Friday, September 30, 2011

Grandma Daisy's: "We don't dial 911"

I see Renegade Evolution's existential question... and I raise her one! At left, photo reads: Grandma Daisy's: "We don't dial 911" and is punctuated with a nice old-school firearm. (This is an antique store in Fredericksburg, Texas, and of course, I could not resist taking the photo for my blog!)

Not coincidentally, various folks over the years have joked to your humble narrator, that I probably didn't need 911, and they are probably right about that. ;)

Speaking of which: Suitably adorable Grandma photos of my trip, for anyone interested. I loved seeing my grandbabies! (I worried that photos of me and Barbie would ruin my feminist cred, but hey, I think that was already compromised a long time ago!)


A sort of all-purpose post, as I create links for the Daisy Deadhead show tomorrow. (Commercial: LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!) I suppose I could bring my laptop to the radio station (WFIS, tomorrow, 9-10am), but trying to fiddle with the keyboard and talk, at the same time? Sounds risky to me. I am NOT Wolfman Jack. Maybe when I get a little more proficient at this stuff.

First up, will be the illuminating story in the Austin Statesman, Personal ties key to Rick Perry's wealth:

Gov. Rick Perry might like for people to believe he made more than $1 million while holding elective office in Texas through shrewd business decisions, but in almost every case he was steered to his investments.

From his father-in-law renting space in a building Perry owned back home in Haskell to a high school buddy from Future Farmers of America helping him make a million in a Horseshoe Bay land deal, Perry has been more than just lucky or shrewd. He has been a man with friends.

The question of whether Perry's real estate windfalls have been a result of friends helping friends or are evidence of some sort of corruption has been fodder for some of his past campaign opponents.

"From abusing his power over appointments to getting sweetheart real estate deals from supporters, he's a regular get-rich-quick icon," U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign manager said of Perry before last year's gubernatorial primary.

During the general election campaign last year, Democratic opponent Bill White said of one deal, "Perry's investment was enhanced by a series of professional courtesies and personal favors."

Over the course of about 18 years , Perry and his wife, Anita, grew from struggling to make ends meet in Haskell County to having a comfortable retirement nest egg built primarily from real estate deals Perry made while he was a statewide elected official.
And rest assured, there is plenty more dirt where THAT came from. Tune in for my personal assessment of Rick Perry's business acumen! NOTE: I DO have my all-purpose, FCC-approved, NO CUSSING sign, as I mentioned HERE, so I am required to keep my anti-Perry commentary squeaky clean. (It's a challenge, but I am up to it.)

On the local front, we will be peeling and digesting State Senator David Thomas (R-of course), who opposes "government spending"--except when the spending is on David Thomas. Another faker, like Governor Haley.

He carefully voted himself a cushy pension for working only A SCANT FEW YEARS:
At age 55, South Carolina state Sen. David Thomas began collecting a pension for his legislative service without leaving office.

Most workers must retire from their jobs before getting retirement benefits. But Thomas used a one-sentence law that he and his colleagues passed in 2002 to let legislators receive a taxpayer-funded pension instead of a salary after serving for 30 years.

Thomas' $32,390 annual retirement benefit — paid for the rest of his life — is more than triple the $10,400 salary he gave up. His pension exceeds the salary because of another perk: Lawmakers voted to count their expenses in the salary used to calculate their pensions.

No other South Carolina state workers get those perks.

Since January 2005, Thomas, a Republican, has made $148,435 more than a legislative salary would have paid, his financial-disclosure records show. At least four other South Carolina lawmakers are getting pensions instead of salaries, netting an extra $292,000 since 2005, records show.
And finally, I will try to include Anna's comments at Mills River Progressive, which came courtesy of Onyx Lynx. (THANK YOU!)

It just seems so obvious, but sometimes, people have to spell out the obvious:
All the Politicos Yapping About "Creating Jobs" Avoid the REAL Solution

Which is to stop sending the jobs overseas. Duh. That would be the logical course of action, if the U.S. Congress actually worked on behalf of the citizenry. Obviously they don't, and therefore none of them will propose the only lasting solutions to our massive unemployment. End our destructive trade policies, restore fair trade policies and practices, invest in new sustainable industries on the domestic front (other than weapons), and sweet pygmy Jeebus STOP REWARDING CORPORATIONS THAT SEND JOBS OVERSEAS!

There. That's not too difficult, is it? It's not rocket science. And it's well within the realm of the possible. But *they* won't do it. They won't discuss it. Almost no one will mention it on the floor of Congress. Why? Why won't the people who supposedly represent our interests do the things that will lead to a reversal of our crumbling fortunes and dismal futures? Because their handlers - their actual bosses, the financial elite, the investor class, the 1% - don't want that.

The reality is that our lives are of no importance to them. In fact, we're obsolete. They make enormous amounts of money by sending our industries, our (former) work to the third world. They're profiting like never before; why on earth would they want to return to the bad old days, when profits were hampered by trade policy, by benefit packages, by paying a middle-class wage?
I will try to quote the whole thing, if there is time. We hope to be hearing directly via telephone from Green Party members who are currently occupying Wall Street. YEAH!

I will also slip in a mention of Duke Energy's intention to raise our utility-rates, and the necessary information about the local public hearings. The print on the teeny-tiny postcard recently mailed out by Duke Energy is nearly microscopic, and very difficult to read.

I'm sure that's only a coincidence. They wouldn't try to dissuade people from coming to the hearings, now would they?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

National Museum of the Pacific War

Back from Texas! And my internet was down upon my return, so a bit late in checking in. Sorry about that, sports fans!

Below, photos of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, birthplace of Admiral Nimitz.

Some of the displays can make you cry. :( The Pearl Harbor segment is loud and unnerving in the extreme, imitating what it might have been like for the residents that day.

Most photos are self-explanatory, but for the historically-challenged, photo #5 was a short film about the Rape of Nanking, too horrific for words, reducing our plucky narrator to sobs. Photo #8 was an account of the Battle of Midway, where we settled some hash.

Photo #6 is actually rather amusing now, especially when you are standing amidst all the artillery and gun-fetishism of central Texas. Really General Kanji, I hardly think so.

The next-to-last photo is of the SACO flag. And similarly, there were oodles of uniforms, flight jackets and other wartime paraphernalia, but unfortunately, those photos didn't turn out so well. (I don't know the makes and models of those fighter-planes, but if you do, speak up!)

Daisy concludes: War is bad.

Truthfully, I came to that conclusion before I ever went in.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


It's official: the bloodthirsty Georgia prison system doesn't care. An ex-president, an ex-congressman, an ex-FBI director and the Vatican... nope, nothing stands in the way of the State of Georgia executing an innocent black man! Why, its just like the old days! You are NOT going to pry them away from that needle, because they are having a GOOD TIME.

Troy Anthony Davis will be executed tomorrow.

Death penalty = murder. Yes, it is. Vengeance is the Lord's, not yours.

But let me tell you: If you are in favor of the death penalty, your cause is seriously WEAKENED when an innocent man is put to death.

And Davis is innocent (my opinion)... or at least there are significant questions about his guilt:

Davis has captured worldwide attention because of the doubt his supporters have raised over whether he killed [police officer Mark] MacPhail. Several of the witnesses who helped convict Davis at his 1991 trial have backed off their testimony or recanted. Others who did not testify say another man at the scene admitted to the shooting.

