Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sex, drugs and rock and roll

The oddest thing just happened. I was browsing blogs, and trying to find people I used to know. I didn't find the person I was looking for, but instead found his daughter. YOW! (Ain't middle-age GREAT?)

The thing is, computing this person's birthday, I realized it is likely I was THERE when she was conceived. YES! I was there! (Or, at least there is an even chance.)

And at the time, I joked about it. I wasn't particularly upset or anything.

In my political collective, it seemed that there were two people who simply could not keep their hands off of each other, and fucked like bunnies. (So, you see, I might NOT have been there for her actual conception, but anyway...) On at least four occasions, they decided to copulate in space I shared with them: twice inside a tent, once in a motel room that housed 7-8 people, in DC for a mass demonstration (yes, we were trying to save money, okay?), and once in a non-converted loft in New York City, provided with limited mattresses. On that last occasion, I was actually ON THE SAME MATTRESS WITH THEM--which was what brought the jokes later. They said, hey, can we sleep here? Of course, the question was a mere formality, I would have been bourgeois and fucked-up to say no, and it would never have occurred to me anyway. They plunked down on the mattress, and within seconds, I could feel the mattress rocking. I remember thinking, Oh boy, these people need a fucking break! They were fairly quiet, although on at least two of the four occasions, she ordered him to SLOW DOWN! and he'd reply in a mumble sorry! and that was it. Pretty quick, and THANK YOU, so I could go back to sleep.

And now, I see this young woman's blog. She looks just like her dad!

As Joan Didion's fantastic book THE WHITE ALBUM (required reading!) made clear, the 60s and 70s were something else. What a long strange trip, etc. The situation above, also described well in Marge Piercy's VIDA (where the two political comrades end up having sex on a pile of dirty laundry--I loved that!), was not uncommon. Not at all. The whole idea was that everyone was supposed to be "less uptight." And yes, I am fully aware that this usually/often translated into women not being uptight, and therefore expected to put out on demand. I know that; I was there. But in the above-referenced example, I also know that the headstrong female activist who fucked the guy in my tent and on the mattress I was already occupying, was not forced by any man (least of all, that guy) to do it. I can also see, from the blog I discovered, that her daughter is as headstrong and into sex as she is, which is not surprising.

I also know that the "put out or you aren't helping the revolution" was a factor in early feminism and separatism, and I got as pissed off over that as any other feminist. Nonetheless, many of these early feminists were very sexual, as the aforementioned Marge Piercy was and is.

And so, I ask: what the hell happened? (One of my friends always blames Nancy Reagan, Just say no!, and the reactionary puritanism of the Reagan Revolution.)

Children saw people fucking. Like, right there, in front of them. This was live, not on DVD.

Children saw people fucking in the middle ages, too, if they were serfs and lived 12 to a room. I daresay, this is pretty common throughout the world in impoverished areas. Children live through the shock of the primal scene, really they do.

Keeping this in mind, what exactly is the fear of porn? Is it because it is highly stylized? The clothes? Rubber? Close-ups? I think the kids have probably seen a few close-ups already, if they are sharing a bed. I sure did!

During the 70s, it was not uncommon to hear people talk about children's rights, even "sexual rights for kids", etc. I'm not kidding! It HAPPENED, yes, right here in the USA! I heartily recommend Judith Levine's HARMFUL TO MINORS, which takes on the subject much better than I could:

Anthropologists concur that America is an exceedingly "low-touch," high-violence culture. But America's diversity, mobility, and high immigration probably belie any biological relationship between the first characteristic and the second. A more likely interpretation of these facts and Prescott's other findings is social. A culture that lavishes gentle attention on its young also may encourage tolerance of the vulnerable and discourage physical power-mongering. People brought up to be aggressive and suspicious of intrusions against their own body's "boundaries," on the other hand, will be more self-protective and territorial and thus more belligerent, both socially and sexually.
I am far more "shocked" by a customer's young child's report that they had actually seen a movie like HOSTEL. Certainly, violence towards women in media is at an all-time high, but this violence is not considered by the mainstream to be pornographic, and they give these movies R-ratings, despite how disgusting, over-the-top grotesque and misogynist they are.

