Thursday, June 30, 2011

Test: Are you an animal rights wacko?

Does this movie-trailer give you an indescribable thrill you simply can't repress? Do you want to cheer on the monkeys, even though you know what will happen? Do you feel like suddenly standing up in the theatre and screaming: FREE THE LAB ANIMALS!!! REVOLUTION!

If not, you probably aren't. But I am.

And I can't wait to see the movie.

Trailer: Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Joel Osteen: Faster Horses

I admit, I am fascinated with Joel Osteen.

Primarily, the whole gospel-of-plenty thing, really blows my mind. Catholics will do a sneaky novena asking for greenbacks here and there, but nothing like Joel counsels us to do. He says you have to think BIG, like God does. He sounds like Cecil B DeMille.

As I've said before, this whole line of thinking was stolen wholesale from the late Reverend Ike, appropriately dressed up and taken to the white suburbs. Joel constantly tells us we deserve big things, better jobs, giant houses (don't settle for smaller!) and prosperity prosperity prosperity!

Listening to him, I have more than once recalled the chorus of the old Tom T. Hall song, Faster Horses:

Faster Horses
Younger Women
Older Whiskey
And More Money
I halfway-expect Joel to belt that out, at some point.

While I am admitting my fascination with America's foremost preacher of the Prosperity Gospel (note the link does not include Reverend Ike, whom they all stole from), let me catalog my points of fascination:

1) His smile and his teeth. The literary term, "he beamed at us" hardly suffices for what Joel can do... his smile is bloody incandescent.

Ronald Reagan Jr once said no man was a match for his father, when his father decided to "turn on the high-beams"--and I daresay, I have found the match.

Could anyone argue with this smile? I certainly couldn't. If he was in sales, he would be as rich as the Sun King... oh wait, he is and he is, I forgot.

2) His wife, Victoria. As a feminist, I don't usually call women Barbie dolls, since that would be mean, she winked at her readers. And besides, that would only be describing her appearance, not her famous diva-tantrums. Joel never talks about her tantrums, but I wonder how he feels about her periodic um, moods?

I'd love to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall during one of their squabbles.

3) His hair. Nobody would listen to a promise of prosperity from a 49-year-old who was losing his hair. It's a psychological thing: since he has an enviable, profuse, heavy head of hair, he probably has LOTS OF EVERYTHING. Samson and Delilah, etc. His prayers keep his hair from falling out, don't they? Obviously, his prayers work pretty good!

4) The way he points upward (to God and heaven, presumably) at key points during his sermons. I once attended a retail-sales workshop in which I was taught that I should touch the item I intended to sell. Pick it up and make it "intimate"; you will notice on shopping networks such as QVC and HSN, there is virtual non-stop pawing of the merchandise. You have to make it real for people, and putting something REAL in your hands, is the way. And it does increase sales.

What do you if it's God you are selling?

Some preachers pound that Bible, or pound that lectern, or emote-in-extremis whilst explaining things (Jimmy Swaggart was famously very good at this). Joel points upward. Lots. It's like he's been there already, and has come back to tell you all about it.

Well, if having millions of dollars is the way to heaven, or is the equivalent of heaven on earth, or something... I guess he HAS been there, hasn't he?

My question is: In these harsh economic times, why isn't everyone jealous of him, instead of giving him even MORE money?

I think this is due to--

5) The amazingly-wholesome vibe he puts out. This is what keeps me glued to the screen. He is so POSITIVE, so, so, so... POSITIVE. There just isn't any other word for it. OPTIMISTIC maybe. And the people I've met who like Osteen, are just this optimistic and positive also. Although they tend to believe fundamentalist ideas (or at least give lip service to them), they are reluctant to judge others, and concentrate mostly on their own lives and spreading good feelings and love (while praying for prosperity).

You might say Osteen has learned to combine the peace-and-love of the hippie era of his childhood, with the Reagan-era go-getter capitalist concepts of his adulthood... just add Jesus and stir. Works for Joel.

Joel is way better than the Mike Huckabees of the world, and yet, there are Christians who are driven bonkers by his warping of the scriptures, dragging in that tired old Prayer of Jabez and ignoring the words of Christ Himself.

Christ was no fan of the rich, and that is the Gospel. And yet, it seems this unabashed embrace of capitalist values insures they won't meddle too much in social issues. After all, unbridled capitalism IS a social issue, too, and I think Joel knows that. I watched an old sermon last night, dated 2009, and it was interesting in the way he says "Don't worry that you can't afford a new house, because God will provide!"--wait, I thought, did this idea contribute to the housing market crash?

