Tuesday, September 02, 2008


It's nice to see that Campbell Brown does occasionally do her job:

And another thing...

Much as I love a good scandal, it's absurd that this mess is front-page news when the unlawful arrest of Amy Goodman, Nicole Salazar, and Sharif Abdel Kouddous in St. Paul isn't even noted by major news sources. If Goodman doesn't warrant mainstream media attention, the actions of the St. Paul police against peaceful activists are doomed to go unnoticed.

According to several news reports I have read, police are staging a frightening number of preemptive strikes against protester targets. The New York Times buried its article about clashes between police and activists far down the page, and its coverage tiptoes around the blatant violation of civil liberties even as it documents them. Alternet, Democracy Now!, and Firedoglake all feature on-the-ground reports of the clashes and the protests. As a friend's pictures show, it's not just hurricanes and Juno jokes in Minnesota this week.
I'm deeply conflicted about this whole Sarah Palin/Bristol Palin/Trig Palin/yet-to-be-named-but-probably-to-be-Algebra-or-Triangle-or-Wolverine Palin-Johnston baby situation. I want to leave the poor girl alone, and I know all the terrible jokes I want to make about how Bristol may have had mono but wasn't "too tired" to get herself up the stick are in terrible taste, but I know that this is something that matters for the election and I think it needs to be discussed.

Others have said this, but it's worth saying a million times: no matter how, or whether(I'll concede it's probable she felt that "choosing life" was the right thing to do, but good luck convincing me that her upcoming GOP-sponsored shotgun wedding was her idea), Bristol Palin came to the decision to continue her pregnancy, John McCain and Sarah Palin don't believe any other woman in America deserves that freedom. They believe that grown women of all races and backgrounds are less capable of making decisions about their bodies than a small-town, backwoods child.

It is not necessary to impugn Sarah Palin as a mother in order to have a discussion about the hypocrisy that the Republican party and the religious right have shown since the decision was made to sacrifice a young girl to political ambition. You want to talk about how great it is that this girl made the "right" choice? It's fair game to talk about how you want to take it away from others. You want to talk abut how great it is that you made a difficult but rewarding decision to give birth to a disabled baby? Let's talk about the fact that you don't support funding special education programs.

John McCain picked Sarah Palin because he honestly thought women voters would be dumb enough to believe that an incompetent, corrupt, anti-woman woman was better than no woman on the ticket. He believes we're all trollops, cunts, and morons, and he was so mad that he didn't get his way with Ridge or Lieberman that he made a bad decision and expects us all to think that "history" is enough of a reason to overlook his blatant disregard for women and their abilities. The best thing women can do to fight back is to tear him and his running mate to shreds on everything they stand for.

While I'm on the subject of attacks, I think it should be fair game to attack Sarah Palin for being just a pretty face. Remember John Edwards and his $400 hair cuts? It was okay to criticize him for lacking experience because of his short Senate tenure, his career as a slick ambulance-chaser, and because he was attractive. This woman is not smart. She is not informed. She has no experience. But she knows how to smile pretty and speak in good soundbites because she used to have to do it for the beauty pageant judges. The Vice President has to do a lot more than go to Wal-Mart ribbon cutting ceremonies, and anyone who thinks it's unfair to criticize Palin for being all surface is painfully naive.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

There are worse reasons to have sex...

Earlier this year, a friend and I spent an evening plotting out trajectories for summer romances. We both reasoned that since we are intelligent, attractive, and endowed with the sort of quirks that repel i-bankers and attract intelligent but sometimes financially deficient creative types, we were probably doomed to some very sweaty affairs. We lamented the misery of the summer prior, spent sleeping directly in front of discount-mart oscillating fans, and we made a pact: our (still theoretical) boyfriends would have A/C.

Fast-forward six months. Boyfriends? Check. Icy cool sleep? Check(at least in one case). Imagine my dismay when I read that this harmless little dream scenario is, according to one Judy McGuire, called "appliance envy," and is a bad reason to have sex.

I know, I know, she's talking about sleeping with someone you actively dislike in order to get that sweet, sweet freon breeze. In the grand scheme of things, isn't adding, "has air conditioning/cable/awesome collection of comedy DVDs" to the "pro" list better than scribbling down, "has enough money to try to buy my love?"

(Incidentally, it was all over for me long before the A/C was installed. It was all over at, "I DVR-ed Battlestar Galactica for you." Now that's a good reason to have sex.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

According to the local affiliate's Olympics news, there are 20 women(I think on the US team, I wasn't listening closely) on the US team that "have an even more important title than [Olympian]-mom." As if that wasn't annoying enough, according to the same announcer, having kids and being an Olympic-caliber athlete is only a full-time job for the women on the team. Are there no Olympian fathers? I'm sure that plenty of them get to take naps whenever they want without thinking of their kids' schedules(Dara Torres, you're twice as old as some of your competitors and you're good enough to win the gold medal-if you don't get to take naps whenever you want, you have a shitty husband).

