Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That went fast...

2008 is the year that I graduated college, and it seems weird to me that The Year In Which I Graduate College has come and gone so soon. I'm also surprised that I actually graduated when I was supposed to. When I started my freshman year in '04, I was coming out of a shitty senior year in which I was busted for underage drinking, grounded for several months, let my grades slip, mouthed off to teachers and other adults, skipped school regularly, and on one notable occasion, served an in-school suspension. In general, I was a little shit, and therefore had really low expectations for myself at college-entry. My mom had more or less made me feel like the failure child, and my goals consisted of "get a degree, ANY degree, and graduate. And for the love of all that is holy, don't go back home."

Fast forward four years and I'm a college graduate in New York City with a 3.9 GPA and lofty academic aspirations. I did not see that one coming at all. Shouldn't I be on Intervention by now? I guess there's still time to develop a meth addiction...

Anyway, in the spirit of "Holyshitthatyearwentbysofast" musings, I present the highlights (and lowlights) of my 2008:

  • I finished my very first thesis, a 28-page monstrosity on effects of child attentiveness on later parenting and child problem behavior. All the real academics are snorting derisively at labeling a 28-page paper a "monstrosity," but I'm young, goddamnit.
  • I worked two jobs, a "real" one at a lab and a supplemental one serving snotty weddings and corporate functions. I had a fucking blast at both.
  • I got into a literal screaming match at the wedding-job with a cunt of an event planner. I got to keep my job without so much as a reprimand. I may be the most spoiled employee on Earth.
  • I graduated.
  • I got accepted into an Ivy League PhD program in New York.
  • I went to Bonnaroo and did a shit-load of drugs. Oh, and I saw some good bands, too.
  • I wore a bridesmaid's dress instead of a wedding-server tux.
  • I got my first car, from my Nana. It was a 1987 Plymouth Horizon hatchback. It only had 83,000 miles on it. I predict that it was the coolest car I will ever own in my entire life (I do not mean that sarcastically. I truly appreciate the quirkiness of that car, and I would kill to have it back).
  • I sold my first car to a friend when I moved to New York.
  • I moved to Manhattan.
  • Boyfriend and I moved in together. I think this was the best thing that happened to me all year.
  • I spent more time unemployed than I ever have since I started working at 14.
  • I got a pet bunny from the animal shelter. I litter trained him and taught him to come when called (er, most of the time). He always impresses our visitors.
  • I declined entering my graduate program when the promised funding "fell through" (read: was a lie).
  • I spent many weeks crying myself to sleep. And crying myself awake. And being a gloomy gus in general.
  • I got a new job, just as everyone else was losing theirs.
  • I voted in my second presidential election and fourth overall election.
  • I participated in a major, nationwide protest against Prop 8.
  • I watched my best friend's baby grow into a little girl.
I wish I could glimpse my 2009 list. I hope it says something like "won a muli-million dollar lawsuit against Ivy League Liars" or "ate so many donuts I won a prize." Either one would be fine with me.

PS: Speaking of donuts, my new New York doctor called with blood test results. My cholesterol is AWESOME. The power of youth, baby. I'm gonna get me some McNuggets and a milkshake, suckas.

What's on your list? Happy New Year, everyone :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just for funsies

While I still have a few blissful days of vacation left, I am back from my parents' home and relaxing in front of the couch, ready to blog again. Might I mention that I am currently blogging on my Shiny New HP Laptop? With built-in webcam, TWO headphone ports (for sharing!) a DVD-RW drive, Windows Vista (Sims 3, here I come!), 4 gigs of memory, and an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU? Well, I am. Will it make me a better writer? It might! Thank you, Boyfriend :)

I also received some great books that I am greedily devouring. One is the memoir of one of the first blogs I ever read (starting all the way back in 2004), Schuyler's Monster. If you have never heard of Rob Rummel-Hudson; his awesome wife, Julie; or his amazing daughter, Schuyler; you should give him a read (both book and blog). Schuyler was born with a rare neurological defect that has left her unable to speak (along with a few other disabilities), with the exception of vowels and a few soft consonants. She speaks with a communicative device, Stephen Hawking-style. I have enjoyed following their story since I accidentally stumbled on Rob's old blog, "Darn Tootin'", while googling nasty after-effects of my wisdom-tooth removal (apparently we share similar dental nightmares). Um, and he totally dyes second-grade Schuyler's hair purple. How fucking cool is that? Note to self: Must encourage bad-assness in future children.

While I'm gloating: In reference to the Great Family Rift of '08, yet another study has come out damning the effects of abstinence-only education. This one was particularly interesting, as it compared groups of kids who have similar, conservative backgrounds, but receive different types of sex ed (abstinence v. comprehensive). Other studies have apparently failed to match teens based on family background, and subsequently often compared children from religious and conservative backgrounds to children from liberal backgrounds. In this latest study, the abstinence-only teens show non-significant differences from the comprehensive teens in age of first intercourse, number of partners, or types of sexual activity. Naturally, the abstinence-only teens were at a greater risk for unwanted pregnancies and STDS. Sorry, Boyfriend's Aunt, but I'm still fucking right. Oh, and you're still damaging your children in the name of your God.