Hanna Rosin has been there already, and is way ahead of me:
On the cover of his 4 million-copy best seller from 2004, Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen looks like a recent college grad who just got hired by Goldman Sachs and can’t believe his good luck. His hair is full, his teeth are bright, his suit is polished but not flashy; he looks like a guy who would more likely shake your hand than cast out your demons. Osteen took over his father’s church in 1999. He had little preaching experience, although he’d managed the television ministry for years. The church grew quickly, as Osteen packaged himself to appeal to the broadest audience possible. In his books and sermons, Osteen quotes very little scripture, opting instead to tell uplifting personal anecdotes. He avoids controversy, and rarely appears on Christian TV. In a popular YouTube clip, he declines to confirm Larry King’s suggestion that only those who believe in Jesus will go to heaven.
...
Osteen is often derided as Christianity Lite, but he is more like Positivity Extreme. “Cast down anything negative, any thought that brings fear, worry, doubt, or unbelief,” he urges. “Your attitude should be: ‘I refuse to go backward. I am going forward with God. I am going to be the person he wants me to be. I’m going to fulfill my destiny.’” Telling yourself you are poor, or broke, or stuck in a dead-end job is a form of sin and “invites more negativity into your life,” he writes. Instead, you have to “program your mind for success,” wake up every morning and tell yourself, “God is guiding and directing my steps.” The advice is exactly like the message of The Secret, or any number of American self-help blockbusters that edge toward magical thinking, except that the religious context adds another dimension.
...
Demographically, the growth of the prosperity gospel tracks fairly closely to the pattern of foreclosure hot spots. Both spread in two particular kinds of communities—the exurban middle class and the urban poor. Many newer prosperity churches popped up around fringe suburban developments built in the 1990s and 2000s, says [religion professor Jonathan] Walton. These are precisely the kinds of neighborhoods that have been decimated by foreclosures, according to Eric Halperin, of the Center for Responsible Lending
...
[Most] new prosperity-gospel churches were built along the Sun Belt, particularly in California, Florida, and Arizona—all areas that were hard-hit by the mortgage crisis. [Religious researcher Kate] Bowler, who, like Walton, was researching a book, spent a lot of time attending the “financial empowerment” seminars that are common at prosperity churches. Advisers would pay lip service to “sound financial practices,” she recalls, but overall they would send the opposite message: posters advertising the seminars featured big houses in the background, and the parking spots closest to the church were reserved for luxury cars.

Nationally, the prosperity gospel has spread exponentially among African American and Latino congregations. This is also the other distinct pattern of foreclosures. “Hyper-segregated” urban communities were the worst off, says Halperin.
...
It is not all that surprising that the prosperity gospel persists despite its obvious failure to pay off. Much of popular religion these days is characterized by a vast gap between aspirations and reality. Few of Sarah Palin’s religious compatriots were shocked by her messy family life, because they’ve grown used to the paradoxes; some of the most socially conservative evangelical churches also have extremely high rates of teenage pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births, and divorce.
In short, it's Joel Osteen's hour. He won't put you down for being divorced, etc.

He will point upward, and for some unfathomable reason, you just want to follow him up there.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

ALERT: New photo ID law makes it harder to vote in SC than anywhere in the USA

At left: Delores Freelon has lost the right to vote in the next election because she can't meet requirements of SC's new photo ID law in time. 178,000 South Carolinians without state-issued photo IDs will have their voting rights rescinded under the new law.

You can listen to Delores' story here.

Thanks to Becci Robbins and the South Carolina Progressive Network for the information in this post. (And if you'd like Facebook updates from SCPRONET, click here).

Excerpted from SC Prog Blog (link above):

The National Conference of State Legislatures has identified seven states as having the most restrictive photo ID requirements for voting: Georgia, Kansas, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Carolina. All require voters to show a photo ID, but states vary in what kind and how hard it is to get.
» In Georgia, if voters are already registered, they automatically get a new photo ID voter registration card.

» In Kansas, voters can use a driver’s license from out of state, any accredited college ID, or government-issued public assistance cards. Voters over 65 may show expired ID.

» In Texas, you can get ID to vote with your concealed weapons permit, your boating license, insurance policy or beautician’s license. Or you can vote a provisional ballot if you will incur fees in order to vote. Voters over 70 are exempt.

