Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Seriously, here's to a good 2007. Less bullshit, more light. L'chaim.

Yes, I for one would like to know more

Little Light asks:

Physically, I'm fairly early in the transition, even though socially and emotionally I'm way past the point of no return. So I thought: would it be interesting or helpful to those of you reading for me to catalogue some of those basic things?

Because nobody really told them to me when I wasn't experiencing them yet myself, even though I expected it to be hard; here on this bodiless Internet we're always talking about the big-picture, societal, identity-and-rights stuff, and it occurs to me that I had to do a lot of digging, once upon a time, for the nuts and bolts--including the unpleasant, vulgar nuts-and-bolts. And maybe that's why all these arguments about bathrooms don't connect--because one person is talking about who has what abstract claim on what space, and another person is going, look, I really have to go.

The other stuff is important, maybe more important, but somehow I think the point doesn't get across, sometimes. As I said to my partner not long ago: it's funny, knowing the statistics of sexual assault and violence directed at the demographic I'm entering, considering what I know about my basically taking a massive pay cut for every other job I'm ever going to have and practically waiving insurance, knowing about my future health risks and social attitudes, knowing the price I'll have to pay in travel I can't do, places I can't go and be safe, people I'd like to know who'll assume they don't want to know me, knowing I'll be dependent on medical technology and its attendant costs for the rest of my life...

The little, real, blood-and-bones things a person who's never met one of us--or someone who has, but not intimately enough to be told--wouldn't know about, and wouldn't know to account for in their ideas about who we are and what our lives are like.
Would folk want to hear more about these things, or is this enough?


Also, for those who were following the discussion developing at brownfemipower's regarding "postcolonial feminism and the impact of colonial history on trans issues and multiracial identities," (or would like to tune in now), little light picks up the thread here.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Well, that explains it

From the spamcatcher, this just in:

Dear, friend!

Due to jealousy, heart burning or some base cause, the Tantriks use cheap tactics to overcome the adversaries, which ruins one's life. Are you also under such a spell?

We must have peace and happiness in life, and to achieve the same we work hard. But we do not get in return to the proportions of our labour.

We get very little even after the best of our efforts, we toil to get success in our business but the profits are too little. We do not want any discontentment or discord in our family life, but inspite of our best efforts, the peace and tranquility of our family is disturbed.

On the other hand people work very little, but get too much in return. Businessmen have ample wealth just be putting in little efforts, bUt we are disappointed even after continuous efforts. It leads us to conclude, that there are some evil forces whichmake our strategies unsuccessful.

Tantrik Prayog : Major Causes

Whenever you face such situations, feel assured that someone has used Black Magic on you, as a result of which all your efforts become ineffective.

Though such prayog is not easy, but some Tantriks expertise in it and torture innocent souls at the behest of selfish and greedy people. Such Tantriks have made Black Magic their profession, and use it on others indiscriminately at the behest of their adversaries, to mint money. Thus the happy life of the people is spoiled.

Such so-called Black-Magicians, no doubt can harm others, but they do not possess the powers to counter such moves. As a result the victim keeps on suffering and sometimes it leads to the death of the victim. It is in fact very easy to cause harm through Tantra, but very difficult to amend the damage done. In order to learn the art of saving, one has to WORK hard and only a amil of high caliber can do so.


1. Continuous illness. All treatments fail.
2. Constant worries, suicidal tendencies, or a desire to move away from home and family.
3. Continuous illness of any member of the family.
4. Too much weakness associated with obesity and being short tempered.
5. Sterility, without any physical deficiency or without any medical reason.
6. Repeated miscarriages or death of the children.
7. Sudden unnatural deaths in the family.
8. Problems in the construction of house, factory or any other building.
9. Shortness of money, inspite of hard labour.
10. No desire to live. Feels suffocated. Life seems useless. No desire to rise in life.
11. Sudden quarrels between brothers or the members of the family, without any reason.
12. Achievement of objectives seems impossible.
13. Loss in the business of property.
14. Ill-health and under-development of children.
15. Loss of peace due to the fear of enemies and their evil designs.
16. Discord between spouses or the family.
17. Greatest efforts resulting in a failure.
18. Lack of Govt. favours, promotions and the desired transfers.
19. Poverty, inspite of hard work

These are some effects which prove that you are under the spell of Black Magic+
if you want to remove ur problum plz send us



I think Amil may be onto something. But, how do i know this is on the level? oh, he did send references:


Here's what real customers are saying:

"Your spells are amazing! I'm so glad I got [my boyfriend] back. Thanks eMagickSpells!!"
--Lindsay, Chicago, Ill.

"Thank you guys so much. You've really changed my life."
--James D., UK

"I am so glad that I found you. All the spells I've had work just great."
--Mike, Toronto, Canada


Open kvetch thread

What's your tsuris? Park it here.


What it comes down to is this. No one wants to be the bad guy. No one wants their friends and allies to be the bad guys. That's a given.

The question is, what -else- drives you to do what you do? Or don't do? And that is a general "you."

i mean, as a "progressive," that is. Liberal. Leftist, radical, small-d democrat, one who would transform the body politic, what you will.

and the other given: no one--well, most people--enjoys fighting. a lot of well-meaning people are reaching for the Pepto this morning, I think, for one reason or another. it's not the first time this has happened, or the thousandth, and won't be the last.

people don't want trouble. but sometimes, trouble is already there, and speaking is better than silence. and sometimes, when speaking doesn't seem to be having any effect, it gets raised to a shout.

which, i would have thought, is kind of the point of being a progressive, small-d-democrat, whatever you want to call it, in the first place, understanding that, be it feminist or anti-racist or plain old I-hate-the-Bush-admin-and-what-it's-done-to-our-country.

"we have met the enemy, and they is us."

it doesn't -have- to be that way, no. that's the -good- news. but, it's not gonna get any better if we keep clinging to our old defenses in the stark face of this isn't working anymore, and yes, i mean me, too. All of us. Goddamit.

That was grim, wasn't it? Let's try something a bit less Apocalypt-y to end the evening with

"Parrots Have Colonized the Wilds of Brooklyn"

"...New York has many wild critters, and a few are not human. A coyote wandered into Central Park before running afoul of sunbathers, and the hawks Pale Male and Lola established aeries on a gilded stretch of Fifth Avenue. Raccoons know their way around Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and muskrats poke at the mud flats of the Harlem River.

But the parrots -- which are about a foot long and are known as monk parakeets because their gray chests and tufts resemble a monk's skullcap and frock -- are among the city's more cacophonous and unexpected residents. Their cry sounds like metal scraping metal. (San Francisco has parrots-in-residence on Telegraph Hill. And Chicago has a broad-shouldered, loud-squawking crew that has been called "Hells Angels with wings.")

Most Brooklyn parrots live in colonies of 50 or 60 birds, although a few less sociable types live on Coney Island or in Canarsie or Gravesend. They favor homes atop light and transmission poles; at Green-Wood Cemetery they inhabit the soaring gothic spires near the gate. Their nests are vast 400-pound constructs, with foyers and anterooms and a space where the females lay eggs and enjoy a respite from the males.

Con Edison knows these nests well, as periodically the power company's workers clamber around them. "These aren't nests; they're condominiums," a spokesman said.

Half a dozen nests can be seen atop the light poles at the Brooklyn College athletic field. On a recent Saturday, 20 or 30 of the resident parrots swooped down and, amid much screeching, alighted on the branches of an oak tree beside a pre-World War II apartment building. Children inside the apartments gestured and called at the birds; sometimes the parrots talk back. (In captivity, monk parakeets can develop a vocabulary of about 200 words.)

Steve Baldwin, 50, lives in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and acts as the parrots' pro bono publicist and bard. He has composed a Lou Reed-style song, "The Ballad of the Brooklyn Parrots" (available at, which mixes human and parrot voices and which one "critic" called "Jim Morrison meets Rick Moranis at the Audubon Society."

"They eat berries, ornamental plants and sometimes pizza," Baldwin said as he gave a tour of the Brooklyn College nests to a dozen birders. "They are very intelligent, and of course they don't like the suburbs."

How the parrots came to Brooklyn is a mystery. Apparently a large crate filled with the parrots broke open at Kennedy International Airport in the late 1960s. Baldwin's voluminous research tends to implicate mafia goodfellas in the deed, although that "fact" might be too delicious to check out. The parrots hung around the Jamaica Bay marshes that girdle JFK's southern edges before moving into Brooklyn. The cold was no problem, as the parrots hailed from temperate-to-chilly Argentina.

At first, state and federal wildlife-control officers tried to wipe out this "invasive species." Hundreds of parrots perished, and in the 1970s, the last large colony relocated to light towers at the Rikers Island jail. An eradication team showed up to finish the job -- but the parrots had disappeared.

"Someone tipped the parrots off," Baldwin says with a shrug. "They circled back to Brooklyn, and everyone left them alone."

Now there is a new threat. Poachers with nets are snatching the parrots and selling them to pet stores. The poachers have all but denuded several neighborhoods. It has parrot-loving denizens of Brooklyn talking about vigilante patrols.

