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.