» In Indiana, those without a photo ID get their provisional vote counted by claiming the fees to get the required documents were a burden.

» In Wisconsin, voters can use any state driver’s license, Social Security card or student ID.

» In Tennessee, a driver’s license from any state allows you to vote.

» In South Carolina, voters must produce a birth certificate to get the state-issued photo ID required to vote. No exceptions. (If you vote a provisional ballot, that won’t count unless you present your state-issued photo ID within three days.)
Numbers are hard to project, but it is clear that some of the 178,000 registered South Carolina voters who don’t have their papers in order will not be able to vote in the next election.

Even though there are no cases of the kind of fraud this law is purported to prevent, our cash-strapped state will spend at least the $700,000 supporters say it will cost to implement. Opponents say it will cost two to three times that much to educate poll workers and the public about the new law.
...
The governor has said you can’t put a price on the sanctity of the vote.

She should tell that to Delores Freelon, a Columbia resident and registered voter who won’t be able to vote in the next election because she has a Louisiana driver’s license and can’t get her birth certificate from California in time. What about the sanctity of her vote? What about Ms. Kennedy in Sumter, whose birth certificate lists her first name as Baby Girl, meaning she’ll have to go to court to get her papers straight in order to get a photo ID? Or Larrie Butler, who was born at home in Calhoun County in 1926 and is being told he needs records from an elementary school that no longer exists in order to establish a birth certificate?

Stories like these are coming in from around the state. The SC Progressive Network, which for 15 years has been advocating for voting rights, is fielding calls from people with questions about the new law or having problems meeting the ID requirements.

The lucky ones will still get to vote, but only after jumping through hoops and paying fees at various state agencies. Some will have to amend their birth certificates by going to court, at considerable cost. People without a car, a computer or short on money are simply out of luck. The disenfranchised will be primarily seniors and the poor. Many of them will be people of color who have voted all their lives.
...
This quiet whittling away of the vote is no accident. It is, in fact, the point. It’s the pattern being repeated in GOP-controlled legislatures across the country.

In South Carolina, we have a brief chance to challenge this law. Because of our state’s history of disenfranchising people of color, ours is one of seven states that must get pre-clearance from the US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) before new voting laws can go into effect. Once the state attorney general files the case, DOJ has up to 60 days to consider whether the law suppresses the minority vote.

The SC Progressive Network is gathering statements to forward to DOJ documenting voters’ experiences. We need volunteers around the state to help find citizens who will have a hard time meeting the new voting requirements. If you want to help, call the Network at 803-808-3384 or see scpronet.com for details.

SC Progressive Network
PO Box 8325 • Columbia, SC 29202
803-808-3384
email: network@scpronet.com

If you can help in any way, we would all appreciate it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Places I've lived - a Google street view tour

At left: I am born. (First place I lived, according to my birth certificate. There were 5-7 other people living there too, but not certain of the exact number. It's the house in the middle.)



I have finally learned how to make photos of screen shots. Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to crop the picture in Microsoft Paint. If you goof up, makes a big HOLE on the screen! Aiyee!

To celebrate my newfound, hard-won knowledge (took all day!) -- here are some screen shots of places I've lived, lifted wholesale from the redoubtable Google Street View. You could DIE from all the excitement.

I initially did these as a test, and then when I saw the finished result, decided to post them here. I apologize in advance for the rather blah nature of these locales; I'm sorry my life hasn't been lived in particularly picturesque spots. Instead, you get the complete working class tour of OHIO. All of these locations are in Columbus, except for the paper mill. (I guess Massillon, Ohio, is not big enough to get the full Google Street View treatment yet?) I lived in all of these places before the age of 25... my family didn't like to stay in one place. In pre-digital days, it was much harder (if not impossible) for bill collectors to find you if you moved around all the time.

I admit the houses and apartments look rather boring, but my family livened up the block, let me assure you.

I did not attempt to put these in chronological order, since I am not even 100% sure what the order IS, and I know I'd get it messed up. But I did manage to put the schools last, which is saying something!

PS: You can click to enlarge, I just discovered.

Below:

1) This apartment building is currently being torn down or already has been; HERE is a relatively current Facebook photo mid-demolition. (I am not sure if that link will show up or not, some Facebook photos link acceptably and some don't; not sure of the rhyme or reason for that.)

There wasn't any message from God on the building while I lived there, though.