Kay Martin lives somewhere near Coney Island, in a house filled with at least nine varieties of parrots. She acknowledges that their racket awakens her at night. So what? They are friends, and they talk to her. Martin, diminutive and pugnacious, spends most of her spare time safeguarding the wild parrots.

Are there nests near your home? She frowns.

"I'm not saying," she says. "The last thing our parrots need is another reporter poking around."

From the "oh, shit, which Horseman is that, again?" files:

"Ancient ice shelf breaks free from Canadian Arctic"

"TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said.

The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north.

Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake. (Watch the satellite images that clued in ice watchers)

Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.

"This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead," Vincent said Thursday.

In 10 years of working in the region he has never seen such a dramatic loss of sea ice, he said.

The collapse was so powerful that earthquake monitors 250 kilometers (155 miles) away picked up tremors from it.

The Ayles Ice Shelf, roughly 66 square kilometers (41 square miles) in area, was one of six major ice shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic.

Scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years and point their fingers at climate change as a major contributing factor.

"It is consistent with climate change," Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906.

"We aren't able to connect all of the dots ... but unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role."

Laurie Weir, who monitors ice conditions for the Canadian Ice Service, was poring over satellite images in 2005 when she noticed that the shelf had split and separated.

Weir notified Luke Copland, head of the new global ice lab at the University of Ottawa, who initiated an effort to find out what happened.

Using U.S. and Canadian satellite images, as well as data from seismic monitors, Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of August 13, 2005.

"What surprised us was how quickly it happened," Copland said. "It's pretty alarming.

"Even 10 years ago scientists assumed that when global warming changes occur that it would happen gradually so that perhaps we expected these ice shelves just to melt away quite slowly, but the big surprise is that for one they are going, but secondly that when they do go, they just go suddenly, it's all at once, in a span of an hour..."


In other news, Saddam is dead. Guess we can all breathe a big sigh of relief, eh? Mission Accomplished! We got the Bad Guy. I'm sure the world will be better...oh. hm.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Kinds of power"

I was moved to hunt up this passage from a book by Rollo May, "Power and Innocence," from a discussion still going over at bfp's (see here for context, if you like). It seems worth a separate discussion in a post of its own, so here 'tis.

3. Kinds of Power.

A. Exploitative. This is the simplest and, humanly speaking, most destructive kind of power. It is subjecting persons to whatever use they may have to the one who holds the power. Slavery, of course, is the obvious example…Exploitative power identifies power with force. In pioneer America the use of bullets to transform others into lifeless hulks…fall into this category….

In everyday life this kind of power is exercised by those who have been radically rejected, whose lives are so barren that they know no other way of relating to other people except exploitation. It is even sometimes rationalized as the “masculine” way of dealing with women sexually…

Exploitative power always presupposed violence or the threat of violence. In this kind of power there is, strictly speaking, no choice or spontaneity at all on the part of the victims.

[Ed., my own note: the picture of the young woman standing down the tanks in Oaxaca i think contradicts this a bit, as do the choices of nonviolent protestors who risk their lives for principles everywhere; so then even there, choice IS possible; it’s just a very drastic choice and one that it is unlikely that most people are going to make. But I think what he’s saying is that there is, unlike the next example, no “contract” at all with the oppresser, even in a very stacked and unfair and dishonest way].

B. Manipulative. This is power over another person. Manipulative power may have been originally invited by the other person’s desperation or anxiety…

…Skinner [famous pioneer of “operant conditioning,” worked with rats and pigeons, a very mechanistic approach to psychology] is himself a living illustration of the individual who does not consciously confront his own power needs. He calls them the “passion to control.” For instance, in his book “Walden Two,”…the hero, speaks to his pigeons, “Behave, damn you! Behave as you ought!”

…It is often pointed out that the Germans, in the years before 1933, were in such a state of economic hopelessness and anxiety about their future that they succumbed to the manipulative power of Hitler in the hopes of assuaging their anxiety…

C. Competitive. The third kind of power is power -against- another. In its negative form, it consists of one person going -up- not because of anything he does or any merit he has, but because his opponent goes -down.-

…The chief criticism of this kind of power is its parochialism: it continually shrinks–although not as drastically as manipulation–the area of human community in which one lives.

But at this point we note a very interesting shift from desctructive to constructive power. For competition can give zest and vitality to human relations. I refer to the kind of rivalry that is stimulating and constructive. A football game…

It is worthwhile to remind ourselves that the great [Greek dramas] were produced in competition. The implication is that it is not competition itself that is destructive but only the -kind- of competitive power.

The competition between nations…in the race to the moon or [the Olympics; here he uses the example of capitalistic competition of cheaper and better technology, which, i think one could really spin off into a whole ‘nother argument] drains a great deal of tension that would otherwise go into warfare…

To have someone -against- you is notnecessarily a bad thing; at least he is not over you or under you, and accepting his rivalry may bring out dormant capacities in you.

D. Nutrient. This is power -for- the other. It is perhaps best illustrated by the parent’s care for his…[aha, here and only here, i note, does May use “his or her;” anyway, moving right along…] children. …Obviously a good deal of this kind of power is necessary in relations with friends and loved ones. It is the power that is given by one’s care for the other…At its best, teaching is a good example.

Statesmanship [i’d say “leadership,” here] again at its best, also shows an element of nutrient power….Nutrient power comes out of a concern for the welfare of the group for which the [leader] carries responsibility. It is the constructive aspect of political and diplomatic power.

E. Integrative. The fifth kind of power is -with- the other person. My power then -abets- my neighbor’s power.

…I was tempted to call this kind of power “cooperative,” but I realized it too often begins with the “victim” having to be co-opted into the co-operation. Our narcissism is forever crying out against the wounds of those who would criticize us or point out our weak spots. We forget that the critic may be doing us a considerable favor. Certainly criticisms are often painful, and one has to brace one’s self in the face of them. We can slide back into manipulative power (by forcefully silencing the critic) or competitive power (by making the critic look silly). Or we can even protect our thin skins by use of nutrient power (patronizing the critic by implying he is confused and needs our care). But if we do regress in these ways, we are losing an oppprtunity for new truth that the questioner, hostile or friendly as the case may be, may well be giving us…

Integrative power, as I have said, can lead to growth by Hegel’s dialectic process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. All growth, even that of molecular structures, proceeds in this way: there is one body, then there is its anti-body, and growth proceeds by the attraction or repulsion of these into a new body.

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., illustrates integrative power in his description of the effect of nonviolence on his opponents. He states that his method “has a way of disarming the opponent. It exposes his moral defenses. It weakens his morale and at the same time works on his conscience. He just doesn’t know how to handle it.”

No one can deny that King is describing a kind of power. It depends for its success not only on the courage of the nonviolent ones, but also on the moral development and awareness of the persons who are the recipients of the nonviolent power…

Nonviolent power depends on memory, which in turn depends on the moral development of the persons against whom this kind of power is directed. The opponent has to live with himself, and Gandhi and King put him in the position of having to remember that he has injured them. …Man is the curious being who is afflicted by memory. If he cannot integrate his memories into his self-image, he must pay for his behavior by neurosis or psychosis; and he tries, generally in vain, to shake himself free of the tormenting memories.

[My note: and i see that working on the collective as well as the individual level. I suspect May does as well].

…first…nonviolence does not involve any blocking off of awareness. Second, it does not involve the renouncing of responsibility. Third, its purpose is not to gain something for the individual himself but for his community…

When it is authentic, nonviolence has a religious dimension, since by its very nature it transcends the human forms of power. It seems to be the fact, however, that for every authentic form of nonviolent power there are dozens of unauthentic attempts to claim the role.”

[…and now, the punchline:]

“These five different kinds of power are obviously all present in the same person at different times….The goal of human development is to learn to use these different kinds of power in ways adequate to the given situation.”

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"Not this, not this"

From the comments in the previous post, this, from little light, struck me, in the good way i mean, hello:

" ...for people to whom categories and sharp lines form important foundations, things that look to disrupt those foundations, like people who're not-this-not-this, are unsettling the way a lot of people react to a spider--they can't put their finger on it, there's just an uncomfortableness, a creepy-ness, a pit of disgust in the stomach. They can't explain it and it's not rational, but they feel unsettled, they feel like just having to look at it is like the trees and rocks shouting at them or two moons rising at night--like the whole world is suddenly, nauseatingly, a little off-center. And that's scary. So's the self-examination it implies as necessary."


me, i keep thinking of, when I was a kid:

I used to love to stay at my grandparents' in Sun City, a retirement community. i loved and fastened on really small shit, the way kids do: the library, the poster my grandma had of various foods and their calories count, my grandpa's electronic chess set, the five minutes before closing time at the public pool. my grandma's lingerie and makeup drawers.

so, but, over their bed, they had a fluorescent light that had two pull-cords. you could pull either one to turn it on, or turn it off again.

but if you pulled them both together, if you did it just right, it would produce a strange flickering greyish light. the suspension of that in-between place fascinated me, the improbability of it. what else was possible if you knew how to pull the right switch at the right time?

like that.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Well, we have an update

on this situation. Guess Who has finally seen fit to weigh in.