Is porn the problem? I think not. However, I am not "pro-porn" by any means. But I must be honest here: I am more upset by the cookie-cutter appearance of women in mainstream porn (are there any flat-chested gals in porn????) than I am upset by anything they are doing, which I've probably done too. Or I've seen other people do. Certainly, my above example is far from the ONLY casual sex I've ever witnessed. (Are you kidding???) I only mentioned it because it is the genesis of this post.

I am far more upset by misogynist torture-horror movies like CAPTIVITY and SAW, than I am by blow-jobs, butt-fucking and so on. I'm just old-fashioned that way!

Since I have recently been excommunicated* from radical feminism, decided to take on the porn issue, which I have never felt comfortable with as a feminist crusade.

No reason to hold back now!

*as William F Buckley used to say, more about which in due course.

Monday, July 30, 2007

For a minute there, I lost myself

Here is my stunningly beautiful 23-year-old daughter, 1500 miles away. :( I miss her so much!

She'd kill me if she knew this was here. Luckily, she doesn't read this!

The tattoo has a shamrock in the middle, and says KARMA POLICE. I have a large shamrock tattoo also, same place, but no Radiohead.

She got hers after I did, which I thought was very sweet.

Ingmar Bergman 1918-2007

At left: Anna comforts the dying Agnes in CRIES AND WHISPERS

Ingmar Bergman loved women, and often made women the center of his movies. Sometimes, he lived with more than one woman at a time, and shocked everybody. He made the first movie I ever saw about a woman who felt stifled and restricted by motherhood and ended up abandoning the baby to dad, aptly named SUMMER WITH MONIKA, after the patron saint of mothers. I still remember the shot of a spider in a web, which I realized meant Monika felt trapped. (I saw that when I was a young girl, the first time I understood cinematic symbolism.) He presented one of the most incredible and intense studies of women's relationships ever, called PERSONA in which the women are parasitic, loving, hating, changing places, back and forth, their personalities merging, looping, swooping and coming to rest in the other's.

He said he thought of the movie when he saw the two actors Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman, standing together in a mirror.

When I first saw CRIES AND WHISPERS, I acted exactly like Roger Ebert's review said I would:

It is hypnotic, disturbing, frightening. It envelops us in a red membrane of passion and fear, and in some way that I do not fully understand it employs taboos and ancient superstitions to make its effect. We slip lower in our seats, feeling claustrophobia and sexual disquiet, realizing that we have been surrounded by the vision of a film maker who has absolute mastery of his art. "Cries and Whispers" is about dying, love, sexual passion, hatred and death - in that order.
Somehow, this man had figured out how to speak directly to my id. He was bypassing my conscious mind and going directly to my heart and soul. I DID slip lower in my seat, as I watched two sisters and their family servant, waiting for their third sister to die. Almost as soon as we feel pity for the dying sister, Agnes (obviously, signifying Lamb of God), played by the electrifying Harriet Andersson (also in SUMMER WITH MONIKA), we realize we are mistaken about who deserves our pity. Agnes is indeed the blessed one, as her illness has given her very clear vision. She has no time for grudges and neurotic silliness. She concentrates on savoring every second. She knows the seconds are finite.

Meanwhile, Maria (Liv Ullman) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) bump up against each other with their old dance, sibling rivalry. They show unbridled disgust with the choices the other sister has made. Certainly, my post on Saturday fits the reality of the women in CRIES AND WHISPERS, who want a release from their hatred of each other, and yet... this very hatred has created their personalities; their self-definitions are largely based on NOT being the other sister:
In a moment of conjured nostalgia, Maria and Karin remember their closeness as children. Now, faced with the fact of their sister's death, they deliberately try to synthesize feeling, and love. Quickly, almost frantically, they touch and caress each other's faces, but their touching is a parody and by the next day they have closed themselves off again.
And then there is the servant, Anna (Kari Sylwan). Dear God! Has any one character ever moved me so much in movies? It was bad enough, when I initially saw it, that I looked like this woman, but I now realize: I had never seen a large ox-like feminine woman in a movie before. At first, I resented the role of the servant as the sensitive, all-giving one, but at the end of the movie, I wept my heart out.
When Agnes cries out in the night, in fear and agony, it is Anna who cradles her to her bosom, whispering soft endearments.

The others cannot stand to be touched.
Bergman dares to say that us working-class folks who clean up puke and poop and listen to people cry, are closer to them, made human by them. We touch and are touched by others.