2) I think we were 3rd flat from the end on the right. This is the first place my baby ever lived!

3) This is where I had my first drug overdose as a teenager. Ah, memories. We lived in the apartment furthest from the road, Apt. D.

I really liked it here, despite some accidental mucking around with mama's pills. (Hey, nobody's perfect.)

4) The layout of the apartment in #3, reminded me of this one, where I lived when I started kindergarten. (See, this is why I told you it could never be chronological. Are you kidding?)

5) Ogden Avenue on the Hilltop, the last place I lived before moving south. I loved this old house, which my grandmother was buying on "land contract"--which I never understood. They foreclosed on it anyway.

It did not have that awful white screen on the porch--but I will admit that the ugly green color is the same... mercifully it has faded a bit over time.

6) My mother's house (also on the Hilltop), which was not blue and would never be blue if my mother was still alive. :( She will haunt those poor people for painting it that color!

Although it's 10 rooms, with full attic, garage and basement, the age and location of the house made it a hard-sell... I did not try to stop the foreclosure, but it broke my heart. My mother owned this house since the mid-70s.

7) Duplex with red doors, we lived on the right side. This is where my child was conceived! (more than you really wanted to know)

8) This used to be the Rustic Tavern on West Broad Street, owned by my aunt Ruth. It looked very different then. My mother sang in the country-and-western house-band there, and we lived upstairs.

This is where I first heard Last Date, since I could hear it through the ceiling, and knew this meant they were closing up for the night. I could be sound asleep and still wake up on the first notes of Last Date. (note: evillll YouTube yanked the song in that link, so try this one.)

9) When my mother and stepfather broke up, my mother left me here (age 9) with relatives and promptly disappeared for months. Thus, I didn't like the house.

I do remember that this was where I discovered the Monkees. :)

10) We lived on the right side of this duplex; the tan house on the far left was the home of Mickey Mantle's cousin, also surnamed Mantle, who used to drink (in earnest) with my grandfather. I don't remember his first name since of course, in those days, we called adults "Mr"--thus I recall his name was "Mr Mantle"...

11) Left side of duplex this time! I think the couch on the curb really makes the photo.

12) Isn't that chain-link fence awful?! My grandmother would have totally flipped out. Needless to say, it wasn't there when we lived there.

13) This was a drug store when I lived above it. One of the businesses on the ground floor was the first place I ever smoked weed--an R & B/funk record store called Jim's House of Soul.

It sure was!

14) This old building was the paper mill my stepfather worked in, located in Massillon Ohio. The sidewalk in front is where he walked the picket line during the strike.

There was a huge, musty old room of discarded books, magazines and comics, ready to be recycled into pulp... my stepfather brought me paper bags full of great stuff to read almost every day. THIS is where I learned to LOVE to read, and began reading for pleasure and enjoyment. They were old and sometimes (maddeningly!) had pages missing, but I loved them all. This was where I first learned to love comics, especially. Also, ancient movie magazines... where I first saw my beloved ELIZABETH!

The recycle-room of the paper mill was a magical place to me.

15) Lindbergh Elementary School, where we had to learn to spell CHARLES LINDBERGH correctly on spelling tests. I'll bet you never had to do that.

The iconic "Charlie Brown Christmas" piano music always makes me think of this school; candy canes and cutting out paper snowflakes.

16) Deshler Elementary School, where we were dismissed early after the assasination of JFK.

17) Hilltonia Middle School, which was called JUNIOR HIGH when I attended. I still think JUNIOR HIGH sounds better; who decided to name them all MIDDLE? Yech.

It was NOT a two-toned building when I attended... yech to that too.

18) West High School, my um, alma mater. ((((screams))))

Looks exactly the same.

~*~

Hope you enjoyed your tour!












Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: swimming baby

It's my son-in-law and his little clone, my adorable grandson! (((preens))) He just turned a year old.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tunes - Happy solstice edition

Some of you may remember this delightful masterpiece as the theme song of the cult film Harold and Maude. Thanks to Jodda Mitchell for reminding me. (Of the message, too.)

If you want to sing out - Cat Stevens

Headline of the year

In case you are one of the 5 people left in the universe who don't know what this refers to, background stories here and here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear Netroots Nation

Why did your fabulous, hoity-toity blogger conference cost $335 to attend (NOT including travel and lodging costs) when you are supposedly allied with the LEFT?

Do you see the irony here?