I stopped reading this thread when it turned, for no apparent reason, into a referendum on Sheila Jeffreys’ views on transgenderism, which do not interest me. Since then, it has been suggested that my failure to have commented on this “trannies: good or bad?” issue implies my tacit agreement with one faction over another.

Incorrect. It merely implies my lack of interest in a clump of commenters telling each other to fuck off. Not that you should stop or anything. But I gotta be in the mood.

My views on gender, inclusive of the trans-, cis-, or whathaveyou- varieties, are as follows.

Gender will not survive the destruction of patriarchy.

OK, carry on.


"Since then, it has been suggested that my failure to have commented on this 'homos: good or bad?' issue implies my tacit agreement with one faction over another.


"Since then, it has been suggested that my failure to have commented on this 'colored folk:' good or bad?” issue implies my tacit agreement with one faction over another.


"Since then, it has been suggested that my failure to have commented on this 'chicks: good or bad?' issue implies my tacit agreement with one faction over another.






Thanks for playing.

Are we quite finished, here?

These people are.

Gender will not survive the destruction of patriarchy.

Well, along with blowjobs, hetsex, orgasms, dressing up, any mention of any sort of problem with wealth inequity, any mention of goodwill toward any other individual human being, and any number of other things that don't involve mocking other women and stuffing your gob at a four-star restaurant, i guess that's one more thing that's gonna have to be put on indefinite hold: transfolk being able to use the bathroom in public. Yeah, I know it sucks, peeps, but you're just gonna have to hold it till after the Revolution, I'm afraid. True Pee Waits!


Brownfemipower, of course, is right:

All I will say is how many times will the feminist blogosphere have to be whipped by filth and hate before it figures out where the filth and hate is coming from?

And to all those sick hate-filled commenters who seem to think they have “control” over what feminism is–on behalf of all the WOMEN who have been denied their femininity and their humanity by “feminists”– I send you a nice pretty middle finger and a hearty fuck you.

please go over and read the comments thread for that one as well.

Yeah; I wish to christ i could swap IBTP's reader & link numbers for bfp's. and then some. You want feminist? You want radical-revolutionary? You want serious? that's where it's at.

on further edit: and, of course, at Black Amazon's. Run, don't walk.

and the people that you meet wanna open you up like Christmas

Happy, ah, Boxing Day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's the most...wonderful time...of the year...

Yes, that's right, kids!

National Drunk Blogging Day is almost upon us!

Do not fret over the War On National Drunk Blogging Day people, the ones who would like to appropriate it for their own sinister purposes, like Regional Monged on Bongs Blogging Day, or Neighborhood Fire Up the Crack Pipe and Laugh Till Dawn Week. There is only one true National Drunk Blogging Day, and that is...uh...this one. Yes. December 29. Ho, ho, ho.

Oh, yes: Merry That Other Holiday, and all the other ones, too. and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A little Christmas charity

Since writing this post some days ago about Spinning Liz, aka the former grannyvibe, I have come to rethink my position on health insurance rather dramatically. Well, no, specifically since reading John Derbyshire on the subject. As noted by the fine J. Swift, he did say, did Derbyshire,

"Quality health care for all is not possible."

Nor, I now realize, should it be. Particularly for "male homosexuals" or illegal immigrants. (especially since Mr. Derbyshire, once technically illegal in this great country himself, no longer numbers himself among them).

So it is with some bewilderment and disappointment that I read, again via the fine Mr. Swift, that Mr. Derbyshire would appear to be changing his tune somewhat:

My health insurer has just notified me, in a brief form letter, that my monthly premiums are to rise from $472.33 to $857.00 on January 1st. That's an increase of 81 percent. ***E*I*G*H*T*Y*-*O*N*E* *P*E*R*C*E*N*T*** Can they do that? I called them. They sound pretty confident they can. Ye gods!

...Anyone who says right now that our entire health-care financing system is nuts to the fourth power, won't be getting any argument from me.

But, Mr. Swift figures that the man is suffering horribly from sticker shock and thus deserves our compassion. Even, dare we say, perhaps, some charity?

Personally, I'm afraid I can't spare any funds for Mr. Derbyshire this season, as I need to spend them all on, well, Me. but, I have some leftover big wheels of cheese. I could send them his way (postage due), if he doesn't think the cholesterol might raise his premiums further. I suppose he could always just look at them; they send the message,

Dear John, even though you may be feeling down and out and possibly dying with no way to pay for the treatment one fine day, here is a reminder that you are still a Big Wheel.

and that will make him feel better about his status as an Alpha Critter; and really, what else matters?

i have fallen in love

with someone else's new kittens.

Kim, you don't mind if i come over to steal them, right?


dead of Teh Kyootness

Saturday, December 23, 2006

29th Carnival of Feminists is up the imponderabilia of actual life. It's a good 'un.

btw, anyone else on blogger seeing this "we're out of beta" business? What does this mean? Like, "we're out of soup?" No beta for you? I mean i was already not getting beta, what? egh, whatever. &#^$?! blogger

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tales of the corporate dystopia/signs that the end is nigh, first in a possibly continuing series

...then again, i'm not sure what could top this. Via Ilyka Damen, Sheila of The Sheila Variations, who is braver or more unfortunate than i and thus has been to Times Square more recently than I've dared/had to, has made a Sighting.

There is a new monstrosity in the middle of Times Square right next to the Virgin Megastore. I had strolled by there on my way to the Actors Equity office a couple of times and wondered what the hell it was ... but frankly, it terrified me too much to investigate. The entrance is enormous. Blinding white tiles confront you from within, and 2 escalators going up. Into nothingness. That is all one sees. However, happy-crappy sing-song Barney-shit music emanates onto the sidewalk, and compels one to see what the hell is going on in there.

...Maybe on my 2nd trip past ... I realized that it was a BATHROOM version of the Virgin Megastore. Now tourists do not have to struggle to find a place to pee and poop in their meanderings through Times Square. They do not have to queue up in line in the two Starbucks in that area. Now there is an entire STOREFRONT devoted to bathrooms. This is a good idea. I get that. But what's with the happy-crappy music (literally) and the baggy pants brigade with the bear claws? And ... where do the escalators go? What is up there??

I decided to investigate...

There's a small blue-carpeted corridor (and everything is very controlled - there are barriers to keep the crowds in line) and then you emerge into a space that defies description. It is part playroom, part disco club, part bed and breakfast, part TV studio at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and part FREAKFEST. There is an enormous open space over to the left that you cannot get to unless you want to leave the line. (And why would you want to leave the line? Don't you just want to poop, pee, and get the hell out?) But no, many people had left the line. Perhaps they were waiting for their slower-defecating friends. Who knows. Everywhere you look is blue carpet. And also Charmin signs. Big plushy white couches line the walls. There is a fake fireplace (I am not kidding). There are also TV screens everywhere, and huge video monitors and ... I honestly wondered if I dreamed this part of it ... but I did not. Playing over and over and over again is a video - with happy smiling dancers, a multicultural mecca of talent, against a blinding white screen - and music blares from speakers - as the "dancers" do their thing, lip synching to a song about toilet paper. I'm not kidding. At one point, all of the dancers line up like the family Von Trapp in "So Long Farewell" ... and they sing, full on, face front, "We're singing in two-ply harmony!"

Watching that (or, rather, being unwillingly subjected to that) I suddenly despised the entire human race.

...Over to my right was the REAL terror. A huge tiled open space - with 3 walls - lined with bright white doors. These were the bathrooms. No lines of stalls like in Port Authority - no. We each will get our own room. Now - this is actually smart - because a public bathroom in that locale would get trashed within 5 minutes of regular use. Just because 500 people peeing and pooping in the same area is gonna get nuts without some serious monitoring. So here is how the Charmin Wackos handle it. They have a staff - who all stand in the middle of this tiled space. They are all wearing latex gloves, and they are all incredibly cheery. Like Mickey Mouse Club cheery. And the line slowly moves forward - and people come out of the bathrooms - and people go in ... but here's the worst part. Whenever anyone emerges from the bathroom - all of the staff goes nuts. Cheering, shouting, a cacophony of voices, "WHOOOOO!" So you, who have just pooped, have to stroll through that congratulatory mayhem, just trying to move on to make your matinee. I gotta give it to that staff. They were completely enthusiastic. But there was something so unbelievably fucked up about the entire thing. Oh - and each bathroom is "cleaned" after each patron. One person comes out of the bathroom and is greeted with cheers of congratulations from the Charmins staff. (And some of the people in line got into it and cheered as well. There was a group dynamic going on that was SO not what my bathroom-self needed. I go to the bathroom and it's a private affair. I don't need you to CHEER when I am successful in this particular venture.


You know how, in the Eternal Subject Debates, there had been some argument about whether sex work is automatically, inherently, always more degrading than any other line of work?