The U.S. Supreme Court even granted Davis a hearing last year to prove his innocence, the first time it had done so for a death row inmate in at least 50 years. But in that June 2010 hearing, Davis couldn't convince a federal judge to grant him a new trial.
Some of the jurors have said, if they knew now what they didn't know then, they would not have voted to convict Davis.

So, seven out of nine witnesses recanting testimony is not enough for a new trial, or even a stay of execution? From the second link, above:
No physical evidence, like his fingerprints on the murder weapon or gunpowder residue on his hands, ever connected Troy to the crime, and he never confessed. The only thing that convicted Troy was the testimony of witnesses, many of whom say police pressured them to identify Troy as the murderer.
This is a monstrosity.

The state of Georgia and the USA, will once again have blood on their hands.

And I write this to say, this abomination known as the DEATH PENALTY, does not speak for me and does not represent me as an American.

Amnesty International is on the case, still, always, right up until they stick the needle in. God Bless them! Also see the update from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Chatham County's District Attorney's Telephone: 912-652-7308 Fax: 912-652-7328.

Save the Mauldin Open-Air Market!

At left: Joel Ann Chandler, owner of the Mauldin Open-Air Market, presents Mauldin (SC) City Council with 2800 signatures of her customers, as well as others who value local small business. (Monday night, Sept, 19, 2011) Chandler has operated the market for 30 years, and the land has been in her family since the 20s.

We attended the Mauldin City Council meeting last night, to help a popular local businesswoman try and SAVE her business, which also happens to be an indispensable upstate treasure. Democracy in action! Well, we'll see how it goes.

Chandler called into my radio show on Saturday morning, and talked about the planned land-grab at length. I went to shop at the Open-Air Market myself on Sunday (check out those fabulous cherry preserves and yummy cashew brittle!) and spoke with Chandler about the upcoming hearing, and then decided to attend it myself.

Some background, from a Sept 7th news report:

Longtime Produce Vendor Takes On SC-DOT
Market Owner Worries Project Could Hurt Business
by Gabrielle Komorowski, WYFF News 4 Anchor/Reporter

MAULDIN, S.C. -- The South Carolina Department of Transportation plans to widen an Upstate roadway -- but not without a fight from a feisty produce vendor.

Joel Ann Chandler has operated the Mauldin Open-Air Market on Butler Road for 30 years.

The SC-DOT wants to widen the intersection and the nearby area where Butler Road meets Corn Road and Brides Road. The area includes the road in front of Mauldin High School.

Chandler said the changes would make it difficult for her tractor trailer to safely deliver produce. She said the SC-DOT wants to convert a nearby embankment into an access driveway.

"It's going to be hard for us to even get out in the road without red lights; dangerous. Kids are running across the road all the time over here," Chandler said.
Chandler also said much of her customers' parking space would be eliminated. "If people have that much trouble getting in and out, you know eventually they won't come," Chandler said.

Chandler has collected more than 1,000 signatures from others opposed to the project. She plans to send the signatures to Governor Nikki Haley.

Tommy Elrod, program manager with SC-DOT, said the project would make the entire area safer.

"She'll have a 40-foot wide commercial driveway and it will be well defined, so to me, that's much safer. You won't have traffic in and out of her business mixing with pedestrians standing at the corner waiting to cross over," Elrod said.

Elrod said the project is not set in stone.

"I'll continue to work with Ms. Chandler and try to come up with access that eases her concerns," Elrod said.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin next summer.
Mauldin mayor Don Godbey listened politely, but sounded rather tepid in his response, assuring Chandler at the Council meeting that he had "advocated on her behalf" at a recent Department of Transportation meeting. And that means what exactly? One of the Godbey's associations is with GPATS, which is one of the culprits responsible for this little land-grab scheme. I don't know whether Chandler knows that or not, since I just discovered it myself, doing a websearch on GPATS. In light of this fact, I find it a bit disingenuous, that when Chandler mentioned the organization in her comments to Mauldin City Council, Godbey stayed silent and didn't see fit to let folks know that he is in cahoots with them.

City Councilman Michael Reynolds took the time to thank Joel Ann (none of the other council members did) and complimented her for doing everything correctly. He sounded sad, though. I think he sees the handwriting on the wall. I am also quite skeptical, since I know how Greenville County is, when they want some ordinary person's land: ruthless. But I am hopeful... Joel Ann is a good person who has done much excellent work in the community and has many friends. Chancey Lindsey-Peake of Banana Manna breads, made a statement of support, explaining that Joel Ann has provided a working livelihood to many local vendors and small businesspeople like herself.

Complaint: Conservatives frequently purport to believe in small business, and yet, do not actively support businesses that reflect the culture of the south; the community itself. They will let Walmart destroy my neighborhood, but they won't go out of their way to stop this insanity. Why? Where were all the conservatives last night? And in truth, it wasn't only them: Why was it up to two Green Party members to represent the Left? Where are the Democrats and other progressives who claim to believe in BUYING LOCAL?

It is these kinds of sneaky, incremental moves and land-grabs that have Walmartized the country. If we want to roll that back, we have to start supporting people like Joel Ann. Please shop at her market and let her know that she has your support.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Paul Krugman

... I still can't stop laughing at this, hours after first seeing it.

Kate Schulte 1951-2011

Some people simply radiate goodness... you can even get drunk and barf on their nice rug and they say ohhh, that is nothing. When you reconnect with them years later, they never mention the rug, and instead tell you how wonderful you are. They impart their special magic to all of those around them. These are very rare, beautiful souls on this earth.

We have lost one.

Goodbye, dearest Kate.


SCHULTE, Kate "Kathaleen Beth" Schulte, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend, left our company on September 15 from an apparent heart attack at the age of 60. Kate was born in Wichita, KS, and settled in Columbus, OH, in 1975. Her earliest work for justice was with farmworker organizers and the Columbus Tenants Union. In 1984, she met her swoon-unit, Michael Vander Does, on a memorable trip to the Kentucky Derby. Allen Ginsberg was a guest at their engagement party in July 1985 and they married a few months later. She loved and cared for her stepdaughters, Nicole and Naima Vander Does, as if they were her own. She loved to travel. The Yucatan, Italy, and New Orleans were favorite destinations. She attended 17 Jazzfests, seven Kentucky Derbies, and too many ComFests to count. She was a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Law, after which she became a well-known civil rights attorney. Perhaps her proudest legal work was on the Brunet firefighter sex discrimination case. A remembrance will be held at Ray's Living Room, 17 Brickel St., Columbus, OH, on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 6 p.m., for her family and friends to celebrate her beautiful life.

From: Columbus Dispatch

I got on a bus once, drug-addled, and Kate was there. I meandered on back to sit next to her... I didn't even ASK if I could sit there. I told her I was all messed up on drugs.

"Well, you don't look like it!" she whispered, conspiratorially. And then she started telling me about her law book. I remember that it sounded very cool and interesting.

She reminded me, "Isn't this your stop?" She was right! Without Kate, would have ended up in Worthington or somewhere.

What I remembered, when I heard the news of her passing, was her warm, bright smile that day, when I sat next to her. She made even some silly druggie feel like the most important human being in the world.