Is there some reason it has to be so expensive? Exactly where does all this money GO TO? You aren't paying rich people to give speeches, are you? As leftists, why aren't you paying poor people to give speeches instead? (PS: Do you know any? Do you need a list?)

If the RightOnline conference is in the same venue, how come they could charge $49 for their conference? Why does the right wing understand that these are harsh economic times, but you don't?

Do you see the irony here?

And yes, I realize there are "scholarships"* for us unfortunate poor schlubs who can't afford your exclusive, cool-kids conference. (Do we have to officially certify our poverty, as when applying for welfare?) My question: Why can't you charge $49 so you won't need to peddle "scholarships" in the first place?

Do you understand there is a very serious problem, when LEFTISTS (who supposedly care about the poor) cannot afford to attend a leftist conference of elitists who have deliberately closed them out? Do you understand there is a very serious problem, when the RightOnline conference WANTS to include the poor people that you have deliberately excluded? What do you make of that?

What does it mean that I can afford the RightOnline conference and not Netroots Nation? It means they care about me and welcome me, and you don't.

Why don't you? And where do you get off calling yourselves progressive, when in reality, you are exclusionary, exclusive elitists?

THIS is why the Tea Party is winning. THIS. IS. WHY.

And when they say the Left does not care about regular Americans? When they say that you only care about identity politics and theory? What is your answer to them? Your answer is: The difference between $335 and $49, which to you probably doesn't amount to much, so you don't get it. Its the difference between Banana Republic and Walmart. Your conference attendees will wear the first brand, the RightOnline attendees will wear the second.

And you still think you are the compassionate ones.

~*~


(*) Who thought up this offensive terminology? "Scholarships" are for kids going to school. The juvenile term "scholarship" reduces the seeker of charity to being a child. Why don't you just call it a voucher and show poor folks a wee bit o' respect? (Of course, true respect would be to make it affordable and accessible to everyone, and I think we know you have no such intention.)

Yes, I've written about this before. (sigh)

Greetings from Kudzu Nation

At left: Kudzu colonizes riverside on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.


My profuse apologies for the unannounced blog break. At first, it was a real live recreational break, complete with hiking my favorite section of our beloved Swamp Rabbit Trail ... and then our electricity went FIZZLE... and so did we.

Nightmarish!

After the storm this week, we were without electricity for a whole day. (Some areas got it much worse, too.) If you think that's easy in South Carolina summer heat, think again. We were careful to stay STILL and QUIET ... and I soon figured out the reason for the well-worn stereotype of southerners acting/talking S-L-O-W is likely because they were simply too hot to move for hundreds of years.

Made sick from heat, I barely got the laundry done. Thankfully, I think we've recovered now. (It took me a very nice birthday party to completely recover, but I have!)

Mr Daisy forced me to go see X-MEN FIRST CLASS, which wasn't half-bad. The black man sitting next to me buried his face in his hands when Darwin bought it early. Then he placed his head on the shoulder of the woman next to him, as if to weep. Yeah, the sole black man gets knocked off early, way before the bang-up finale, in which the X-Men stop the Cuban Missile Crisis! (and all this time you thought it was Bobby Kennedy!) I like to think I would have noticed this without my movie-neighbor's reaction, but it is possible I wouldn't have, so my hat is off to him for bringing it to my attention.

Why do they do that? The old Star Trek TV-series used to do that, too... if there was a black guy in the landing party, you could expect the aliens to eat his innards first!

Left: Kudzu eats tree.


Delinquent in blogging, at least I've been collecting some pretty good links, so have at it:

:: Possibly, the blog post title of the year: Republican Senator Says “Fuck It”, Legalize Gay Marriage (Jezebel)

:: Asshole New Jersey governor Christie declares to voters that it's "none of your business" if he sends his kids to private school while enthusiastically gutting public schools... and if you thought otherwise, New Jersey folks, since YOU are paying his salary, well, he sets you straight in no uncertain terms. ((((fumes))))

:: My Ex-Gay Friend (The New York Times) Fascinating article about queer-theory junkie who turns into a fundie. This is the money quote:

It all sounded very much like the Michael I knew at XY, a young man who was fascinated by queer theory — namely, the idea that sexual and gender identities are culturally constructed rather than biologically fixed — and who dreamed of a world without labels like “straight” and “gay,” which he deemed restrictive and designed to “segment and persecute,” as he argued in a 1998 issue of XY. Though he conceded back then that it was important “to stay unified under a ‘Gay’ political umbrella” until equality for gays and lesbians had been achieved, Michael preferred to label himself queer.