Finally, Agnes dies. We knew she would, we are told in the first five minutes that she is dying. But did we expect to SEE? He makes us see:
The camera is as uneasy as we are. It stays at rest mostly, but when it moves it doesn't always follow smooth, symmetrical progressions. It darts, it falls back, is stunned. It lingers on close-ups of faces with the impassivity of God. It continues to look when we want to turn away; it is not moved. Agnes lies thrown on her deathbed, her body shuddered by horrible, deep, gasping breaths, as she fights for air for life. The sisters turn away, and we want to, too. We know things are this bad - but we don't want to know. One girl in the audience ran up the aisle and out of the theater. Bergman's camera stays and watches. The movie is drenched in red. Bergman has written in his screenplay that he thinks of the inside of the human soul as a membranous red.
And then, Anna speaks to them, after death. This, for me, is the biggest JOLT of the film, since the dead woman is speaking to us about the meaning of life:
The film descends into a netherworld of the supernatural; the dead woman speaks (or is it only that they think they hear her?). She reaches out and grasps for Karin (or does Karin move the dead arms? - Bergman's camera doesn't let us see). The movie, like all supernatural myths, like all legends and fables (and like all jokes - which are talismans to take the pain from truth) ends in a series of threes. The dead woman asks the living women to stay with her, to comfort her while she pauses within her dead body before moving into the great terrifying void. Karin will not. Maria will not. But Anna will, and makes pillows of her breasts for Agnes. Anna is the only one of them who remembers how to touch, and love. And she is the only one who believes in God.

These two scenes - of Anna, embracing Agnes, and of Karin and Maria touching like frightened kittens - are two of the greatest Bergman has ever created. The feeling in these scenes - I should say, the way they force us to feel - constitutes the meaning of this film. It has no abstract message; it communicates with us on a level of human feeling so deep that we are afraid to invent words for the things found there.
I consider myself Christian, so I found the ending of the movie incredible. And yes, here is where I cried my eyes out. I cry now, just remembering the passage:
Is there a God in Bergman's film, or is there only Anna's faith? The film ends with a scene of astonishing, jarring affirmation: We see the four women some months earlier, drenched with the golden sun, and we hear Anna reading from Agnes' diary, "I feel a great gratitude to my life, which gives me so much."
I would love to have met the artist with such transcendent, creative vision, who forced us to consider what being human meant, and presented WOMEN as his examples of humanity.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's Sunday! Time for Feminist Church!

Here at Daisy's Dead Air, we strive to bring you cutting edge theological breakthroughs, and today is NO EXCEPTION! Everybody stand for the hymn!

Thanks to fabulous Elizabeth McClung of Screw Bronze! for today's Sunday School lesson!

Turn in your J-Pop hymnals to GOD IS A GIRL! Check it out!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The girls want to be with the girls

Renegade Evolution has posted that she is "walking away from feminism"--something I hate to hear women say. Kim has expressed similar sentiments on her blog, too. But that brings up another subject, endlessly discussed in the women's movement's earliest days.

Can women be friends?

We used to talk about this openly, at least for awhile. No more.

Renegade Evolution is a beautiful woman, and I think some feminist dislike of her and other highly sexual women (most especially sex workers who show a high level of independence), is based on jealousy and rivalry. (At her blog, certain anonymous comments make this rather obvious.) In the early days of feminism, this was a given. We talked about female rivalry as the predictable fall-out of patriarchy, but now, everyone is in major denial.

Well, not everyone. Here are some descriptive excerpts from Tripping the Prom Queen: the Truth About Women and Rivalry by Susan Shapiro Barash. All italics are mine.