It sucks that Jennie Finch has such a positive attitude towards not allowing herself to be objectified in men's magazine photo shoots but doesn't object to being the face of the "supermom" myth.

As penance for not listening closely to the obnoxious and sexist Olympic coverage, please enjoy this picture of Michael Phelps in a tiny Speedo.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

This discovery might make up for my disappointment with the new X-Files movie. Head transplants are not nearly as scary as the Peacock family.

In the years since the X-Files went off the air, Chris Carter seems to have forgotten a few things, namely that the show was based around supernatural phenomena. Many critics have pointed out that the post-9/11 world might not be as open to a show as rooted in distrust of government as the X-Files, but it certainly seems to be open to sci-fi. Lost, Heroes, and my beloved Battlestar Galactica have thrived. Why, then, did Carter decide to create a central mystery for The X-Files: I Want to Believe that wouldn't be out of place on a special Halloween episode of CSI?

When it comes down to it, the story wasn't original. Carter and company essentially remade The Silence of the Lambs with more utilitarian villains. The Russian(I called him Leoben while watching the movie-Callum Keith Rennie might be in danger of type-casting) isn't interested in fashion, he's interested in function, specifically in easy to kidnap female bodies. It's just too bad their heads have to come off before he can let his husband see if they fit. The psychic pedophile priest barely DOES anything, and a side plot about Scully, her ever-conflicted faith, and stem-cell research(clearly written in after Gillian Anderson discovered she was pregnant and couldn't do serious stunts), was distracting and frustrating.

A Catholic hospital would be a great place for a conspiracy. 15 years ago, stem-cell research would probably have sounded like something out of an X-Files episode. Religious zeal and orthodoxy have infected government and science alike in the last eight years; Scully's scientific rigor and Mulder's search for the hidden Truth are heroic for different reasons now than they were during the show's heyday. There were good ideas buried in the script, and I wish that Carter had explored them instead of writing a slightly more gruesome "woman-in-distress" flick.

I'll set aside my attempt to make a serious critique of the film and mention my real frustrations: there were no aliens. None. No aliens, no giant flukeworms, no telekinetic teenagers, no evil inbred recluses, no Cher-loving abominations of science, no prehistoric ice-dwelling rage-parasites, nothing. Many of the stand alone episodes featured memorable creatures, some of which still give me the heebie-jeebies(don't put me in a freshly cut section of forest at dusk. I'll freak out). I wasn't expecting much from the movie, but even my diminished hopes were disappointed. It was good to see Mulder and Scully again, weird as it was to see them acting like a couple, but it felt like a missed opportunity. I know I'll never be able to recapture the feeling I had the first time I saw an episode of the show("E.B.E.," in my basement, with all the lights off, when I was 11), but I'm sure if they make another one, I'll go and hope.

A Postscript: I spent the whole time Rennie was on-screen suppressing the urge to shout, "You'll never create another Starbuck!" Clearly I've found a new show to love obsessively. Once a nerd, always a nerd.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

He just wanted the beautiful, blond, cute, shiksa girls to be nice and shut the fuck up!

Apparently having "one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel" makes it okay to speak ill of the dead, and that's fine with me. Sydney Pollack did seem like a sexist pig. It's too bad that more women don't speak with the same candor that Teri Garr does in this interview. Then again, if more women working in Hollywood spoke up about the shabby writing and sexist treatment they receive at the hands of male "auteurs," someone might have to actually go to the trouble of making a movie where women play a role other than doormat or object of desire.

Tina Fey had high praise for Garr back before Baby Mama was released; maybe Fey could write a guest spot for her on 30 Rock this season? She had Carrie Fischer on; maybe she could start a Faerie Tale Theatre alumnae tradition.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Nickelback, a band so bad that the New York Times described it as "risible" not once but twice, got its own 360 deal. Jay-Z got $150 million, Madonna got $120 million, and Shakira somewhere between $70 and $100 million. I can only hope that the deal, scheduled to start after the terrible, awful, horrible, no-good band finishes its current recording contract, is not as lucrative as any of the ones that preceded it.

