Sunday, December 25, 2011

the "true" meaning of the holidays

Birthdays are not just days we celebrate the day someone was born, we celebrate their life and what their presence has brought to this world. 
Regardless if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist or something in between or beyond, 
Ignore (for the moment) the fact that this day is 6 months off the supposed date,  
Whether you believe Jesus was the Son of God, a man who lived with some simple yet radical ideas, or just one story in the Hero Myth, 
If you take the message of Jesus’ life and strip it of the artifice and subversion put on by history, societies, and imperfect human beings, 
At its very core, his message has simply been this:  
Love one another.  
Fiercely, tenderly, without hesitation, holding one another in the highest regard. 
It’s that simple:  
Love one another.  
To me, that is worth celebrating, on this day and all other days. Merry Christmas.
-Ashley Krohn, posted to Facebook 12/25/2011 (quoted with permission)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rick Perry is one of those rare individuals who makes me question whether everyone really should be allowed to vote.

I know I've dropped the ball big time lately by pretty much not ever posting, so as a peace offering, I bring you yet another Rick Perry fail:

Quick, how many justices are there on the U.S. Supreme Court?

If you said "nine," congrats. You're officially more qualified to be president than Rick Perry, who thinks there are 8. 
[TW for (ignorant) discussion of religion at that link]

As a fun bonus question for those of you who like a challenge, how do they become justices of the SCOTUS and [extra bonus] why is it done that way?

If you said "they are appointed by the POTUS" and "because that is part of our system of checks and balances between our three branches of government," then congrats. You ALSO have a better grasp on the structure of the U.S. government.

Further, if I asked you to name on of the current justices of the SCOTUS, what name would come to mind?
I'm guessing maybe 80% of you would think of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, as she is the second most recently appointed justice (she took her oath in August of 2009) and her appointment had a lot of controversy around it. Not only can RP NOT remember her name, but he can't remember her name as he's criticizing her.

I'm going to get to my thoughts on the two videos at the link, but first I just wanted to quote Melissa McEwan at Shakesville because I think her response is excellent (as usual):

Dude's a full-tilt wrong machine. 
Josh Voorhees at Slate found a great quote from Anita Perry, the First Lady of Texas, on her husband's gaffe-prone fartbrainery: "I pray for him to have strength and wisdom and for the right words to come out of his mouth and to be patient because we're not on his timetable, we're on God's timetable." 
If I believed in god, I'm pretty sure my estimation at this point would be that god doesn't want Rick Perry to be president.

There was also a great comment left by commenter ethel:
Aaaaaand it's yet another 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court! On this issue, DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, THEY CAN'T DECIDE!
... which made me LOL so hard.

Briefly, my thoughts and reactions on those two videos:

First video:
  • "Activist judges"- UGH this term. It's an oxymoron. Judges and justices are only able to decide on the cases that are brought before them. They can't just go out and start mandating random shit. Also, it is their JOB to decide these cases. They are not being "activists," they're doing their damn jobs. (Something that seems to be a foreign concept to the GOP....) The job of the SCOTUS is to interpret the Constitution and apply it to the cases brought before them. They are pretty limited by the fact that they have to use said Constitution. Just because YOU don't like their decision, that doesn't make it wrong. It just means you don't like it. Don't throw a hissy fit and start calling names. It is unbecoming, Mr. Perry. ALSO, it's pretty telling that RP only attacks Justices Sotomayor and Justice Kagan for being "activist judges" (the two most recently appointed -justices-, both under Obama, and coincidentally also both women) when two Justices are not enough to make an actual decision on anything. Since there are NINE justices, a minimum of five justices must agree on a decision. Even bigger fail, RP. 
  • If you're going to criticize her, at least know her name. It doesn't exactly lend credibility to your accusation when you don't even know who you're talking about. (Not that he had much in the way of credibility, anyway.)

Second video:
  • lack of understanding of the issue of prayer in PUBLIC schools, and lack of understanding of the actual rules in place (that private schools can do that already, duh).
  • "independent school boards, not government": a) they're not independent, DOY. They're under the state government. b) "not government" SCHOOL BOARDS ARE GOVERNMENT. 
  • Washington isn't telling "local" schools they're telling ALL schools, as they have for years, that as a general rule, since there is separation of church and state in this country, and since schools are part of the state, that it is unacceptable to attempt to force religion into the school system and attempt to force it on students. 
  • I'm incredibly reluctant to believe that RP is an authority on "most Americans" in any capacity.
  • "Unelected, unaccountable judges": see above fun bonus question and answer. 
  • I'd also like to point out that school are already failing miserably at actually EDUCATING students. We really don't need to take even more time out of the school day to mandate prayer. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Relationship advice

‎"Hold on to each other, fuck when you can, fight when you have to, and ride it out." 
-Adam Ferrara

Monday, October 31, 2011

Playing God

"The tendency to turn human judgements into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world."

-Georgia Harkness

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poor T-Rex

Here's some LOLZ for the day:

Totally not my own. Stolen from elsewhere. But it made me LOL so hard.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I think one of the worst feelings in the world is caring for someone significantly more than they do you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway." 
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hey, Readers and Friends of South Asian Decent....

There is a guy who was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia. I understand he's a fairly well-known photographer. I also understand that he is of South Asian decent, and therefore his chances of finding a match in the national bone marrow registry (which has 9.5 million records on file) are 1 in 20,000. A bone marrow transplant is the next step for him. His life depends on it, and on finding a match.
So I ask you, from the bottom of my heart, to spread the word, and if you ARE of South Asian decent, please click the link and take a free test by mail. It's SO EASY and you could literally save this man's life.
And I ask everyone to please spread the word.

Cancer is a personal fight for me. Both of my parents are survivors, and my grandfather is currently battling pancreatic cancer. More, my father is a Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor. Leukemia and lymphoma are very closely related.
I've seen what it means to struggle with cancer to and fight every day. It is a horrible disease. This guy has a fighting chance. Please help in any way you can.

Friday, October 7, 2011

On Being Unique

"You know what they call a unicorn without a horn? A freakin horse."

On the Response to Occupy Wall Street and We Are the 99%

 I've officially reached the point where I cannot watch the news anymore. Whenever possible, I try to avoid mainstream media news sources. I find them far too infuriating and too prone to deteriorating my faith in the people running this country and humanity in general. Big claim, I know. But as cynical and jaded as I've been accused of being, I still care and between the douchecanoes running our country and the asshats running the media, I tend to get a bit irritated.

Case in point: the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest and all of its extensions. Other than the all-too-casual coverage of police brutality in almost every city, which is its own beast [SERIOUSLY, WHY ISN'T ANYONE DOING MORE?!] there has been a maddening trend of blaming the protesters for what they're protesting. [I can't even touch the whole "class warfare" thing, as it still incites too much rage and I need to give it its own post.] I give you this little gem from infamously offensive and misguided GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain:
I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these [Occupy Wall Street] demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.  [emphasis mine]
Okay, quick side note: "I don't have the facts to back this up" should just be the official GOP party line. Seriously GOP, just change it. We all already know. At least own it.

