKLINE, Mass., April 13 (UPI) -- A Boston suburb is embroiled in a dispute about saying the Pledge of Allegiance in its public schools.

The policy approved last week by the Brookline School Committee requires the recitation of the pledge once a week in all K-8 schools. School officials said they were trying to find a policy that would meet both the state mandate on the pledge and court rulings banning students or staff members from being forced to say it, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

The school committee specifically said no student is required to join in, but those who do not must maintain a respectful silence. At the same time, the committee said children who do recite the pledge must not make fun of or harass those who do not.

The pledge became an issue when Gerardo Martinez, principal of Devotion School, one of the eight K-8 schools, sent parents a letter in December. He said the Pledge of Allegiance, which had not been recited at Devotion for about five years, would be said voluntarily once a week.

Brookline, a liberal enclave in one of the most liberal states and the hometown of former Gov. Michael Dukakis, who was accused of lack of patriotism when he ran for president in 1988, became a target on conservative blogs.

Parents and other residents have lined up on both sides. Katie Tagliavia said she found it "horrifying" that most of the girls in her Scout troop did not know the pledge, while Martin Rosenthal, a former selectman and father of a Devotion student, said he does not see any educational value in reciting it.
It's like news from another country.

Maybe it is. After all, for four years, this WAS another country, called the Confederate States of America. I hope to address the Civil War nostalgia of the moment (150th anniversary of the war) in a later post. Simply put, I believe the election of a black president has brought the nostalgia to a rather noxious boiling point. Ugh.

~*~

And finally... your much-delayed dose of cute: Harley and Daisy endure necessary housing repairs!

This would very much upset my (quite spoiled and overprotected) kitties, so I think they are doing GREAT! I hope everything is back to normal in your home soon, Harley and Daisy! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quote of the week

[The television commercial] is not merely therapy. It is instant therapy. Indeed, it puts forward a psychological theory of unique axioms: The commercial asks us to believe that all modern problems are solvable, that they are solvable fast, and that they are solvable fast through the interventions of technology, techniques and chemistry. This is, of course, a preposterous theory about the roots of discontent, and would appear so to anyone hearing or reading it. But the commercial disdains exposition, for that takes time and invites argument. It is a very bad commercial indeed that engages the viewer in wondering about the validity of the point being made. That is why most commercials use the literary device of the pseudo-parable as a means of doing their work. Such "parables" as The Ring Around the Collar, The Lost Travelers Checks, and The Phone Call from the Son Far Away not only have irrefutable emotional power but, like Biblical parables, are unambiguously didactic. The television commercial is about products only in the sense that the story of Jonah is about the anatomy of whales, which is to say, it isn't. Which is to say further, it is about how one ought to live one's life. Moreover, commercials have the advantage of vivid visual symbols through which we may easily learn the lessons being taught. Among these lessons are that short and simple messages are preferable to long and complex ones; that drama is to be preferred over exposition; that being sold solutions is better than being confronted with questions about problems. Such beliefs would naturally have implications for our orientation to political discourse; that is to say, we may begin to accept as normal certain assumptions about the political domain that either derive from or are amplified by the television commercial. For example, a person who has seen one million television commercials might well believe that all political problems have fast solutions through simple measures--or ought to. Or that complex language is not to be trusted, and that all problems lend themselves to theatrical expression. Or that argument is in bad taste, and leads only to an intolerable uncertainty. Such a person may also come to believe that it is not necessary to draw any line between politics and other forms of social life. Just as a television commercial will use an athlete, an actor, a musician, a novelist, a scientist or a countess to speak for the virtues of a product in no way within their domain of expertise, television also frees politicians from the limited field of their own expertise. Political figures may show up anywhere, at any time, doing anything, without being thought odd, presumptuous or in any way out of place. Which is to say, they have become assimilated into the general television culture as celebrities.

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1986

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Greenville GOP convention delegates give Santorum their vote

Let's hope he's the nominee of the party! That should make it easy enough.

What startled me was seeing the coverage on Fox News. Since when did the Greenville County GOP become a subsidiary of Fox? I guess since Senator DeMint started calling the Tea Party shots.

I'm always babbling on this blog that I live in the most conservative county in the country... and I think many of you believe I exaggerate. Well, Patrick Haddon says as much, below (see italics). I told you so!

Depressing but true. (And as regular readers know, I blame a certain family named BOB JONES for that.)