Clearly I must find a new band with which to torture my sister.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Catholics: Sometimes They're OK

I can't join Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo in lamenting the "loss of life" that resulted from a Catholic organization's employees helping a young immigrant woman get an abortion. I'm too glad that this poor, frightened, 16 year old mother of one was able to receive the care she needed. I'm sorry that four workers were fired because of their involvement, because I think they displayed the sort of compassion that I want to see in people of faith. I applaud the employee that signed the consent form, the ones who kept the Bishop from intervening, and especially the girl. The courage needed to seek an abortion in the face of the Catholic church and the US's intolerance of illegal immigrants is more than I can imagine.

Tomorrow, when I have to think of America and why I don't hate everything about it, this will be on the list of positives. We may treat women terribly in this country, but at least this happened without priests being called to the clinic.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Adventures in Cognitive Dissonance

There I was, sitting in front of a fan in my living room, wondering what Belle and Shawn from Days of Our Lives were doing on General Hospital, when I saw this:

I don't have a problem with bands licensing their music to commercials, but I'm confused. "My rhymes are painful and fresh/My pussy’s tastin’ the best/I’m face scratchin’ weave snatchin’/If you’re ready to step" doesn't exactly make me think of salad dressing. Then again, the bottle does kind of look like a dildo.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Deluge

UPDATE: From today's The Capital Times-
Initial damage assessments for the 30 counties under the state of emergency as declared by Gov. Jim Doyle total over $470 million. The preliminary assessments indicate more than $200 million of residential damage, $45 million of damage to businesses and $146 million of agricultural losses. More than $75 million has been spent on public assistance.

Keep in mind this is just Wisconsin.

The coverage should have started in earnest when Lake Delton flooded back into the Wisconsin River and took all those houses along on its trip. It should have started when it became clear that tens of millions of dollars in crops had washed away. Or maybe when miles and miles of highway became impassable. Why did it take nearly two weeks for the national media to pay attention to the destruction in the Midwest?

Was it because the rivers rushing through towns and fields weren't big enough? Is it not a federal disaster if the Mississippi isn't involved? How was this flood that devastated so many states not worth photographs and the attention of presidential candidates until there was a Cedar Rapids could stand in for Atlantis?

I don't know why it took so long for people to start caring about all the people whose lives are destroyed. Many of the the hardest hit do not have flood insurance. The village of Lake Delton is not signed up for the federal flood insurance program. That means that even if residents had wanted to buy insurance, they wouldn't have been able to.

I might be angry because it was my home that got ignored. This time the pathetic response to catastrophe hurts me more personally. I've been on those roads and through those towns, and the damage will not stop at city limits. Commodities prices have already gone through the roof, food was expensive before the floods started, the government wants more grain for ethanol, and(I've been told by those who drive) fuel is not exactly cheap. It is not possible yet to calculate how the country will be affected, but it's going to be bad. At least for those of us without direct connections to President Bush.

It's not justice, but there is a twisted fairness to this whole situation. As my friend said to me the other day, "Now we know George Bush hates white people, too."

Monday, June 16, 2008

A List - Activities for the Real World: Brooklyn Castmembers

Everyone knows that the Real World is coming to Brooklyn, and they'll have lots of chances to interact with real Brooklynites while they're living at Willoughby and Bridge Streets. I don't know if MTV has kept up the trend of giving the cast some silly task to work at, but I think the house's immediate surroundings offer some real possibilities. Here are my suggestions:

1. Run a Cell Phone Store

There are a million cell phone and discount electronic stores on Fulton Mall. I'd love to see the kids go in, put together a business plan(RW: Miami-style), and then start fighting and swearing when their "can't lose" idea of dressing the girls in "sexy" outfits fails to elicit any interest in their "Deals Deals Deals!" flyers.

2. White Castle Shift Managers

This season could add an element of competition and give prizes to the house mate responsible for the greatest decrease in customer complaints.

3. Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life Protesters

MTV loves to create conflict in their casting process, so why not take advantage of the loft's proximity to the Brooklyn Planned Parenthood let the kids organize opposing abortion related protests? Think of the arguments they'd have over glitter paint while making their signs! Maybe one of the male cast members will try to pick up a hot piece as she leaves the clinic.

Other ideas?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I think that there is only one possible silver lining to Ted Kennedy's brain tumor: the tumor could be a portal that allows him to channel his dead brothers, John Malkovich-style. We could get valuable information about the afterlife and potentially election-changing endorsements from two of Barack Obama's most-referenced predecessors.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

See? It's Not Just Me

CNN finally got hip to the catcall trend, but it all but ignores the genuinely creepy, grabby part of skirt season. It also misses the point when it suggests a progression from catcalls to actual assault. They're not all connected.

I'm glad that Slut Machine posted about it, but I think she completely misses the point when she asks this:
Here's my question: Although guys who shout out sexual things to women on the street are certainly assholes, are they automatically potential-criminals? Do women really think that some construction worker is gonna get off his scaffolding and remove his hardhat to assault them with his hard on?