As Ben and I reminisced, I couldn’t help wondering if Michael’s new philosophy might, in a strange way, be a logical extension of what he believed back then — that “gay” is a limiting category and that sexual identities can change. Ben nodded. “A radical queer activist and a fundamentalist Christian aren’t always as different as they might seem,” he said, adding that they’re ideologues who can railroad over nuance and claim a monopoly on the truth.
:: I have repeatedly attempted to blog about the whole Boeing fiasco in South Carolina, but every time I start a post, the situation just mushrooms further. I think I have finally found an article that explains it succinctly: 'Boeing retaliated' (Charleston Post and Courier):
Republicans on the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned why the Democrat-controlled National Labor Relations Board sued Boeing over its decision in 2009 to locate the plant in North Charleston.

Democrats questioned if Boeing retaliated against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers by putting the factory in mostly non-unionized South Carolina to avoid costly labor strikes.

On the hot seat during most of the nearly four-hour hearing was NLRB acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, who reluctantly agreed to testify after being threatened with a subpoena.

"We believe the evidence will show that Boeing retaliated against its employees," Solomon said. "The decision to build a second line in South Carolina was in retaliation for the employees' right to strike."
And for you geeks who require labor-law details, please check out this post from the SC Green Party blog: NLRB and Labor Law: Discussion on C-Span

At left: Kudzu eats hill.


:: And just in case you wondered why our schools always place last (or near last) nationally? Greedhead Republican swine, especially the current governor:
Haley: $105 million should go for tax cuts, not schools
. (The Columbia State)
Gov. Nikki Haley threatened Wednesday to veto a state Senate proposal to add $105 million to the state’s K-12 education funding, saying the money should instead be used for tax cuts or to pay off state debt.

Haley also said that, in the future, anytime a three-member panel of state economists increases its estimates of how much money the state will bring in, as it did last month, that money should go for tax cuts, rebates or to pay off state debt.

That position is certain to endear Haley to her Tea Party supporters, who say they are taxed enough already.

But it will upset others who say that, after cutting billions from the state’s general fund during the just-ended Great Recession, recovering state revenues should be used to restore services that were cut or can justify more support.
:: Announcing a South Carolina demonstration against the Libyan intervention, which our Senator Lindsey Graham thinks is just great great great. This has been organized by the Carolina Peace Resource Center:
Saturday, June 25 · 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Location: Five Points Fountain (Greene & Harden St.)
Columbia, South Carolina.
This is a great location, since you can shop afterwards at Hip-Wa-Zee (Hi Leslie!) and Loose Lucy's. Only a dullard could resist! Be there or be square! (Yes, I sometimes miss living in Columbia, which I did for about 7 months.)

And finally...

NO MORE Law and Order Criminal Intent after this weekend?!? (((screams in agony)))) NOOOOooooOOOO!!!!

They are taking one of my favorite binge-drugs away.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Cat Blogging: Ziggy

Whenever Cousin Bethie's kitty Ziggy relaxes, she sticks her tongue out. It's the cutest thing!

PS: Hope everyone has a great weekend; Ziggy says you should kick back and enjoy the summer sun.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ragged Orchids

The Ragged Orchids at the Reedy River concert series last night.

10% Conservative? Me?

I think it must be my tolerance of guns that gets me that relatively high 25% on social issues, but hey, nobody's perfect.




You Are 10% Conservative, 90% Liberal



Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal



Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal



Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal



Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal



Defense and Crime: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal


Casey Anthony trial, week 3

Mean but very funny T-shirt I saw at HeroesCon over the weekend.



Does anybody remember the Susan Smith extravaganza?

Before Susan Smith admitted that she drowned her sons, she blamed their disappearance on that handy-dandy, world-wide boogieman, A Black Man. To the credit of South Carolina, nobody really believed her. An evil black man jumps out of the woods and steals your white babies as you calmly sit at a rural stop-light? Uh-huh. Sounded almost like Bigfoot.

And everyone immediately recognized the knee-jerk racism of Smith's story. If anything, it signaled to law enforcement that she was lying.

But Casey Anthony's epic tale of Zannie the Nanny has not been similarly recognized for what it is. In fact, I didn't see it either, at first. But while listening to the interrogation tapes, I suddenly got it: Casey describes fictional Zannie as not only Latina but "mixed"--she is half black. I sat bolt upright. What did she say? Is she helpfully COLORING IN the story for us? Susan Smith, call your office.

