Saturday, December 31, 2005

Okay, that's just a little too convincing.




Dubya impersonator on Dennis Leary. The routine's just okay, but the guy...kinda skeers me.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

And now for something completely different: fluffy kittens and bunnies.

In the spirit of Santa and little elves everywhere, or something, let's take a break from all these awful people doing and saying awful things.
Yes! It's time for a Cute Overload.



See? Already, that feels so much better.

In which John Gibson proves that he can be just as big a douchebag as Bill O'Reilly, so there, too





"Rob-Rob-Rob, stop right there-Rob-ROB-STOP-RIGHT-THERE!"






Yeah, Rob. What do you mean, Rob, by coming on MY show and criticizing MY book, Rob, which, Rob, not only has played a huge role in saving Christmas, Rob, but is absolutely A-100% Totally True, Rob, and not at all made up, Rob, how DARE you call me a liar, Rob!! ROB!! Wanna step outside, ROB?? Want me to sue you, ROB? HUH, ROB? HUH??? --okay, Rob, we're done. Gary. ROB.

actual transcript here, but, honestly, it's not that far off.

The Carpetbagger has an amusing postcript on that piece, with a cameo appearance by Rob Boston himself in the comments section. He used the occasion to plug his own book, "Close Encounters With the Religious Right." It looks like a rollicking read; I think I may get it.

"Chinese food and a movie."



Nu? Nu. Merry Jewmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry....um, fetus. Yeah.

Three women in Lawrence, Kansas quit their friendly local gym on account of they didn't like the Christmas decorations.

I can't imagine why.

Here's my question: if it were a holiday tree full of plastic fetuses, (which are Not Morbid! they're not at all graphic! they're cute, tasteful, women-and-children-affirming, apolitical fetuseses!) would the people currently supporting the gym still be so quick to defend? Hmm?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Overheard at the corner grocery

An older man, talking and gesturing animatedly to the bemused clerks:

"Tomorrow, there will be estrike. I will..."

(bends head down to the counter, makes deep sniffing noises; straightens up, whistles WHEE-whoo, flaps his arms)

"...I will estay home, snort cocaina, and that's how I get to work! Eh? No bicycle, I will"

(flaps arms and whistles again)

"...I will fly! Ha, ha!"

Saw "Brokeback Mountain" last night



It really did live up to the hype. It's devastating. It's also done without the word "gay" or "homosexual" being uttered once. I think "queer" comes up, once, early ("I ain't queer.") But then a lot of the movie is about just how much is said without words. In some ways I think it's about subverting the myth of the "strong, silent man" archetype as anything else. By the end you're aware of just how much soul crushing goes into the energy it takes to clench that jaw.



"You can't fix it, so you've got to stand it."

And there's nothing romantic about that stoicism, either. It's just awful.

It's possibly the first mainstream movie I've seen which lays out the profound damage that goes along with repressing such a fundamental part of your personhood--and not just to oneself, either. You can tamp down or even kill off your love and your longing, but you can't cherry-pick which parts of your heart will die in the process.

Also, brilliantly acted, stunningly shot--it was smart, and soulful. And sexy, very, even amid the starkness--in an adult, character-revealing way, too, I thought, het and homo scenes alike, which is very rare indeed. More of that, please, Hollywood.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

DO THE CLAM!!

Cruise exchanges the secret exorcise-Xenu signal with his mentor/commander David Miscavige.

The accompanying LA Times article and photo essay reveal tidbits like the fact that the composer of the wuss-muzak classic "On the Wings of Love" is now scoring Scientology productions, which just makes sense in so many ways. Mostly it's about how Cruise spent major time at a 500-acre compound which includes a multi-million dollar mansion for the eventual return of L. Ron Hubbard (hey, even resurrected messiahs need their bling), among other amenities:

" Maureen Bolstad, who was at the base for 17 years and left after a falling-out with the church, recalled a rainy night 15 years ago when a couple of dozen Scientologists scrambled to deal with 'an all-hands situation' that kept them working through dawn. The emergency, she said: planting a meadow of wildflowers for Cruise to romp through with his new love, Kidman.

"We were told that we needed to plant a field and that it was to help Tom impress Nicole," said Bolstad, who said she spent the night pulling up sod so the ground could be seeded in the morning.

The flowers eventually bloomed, Bolstad said, 'but for some mysterious reason it wasn't considered acceptable by Mr. Miscavige. So the project was rejected and they redid it.'"

Sadly, no word on what happened to the little flowers after the break-up.

Oh, yeah, there are some other headlines you might want to check out while you're there, like how the Senate actually grew a spine and blocked legislation to renew the Patriot Act (for now), or how our Fearless Leader allowed as how he may have authorized wiretaps of the likes of you 'n' me, yeah, without court clearance (but, it was for our own good, terror9/11terror9/11, gollum, gollum).

Still, I think the story about Tom Cruise's guest stays at nanoo-nanoo Neverland takes precedence. After all, if the Scientologists are right, we're all at the mercy of 75-million-year-old alien ghost parasites clinging to us, and frankly that's a lot more dire than any trifling concerns we might have about our piddly not-even-three-hundred-year-old government, or the particular incarnations we're in now.

Also, if we join, we might all get to wear those matching green shirts, and that would be kick-ass.

Friday, December 16, 2005

"The Grinch Factor," or I Must Marry Rosa Brooks Immediately

Nail, hammer, THWACK.

"... 'The Who Christians will think that they fight the good fight,

They won't know that they're puppets of the Fox-ville Far Right.

They'll forget all that DRIVEL about faith, hope and LOVE

And say 'Merry Christmas' with a sneer and a shove.

"But I? I will prosper! My ratings will soar,

And maybe at last they'll forget I'm a BOOR.

Then for every Who Christmas tree

A most fitting adornament:

My O'Reilly MUG on the tackiest ornament!'"

***

read the rest at the LA Times.

No, this is not an Onion article.

But then, one finds oneself doing that particular double-take so often these days, does one not.

Still, I thought this one was especially special:

"President Says DeLay Is Not Guilty of Money Laundering."

"President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.

***

And he believes this because...?

"'I hope that he will [be cleared of the charges], 'cause I like him, and plus, when he's over there, we get our votes through the House,' Bush told Fox News's Brit Hume...

[Heh, heh, heh]

...

It is highly unusual for a president to express an opinion on a pending legal case."

***
No shit.

You know, I'm starting to believe that Bush's appeal, such that it is, is precisely because he comes off as such a hapless schmuck (when he's not being all Fearless Leader, of course). His fanbase likes it that he's gormless and pathetic; it makes them feel all tender and protective, the way you would about a falling-down drunk (oh, wait) who also happened to be your father. More to the point, it's comforting to know that no matter how pig-ignorant you are, the guy at the top of the food chain is just as clueless as you are, if not more so, and damn proud of it, too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Just in case it wasn't abundantly clear by now:

"A Religious Protest Largely From the Left"

"Conservative Christians Say Fighting Cuts in Poverty Programs Is Not a Priority"


--Washington Post

"When hundreds of religious activists try to get arrested today to protest cutting programs for the poor, prominent conservatives such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will not be among them.

That is a great relief to Republican leaders, who have dismissed the burgeoning protests as the work of liberals. But it raises the question: Why in recent years have conservative Christians asserted their influence on efforts to relieve Third World debt, AIDS in Africa, strife in Sudan and international sex trafficking -- but remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts?


Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices.



***

Later that night (tonight), 115 protestors of the screw-the-poor budget plan were indeed arrested.

***

The real news is of course not the uber-fuckheadedness of Falwell, Dobson, and their cohorts, but that the religious left--here represented by Jim Wallis of Sojourners, one of the most visible faces of the Christian left these days, heading up a joint effort of five mainstream Protestant and evangelical denominations--is making the news more often these days.

I'm currently wading through "Moral Politics," maybe a third of the way through. I'm sure that Lakoff would have a good, succinct explanation for the psychological and philosophical basis of the right-wing leaders' position here, who explain variously that poverty is not the government's business because "the government is not capable of love;" whereas "pro-family tax cuts" are a good thing (I guess there's at least some warm affection there, anyway). For now I'm sticking with my standby of "they are evil motherfuckers."