No, SM, I don't think that every asshole on the street who kisses, whistles, or shouts is going to attack me. That's not the shitty thing about it. What sucks is that hearing the comments(or noticing the movements and leers as I walk past, when I have my iPod on) day after day adds up to a lot of extra stress. It's one thing to assume that all dudes are jerks who only view you as a set of tits and an ass; it's quite another to be reminded of it every day. I'm no prude, but I hate it, and it makes me feel less able - hell, less willing - to feel outrage when I have to deal with physical harassment. This sort of thing may not be criminal, but it's not harmless.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No no no no no

No Harvey. Not the Fraggles. Jim Henson created the Fraggles to teach children how to achieve world peace, not bombard them with fart jokes, puppet pratfalls, and stale pop-culture references. I'm sure your writers will manage to find obnoxious ways to suggest that the Fraggles were stoners, to orchestrate escapes from the Gorgs that involve a hit to the groin, and to dumb down Red and Mokey until they are nothing more than twittering idiots in search of shiny clothes and cute Fraggle boys. I'm sure Gobo will have to rescue Uncle Matt in the real world, all the others will tag along, and it will be just like The Muppets Take Manhattan but without the cameos by Joan Rivers and Gregory Hines and a far less believable romance than Kermit and Piggy's.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


As much as I loathe the winter and its accursed freezing darkness, all the warm layers provide extra protection against day-to-day molestation. It's a whole lot harder to assess whether an ass is grabbable when it's covered by a long, bulky coat. Summer may be the time for pretty dresses, sandals, and sunshine, but it's also the time for catcalls and groping. A small man with a Ron Jeremy mustache and a backpack was kind enough to slip his hand up my skirt yesterday as a friendly reminder of the change in seasons.

I took an informal poll of several female friends, all of whom have experienced varying degrees of harassment since moving to New York. Everyone agrees: dudes are going to say weird shit. My favorite comment came from Sunday afternoon, when a man shouted, "Damn, girl, I wanna wipe my sweat off on you!" at a friend as she walked into Target. The debate starts when it comes to the question of how to respond to unwanted groping, rubbing, and exposures. Only one friend can remember actually confronting someone who harassed her, and she readily admits that the jerks she shouted at were teenagers. Why is it so damn hard to turn around and slap some sleaze in the face?

I know the answers: patriarchy, shock, shame, the lingering fear that we may have somehow been asking for it., etc. I know that I could find a way to pretend they were the reason I simply turned away after I looked back and saw that creep leering, knowing he'd just gotten away with violating me(I've see the same look on the faces of a dangerously lecherous cab driver and a rapist). But I don't want to deduce the exact reason I chickened out. I want to wear my cute dresses and enjoy the part of my life where I'm not chubby and awkward and not wonder which Abercrombie-clad commuter is going to whip out his dick as the train pulls away. It shouldn't be MY problem. It shouldn't happen to me once a month. It just shouldn't happen.

I know it could be worse. I've dealt with worse. I read the story about the college student in CT who was assaulted while surrounded by a cheering crowd. I'm just tired of reminding myself that not all men do these things, that I can't let these experiences stop me from being my outspoken self, that I have to expect these things occasionally. Why can't one of these guys pass up a cheap, fleeting thrill, if for no other reason than that they wouldn't want someone doing the same thing to their mother?

I know that would be a magical utopia. There would probably be unicorns, and I could eat as much buttered popcorn as I want and never get fat. The only thing I can think to do is to throw my (totally undeserved but still present) shame and anger back at my (future) molesters. I'm furious with myself for not knocking Mr. Backpack and his stupid grin down the rest of those stairs. He knew he deserved it, and he knew I wasn't going to do a damn thing about it. I told myself the last time this happened, "Next time, there will be Hell to pay." Now that I have to look, again, to "next time," I finally understand why the first cab driver I ever had in New York gave me the advice he did: don't smile, and maybe carry a small knife. I like to smile. A lot. I guess that leaves the knife.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Just because, here's a list of obnoxious things people might do in upcoming weeks:

1. Eating heavily buttered popcorn at Erroll Morris' documentary Standard Operating Procedure.

2. Dieting obsessively in order to look good in bathing suits while food riots continue around the world.

3. Turning on air conditioning units while energy prices continue to rise.

4. Buying things with their recently received IRS checks while ignoring credit card debt.

5. Going to see Speed Racer and Sex and the City.

A Moment with the not so Coordinated Campaigns

In February, my sister voted in primary for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. At 4:30 PM, she was voter number 37. Why , she asked me later, are people so captivated by the presidential election but oblivious to the local races that are much more likely to affect their day to day lives? I didn't have an answer for her in February, and after reading this piece about the struggles of politicians in Indiana, the only response I have for her is that we're not alone in our confusion.