Although I am not one of those who finds her calling to be working erotically with/for men (and yes, there are those who do), and tho' i recognize how degrading something that intimate would be if you -didn't- want to do it...

I think I can safely say that given a choice between giving handjobs and working as a smiley insane Disney cheerleader for tourists in a corporate Ode to Poop, particularly in those conditions (ZOMG that video looping ALL DAY LONG), depending on the working conditions and pay rate and control over clientele and setting, there'd just be no contest at all. Handjobs win hands down.


as Sheila noted on her blog, in the comments,

I honestly don't know if it will last or not - It's obvious that such a structure is needed, it definitely is needed - because the situation in Times Square forever has been brutal if you really needed to go. There are NO public toilets.

well, yah; but somehow this, well, this; this...

it's like someone Up There went, hahaha! you want toilets, Plebian Rabble? we'll GIVE you toilets! muhahahahaha!

...the goal being to make people take one look and go,

you're right, o great Owners, what was i thinking; clearly, i was wrong to think i was entitled to void my bowels without first paying for an overpriced cappucino or something like that. There is no such thing as a free lunch! There is no such thing as a free crap! There is no such thing as society! Viva the brave new world of mega-corporate capitalism! VIVA!!

Meme, meme, meme!

Tagged again, this time by Alon, and one I haven't done before (I think). The gist:

list five things about myself that most people don’t know, of which one isn’t true.

Ah. Erm. Uh. Okay.

1. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a paleontologist...for, like, about five minutes. (we had had a field trip that i enjoyed, i guess). It was a change from "fairy princess" and "ballerina," I suppose.

2. I used to figure skate, and even entered a regional competition once. (I came in dead last).

3. My middle name is "Elena."

4. I dislike ketchup to the point of loathing.

5. I own a pair of PVC thigh high fetish boots, but rarely wear them, alas.

(Are people supposed to guess which one is untrue?)

I tag...hmm.

kh, who really needs to get a damn blog of her own but can do this meme right here in the meantime; sbmontana; Aunt B.; everyone who's posted in the last three comment threads; and anyone else who has a mind to.

Still standing

My neighbor, that is.

I passed him in his usual spot in front of his building yesterday afternoon. The usual opener:

Him: "Hello, how are you?"

Me: "Good, and you?"

Usually at this juncture his response is "Not too bad," and some conversation about the weather or something ensues.

This time: "I've been better."

I could already tell from his voice and body language that something was a bit off this time. Still, I wasn't prepared for what he said next:

"My brother passed away this morning."

Apparently D (the guy I talk to, who stands) had gone out for a bit that morning, for coffee or one of his usual routines; came back forty-five minutes later to find his brother laid out flat on on the bathroom floor.

"I called 911, but there was nothing they could do. What can you do?"

He'd fallen, I take it. The way people do, especially once they reach a certain age. And I guess hit his head or something. And that was it.

8:30 that morning, i guess is when the coroner made his pronouncement. By 3:30 or so at the latest, they've all long gone, the ambulance, the coroner, the people with their red and yellow tape. Funeral arrangements are to come, i suppose. And meanwhile, here's D, back out standing in his usual post in front of his building. Because,

"What can you do?"

I don't know either, really.

Another one from the projection files:

In short, trans are nutjobs. The bathroom is about the last place I want to be alone with a male nutjob. These unfortunate, but seriously disturbed individuals belong on the 5th floor in a straight jacket. Not in a women’s bathroom.


Source: three guesses. I'm not gonna link to that snake pit again, but you can find it, if you haven't figured it out already, via Kim, or antiprincess, or Lucy, or Andrea.

p.s. Confidential to Guess Who: No, you creep, since you were wondering: that's not why I hate you.

Keep wondering.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I just hope this doesn't cause some sort of snag in the space-time continuum or something

...bring about meteor crashes, whatever it is that screwing around with chain letter formulae and so forth is supposed to do.

anyway i've been tagged again for a meme i already did once--by acumen, and by Adorable Girlfriend, and by Irrational Point.

Since it's an easy meme--the turn to page 123 of the nearest book, scroll down to the fifth sentence, next three sentences--and since i am too lazy and preoccupied at the moment to write out any of the more substantial posts i have gestating, i'ma do it again.

I decided that weekend that I was going to work in Stamford, save money, and go to Mexico. I could do that, I thought, by conserving on food, which would be no big thing since I couldn't cook in my room anyway. I found a supermarket and bought five cans of Mooseabec sardines, a loaf of bread, and five cans of Campbell's pepperpot soup, my alltime favorite.

--Audre Lorde, "Zami: A New Spelling of my Name"

I tag whomever the spirit so moves

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sorority Girls from HELL

found via fastlad; thanks, that one feels oddly appropriate today somehow...

Pow! Freeoooooo! Pop pop pop!

After having played Wii at a friend's the other day, I think it is safe to say that i am officially UnHip. if not actually Old. I thought it was cool but vaguely alarming, in its high-tech...high techiness.
Video games that are not only 3-D but you move your whole body to play! Can the Matrix be far behind?

anyway, this is more my speed, with arcade games (yes, ARCADE, remember those?) Little blobs shooting other little blobs. Gi'me that Old Time Video Religion, it's good enough for meeee...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oh, well, now that you put it -that- way

Via Sadly No!

Mark Noonan explains why the War on Christmas is so vital:

Why should I be concerned with this? What business is it of mine, after all, what people and merchants choose to do over the holiday season? Well, I'm concerned with it because the war against Christmas isn't about whether or not we should say "Merry Christmas", nor is it really about whether or not we'll have a Nativity scene at city hall - no, the war against Christmas is the frontal assault against the content of Christmas and, in a larger sphere, the assault against the content of all transcendent things.

...The reason we Christians must reclaim Christmas and restore its Christian content is that by so doing we are striking a blow against all those forces who want to mold humanity into a shapeless morass of moral equivilancy. This Christmas seaon, if you are Christian, be sure to say "Merry Christmas" as often as possible - but also be as overtly religious about Christmas as you can. Talk about Christ and His Incarnation and what it means to you - in a gentle, loving spirit, get into the face of the secularists and don't let them forget that this our holiday, and they are participating in it because they love what we have, not because they have a right to use it any way they like. And don't be afraid of offending Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc - people who genuinely follow these faiths cannot possibly be offended by overt manifestations of our faith. People who assert to be of some particular faith who claim to be offended by a Christian Christmas are, well, trying to put one over on you.

Gosh darn it, he is so right. When I said I was offended by you "getting into my face" and droning, unasked, with just a hint of spittle, about the True Meaning Of Christian Christmas, Chris Christianson, what I really meant was "if you keep talking like that, I fear that you will crush Our sinister plan to crush you and the rest of humanity into a shapeless morass of moral equivalency! Curses! Quickly, I must silence this brave yet simple Christian-type Christian, before he can speak of more...Christian...things."

just like when I said, "Happy Holidays!" I really meant, "bow before Our sinister plan to crush you and the rest of humanity into a shapeless morass of moral equivalency! Muhahahahahha!"

and, when that overworked cashier/waitperson/sales rep said, "Have a Nice Day!" with that toothy grin, what sie really meant was "Fuck you, asshole!"

oh wait, that's probably true, actually.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Search string of the day:

"piny's bear."

Piny? Do you have a bear?

I mean, I don't mean to pry, just sounds so cool.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Quote of the day, 12/15/06

"We are indeed a house divided. But the division between race and race, class and class, will not be dissolved by massive infusions of brotherly sentiment. The division is not the result of bad sentiment and therefore will not be healed by rhetoric. Rather the division and the bad sentiments are both reflections of vast and growing inequalities in our socioeconomic system--inequalities of wealth, of status, of education, of access to political power. Talk of brotherhood and of "tolerance" (are we merely to "tolerate" one another?) might once have had a cooling effect, but increasingly it grates on the nerves. It evokes contempt not because the values of brotherhood are wrong--they are more important now than ever--but because it just does not correspond to the reality we see around us. And such talk does nothing to eliminate the inequalities that breed resentment and deep discontent.

...It is institutions--social, political and economic institutions--which are the ultimate molders of collective sentiments. Let these institutions be reconstructed today, and let the ineluctable gradualism of history govern the formation of a new psychology."

--Bayard Rustin, "Time on Two Crosses"

Without comment

(much, because whatever i start to say turns into a lot of swearing, for several reasons)

this post by the former grannyvibe. vibrating, vibrant.

My diagnosis at the underfunded overcrowded public charity Hospital for the Indigent Damned was delivered to me by a 12-year-old rotating resident whom I never saw before or since. And even though I have an extremely aggressive stage-IV cancer, it was another six weeks before my treatment began.

According to a new study being presented this week at the American Society of Hematology convention, "Patients from deprived areas had a higher relative risk to die compared to patients from affluent areas...The existing deprivation gap in relative survival for both men and women confirms that cancer survival depends on socio-economic background and is inequitable." Survival: it's all about the money. I bet fame doesn't hurt either.

...Cancer survival depends on socio-economic background and is inequitable." And inequitabilty makes me bitter. Once upon a time, I had health insurance. Until I turned 50 and the premium outstripped my income. But it was a lousy limited policy, and even if I had been able to keep it, this cancer would have bankrupted me.