And today, we have Lee Anthony on the witness stand, relating a new story by Casey: Zannie supposedly held Casey down and TOOK Caylee from her, in a public park, accompanied by her sister and her sister's children. The plot thickens.

Reprise--the evil dark person threatening the innocent, sweet white children of the world, as well as their pretty white mommies.

One thing we aren't hearing about in all this... there is a real person named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, and her life was nearly destroyed by Casey's wanton lies:

Casey Anthony, 22, said she last saw Caylee over the summer when she left her with a nanny by that name in the parking lot of a local apartment complex.

Her defense team has indicated plans to argue that the sitter kidnapped and later killed the 2-year-old. They say the woman described by Anthony is not the same person as the one suing.

Police questioned Fernandez-Gonzalez extensively, but turned up no link between her and the child.

Fernandez-Gonzalez claims she lost her job — and her life as she knew it — because of her unwanted involvement in the Anthony saga.
How would you like to wake up and see your name all over the national news as a child-kidnapper and possible killer? How would you like to get wacked-out death threats from angry people who believe the story?

And there is another interesting parallel with Susan Smith: the claims of sexual abuse. Smith's life, as we all learned, was genuinely horrific. The abuse from her stepfather continued all the way into her marriage as an adult. It would appear the Anthony defense team has decided to freely shoplift the details of Smith's life, in an attempt to get Casey off... after all, these are the sordid details that spared Smith the death penalty and it might work for Casey, too.

~*~

This week, we heard about cadaver dogs and computer searches, lots of experts and not a lot of emotion. Casey searched for "chloroform" about 84 times on her computer; how to make it, where to find it, how it works on humans, etc. She also checked out "neck-breaking" while she was there.

The cadaver dogs "alerted" but did not find a corpse. Two dogs alerted in the same spot, near Caylee's playhouse. She probably hid the body there for a day or so, before putting it in the trunk of her car, which had the tell-tale stench of decomposition.

And the trial continues...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fun with anti-feminists

At left: Falls Park hydrangeas! Purty!



Big news today: In case you didn't know, the skinnier a woman is, the more money she makes. By contrast, overweight men have higher salaries than thinner men. Go on, you say, they actually required some sociological study to prove that?

Apparently so:

A new study reveals that thinner women -- and larger men -- tend to make the most money.

"Early Show" Contributing Correspondent Taryn Winter Brill reported new research from the University of Florida (pdf) finds that, for women, corporate America is just like a catwalk -- the smaller your waist -- the bigger your paycheck. But if you're a man looking to snag that corner office, don't worry about skipping dessert. Thinner men actually make less money.

According to the study, women who weighed 25 pounds less than the group norm earned about $16,000 more per year. A woman 25 pounds above the group norm earned about $14,000 less. Thinner men, on the other hand, made almost $9,000 less than their average male co-worker.
One of those things I didn't need a study to tell me. But the right-wingers and anti-feminists demand copious data for every single political assertion, therefore DEAD AIR will carefully tuck this one away for the next unpleasant occasion one of them attempts to argue that women have it made in the shade, sitting at home and madly munching on bon-bons.

Speaking of which...

Ballgame, annoying moderator at the contentious anti-feminist blog FEMINIST CRITICS, self-righteously howls in indignation when he believes he is banned by a pro-feminist men's blog. Positively bug-eyed over his ill treatment, he writes:
Still reluctant to believe that a critical-but-respectful comment had been purged, or that I had been banned on the basis of that comment, I scoured the site’s comment policy and discovered two things. One, TGMP [The Good Men Project] bars “comparisons to genocidal dictators and their brutal regimes.” Two, the site apparently has a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy.
That's pretty funny, since Ballgame banned me for "critical-but-respectful comments"--but I guess that's somehow different.

The difference is: one standard for men, another for women.

Ballgame banned me simply for disagreeing (loudly) with him and refusing to pinky-swear that I was arguing in "good faith"--when no such promise is extracted from the dozens of offensive Men's Rights Androids that frequent his blog. In fact, these reactionaries can attack feminists with gusto and it's all regarded as hunky-dory by Ballgame. Feminists, however, can not attack back in the same disrepectful tone.

So now Ballgame's karma catches up with him. (giggle)

Oh wait... not to worry, after howling and (most especially) reminding the guys at TGMP that he is an important blogger, they have unbanned him. But of course! Boys will be boys, bros before hos. Etc.