As for the quote... SIGH. "I don't have the facts to back this up" coming out of your mouth should be a big giant clue that you shouldn't say what you're about to say, especially if you're a politician speaking and acting in that capacity. I'm not even going to comment on the Obama conspiracy theory, other than to say Dude, you can't just make shit up. The "not having a job, not being rich, blame yourself" bit is especially bothersome to me. There seems to be a significant misunderstanding and/or deliberate misrepresentation of the issue at hand. The protesters are not protesting because they just wanna be rich, without working, thanks to the magic money fairy. And there's a big logic fail in the implication that protesters are lazy, too lazy to "just get a job," when one considers the amount of work, effort, time, and planning, not to mention risk, that's gone into these protests. The protesters are protesting because of the hundreds of thousands of people who WANT to work hard, who want to work hard JUST TO SURVIVE, but who cannot because THERE ARE NO JOBS. There are no jobs because these assholes who happen to be quite rich fucked up our economy, and continue to exploit the rest of us.
"It's someone's fault if they failed." Our economy has failed. It has failed most of us. Our government has failed. So, Herman Cain, whose fault is it that they failed?

And in keeping with the theme of "protesters are just a bunch of whiners and complainers," there's been a lot of attitudes along the lines of "if protesters are going to protest, protesters should have solutions." (If we should be holding ANYONE to that standard, it should be our politicians.... BIG FAIL.)
Uhh... no.
That is not how protesting works. That is also not how our country works (or is supposed to work). The lack of transparency and amount of back-door, behind-the-scenes bullshit that contributed to this mess limit the average person from being able to offer a true solution. But then, that is why we have the politicians. That is their job. That's why we vote for them and pay their salaries. Because THEY are supposed to find solutions. The politicians that attempt to attack the protesters with, "well then what is the solution?" are missing the point: THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE. DO YOUR JOB.
None of them listen to the people when it matters, but now they want us to tell them what to do. Right.

There's an very well-written piece here at Griper Blade that discusses this problem with an excellent car/mechanic metaphor. And ironically, as he points out, the media and the politicians want to ignore the problem because they don't want to work and do their jobs.

...go to We Are the 99%, scroll through a few pages of posts, and see if you don't notice something. That's right, a lot of the stories are extremely similar. There's a big, big problem out there, all of these people are pointing right at it, but the media are pretending -- completely illogically -- that if you don't know how to fix it, the problem must not exist.
The Washington crowd should not be looking at average Americans for solutions. That's not what we pay them to do. The American people need to tell them...we've told you what the problem is, now quit being a dick about it and fix the damned thing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

‎"A society gets the humanity it creates. Yet, since real wealth of a nation lies neither in its coal nor oil nor agriculture but in the imagination of its people, we impoverish ourselves by present policies."

Friday, September 30, 2011

I was deployed to Iraq 4x

5 of my friends are dead
1 of my friends is missing his arm
1 of my friends killed himself
I've been blown up 2x by roadside bombs
Hearing fireworks makes me nervous
I can't sleep at night

All so bankers and war profiteers could get richer
I am the 99%

It really disgusts me the way our government and our country treat our service people and veterans.

Further reading (and please do): Disaster Capitalism: The New Economy of Catastrophe by Naomi Klein

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You are more than your job(/relationship/schooling/hometown)

A friend of mine posted this to her Facebook,  and I thought it was beautiful and so I got permission to share here:
I don’t care to know where you come from, what you studied, or where you've worked. I don’t care to know your “type”, your relationship status, or what you want it to be. I want to know what keeps you from finding the strength to get yourself out of bed in the morning. I want to hold your hand when the world has brought you to your knees, and tell you it’s ok even thought at that moment, it might not be. I want to know what makes your smile true and real and what you're hiding behind it when its not. I want to know how you put the pieces back together after the times in which the world breaks you. I want to touch and feel the thread you hang onto and what it’s made of. I want to know what keeps you holding on when all else falls away…
                      -Lisa G.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011 part 2

My actual post for today is below. Please scroll down and read that. 

I just wanted to let everyone know that Sage Francis is allowing his track "Makeshift Patriot" to be downloaded for free today here
The song was his response to the attacks of 9/11 and it's very thought provoking and moving.

Lyrics are available at his blog, and I highly suggest checking it out because there's a lot more background there and other interesting tidbits, but I've copied and pasted just the lyrics here:

Makeshift Patriot
The Flag Shop Is Out Of Stock
I Hang Myself at Half Mast

Makeshift Patriot
The Flag Shop Is Out Of Stock
I hang myself…via live telecast.

Coming live from my own funeral, beautiful weather offered a nice shine,
Which is suitable for a full view of a forever altered skyline.
When times like these arise I freestyle biased opinions every other sentence.
Journalistic ethics slip when I pass them off as objective. “Don’t give me that ethical shit.”
I’ve got exclusive, explicit images to present to impressionable American kids,
And it’s time to show this world how big our edifice is.
That’s exactly what they attacked when a typically dark skinned Disney villain,
Used civilians against civilians and charged the Trojan horses into our buildings.
Using commercial aviation as instruments of destruction,
Pregnant women couldn’t protect their children. Wheelchairs were stairway obstructions.
Now have to back petal from the shower of glass and metal,
Wondering how after it settles we’ll find who provided power to radical rebels.
The Melting Pot seems to be calling the kettle black when it boils over,
But only on our own soil so the little boy holds a toy soldier,
And waits for the suit and tie to come home. We won’t wait ’til he’s older,
before we destroy hopes for a colder war to end.
“Now get a close up of his head.”

Makeshift Patriot
The Flag Shop Is Out of Stock
I Hang Myself at Half Mast
”How does my hair look?”

Makeshift Patriot
The Flag Shop Is Out of Stock
I Hang Myself at Half Mast
“Run that tape back!”

Makeshift Patriot
The Flag Shop Is Out Of Stock
I Hang Myself at Half Mast
“It looks JUST like a movie.”

Makeshift Patriot
The Flag Shop Is Out Of Stock
I hang myself…while the stock markets crash.

The city is covered in inches of muck.
I see some other pictures of victims are up.
Grieving mothers are thinking their children are stuck.
Leaping lovers are making decisions to jump,
While holding hands to escape the brutal heat,
Sometimes in groups of the three.
The fall out was far beyond the toxic cloud where people look like debris.
But all they saw after all was said, beyond the talking heads,
Was the bloody dust with legs looking like the walking dead, calling for meds.
Hospitals are overwhelmed. Volunteers need to go the hell home.
Moments of silence for fire fighters were interrupted by cell phones.
Who’s gonna make that call to increase an unknown death toll?
It’s the one we rally behind. He’s got a megaphone and he’s promising to make heads roll.
We cheer him on, but asbestos is affecting our breath control.
The less we know the more they fabricate. The easier it is to sell souls.

“There is a new price on freedom, so buy into it while supplies last. Changes need to be made! No more curbside baggage. 7 pm curfew. Racial profiling will continue…with less bitching. We’ve unified over who to kill, so until I find more relevant scripture to quote…remember: our god is bigger, stronger, smarter, and much wealthier.
So wave those flags with pride, especially the white part.”