So, dear readers, let's review what we've learned today: The existing deprivation gap in relative survival for both men and women confirms that cancer survival depends on socio-economic background and is inequitable. I just want you all to read those words one more time. Especially the word inequitable. This means that some lives are valued more highly, and are more worth saving than others.

Anyone want to join me for a pint of bitters?

On edit: Her son still has a paypal button up, although she herself doesn't seem to.

Where to donate to grannyvibe

Thursday, December 14, 2006


watching NY1; brief blurb on the passing of the NJ gay civil unions bill (huzzah). quick, lovely shot of a young man on the court steps not just kissing his beloved but swinging and dipping him over, foot extended, a la sailors returning from the War.


So I fell for a spam scam, kind of.

Listen, tell you what: if you have a PayPal account? and you get a -very- authentic looking email that looks almost exactly like the real deal? telling you your account (email address intact and reposted) has been charged for something like oh an iPod to someone whose address is listed, via eSales? and you click on the "dispute this transaction" and it takes you to a site that looks just about exactly like the -real- PayPal page? asking you to reconfirm your information?

...yeah. Well, one, if you keep trying to fill out the automatic form and yer browser keeps going, "Computer says no," take that as a sign, and stop trying.

two, if the email went to your junk box, that was also a sign, yes, your first instinct was correct.

three, you may want to take a few deep breaths or at least wait for the maddeningly slow PayPal phone help center to pick up before calling to cancel your credit card.

oh well.

no real harm done.


Tag, I are It, Again

sez sunrunner. So, okay!

This is the meme:

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people

So, the book nearest me...uh, I guess this one. Harold Bloom, "Shakespeare, the invention of the human." great, another one i haven't read at all. okay: o, p. 123 starts with quotage from "Love's Labor Lost:"

The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents
Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces...

...dude. Is he talking about who I think he's talking about? "king of codpieces!"

chills! down the spine!

anyway. I tag, uh, alphabitch, bimbo, and Quinn the Brain.

And as long as we're on the general subject:


I am sorry to have to say this, but. Little Britain. You jumped the shark. In several ways, not least, yep, racist.

Season One, I thought was mostly hilarious. Loved Vicki Pollard. Loved poor enabling Lou and selfish Andy. Loved the absurdity of the ever-shrinking soap actor-whosis you were making fun of. Loved the sheer randomness of Ray McCooney, and a number of the one-offs. Loved Daffyd, and Emily Howard. The first six or eight times, at least. Thought Marjorie Dawes was brilliantly awful, and had a great payoff at the end of the series--I honestly wasn't expecting to see her character return. And I mean, "anti-minstrel discrimination"--as in, they were meant to be actual fulltime minstrels, gloves and all, a la Shakes the Clown--that was actually kind of clever. I thought.

Season Two, you were already getting a bit stale and, if not actual shark-jumping, certainly you were playing fin hopscotch--

The Mr. T lookalike thing--well, y'know, blackface at all? Really kind of dodgy? But I suppose in and of itself, assuming (big assumption) that in some world, dressing up as Mr. T. is no more offensive than dressing up as an unsuccessful transvestite or an eccentric bucktoothed-and-glasses'd Scottish inkeeper--or any white celebrity--then i suppose that sketch was relatively innocuous, of itself. if not terribly, you know, funny. Sadly, that was actually true of a lot of Season Two. And yeah, that "exchange preacher" business really raised my eyebrows. "Al Jackson" the funny hallelujah blackface preacher in the stodgy British church. Is there some particular reason he needed to be black, besides clearly you just -really really- wanted to play with the makeup? Oh! I get it! Al Jackson! Haha! That's so--oh wait, actually, that's really lame.

but so then, now, I rented Season Three.

Glad I didn't buy this one. "Ting Tong." for fuck's sake.

Pretty much I agree with this take.

However, the moment Ting Tong, the mail-order Thai bride played by Matt Lucas, appears on the screen, the pretence to sophistication vanishes. Ting Tong is nothing more than the pathetic flogging of another crass racist stereotype - yellow makeup, dodgy buck teeth and an inability to pronounce one’s “r”s and you have a winning formula.

And let's not even get into Desiree. Well, yeah, let's, actually. Hey, what's funnier than a man in a nekkid lady fatsuit? Have "her" flighting with a man in a grotesquely-featured frizzy-haired blackface fatsuit. Over a handsome man, well, that's the least of it.

Before, the joke was mostly that "Bubbles" was living for months on end at the spa without paying her formidable bill, and her dodges to get out of it. And her delusions about herself (as with pretty much all the main characters). It did segue into the sheer oh icky icky factor of the fat ugly woman making a pass at the men pretty fast. And, as with so many other running gags on LB, we -know- what the punchline is going to be right from the beginning: the clothes come off, lookit the funny suit, isn't that nasty. Okay. Whatever.

But Jesus Mary, I mean--

You know something? I can't speak for anyone else, but personally? When I say, "this is not funny," in this case at least, I don't mean, "that upset my sense of propriety, I -would- laugh, but my sense of morality says no." [oh yes, I also did love "Computer says No" travel agent].

I mean, "I don't get it."

No, seriously? Why is this funny? What am I missing? Is the joke supposed to be anything other than the sheer grotesqueness of the two "women?" And that a handsome "normal" man is attracted to them?

And yeah, it was sort of the same thing with the granny-chaser in season one, but somehow i never felt quite as much i was laughing at the expense of the actor (played by a real woman of That Age, which did up the "shock" factor a bit) so much as the guy, and the incongruity of his lustiness and her cheerful oblivious. "Such a nice boy. Is he a trained podiatrist?" That shit's kind of funny. I think.

But this--yeah. And the same with "Ting Tong." Another one I don't get: humor is supposed to be based on some sort of recognition, right? That's one way in. But, the only source for that sort of humor seems to be any number of equally unfunny and racist white folks' very lazy 'typing. In other words: if it weren't so familiar to me from any number of other unfunny non-Asian people, the funny accent and so on would just strike me as, "huh?"

Yeah, Daffyd's a flaming stereotype as well, but the joke is that he's a stereotype because he thinks he's -supposed- to be one; the town is filled with perfectly respectable men and women who like "a bit of bum fun."

Or, a commenter at the Pass the Roti thread put it,

Dafydd is gay. Matt Lucas is gay. They’re the same minority. Matt Lucas has said publically that Dafydd is based on his own experiences growing up. The sketch may be one-dimensional, and desperately tired three series in, but it’s not unsympathetic. Questionable judgement, lazy writing, but not actually bigoted.

Mat Lucas is not, you may have noticed, Thai.

Another noted,

I think all the problems with LB come down to the very first thing you mentioned - the trouble it has getting beyond one dimension, at most. There’s no reason why Matt Lucas shouldn’t dress up as a Thai bride, providing there’s actually something funny in the character other than the fact that, hey, it’s Matt Lucas with slitty eyes.

To put it another way, if Ting Tong was actually played by an overweight, buck-toothed Thai actress, would there be anything amusing about those sketches? I doubt it. Whereas Vicky Pollard would still get laughs if she was played by somebody else (which is a good thing for Catherine Tate), because there’s genuinely good lines in those sketches.

I think some would argue that there's no reason why Lucas shouldn't dress up as a Thai bride, given the historical really not funniness of yellowface; but I agree that if he'd actually been, you know, funny--seeing as how, unlike oh say a political campaign, "being funny" is supposed to be the whole point of this show, it would've... helped.

In that vein--you know what I kept waiting for? Some sort of fourth-wall revelation that the character was actually a white British man who was doing this for his own reasons. Yeah, it'd be like every other sketch where that happens--Ann, Lou-- but at least you'd have had to work a bit to come up with an interesting reason why he's doing this.

But no: the joke is that the wily little lotus flower runs the poor zhlub out of his own apartment, by opening up a restaurant in it.

Which is really funny, I suppose, if one is already of the mindset that yep, ain't that the truth: give 'em an inch and...

That's all I can fathom anyway. Because the sheer absurdity of a restaurant in the guy's apartment (having been built apparently in the few hours he's been away)--not really enough to carry it, I'm afraid.

Yeah. Bottom line: for me, it's funniest when:

-it's mocking the actually powerful

-the sheer absurdity carries me away.

This last season, besides the repetition and the ever-increasing reliance on "gag" jokes (streams of vomit, floods of piss), what I noticed was that the punchline seemed more and more to be at the expense of the victim rather than the asshole. Biggest example: the horrible secretary in the university office. First time, it's surprising enough to get a laugh: sweet little lady ends up viciously mocking the student in front of her.

But then, as with all their sketches, it keeps on happening, and you know the punchline (that the woman is a creep, and she's going to say something very mean about the student, who will go from smiling to hurt) from the beginning, so the -real- punchline can only be the insult itself.