Former senator wins 31 percent of straw poll vote; Gingrich places 2nd
By Rudolph Bell • Staff Writer • Greenville News
Published: April 10. 2011

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was the runaway winner to challenge President Barack Obama next year in a straw poll Saturday at the Greenville County Republican Party convention.

Delegates gave Santorum 126 votes, or 31 percent, shortly after he spoke at the Carolina First Center during his 14th trip to South Carolina since late 2009. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who also spoke at the convention, placed second with 59 votes, or 14 percent.

Tied for third with 29 votes each were two potential presidential candidates who didn't attend: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and New York dealmaker and media personality Donald Trump.

The pair outscored Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who did speak at the convention, and captured 22 votes to place sixth.
...
Several longtime Republicans said they were surprised at Santorum's margin, but not [Greenville County GOP chairman Patrick] Haddon, who chalked it up to the former senator's social conservatism.

Greenville County is the most socially conservative part of South Carolina “and probably the country,” Haddon said.

He said Santorum no doubt made inroads with frequent visits to Greenville in recent months, “but in the end it really has to do with beliefs and being able to gel with the people in this room.”

Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill, who voted for Gingrich, said he was surprised by the straw poll results.

“Gingrich, some people think that he has baggage, but I don't feel that way,” Dill said, referring to the former speaker's admitted affairs and three marriages. “I think he's got a chance to really help this country. But really I'm not supporting anybody right now.”

After speaking in Greenville, Barbour, Gingrich and Santorum traveled to Spartanburg to speak at that county's GOP convention.

South Carolina typically gets lots of attention from presidential aspirants, particularly Republicans, because of its first-in-the-South primary.

Greenville, South Carolina's most populous county, accounted for more than 13 percent of the vote during the state's 2008 GOP presidential primary, far more than any other county.
No Huckabee and no Palin. No Michele Bachmann. I'd say we was dissed, boys and girls.

We'll see what happens at the much-ballyhooed Republican debate next month. Hopefully, not much.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Choctaw Bingo and other Saturday earworms

Lots of people prefer the original by John Prine, who wrote it... but I am partial to the version by the Man in Black.

Paradise - Johnny Cash



~*~

A great song about a drug dealer, although some have posited that it's actually about capitalism and bosses (Joe Strummer was red to the end). How fascinating that they are interchangeable!

Quite simply, some of the tightest rock music ever recorded.

Hateful - The Clash



~*~

Mimi Farina wrote this song about Janis Joplin, upon hearing of her passing in 1970... it was recorded by her sister, Joan Baez, in 1972.

Great photos of Janis in the video.

In the Quiet Morning - Joan Baez



~*~

You knew it was time for Steely Dan again, right? I tried to stay on topic about the economy and the budget and everything. ;)

Great graphics!

Black Friday - Steely Dan



~*~

As Charlie Daniels used to say, Time to Get Loud, Children. Starting at about 2:25, this boogies so hard, it will knock the mud right off your boots.

And check out Mary Huff's outfit, I MUST get one. (My late mama had that exact hairdo, exact color.)

Southern Culture on the Skids - White Trash/Greenback Fly



~*~

James McMurtry played Asheville recently, and I am told the entire audience knew all the words. (Well, of course they did.) I was fortunate enough to hear this performed live a few years ago, in a venue fulla rednecks jumping up and down. At the time, I realized, this was a quintessential southern moment, so it isn't surprising that "Choctaw Bingo" has turned into a southern anthem, of sorts.

Ann and Lynn come down from Baxter Springs
That's one hell raisin town way up in Southeastern Kansas
Got a biker bar next to the lingerie store
That's got them Rolling Stones lips up there in bright pink neon
And they're right downtown where everyone can see em
And they burn all night
you know they burn all night
you know they burn all night


And yes, you really should listen to all 8+ minutes, if you want the whole Choctaw Bingo experience. It's actually far better live, with raucous yelling and jumping-redneck accompaniment, but I could not locate a good live version, so going with the studio rendition for now.

Choctaw Bingo - James McMurtry



Have a great weekend everyone.

Plain(s) Feminist R.I.P.

I have tried several times over the past couple of days, to write a decent obit for my friend, Plain(s) Feminist. Her blog is listed below, not updated since February. I had not known that her breast cancer returned, or I would have called, written, anything. Our modern life rushes on, and it stuns us when someone is here today, gone tomorrow, in a scant six or seven weeks. Say what? But, but... she was so vital, so funny, so real, so aware, so present.