So many people recall the warm, inclusive smile, and how it made them feel.


Yippies regularly crashed parties given by various important liberals and lawyers, which we loved to do. Go ahead, try to throw your poor lefty relations out of the party! (Sometimes they did.) We will talk trash about you and call you rich!

It was a game: "Do you think they'll let us in?"

But not at Kate's party: "Oh, that's fine, I love the Yippies. Somebody has to bring some controversy, don't they?!" (Was that a dig at the boring liberals?) She warmly invited us in, plied us with cheese and wine and introduced us to the well-heeled Democrats. She seemed to enjoy knowing scruffy anarchists, and also seemed to quietly enjoy ruffling those rich liberals a bit.

Official Yippie verdict on Kate: What a great person!


On Facebook, I told her, you know you are old when you are friending the people you used to babysit. She loved that. And it was via Facebook that I reconnected with a beautiful soul, and then lost her, in a year's time. And ohhhh my, it does hurt.

I've written about the modern phenomenon of experiencing death so up-close and personal via Facebook, and how it is now turning into a common occurrence. I hope this grief will not also become commonplace, but then again, perhaps it will serve to make us treasure every minute that much more.

As Kate would have done.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dead Air Church: Ex-fundies rock!

At left: A mere fraction of the copious religious propaganda that has been foisted on me here in fundamentalist Bob Jones University-land. My favorite is in the lower left of the frame, the million dollar bill with Charles Spurgeon on it. (Accept no substitutes!)

I recently discovered Stuff Fundies Like, when my blog was linked on one of their threads. Yow, thought Daisy, what kind of fundies quote ME? I was surprised, to say the least.

And now I know: These are the kind of fundies that quote me!

These are the EX-fundies. And it turns out, there are droves of them! Who knew? (Well, of course, the eager-beaver tract-distributors don't tell you about THEM, now do they?)

And... let me tell you: they are beautiful people.

Stuff Fundies Like (SFL) routinely gets hundreds of comments... and it is the comments and participation that drives the community. They are all over the lot, furious ex-fundies, funny ex-fundies (they are often quite hilarious in describing the lifestyle, creed, expectations), as well as those who desperately want to exit fundamentalism, but can't seem to figure out how to do it. Fundamentalist Christianity (and ALL fundamentalism, by extension) traps people; if they were raised in it, they don't understand the ways of the world. Everyone they know is like them. They have been told the world is evil and wicked, and they don't know which outsiders to trust. As a result, Stuff Fundies Like has become a warm and friendly surrogate family, extremely crucial and sorely needed.

Through this blog, I found a treasure trove of information... the next Bob Jonesoid that approaches me, will be sorry sorry sorry. On the other hand, I realize, I will likely be a whole lot nicer to them, too... I think I get it, now. It doesn't make the harassment any easier to take, but it does make me more compassionate. Buddha said if you want to understand your own suffering, focus on the suffering of those who make YOU suffer. (Something like that.) I often fail miserably at this, since when my enemies suffer, I usually giggle with glee, "Yeah, take that, bitch!" In so many ways, I am not the most spiritually-enlightened person, as DEAD AIR regulars have likely figured out by now.

However, I now know (for example), that the kids at Bob Jones are FORCED to meet "soul-winning quotas" (!) and the tract-foisting harassment is therefore required. They have "prayer captains" in every dorm room (does that give anybody else a flash of Grand Funk Railroad's "I'm your Captain"--conjuring up images of now-born-again Mark Farner with a Bible-shaped guitar in his hands?). The prayer captains tattle on you all the time, if you should stray from the Bob Jones path. And straying is inevitable, because the demands placed on these young people are incredible.

You are not allowed to face your accusers. The place runs on the gossip and whims of "prayer captains"--imagine your college if the goody-two-shoes were allowed to run the joint. Some of the ex-fundies were bounced out, in just this arbitrary fashion. Busted with AC/DC, there is nothing to do but plead guilty. You did the crime, you serve the time... and they first put people in lock-down, almost like prison. (To me, it sounds like a prison.) Demerits are given for all kinds of bizarre things, and the SFL commentariat like to give each other demerits in humorous fashion.

The blog and forum include everybody--the ex-fundies are best-represented, but the curious never-fundie and the fundie-victim (me) are also present and accounted for. Folks are diverse; some are still pretty strict Christians (notably, nobody cusses) and some are now atheists and agnostics. And they accept and tolerate each other, wherever they are. The tolerance is more than mere tolerance: it is 'capital t' Tolerance. Their tolerance is obviously a secular value that they have agreed upon; an explicit goal that they strive for, as part of their journey to find their own way.

As a result, they are far more tolerant than many liberals who pride themselves on "tolerance." No people truly grasp the whole meaning of tolerance more than someone who was never granted ANY, and fully understands what that means.

Learning the lingo of the blog/forum is somewhat daunting; they have more acronyms than the old Alphabet Soup of the Left. Some of these stand for the main colleges of fundamentalism--besides BJU, there is Pensacola Christian College (PCC), Hyles-Anderson College (HAC), and Ambassador Baptist College (ABC) among many others. They have their own culture, their own publications and their own entertainment, if you can call it that.

At left: BJU's Jonathan Edwards-themed coffee shop, Great Awakenings. (photo lifted from Mother Jones)

One of the most important terms necessary to understand is IFB, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. This is the core "cell" of the movement. These are also known as "Bible Churches"--for whatever reason. (Implication: other Christian denominations don't really use the Bible, or in any case, don't truly understand it.) And "KJVO" stands for King James Version Only. (You wondered where the Catholic-hating would start, didn't you?) Sometimes they call this "King James Version Onlyism"--since it isn't just a preference, but a doctrinal point that has been stoked to a fever pitch.

I have been introduced to some amazing bloggers and some amazing Christians... some have courageously dedicated themselves to fighting for the victims of abuse. And the extensive abuse has only recently been publicly documented.

After 20/20 blew the IFB movement out of the water back in April, various websites and instructional videos (that make similar allegations look substantial) have been suddenly pulled in the dead of night.

[Warnings, triggers and so forth.]

Compassion or Cover-Up? Teen Victim Claims Rape; Forced Confession in Church

[Tina] Anderson was only 16 when she said she was forced to stand terrified before her entire church congregation to confess her "sin" -- she had become pregnant. She says she wasn't allowed to tell the group that the pregnancy was the result of being allegedly raped by a fellow congregant, a man twice her age.

She says her New Hampshire pastor, Chuck Phelps, told her she was lucky not to have been born during Old Testament times when she would have been stoned to death.

Phelps says that Anderson voluntarily stood in front of the church, but Tina says it was the first step of "church discipline" at her Independent Fundamental Baptist Church (IFB).
Her mother sought help from the pastor and they agreed to send her thousands of miles away to Colorado to live with another IFB family.

There, she said she was homeschooled and restricted from seeing others her age until she gave her child up for adoption.
And that was 13 years ago.

How did this come to light? Let's hear it for the INTERNET!
Thirteen years after the alleged crime, Matt Barnhart, a former member of Anderson's church, decided to write a post referencing Anderson's story on a Facebook page for ex-members of IFB churches.

The site supervisor, who runs an advocacy group for former IFB members, Freedom from Abuse, alerted Concord police.