Although I do think that what Wallis had proposed the arrested chant while being led away (cited in the previous article) is more elegant:

"Woe to you legislators of infamous laws . . . who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan."

Isaiah 10:1-4

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Proposal: A truce in the Christmas wars, for to fight a common Enemy.

Speaking on behalf of the secular humanist Left (for we speak as one, and often in tongues), I've decided: the fierce defenders of Christmas may have a point. At least, I think there is one point where we may see eye to eye.
I speak, of course, of the abominations known as Christmas Carols.

Now, I'm not talking about the old-fashioned ones, the ones that actually mention Our Lord and are not, generally speaking, nauseatingly peppy. No, I'm talking about the unspeakable travesties that are contributing to the moral and aural decay of our culture every December (and a fair chunk of November and even January, for that matter). "Jingle Bell Rock." "Here Comes Santa Claus." "Frosty the Snowman." "Santa Baby." "It's the Most Wonderful Time Of the Year (Ding! Dong! Ding! Dong!)"
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Renegade Who's Been Crying and Drinking All Month Because His Family Refuses To Have His Boyfriend Over For Christmas And They Won't Make Rent This Month Because His Partner Got Laid Off And His Crappy Job At Walmart Isn't Paying Enough And Also He Has A Really Dorky Name." These songs are certainly not in the proper spirit of Christmas, in that they actually have nothing to do with Christ. More to the point, they're incredibly fucking annoying. And, they're EVERYWHERE.

I know I've been snarky about the self-declared Christmas Warriors in the past. I want to bury the hatchet--ha! whoops! bad choice of phrase, there.

...I want to make amends. I can see this your way, sure. And I'm not even asking you to, oh, say, focus your "put the Christ back in Christmas" efforts on helping the poor and the downtrodden instead of worrying about which platitude is mechanically muttered at the retreating backs of shoppers. Hey, I understand! Jesus was all about the consumer culture.

And so I think you'll follow me when I say that the single biggest threat to the True Spirit of Christmas is not the mall's call to Mammon or even the anti-Christian shops, but rather that damnable habit of playing secular "carols" over the intercom. After all, when you're at the mall, you only get the insulting "Happy Holidays" flung at you when you enter or leave certain stores. The carols are playing continuously. After a while, you might--almost--forget the music is even there, you've become so inured to its saccharine seduction. But the music creeps into your unconscious. It's insidious that way. The Enemy always is. Soon, you, too, will be singing to the dark side's loathsome tune, because it will be stuck in your head. For all eternity.

And, have you really listened to the lyrics of some of these songs? Take, just for an example, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year:"

...There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for roasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago...

Scary ghost stories! That's right: smack in the middle in what you thought was an innocent, fun song about the Christmas season, they're singing about the OCCULT.

And there's more, of course. Most of those songs from the forties and fifties weren't even written by Christians; they were written by Jew--ah, smart secular humanists from Hollywood, cynically out to make a buck on your beloved holy day. The more recent ditties, of course, are even worse. I'll tell you a thing: that Mariah Carey is no better than she should be. Anyone sporting that much cleavage is up to no good, and besides, I think that those super-high notes she hits are pitched to appeal to dark forces. Certainly they appeal to bats, which are close enough.

So, are you outraged yet? I would totally be outraged. These so-called "Christmas Carols" are a smack in the face to all true Christians. Smack back! Launch the letter-writing campaigns! Bring on the boycotts! If I were you, I wouldn't rest until every last sugary note and syllable is purged from the public airwaves.

I can see it now: the Crusades Against the False Carols. Eternal glory will be yours! Go! In the name of Jesus and all that's holy! Sound the trumpets of the LORD and CRUSH THOSE CAROLS!



...My God. What have I done?

What the hell am I doing here, part 1

Okay. So it's really frigging cold outside. I get that. Believe me, I do. All the same: it does not have to be this hot inside, does it? I swear to god, I had all the windows open, I finally turned on the A.C. because turning off the heat (much less adjusting the temp) is not an option in this place, unless I'm profoundly dim and just haven't found the magic switch these past two and a half years, which is always possible. But so anyway: in the few moments before I turned the A.C. back off (partly out of guilt for wasting energy, partly because the kickback that's no doubt from the pigeon shit that got into the vents as well as the dust damn near killed me), the temp reads at nearly 90, okay. 21 degrees outside. 90 in here. And I know people who aren't getting their heat turned on at all, so it sucks to complain about having too much, I guess, but: jesus, is there such a thing as a happy medium?

Mainly: NYC is just getting to me. I hate the crowds. More specifically, I hate crowds jammed into teeny tiny spaces, and thus against me, brushing up against my personal bubble or aura or whatever the fuck it is (not to mention my precious bodily fluids), it BUGS me. I hate the weather extremes. I hate that I feel like I'm coated in a thin layer of grime more or less constantly during the summer, and a good chunk of the winter too for that matter. I hate the dirt and the dust and the noise, I hate that I have headaches and can't breathe properly for at least 3/4 of the year. And mass transit is getting damn old, too, these days. Or maybe it's me ("it is I," fine, whatever) who's getting old. I don't know. All I know is, today, and for a while now: NOT. HAPPY.

And frankly, I never really gave that much of a damn about deli food.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Splutter! Splutter! Choke! Gurgle!

Those strangled cries of outrage and dyspepsia, Dear Reader, are the predictable reactions from the ranks of the freepers et al (no, I'm not providing a link. even I have some standards. find them yourself, if you insist. and Al, too, whoever he is) over--what else?--Brokeback Mountain.

I haven't seen it yet. I'm excited about it, but not quite as much so, I suspect, as my friend fastlad, bless him. Anyway, I haven't seen it yet, will probably go later this week. Meanwhile, though, I'm just enjoying the squawking about how awful it all is, where o where have our standards gone. Men touching! Men kissing! Men playing grab-ass without even a manly football to provide an excuse! Where will it all end?

And of course the part that's most upsetting is that they're not just any homos, they're COWBOYS. GAY COWBOYS. "Sodomite cowboys," I saw that one somewhere amid the foaming class boards, that was one of my favorites. "Hard to believe." It is, isn't it. Personally I make a point of believing six impossible things before breakfast each morning. Makes life a lot smoother nowadays. Poor little freepers; they didn't stretch and now their craniums are all hurty.

But so my theory is that what's really upsetting these people is, now they don't know what to do with all these stickers:



Yes, that was a real talking point/slogan/loogie last election. No, they weren't being ironic.

Well, we already know that Bush is manly and real. Real manly. Real real.

("Oh manly...you came and you gave without takin'..."

...sorry. wandered off for a second there. havin' a thing. okay, back now).


Anyway, if you have any of these freepers* (*used here as the generic term for a Type, Dear Reader) in your life, please...be gentle with them. They're feeling kind of fragile right now. Just nod and smile patiently, the way you would when your four-year-old is having a wee meltdown because some heartless seven-year-old told him about the Easter Bunny. (Or, you know, holler, smack them, or throw them out the window, or whatever it is you do--look, I'm not the parenting expert here, OKAY?)

Also? You may want to wait a bit before you break it to them about the Village People. That "YMCA" is such a fun, peppy tune for sporting events and parties, after all...



Swoon. My hero.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Street smarts


Over at the wonderfully to-the-point "What the hell is wrong with you?" there is a discussion in progress over the equally fine "Holla Back New York City," a website all about street harassment and how heartily sick of it most of us are. I'm just going to repost my comment there, here, because it's something I've been thinking about lately. Specifically, responding to the common whine "Jeeeeez, can't you take a compliment?"

Others observed, correctly, that making rude smacking sounds, saying "Yo, bitch! Suck on this!," grabbing a handful of body parts that do not belong to oneself, following a woman (or a man for that matter; it does happen) home, and similar are not behaviors that any sane person would tolerate, let alone feel "complimented" by, if she didn't feel intimidated--which is, of course, the whole point in these instances, to intimidate.