We sell addictive 24 hour candle light vigils in TV’s.
Freedom will be defended…at the cost of civil liberties.
The viewers are glued to television screens. Stuck. Lots of things seem too sick.
I use opportunities to pluck heart strings for theme music.
I’ll show you which culture to pump your fist at & which foot is right to kiss.
We don’t really know who the culprit is yet…but he looks like *this*.
We know who the heroes are. Not the xenophobes who act hard.
“We taught that dog to squat. How dare he do that shit in our own back yard!”
They happened to scar our financial state and char our landscape.
Can you count how many times so far I ran back this same damn tape?
While a camera man creates news and shoves it down our throats on the West Bank,
With a ten second clip put on constant loop to provoke US angst.
So get your tanks and load your guns and hold your sons in a family huddle,
‘Cause even if we win this tug of war, and even the score, humanity struggles.
There’s a desperate need of blood for what’s been uncovered under the rubble.
Some of them dug for answers in the mess. The rest were looking for trouble.

Makeshift patriot
The flag shop is out of stock
I hang myself at half mast.

Makeshift patriot
The flag shop is out of stock
I hang myself…

September 11, 2011

This will not be an easy entry for me to write (seems to be a trend for me lately...) because, and it is unfortunate that I have to even explain this, I am incredibly patriotic. I love this country and I truly believe that, at least in theory, we are one of the best countries on Earth. That's why I get so upset when people fuck it up (especially those who run it and claim to love it).

It's very difficult for to put into words what I felt when I saw the news that morning, even today. I remember that I was in 7th grade. We were living in Florida at the time, so it didn't happen until I was already at school. I distinctly remember being in Ms. Fuglesang's 2nd period geography class. Ms. Price, the math teacher next door, came in to our classroom in the middle of our class and whispered something to Ms. Fuglesang. They both looked upset, although Ms. Fuglesang continued with her planned lesson. I had Ms. Price for math 3rd period. When we got into the classroom, she was standing so that she was blocking the television, which was on. She explained to us what had happened, and she told us that she had the news on so we could see what was going on. I can't remember whether she gave us the option of leaving the room if we didn't want to see. We all made some half-assed attempts at some math worksheets that she had given us as busy work, knowing we'd spend most of the time staring at the TV. I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure I really understood what the World Trade Center was before that day (thanks, Florida public school education...). I'd seen pictures, but it took some time to understand that these people had attacked not just some buildings, but also American symbols. 

It was a tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones in the attacks, to the first responders and their loved ones, and to the U.S. service people and innocent civilians in Iraq and Afganistan killed in the subsequent U.S. invasions.

Yes, I said. And I meant it. 

Remembering the fallen means remembering all of the fallen.

That means the undocumented workers who were killed in the attacks, the first responders who experienced all sorts of serious health problems as a result of their heroism, AND the people killed as a result of the U.S. invading Iraq- both the 6,000 U.S. service people and the 400,000 - 1 million innocent civilians in Iraq and Afganistan- are also among the people killed on the planes and in the buildings as "the fallen."

Any senseless and/or violent loss of life is tragic. 
We do a huge disservice to the memory of the lives lost by not remembering all of the lives lost.

Terrorists attacked us on our own soil and killed (less than) 5000 of our citizens. That is absolutely awful and horrible and fucked up.
We responded by attacking a sovereign country that really wasn't involved on the premise of Weapons of Mass Destruction that weren't there, that a) our president and government lied about and b) we definitely DO have. Since that U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, approximately 102,417 - 111,938 Iraqi civilians have been killed. (Non-combatants killed by military or paramilitary action and the breakdown in civil security following the invasion.)

How dare they come into our country and kill our citizens and attack us?

It takes a special kind of arrogance and a really special kind of hypocrisy to bellow "HOW DARE THEY?!" and then turn around and invade another sovereign nation, kill 100,000 civilians, and then to continue to sputter and bellow about how dare they and poor us while ignoring that great loss of life.
I am in NO way trying to negate ANY loss of life. The attacks that occurred on 9/11 were absolutely horrible and it's awful that they happened. I'm in no way trying to undermine that tragedy. 

What I am saying:

Today, as we remember and we "never forget," we should remember all of it, the whole truth.
Those who do not remember and learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. 

And that American arrogance contributed to us being in this mess in the first place. 

We decry the loss of life, as we should. 
That loss of life is equally shitty across the board. 

We also touted the first responders as heroes, as we absolutely should. However, after the pageantry and celebrating the heroes, when those remarkable people started feeling the consequences of their sacrifice in the forms of all sorts of horrible cancers and health problems, our government pretty much abandoned them. I find that absolutely unconscionable. 

Ten years (and a HUGE change in personal politics, prompted by actual knowledge/getting informed) after the attacks, I am still reluctant to say I fully understand. I am still saddened, angry, upset, and confused by the attacks of September 11, 2001. 
I don't think I will ever truly understand what would drive someone to do that ("they hate our freedom!" yeokay, player.), probably because my lived experience is so disparate. 
I don't think I will ever understand the ensuing mob mentality or sudden "patriotism" that overtook the country. [quotes there because I question how much of it was patriotism and how much of it was a "how dare they" attitude and/or the struggles of being forced to face our own mortality.] 
I don't think I will ever understand why the people who point out the scientific impossibilities of what we're told happened are written off as crazy and conspiracy theorists. (Seriously, check out the Zeitgeist Film Series. I've also heard really good things about Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup although I haven't seen it myself yet.)
I don't think I will ever understand why we, as a country, allowed our president to look us in the eye and lie to us shamelessly... and give the rest of the world the same lie, which made our entire country look (even more) foolish when the truth came to light. 
I don't think I will ever understand the rampant Islamaphobia and anti-Muslim hatred in this country. (Terror is NOT Islam. Terrorists may call themselves Muslim, but they do not represent the religion.)
And I don't think I will ever understand why we can work ourselves into a melodramatic tizzy over (less than) 5000 lives lost in those attacks but we can't even talk (let alone give a damn) about all of the lives lost as a result of our invasion (on false pretenses) of another country, or the lives lost all over the world every day as a result of genocide, poverty, famine, drought, lack of access to medicine and/or healthcare, other wars, etc. or even the lives lost in countries where the population is fighting, usually against their own oppressive government, and literally dying to have the freedoms we have.

I do what I can today: 

I remember the fallen, all of them, and honor their memory. I celebrate the heroes, I mourn the losses. 
I keep those who lost loved ones in my thoughts and prayers.
I distinguish between patriotism and nationalism.
I do not respond to senseless hate with more senseless hate.

And I ask you to do the same. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Recipe of the Week: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh, yes.

So in the interest of sharing my culinary skillz, I've decided to start featuring a random recipe of the week each week. Except I don't cook with recipes (I'm Italian, fuck you), so really, it'll be more like baking adventures. But we'll be embarking together.
(I don't know.)

This week, I decided to do bacon chocolate chip cookies. Because they're BACON. FUCKYEAHBACON. And chocolate chip cookies, and, for those of you who don't know, my chocolate chip cookies are LEGENDARY.