Anderson, who at the time was teaching voice at the International Baptist College in Chandler, Ariz., got the police call out of the blue.

"Right now I feel completely overwhelmed," said Anderson. "It's been tough. In my mind, I didn't think he'd be arrested, and when I got the phone call I was completely shocked. My whole world has changed."
And that last sentence sums up the experience for all the fundies... all of whom have dealt with emotional and spiritual abuse; some have been beaten, and some have been raped. (And at least one, murdered.)

They are leaving, one by one... they take a look around, they decide to take in a movie or listen to music of their own choosing. They talk to the non-fundies around them. They take a deep breath, emerging from lies and subterfuge.

And in so doing, they decide to find out the truth... which as we know, will set us free.

Thank you for sharing your amazing journeys with me, and with all of us. You have shown us courage, justice and true Christian love.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Everyone's gone to the movies

The futuristic movie SURROGATES (2009) unexpectedly blew my mind... a culture in which affluent humans prefer to stay ensconced in their homes, behind closed doors, directing their (good-looking, able-bodied, young) android-selves (through which they see, smell, hear, taste reality as experienced by the android) was not as far removed from everyday experience as I thought it would be. I mean, I am typing on this contraption that people now use like a 'surrogate'--right? Various events are already not regarded as "real" to people unless they've seen them on TV, and it is through a similar smallish screen that people in SURROGATES engage their world. The people who don't, are either too weird or too poor, and are therefore dubbed "meatbags" for not getting with the surrogates-program. gave the movie a mostly-negative review:

It is the future, and lifelike robotic surrogates have become commonplace. In fact, they’re so commonplace that only a small portion of the population don’t use them, and these “dregs” of society have cut themselves off from the rest of the world to live in inner city reservations. They are led by The Prophet (Ving Rhames), a mysterious, homeless-looking fella who preaches revolution against the machines. The story proper begins when two surrogates are destroyed, resulting in the death of their human hosts – impossibility, we’re told by the creators of the machines.

This is, in fact, the first-ever recorded murder of a human while “jacked in”. In a world where crime is no longer a viable human endeavor, and murder is practically non-existent thanks to the presence of surrogates, the FBI, led by Greer (Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell) are understandably shocked. But as Greer and Peters chases the killer, they begin to realize that a larger conspiracy is at work.
But it wasn't the plot that bothered me, it was the underlying IDEAS the plot was based on. The kids at Scificool are already shrugging, but *I* was disoriented by the basic premise.

It was disturbing. I assume that's why it went straight to DVD ... nobody will pay money to go to a theater (their surrogate might) to ponder at length how seriously messed-up we are.

Because, you know, if there were surrogates, it would be just like the movie... that is the truly disturbing, disorienting thing. The perfection of the androids (like the perfection of movie stars) is intimidating, and the meatbags are at a clear disadvantage. A world of beautiful, fit androids means that more people would opt to live this way... in so many ways, we are herd animals. What if the herd stayed home en masse and sent androids out to work? Lots of people have said (when I have described the movie to them) they'd love the option of sending the android to work for them. But would that persona take over your life, becoming the only acceptable facade you can present to the world?

Mr Daisy has met the authors of the graphic novel, Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, who say they weren't inspired by Philip K Dick or JG Ballard, but were most assuredly inspired by William Gibson. Bruce Willis doesn't mind going back and forth in his role; in the first half he looks like a movie star, blond hair, about 32 years old... then he abandons the surrogate for his true meatbag self, and he is bald, obviously aging, and banged up in a fight with scars on his face for the rest of the movie. The juxtaposition between him and the beautiful androids is striking. (I found Radha Mitchell largely unrecognizable, so she made an excellent android.)

The ideas in this movie gave me nightmares and continue to do so.


During the last couple of Thursdays, I huddled up with my bowl of popcorn to watch a night of fabulous Merchant/Ivory films on Turner Classic Movies... but wait. What?

Ask yourself, if a married couple made a slew of amazing, fantastic, Oscar-winning movies, do you think they might mention that? They mention Tracy and Hepburn, who were not even legally married. They mention Bogart and Bacall. They mention Judy Garland and Vincent Minelli. And these are only off the top of my head.

Ismail Merchant and James Ivory were partners. You know, PARTNERS? THOSE KIND of partners?

I recently got the smackdown on another blog for fulminating about this after the recent death of Ismail Merchant; I was self-righteously informed in short order that Merchant, in particular, was a "private man" and IF he was gay, it's nobody's business.

Really? And who decided that? Why is it nobody's business? Bullshit, of course it is. When Spencer Tracy protested that he and Katharine Hepburn's affair was nobody's business, did anybody listen? (Tracy was already married and as a Catholic, would not get a divorce; their decades-long affair was always technically an "adulterous" affair.) Why are we suddenly being polite and respectful when some celebrity tells us something is not our business? Since when?

I think some people don't WANT to know.

The fact that these great movies were made by loving partners, is a major reason why they are so wonderful. It is clear that the director and producer had a unified vision, and worked in harmony to bring it to the audience. Just as people enjoyed the witty repartee of Tracy/Hepburn or the sexual electricity of Taylor/Burton or Newman/Woodward... these couples crackled onscreen and made audiences curious about their private lives. Movie magazines delivered all the goods. They were not allowed to declare their private lives off limits, try as they might.

It was the stunning beauty of these films, that we now call "Merchant-Ivory" (a trusted brand name, a sign of high quality) that first made me curious also. How could these men, from such different backgrounds, make such identifiable, signature films, with such a definable point of view? When I discovered they were life-partners, I was not surprised. In fact, it explains so much about their work.

But alas, nobody will mention their domestic partnership when introducing their work on classic movie networks. They are officially "artistic collaborators" only.

Again, we see how gay people are disappeared by the culture at large, as heterosexuality, even openly illicit heterosexuality, is heralded.


NOTE: Today's blog post title is of course from STEELY DAN. I'd add the song itself, but I could only find a demo version, an outtake version and a 90s live version... arrrgh, if I can't have the exact version I first heard on KATY LIED, I won't print any of them. (musical snobbery)

But the one I linked is the closest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If Disney did a horror movie, might look like this

Left: Victoria's birthday party; she is the one in yellow who looks just like me.

My granddaughter turned six on September 11. I certainly DO wish her birthday was NOT a national day of mourning. To my daughter's credit (that's her in the photo), she has always tried to make her birthdays happy. I don't think Victoria will become self-conscious about the date until she is older, and maybe not even then.

As one commenter on a blog recently said to me: If we let them take our happiness, they have indeed been successful in totally destroying the day. I agree.

Meanwhile, my granddaughter is SIX whole years old! I will be seeing them next week for the first time in over a year, and I am very excited.

And don't these partiers look a little scary? ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Music: And the cat just finished off the bread

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, 40 years ago... this contains excellent, rare old photos of the band, as well as some blistering guitar solos to wake you up this Monday.

One Way Out - Allman Brothers Band (Live 1971)


Playing this to commemorate 9/11. Of course, it's significantly dated now, since we have no longer have any Berlin wall. Do the kids understand? (Could they ever?)

"Please don't be waiting for me."

Holidays in the Sun - Sex Pistols (1977)


"When I see you comin, I just have to run"... he was so funny! Debating if I should use a BDSM tag or not. (Nah.)