In the rare instance when the intention is probably not to make oneself feel more powerful at the expense of some stranger, but simply to, indeed, offer a compliment, well, okay:

Yes, it does happen. But. Whether it's a compliment or not is to be entirely decided by the person on the receiving end. If you're respectful and/or charming about it, you might get a polite or a warm smile; you might even get a number. At least as likely, though, you're going to get a frosty or hostile response. Even if your manner was friendly and your intentions were good, oh lord, you're just a soul who's been misunderstood.

Rejection. Never fun. And, you deal with it. Especially when you've made your move on the street. In this culture, you don't just go up and say personal things to strangers. You just don't. And I heartily recommend that anyone who's still going "but, but why? That seems so wrong. I just want luurrrrve" go check out the hollaback website right now.

Example of something I took as an actual compliment, the other day:

Man passing, holding grocery bags, clearly had places to go and things to do. Made a remark about the weather, as one does on this street, which is at least somewhat neighborly. I rejoined. He adds, as we turn to go on our merry ways, "You have beautiful hair."

I said, "Thank you." And that was it.

Personally, I'm not particularly in the market for compliments from men, especially random strangers, but no harm, no foul.

Note that not only was the response not "Oh God that makes me so hot please come ravish me right now," but it did not seem to me that the complimenter had that expectation, or indeed any expectation. That right there made the difference.

And still, it could well have been that I might have responded with silence or a stiff jerk of the head or even something ruder, and you know what? It would've been well within my rights to do so. It's New York. He still could've followed up with something creepy/threatening. Odds are that that would be the case, when such a remark is made. It was a judgment call based on subtle cues, the circumstances, my own mood. Mine to make.

It would be swell if we all lived in an atmosphere where casual compliments could be given and taken at face value, and where flirtation didn't have to be anything more serious or ominous than just that. If you want that atmosphere to be a reality, then I suggest you go out of your way to make it happen by setting an example. Learn about this shit. Learn some empathy. Learn some social skills. And if you do get rejected anyway: smile bravely and suck it up. Move on. It's life. No one owes you anything. Not even a pretty woman passing you on the street.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Speaking of people whose 15 minutes are SO over: Ann Coulter, ladies and germs.


"I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am."

Well, considering that she's the one getting paid five figures to insult people for under an hour and then garner even more attention through the martyred act (imagine that, a professional troll got heckled), she may have a point, about the "stupider." UConn must be feeling so proud right now.

Oh yeah, and also liberals want to rape her.


I am now wondering if Ann is in fact the undead skeletal remains of Andy Kaufman in aging coked-up debutante drag. If so: good show, Andy, but you can give it a rest, now. And yourself, and us, too.

Cthulhu carols!



Tidings of horror and woe!
"The Great Old Ones Are Coming to Town!"
I particularly like the peppy jazzy gospel-y sound.


I for one welcome the Great Old Ones, and merely request, humbly, that they eat Bill O'Reilly and Jerry Falwell first. Well, okay, and the entire Bush administration, and Mariah Carey, and--hold on, I've got a list...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oh, faboo, Camille's back,

critiquing the played-outness of Madonna. Which, well, yes; but, also, um, hello, Ms. Pot, Ms. Kettle is on line 2 for you.

No, really, I like Paglia better in "laughably overblown pop culture critique" mode than in "repellant proto-Ann Coulter mode;" but still, honEY:

"My blood boiled at this insulting reduction of dance music to gymnastics -- mere recreational aerobics. I for one do not dance to dance music; disco for me is a lofty metaphysical mode that induces contemplation."

Fuck, me too.

She does at least aside that "(Of course, this may partly descend from my Agnes Gooch marginalization in the old bar scene, where I was -- as Nora Ephron would say -- a wallflower at the orgy)", so I suppose one could be generous and give her credit for some humorous self-awareness there. Personally, I still contend that she's a pretentious poop with an ego the size of the Crab Nebula, no matter how 90's style so-self-referential-I-may-disappear-up-my-own-asshole ironic she's supposedly being about it. I mean:

"Some journalists from newspapers and magazines that planned for reviews to appear, as is customary, at the release date were forced to make pilgrimages to designated offices for "listening sessions" (sounds like something out of a Hillary campaign), where they heard the album under controlled and presumably optimal conditions. This authoritarian strategy (which I rejected outright when Salon told me about it)"

Oh, go you. Paglia: perpetual fiery crusader against auTHORitah, from Hillary to the music industry's P.R. tactics. We can all rest easy now.

And, AND

"When I wrote in my polemical 1990 New York Times op-ed that "Madonna is the future of feminism," there were squawks of disbelief on all sides -- but that is exactly what came to pass over the next decade."

Uh huh. Because nobody--nobody!--else, certainly not in feminism, was "pro-sex" in the early 90's. Except Paglia and her fantasy snog Madonna.

Susie Bright had a fun little take on her, too, back in the day:

"Then, in 'Esquire,' Paglia flatly declared lesbians to be sexually and intellectually 'inert.' Well, you haven't gotten any in a long time, I thought."

--"Undressing Camille"

Later, Bright interviews Paglia, who'd first introduced herself by making a spectacle of herself in a bookstore: leaped out of her seat and interrupted Bright in the middle of a reading, thrusting her own reviews in Bright's face and shouting about how she was her "only friend in academia." The interview itself is telling. Bright keeps trying to pin her down, and Paglia keeps shifting from subject to subject; the main theme in her responses seems to be that while she luurrves Bright, just about everything else is grievously disappointing, (from S/M to "diesel dykes" to of course the entire feminist movement), and the reason she can't get any, one is drawn to conclude, is that she's just too damn rebellious, and, in her own words, "a new thinker, and I have the most comprehensive vision of sexuality in the world right now..."


This, she says to Susie Bright (who's a lot more diplomatic about her in the essay than it comes off from this snippet, p.s.)


My very favorite take on Paglia remains Molly Ivins' piece, "I am the Cosmos:"

"...Paglia's view of sex--that it is irrational, violent, immoral, and wounding--is so glum that one hesitates to suggest that it might be instead, well, a lot of fun, and maybe even affectionate and loving.

Far less forgivable is Paglia's consistent confusion of feminism with yuppies. What does she think she's doing? Paglia holds feminists responsible for the blizarre blight created by John T. Malloy, author of "Dress for Success," which caused a blessedly brief crop of young women, all apparently aspiring to be executive vice presidents, to appear in the corporate halls wearing those awful sand-colored baggy suits with little floppy bow ties around their necks.

Why Paglia lays the blame for this at the feet of feminism is beyond me. Whatever our other aims may have been, no one in the feminist movement ever thought you are what you wear. The only coherent fashion statement I cn recall from the entire movement was the suggestion that Mrs. Cleaver, Beaver's mom, would have been a happier woman had she not persisted in vacuuming while wearing high heels. This, I still believe.

...What we have here, folks, is a crassly egocentric, raving twit.

...One of [Paglia's] latest efforts at playing enfant terrible in intellectual cricles was a peppy essay for Newsday, claiming that either there is no such thing as date rape or, if there is, it's women's fault because we dress so provocatively. Thanks, Camille, I've got some Texas fraternity boys I want you to meet.

There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "Poor dear, she probably has PMS." Whereas if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "What an asshole." Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, "Sheesh, what an asshole."'

--Mother Jones, October 1991

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Progressive Christianity on the march

I have to say, this is really exciting me. It sounds like finally someone is picking up where MLK left off (or was made to leave off).

"Crosswalk America"

"CrossWalk America is part of an emerging Christian movement - one that joyously embraces the love of God, neighbor and self (Jesus' core values). We stand for:
• openness to other faiths
• care for the earth and its ecosystems
• valuing artistic expression in all its forms
• radical inclusiveness of all people - including God's lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (lgbt) community
• opposing the commingling of Church and State
• promoting the values of rest and recreation, prayer and reflection
• embracing both faith and science in the pursuit of truth

If you share in the spirit of these beliefs - Welcome Home! We invite you to learn more about CrossWalk America and our upcoming "Walk Across America 2006" by exploring further our web site."