Reluctantly I began to admit that I, too, had felt competitive, envious, even jealous of my fellow females. I, too, had walked into a dinner party and done a quick tally of how I stacked up. Was I as talented as the other women? As pretty? As prestigiously employed? During my divorce, before I met my second husband, I, too, had looked longingly at the few women I knew who seemed truly in love, thinking, "Oh, to have what they have." I, too, had caught myself viewing my daughters with something close to envy for their youth and self-confidence, for the advantages their generation would have that were so far beyond my own. I had even wandered through my local bookstore while I was working on my first book, checking out the other women writers, envious of their apparently secure place on the bookshelves when I wasn't even sure whether I could find a publisher.
So I designed a study whereby I could interview five hundred women -- again, from a wide range of ages, classes, ethnicities, and religions -- asking them directly about their experiences with these feelings. I wanted to know the role that women's rivalry had played in their lives, their experiences as both targets and perpetrators of female envy.
What I found astonished me. I heard from women whose colleagues, best friends, and sisters had stolen their boyfriends and husbands. I talked with women whose fear of female rivalry was so strong that they chose to live in small towns, "so there would be less competition"; women who avoided certain parties "because I don't want my husband to meet too many single, beautiful women." I heard about girlfriends dropping a woman when she snagged a promotion at work, or finally found a great guy, or even when she became pregnant. Women described the wear and tear of constant competition, of continually comparing themselves to friends, coworkers, sisters, even to their daughters. Many women confessed that they had spent their lives trying to steer between two painful courses: reaching for the advantages that other women seemed to have and struggling to defend themselves from other women's envy. Although I had known that female rivalry was a theme in many women's lives, I emerged from my research feeling as though it must be a theme in every woman's life. We're just not allowed to talk about it.
In fact, when I recovered from my first wave of shock at the extraordinary stories I was hearing, I was able to boil down my findings to three conclusions:

1. Despite all the efforts of the women's movement to change this troubling pattern, we're still willing to cut each other's throats over what we value most -- jobs, men, and social approval. Although we've moved into the workplace and the public arena as never before, we tend to ignore men when it comes to competing, focusing our rivalry almost entirely upon each other.

2. We'll do anything rather than face up to female envy and jealousy -- especially our own. Between traditional social pressures to be the "good girl," and feminist expectations of female solidarity, we sweep all evidence of a bleaker picture under the rug. Indeed, in these postfeminist times, women are often rewarded for romanticizing female friendship and punished for telling the truth about female rivalry.

3. Even though my focus is on female rivalry, I have also found some wonderful examples of female bonding -- within families, between friends, among colleagues. In these positive instances, I found that the key was for women to have realistic expectations, of themselves and each other. When we stop demanding total, unconditional support; when we accept our loved ones' differences as well as similarities; when we own up to our own rivalrous natures; and when we confront problems rather than ignore them, we can create extraordinary bonds that nourish us throughout our lives.
We can't understand female rivalry without understanding the pressure to conceal it. Although the women I interviewed spoke readily of competing with mothers, sisters, coworkers, and friends, many of them also seemed to buy into the myth of female solidarity, lamenting their own isolation from what they saw as a world of camaraderie and support.
For virtually every woman in this society, our definition of ourselves is bound up in our perception of other women. We see ourselves through comparisons with our mother, our sisters, our friends, and our colleagues. For a whole host of reasons -- some psychodynamic, some social -- we have a hard time seeing ourselves as separate individuals with destinies of our own. Instead, we view our identities as a kind of zero-sum game: we succeed where our mothers fail; we gain what other women lose. We can't envision succeeding or failing on our own terms; we can only measure ourselves against other females. So first we envy the powerful women we see in the media, and then we symbolically triumph over them as they crash and burn. After all, we can never compete against them. Who can be as beautiful as a movie star or as powerful as a princess, a president's wife, or the head of a business empire? If we can't beat them ourselves, at least we can enjoy the sight of them competing with one another, and we enjoy even more seeing them fail.

What does everyone here think? Do you have close female friends, IRL? How have you nurtured that friendship, or was it an instantaneous identification with another woman that blossomed? Are you colleagues? Are you "alike"? What is your friendship based on, if that is quantifiable?

As with the trans issue(s), feminism won't go anywhere without confronting the issue of female rivalry and jealousy, the fact that we all compete ruthlessly with each other (and NOT with men) for what has been allotted to us. We have to stop playing games about it, and confront it, head on.

And to do that, we need to talk.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gabba Gabba Hey

Since these people are paying for my fancy-shmancy dinner this evening, thought I'd give them a free commercial! That's the way it works, yes? (They also gave me a backpack that I've been using for 3 years now!)

Commercial: Solgar amino acids are the best, and their new concentrated formulation of CoQ-10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid is excellent. However, their GABA formula (formerly superior to all others) has just been exceeded by Natural Factors. I went to a training session yesterday, in which NF's new chewable PharmaGABA product was disseminated and KA-POWEE! That's some great stuff. I got a freebie and ended up buying more (at 5% under wholesale) for family and friends!