And now, she is not.

When I heard, cried my heart out. Got to work, sobbed there too. Good lord, Daisy, get a grip.

I have realized that my various existential crises are all bound up with death, my fear of death and my anger at death for taking the wrong people. I just wrote about awful individuals like Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich... they are still in this world and beautiful, kind, selfless Plain(s) Feminist (herein referred to as PF) is gone. This is not justice; this just makes me so upset. I ask God, as I often do: Excuse me, but WHAT IS THAT SHIT?!? I never get an answer, just the reminder that sooner or later, you, me, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and everyone else in the world, will hear from the Grim Reaper as well. But why so soon... why interrupt her work, her social activism, her writing, her teaching, her motherhood, her PLANS?

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

~*~

Once upon a time, I was devastated and confused beyond telling, and there are times I unwillingly return to this state when I cruise around Feminist Blogdonia. I once had many friends there, and happily, proudly populated my blog-roll with them. Most are still there, even as they have exiled me. A major fallout on a fairly-large email list, left me persona non grata among many of these people... all (but one) much younger than me. Most had college degrees (even advanced degrees) and there was no question that I was waaaay out of my league. Blundering in with my uncouth redneck sensibility and using the wrong language was bound to happen. When it did, and I was tarred and feathered in short order (leaving me dazed and confused, even now), PF was one of the people who comforted me and explained things (see link above). This is part of being a woman, this is also a struggle of feminism... that women should learn to work together. It is not surprising that we don't know how; that instead, we savage each other. We have been raised to do that, after all. She wrote to me, "When a friend of mine tells me I've misunderstood her, I listen to that." And she did.

How precious to find the person who listens. Her students were so lucky.

I can't add much to what others have written... please read Kittywampus, since she knew PF better than I did and has also collected obituary-links. Some have used her given name and some have not, and I am confused about whether that is acceptable, so when in doubt, I don't. But other people have, and if you are in the Women's Studies field, you may have known her. Please go check out the links and pay your respects.

I once told PF that I believed the advent of Women's Studies was the death of activist feminism, an (honest) opinion I lob every now and then, to see what the professors will say. (It's a dead horse, so I no longer beat it, but I did for years.) Most of them have just sneered back, huh UH! and shook their heads forcefully, nary missing a beat. But none took the charge seriously. When I said it rather offhandedly to PF, she emailed me specifically and asked me to elaborate, and kindly asked for evidence. Wow, really?! Nobody ever did that before, so I chronicled some of my decades-long observations. She emailed me and said yes, those are great points (!) and we need to CONNECT women's studies to activism, always, or it is just an academic thing, no different or any more enlightening or important than other academic pursuits. And in her life, she did this... she belonged to all kinds of activist groups and also supported many activist women. She walked the walk and talked the talk. And how RARE is that? (Unfortunately, this brings me back to my anger that the rare jewels are taken from us, while the baddies are here in full force--gahhh!!!) PF asked me to have patience with the Women's Studies grads and see them as having been "prepped" by her and others, for the activism that I might teach them... a hand-off, if you will. The idea that we were working together was such a radical one, such a great concept. We would all, gladly, work for PF, and make sure her newly-radicalized students fulfilled her dreams.

PF leaves a life-partner and son.

Goodbye, my friend. We should all have your zeal, your energy, your drive, your love, your essential decency and morality as applied to women... well, your feminism. Just plain feminism.

Government shutdown averted

Comic comes courtesy of Yellowdog Grannie.



And so the government shutdown was averted at the last minute. I remember the last one (in 1995) quite well, as we had made plans to hike Kennesaw Mountain, which is a federal monument. My father-in-law, who believed Newt Gingrich (his horrible congressman) was trying to ruin his life, was convinced that the park would probably be closed when we got there and all our careful plans would come to naught. The shutdown was lifted right before our planned weekend, and the mountain was filled with delayed-hikers.

I was working at the local community college, and I recall employees asking if the school (which received ample federal funds) would eventually be shut down. I remember our supervisor getting some time-line from somewhere, and reading it aloud to us: this is how long the federal government would have to be shut down before the college would need to close. I can't remember the exact length of time; but it was not immediate. However, it was an eventuality. Employees joked that they had wanted the day off; others worried lay-offs would ensue. And they did.