I got the recipe here (copied and pasted below). In the interest of full disclosure, I modified the recipe a bit. I cut out the nuts completely (fuck nuts get outta my cookies), I used dark chocolate chips (they were the only ones I could find sans soy), and I used uncured organic bacon (because I have the digestion of infant).
Also, I didn't use parchment paper. As you can see in the picture, I just covered the cookie sheets with foil. And I used just barely any cooking spray on the foil to be safe.

Oh, and I used the "thicker" variation.

Ultimately, they were fucking bomb.

My brain was so thrown off by this: "WHY IS THERE BACON IN THE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH?!"

In the oven.
As I've done pretty much as long as I can remember, I stood there and watched them bake like the fat kid I am.

Makes about 18 thin-and-chewy cookies

5 strips bacon

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning several times, until browned and done, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop finely.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract, and beat until just blended. Add the dry ingredients; beat until just incorporated and the flour is dissolved. Stir in the chocolate chips, pecans and bacon.

Drop one large tablespoon cookie dough 2 to 3 inches apart (as they will spread) on baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until firm and golden brown around the edges, and still slightly soft in the center. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.

Can be stored on countertop for one to two days, then refrigerated in an airtight container.

Variation: If you like your chocolate chip cookies thicker, follow this recipe.

Makes about 18 thick-and-chewy cookies

5 strips bacon

1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Follow the same steps from the thin version above.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Memory Lane

[TW: Clowns]

So my mom has been on me for a few years to go through some old boxes of mine from storage that were relocated to their garage a few years ago. Among other things, I found this little gem:

This isn't from some hippie stoner phase, and it's not even something I picked out myself. It was a decoration in my room as far back as I can remember. Sure does explain a lil bit about me though. (ha)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rick Perry

Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on abstinence-only sex education, specifically, abstinence-only education in the state of Texas, which has the third-highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation:

Mr. Perry, I think you need a refresher on the standards by which something "works" or "is working."

Not only did he NOT answer the question, he basically said, "well because this is what I WANT and because I think it works because my church sayz so, it's worth the money. Fuck facts."

[Social scientist hat on] Further, his comparison to steroids is inaccurate (on top of being irrelevant and ineffective). His argument is that it's worth it to spend money testing for steroids (rather than do nothing) since they are able to catch the small group using them, creating some change. There is no control group to demonstrate that abstinence-only education is better, even marginally better, than doing or teaching nothing, or that abstinence-only education is creating any positive change.

You cling to that delusion, Mr. Perry. You cling away.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here's a fun fact:

I follow @InjusticeFacts on Twitter, and they tweeted this:

In a survey of Fox News viewers 48% said that African Americans and other minorities are a threat to the ‘American way of life’.
It's Twitter, so it's not like they could give a source, but all of the facts they've tweeted thus far have been accurate, to my knowledge, so I have no reason to doubt them on this.

Honestly, I'm not shocked. My reactions:

1. ...Because African Americans and other people of color aren't American?
[Their 'way of life' is also an 'American way of life']
2. What is this "American way of life" you speak of? If we're all supposed to be one monolithic group, I missed that memo. [Hint: we're SO not.]
3. "A threat"? Really? I don't see them running a 24-hour cable news channel that spews forth from its bowels alarmist propaganda and utter bullshit... ahem FOX News.
4. Tell me again how there's no widespread societal or institutional racism? [Also, suck it.]
5. What is this, 19fucking50?
6. Further proof that fanatic conservatism and racism are bed buddies... like, cousins who fuck.
7. I don't expect better from Faux News or its viewers, unfortunately.

"Post-racial society," my ass...

Monday, August 1, 2011

In the interest of keeping this a safe space, I am trying to keep the violent and pro-violence imagery to a minimum (slash leave them out entirely).
Meet my new tag.

If you've ever stepped on a Lego, you know it hurts like nothing else in the world.
I feel this is more appropriate than wishing ill or violence on someone or condoning violence.

PS I totally stole this from the interwebz and it is not my own. Totally borrowed. Just really like the idea. So we're clear.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Got my thesis grade

My most sincere apologies, dear readers (all two of you, if you count the troll) as I've totally and completely dropped the ball.
I have a slew of half-written entries and planned entries, I just need to get them written or finished and published.
I'd also like to spiff this bad boy up a bit (in design but also a bit in content/names and stuff), so if you're savvy and you have some free time, let's chat.
I'm also seriously considering getting a tumblr, because apparently, that's where all the cool kids are. Whatever, I missed the memo. It would literally have all of the same content as this blog, it would just be my sad attempt to broaden my audience.
Unfortunately, the troll on the entry "Less" (not linking because I'm not encouraging. You can find it if you want to) has been eating up a lot of my online time. And the rest of my time is being consumed by the whole job hunt thing, which is a struggle as I still haven't finished my resume. (Seriously, how the fuck do I write a "profile"?! Especially when I have no relevant experience to the field/company I really really really want a job with?! And don't even get me started on a cover letter...) as well as trying to get my diet and exercise back to normal slash look mah sexy best so I can jump back into the modeling thing with fervor.

I'd also FINALLY finished my honors senior thesis recently, and I was waiting to hear back from my professor with a grade, which was slowly driving me mad. I finally heard back from her on Sunday evening, and I GOT AN A-!!!! I left a number of deafening, incoherent voicemails as soon as I found out (because OF COURSE, no one answered their phone) and tried not to freak out IN Macy's since that's where I was when I got the email on my phone.

So I'm going to post some fun tidbits from that bad boy as soon as I get a chance. My to-do lists for this blog and life are both getting out of control... sigh. Off I go to down some coffee, find some breakfast (yes, at 1145am, despite the fact that I woke up at 845am... don't judge me!), and try to dent those. I'll be posting obnoxious announcements as new entries are added.

Get bothered

"We need not be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"
-Fahrenheit 451, pg. 52

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

There are no guarantees in life

"Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore."
-Fahrenheit 451, pg. 86

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Way That You Move Through the World is Not the Way I Move Through the World

[Trigger warning: rape culture, patriarchy]

Lately I've been seeing a bit more from the feminist community trying to communicate to the rest of the world, straight males especially, how rape culture affects women and how they move through the world. (One example here) Which, in short, involves a lot of concern for self and physical safety and the reality that someone may attempt to violate one's body, not to mention the street harassment and the impact on personal interactions. And the response as been an overwhelming "how dare you call all men rapists I'm not a rapist so I should be able to do what I want" or general "oh you feminists are just playing the victim card whaahhh whaahh you said you wanted equality..." ...which is SO much missing the point that it actually physically hurts me a bit.

For anyone missing the point right now, allow me to at least try to break it down for you: 1 in 6 women is raped or deals with an attempted rape in her lifetime. That number goes to 1 in 4 women for college-age women. Even with repeat offenders*, that's still a heck of a lot of rapists walking around. As a female person presenting as a woman, I know that I am most likely to be the target of said rapists, and I pretty much have no choice but to adjust my behavior to try to limit the opportunities of said rapists, which are most likely to be male people presenting as men.
 [No, I'm not down with victim blaming, and I'm by no means encouraging it. The "cause" of rape is rapists. Full stop. The way women move through the world is not a solution to rape/sexual assault; it is a coping mechanism.]