Anyone with stress-related anxiety, depression or insomnia, PLEASE consider Natural Factors' PharmaGABA before going on to pharmaceutical drugs. You will be pleasantly surprised, and your liver will thank you.

I intended this to be a Solgar commercial and ended up with a Natural Factors commercial. Sorry about that!


Apparently, bell hooks is no longer considered a radical feminist. When did THAT happen?

And NOW what am I gonna do?

The following is from OUTLAW CULTURE: Resisting Representations, by bell hooks:

When we people ask, "How do we deal with difference?" I always refer them back to what it means to fall in love, because most of us have had an experience of desire and loving. I often say to people, "What do you do when you meet somebody and are attracted to them? How do you go about making that communication? Why do you think that wanting to know someone who's 'racially' different doesn't have a similar procedure?" It's like if I saw you on the street and thought you were cute, and I happened to know someone who knew you, I might say to that person, "Oh wow, I think so-and-so's cute! What do you know about them?" I think that often the empowerment strategies we use in the arena of love and friendship are immediately dropped when we come into the arena of politicized difference--when in fact some of those strategies are useful and necessary.

I mean how many of us run up to someone we are attracted to and say, breathlessly, "Tell me all about yourself right away!" We usually try to feel out the situation, we don't want to alienate the person: we want to approach them in a manner that allows them to be open to us, giving to us. I think it's interesting that often when difference is there (like a racial difference or something), people panic and do crazy, bizarre things... or say crazy, stupid things.

Crazy, stupid things... like announcing someone who has written countless radical feminist books is not a radical feminist?

I'd say so.

Transwars redux: You've got your mother in a whirl...

Her name was Libby, and she is no longer with us. Please pause, and think kindly of her.

She was one of my feminist mentors. The year was 1979, if memory serves, and someone had written something in one of those feminist newspapers like BIG MAMA RAG. Jill Johnston had already attacked men wearing drag in MS.

"We need to have a meeting," she announced. And so, we had a meeting. It was the first time I remember all hell breaking loose.

One of the feminists at that meeting asked the enduring question, the one I took home with me, the one I return to with regularity: Doesn't drag and transsexuals prove that being a woman is not ALL about biology?

Another woman replied: Then WHAT is it?

I had to admit, I didn't know the answer to that, and I'd still like to know the answer. How can we say something is or is not WOMAN, if we can't readily define what it is?

OF COURSE WE KNOW WHAT A WOMAN IS, another woman bellowed back.

All right, said the first, then what?

Sputtering, stuttering, screaming, pouting, teeth-gnashing, tears, oy. The meeting was a fiasco. A HUGE fiasco. It was as if we all had discovered another layer to our existence, one we didn't realize was there. We had: it was called GENDER, but we didn't yet have the word for that.

Several of us just sat there looking at each other, long after the meeting was over; the tears, fears, yelling and heart-wrenching emotion still in the air. We were pondering the echoes.

And so, there we were, smoking a joint, when Libby said: This is gonna be going on for a long, long time, you know.


"Forever." Libby was shaking her head, slowly. And she repeated, "This could go on forever." She inhaled deeply on the joint, and said: "This might break up everything, eventually."


Fast-forward about 30 years. What do you all think of the brilliance and prescience of my mentor?

Background threads, which inspired this one: Alas #1, Alas #2, Margins #1, Margins #2, Feministe.

Apologies to all the threads I missed. Truly, there is no end to it.

Who you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Walk on the Wild Side

Courtesy of Alphabitch, here is my neighborhood's walking score: 48. Yes, that's forty-eight out of 100.

Does that suck or what?

In the days after my smash-up, I wrote about how difficult it was to walk to my job without getting mowed down. I guess I now have proof! Pretty depressing, though.

Check your walking score! And I hope you get a higher score than I did.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Medical Apartheid

...is the title of a book by Harriet Washington, which won the Nonfiction Award from the American Library Association's Black Caucus (BCALA). I sat completely riveted to her presentation on C-Span, which was aired today. Enlightening, disturbing, incredible; an explosion of hidden histories come to light.