And generally, they're not very clever; and I dunno, but somehow, watching someone who's been painted as perfectly decent get mocked for no reason doesn't really crack me up in the same way that does oh say Andy leaping out of his chair and beating the crap out of the yobs who've been mocking him while Lou (of course) chatters on oblivious.

Or Andy pushing the temp nurse to her death over a cliff; because she's clearly horrible, and we feel sort of sympathetic to Andy by now; he's just sort of pure Id, and he misses his Lou.

And there was no real payoff to that one either, the secretary.

It's kind of getting like (cringe) Saturday Night Live, tell you the truth. That is not a compliment, no. To quote one last commenter:

The thing that makes LB potentially offensive is exactly the same thing that stops it bringing anywhere near enough funny - far too often, the sketches are a single idea, played out far too long and far too straight, with no other merits. Poor Dafydd’s been stuck in the exact same sketch for three series now, for goodness sake, over and over again like some nightmarish, PVC-clad version of Groundhog Day.

But hey, I like repetitition myself, sometimes, it's true; and third time's the charm. Per Donna, then:

I'm always curious when someone has the impulse to protect the powerful against the weak.

Or, in this case, spend so much time targetting the weak when they could be targetting the powerful (more often) for far funnier results.

Quote of the day, 12/14/06, the twoth:

I'm always curious when someone has the impulse to protect the powerful against the weak.


Quote of the day, 12/14/06

SUCCUBUS: I suppose you've never met a myth before.

GIRL: (Innocently). No. What can I do for you, myth?

SUCCUBUS: Behold my magnificence, for I am the dreaded Succubus!

GIRL: How can pure evil be embodied by such beauty?

SUCCUBUS: How much easier to lure you into my arms. Come, child.

GIRL: Vile thing, what right have you to demand my death?

SUCCUBUS: (Angrily) Do I not also have the right to life? As you need food and water so I need the pure unsullied blood of virgins.

GIRL: What proof of you of my maidenhead? What if I told you I was the village slut, a repository for every man's seed in Sodom?

SUCCUBUS: I'd say you were a big fat liar. Now get in that cave. I'm freezing my ass off in this draft.

GIRL: I'm afraid to die.

SUCCUBUS: (With great self pity) That's nothing to be afraid of. Think how much crueler my fate, never to die, condemned to immortality. The perennial witness to the eternal passing parade. My cave is quite the lonely one.

GIRL: Forgive me if I don't weep.

SUCCUBUS: A spitfire, eh. But why should you pity me? I'm a goddess. You look around and see the glamorous way I live. My slaves, my riches, my dishware. But try throwing a dinner party for two pinheads and a cyclops. True, I have caskets full of sparkling jewels but where the fuck can I wear them. My life stinks. The only enjoyment I get is a vestal virgin now and then but time goes on and I survive. And how, how you may wonder do I face the prospect of a millenium of time on my hands? What keeps me going is a sense of humor. I giggle, I chuckle, I even guffaw but inside I weep. It's the age old story, laugh, Succubus, laugh.

--Charles Busch, "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quote of the day: 12/13/06

The problem with the FDL* strategy is that they're trying to use establishment tactics to win progressive support and incite progressive passion. You can't do that. You can't make people feel clannish and defensive and small and then hope that they'll band together with people who scare them and start a revolution.


*for example--ed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Quote of the day: 12/12/06

Language is indeed a power, but even if you understand that and have a piece of it, it surely doesn't mean you will wield that power well, or wisely. And though you may be able to find a hidden scroll, that doesn't guarantee you will know how to use the spells therein—and even if you did, if you would find the one you most need.

--The Unapologetic Mexican

Monday, December 11, 2006

Things that make me cheerful, part something or other

This website: Dan-O-Rama productions.

I wanted to post direct links to my favorite bits, with images, but i can't seem to do that, somehow. So instead, an invitation to go there and look around, with a few recommendations:

make sure you mouse over "hits" before clicking "enter."

Go to the Club Room: my personal favorites are Joan Crawford megamix, Blue Moon/Anne Heche, and "I'd rather be burned as a witch."

and i confess that his Ann-Margret homages have me absolutely smitten. They don't make 'em like that anymore...

you kind of really need to see the moving image for the full effect, though

aged well, too, i think.

she kind of -is- the sixties, though, you know? Besides everything else. Pop! Bam! Poooooowwww!!!

I really love the sheer vitality. Besides everything else.

and you know what else i really love about the Dan-O-Rama site? -There's- someone who truly raised obsession to an art form. And it paid off.

anyway, check it out: fun times.

Just chiming in late to say how much I love this

post by Neddie Jingo!

Yeah, it's the same damn fdl tempest, but i really love this because it's applicable in so many situations, really:

Punk is deader than goddamned Vaudeville. Fuckin' get used to it.

The notion that you can shock, vilify, curse, and gob the bourgeois into recognition of their fundamental uselessness has played, kid. We're shocked, vilified, cursed and gobbed every fucking day by the slime oozing out of our TV sets. We're numb. We've been épaté'd so many times by so many lazy goddamned "revolutionaries" that the sight of some self-appointed artist's hairy moon shining out over the waistband of his dropped pleather pants provokes precisely nothing. We've seen the act, chum. It's easy. It's cheap. It's the laziest, crappiest, most slothful kind of self-indulgence a person can grant himself.

You wanna know how to be a fucking revolutionary...?

How about this: The most revolutionary act you can perform in this fell, death-infected year 2006 is to act like a goddamned adult.

To continue your metaphor, Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians played in tune, with precision, and were ashamed -- as adults, professionals, are ashamed -- when a note was clammed, a cue missed, a beat dropped. I once gloried in punk's shambolic sloppiness; but it's become the accepted norm. Now it's just fucking lazy, Bad Musicianship.

...we can do better than that.

He's got a point there, kids.

I have a whole separate, very old rant on how i used to apply that to theatre, at least of the sort i was seeing at the time. Basically just substitute "Artaud" or "Dada" for "punk" and you get the general idea.

but yeah. Here's the deal about "shock," okay:

It only serves as a "wake-up call" for a very brief window. After that, as BNJ! points out, the shocked become numb. It's a natural defense. We wouldn't be able to survive otherwise.

"Shock" for its own sake (well it never is "for its own sake" is it, it's for the self-aggrandizing thrill of the response, pace flashers and obscene phone callers) isn't "radical," and it doesn't "wake people up." Not in a world of South Park, Fox News, Times Square, ultra-violent movies in megaplexes with surround sound, piped-in-music in every public place, the constant stimulating entrancement of the TV and the Internetz (yes, me too, goddamit), the ubiquitous cell phones going off, extreme sports, talk goes on and on.

You know what happens if you blow a trumpet in someone's ear? First they jump. Then they sort of get used to it. Eventually, if you're loud and persistent enough, and assuming they don't just get fed up and clock you, they go deaf.

And so, dear trumpet-blaster, in fact, may you be, and not even know it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Quote of the day, 12/10/06

"It should be noted that after a revolution is over, the 'oppressed' take over and begin acting like the 'oppressors.' Of course by then it is very hard to get them on the phone and money lent for cigarettes and gum during the fighting might as well be forgotten about."


"How wrong Emily Dickinson was! Hope is 'not the thing with feathers.' The thing with feathers has turned out to be my nephew. I must take him to a specialist in Zurich."

--Woody Allen, "Without Feathers"

Once again, Black Amazon is right,

(film at eleven)

in calling out not just the usual suspects but those of us who were willing to soften a bit for what looked like doing the right thing (yeah, i said "thank you," too, like it was gonna register, but i thought, a gesture).

Quoting Usual Suspect:

Well, the root cause really does go back to agenda-setting. People really look up to Fire Dog Lake as a blog where they don't have this hostility to "identity politics", but in fact see the big picture here, and the importance of having the liberal resurgence be about economic progressivism AND foreign policy issues that are based in trying to keep peace AND opposition to oppression by race, sex, and sexual orientation. Markos and the Sensible Liberals out there want to see these goals as somehow opposed, but I think that will are fixing to see that they are intermixed.

And Nancy Pelosi's rise to Speaker is going to be huge for us peddlers in mere identity politics. Sensible Liberals are always seeking what goal they have to compromise on to get another, and while they were debating---do you give in on the war? do you give in on women's rights?---a woman rose to the 3rd most powerful position in the country, and controls the agenda of DC now and guess what? She was against the war from the beginning and a supporter of women's rights. Compromising your principles to get things done turns out to be the exception, not the rule.

And now we're seeing the damage that the widespread tolerance of sexist slurring is going to do to the Democrats because this whole arsenal of attacks against Pelosi will be handed out in the mainstream media that wouldn't be there if sexist language was as shameful as racist language. And it's going to hurt the people who were against the war all along, because she's been there with us. If more people would got on board with this antagonism to sexist language that feminists demonstrate, then we could have had a much better chance of minimizing the damage of these attacks. The reason tensions are high right now is the people who mock the "PC police" were often doing so, like Markos, to make us seem inconsequential so people like him get to set more of the agenda. And in doing so, they shot themselves in the foot. I think the whole cloth liberals who think all these issues are important are seeing this happening, seeing that we were right, and getting pushier because of it.