Vicious - Lou Reed (1972)


Who else thinks, "I am a passenger, I stay under glass" is the greatest line ever?

(PS: And now, you will also be earwormed to death with LA LA LA LA LALALA LAAAAAH! for the rest of your day.)

The Passenger - Iggy Pop (1977)


And this is the song that gives us today's blog post title.

Pinball - Brian Protheroe (1974)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Radio radio

I got through my second radio broadcast! (((pants))) We still don't have a podcast yet, but I am assured it is in the works. (Commercial: The South Carolina Green Party presents THE DAISY DEADHEAD SHOW!!! Every Saturday at 9-10am on WFIS radio! You can listen online.)

Yeesh, Kathy Griffin isn't kidding about that flop sweat. After we were finished and exiting the radio station... suddenly wondered why I was so wet. I also get awful insomnia the night before. I think it will take awhile before these symptoms subside. As my late grandma would say, I have "a case of the nerves."

The good news: We had TWO phone calls! Yeah!

Gregg took these photos while I was actively running my mouth, so a bit blurry. (I was talking about the commemoration of 9/11 in the second photo.) I did not have a death grip on the Notre Dame rosary this time (as I did last week), but as you can see, I DID find it necessary to slip it over my head, just in case.

Today, we trashed the governor. It was FUN! Update: Thursday, Governor Nikki Haley called Renee Dudley (the reporter who exposed her pricey European junket in the Charleston Post and Courier) a "little girl". (Exact quote: "God bless that little girl at the Post and Courier.") I asked how she would like it if someone called HER a little girl? I then segued into criticizing Republican presidential candidate, Governor Rick Perry, for cutting funding for rural Fire Departments in Texas (from $30 million to $7 million), which is the whole reason the place is currently burning up.

We also covered the case of Troy Anthony Davis, a likely-innocent man who is scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia on September 21. I addressed the pro-death penalty people directly (probably 95% of listeners in SC) and said it does not help their cause when innocent people (or even possibly-innocent people) are executed, and that they should be in the forefront, trying to get Davis off Death Row. (It was an unexpected comment right off the top of my head, and I was proud of it.) Not sure how that went over, but I said it anyway.

Notably, I always write out a sign, NO CUSSING, right before the show. The FCC fine is $10,000 a pop for every one of these you say. (Ordinarily, I would be madly cussing over alla this stuff, of course, as DEAD AIR regulars know.)

I got through it, but another double mocha Frappucino was required. I will never get down to a single vanilla at this rate.


I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I wanna make them wish they'd never seen me

Radio Radio - Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nothing can change the shape of things to come

A classic DEAD AIR rerun from 2007, because I really wanted to hear the song: bringing you classic NOSTALGIA with Max Frost and the Troopers, a fictional band made up for the movie WILD IN THE STREETS.

Wild in the Streets (1968) was a super-fabulous B-movie about adult paranoia circa 1968, as the kids lower the voting age to 14, feed LSD to everyone over 30, and take over the country. Christopher Jones, beautiful ex-husband of Susan Strasberg, brazenly channels Jim Morrison, and gives us this fantastic Doors-as-garage-band song (by brilliant songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil), which ominously reminds us that Nothing Can Change the Shape of Things to Come. Ain't it the truth.

The kids elect Max president in the movie, which doesn't bode well, as you might imagine.

And if your kids try to get you to drink anything suspect, REFUSE IT!


Max Frost And The Troopers - Nothing Can Change the Shape of Things to Come

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Texan showdown

After Labor Day's extended nonsense, I wasn't too eager to watch any more Republican debates. Bah. So I skipped last night's; I figured there would be plenty more where that came from.

It turns out the big news is what happened during the commercials.

According to

During a commercial break at Wednesday’s Republican debate, Rick Perry and Ron Paul continued their spirited exchange on stage. Suddenly, Perry grabbed Ron Paul’s forearm while aggressively pointing his index finger towards the Congressman’s face. Alerted by Perry’s menacing gestures, Ron Paul’s bodyguard [front left in photo below] was standing by, ready to protect the Congressman.
But don't expect to find out what all the hoopla is about, since Ron has forgotten it already:
On Thursday, a Rick Perry spokesman stated that the two contenders were having a “cordial conversation” about border security, while Ron Paul diplomatically downplayed the incident, saying he did not even remember the exchange.
I don't believe that for a minute, but I like how he disses Perry as not memorable. AND not worth getting upset over.

And quite honestly, who looks ruffled in these photos? It isn't the good doctor.

From the Washington Times account titled Perry vs. Paul: A Texas-sized war:
At one point when the video cameras weren’t rolling — though the incident was caught by still photographers — Mr. Perry walked over Mr. Paul’s lectern, took hold of the congressman’s wrist and wagged his finger at him.

A spokesman for Mr. Perry said Thursday it was a policy conversation, not a heated exchange.

“The governor and the congressman talked about border security. It was a cordial conversation,” said Mark Miner.

The two Texans, though, lost few opportunities to focus on one another in the debate.

The first shot was invited by the debate moderators, who asked Mr. Paul to expand on his accusations, made in recent days, that Mr. Perry, who has spent more than a decade as governor of Texas, is less conservative than voters think.

“Just take the HPV,” Mr. Paul said, referring to Mr. Perry’s scrapped plan to require schoolgirls in the state to be given a vaccine against the sexually transmitted virus. “Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculation to prevent this sexually transmitted disease, this is not good medicine, I do not believe. I think it’s social misfit.”

Mr. Perry acknowledged he’d gone about the plan the wrong way when he tried to bypass the legislature, but said he’d been trying to combat cervical cancer, which can result from HPV, and said his plan would have allowed parents to opt out of the inoculation program.

Later, after Mr. Perry criticized the health care law Mr. Romney signed in Massachusetts, Mr. Paul jumped in and said Mr. Perry should worry about his own record, since he had written “a really fancy letter supporting Hillarycare” — the health program former first lady Hillary Clinton tried to enact in the 1990s.
Mr. Perry fired back, pointing to a letter Mr. Paul wrote in 1987 announcing he was dropping out of the the party he now seeks to lead because he was disappointed in then-President Reagan.

“Speaking of letters, I was more interested in the one that you wrote to Ronald Reagan back and said I’m going to quit the party because of the things you believe in,” Mr. Perry said.

He didn’t any further before Mr. Paul insisted on responding.

“I support the message of Ronald Reagan. The message was great. But the consequence — we have to be honest with ourselves — it was not all that great,” Mr. Paul said.

The attacks kept up even during the commercial breaks — and not just on stage. Mr. Paul had paid to run an ad during the MSNBC broadcast attacking Mr. Perry, pointing to his support for Al Gore’s presidential bid in the 1980s, including twice calling the governor a “cheerleader.”

“Al Gore found a cheerleader in Texas named Rick Perry,” the ad announcer intones.
I'd love to read the Ron Paul letter. It will probably be guarded as closely as the Fatima Letter though, and we'll never get the chance.

It's getting interesting.

As I've said, I have already called South Carolina for Perry (barring any unforeseen scandals, and he looks like he eats scandals for breakfast, so that's a big caveat), and I haven't changed my mind since his visit here in the upstate on August 19th. But the Ron Paul people have also figured this out, and they know who to go after. They are INTENT on winning South Carolina and are very single-minded and hard-working.