My business is herbal medicine, and I have long noticed that southern African-Americans often seem utterly terrified of doctors. Even the most educated class of younger, professional black folks are tremendously skeptical of the medical establishment. The fear/skepticism is an overwhelming factor that has negatively influenced research initiatives, since African-Americans are extremely reluctant to participate in pharmaceutical or other types of studies. Medicines and treatments are being developed without input and data about African-American physiology that would calibrate treatments more specifically and effectively. In her C-Span presentation, Washington stated that various new research projects on Hepatitis C included only a negligible number of black participants, despite concerted efforts to find patients.

Washington's amazing book about medical experimentation on African-Americans, explains and tirelessly documents the reasons for this phenomenon:
Slaves who had become too old or too sick to work supplied the bulk of hospital “clinical material.” They enjoyed no legal rights and could mount no legal challenge to their incarceration and treatment.5 Stillman advertised his desire for blacks who suffered from disorders far beyond his own specialty, such as apoplexy, kidney disease, and stomach, intestinal,bladder, liver, and spleen disorders, as well as scrofula and hypochondriasm. He wished to test new techniques and medications he had formulated on debilitated and chronically unhealthy blacks in the same institution where he treated paying whites. He then marketed the medications and techniques.

Slave owners were glad to rid themselves of old, sick, and unproductive slaves.6 It was a sage bargain on the slave owner’s part, because the hospital took over all or most of the cost of feeding, housing, and treating the unproductive slave. If the slave died, his owner was spared the inconvenience and expense of burying him, because the hospital would retain the body for dissection or experiment. If the slave recovered, the master would once again profit from his or her labor and breeding.

Moreover, the slave owner could lay claim to benevolence; after all, he was sending his old or sick slaves to a hospital for expert care. Free blacks were also vulnerable because they were easily incarcerated in jails and almshouses for a variety of minor infractions of the many regulations governing free African Americans.
(NOTE: As in Robert Jay Lifton's similar book THE NAZI DOCTORS, much of this was harrowing and very difficult to assimilate.)

Washington's presentation included an insightful Q-and-A segment, in which she mentioned the history of extensive medical experimentation IN Africa, as well. Not sure a drug or procedure is safe for human beings in the US? Test it in Africa, and many liability laws do not even apply.

If you'd like to listen to or read Amy Goodman's discussion with Harriet Washington, go here: Democracy Now/Interview with Harriet Washington

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hail Blogdonia, pt 2

Bill O'Reilly has attacked DailyKos,specifically the YearlyKos convention. That isn't surprising, but what interests me is how various comments on DailyKos are being quoted as "hate speech" and compared to nazis.

What is your definition of "hate speech"? I've seen various conversations regarding religion, politics, transgendered people, referred to as "hate speech"--and this confuses me. How can we discuss these things in depth, if any strong or especially controversial opinion is instantly labeled "hate speech"?

Is O'Reilly's constant anti-immigrant speechifying also "hate speech"? Why does he exempt himself? (He obviously feels he is "upholding the law" and that's the difference.)

Also, what about the commentariat? Is every blogger responsible for the comments on their blog? To what extent?

Where do you personally draw the line?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Long Arm of the Law

I went to traffic court over my smash-up, and it wasn't too bad. They waived my fines! But it was surreal, we were like in an assembly line: NEXT! Such is modern justice.

I restrained myself from quoting Woody Allen, when they asked how do you plead?

Guilty, with an explanation!

PS: I am torn as to whether to tag this LAW AND ORDER, or what Abbie Hoffman called Lawn Order, which he said is what it's really about. :)

Abbie wins.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The First Noble Truth

Today it's been one year since my mother died.

My daughter, E., called me yesterday to say she had found my mother's high school ring, with her initials engraved inside. She is wearing it today, as a memorial. It was E. who first called me to tell me she had died, since she was living close to her at the time. Mike, her husband, identified the body at the funeral home, because she couldn't do it.

For the past year, I have felt haunted. No other word to describe it. It's been embarrassingly similar to the TV show SIX FEET UNDER, in which I could almost have complete conversations with her, so familiar were her words. I knew what she would say, if she were here.

Sometimes, these feelings were so vivid, I felt she was standing over my shoulder. I could hear her voice.

My grief has been profound. I was my mother's only child.