And finally, two people who know me in Real Life and also know about my blog asked me what sorts of internet searches lead people to my blog. This is a hilarious question, because I could tell them that RIDICULOUS searches lead to my blog, and thus reflect the high-caliber content that I post. So, I present to you a selection of some of the more interesting search queries (spelling errors and all):

  • atheist tree toppers (I may google that myself, later).
  • "i want to * you like an animal" (why would someone censor themselves in a Google search?)
  • amish piss me off (me too, buddy, me too).
  • amish women fucking (um...ok. Different strokes for different folks?)
  • disneys characters fuckink watch now (my favorite part of that query isn't so much the "disneys characters fuckink" as the "watch now" part. Like the person thought they might get a video of Disney characters fucking but they couldn't watch it until next week).
  • dont go yet monkey (what???)
  • heroin sandwiches (I'm surprised another person has thought of this concept).
  • screwing amish women (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WITH AN AMISH FETISH??)
  • sexo kid (I do not want to know. I do not want to know. I do not want to know).
  • woman ass (and you clicked on my blog?)
Of course, I just realized that I typed the words "Amish Fetish" together, thus increasing the amount of Amish sex-fetishists who frequent my site. Hey, I'm not the thought-police. Welcome, friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I kissed a squirrel and I liked it

Huzzah! My Fishmas shopping is all done! Unless, of course, you count the gift card that I ordered for my mom, which apparently I missed signing for today. Damn you, UPS!

On the table for this holiday is, thankfully, NOT an awkward and frustrating week with Boyfriend's Southern Baptist family. Instead, it's 5 days with my folks, and at least one day with the side of the family that produced a few white supremacists (it can't be proved, but I've got a hunch). But at least it's my family this time, so I can yell and start fights all I want without guilt.

In other good news, Boyfriend and I started with our new New York doctor. He was very nice and it makes me feel like a Big Girl to have My Own Insurance Card and My Own Doctor that I handpicked myself (thanks, ratemymd.com!). The checkup was very thorough, including some blood work. I'm interested to see what my cholesterol is like (family history of high cholesterol + massive intake of fast food does not bode well). Now all I need is My Own Gynecologist and My Own Dentist. The latter is particularly important to me since I realized that I have some icky-looking tarter on the inside of my front bottom teeth. Gross.

By the way, my parents' house is in the Land That Time Forgot, and subsequently lacks internet. So I expect posting to be nil from the 24-28. But please rest assured that during those days, I will continue to make a stand for liberals everywhere and refuse to enter the local Wal-Mart (until my mom begs me to get some paper plates, and I realize that Wal-Mart is holding the entire paper-plate industry hostage, just to piss me off).

Happy Holidays, all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I have something in my eye...

If you were wondering what it takes to make my cold, dead, husk of a heart beat again, here it is:

Safety Harbor Montessori's Cindy Horrocks, who teaches 4th, 5th and 6th grades and Carol Wooldridge who does admissions, are stunned when they open up an envelope containing a ten thousand dollar check from an anonymous donor. Each of the 30 staffers of the school received a check during a lunch in their honor at the Ozona Blue Grilling Company in Ozona. [Jim Damaske, Times]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanks for telling me what to do with my body

I REALLY wish that shoe had hit Bush the other day. And by "shoe" I mean "bullet," because I came home from work to this news:

The Bush administration today issued a sweeping new regulation that protects a broad range of health-care workers -- from doctors to janitors -- who refuse to participate in providing services that they believe violate their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctor's office or other entity if it does not accommodate employees who exercise their "right of conscience." It would apply to more than 584,000 health-care facilities.

They finally did it. Bush and his cronies finally passed legislation that allows medical employees to deny women information and resources critical to their reproductive health. It effectively ensures that women are no longer secure in the knowledge that their medical provider is doing all that they can to help them. It means that medical personnel can deny women access to abortions, birth control pills, even information about sexual and reproductive health.

I can hardly contain my outrage at this decision. The federal government should be PROTECTING our right to information and medical services, not limiting it. Women have EVERY RIGHT to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs. Instead, our government has just swooped in and proclaimed that our right to health and happiness is secondary to another person's religious views.

The idea that this bill "protects the conscience" of medical providers is bullshit. If you aren't comfortable with the idea of prescribing/distributing birth control or performing abortions, DON'T GO INTO THAT PROFESSION. I can't get a job driving an ice cream truck and then refuse to hand out ice cream on the grounds that I'm against childhood obesity. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists shouldn't be allowed to keep their jobs if they aren't willing to DO THOSE JOBS. They don't deserve protection for failing to provide adequate medical information and care for women. This action, like so much of Bush's administration, is absolutely unconstitutional. The government is endorsing religion by empowering people to impose their religious views on the rest of us. No one should have the power to impose their religiously-driven morals on others who don't share those viewpoints.