BA speaking:

First off the ENTIRE thing is constructed on the premise that the severity of the problem is linked to what ladies and gentlemen. POWER

...Number one I am amused by the fact that it's beleieved Nancy Pelosi will change one iota because of these slurs. I am not that big a fan of her but that woman has an iron core . PLUS Who are sensible Liberals? The ones who make deals . or the ones who minimize others by portraying their concerns as trivial or baseless. ( see the links to rummages for cutlass and read the comments)

Then the slider i n the humdinger the one that gets my goat, my ipod nano and my bouncy ball.

if sexist language was as shameful as racist language



It's small I know right. I should let it go . Except NOPE.


I would really really really like people to stop using sneak attacks and sliding in racism vs sexisms while they do their teary eyed utopia dreaming stumpbox speeches...

You know what; so would I. And I apologize for not reading the fine print enough to catch that one.

Racist language and institutionalized racism aren't magically shameful now. They aren't LESS accepted by anyone. Considering these posts did not show up for TRex's lovely opinions on Japan ( what the fuck is it with white folk who go to japan and are shocked it's not America ?) and most responses to it ignore TRex's racism . If I was some equivacating bean counter I'd say the tip on THIS issue is that sexism will get a rise out of folks faster than race.

The folks taht tend to make the huge kerfuflfles about race ARE STILL POC . So when " racism is less accepted" it boilds down to is " all the colored folk won't shut up" , white america didn't magically act right , it didn't kill it dead and jump the hurdle . Non white america jsut became a very powerful voting/economic/might burn shit if ya ain't careful voice.

So when WHITE feminists keep mewing that sexism is still OK while racism isn't, especially in application to the THIRD IN LINE FOR THE PRESIDENCY.

while we still cant get enough colored folk to field a basketball team in senate ...

And may I just interject personally: I am more than a tad skeptical about the idea that simple categorical representation means (much more than) squat all by itself; if it did, Maggie Thatcher and Condi Rice would be just the greatest boons to women and POC ever.

I like Pelosi okay, I guess. As with anyone else, we'll see what she actually does with her upgraded status. But

1) as BA notes, you can't have it both ways. Either representation matters or it doesn't. If it's so all-fired important that the Speaker is a WOMAN y punto, then it bloody well matters how very few POC are in congress; and, corollary, if we ("what do you mean 'we,' white man...") somehow are managing to hurt her position by tossing around sexist slurs, then perhaps "we" also ought to consider how much it's "our" fault that POC have such little representational pull in the Big Time. of course, as BA also notes, Pelosi is a tough cookie and i doubt that a bunch of 'Net jocks spewing shite that was ripp'd straight from the Andrew Dice Clay routines on which these born-again Progressive Warriors were undoubtedly raised is exactly the biggest thing she's going to have to worry about.

2) Personally, I sort of glossed over the rationale that's apparently fuelling this latest spanking of fdl by a lot of people: to wit, "yer making us all look bad." Maybe it's because I'm a cynical little bastard myself and do see the need for realpolitik. Too.

But. It's a bit of a giveaway, framed in such terms, isn't it? "Compromising your principles to get things done," yes indeedy.

Except for, it's not really clear that that's what's happening here, is it, is it.

See, there's a flaw, I think, in the thinking here. The idea behind this seems to be that kos, fdl, etc. are willing to throw "identity politics" under the bus because they calculate that "we" (whaddya mean 'we,' white/straight/cisgendered/ablebodied/middleclass/First World woman?...) are expendable in the ultimate goal to WIN. And that--here's the mistake--they are mistaken in such calculations.

What isn't really examined here is what WINNING means in the damn first place.

Basically, it means "we" get in power. Yes?

So, technically, as long as "we" draw the boundaries around "us" pretty carefully, and then do everything in our power to make sure we win (the election, the Representation, the goodies, the book deals, the ad revenues, the limelight...the POWER, which is of course like everything else a very scarce commodity indeed)--well, in fact we're not being hypocrites at all, are we.

We're being remarkably consistent, in fact.

And so we see that in fact we are rallying here primarily not even so much because of Class Woman but because Pelosi is One Of Us, a much smaller, more select pool of "us" that is; and we protect our own.

Oh, right. Principles. We were talking about that at some point, weren't we.

Lookit. The problem here isn't whether fdl is "punk" and wonkette is a sellout, or punkass blog will be up against the wall whereas kos will be enjoying the fruits of his sellout labor. The problem isn't even "sexism is bad; racism, what racism?" although that's closer to it, and certainly A problem, oh yes it is.

But the main problem here is this:

People forgetting that this isn't a damn football game. It's not about anything so abstract as points or even principles, ultimately: it has very very concrete, tangible results for REAL PEOPLE. Just because those real people may not be "us" at the moment doesn't make the people it DOES affect any less real; nor does it mean that "we" won't be next.

So you see it's not about "compromising your principles to get things done;" it's about, the things "we" want done are not the things YOU want done, because you are not us, and you don't rate. That isn't compromising principles; those ARE the principles.

Which leads us to this question:

How does the apparent widespread if not universal consensus belief that "there's only so much to go around"--only so much ANYTHING, power, resources, love, even bloody atttention--go with what i thought were supposed to be progressive/liberal/small-d-democratic-what-you-will Principle?

Answer: It doesn't.

There is a reason why the pyramid model keeps getting recreated over and over and freaking over again, no matter how bloody low the actual stakes in real world terms; and, more important, why so many people seem to immediately buy in to the idea that they are somehow SPECIAL and CHOSEN (hi, TRex! hi!!) as soon as they reach a certain level of visibility or influence.

It is the same reason why the people who are ideologically more comfortable with the notion of an "elite" always seem to have an edge in this System than the ones who are vaguely, uncomfortably aware that something is wrong with this picture, although they can't quite figure out what.

Republic of Palau at Progressive Gold tags this as a particularly American (U.S.) symptom; since I don't have the same outsider's perspective, I can't say for sure in comparison to say anywhere else. I suspect it's not that simple; it never is.

What I do know, though, is that, yes;

there is this idea of the American Dream. Anyone can make it if sie just works hard enough. There's enough for everyone. This land is made for you and me.

Simultaneously: and yet, there is an Elect; there is Manifest Destiny; and that, too, is the American Dream.

We're Number One.

We HAVE to be Number One; or else we are An Loser.

but anyone can Make It if sie really tries!


We're ALL Number One; except some of us. Well no actually most of us. didn't...try...hard enough,...aren't good enough...oh, right, that's what They think, isn't it. Well, we aren't Them! We're, um. That is, um. Let's, uh, well...prum prum prum...hey, look! Over there! Bad People!

lather, rinse, refuckingpeat.

Oh yeah. We are all completely sane.

Meanwhile, as Progressive Gold also notes, the what one would think is a very basic principle of telling the insane overgrown child, look, finally, just plain NO, well, that principle seems to have gone by the wayside, on account of, what, he might wish us all out to the cornfield? Something:

For every minute Bush tries to deny the inevitable, for every moment the people around Bush pander to his madness, the more they stand frozen like rabbits in the headlights as sycophantic impotence personified, more people die for no good reason, civilians and troops alike.

The cowardly Democrats don't have the guts to do a damned thing either (except for Cynthia McKinney, whose parting shot to Congress was an impeachment bill). And, in the middle of a constitutional crisis the likes of which the US has never seen, what is the Democrat political hopeful doing? Denouncing the regime and calling for immediate change?

Hell, no. Hillary Marie Antoinette bloody Clinton, unbelievably, is out campaigning against video game violence with Turncoat Joe bloody Leiberman. Fantastic.

Quick, I know! Let's all denounce her and then...not actually do anything substantially different! Okay! Ready set GO!!

Because, getting back to the main point, BA's point, I'll tell you what: fuck YEAH there's a principle here.

It's this: don't fuck people over.

Don't piss on peoples' heads and try to spin it as, well, no, not even trickle down, that's what THEY do, it's share and share alike, Ernie!


You are a blogger. You post something that a bunch of people find offensive. They tell you, in clear, first reasoned and then impassioned terms, like the sane, intelligent people that they are.

If you respond to them with a bunch of, well let's just take BA's example, as it couldn't be more explicit, even though yes it IS an example of a larger problem, believe it or not, exciting as the Internets Dwama aspect always is:

(quoting Usual Suspect):

Third, "burqua-gate" is basically being conducted by two white women who've appointed themselves the spokesmen on behalf of Women Of Color

So what is happening ladies and gentlemen is taht these " progressive liberals" will spend more time deconstructing and trying to teach a racebaiting,misogynist that engaging "two women".

They would spend more time scouring for ways to instruct and rebuke a user of black face , than IN ANY FUCKING MEASURABLE way dealing with the honest efforts of peopel to communicate with them.


To do so they have to basically try and ERASE a documented LITANY of responses that came mostly not form teh two white women. But from the brown folks.


I am not good enough to talk to ( at least not ina ny meaning ful way, without paassive aggressive stabs) but need a emblem to hold up to prove y ou have moral highground .