CNN spends hours each day parsing the words of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, running and rerunning footage of Jeremiah Wright and Clinton's "obliterate Iran" comment, but there are voters in Indiana who don't know the names of the people vying to be the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Governors are not exactly unimportant government figures; our last four presidents have been governors. Sadly, it seems that most would-be constituents slept through the American Government classes that covered exactly what state governments control. Or maybe they didn't go over that; it's possible the Governor and the Legislature didn't give enough money to the state university system to allow for more resources than what could be found in old Schoolhouse Rock footage.

Ugh. I was going to continue, but I just found this editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Now it's a War?

Every time I walk to the ACE train at 50th and 8th from work, a gigantic Special K Challenege billboard shows me a woman in a bikini and asks, "Who Will Win?"

Who or what, exactly, am I fighting? Is it the bathing suit? Is it my body? Junk food? My own mixed feelings about my appearance? How do I go about "winning" against any of these things?

I'm really not that concerned with what I win in this battle; I assume that the advertisers would insist that I'd gain self-esteem and confidence, happiness, maybe even the admiration of a good-looking man, if I "won" their weight-loss challenge. I'm not that unhappy with appearance, and I'm already dating a total babe. Leaping into the fray would only lead to hypoglycemia and bitchiness. And yet I still wonder...what happens if I lose?

Here's what I see: I imagine being attacked by an army of animated two-pieces, bandeau tops wrapping themselves around my neck, all those sarongs twisting up and slapping me like an unpopular kid in a locker room, halter tops and bikini bottoms marching to orders barked out over a bullhorn by a 15 year old Russian girl. But the horrors don't end there. No gruel for meals, just the sickening banana smell of Hawaiian Tropic.



Here's a poll for you: If you had to catch a tropical disease while in a British Colony, which would you catch? Here are some options in case you think your only option is malaria.

1. Yellow Fever
2. Scarlet Fever
3. Cholera
4. Malaria(it does have to be an option, I guess)
5. Syphilis(you know, like in Out of Africa)
6. Influenza
7. Write in your own personal favorite.

No, you cannot choose to suffer from consumption. That's what you catch if you stay in Britain!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Excellent post on This Recording that talks Exile In Guyville track by track. Best line in the piece, by far, about track 14, "Flower": You better believe she’d chew up Vampire Weekend and spit them back out without much thought.

I miss real women in rock and roll.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Black Holes

Baby black holes. Strangelets. Validation for fans of What the #$*! Do We Know?!?. The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland could produce any or all of these unlikely apocalyptic events, unless scientists in Hawaii can succeed in their lawsuit against the European Center for Nuclear Research(CERN).

CERN recently finished the Hadron Collider, saying excitedly in a blog post on February 22, "Soon, the first protons will be smashed together and the secrets of our universe will begin to unravel." The lawsuit alleges that the planned experiments have the potential to unravel more than just secrets. It states that there is a possibility that the particle accelerator could create a tiny black hole that would expand and eventually swallow the earth. Is it likely? No. Are the secrets of the Big Bang so sought after that the experiments are worth the risk? I have no idea. I'm not Lisa Randall.

CERN's response to these concerns is short and glib: Microscopic Black Hole Will Not Eat You, the website says. I'm inclined to let these dedicated physicists smash away under the ground, but I may change my mind when things start to feel a little heavy.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Stupid Bleak House. Thank you for sucking up 80% of my Thursday with your 7.5 hours of highly plotted drama. I curse Charles Dickens and his craven adjective-slinging plot intrigue. Thank God no one pays for fiction by the word any more(at least as they did for him). I read Underworld once, and one of the many things that book doesn't need is a bunch of knitting scenes. Back to Dostoevesky.