Try to wrap your head around that. There really is no way to fully understand it unless it is your lived experience, but try to have some empathy and try to look beyond your privilege for a second. [And some defenses come up; unclench. That was not a snarky or condemning remark on my part. It is simply the reality that there is privilege attached to appearing to be a man (a lot of privileges, actually, but we'll save that for another day) that majority of men are blind to. Feminists are not claiming men asked for this privilege or it is their fault, especially on a personal level. However, individuals do share some of the blame when they refuse to recognize it and try to correct the problem.]

Try to look at the world through that lens: there are rapists. I am potentially a target of these rapists. I do not know who is a rapist, but I do know that there is a very very good chance that any given rapist will be a man.** This does not mean I treat any unfamiliar (or familiar, for that matter) man as a rapist right off the bat. It DOES mean, however, that I recognize that possibility.

So that brings us back to the poopeypantshissyfit "BUT IIIIIII'MMMMM NOT A RAPIST!" But I don't know that. No one's accusing you, no one's assuming you are, I'm just not going to automatically assume you aren't and behave in an irresponsible way. This is not an affront to you or your ego. If you insist on taking it that way, then you are part of the problem. And if you insist on behaving in a rape-culture-y way, getting all offended because women would like to avoid bodily harm, you're going to set off big, giant internal alarms for a lot of women.

Instead of getting offended, perhaps it would be more productive to put that energy into doing something about the general rape culture in our society. Really, it's a lose-lose situation.

*Entirely possible, since only 16% of rapists actually go to jail, and that's out of the 39% of rapes that are reported; factoring in unreported rapes, only 6% of rapists spend time in jail.

**NOTICE that I said "a very very good chance that any given rapist will be a man," NOT "a very very good chance that any given man will be a rapist." There is a HUGE difference. The accusations of crazy, paranoid feminists might have some truth IF feminists were claiming the latter. THAT is accusatory of men and not entirely realistic. The first statement, which is the claim, is NOT accusatory of men and is very realistic. It is also not "paranoid." Just so we're all clear here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

You don't negotiate with terrorists.

Congressional Republicans have refused to raise the debt limit unless the Obama Administration agrees to large and immediate spending cuts. They have their finger on the nuclear button and are threatening to detonate unless they get their way. It seems crazy that they would actually do it, but congressional Republicans have done a pretty good job of convincing the Administration (if not yet the financial markets) that they just might do it.

Obama has responded by entering into negotiations with the congressional Republicans. These negotiations have not gone well, largely because Republicans are united upon an all-spending-cuts, no-tax-increases approach to deficit reduction.
More info here and here.

I'm not going to say much on this, because I feel like I've said it before.
However, I will say this:

First, GOP & co, you don't get to preach "fiscal and personal responsibility" and then let the U.S. default. Either stand behind what you're constantly harping on, or STFU. This is not a "do as I say, not as I do" situation. Allowing the U.S. to default because you don't get what you want is neither responsible NOR "small government" (which we all know you've not actually done for ages, but still). Further, having a temper tantrum and holding the U.S. government hostage because you don't get your way is not responsible, it is not "moral," and it sure as hell isn't what you douchecanoes get paid to do. Also, you'd be fucking yourselves just as much, so as adverse as you are to this concept, let's stop and think a moment, shall we?

Second, I CANNOT believe I am actually saying this, but Mr. President, you don't negotiate with terrorists. This is now an actual hostage/blackmail situation. There's is nothing subtle about it. They've hijacked control of the debt limit, and they've given demands. STOP. FUCKING. PANDERING. TO. THE. RIGHT. They will NEVER be happy with what you do. It will NEVER be enough. Every time you give an inch, they will demand a foot. So stop giving into this bullshit and trying to compromise with them. It's pretty clear they don't give a fuck about compromising, and all you're going to do by continuing to negotiate with them is further alienate the people that do support you.
I am ALL about an intelligent discourse and working together in politics. But that turd's been flushed. We are so beyond that point now, it isn't even funny. It is unfortunate, yes, but at this point, the best option is to limit the impact of this little inquisition before everyone hates you.

God damn it Democrats, grow a fucking backbone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"'Tis but a flesh wound..."

In a remarkable display of stubborn refusal to accept overwhelming defeat and a simultaneous display of the ability to truly maximize the potential of bureaucracy, the "Yes on 8" side is appealing Judge James Ware's recent ruling.

For those of you at home who are just joining us, this is the side-trial brought by the sore losers of the main Prop 8 trial.

The short version is, last year Judge Walker ruled that there is no compelling state interest in denying same-sex couples marriage rights, and struck down Prop 8. He did, however, stay his ruling (that means it won't go into effect yet) because it was pretty much a given that this would be appealed. Currently, we're waiting on a decision as to whether that appeal will even be heard, based on the question of whether the Yes on 8 side has standing to represent Prop 8, given the fact that both the California state governor and the CA Attorney General declined to back this steaming pile in court. If this court decides the Yes on 8 side DOES have standing, they will hear the appeal (a few more years in court). If not, Judge Walker's ruling stands.

Now while we all wait on that, the Yes on 8 side has decided that since Judge Walker happens to be in a long-term, committed, same-sex relationship, he should have recused himself from the case.
This is the most asinine, absurd thing they've done thus far.
Okay, so shouldn't a straight judge have done the same by that logic?
Are we going to start demanding every judge whose gender, sex, socio-economic background, religion, race, or ethnicity MIGHT affect their ruling (or would if, y'know, they weren't judges whose sole purpose is to try to be neutral about these things)?
No. Because we'd get even less done than we already do, and that's not how our justice system works.

This is essentially the Yes on 8 side grasping at straws, bellowing "HEY YOUR GAY" (yes, wrong your/you're on purpose, that was the point) to try to distract us all from the fact that they not only don't have a leg to stand on, but that outright EMBARRASSED themselves in court last time. (Read the transcripts. Seriously.)

Judge Ware's ruling, the one that has just been appealed, is basically "GTFO are you kidding me?!" ... meaning Judge Walker's ruling stands and isn't going to be thrown out because he happens to have a same-sex partner. But the homo-bigots cling desperately to their delusions and are seriously going to go for an appeal...

I think this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail serves as a beautiful metaphor, with the Yes on 8 side being the Black Knight and King Arthur being the non-homobigots:

[TW: (implied) violence]


These douchecanoes are wasting all of our time and tax dollars. Meanwhile, about those jobs..

Friday, June 17, 2011

Old McDonald is a Gangsta

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f--- it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this."
-New York State Senator Roy McDonald (R-Saratoga), on New York's pending same-sex marriage legislation and his vote for marriage equality

Governor Cuomo put forth a bill Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of New York, which of course, prompted a Crusty Old Bigoted White Guy Poopypants Whinefest backlash under the guise of religion. (link is to another blogger's piece on the piece I'm referring to, because I don't feel like giving the asshat the direct traffic and the piece I linked to does contain a link to the original.) 
This bill gives same-sex couples the same legal rights as hetero couples, but it also provides some exemptions from anti-discrimination laws for "religious groups and affiliated organizations" to keep on being bigots (specifically, as far as I can gather, they do not have to perform, participate in, host, or otherwise endorse same-sex marriage, including clergy members). Which, by the way, is fine with this queer, at least for the time being. Our argument for separation of church and state has to work BOTH ways. I think bigotry within religion is something that needs to be addressed within said religion. Sure, I'm the first to speak up when Christians start saying the Bible says gay is wrong (educate yourselves!), but I also think my status as a perceived outsider limits my impact.