That is not dead which can eternal lie
within stranger eons even death may die


Friday, July 13, 2007

Ingrid Newkirk is our new Marie Antoinette

Ingrid Newkirk, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has just trashed Michael Moore, now under attack by America's right wing, for being fat.

I repeat: Ingrid Newkirk, whom one assumes has very good health insurance, has just attacked Michael Moore, a man on the side of the angels, for being FAT.

I shit you not.

Apparently, Newkirk believes that becoming a vegetarian will make you thin...which I have been waiting to happen for over 10 years now!


"There’s an elephant in the room, and it is you," PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote in a letter to Moore.

Newkirk urged the rotund Moore to become a vegetarian, which many nutritionists say is a good way to lose weight, and visit PETA’s Web site GoVeg.com for veggie recipes.

Writes Newkirk: "As they say at Nike (sorry!): 'Just do it.'"
I love how she quotes a company that uses both leather and sweatshop labor, there at the end. Bang-up finish!

Is Newkirk claiming that universal health care wouldn't be necessary if everyone was a vegetarian? That is indeed how she sounds.

Does she believe this preposterous bullshit is the way to convert people to vegetarianism?

She makes a vegetarian diet sound like the province of rich people (like her?) who already have guaranteed medical care. Otherwise, she might respond to the substance of Michael Moore's movie SICKO, just released, instead of attacking him relentlessly, as the right-wing media has.

These are the people who make me ashamed to be vegetarian, and give vegetarianism a BAD NAME amongst the working class. Can you say "out of touch with the mainstream"? Good going, PETA!

Let them eat (vegan! dairy-free!) cake, huh Ingrid? And just in time for Bastille Day, too!

PS: Fuck you.

Flower Essences Seminar

I have a flower essences seminar today, which threatens to put me to sleep. This is possibly my seventh or eighth one. At least I get paid for attending.

For interested readers: Flower Essence Society, Bach Flower Essences.

Shameless hippie that I am, I only perk up when they start passing out the free samples! :p

**Everyone have a great Friday the 13th!**

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hail Blogdonia!

Rufus T. Firefly was president of Freedonia in the Marx Brothers' movie DUCK SOUP, which I am pretty partial to. Thus, I am announcing a new word: BLOGDONIA, borrowing from the Marx Brothers, Hail Freedonia.

If you think this country's bad off now, just wait till I get through with it!

Since Freedonia was a fake country, it seems only fitting to use the term Blogdonia to describe the so-called consensual hallucination that is cyberspace, and the many neighborhoods and gangs therein.

I also like the term Bloglandia, but that's a bit too classical-music for me. BLOGOSPHERE sounds like Fox News. Bloggorrhea is nice, but decidedly negative!

Blogdonia is perfect. Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cry Baby Cry

There are unmistakable moments of KARMIC JUSTICE in one's life, what the Catholic Church calls penalties for temporal sin.

Yes, you think, here it is. I'm getting it back now.

Sometimes, we already know we did a bad thing, but just didn't know how bad it was, until it was done back to us, years later.

Other times, we really didn't know what we had done, as in Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. It was only when it came back to us, that we truly beheld our original act in all of it's ugliness and utter self-centeredness.

And that's how karma works. We learn.


The woman in the apartment next to mine likes to put her three-year-old in the hallway, usually once a day or so. She is obviously fucking fed up with him, cannot endure one more minute and puts him out there to avoid killing him. She places a parcel of plastic bats, balls and wheeled objects next to him, and closes the door. He's fine for --what? five minutes, ten minutes?--which we often forget is a long time for a child, the length of public school recesses. Soon, he is whiny and bored. He wants in, but she isn't ready to let him back in. She only wants a fucking break already.

How do I know what she is thinking? How indeed?


The three-year-old's temper tantrum invariably starts with lots of whiny "mooooo-ooooommmm----eeeee!" and then segues into ss--sss-ssssniffing and random sobs, finally exploding into full-blown, I-Love-Lucy-style wailing. It doesn't even seem accurate to call it CRYING. No, screaming, commences.

And iron-willed mom is not giving in.

I suppose it never occurred to her that we ALL do not want to listen to the screaming? Can't she give him a lesson in independence INSIDE HER OWN APARTMENT? Why is she abusing US in the process? Is this self-centered or what? I do not want to hear a child screaming at 96-decibels for 10 minutes!

Oh, I see. Hold up.