And BTW, exactly WHAT is Ballgame disagreeing with at TGMP? His blog post title says it all: Questioning Sexual slavery. He demands DATA, because simply passing all those female junkies in the red light district and watching Frontline isn't enough for him. (Amnesty International, Shamnesty International!) He is skeptical. Skeptical of what? Women's words, of course.

Might this be an example of "bad faith"? Running a blog called "Feminist Critics" that you pointedly ban feminists from and then writing posts demanding readable DATA before you concede that sexual slavery exists? Uh-huh.

Bad faith = anti-feminism, in its entirety.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We're gonna have us a Champagne Jam

This clip contains some great photos of Atlanta in the 70s, causing my spouse to swoon with nostalgia.

And I just looooove this song... Enjoy.

Champagne Jam - Atlanta Rhythm Section

Sunday, June 5, 2011

HeroesCon 2011

Heroes Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center this weekend, razzle-dazzle for fantasy fans of all ages. This was my second HeroesCon and it was loads of magical fun. I managed to satisfy a lifelong ambition by locating (and happily purchasing) a Speed Racer T-shirt! (I guess you're all pretty jealous now, huh?)

Photos below.

First up--WIMMINZ COMIX, yeah! We proudly practice Affirmative Action here at DEAD AIR, and hereby give space to the Women of HeroesCon, exhorting them to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK in that veritable sea of testosterone that is the modern comics industry. YOU GO GIRLS! It was wonderful to talk with all of you.

1) Laura Martin, a comics-veteran (experienced enough to have her own Wikipedia page), she has worked for both DC and Marvel.

2) Cat Staggs

3) Rachelle Rosenberg

4) Sara Richard

5) Rhiannon Owens

6) Amy Mebberson draws adorable Disney characters.

7) Gina Kirlew is affiliated with BLAM!--Atlanta Female Comic Book Creators' Group.

8) Elaine Corvidae, author of Riven Sol. We talked about the need for older women in comics (as creators AND characters), and she proudly showed me her newest 47-year-old heroine. SPECIAL MENTION! :)

9) I briefly panicked that I didn't know who this was... I sifted through the mountain of colorful, illustrated business cards I brought home with me and lo and behold... there she was! Laura Truxillo has business cards with her likeness drawn thereon, looking exactly like the photo below, even including the hat... in fact, her blog is subtitled "the girl with the hat." Quite Truxillogical, indeed.

10) Sarah 'Pickles' Dill

11) Danielle Soloud

12) I am 99% sure this is Brittany Michel, one of the Snow by Night team, who gave me a very nice button with "Snow by Night" on it, for my infamous con hat. I know I wrote her name down somewhere! (sigh)

13) Bridgit Scheide

14) and 15) The enormous Stylin Online enclave, where a multitude of t-shirts representing every possible permutation of pop-culture is well-represented... this is where I got my Speed Racer t-shirt (as well as my much-admired Reservoir Dogs shirt from years gone by).

16) Old movie poster; there were about two zillion on display.

17) He insists on attending every single con, even though he is SO unfriendly he barely says a word to anyone. And so BOSSY!

18) through 28) Fans having fun.

29) John Bintz, creator of Dawn's Dictionary Drama... who was sweet enough to visit DEAR AIR last year and therefore earned himself a special citation. HI JOHN!

30) A CRY-BABY t-shirt I woulda bought if I was still a teenager; subtitled GOOD GIRLS WANT HIM BAD, BAD GIRLS WANT HIM WORSE!

Ah, ain't it the truth.

31) I gotta genuine nerdy thrill from recognizing these two medical professionals! I've even mentioned them on DEAD AIR before (comments in thread here)... they are from the old Twilight Zone episode, The Eye of the Beholder.

32) A shout-out for local store Planet Comics from Anderson, SC.

33) Fellas busy working on the Comic Geek Speak podcast.

34) Yes, there is always SOMEONE upset about the con. The guy with this sign solemnly picketed outside the Charlotte Convention Center whilst accompanied by a very well-behaved dalmation wearing a little red firefighter hat that said, "Fire Dept"--get it? (Hellfire, Fire Dept? Cute, huh?)

Admit you are impressed that Catholics get listed on the sign in THREE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES. Just so you know!

I admit, I miss the rapture signs from our last con experience...


And now, beaming up. Hope your weekend was as good!

~*~