But I digress.

I had to share the above quote because I honestly welled up while reading it. Good for him for not being so swept up in the political bullshit to actually do his job. He's 64 years old (so I don't want to hear age as an excuse for bigotry ANYMORE, people), he's Republican, and he's a Total Fucking Badass.
So here's to you, Senator McDonald. You, sir, are an inspiration, a badass, and quite possibly my favorite person in politics at the moment. You deserve a slow clap and a homemade lasagna.*

*This is a Big Fucking Deal in my culture... pretty much means you're in for life. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Reverse discrimination"

It's an act of privilege that assumes anything less than total dominance is "being oppressed." 

Thursday, May 26, 2011


[Totally borrowed that expression from one of my favorite blogs, Shakesville.]

Saw that little gem in my Twitter feed. At first I thought maybe they're being smart, but after reading the article, I don't really see it.
Plus, Time has a bad habit of publishing some really ridiculous things with some incredibly ridiculous undertones (especially around sex and gender).
So I can see this.

Oh, and to answer the question, "How are kids supposed to talk to each other?" By actually talking. Yes, I know it's alarming to actually have to interact with other human beings, but the little shits need to learn actual social skills at some point. Plus, aren't they at school to, y'know, LEARN?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm legit.

This is something I wrote a while ago (maybe 8 months ago?) and I wanted to share it here, too.

I have a bone to pick, so let me say up front that this is a rant.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, which is why I feel it's appropriate to share.

I identify as bisexual. I've known since I was in 7th grade, although my first sexual encounter with as woman wasn't until 3 or 4 years after that. It's who I am and how I was made, and I never struggled with it internally. [Side note: I'm aware of "pansexual" as an identity but it is a political choice to make to identify as such, and one that I do not feel is true to me personally.]

What I have struggled with is the ignorance of others, regardless of their sexuality. I don't know what it is that everyone and their mother thinks they're a freaking expert on sexuality, especially bisexuality, but it needs to stop.

The next person who tells me "bisexuals" are: slutty, greedy, indecisive, in denial, attention whores, regular whores, straight girls who want male attention, "straight when it's convenient", "full of shit", "not really bisexual", "making it up", "just drunk", think they can date someone of both genders at the same time, "not real" [yes, I've really heard that], only in it for the sex, only interested in threesomes, or any other ignorant, offensive thing you can think of, is gonna get slapped. And the next queer/gay/lesbian person I hear say that or tell me they have a "no bi rule" or they "don't date bi people" is gonna get slapped twice.

If you're going to be an ignorant asshole, fine. Be an ignorant asshole. But don't tell me who or what I am, or imply that you know me better than I know myself. And don't make assumptions about me based on your stupidity. That's equivalent to me saying, "Oh, you're Black? You must like fried chicken and watermelon. No, you do, you're just in denial." Offensive as hell, right?

"Bisexual" is a legitimate sexual orientation that is separate from polyamory, drunk college sluts, regular sluts, whatever. Sometimes these things overlap, but that's not an innate attribute. (Disclaimer: Not that I have anything against any of those things, they're just not applicable to me personally.)

The straight (male) community treats me like a sex object and/or a freak. (These are broad generalizations and obviously aren't true of everyone.) I've actually been on a date with a woman and had men come up to us, ask if we were on a date, and then offer us $20 to make out. Perfect strangers! Yeah assholes, that's why we're here. We're live porno, just for you!

And the gay community, especially lesbians, won't accept us either. (Again, broad generalizations.) If you want to see proof, just browse Craigslist's "women for women" section. You'll be shocked by how many say "NO MEN NO BI". Obviously, that's an individual's prerogative, and I respect that. But in my mind, it's one thing to say "I prefer butch/femme/andro etc" and it's another thing completely to say "no bisexuals." It's not a matter of taste or preference, it's discrimination. To me, it's equivalent to saying "no one of mixed race" or "no one of x race". Again, I understand that it's an individual's personal right. Fine. It's my personal right to point out that they're being an asshole.

I endure enough shit for not being straight and fitting that norm. And normally, I'm the person who has the attitude that what others think isn't important. They can say and think whatever they want about me (doesn't make it true). But my patience is wearing incredibly thin at having to constantly defend the legitimacy of my orientation. I've endured vandalism, threats against myself and my family, physical violence, ostracism, every horrible name in the book, discrimination, and every form of hate and prejudice you can think of. I've spoken out publicly against Prop 8 and I worked against it. I've been an outspoken advocate for equal rights and respect. I've even encouraged all of my friends not to say "that's so gay" (and most of them don't say it anymore). I've suffered all the same shit as a "real lesbian" for my orientation, and I've been an active part of the queer community regardless of who I'm dating (or not dating).

All I'm saying is, I shouldn't have to defend my legitimacy on top of all of the other crap. I'm fed up with all the "bi hate" and I'd appreciate a little respect. Or at least if you're going to disrespect me, do it for something else. The queer community ESPECIALLY should understand how shitty it is to be mistreated based on sexuality. It's hypocritical to turn around and mistreat anyone and everyone who identifies as bisexual.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Engagement Rings

In her piece, Let's Get Rid of Engagement Rings, Emily Yoffe argues that "to encourage more marriages, reduce materialism and further the equality of the sexes, I say let's chuck the engagement ring."

While I do take issue with a very heterosexist stance throughout the piece, she makes some excellent points.

The fancy-pants engagement ring tradition is a modern creation, one which
The diamond industry, in its infinite marketing savvy, seems to have convinced young couples that the only way to declare a lifetime commitment is for a man to ruinously spend two or three months' salary on the proper rock... Here's a secret that the folks at De Beers don't want young people to know: All you need to do to become officially engaged is tell everyone, "We're getting married!" 
Since getting a four-year degree is pretty much required now and getting an advanced degree is fairly common, and since higher education costs far more proportionally than it did 30 years ago, debt is also far more common. And when you're already trying to stretch a dollar, paying through the nose for a sparkly rock as a prerequisite for spending your life with someone seems a bit foolish.

The other problem with engagement rings? They're so damn one-sided.
 It turns young women — otherwise independent, successful strivers — into passive recipients, waiting for their prince to rescue them from their single state.
(Her next question, "In what other aspect of their lives do young women so totally turn over their future to the decisions of others?"... don't even get me started. But I was with her till that point.)
Waiting around to see what hoops your significant other will jump through in order to make some grandiose, over-the-top production about proposing (and essentially offering you a bribe) seems so... sad. There's no agency.