***

Obviously I agree with what they stand for; but I'm especially interested in the idea of walking across the entire country. That's a move that's needed to happen, I've been thinking for a while. If you're going to march, then MARCH. I think I'd like to sign up, at least for part of it.

Thought for the day

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches* pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

--Thomas Jefferson

*personally i'd prefer a reign of actual witches, at least considering the ones I know; but, you get the general idea

Saturday, December 03, 2005

All I want for Christmas is for you to STOP. WHINING.

It must be rough, being a right-wing Christian Republican right now. I mean: if you think about it, there's really no representation for you and yours in the public discourse. Look at all these left-wing troublemakers, with their criticism and their...criticism, trying to oppress the Republicans, just because they're in charge of all three branches of the federal government. It's hard work.

And, to add insult to injury, the secular humanists and atheists are trying to "take Christ out of Christmas." AGAIN.

Well, I for one am outraged at this harshing of majoritarian self-esteem. Hey, the standard-bearers of the One True Way are people, too! At least as much so as everyone else, and quite possibly more so! Stop hatin'. As Jerry Falwell points out, "Merry Christmas. It's okay to say it." And if you don't say it, he'll sue.

"What's my name? MERRY CHRISTMAS, that's my name!"

But, you cry, I'm not one of those valueless pagan atheists. I've got a perfectly good religion! It's monotheistic and patriarchal and everything! It's even based on the Bible! We have holy holidays around now, too! What about us, huh?

Well, Bill O'Reilly thinks you should just suck it up.

I'm going to go along with Salon's Michelle Goldberg in speculating that all this may be a sign that the Jewish/right-wing Christian honeymoon is over. Personally, it'd be fine and dandy with me. "Judeo-Christian," there's a bit of "p.c." for you. The actual translation of that phrase is:

"Okay, you people can tag along with the Big Daddy God 'N' Country/Kiddies Kitsch & Kitchens revival for a bit I guess, seeing as how we have enough other scapegoats for now and there was that whole embarassing genocide episode the last time the Jews were tag-you're-it, plus also we have a special place in our whacked-out prophecies for Israel. As for that part about the vast majority of actual Jews either converting or dying when Christ stages his big comeback (Jesus: He's Back and He's BAAAAD), wellll...we'll just cross that bridge when we get to it."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Addendum: Then again, of course, 50 Cent is a played-out schmeggege.

In which 50, nebech, plays the rubber chicken (no dairy) circuit.

"History will forever record Elizabeth Brooks' bat mitzvah as "Mitzvahpalooza."

For his daughter's coming-of-age celebration last weekend, multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks booked two floors of the Rainbow Room, hauled in concert-ready equipment, built a stage, installed special carpeting, outfitted the space with Jumbotrons and arranged command performances by everyone from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Aerosmith...

For his estimated $500,000, I hear that 50 Cent performed only four or five songs - and badly - though he did manage to work in the lyric, "Go shorty, it's your bat miztvah, we gonna party like it's your bat mitzvah."

At one point, I'm told, one of Fitty's beefy bodyguards blocked shots of his boss performing and batted down the kids' cameras, shouting "No pictures! No pictures!" - preventing Brooks' personal videographers and photographers from capturing 50 Cent's bat-miztvah moment.

***

Apparently a couple of pictures did surface, after all, though:




and, shockingly,





Personally, I cannot wait until the gangsta aesthetic goes the fuck away already.

It's not that I don't love hip-hop/rap, either. Old-school. Kanye West & Missy Elliott (among contemporary mainstream artists). Indie quirkies like Princess Superstar and MC Paul Barman, whom I'd like to affectionately rename "Effeminem." ("My pissed-off Jablowski turned three colors like Krzysztof Kieslowski/He said a hand job's a man's job, yo' job's a blowjob...")

But enough with the damn bling already. And, if you really want to look scarifying, you might consider pulling up your damn pants. Oh, yeah, I hate the look. On the subway, all you see now are the stocking caps, which irk me even more than the backward baseball cap over the do-rag look (one or the other, people; both is just de trop). Yes, I know, it's supposed to say "thug." All I can ever think when I see it, though, is the ancient little cashier in some buttfuck town in the middle of nowhere in "Raising Arizona," saying to an antsy, gun-wielding, diaper-stealing Nicholas Cage, mildly:

"Son, yew got a panty on yore head."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Aight, G. Wuss in the hizzzzie.


50 Cent praises 'gangsta' Bush

50 Cent has made a surprise move by stepping forward to heap praise on
beleaguered US President George W Bush.

While Bush is facing growing criticism from American citizens and
celebrities, including rapper Kanye West, former crack dealer 50 Cent
has expressed great admiration for the Republican leader.

He says: "(The president) is incredible… A gangsta. I wanna meet
George Bush, just shake his hand and tell him how much of me I see in
him."

The In Da Club rapper, who was shot nine times on the streets of New
York City before finding fame, adds that if it wasn't for his felony
conviction preventing him from voting, he'd have exercised his right in
favour of Bush.

***

And there you have it. Bush: FIERCE.




He's a gangsta!



He's a cowboy!



He's a floor wax and a dessert topping!



No, wait.



He's um, well, he's real,



and VERY MANLY, is the point, here.



Yes, I think that's it.










Keep keepin' it real, Geeb.









(credit to Democratic Underground for collecting these fine photos, among others)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Light the corners of my miiind, cont'd

Somewhere around my thirteenth or fourteenth year, yes, I began to
have Those Feelings. I can't exactly pin down when I connected the
name to the feelings, but it was fairly early on, I know. Anyway, by
the time my well-meaning liberal parents had taken me to go see "Desert
Hearts
" with some friends of theirs (an only child, I often was
included in their adult social life), I was dismally aware of just what
the transaction there was and what it all meant, even before the
infamous scene toward the end.

These days, I sometimes think about the frisson that scene had for me
at a hormonal fourteen with a strange sort of wistfulness,
understandably disturbing as the whole thing was at the time; I don't
think any erotic scene on film since has ever come close to having the
same charge (including a subsequent viewing of "Desert Hearts" in the
privacy of my own living room at age twentysomething, as well as far
more explicit material). For that matter, I never would have guessed
that someday I would wish to have back the intensity of that whole
period: the blushing fits at school, the pounding heart, the uneasy
fascination I'd suddenly developed for leggy blonde girls with mauve
lipstick, girls I'd never even spoken to and had no justifiable reason
for doing so, girls I didn't even *like.* At the time, of course, all
I wanted was for it all to GO AWAY.

To that end, as it turned out, I had some help. That same year, my
grades started to plummet, I was crying all the time, and my favorite
thing to do was sit in the recliner (a leftover from the 70’s, it was
the color and texture of American cheese left too long out of the
wrapper), and mope. Sometimes I would read, or pretend to read,
usually the same thing over and over and over. (Robert Silverberg's
"Lord Valentine's Castle" lasted me a good while. Then it was on to
Stephen King's "It," as I recall). But more often I would just sit
and stare into space. Thinking my thoughts, all 8,000,000,000 billion
per second of them. Bottom line, in retrospect: I was, no doubt,
depressed, and why not? I'd just started yet another new school,
always difficult for me, all the more so because a) this was high
school, a big jump under any circumstances and b) I entered in the
middle of the school year after having accompanied my mother on what
was supposed to have been a six month sabbatical in Barcelona. And I
did not do well with new situations, or school, in the best of
circumstances.

(We came home a month and a half into it, around late October, I
think. There were a lot of factors contributing to my mother’s
decision to bail; I only mention it here because I now remember that
among those factors was an “illness” I had that in fact hadn’t started
as an illness at all. Rather, I had had one of my patented
girl-inspired blushing fits in class, one that drew me enough attention
that I ended up chalking it up to a mysterious sickness I felt coming
on, throwing in some plausible-sounding if exotic symptoms that bought
me an early dismissal from school as well as a trip to a dubious
doctor. I still suspect that the antibiotics the guy prescribed me
were what brought on the *real* symptoms that eventually led my mother
to throw in the towel).