Could they do it?

Well, maybe if they start talking about the fact that the reason Texas is burning up right now is that Rick Perry slashed fire departments around the state, to the tune of $23 million... from $30 million to $7 million. And now they have uncontrollable wildfires they can't stop. What about that?

Oh wait, Ron wants to cut MORE than that (including cops, according to what I heard him say in the Labor Day debate), so of course, he can't criticize Perry on THAT score. Ron would let the state burn too, wouldn't he? Or would he? Let's talk about THAT, and the 1400 people burned out of their homes by Republican greed. OR we could talk about where Rick Perry's gets his money, conservative Texas tycoon James Leininger:
Leininger also helped bankroll the transformation of the Texas GOP from a merely conservative party to one dominated by religious fundamentalists. Partly because of his influence, the Texas political culture that Rick Perry emerges from is significantly more right-wing than the one that shaped George W. Bush. And now that Perry is running for president, Leininger is working to make sure that national conservative Christian leaders coalesce behind him
Leininger is in tight with the fundies, as owner of Promised Land Dairy, which sells milk in bottles printed with Bible verses.

And now he is going to sell Rick Perry, former buddy of Al Gore, to the Religious Right.

Stay tuned, sports fans.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Haley Watch: Nikki and Michele have a slumber party!

At left: BFFs Nikki and Michele trash the NLRB and foment anti-union sentiment at a recent SC Town Hall meeting.

I debated whether that was a sexist title, and then I thought, wait, WHO am I talking about here? Two of the most pernicious political women in the country. Therefore, I reserve the right to invoke sexist slumber party jokes! (Sorry about that yall, but I just can't be politically correct ALL the time.) And seriously, it does sound like that to me. Can't you just imagine all that right-wing giggling, as they huddle together in their jammies, popping popcorn and conspiring to deny even more rights to labor unions and gays?

Makes me slightly nauseous to think about it:

Michele Bachmann had some face-time with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Sunday night, dining with the governor and coveted endorser and staying over at the governor's mansion, according to a source familiar with the get-together.

It's not the first time of late that Haley has appeared with Bachmann — she recently made a surprise showing at the presidential candidate's town hall forum in the state.

The latest get-together came as Rick Perry, who is crowding out Bachmann in attention and with tea party activists, is holding a town hall in the Palmetto State with Rep. Tim Scott.
Rick Perry notably missed Jim DeMint's Tea Party Extravaganza in Columbia yesterday, since much of Texas is currently in flames. I respect his decision to stay in his home state to deal with the wildfires, even if he is nervous about debating. As Texas governor, he really needs to do his ELECTED JOB first.

And besides the slumber party (Aside: Since they are both so pro-war, maybe I should call it Slumber Party Massacre, which I'll bet you feminists didn't known was written by none other than Rita Mae Brown), there is plenty more where that came from.

((drum roll)) THIS is the big enchilada we have all been waiting for!!!

Yes, I know. I roped you in with vague promises of Republican girl-romps, and now, I get all economically-serious on your asses. More apologies. Things can't be girly fun all the time, you know.

Or maybe it can! Let's go to EUROPE on the people's dime! Yee-ha!

I KNEW she was a fiscal fake (since she has never held a real job), and now we have proof of it. I am printing the following article from the Charleston Post and Courier in its entirety, for emphasis. (And thanks to SC Progressive Network for always being on the case; damn, I loves you guys!!)

European vacation or legitimate business? Haley's fiscal priorities under fire as summer 'jobs' trip detailed
Monday, September 5, 2011
Gov. Nikki Haley's weeklong trip to Europe in June in search of "jobs, jobs, jobs" cost South Carolinians more than $127,000. But the governor and her entourage of more than two dozen returned without any finished deals to bring new employers to the Palmetto State.
Daisy pauses to scream: TWO DOZEN? Christ, Hillary didn't even take that many people to freaking Bosnia.
Haley, who captured the governor's office preaching fiscal restraint, spent the cash so she, her husband and the rest of the state's contingent could stay in five-star hotels; sip cocktails at the Paris Ritz; dine on what an invitation touted as "delicious French cuisine" at a swanky rooftop restaurant; and rub elbows with the U.S. Ambassador to France at his official residence near the French presidential palace.

The South Carolina group also threw a soiree at the Hotel de Talleyrand, a historic Parisian townhouse where they feted foreign employers in hopes they'd set up shop in South Carolina. The Department of Commerce billed the $25,000 event as a "networking opportunity for members of the South Carolina delegation."

"It was a great party," Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in an interview last week.

Expenses from the trip still are being submitted, Hitt said. The $127,000 figure represents spending only by the Commerce Department, which covered many but not all of Haley's expenses, he said.
Daisy is hereby reduced to sputtering. (This hardly ever happens.)

This is a nakedly greedy, self-serving and self-involved politician who is zealously cutting services to disabled people, so she can eat nice food in France. Where, if I am not mistaken, Marie Antoinette was from.

Nikki needs to go read about what happened to HER.
It's unclear exactly what Haley accomplished during the taxpayer-funded excursion. Many documents released Monday to The Post and Courier in response to a July 7 Freedom of Information Act request were heavily redacted.

During a press conference -- unrelated to the trip -- Friday afternoon in Charleston, Haley told the newspaper the state "closed two deals" while abroad. She referred further questions to the Commerce Department.
We'll be looking forward to hearing about those deals, Governor. Why no big-ass bitchin press conference, like the one you had to announce that Amy's Organics was moving here to the upstate?

Put up or shut up. Show us the money!
In a follow-up interview Friday, Hitt said the state, in fact, closed no deals. Two agreements involving foreign employers are in the works, he said. He provided no details.

Spending criticized

Critics called the mid-June trip an inappropriately timed junket: It took place at the zenith of legislative debate over the tightest budget in recent history.

Benefits of the trip for South Carolinians -- who confront an unemployment rate of almost 11 percent -- are unclear, said the critics, who include a respected state senator from the governor's own party and a Columbia Tea Party organizer.

John Crangle, executive director of South Carolina Common Cause, asked, "What did they bring home from the hunt?"

Crangle, whose organization is a government ethics watchdog, then answered his own question: "They came back with an empty whiskey bottle," he said. "Or I guess since they went to the Ritz it was an empty Champagne bottle. They had a good time at the state's expense."

S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said Haley was "channeling Marie Antoinette."

"Has the average South Carolinian ever stayed in a $650 a night hotel or spent almost $4,000 in one week on airfare?" Harpootlian said. "Her response to the people who footed the bill would be, 'Let them eat cake.' "
Like they say, great minds think alike.

Or is it just such an obvious comparison in these harsh economic times?
S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, a Beaufort Republican, called the logic of economic development trips "flawed."

"If you get the fundamental things right -- solid education and health care -- capital will come to the state," Davis said. "Those are the functions of government. Not creating jobs. ... It's a socialist state when the government's core function is to create jobs."

But Hitt, the Commerce secretary, defended the excursion as a "vital link" for attracting foreign employers to South Carolina instead of other nearby states.

"We have to go out and market ourselves," he said. "It's a tough game to play."