And finally, there's the whole issue around the actual diamond. Yoffe references women comparing rings with friends, which really highlights this whole "women are golddiggers"/"all women care about is money" bullshit. Yes, I've seen the phenomenon in all of its catfight glory. And, to be frank, (cause that's how I roll) I've observed it primarily amongst women who are settling or unhappy. And even women who don't play the comparison game can get sucked in when someone insults the ring that the person they love worked hard for and went to all the trouble of picking out.
It just shifts the focus onto things that aren't, or at least shouldn't be, important. Someone's income and ability to pick out a really nice ring are not reasons to spend your life with them. What kind of ring one has, where it's from, how many carats, how much it cost, how it's cut, blahblahblah are not crucial elements of a relationship OR indicators of how much someone loves someone else.

Really, when you think about it, engagement rings are just as offensive (or more so) than the father of the bride "giving her away" (because that used to be LITERALLY what the father of the bride did... he "gave away" his property [his daughter] to another man and she became her husband's property) or the bride wearing white (marking her as a "pure" virgin... because what a person and their vagina have or have not been doing is TOTALLY everyone business. And a necessity for marriage.).

Engagement rings are the equivalent of peeing on someone and saying, "THIS IS MINE." It's a way for men to "mark their territory" before marriage. (And you will notice that men do not wear engagement rings. Hmm.)
And really, you shouldn't need jewelry. If you love someone and you're committed to them, you two should be confident in that. If you both know it, that's all that matters. (And if you don't have the trust, you're pretty much fucked.) One would hope that if two people are engaged and one of them is hit on by a random, said person would inform said person "I'm taken." Problem solved.

Personally, I'm all for Yoffe's suggestion of simple wedding bands (meaning once married) for both people. You have your conventional symbol without the bullshit.
And if some snazzy piece of bling is something that's important, that can be added later on, when it won't involve crippling debt (and when the person who has to wear it has input, so they DO love and want to wear it).
Perfect example? My parents. Neither is extravagant, but they both came up poor and they have their little indulgences. Around the time my younger sister went to college and the nest was empty, my dad bought my mom a giant ring (Titanic status). Not because my mom demanded it, or because he needed to (she wears her wedding ring every day), but because my mom really loves and appreciates jewelry and my dad really loves and appreciates my mom and wanted to spoil her a little. She wears it on her right hand and jokes that it's "the ring she gets for putting up with him." It's actually kind of cute.
And to me, that is way more special than some obligatory flashy engagement ring.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian."

-Dennis Wholey
"When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have."
-Stephen Hawking
"Expectation is the root of all heartache."

People will always let you down.

It's a tough lesson to learn.
There's three sides to every story: there's one side, there's the other, and then there's the truth.
Usher, "Monstar" 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Help me fight breast cancer

I hate when people beg for donations or support for their cause, because a) it's annoying, b) it makes me NOT want to give, c) I'm not made of money, and d) usually their cause involves a specific agenda that isn't necessarily one I agree on.

However, I'm going to be that person.

I'm running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K in support of my mother, who is a breast cancer survivor. My mom is my hero. She's quite possibly the strongest person I know. And participating in this event (she does the walk) each year has really meant a lot to her. At the end of her treatment and start of remission, it gave her hope to see the other survivors and to be recognized as a survivor.

I'm doing the run (and trust, even a 5K run is a big deal for me with my bad knees) and collecting donations. Donations will go towards research for a cure (25%) and to education, screening, and patient support grants (75%) to assist those who cannot afford care. (Cancer is expensive!) I think this is a great organization and a great event and I'm happy to support both.

So this is the part, dear reader(s), where I implore you to to donate money. I understand that times are tough and people are reluctant to give away money. Donations are tax-deductible and this is a respected non-profit. Please click the link to see my page with my personal statement and, most importantly, to DONATE.

(I realize there are set amount options that start at $25. If that's too steep for you, or you just don't like the set amounts, there is also an "enter an amount" option. Just select that and specify.)

Every little bit helps.

I'm shamelessly begging for donations despite my usual aversion to it because I really understand how important research is to finding a cure and making progress in the way cancer is treated. I also understand what a cancer diagnosis can mean for the individual and for their loved ones.
Besides, being anti-cancer is something I think we can ALL get on board with. Cancer doesn't discriminate and it's not political.

Please check out my page and donate whatever you can. I really appreciate it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Politics and LOLz

President Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner

So I'm late to this party, but I just saw this video and I just had to comment:
Well done sir, well done.

Regardless of political leanings (and mine are pretty much "fuck all  y'all"), you have to appreciate what he did there. Most sane folks would agree that the "birthers," well, aren't. It takes a special level of crazy to take that flying leap. It's an obnoxious distraction, much like the "defund Planned Parenthood" and "defund NPR" battles. (Except that those actually had the potential to be REAL problems [if defunded].) It's loud and constant squawking to distract from the fact that the GOP isn't doing a whole hell of a lot and what they are doing is actually not so great for most of us. (See: Bohener's attempt at government shutdown over the budget... during which shutdown he'd still get his salary. Big orange bully.) And instead of getting caught up in the political mudslinging, President Obama released the evidence to put the issue to rest and simultaneously pointed out how ridiculous it was while diffusing the tension with some laughter.

When it comes down to it, politics (and many politicians) is bullshit. It's a three-ring circus that isn't really about what it claims to be about. Now hopefully, we can all stop focusing on all this bullshit ruckus and politicians can go back to doing what we pay them to do. Y'know, education, giant debt, health... shit like that.
I'm not holding my breath.

But kudos to you, Mr. President, for handling that. And for being so darn funny in the process.
I know who I am.
I'm just tired of fighting with everyone else over who I am.

Friday, April 29, 2011


As you'll see in a previous post, I recently came out to my parents. I have continued to feel closer to them, less tension in our relationship, and just generally better about our relationship. [Because I was raised in a house where lying was the absolute worst offense, and to this day, I CANNOT lie to my parents. Or anyone else really. Keeping it from them felt like lying.]

As expected, there are nagging issues that my impatient self would like resolved RIGHTNOW, but I realize that this is a big thing and it will take time to get there. What's important to me is that my parents are willing to try. (To a point, at least. Don't get crazy.)

One such issue is my father's refusal to support same-sex marriage rights. Did I expect my parents to suddenly be allies? Hell no.
But having my father look me in the eye and tell me that, knowing the "they" he referred to is me, knowing that the relationships he was calling "not the same" included my relationships, really had its own special level of suck. Today I stumbled across the perfect words (not my own) to describe it:
"There is something uniquely demeaning about being told by a man who brought you into this world, and/or brought you up in it, that it is not a world to which you deserve equal opportunity, equal access, your fair share, but a world in which you deserve less.
Less respect. Less dignity. Less agency. Less autonomy. Less opportunity. Less voice. Less ownership of self. Less of your humanity, because humanness is a zero sum game, and a little of yours must be given to him."
"To the Daughters of the Angry Emailers" at Shakesville. The post is on gender, not sexual orientation,  but it rang deeply true for me and for this situation. I highly recommend her post, as well. :) ]

You see, what I cannot explain to the straight people in my life is why I am so invested in equal marriage rights. Do I want to get married? Maybe. I wouldn't bet on it, though.
I could explain eight ways to Sunday why, should I choose to use the rights or not, I should be guaranteed all of the same civil rights as everyone else.
I could try to explain systemic oppression, "marked" or marginalized groups, "othering," second class citizenship, social consequences of legal forces, hegemony, privilege vs. oppression, how separate is not equal, and every negative or horrible experience I have had because of my sexual orientation. And while they may be empathetic, they can never truly understand.