I hadn't been there long and knew my number would be up soon, so I switched jobs within the year. This was shockingly easy in retrospect; I took the Clinton-economy for granted, as we all did. I switched (and added) jobs with near-abandon in the 90s.

And what will happen now? The infrastructure of this country is falling apart as it is. What "budget cuts" are so important? Oh, right, abortion. Always, abortion abortion abortion... fetuses uber alles, as existing American children starve. Yo, prolifers, there are plenty of homeless, sick children to feed and adopt. At least Tea Party crackpot Michele Bachmann can truthfully claim she has put her money where her mouth is, and has provided for 23 foster children in her lifetime. Impressive. So, let's see a similar record from the rest of them!

Ha! I think we'll be waiting a while on that one.

Your opinions of this continuing Ayn Randian soap opera?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Upcoming Republican Debate in Greenville

... appears to be a big bust so far, since nobody is officially running for president. (Punchline: What if the DeMint Faction gave a debate and nobody came?) They have until May 5th to stir up some interest and justify all of the Chamber of Commerce/Fox News hoopla. So far, they are stuck with the likes of right-wing fruitcake (and former Pennsylvania Senator) Rick Santorum and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer. Obviously, they were hoping for rock stars like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, all of whom would provide some fun fireworks.

But... Santorum and Roemer? Not so much.

The Greenville News is worried:

A month shy of Greenville’s Republican presidential debate — now the first in the nation — there are still no formal GOP candidates for president, though some are edging closer.

It’s a far cry from this date four years ago, when the choices were already clear, and the relative slowness of the GOP field to congeal has prompted a four-month delay to the other spring presidential debate.

State GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd told GreenvilleOnline.com there’ll be no such delay in Greenville and predicted at least five participants in the May 5 Fox News debate at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts.

Two potential candidates, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, have publicly committed to the Greenville debate, while a spokesman for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he will not attend.

It’s unclear what the rest will do.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said it makes sense for candidates in the out-of-power party to save their money against an incumbent president who’s likely to raise $1 billion.

The pace sets up Greenville to start the national conversation in a Republican landscape where some in the party say voters are eager to build on 2010 victories but where the candidates are still coy about their intentions.

Greenville attorney David Wilkins, former speaker of the state House of Representatives and U.S. ambassador to Canada, said the cancellation of the California debate makes the one in Greenville more important.

“It’s the first one,” said Wilkins, a Republican who has been raising money for the Greenville event as one of its co-chairmen.

Santorum told GreenvilleOnline.com that the debate rules allow participation by potential candidates who have not yet formally announced campaigns.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour haven’t decided whether to run for president and will explore debate opportunities after they decide, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will participate in the Greenville debate “if he’s a candidate,” press aides said.

Gingrich told Foster’s Daily Democrat in New Hampshire this week that he’ll likely decide on a candidacy by May 1.

Attempts to reach officials with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty were unsuccessful.

Santorum was the first to confirm his debate appearance. He said, “I think South Carolina will be a great place to start the action.”

Aaron Walker, spokesman for Roemer, said the former Louisiana governor is also committed.

A debate scheduled for May 2 at the Reagan library in California was delayed until September because organizers said they were concerned it wouldn’t attract all the eventual candidates.

The Greenville debate, however, may serve a different purpose, Sabato said, helping cement the state’s cherished position as the first in the South to judge Republican presidential hopefuls.

“You’ve got to work as hard as Iowa and New Hampshire to protect your status in the system,” Sabato said. “It’s a very favored status.”
As I wrote here, I had originally planned on a protest, but now I don't think one is necessary. Let's hope it turns into a bust and messes up all of their elephant-sized GOP dreams for now. (I hope Senator DeMint takes it personally that the GOP is dissing the debate in his hometown, hee hee hee!) Of course, I am still encouraging people to show up with signs and misbehave, but I don't think an organized effort will draw many people, unless Bachmann or someone of that caliber shows up.

And will they? Stay tuned, sports fans.

An anonymous local politico added his two cents, when I told him I wanted to title this post, "Greenville fucked by DeMint wing of Republican party"; he said the subtitle should be "Greenville moans with pleasure."

Yeah. Wish I'd thought of that.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Charlie Sheen: Hero of the hour?

As you have undoubtedly heard, Charlie Sheen's live shows didn't go over so well over the weekend. Practicing alcoholics are never as funny as they think they are, in the long haul. With editing, yes. For a whole show, no. From ABC:

After all but getting booed off stage at the Detroit, Mich. debut of his live show, "My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option," it's unclear if or how Sheen's month-long tour will proceed.