Let's slow down and replay this bit:

dealing with the honest efforts of peopel to communicate with them.

And that right there, luddites and germs, would be yer principle, the one you keep losing sight of. You. They. "We." Whichever. Pronouns're a bitch, ain't they?

"We have met the enemy, and they is us."

Because the fact of the matter is, "we," and yes take that any way you damn like, don't have much "real world" power in the senses we like to think of as real world power, most of us. Hillary Clinton is probably not anxiously scouring the blogosphere for what we think of her; and if she is, or rather one of her aides is, well shit, we've seen how cherry-picking works; we saw its results at the last luncheon with her husband.

Here's where we, you, DO have real-world power: by your everyday actions, and yes that includes online, there are actual people at the other end too, believe it or not.

Recognize the honest effort of people to communicate with you. Respond--not react!--in kind.

THAT would be small-d-democratic. THAT would be progressive.

And, and:

It's not in fact about "speaking truth to power." Power--that kind of power-- doesn't want to listen; that's what MAKES it power.

Speak truth for its own sake: that IS power. That is, a different kind of power. It starts with listening, not just speaking; and being willing to lok to your left, right and down rather than just, eternally upward.

Otherwise it's just, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

And we wouldn't want that, now would we?

Punk, edgy, progressive-type rebels that we all are...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Shakespeare's Sister has unearthed some seriously Tuff D00dz demonstrating their mad fightin' skillz. video at link. (someday, oh yes, i'll learn to post vids directly...)

Friday, December 08, 2006


Today's search string:

"which is more common innie or outie vagina"

One doesn't quite know what to say.

Quote of the day, 12/8/06

SKRIKER: Lily, I'll level with you, ok? You ready for this? I am an ancient fairy. I am hundreds of years old as you people would work it out. I have been around through all the stuff you would call history, that's cavaliers and roundheads, Henry the Eighth, 1066 and before that, back when the Saxons feasted, the Danes invaded, the Celts hunted, you know about any of this stuff? Alfred and the cakes, Arthur and the table, long before that, long before England was an idea, a country of snow and wolves where trees sang and birds talked and people knew we mattered, I don't to be honest remember such a time but I like to think it was so, it should have been, I need to think it, don't contradict me please. That's what I am, one of many, not a major spirit but a spirit.

LILY: And why are you here?

SKRIKER: I am here to do good. I am good. You look as if you doubt that.

LILY: No, of course not.

SKRIKER: I am a good fairy.

LILY: You do good magic?

SKRIKER: That's exactly what I do.

LILY: And you'll do it for me?

SKRIKER: ...You're the one I've chosen out of everyone in the world.

LILY: Why?

SKRIKER: Because you're beautiful and good. Don't you think you are? Yes everyone sometimes thinks they're beautiful and good and deserve better than this and so they do. Are you telling me I made a mistake? I'd be sorry to think I'd made a mistake.

LILY: No. No I'm glad.

SKRIKER: And you accept?

LILY: What?

SKRIKER: Accept my offer. Accept my help.

LILY: Yes. I think--what offer?

SKRIKER: My help.

LILY: Do I have to do something?

SKRIKER: Just accept my help, sweetheart.


LILY: No, I...It's very kind of you but...I don't like to say no but...

SKRIKER: You might as well say yes. You can't get rid of me.


SKRIKER: Who the fuck do you think you are?


Whatever you say.



Tell me how the TV works and I'll trade.

LILY: I don't know how the TV works.

SKRIKER: Would you like a ring that when you look at the stone you can tell if your loved one's been faithful?

LILY: I don't have a loved one.

SKRIKER: I can fix that, no problem. Just tell me how the TV--

LILY: I don't know how the TV works.

Muscular Christianity on 'roids

(image ganked from Jesus' General)

Via feministe:


Brad Stine runs onstage in ripped blue jeans, his shirt untucked, his long hair shaggy. He's a stand-up comic by trade, but he's here today as an evangelist, on a mission to build up a new Christian man — one profanity at a time. "It's the wuss-ification of America that's getting us!" screeches Stine, 46.

A moment later he adds a fervent: "Thank you, Lord, for our testosterone!"

...Hold hands with strangers? Sing love songs to Jesus? No wonder pews across America hold far more women than men, Stine says. Factor in the pressure to be a "Christian nice guy" — no cussing, no confrontation, in tune with the wife's emotions — and it's amazing men keep the faith at all.

"We know men are uncomfortable in church," says the Rev. Kraig Wall, 52, who pastors a small church in Franklin, Tenn. — and is at GodMen to research ways to reach the husbands of his congregation. His conclusion: "The syrup and the sticky stuff is holding us down."

While there may be something new under the sun, this ain't it. We've seen this shit before. No, I don't just mean the Promise Keepers. I mean go back a hundred years or more: "muscular christianity."

The phrase "muscular Christianity" probably first appeared in an 1857 English review of Charles Kingsley's novel Two Years Ago (1857). One year later, the same phrase was used to describe Tom Brown's School Days, an 1856 novel about life at Rugby by Kingsley's friend, fellow Englishman Thomas Hughes. Soon the press in general was calling both writers muscular Christians and also applying that label to the genre they inspired: adventure novels replete with high principles and manly Christian heroes.

Hughes and Kingsley were not only novelists; they were also social critics. In their view, asceticism and effeminacy had gravely weakened the Anglican Church. To make that church a suitable handmaiden for British imperialism, Hughes and Kingsley sought to equip it with rugged and manly qualities. They also exported their campaign for more health and manliness in religion to antebellum America, where their ideas failed to catch on immediately due to factors such as Protestant opposition to sports and the popularity of feminine iconography within the mainline Protestant churches.

Opposition to muscular Christianity in America never completely disappeared. But it did weaken in the aftermath of the Civil War, when changes in American society placed health and manliness uppermost in the minds of many male white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. These men, who included Social Gospel leaders such as Josiah Strong and politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt, viewed factors such as urbanization, sedentary office jobs, and non-Protestant immigration as threats not only to their health and manhood but also to their privileged social standing. To maintain that standing, they urged "old stock" Americans to revitalize themselves by embracing a "strenuous life" replete with athleticism and aggressive male behavior. They also called loudly upon their churches to abandon the supposedly enervating tenets of "feminized" Protestantism.

As evidence that there existed a "woman peril" in American Protestant churches, critics such as the pioneer psychologist G. Stanley Hall pointed to the imbalance of women to men in the pews. They also contended that women's influence in church had led to an overabundance of sentimental hymns, effeminate clergymen and sickly-sweet images of Jesus. These things were repellant to "real men" and boys, averred critics, who argued that males would avoid church until "feminized" Protestantism gave way to muscular Christianity, a strenuous religion for the strenuous life.

An interesting take on the phenomenon here:

Muscular Christianity was founded upon a radical, as well as theological, distinction between supposedly masculine and feminine values. Becaue of this, it was possible for fundamentalists opposed to modernity to transfer what they disliked about modernity to the “feminine” category. Thus women became bearers of all that was hated about the modern world while men were invested with everything good and positive.

A significant impetus behind the assault on women and modernity was the feeling that women had encroached upon traditional male spheres like the workplace and colleges. Furthermore, women’s leadership in the churches had harmed Christianity by creating an effeminate clergy and a weak sense of self. All of this was associated with liberalism, feminism, women, and modernity.

Although examples of something like muscular Christianity can be found in ancient Christianity and in Europe, it is primarily an American phenomenon and an American fundamentalist reaction against the modern era of equality and liberty. Muscular Christianity pushes masculinity in part by pushing traditional hierarchies and traditional structures of authority — structures which, naturally, are run and controlled by men. Fighting against the “feminization” of church or society is, thus, a fight against the loss of traditional privileges and power.

Hugo Schwyzer
notes the heavy overlap of the neo-testosteristians with the MRA dudes:

For one thing, both Godmen and MRAs engage in the nifty trick of framing themselves as "oppressed victims". Since at least the 1970s, both MRAs and white conservative Christians -- traditionally the greatest agents of injustice -- have tried to steal the mantle of "victimhood" from the genuinely oppressed. In this perverse reframing, gays and lesbians who want marriage equality become the powerful forces of evil, imposing their will on a simple, God-fearing, and ultimately powerless majority.

and also observes:

I've never been to a "Godmen" service. But I've been to a few Promisekeepers events, and I've also got a strong grounding in secular feminism.... I've heard lots of talk about pornography in both camps. And while the hostility to porn is often nearly identical in intensity, what undergirds that dislike of commercial sex is fundamentally different.

While the feminist anti-porn movement is concerned with the impact porn has on both women and men, groups like the Godmen only pay lip service to concepts like "exploitation" and "dehumanization." What conservative Christian men's groups find so troubling is that an addiction to porn and masturbation leaves men feeling weak, powerless, and vulnerable. ...Godmen don't like porn because it is a visceral, shameful reminder of male weakness, one that stands at odds with their self-flattering vision of strong, bold, Christian warriors.

Also, it, along with women, depletes their precious bodily fluids, their...essence.