It's easy to say, "what's the big deal about marriage?" when you have that right guaranteed to you. It's really easy to accept compromise for other people. It's really easy to gloss over it with, "why are you so worked up? Gays have rights" when no one's ever told you to just be happy to get ANY rights.

I live in a society that tells me, at every level, you do not deserve equal opportunity, equal access, you deserve less.
Less respect. Less dignity. Less agency. Less autonomy. Less opportunity. Less voice. Less ownership of self. Less of your humanity.

Being in love can get me killed.

Think about that.

Some people, uncomfortable with acknowledging reality, may try to brush me off as overdramatic. I'm not. Pick up a newspaper. Anti-queer violence is very common.

I guess I can accept society as an unfortunate reality. But it's much harder to just accept my own family thinking of me as less.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Ruff Calls Flyers "Whiners"

Hey Ruff:
1. Aaaaand what is that? WHINER.
2. The Flyers are not "whining." They are justifiably agitated that your shitty team is trying to compensate for an utter lack of skills by blatantly and SHAMELESSLY resorting to very illegal bullshit, which the incredibly biased refs always seem to magically not see or refuse to call. The Flyers are used to being hated on by the refs, but maybe they actually want to PLAY HOCKEY.
3. Cheap shots don't make your team talented. Just pathetic.
4. Tell your shitty team to stop running their mouths and start running plays. Or at least trying.
5. Don't worry about it, because the Flyers are about to eliminate you and your team.
6. You're a royal asshat.
7. You look like a French Canadian pedophile.
8. Eat me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

This weekend I finally came out to my parents.

As anyone remotely close to me could attest to, coming out to them is an issue that I've really been struggling with.
I'm still processing and so are they.

My parents would never disown me or stop loving me because of who I am, but they are both from very traditional, conservative backgrounds and I don't think they've knowingly had anyone queer on their radar before. (Except for my mother's brother, who was gay. He died of HIV/AIDS in the 90s and most of the family never accepted him. [my mom did])

My parents were the last to know, which really irritated my mom. Apparently she felt like I felt I couldn't tell her anything. As I tried to explain to her, I've always known my parents wouldn't have some horribly negative reaction. But I know from living it that this part of my identity will make my life significantly more difficult, and I know that's the last thing any parent wants for their kid. The delay in my coming out to them came from the fact that I didn't want to disappoint them, among other things. It's hard to tell the people that I love and that love me that I'm going to face more discrimination, hatred, oppression, and potentially violence because of the way I was born. (Especially when those people are Sicilians who immigrated to the US and faced discrimination, hatred, oppression, and potentially violence.) 

The reality is once I come out to anyone, my parents included, my relationship with them will never be the same again. It may be better, it may be worse, it may just be different; but they will always have that lens affecting the way they view me and interact with me. I'm always aware of that fact, but most of the time it doesn't affect me. I have lost friends when I've come out to them. It sucks, but ultimately, it's their problem, not mine. I'm not going to be ashamed because of other people's bigotry. I'm happy to talk to them, inform them, even accept some level of prejudice if it comes down to it. (I have friends that feel that "they should have the same rights and everything, but they shouldn't call it marriage." I'm not thrilled, but I can deal with that level of prejudice.) 
But it's different when it's my family. Because they might not disown me, but our dynamic will be forever changed. And that's a little scary. 

Ultimately, the fact that I hate not being totally honest with my parents and the fact that I felt like I was keeping it from them pushed me to come out to them. That, and my most recent tattoo:

....which, as one might imagine, my parents were less than thrilled about. [My mother is half blind, but I get a new tattoo and she suddenly turns into Eagle Eye....]

The actual coming out was less difficult than I anticipated. I didn't so much come out to my crazy Italian mother as she ambushed me and dragged me out. I had just arrived and we were eating dinner and she just asked me, "Why do you hang out with that queer club so much? Are you queer?" (She was referring to the queer club on campus, called Queer Alliance.) She got me with the lasagna. (I was planning on coming out anyway, but leave it to my mother to be that impatient.) She said she had a feeling and of course, I'm no different now than I was before, etc. Then she spent the next few hours on and off trying to wrap her head around the concept of bisexuality (apparently she just can't get past monosexuality) and, much to my amusement, trying to figure out "how women do it.... BUT I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!" She just kept having these random outbursts while we were watching Jeopardy! It took a lot of self control not to outwardly laugh at her. 
Coming out to my dad the next morning was short and sweet. He said he also had a feeling, and that I'm still his daughter and he still loves me and it's who I am, etc. Then he dropped this little gem: "It bothers me more that you're a liberal." Um.... okay? Thanks?
[side note: I'm not a liberal per se. I'm more left-leaning, but I don't really fit the conventional political spectrum this country uses. I'm more of a, "fuck all y'all and your bullshit politics." That's just my incredibly conservative father's overreaction to anyone that isn't anti-Obama because of taxes.]

And even though they're crazy, it feels good to be able to be fully honest with my parents. To not have to hide part of myself or talk around it. A weird tension I hadn't really noticed was there dissolved when I came out to them. We have a long way to go (like my mother's aversion to masculine lesbians and same-sex PDA and my dad's belief that "they should have all of the same rights they just shouldn't call it marriage), but at least we're on our way.

And here's a fitting music video to send you on your way:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pet Peeve: "You know a lot about hockey... for a girl."

At the risk of being a Negative Nancy, I'm going to share one of my pet peeves: whenever I get to talking about hockey (and it's almost always with men), I usually get the same reaction at some point: "You know a lot about hockey for a girl."

Excuse you, "for a girl?"

First, I'm a woman. Don't patronize me.

Second, let's step out of the dark ages for a second here.
My gender (and sex) do not dictate my interests or abilities. Or put more bluntly, my possession of a vagina has NOTHING to do with my interest in hockey OR my knowledge of it.
I know, I should be so busy cooking and cleaning and searching for a husband and being irrational that I don't have any time to be interested in Man Things like sports, let alone, y'know, actually know about them.

I know it's meant as a compliment, which is actually worse. ("Wow, you're not as stupid as I expected you to be based on the fact that you're female.") And it comes from an attitude of male superiority.

But God forbid I be the ungrateful she-bitch who can't take a compliment or bruise the fragile male ego. I usually handle it by saying a genuine thanks and adding, "I know you meant it as a compliment, but just to let you know, HUGE pet peeve. I know a lot about hockey, period." And I give them a big smile and go back to telling them why their team sucks. 

Because really, I know a lot about hockey. No qualifiers or additions necessary. And I probably know more than the person "complimenting" me. 

Interests based on gender or sex are socialized, not inherent. Being born with a penis does not automatically = sportsbeerviolence. Being born with a vagina does not automatically = cookingshoppingantisports. And I shouldn't have to point that out in 2011.