And then to top it all off, of course, I had raging hormones, new
thoughts and feelings that left me feeling more like an alien than ever
before, and no one to talk to about it, not really.

I don’t remember whose idea it first was for me to see a counselor,
ultimately. I know that the subject had been floated before, once,
when I was ten and approaching anorexia. This time, whoever first
brought it up, I *wanted* to go, I do know that. I don’t know what I
expected a counselor to do for me, exactly; or whether my parents knew,
either; or whether we had, in fact, the same ideas at all about what
exactly about me needed to be fixed. All my folks probably knew was
that I was desperately unhappy, and seemed to be getting worse. The
sexuality thing, well...perhaps that was something that should be
talked about, too, sure, with someone who knew about these things. An
authority.

So we found someone, I don’t remember how, or what her actual
credentials were. A garrulous, grandmotherly-looking woman. She had a
cozy little office in a converted house on a tree-lined street, like
many professionals in my quiet hometown. And she had her opinions.
Quite firm ones. Some of them were helpful and some of them were
probably less so. The one that had the most lasting effect, though,
was the one I’d really come in about, whether or not my parents knew
this was the main thing on my mind (I thought they did, but there has
been a certain amount of forgetting and revisionist history on several
sides)--anyway, and to wit: no, she didn’t think I was gay, not really.
In fact, she seemed sure of it. Certainly she was surer than I was.
But then, she was older, and wiser, and--more important--louder. Most
important, she told me what I thought I wanted to hear.

In other words, I wasn't really feeling what I thought I was feeling.
(which seemed sort of okay, since nothing I was feeling was resulting
in anything good). I was "confused,” as adolescents are wont to be, I
was "obsessing," and, perchance, spending too much time on my own.
Which, in hindsight, well, DUH; but, also DUH, these things are not
mutually exclusive with sapphic inclinations. According to her,
though, said inclinations were something apart, something one really
wanted to consider every other plausible explanation for before
accepting the possibility that they might just mean what they seemed to
mean. Oh, she didn't say this, of course. Not *exactly.* But, for
instance, she just really didn't see me living "that lifestyle." (I
wish now I’d asked her what that lifestyle consisted of; it might have
given me some ideas...) What did I know? I believed her. ...And, of
course, I didn't believe her. Not really. But even conditional
reassurance that I was okay was better than nothing, I guess. At least
till the last round of soothing noises wore off. So I kept getting
more and more tearful and despondent. And obsessive, yes. Cognitive
dissonance
will do that to you.

The interesting thing, for me, in retrospect, was the relative
subtlety of the process, and how, in a way, it might've been worse than
if she’d flat out said something along the lines of "Gay people do
not have blood in their veins like yours and mine, but a sticky black
ichor..." My family was never religious and always socially liberal;
my mother had a couple of gay (male, much older, and probably not
really approachable even if I'd been so inclined) acquaintances even
back then. Insecure as I was, I probably would've recognized
out-and-out homophobia, especially with an overtly religious message
attached, as the pernicious bullshit that it was. Maybe, *maybe*, I
would've gone from there to figuring, "hey, if she's wrong about
*that*, then maybe she's wrong about me, too. Maybe I should put my
trust in myself instead of this person." Maybe.

Instead, what I got was a barrage of outdated "tests"--draw a tree,
for instance--and being told that most genuinely "sexually confused"
people draw a split trunk, whereas my trunk was straight! And being
subjected to lots of stories from this more-or-less kindly,
grandmotherly-looking person about her own youth (she wasn't real big
on actual listening, this particular counselor, I suspect). And having
special sessions with a *male* counselor, on account of (I think this
was probably the theory) I didn't trust/like men sufficiently, or get
enough strokes from them or something, and needed a proper model. This
wanna-be SNAG doofus told me about his childhood weight issues, and
how he still struggled with them sometimes, and how I really must go
out and see "The Princess Bride," because "you *are* a princess, you
know."

That was the year--first and only--that I and my family ended up
attending synagogue--first a local Reform one, then a Conservative one
whose rabbi was a bit friendlier. My nice humanist heathenish parents
were probably convinced by the therapist that I needed more
after-school activities and more socialization, which was probably
true, in and of itself. I can't recall the temple stuff having any
long-lasting impact on me one way or the other; both synagogues were
fairly laid-back, they *did* get me out of the house, with other people
my age, and away from my endless ruminations, which, again, in and of
itself, was undoubtedly a good thing. Interesting, though; it didn't
hit me until much, much later that the counselor had specifically
recommended that there be a *religious* aspect to my structured
activity. I remember--just--asking her "why?" and her answering
something evasive, yet firm.

Another suggestion of hers led to my attending one of John Robert
Powers’ eight-week modelling workshops, along with my supposed best
friend at the time, who knew nothing about the subtext of all this (and
who had said a number of actively homophobic things in my presence. i
don't think we ever really liked each other). Workshops of this ilk
were not new to me, of course. I'd taken dance and acting and suchlike
all through my youth, at my own request. Once again, in hindsight, it's
pretty clear that this was meant to be some sort of getting me in
touch with my feminine self-esteem, or some such, which is hilarious,
because I was ridiculously femmey as a child--hated sports, loved
makeup, had two-inch nails in various art-deco colors, room as pink as
I wanted it to be. So I enjoyed the modelling lessons without much
thought as to their purpose. I *was* distracted by the female
modelling teacher, not in any straightforward way by this time; I
remember staring at her nose in some anxiety and thinking "wow, her
nose is really straight. I wish my nose were like that." (This was
another of counselor's tenets, one I'm sure is familiar to others:
essentially, "you're looking at women because you want to BE them, not
DO them.")

Oh, yes, there was the session where the modelling teacher asked all
us girls how many of us wanted to get married. Everyone raised their
hands but me. Oddly enough, I felt totally comfortable in not
necessarily wanting to be married, as my mother had gone out of her way
to emphasize that career and my own happiness (ha) was at least as
important as getting The Ring. Meanwhile, I was turning beet red in
English class whenever the teacher mentioned the word "gay," even out
of context, sure that EVERYONE knew and was looking at me. ("John Gay
was an author...") Part of this is standard adolescence angst, of course;
and yet, today I think: was this trip really necessary?

Really, in many ways I think these counselors' beliefs and techniques
were not all that different from the so-called ex-gay groups, except
that they didn't push an overtly Christian agenda. (My parents
would've pulled me out the door in a hot minute if they'd tried).
Years later, in grad school, I was fascinated by the ex-gay stuff
coming over the news and worked it into a play. Despite the fact that
the character in question was a hyper-anxious adolescent who saw a very
familiar sort of secular counselor before putting herself at the
mercies of the fundie Christian Beverly LaHaye type character, I never quite made the degree of the connection until--well, now, more or less.

and of course, I still find these people morbidly fascinating:

On growing up with incipient queerness in the 'burbs, post New-Wave, pre-'Net

Every once in a while little jolts will come back to me, like some
kind of cheezy, noxious Proustian trip--poisonous green Lick 'Em Aid
powder and warm Coke instead of the madeleines in lime-flower tea.

I remember selling bags of candy, including aforementioned green
powder, for the "thespian" group (har har HAR har, snerk), and now I'm
thinking: how fucked up was that, that even the damn drama club had no
identifiable drama fags, much less dykes? Oh, our teacher was a
classic, all right: Mr. F--, and he meant every sibilant syllable of
it. He was also an utter tool. The annual school play was invariably
something like "Winne the Pooh" or "Alice in Wonderland." I was a
card, one year, for the latter. Big, unwieldy cardboard
costume in which I had to maneuver out onto a second-story catwalk,
with no lights. My fellow "card" was a freckly girl who admired my
onyx necklace, which she insisted was called "oinks." it's "onyx," I
said. no, she said, it's OINKS.

I was never publicly identified as queer, at least to my knowledge,
but I was already well-trained to act like a hunted rabbit by years of
outcast "nerd" status: newfound sapphic feelings were just icing on the
cake, really. Funnily enough, I don't think girls ever *were* called
"dykes," or rarely, even if they were noticably butch. Oh, there were
the odd locker room harassment moments, of course. ("Hey, me and my
friend were wondering why you never say hello." "Yeah, it really hurts
my feelings. Why are you so unfriendly?" "She likes you. You're
hurting her feelings by not saying hello. She loves you; she's a lez!
Har, HAR!")