Following repeated requests, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said Thursday he would "find three to five minutes" for a phone interview with the governor, but by Friday Godfrey said in an email "the governor is not available." Godfrey said in the email that the governor had offered the newspaper an "exclusive opportunity to accompany the delegation" to Europe to "cover, first hand, the productivity of the trip." The newspaper declined.

Godfrey had requested an emailed list of questions for this story, but he did not respond to them. In a statement, he said: "Governor Haley will never miss an opportunity to talk about our great state's business opportunities to companies across the world -- and that's what her trip to Europe was about."

The newspaper briefly spoke with Haley after finding her at the Charleston news conference Friday.


Haley and the two dozen-member South Carolina contingent traveled to France and Germany the week of June 18. They attended the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget and toured BMW headquarters in Munich.

A daily itinerary shows the governor and her staff scheduled more than 20 meetings in France and Germany, but the details are heavily redacted because they contain "confidential proprietary information," the governor's attorney said in a letter. Among the only unredacted business meetings were appointments with Boeing and BMW, which already have large operations in the state.

Haley's office cited no expectations or results involving the mission, although the newspaper specifically requested both in its Freedom of Information Act letter.

The governor had planned to discuss economic development progress with the media during her trip. Her itinerary twice shows time set aside for "availability with South Carolina media." But the time slot was 10:45 a.m. Paris and Munich time -- that is 4:45 a.m. South Carolina time.
Actually, I think they call that being a garden-variety DUMB ASS.
Haley did, however, express her hopes in a YouTube video shot at the Paris Air Show on June 20. In it, she said Boeing's arrival in South Carolina has fanned the interest of "so many suppliers who are looking to do business here." She continued: "We will continue to work on jobs, jobs, jobs, but just know that everybody in this beautiful city is talking about our beautiful state of South Carolina."

The state's official overseas economic development missions date to the 1960s, when the textile industry's decline made officials scramble to find replacements, said Douglas Woodward, a professor at the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business.

"It laid the groundwork for the revitalization of the state's economy," said Woodward, who specializes in economic development studies. "German chemical companies and BMW put us on the map. Before that, I'm not sure that Europeans would know where we are. ... The benefits can be enormous, but it takes time."

Critics, though, are wary of vague benefits, saying state officials shouldn't waste taxpayer cash on overseas trips while simultaneously approving deep cuts in education and health care spending.

"It's hard to know whether or not there was any benefit to these trips," said Crangle of Common Cause.

Allen Olson, an organizer for the Columbia Tea Party, said he wants to know how the money was spent.

"If there was waste, we have a problem," he said.

Upgrading to compete

South Carolina has had a presence at the Paris Air Show each year since 2005. Gov. Mark Sanford, who took at least one major international trip each year he was in office, had attended.

The Commerce Department did not respond last week to a request for Air Show spending details for each of those years.

This year, though, the state had some upgrades.

For the first time, South Carolina abandoned the standard booth in favor of a "chalet," an area with shared conference rooms, business equipment, private bathrooms, a patio and a "beverage service," Hitt said.

"My view was that we needed something different. ... It's more professional," said Hitt, a former BMW executive who filled the Commerce post in January. "The things we did this year are the things we have to do to be successful."

By comparison, North Carolina's commerce department got a booth and sent seven people to the Air Show, spending about $112,000, according to a spokesman for that state. Georgia sent two people and had no booth, a spokeswoman for that state said.

Neither state's governor attended the show.

Critics such as Harpootlian, the Democratic party chairman, said ancillary industries connected to Boeing and BMW would be unswayed by the governor's visit to Europe. Suppliers would follow the major industries to the state regardless, they said.

"At this point you don't have to go pitch them," the Columbia attorney said. "They will come here."

But Hitt said South Carolina must make a grand appearance at the show to compete with nearby states like North Carolina and Georgia for the new employers.

"It's naive to think people will show up no matter what," Hitt said. "Simply responding to emails and phone calls -- it's not the way it works."

Harpootlian countered that argument, saying, "You can recruit employers without staying in a five-star hotel."

Hitt, who originally denied the group stayed in five-star accommodations, said, "We have a special rate we worked out."

The average daily rate for the governor's hotels was $430, according to the Commerce Department.

More perks

When they weren't dining out, Haley and her entourage had "warm meals" delivered to their hotel rooms. They used the "VIP access" at the airport, according to an itinerary. Airfare to and from Europe cost about $1,530 per person, according to travel receipts from the governor's office.

Some members of the group also traveled by plane and train while in Europe, trekking to the German cities of Munich, Dresden and Stuttgart. Airfare from France to the German cities cost about $2,000 for Haley alone, the records show.

Michael Haley -- the governor's husband, who is a technician for the South Carolina National Guard -- paid his own travel expenses, according to Commerce Department. He traveled by train to the German cities, where he attended meetings with the U.S. Europe and Africa Commands. Hitt, the Commerce secretary, said those meetings also involved economic development.

Commerce officials said 27 people were in the South Carolina delegation, which included staffers and security agents from the governor's office, managers from the Commerce Department, S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman, a Florence Republican, and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. The group charged more than $5,100 in per diem expenses to the state, according to the Commerce Department.

About a dozen members of the group represented the state's regional economic development "alliances." Eight of those groups, which receive a share of tax dollars, contributed $8,000 apiece to help cover the trip's expenses.

Additional overseas economic development trips are on the horizon.

Hitt said last week he is planning a trip abroad later this month. He said the governor would not be attending, but he declined to provide any further details.

Haley's June trip, her first overseas trip as governor, is not likely to be her last.

India is one location she has considered. Haley met Meera Shankar, the Indian Ambassador to the U.S., in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, according to a March press release posted on the ambassador's website. At that time Haley said she wanted to "visit India along with a trade and business delegation," the release said.
Renee Dudley for Pope! Great expose of a TOTAL FUCKING PHONY.

Read and pass along please!

So here I am, unemployed, scrambling for peanuts, as my husband's taxes pay for Governor Haley to eat gourmet French foods and have warm meals delivered to her room. Why am I not surprised the Tea Party Queen is just another liar?

As one of my favorite modern philosophers once said, Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Date a geek today

Can I say it? I feel really sorry for people who are dating now.

A whole generation has gone by since I last shopped for males. (In November, we will celebrate our 24th anniversary.) And from the looks of things, it's gotten kinda ugly out there.

I think it must be terrible for people to look you up and down, talk to you for five minutes, then press the buzzer: NEXT. Back in the day, before the internet, things were slower. You usually didn't press the NEXT buzzer until you knew the person fairly well and were CERTAIN it was time to press the NEXT buzzer. And even then, you might keep that person around as a good friend, the way Chris Rock says women keep a man in the wings: "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass." (Yes, she admitted, head hung low, I did that for years. Because as Chris Rock says, you never know.)

This post was inspired by a geek-hating tirade, and I just had to say something.

As an old lady married to a geek, let me say, geeks are the greatest. AND the smartest. (I admit, being married to a genius is important to my self-image.) But I understand that not everyone feels that way. Big Blogdonia hoopla over this intended-humorous post over at Gizmodo. (I thought Gizmodo was a geeky-site, so I was surprised that they would run an anti-geek piece.) Trendy young woman dates a geek, and suffers extended apoplexy:

The next day I Googled my date and a wealth of information flowed into my browser. A Wikipedia page! Competition videos! Fanboy forums! This guy isn’t just some professional who dabbled in card games at a tender age. He’s widely revered in the game of Magic that he’s been immortalised in his own playing card.