This is what they all felt about me, when I left my screaming child outside.

Funny how that works sometimes, isn't it?

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Whore Defense

Apparently, a Hollywood Madam named Baby Doll Gibson is testifying for the defense in the Phil Spector murder trial. Why? Well, she is going to testify that the victim, actress Lana Clarkson, once worked for her.

Umm, so?

Is this supposed to justify the murder?

What possible importance could it have?

Ah, they are going to say this means she was of course suicidal, and therefore decided to go to Spector's house with him and shoot herself at 5am.


Obviously, they believe this fact will smear the victim and make her somehow less human. No big deal if a famous record producer shoots a common whore, now is it? We're all guys here, we'd been drinking, she wouldn't put out, and well--you know how it goes.

Friday, July 6, 2007

McDonalds refuses to serve woman with no hands

Ream them out, girlfriend!

2:39 p.m. July 3, 2007

ROCKFORD, Ill. – A woman born with a condition that resulted in underdeveloped hands and arms is suing a McDonald's restaurant owner, claiming employees refused to serve her when she wanted to use her foot to collect bags of food at a drive-through window.

Dawn Larson was born with Holt-Oram Syndrome and has small hands that extend not far from her shoulders. She has adapted by using her feet for many activities.

“I drank my baby bottle with my feet. Nobody ever taught me how to do it, I just did it,” Larson said. “I can ride a regular 10-speed bike. I can swim. It has not been a problem in my life at all. It didn't stop me from having four boys. I've never dropped one of them.”

In a lawsuit filed last week in Winnebago County Circuit Court, she alleges employees at two different McDonald's restaurants in Rockford recoiled when she tried to retrieve her food using her foot.

In both incidents, employees eventually agreed to give Larson's food to other people in her vehicle, including her son and a friend, the lawsuit alleges. Both times, cashiers at different windows took her credit card from her foot with no problem.

“I felt discriminated against, harassed, embarrassed,” Larson said. “All I wanted was the food I had paid for with my money card. I just wanted to feed my kids.”

Larry Taylor, director of operations for McDonald's Restaurants of Illinois Inc., which owns the two restaurants, said in a statement e-mailed to the Chicago Sun-Times that the company had not seen the lawsuit but has a strict policy prohibiting any form of discrimination in its restaurants.

“We care very much about our customers and take this allegation seriously,” Taylor said. “We do our very best to serve our customers with the utmost care and respect.”

Also, from CBS, more details:

(CBS) ROCKFORD, Ill. A genetic syndrome has left Illinois resident Dawn Larson without hands or fully developed arms.

Larson has learned to lead a full life by using her feet. She's even able to drive.

She says she's never had a problem in public until she went through a McDonald's drive-thru in Rockford last fall. Normally, Larson first gives the cashier her debit card to pay for the order and then grabs the food and drink with both feet.

But at McDonald's she said they took her money at one window but wouldn't give her the food at the next window. Larson says she felt degraded.

"I reached my foot out the window to grab the food," says Larson. "She set the food down, raised her hands up really high in the air and slammed them down on the counter. This was like violently."

"'I am not doing this,' she screamed that at me, 'Absolutely not doin' this.'"

The restaurant offered her a $10 gift certificate. She then contacted a lawyer and two months later experienced the same thing at a different Rockford McDonald's.

Now she's suing the company for $4 million and wants it to improve employee training.

"She was asking for no special accommodations, she just wanted to be treated like everyone else. And that's where I believe McDonald's certainly violated her rights," said Laurel Wykes Smith, Dawn's Attorney.

McDonald's says it can't comment on Larson's lawsuit but it has a strict policy against any discrimination in its restaurants.

Me and Valerie

The problem is, I am the same height and weight as Valerie Bertinelli, and she is going around telling everyone she is fat. She is losing weight with Kirstie Alley on Jenny Craig! She's on magazine covers! She's on TV commercials! She's telling Rachel Ray about her fabulous new diet! How marvelous! (/sarcasm)

When these famous people decide they will lose weight for some major league sponsor like Jenny Craig, what if they don't? What if they can't? What happens then? Judy Garland time? Where's that dexedrine?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My daughter's donkeys

Missing my (grown up) baby girl today, way out there in the Texas Hill Country. So I thought I'd post this photo of HER babies, named Thelma and Louise.