Still, I don't remember any girl being *seriously* considered queer;
possibly, like Queen Victoria, my classmates didn't think they really
existed. "Two women?" said one guy in my "thespian" troupe, apropos of
I don't remember what. "Wow!" "Leslie," I believe his name was. Or:
"So who do you like?" I was asked by one perky female classmate. "A
guy? No [answering herself, with a "duh" implication]--a girl! No,
really, who do you like?"

On the other hand, the boys scrupulously policed each other for the
slightest signs of deviance. A lavender T-shirt could earn derision
for the rest of the week; one kid, already unpopular but never
particularly tarred "gay" before, dressed in drag one Halloween and
spent the rest of the year, at least, trying, unsuccessfully, to live
it down. The ribbing was not good-natured. Hell, even the girls
sometimes commented about (themselves) appearing too "faggy." Anyway,
you were a lot more popular if you played sports and could run with the
boys, no matter which gender you were.

I was friends, at least for a while, with the designated fag: a
slight, pale, giggly, tiptoeing, fluttery-wristed, even (yes) lisping
aficianado of scarves, gymnastics, and Bette Midler, with the very
unfortunate name of Richard (Dick) Stone. I met Richard in seventh
grade; he'd not yet hit puberty, and yet already had a years-long
history of being hounded mercilessly as a faggot. It's quite possible
that he first found out what "gay" meant from sneering classmates, long
before any actual homoerotic feelings. We never discussed this,
anyway; from day one until the day we graduated, his theme remained
stubbornly that they all just thought he was gay (said with a roll of
the eyes) because he'd done gymnastics. Which really didn't make one
gay at all, you know. Not, he would hasten to add, that there was
anything wrong with, you know, being that way. Followed by extremely
unconvincing description of his last date with his "girlfriend," and/or
poring over the illustrations in a male fashion magazine ("I really
like that hairdo...and that jacket...I think it'd look good on me,
don't you?") with a kind of taut, crackling, breathless tension that
was all too familiar to me from similar sessions with Cosmo. But I
never said anything. I doubt he would have wanted to hear it even if
I'd been capable.

Narnia lip, there, pal.

So what if it's from Disney. So what if some people want to claim the film as a vindication for "Christian moviemaking" and C.S. Lewis as an allegorical prophet--hey, at least presumably Aslan's death isn't a protracted snuff film. So what if, visually stunning as the previews look, the magnificent lion still seems, well, a teeny bit risible, when it opens its jaws and starts to talk in that genteel British voice. It's mythic! It's seminal! It's got Tilda Swinton as a nine-foot tall dominatrix! I am so there.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The next Thanksgiving, Bush was taking no chances.

That is, the year after the infamous turkey blowjob photo op, apparently, Bush decided that, as always, it was best to let someone else get their hands dirty.



Mark Morford
fills us in on what happened back at the ranch:

"Ah yes, it is that time again. The smell of roasting turkey and cigar smoke and Polo cologne, perfume like florid gasoline. Copious forced laughter that sounds like geese mating in a broom closet. It is Thanksgiving dinner at the Bush White House, where the guests mingle as though their genitals were being squeezed by manic elves, as if they were all coated in vanilla pudding being licked off by Pat Robertson. Which, truth be told, some of them seem to enjoy. A lot.

They await the appearance of the bird in the cozy, heavily paneled White House drawing room with the grand chandelier sparkling there since the Truman administration, the rest of the space engorged with stuffy furniture Laura chose herself and which she thinks is manly and presidential but which actually looks like it was bought at a Jersey consignment store run by Ethan Allen's stoned brother..."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Oh, fine. Christ's death, Michael Jackson's overdraft, EVERYTHING's our fault.

You know, I might even be willing to share some responsibility for that Jesus fellow, ("we did it, signed, Morty") but getting blamed for Jacko's problems is just GOING TOO FAR.

Jacko's sicko Jewish rant

Michael Jackson picked a familiar target to blame for his mounting money problems - the Jews.

In phone messages obtained by ABC News, the apparently prejudiced pop star likens them to "leeches" and claims they conspired to leave him "penniless."

"They suck...they're like leeches...I'm so tired of it," Jackson tells
former adviser Dieter Wiesner in one of them. "The Jews do it on purpose."

***

Oh, and by the way: where the fuck is my International Zionist Conspiracy (tm) membership card? I need a seven and a half million advance, too! As soon as possible!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The first Thanksgiving, as explained by Trillin.

In England, long ago, there were people called Pilgrims who were very
strict about making sure everyone observed the Sabbath and cooked food
without any flavor and that sort of thing, and they decided to go to
America, where they could enjoy Freedom to Nag. The other people in
England said, "Glad to see the back of them." In America, the Pilgrims
tried farming, but they couldn't get much done because they were
always putting their best farmers in the stocks for crimes like
"Suspicion of Cheerfulness." The Indians took pity on the Pilgrims and
helped them with their farming, even though the Indians thought the
Pilgrims were about as much fun as teenage circumcision. The Pilgrims
were so grateful that at the end of their first year they invited the
Indians over for a Thanksgiving meal. The Indians, having had some
experience with Pilgrim cuisine during the year, took the precaution of
taking along one dish of their own. They brought a dish that their
ancestors had learned many generations before from none other than
Christopher Columbus, who was known to the Indians as "that big Italian
fellow." The dish was spaghetti carbonara--made with pancetta bacon
and fontina and the best imported prosciutto. The Pilgrims hated it.
They said it was "heretically tasty" and "the work of the devil" and
"the sort of thing foreigners eat." The Indians were so disgusted that
on the way back to their village after dinner one of them made a
remark about the Pilgrims that was repeated down through the years and
unfortunately caused confusion among historians about the first
Thanksgiving meal. He said, "What a bunch of turkeys!"

--Calvin Trillin, "The Tummy Trilogy"

***

Happy T-day, all you tasty heretics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Once again, cats add dignity to Bushes.

Catlebrity does it again:



As a side note: what is it with evil Republican men and cats, anyway? Frist. Ashcroft. DeLay.
Oh, wait, sorry, that last was actually more about some cats' opinion of DeLay rather than the other way around, wasn't it. Well, six of one.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bush: Heart of Dorkness

"President Bush tugged at both handles on the double doors before admitting: 'I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work.'"




"Mr Bush answered a range of questions before one reporter said: 'Respectfully, sir - you know we're always respectful - in your statement this morning with President Hu, you seemed a little off your game, you seemed to hurry through your statement. There was a lack of enthusiasm. Was something bothering you?'

The president answered: 'Have you ever heard of jet lag? Well, good. That answers your question.'

The reporter asked for a follow-up question but the president then thanked the attending journalists and said: 'No you may not.'"

***

I was sure at first that that had to be a photoshop; but no, it's from the BBC. . Then I was trying to remember where I'd seen that expression on his face before. Finally it hit me:



..actually, now I'm looking at them both, the turkey one looks less ludicrous. At least the pinstripe suit's sort of dapper. Pic doesn't show if he has the highwater cuffs or the mysterious bulge in the back, of course.

I am just so proud, SO FUCKING PROUD, to be an American right now.

Catty is good.

The fine Catlebrity has found a way to make the scary Laura pics more palatable. I think we can all agree that this is a vast improvement:



Actually, I think that's a good look for Camilla. Pointy ears and blonde sideburns/whiskers suit her. Maybe "cat face" could be the "dorky hat" for the 00's royalty.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Activism for the broke and/or lazy

Click at the Animal Rescue Site daily, along with the other worthy sites they link to (save the rainforest, fund free mammograms...) Hey, every little bit helps!

When men were men and women were up to their kishkes in sprogs and laundry, cont'd


If you, too, want to breed and homeschool like it's 1849, (or 1649, or 1349...), you can get your supplies here: The Vision Forum. It's actually kind of terrific, if you have a Ren Faire for Puritans jones.