Just like you’re obligated to mention you’re divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn’t someone also be required to disclose any indisputably geeky world championship titles? But maybe it was a long time ago? We met for round two later that week.

At dinner I got straight down to it. Did he still play? “Yes.” Strike one. How often? “I’m preparing for a tournament this weekend.” Strike two. Who did he hang out with? “I’ve met all my best friends through Magic.” Strike three. I smiled and nodded and listened. Eventually I even felt a little bit bad that I didn’t know shit about the game. Here was a guy who had dedicated a good chunk of his life to mastering Magic, on a date with a girl who can barely play Solitaire. This is what happens, I thought, when you lie in your online profile. I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing.

I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal bearded guy with a job, only to end up sharing goat cheese with a world champion of nerds. Maybe I’m an OKCupid arsehole for calling it that way. Maybe I’m shallow for not being able to see past his world title. But if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.
This post exploded onto several blogs, as the geeks and geek-defenders came out in force. Gizmodo even replied semi-officially and took the guy's name out of the piece. (But with the multitude of information the author has provided, it would be really easy to locate him and his name.) Sady Doyle takes up the charge and defends the initial poster and her account of the shitty date. (NOTE: Sady is far funnier.) Eventually THAT thread has to be closed down too. The whole thing has caused a near-riot in Blogdonia.

Meanwhile, I am rendered mute and remain utterly clueless about the whole thing. Really? A game? Really?

And what's wrong with goat cheese?

See there, I am already hopelessly uncool. I don't even understand the underlying premises of why this man is bad. As far as I can see, he didn't insult her or women in general, did not grab her tit or pinch her ass, was reasonably literate and dressed inoffensively. (She offhandedly says they discussed "normal stuff" and includes "college" as one of those "normal" things... obviously, a man who had not been to college at all would not have been regarded as "normal" or good enough, regardless of his interests or intelligence. In virtually all angry replies to the post, this casual elitism was unremarked upon.) Is it supposed to be bad or good to dress like a hedge fund guy? And why? Is capitalism considered an unbridled good by this person? If the guy had oodles of money (if his card-game-of-choice was the World Series of Poker rather than Magic: The Gathering), would she have been impressed?

Feminism is not just about women. Feminism is also about men. We cannot expect men to transcend their base desires and like us as people, if we are not willing to do the same to them. If we judge men solely by their wallets or their hobbies, we can hardly be angry when they judge us by our boobs or our weight.

Does it shock you when I tell you I married AN UNEMPLOYED PERSON? Of course, now, he has had his job longer than everybody, but when I met him, this was certainly not the case. Sady says there is no such thing as the Frog turning into the Prince and sees this as propaganda for girls to accept Frogs and to be happy with them:
We get a lot of sexist narratives about love, but none of them are more pernicious and subtle than this: The Frog Prince story. You could call it “Beauty and the Beast,” too. Or you could call it “Twilight,” or “Knocked Up,” or “Rory Williams Won’t Stop Whining;” it’s always the same story, anyway. Girl meets guy. On the surface, this guy is unappealing! Because he’s a frog! Or he’s not sexually attractive to her, or he treats her badly, or he’s immature, or he’s Rory Williams and he won’t stop whining; all of these are frog-like states, generally considered unkissable. But only a bitch would think that frogs don’t deserve our sweet, sweet kisses, so the woman doesn’t leave. Instead, she looks for the guy’s good qualities. She lowers her standards; she changes her expectations. She gives up on her silly little “ideas” about “attractiveness” or “compatible lifestyles” or “having fun with her partner.” Finally, she loses touch with her own desires to the point that she winds up making out with a fucking frog. At which point he becomes a prince. Or a loving husband, or a responsible person, or a whiny little Roman Centurion; the point is, in these stories, once you give up on wanting things from men, men magically become what you want.

Here’s the secret, though, if you are the girl in this particular story: That guy never became a prince. At all. He’s still the same guy; he still possesses all those qualities you initially found unappealing, for all sorts of valid reasons. People don’t go from frog to mammal overnight, and they particularly don’t do so because you ask less of them; you are still making out with a frog, in the long run. The only reason he looks like a prince nowadays is that you lowered your standards to the point that you literally could not tell the difference between frog and mammal.
First of all, I was an alcoholic very active in AA when he met me, a single welfare mother with a three-year-old child, so I was not free of my own amphibian tendencies. And maybe those flaws are pretty glaring, but you know, everyone has them. Everyone. But because mine WERE so glaring, I could not lie about them or hide them, and had to face them up front. I was not a terrific bargain, and I did not present myself that way. Perhaps everyone should consider that? (Aside: Working-class and poor kids are frequently asked by their peers, Who do you think you are?, and I often wonder if the middle-and-upper-class kids are ever asked that question, because they sure don't act like it. But I digress.)

And second, I find it interesting Sady thinks the Frog tale is a propaganda story for women... when I think women wrote the story, out of personal experience.

In short, we SAW the prince emerge, so we know. For sure.

As one who has been married three times, let me share something crucial: you do not know who men are until the shit hits the fan. (Yes, I'm afraid the military is right about that one.) Our characters are forged in crisis. Will this man stand by you when you go to court with the ex? When you are sick? Been fired? Lost your mother? How will he respond? What kind of father will he be? You don't know any of this ahead of time, even if you think you do. One of the worst things that can ever happen, is finding out that you married someone who can't deal with emotions or reality, who subsumes himself in work or TV or porn. When you are young and carefree and everything is fun, you can easily handle things. But the first time something HAPPENS (i.e. somebody becomes an alcoholic, okay: ME) and this person can't deal? They will cut you loose and move on. It turns out they are not someone cut out for the long haul, and you had no clue. (How could you have had a clue? Nothing BAD had ever happened before.) You could go years and never know this about a man. And it happened to me.

What you want is a man who understands what true partnership means. These men are rare, so rare in fact, that you shouldn't turn them away just because they play the wrong game. Really, that is the least of it. (Some hints I can offer in retrospect: during the dating period, does he keep his distance when you are upset or yowling? Does he say, "call back when you have calmed down"? Move on. When you have children together, he will treat them like shit and refuse to deal. Because as you probably know, kids yowl all the time.)

The secret to being married a long time is: Your souls merge. Your MINDS merge. You may not like his games, but you will learn about them nonetheless. Even more than that: you will learn what traits he displays while playing said game, and why it makes him so happy. Similarly, he may not like your stuff either, but he will learn the lyrics of Who songs anyway. Eventually, you hear him tell someone else that the Who was great, and you privately preen. Just to yourself.

At this point, we finish each other sentences, or don't even bother with whole sentences.

Example: TV commercial comes on.

Him: "That reminds me of..."

Me: "Yeah, but that was a different actor."

Him: "No, same guy."

Me: "You sure?"

Friends: stare at us dumbfounded, and we don't even know why, until they tell us.

And I like it that way. :)

So here I am, defending the geeks. Because I am happily married to one, and have been for a long time. And girls, if you overlook them as a category, you are cheating yourselves. You really are.

But then, I occasionally eat goat cheese too. You might want to disregard my opinion.