Anticipation ran high for the event. Ticket holders milled about the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit before the 8 p.m. start time, sometimes yelling Sheen catchphrases like "tiger blood" and "winning" to rev up fellow attendees. As of Saturday afternoon, all 4,700 seats at the theater had been sold.
...
Sheen managed to up the crowd's enthusiasm for the start of his act. Before his official debut, he played a montage of video clips including scenes from "Apocalypse Now," the film starring Sheen's father that Sheen claims to be obsessed with. He then strutted on stage with his "goddesses," Bree Olsen and Natalie Kenly, who proceeded to engage in a passionate kiss, much to the delight of the crowd.

They then went backstage to burn a bowling shirt similar to the one Sheen wore on "Two and a Half Men." While footage of the shirt on fire in a garbage can played on the big screen behind him, Sheen urged the crowd to hold up their lighters, asking, "Doesn't anyone smoke cigarettes anymore?"

The spectacle mirrored the ranting and raving Sheen's done online and in interviews over the past few weeks. But after that, things took a turn for the weird.

Sheen stood at a podium in front of a pseudo-presidential looking seal saying "Warlock States of Sheen" and launched into a nonsensical speech seemingly directed at his critics.

He started, "Tonight I am delivered by cyber cloud, with the stomp and glisten of heaven's produce section." He then talked about burning something "down from the mount of olive" and "gasoline rainbows." He frequently damned "trolls" -- presumably, "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre and his former bosses at CBS and Warner Brothers. He called Sarah Palin a "whore" for no apparent reason.
No apparent reason? Of course there is an apparent reason, that you media-swine refuse to take seriously: He's a misogynist pig.

The fact that so many people find his woman-hating amusing and worth celebrating, lets us know exactly how far we have to go.

Anna Holmes' piece in the New York Times, linked above, details all the woman-pounding Charlie has humorously engaged in over the years. And as a rich, privileged white man, he gets by with all of it (paging Chris Brown! Chris Brown, call your office)... and of course, since so many of the women getting pounded are mere actresses, models and sex workers, they 'deserve' it:
A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded; it’s part of the deal. The promise of a modern Cinderella ending — attention, fame, the love and savings account of a rich man — is always the assumed goal.

Objectification and abuse, it follows, is not only an accepted occupational hazard for certain women, but something that men like Mr. Sheen have earned the right to indulge in. (Mr. Sheen reportedly once said that he didn’t pay prostitutes for the sex; he paid them “to leave.”)
Haha, ain't that funny? Is he serious or joking?--go the predictable onlooker-comments... ohhh, he's just being funny. Actually, I think he means everything he says, and he has repeatedly proven that he is willing to back it up with a nice right to the jaw, if any nearby female should argue.
Indeed, it’s difficult for many to discern any difference between Mr. Sheen’s real-life, round-the-clock, recorded outbursts and the sexist narratives devised by reality television producers, in which women are routinely portrayed as backstabbing floozies, and dreadful behavior by males is explained away as a side effect of unbridled passion or too much pilsner.
And so, a pricey live show-tour by a woman-hater, or should I say ANOTHER woman-hater (there are oodles of rock stars and hip-hop stars and country-and-western stars who have gotten plenty rich off of women-hating... paging Eminem! paging Ted Nugent! etc) ... and then I see Phyllis Schlafly (barfs for emphasis) on C-Span over the weekend, telling us that feminism is over with and no longer necessary, and what are these harridans and harpies still so pissed off about?

One wonders if she has flipped her channels lately, over to ABC (live video of Charlie at above link) or to the millions of other outlets that have advertised Charlie's zealously-sexist antics over recent months. Hello? What planet is Schlafly on?

They deserve each other, most assuredly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blogger gets fancy

Techies and other blog-geeks may have heard: Blogger/Google has rolled out the fancy new "perspective changes" for Blogspot blogs. The official PR says these new and nifty layouts are "stunning examples of CSS3 and HTML5 Technologies"--whatever that is!

Here are the five new perspectives, and an example of my blog in each one. Which one do you like best?

Flipcard

Mosaic

Sidebar

Snapshot

Timeslide


I am somewhat partial to Mosaic, but Snapshot is also kinda cool. (However, it must be admitted that Sidebar is easiest to read.)

Would you prefer reading blogs in these formats?