F'r instance, there's the "Classic Knights Collection:"



"Now your little crusader can defend home and family with these magnificently hand-painted figurines."

Also: "Boys of Grit Who Changed The World!" "Backyard Ballistics!" "the Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved!" (by Creationists, natch) and Much Much More!



Sadly, there aren't nearly as many offerings for the girls. Although: they do have the complete Elsie Dinsmore library. (Then again, you could just read those here, assuming you wanted to). Later, anxious parents can find out how to keep their lovely daughter a spotless bride (it's a 19th century receipt for Clorox, applied with a charming 17th century pewter scrubbing brush and turkey baster).



The author of all this, one Doug Phillips,




interests me not just because he's making a living off of a kind of role-playing approach to "The Handmaid's Tale," but because he's apparently also the son of Howard Phillips, who's been doing a fair bit of political moving and shaking to make that vision a reality for the rest of us.

Howard, in turn, interests me not just because he's played a big part in the Christian Reconstructionists' political influence these past few decades or so, but because he was born a nice Jewish boy; then, inspired by RJ Rushdoony, converted to neo-Calvinism. I guess in some ways I can see it--it's a very Old-Testament sort of Biblical worldview these guys are pushing, after all--but, I dunno, it's just so embarassing, in sort of the same way that people like Mr. Anti-Sushi the Happy Het are embarrassing. Because, you know, you get that at some core level, they're embarrassed...by their own existence.

"Must...fit...into...dominant...paradigm..."

Or maybe it's just, you know, 'cause I'm a Jewish dyke and don't want any of that shit on me.

But, back to my last point, so while of course religious conversion happens for more legitimate and less self-hating reasons than "sexual orientation conversion," I still can't help thinking: whatever happened to baby Howie? Orthodox Judaism not patriarchal enough for you? Bad childhood experience with the rabbi and/or gefilte fish?

Or--just guessing here from son Doug's obsessions--is there something especially attractive about American Founding Fathers worship to this man, who, born in Boston and apparent enjoyer of many old-school privileges though he may have been, did not have his ancestors floated over on the Mayflower? And Rushdoony was an immigrant himself.

Pilgrim envy. Must sting. To believe so strongly in your place among the elect, to be so close to it in so many ways...and yet, there's this one little thing holding you back.

You birth sixteen kids, whaddya get...

...another day older, and deeper in debt (but they're working on it) Soon, the eighteen-member household will live in a place with more than three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Thankfully, they don't owe their soul to anyone. Except the LORD.

I'm talking, of course, about the Duggar family. You may have seen or heard a reference in the news.



The woman is 39; she started having kids at 22; she and husband Jim Bob now have 16 kids, including two sets of twins; you do the math. ("If Michelle is 39, and she has 16 children, how many more years before she collapses from nervous exhaustion?")

Me, I dunno--I was never very good at math. But this bit by the aforementioned Michelle sort of had me worrying:

> It was 1:00 AM in the morning as I stood folding laundry with tears streaming down my cheeks. Feelings of being overwhelmed flooded my mind. I cried aloud, ”LORD I NEED YOUR HELP, I can’t do it all! I feel so inadequate! Diapers, dishes, laundry, meals, cleanup, school lessons, baths, hugs, kisses, correction…” My list seemed to go on and on.


***

But then, in her darkest hour, she sings a song of praise to the Lord--what would Job have done?--and the next day, He sends her a helpmate, in form of the (female--what'd you think?) piano teacher, who, it turns out, "loves" doing laundry and selflessly volunteers to come help her twice a week. God is good. (And Jim Bob is good, too, albeit apparently too manly to help with the washing and folding).

You can read about a typical day in their lives here. It all sounds very cozy and homely, in a Little House On The Prairie On Crank kind of way.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Well, my faith's at least somewhat restored today.

If by "faith" you mean not "blind ideology in a particular defined supernatural force" but an essential sense of trust. There are many things one can put one's faith in, despite increasingly shrill claims to the contrary. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party hasn't been one of them, for me at least, for a while; or, well, let's say we were having a dark night of the soul.

Anyway, I'm glad of the Corzine and Kaine victories last night, among others.

A line from this WP article about the Kaine win caught my eye:

"It presented an intriguing campaign model for Democrats, in which religious faith plays an important role."

I really do believe that's key. America is too deeply religious to just ignore the "faith" appeals. The only way to remove the theocratic-dominated Republican stranglehold on the country is to meet them on their own turf. We don't even need to talk God (although I think that liberals who're already "of faith" should feel more than free to use Scripture in their pull quotes and debates). Let's talk morality. Let's talk "good and evil." Because, while on the whole we're more equipped to look at shades of grey--and that is a good thing--there are, yes, some things that are just plain wrong. Lying to start an illegal war to benefit your plutocrat friends, for instance. Stealing from the poor, the sick, and the elderly to give to the super-rich. Is that What Jesus Would Do? Is that what a moral society would do? No.

Hypocrites, whited sepulchres, the lot of them; and good churchgoers damn well ought to understand that reference.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Nu, so I voted.

I ended up going ahead and voting for Ferrer. Yeah, I still have no real idea of how he would put his ideas into action, and he (along with the others) bored the crap out of me during the primary debates, AND he hadn't a chance in hell; but hey, I figured, symbolic vote for a symbolic Democrat. And, he has nice rosy cheeks.

I've mellowed somewhat on Bloomberg, who's I suppose not bad as affectless plutocrats go (311 is nice, yes); but I couldn't bring myself to vote for him. It's mainly that pesky Republican thing, most notably that he decided it would be a fine idea to let the alien lizards slither all over the damn place last year and not even clean up their mess. The fact that he bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Roper had nothing to do with it, I swear.






I did enjoy reading the voters' guide, I must say. I could've voted for Jimmy McMillan instead. "What is the most important issue in the city
you would address if elected?" "RENT is Too Damn High there is nothing
else to talk about." "What Other Important Issues Would You Address
If Elected? "RENT Is Too Damn High there is nothing else to talk
about."

Or, I could've voted for Audrey Silk, if I wanted to repeal the smoking ban and "create friendlier atmosphere for business." She wants us to know that not only did she graduate 6 months early from Lincoln High School, but she Skipped one grade at Mark Twain Junior High for the Gifted and Talented!

I really don't pay nearly as much attention to City Council (among other, less splashy jobs) as I should, I suppose. All I know is that Sklar, the Green running in my district, has been absolutely plastering the neighborhood with her flyers for over a month. She must really want to win, and/or have stock in a print shop. I was leaning toward *not* voting for her just because the paper avalanche annoyed me and I was getting her name stuck in my head (it's just an odd sound. sklar sklar sklar). but, I ended up voting for her based on her claimed commitment to fixing the pollution problem, especially in this part of Queens, which is, I learned recently, home to the nastiest, dirtiest power plant in NYC (Charles Poletti), among *many* others that are also nasty and dirty; so much so, in fact, that Western Queens is nicknamed an "Asthma Alley." Which makes so much sense. Never have I had so much shit with my allergies before I moved here; and I strongly suspect that it ain't pollen that's the main problem.

Also, she mentions closing Indian Point, which is definitely something that at least needs to be talked about, a *lot* more, and soon.

Blue jays outside my window this morning

A pair of them. They really are lovely little things.

I didn't expect to see jays in November here in NYC, any more than I expected this strangely springlike weather. I assumed both were probably due to global warming. But apparently while some blue jays migrate for the winter, others stay put. And yes, my guess upon seeing the two was right: they are monogamous. And the male feeds the female while she's incubating. It doesn't say on what. I imagine Haagen Daz.

Dull stuff to some, perhaps, but for me this is sort of exciting and new. I'd really like to learn more about nature. Partly in the spirit of awareness and respect for the greater universe, partly with the idea of "appreciate it while it's still here."

My family is definitely not of the earthy-crunchy persuasion. I still remember my grandmother (the one who grew up in Noo Yawk but no longer lives here) proclaiming one day, "I don't like nature. I'd rather have an ice cream soda." Which makes sense if you stop and think about it, really. Nature; ice cream soda. Nature; ice cream soda.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Horror has a face.