Put me down and shake me up, as Smallweed would say.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fun with Abaci

I woke up this morning to Brian Lehrer telling me that the chief executive of Bear Stearns had assets that went from $1 billion to $13 million overnight. I know it's the stock market isn't *real* money, but I spent all day wondering exactly what I could buy with the $987 million that disappeared in the blink of a buyout eye. I discovered, after busting out my trusty EMILY's List logo calculator, that $987 million will buy:

24,675 24-hour "dates" with a seven-diamond Emperor's Club V.I.P. prostitute, including tips

129,019,607 packs of Camel Lights from the bodega at 19th Street and 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

123,375,000 vodka tonics at any non-Meatpacking District bar(again, including tip)

290,294,117 Grande Americanos from Starbucks

21,933,333 trips to the Union Square Virgin Megastore(if you buy compulsively from the $10 bins like I do)

49,473,684 months of subscription service to some random porn site I found on Google

7,050 full 4-year tuition scholarships to an Ivy League university

21,933 full 4-year tuition scholarships to a top-tier state school

1,000,000 coach round trip tickets to Warsaw, Poland(with plenty left over to travel for at least two years in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the -Stans)

1,410,000 trips to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival, including travel, food, and accommodation

Medical care for assorted orphans and poor kids(costs vary, but I'm sure that kind of scratch would cover a couple of rounds of chemo and some lollipops)

What did I miss?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rules are Made for Breaking

This is a real email conversation between me and a co-worker/friend/fellow sinner:

Me: Did you see this?

E: Yes, but they're sooo vague!

Me: It wouldn't be The Vatican if they told us what we're doing wrong! How will we live in a state of constant fear and guilt?

E: That's true, but I need specifics so I can judge my neighbor!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Dear Woman that CNN Allowed to Write About Gardasil,

I am glad you are not my mother. If you were my mother and I were still a teenager, I would very much enjoy rubbing my slatternly behavior in your face. I would also go to Planned Parenthood and ask someone there about getting the vaccine without telling you. It is a simple choice, it is the right choice, and you should stop whining. And probably ask yourself why you waited two years to seriously think about this. And also come to terms with the concept that your kids already know all about this because they're teenagers and they live in the world.

Thank you,

PS: Please, please stop talking about the religious freaks that probably want their daughters' reproductive organs turn into a malignant goo(it sure does make a great mental picture for the next Silver Ring Thing meeting) like they're anything less than controlling, deluded, misogynistic abusers. You know very well they'd get it for their sons.

Friday, February 22, 2008


What does it say about me that when forced to stay in and convalesce I alternate between watching PBS and these clips from some of my favorite sci fi movies? I haven't seen all of the movies listed there, but I wonder which science fiction cranial explosions best suit our Oval Office contenders? I haven't seen Brain Damage or Deadlock, but I have seen Battle Royale and Suicide Club, two movies mentioned in the comments, so they're going to sub in for this exercise.

1. The first question I have to ask myself is, "Which Presidential candidates are Scanners? On the freedom-fighting, consciousness-raising, not-to-be-used as weapons side I lean towards Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul. Who gets to be Michael Ironside and lose his brain but keep his body? I'm less sure on this one. I'm thinking Mitt Romney. Who doesn't want to see Mr. Mormon slaver all over titian amazon Elizabeth?

2. Who do I want to see swell up like a balloon? The Governator was the star of Total Recall, so I think the best candidate for Mars-air-lock-head-explosion is his Arnold's candidate of choice, John McCain. There's no real need to overthink this one.

3. Wow. I don't know that any of the candidates really embody "body-eating, shape-shifting, evil alien from outer space?" The current administrations international military and economic policy already have that covered, so my evaluation will have to rest on who I would most like to see Kurt Russell waste with a flame-thrower. Mike Huckabee. Also, I think his head would make the best spider. The middle legs would fit perfectly around his ears.

4. Here's where things get tricky. My best substitute for Brain Damage is this clip from Battle Royale, only the greatest film about high school EVER. If you look at elections as a fight to the death that are also fraught with death traps and betrayal, this film connects most directly to our current political situation. I'm going to try to be optimistic, to give change a chance. I'm going to say the person most likely to brutally slaughter the remainder of the competition and survive, teddy bear in hand, is Barack Obama.

5. Finally, we replace Deadlock with Suicide Club. Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing all of them lock hands and jump onto the subway tracks. Then we could start again and I could stop being so election-fatigued.

Funwall? No wonder he's got the youth vote locked up...

This website offers more compelling reasons for me to change my primary allegiance than ten debates!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How NOT to propose a NSA sexual relationship

A dear friend of mine received this email yesterday, and I'm still confused. I'd think it was just a bit of spam or some sort of chain email if it weren't for the overwrought email she received on Valentine's Day. I can't figure out what the author thought the outcome would be from this sudden burst of anonymous missives. If you're wondering how best to avoid scaring the attraction out of your potential fuck-buddy, or if you're the one making my friend feel like she's living in the Hotel Overlook from The Shining, my step by step dissection might help you.

From: Mister Rightnow <rightnowmister@gmail.com>
Two Words Mr. President: Plausible Deniability

You should have stopped when you decided this email address was going to seem clever to Your Object of Desire(from here on out, YOD). Also, "Plausible Deniability" is not something a woman as liberal as YOD wants to see in her government's bag of tricks.

So, how are you? Well, I hope.

This will not put YOD at ease. Pleasantries work better when they come from someone identifiable.

The subject line of this email is quite intentional; it's the operating premise for what I'd like to propose.

"Operating premises" tend not to play an important role in sex, unless you are Alfred Kinsey or Masters & Johnson.

We've been friends, of sorts, for awhile now. Friends who occasionally do things together, enjoy each other's company, but don't really share lots of mutual friends or are in everyday contact with each other.

This makes you sound like a stalker, not an acquaintance.

I like you, respect you, feel warmly about you, and think you're attractive, but that's never kindled into something more than friendship. I suspect you feel likewise.

Again, this is something that would be more easily evaluated if YOD KNEW WHO YOU WERE.

Because I value that, I don't want to see it disrupted by what I'm proposing. Thus the plausible deniability.

Normal people take this risk every day. If you are that worried about plausible deniability, you are probably a sociopath.

I don't think you're in a relationship, and don't even know if you're seeking one. Neither am I, and because I may be leaving Madison in a few months, and for numerous other reasons, I'm staying single.

But I really miss being intimate with someone I enjoy being with. And intimacy, for me, can't work with someone with whom I have no emotional connection. This is particularly difficult for me because I have a very healthy libido (in the classical sense). In the past, that has led to a series of monogamous relationships, but that's precisely what I'm taking a break from now.

So heading off to some bar, or browsing personals, won't work. The first has no emotional connection, and the second presupposes a relationship (usually).

You could do away with both of these paragraphs. They both make you sound self-centered. You've known YOD for a while and you don't know if she's single or anything about what she might want from her life? What exactly is the "classical sense" of "healthy libido?"

In thinking about how I could resolve this conundrum, you came to mind. She seems to have a healthy sexual appetite, is comfortable with herself, and would be capable of viewing this as something that might be good for both of us, I thought.

My head hurts. Is being lonely and horny really a "conundrum?" Also, it's not exactly the height of flattery to tell a woman that she seems to be just desperate enough to go along with your plan.

But how do I ask her? I don't want to wreck our friendship with some drunken, blunt come-on. Or make some dramatic, in-person appeal.

WHY NOT? People do it all the time, get turned down, and move on. Overcoming the fear of rejection is a natural part of dating. Besides, if YOD was drunk as well, she'd probably at least have made out with you(NSA too!).

That's why this message is deliberately framed so that if you're not interested you don't have to even acknowledge it, and our friendship will not suffer. Above all, I'd like to keep that intact, even if it may not last beyond my moving from Madison.

You might think that this email does that, but what it ACTUALLY does is make YOD apt to look at every male acquaintance askance. How will you keep your relationship intact if she's constantly wondering if you're the wordy creep who basically admitted he wanks to memories of her at night?

Rest assured about a number of concerns: I'm not seeking a relationship. I'm not possessive. I'm not *hyper*sexual, or into any bizarre kinks (Are you?!! Hmmm!). I'm great to snuggle with (I seem to generate a ton of body heat), I love to talk and listen, I'm generally supportive – oh, and I'm a very good, considerate lover.

This reads like a paragraph from a Craigslist Casual Encounters ad. Not. Sexy.

So tell me what you think. Or not. If the latter, our friendship will continue. If the former, it could take on a surprising new dimension.


All my best.

-(Hah! and you thought I'd sign my name here? NOT!!) ;P

Snotty sign-off. Furthermore, only a pornographic emoticon is acceptable in this context. Why not go with "Best of luck with all your future endeavors?"

Mr. Right Now will not be receiving a response from my friend, but it may receive a response from some other ladies-I'm sending it in to Jezebel's Crap Email From a Dude.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OMG Racists!

Tyra Banks finally got around to reading Freakonomics, and today's show is all about what are names make people think. A multi-ethnic group of people were shown different names and encouraged to say what they thought those people would be like. My favorite quotes from the panel after only 20 minutes:

"Jose sounds like he should learn some English."

"[Ashleigh] is definitely promiscuous."

"Deedrica sounds black black, ghetto black."

The best part? The names they are evaluating are the names of CHILDREN who, conveniently, have names that tend not to match their races. And their moms are in the audience. Separated into different sections based on their races.

I wish I had TiVo.