"But because of me, through my mediation with my master, the lord of flies....here all of you, unworthy though you may be, will be safe from the Red Death. We promise you....unless, of course, you incur our displeasure..."







"This is your aristocracy. This is your aristocracy on meth."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hot! Republican!! Porn!!!

Apparently there's quite a lot of it.


"...Libby has a lot to live up to as a conservative author of erotic fiction. As an article in SPY magazine pointed out in 1988, from Safire (“[She] finally came to him in the bed and shouted ‘Arragghrrorwr!’ in his ear, bit his neck, plunged her head between his legs and devoured him”) to Buckley (“I’d rather do this with you than play cards”) to Liddy (“T’sa Li froze, her lips still enclosing Rand’s glans . . .”) to Ehrlichman (“ ‘It felt like a little tongue’ ”) to O’Reilly (“Okay, Shannon Michaels, off with those pants”), extracurricular creative writing has long been an outlet for ideas that might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast. In one of Lynne Cheney’s books, a Republican vice-president dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress...

So, how does Libby stack up against the competition? This question was put to Nancy Sladek, the editor of Britain’s Literary Review, which, each year, holds a contest for bad sex writing in fiction. (In 1998, someone nominated the Starr Report.) Sladek agreed to review a few passages from Libby. “That’s a bit depraved, isn’t it, this kind of thing about bears and young girls? That’s particularly nasty, and the other ones are just boring,” she said. “God, they’re an odd bunch, these Republicans.” Unlike their American counterparts, she said, Tories haven’t taken much to sex writing. “They usually just get caught,” she said."


Personally, I'm hoping these words become inextricably linked with ol' Scoot's legacy:

"'He asked if they should fuck the deer.'

The answer, reader, is yes."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

And another thing...

I am just. so. over. the religious proselytizing. Most of the time, you see a piece of paper on the sidewalk, odds are it's yet another "you will BURN in the fires of HELL unless you REPENT your very EXISTENCE" pamphlets. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, every other week it seems like, ringing my bell, not in a good way. Crazy-ass preacher yesterday in the middle of the greenmarket. ("The BIIIBLE says you must FEAR God above all else--" I said, "The Bible also says that you should pray in your closet instead of standing in the middle of the street making a spectacle of yourself." He thunders back, "I'm not praying, I'm PREACHING, sinner!--" I wandered off. The produce was a lot more interesting).

And in the subway, you know, it's Scientologists to the right of me, Falun Gong to the left, and here I am, stuck in the middle with way too many fucking huddled masses till the goddam train comes already...

And this is of course just here in NYC. This is just smalltime shit. Let's not even talk about Falwell and Dobson and the rest of that bunch, for now at least.

But anyway so now I'm pondering what would happen if the rest of us--heathens, pagans and infidels--decided to start a missionary program or two of our own. On the subway, drop leaflets that are xeroxed excerpts of "Sister Mary Ignatius Explain It All For You," or "Beyond Good and Evil," or even maybe just plain old sex-positive pamphlets, with helpful instructions and diagrams. maybe gay folk should start recruiting, or at least door-to-door educating. maybe PFLAG should start sending out sincere, nicely dressed boys and girls in twos and threes to ring bells in the heartland. maybe we should send ringers to hang around or even attend places like Oral Roberts College and Patrick Henry University, and target and try to stealth deprogram some of 'em. why the hell not? hey, maybe just because they're paranoid doesn't mean we shouldn't actually be out to get them.

One year later, or near enough

Thought for the day:

“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.”

Well, no shit, Ecclesiastes.

Then again, it’s difficult to be stoic these days. At least it feels so to me, has done for the past 800 years or however long it's been since the Shrub has taken root.

“Banality of evil” is one thing; but here we’ve crossed over into full-on dorkitude of evil. Even as apparently the whole lot of them is fragmenting before our very eyes...probably...which warms my shrivelled little heart, don't get me wrong...the fact remains that the motherfuckers got in as far as they did in the damn first place. Which is incredible. It goes against Social Darwinism and Intelligent Design. Maybe it's Boneheaded Design, I dunno. I sure as shit can't see the providence here.

And so, speaking of banal, as we head toward yet another Election Day, I ask, once more, with feeling:

How, God? How did this happen? Twice?

No, okay, specifically:

Sometime during that Tuesday last year, I forget when exactly, the sun was still out, I’m walking along the street, thinking my thoughts, when I see this piece of it looks like blank paper, lying in the gutter. Not exactly an unusual sight, here in New York City, but for whatever reason I just have this...feeling, as I’m walking past it. I can’t quite name it; I’m sure the Germans have a word for it. “Unterheimlichschmertz,” perhaps: the dawning awareness of a still-dormant-but-slowly-surfacing nausea and/or gutpunched feeling. Something like that. So I stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Then, feeling only slightly ridiculous, I go to push the piece of paper over with my foot. It’s just a rudimentary homemade poster on computer paper; it had been lying face down. On the flip side, it says, in big black font:

BUSH KEPT US SAFE. WILL JOHN KERRY?

I stood there for oh, maybe a good minute or so. It was a rather nice day, for early November. Bluish sky, pale sunshine, crunchy red leaves, the odd squirrel here and there.

BUSH KEPT US SAFE.

Dear God.

I mean, I suppose it’s possible that someone out in deepest Utah came up to Manhattan, dropped his or her little billet into the street, and then I don’t know, went home, or maybe stuck around, took in a show, got a clandestine blowjob in a backroom, whatever, the POINT is, okay, at least just tell me that that wasn’t a New Yorker who made that. Because to think that somewhere, in this very city, the one that was actually attacked, the one that actually saw the whole unbelievable thing happen, SOMEONE, that’s been living here since then and seen exactly how much “help” we got from the federal government, to think that a NEW YORKER, any New Yorker, even that junkie kid who screams and howls on the corner while wearing nothing but a garbage bag, could actually really believe

BUSH KEPT US SAFE

... well, one simply doesn’t think such things, because that way madness lies.

So what I did then, was, I stomped on the piece of paper. Hard. Several times. Till it ripped. Then, I stood on it with both feet and jumped up and down. I think I may have screamed and swore a little. This is one of the great things about New York, that you can do such things in public and everyone will pretend not to notice. Although, later on, while I was eating lunch, some British guy came up to me and said, “You must have really not liked that poster.” He seemed mostly amused. Now he has a story to tell his friends when he goes home, I suppose. Then they can all laugh and drink their tea and make some ever so dry remark about those wacky Americans, you never know what they’ll do next, throw tea into the harbor (but not this lot, ahahaha), pitch temper tantrums at inanimate objects in public, re-elect a man who not only managed to kill off peace and prosperity in a mere four years but is dumber than a truck full of chickens going to town, not that the British would use that expression. And, started a war with the wrong country, based on a lot of made-up shit about weapons of mass destruction that ooops, they never had; and still doesn’t see what the problem is. And, last but not least, and to bring us back to the original point, who WAS PRESIDENT DURING THE WORST FUCKING TERRORIST ATTACK THAT HAD EVER HAPPENED, not just “on American soil,” as if that were all that mattered, but anywhere.

Bush was president. When 9/11 happened. Not before. Not after. During. Which, putting all tinfoil theories aside, would at least seem to suggest that he and/or his administration, you know, fucked up, bigtime. And yet, somebody, somewhere *in New York* not only believes that

BUSH KEPT US SAFE

but went to the trouble to flyer the sidewalk with that sentiment on Election Day.

Now, it’d be nice to have been able to dismiss that little message from Bizarro World, except that apparently, a lot of people, who may or may not all be crazy junkies, do, in fact, believe this. Anyway, they believe something; because, against all laws of common sense and superstition and pollsters, Bush was rewarded for his murderous incompetence with another four years, of which we have yet to serve another three. Maybe not everyone voted for him that are on record as having voted for him (*cough*Diebold*cough*); but, regardless, a lot of people did. So the 64 million dollar question remains, of course, what the hell were these people thinking?

And what the fuck does it take, finally, to get them to think something else?