At 7:12 this morning, my mother was voter number 32 at the McFarland Village Hall. "I almost cried when I handed in my ballot," she told me. "I couldn't believe I got to vote for a woman for President!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

Don't feed the bears

Contrary to popular opinion, I am not, nor have I ever been, an evil, scheming wench. At least not without provocation. Elephants, you are on notice.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Opinion of the Day

With all due respect to my lovely boss, Ray Manzarek's keyboard part on "Light My Fire" is the greatest musical abortion in rock history. Or at least in "Classic Rock" history. Daughtry probably wins the general on that one.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bad Analogies

Barack Obama heads into Super Tuesday with a bunch of new, serious endorsements, a ton of money, and enough charisma to keep all those JFK comparisons coming four years after his Democratic Convention keynote speech. He has managed to energize Americans from all walks of life, built an army of eager young campaign workers, and his inaguration speech is virtually guaranteed to include at least one moment that rivals Kennedy’s 1960 “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” And he still has another 9 months to inspire unity among the Democrats in a way that hasn’t existed in my lifetime. Why is that not enough to secure my endorsement?

I can’t fully support Obama because I can’t manage to forget one part of my freshman history class: for all the rose colored memories and inspring speeches, JFK wasn’t a very good president. The most apt comparison that causes me worry is JFK’s handling of Vietnam and his handling of relations with the USSR. The assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem? Bay of Pigs? Cuban Missile Crisis? The Kennedy administration was not exactly filled with high points. What does this have to do with Obama? Barack Obama has been in the Senate for 3 years, and his political experience before that consisted of local and state politics. He has served on a national level, and has had exposure to the intricacies of international relations, for a small fraction of the time that Kennedy had.

The damage wreaked by the war in Iraq cannot easily be reversed. Tensions with Iran and North Korea and the unrest in Pakistan cannot be defused through eloquent speeches alone. Hard choices are going to have to be made, unpopular choices, choices that damage idealism and probably hurt people. Can somone so renowned for his ability to appeal to a wide audience really be expected to alienate those who believe in him? This is a man who said he wasn’t going to run for President in 2008. Many of the best approaches to the problems America faces today are decisions that lead to a one term tenure in the White House. If keeping the White House for 8 years is the goal, where is the urgency to sacrifice the allure of legacy for the reality of change? I’m wary of the prominent place that that word has in Obama’s campaign. How much will really change?

I’m not sure about Hillary Clinton either. She has stonewalled the release of documents that would illuminate an important part of her political history, she is well known to be funded by large corporations and industries that I despise, and she is far too militaristic. My (already significant) reservations on the issues only get greater when I think of how polarizing she is and the unifying effect a Clinton nomination would have on the Republican party. Even so, I know how she’ll screw me over is she is elected. Comparisons to her husband are apt. She would most likely continue to liberalize trade in ways that cause Americans to lose jobs. She would probably couch her health care plan in language that obscures the real cost to middle-class and poor Americans. She won’t reverse the tax cuts.

Neither candidate has articulated serious, well-thought-out plans for the economy, withdrawl from Iraq, or health care. What good do comparisons to Presidents past do if neither of them will tell us what kind of president they will be? At the moment they allow us to fill in the gaps left by their silence on questions of substance. The only candidate who actually spoke in those terms was Edwards, and he was done in by his inability to call up memories of times better. That’s what is so screwy about politics these days. Actually admitting what kind of leader you want to be makes it too easy for people to knock you down for not being inspiring enough.

I don’t really want to be inspired anymore. I just want progress. Real progress. 2008 marks my ten year anniversary of political involvement, and for the first time in my life I’m undecided. I don’t want the next JFK or the next Bill Clinton. I want someone who is willing to ignore the siren call of historical significance and actually fix things. Both Obama and Clinton fail that test for me. Where do I go from here?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Agony

That was embarrassing. Nevertheless, well done Eli.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Playoffs

I was thrilled to see the New York Giants win tonight's football game, although I have not gone over to the dark side and become a New York City sports fan. I'm happy because next week Brett Favre and my beloved Packers will be able to trounce Eli Manning and company in Green Bay, and because my team has fans like Sister Sean Marie of Manitowoc, WI, whose essay won her an "honorary captain" spot and tickets to yesterday's game. This is the part that makes me want to pray along with Sister Marie when they have to go up against Satan Tom Brady in the Super Bowl:
My Dad taught me at an early age all the fine points of the game and expected me to know numbers, plays, rules and strategies....now for a girl, this was a novelty at the time. My last game with him was the "Ice Bowl" and by then I was already a Manitowoc Franciscan Sister who did most of her play calling from a chair near the radio or TV. This game was a challenge.I was stuffed, long habit and full garb into a sleeping bag up to my nose and almost bunny hopped over the bleachers on the last play. Lucky for me,the people in front of me had left a minute before the end so I had a spectular view from the 50 yard line. if the game had lasted any longer, my fingers would have been permanently stuck to my rosary beads.