It is neither reasonable nor fair to expect women to travel elsewhere to receive these services. There are so many places in America that are served by a single pharmacy or doctor's office. And not everyone in those places has the money, resources, or insurance coverage to find another doctor or pharmacy. Furthermore, if you are a young person growing up in such an isolated place, how would you even know what information you are lacking if your doctor won't even discuss issues of birth control or sexual health?

Ironically, I bet every single one of the people who receive "protection" from this legislation have no problem with issues of men's health. Go into any pharmacy that refuses to sell birth control and ask to see how many bottles of Viagra they stock. This entire school of thought is the product of a religious patriarchy that inherently values the health and well-being of men over women.

It's up to the Obama administration to undo this travesty and allow women full control over their bodies and health. Obama, I had so much hope for you. Please don't let us down.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A time for idealism

Maxie at I hate So Much asked her readers to describe their perfect world:

  • My boss wouldn't have some sort of anxiety disorder, and subsequently wouldn't PESTER THE LIVING FUCK out of me 6 hours of the day.
  • I would have fully-developed fine and gross motor-control. I would use this newfound motor-control to wrap lump-free Christmas gifts, eat without spewing crumbs in a 20-foot radius, and drink coffee without spilling it everywhere.
  • The shoe would have hit Bush smack in the face.
  • I would have something chocolaty and delicious in my hand RIGHT NOW.
  • My best friend would be moving in next door, instead of moving 1,278 miles away from me this week.
  • We wouldn't have to second-guess buying kiddie science kits for Boyfriend's cousins, because it might look like we have an "agenda."
  • My grad school would have funded me, and I would be one semester closer to my doctorate.
Fuck. That made me sort of depressed. I have to counter this with things that could be worse:
  • I could still be unemployed.
  • Boyfriend could be unemployed.
  • I could have no Christmas shopping done.
  • McCain could have won.
  • The east-coast ice storm could have hit New York (instead it was 50 degrees today).
  • I could still live with my parents.
I think I'm really reaching now. I don't really recommend trying this list yourself, unless you feel like curling into a ball and sighing deeply for a half-hour.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bony Bitch

I had some Big Work Thing today (yes, today, as in Saturday, damnit), at which I met a couple of people whom I normally only hear over the phone in conference calls and whom I was eager to impress in person (for selfish, career-advancing reasons). At one point, one of these people said something that didn't register with me at the time, but irked me later. Basically, we were talking about safety issues relevant to my job, which involves visiting strangers in their homes for extended periods of time. To make her point about this particular safety issue (being left alone in the home with strangers if our partner were to leave), she used me as an example. Specifically, she used my size as an example:

"We don't want a situation where someone small, like Phoebe, is alone like that."

First of all, yes, I am skinny. Puny, if you will. And by "small," she surely was not referencing my height, because I am 5'7". And yeah, it's not like I dead-lift or anything. But is it really fair to assume anything about my strength, based on how you perceive my weight? Furthermore, is it fair to assume that my weight (or lack thereof) is "fair game" for an example because I'm not fat? I don't think it is. For all she knows, I could either be a fucking power-lifting champ in my spare time, or morbidly anorexic. Maybe I don't want her using me as an example, based solely on my appearance, in front of 15 co-workers. She doesn't know me.

What this really boils down to for me is a double-standard in appearance-sensitivity. Something that I've noticed throughout my life is that people are unabashedly candid when discussing a skinny person's weight, but would absolutely never be so bold as to have the same discussion or make the same comments with an overweight person (or even an average-sized person). I can recall several girls in high school who would tell me that I was so skinny I "made them sick," and frequently put me down for my weight...But I was supposed to take these comments as compliments! Can you imagine saying such things to an overweight person? Everyone would think you were a goddamn monster. But in my case, people seem to expect me to welcome these commentaries.

I know what you're thinking: boo-fucking-hoo, Phoebe. Life is so hard when your body fulfills arbitrary cultural standards for beauty. Way to play the poor-little-rich girl. Well you know what? Someone's weight shouldn't ever be fair-game for a public discussion IN FRONT OF THAT PERSON. Weight is a sensitive issue, period. Whether you are talking to Jabba-the-Hutt or Twiggy, it's not okay to single someone out based on their weight. And it's ESPECIALLY not okay to turn that person's weight into a stereotype (assumptions of strength included). Remember that Wal-Mart worker who got trampled by the Black Friday crowd? They put him in front of that crowd because he was big, and supposedly, strong. The assumption that his weight should have been enough to control a mob of crazed Wal-Mart shoppers got that guy killed.

That's an extreme example. But even in my case, assumptions that my weight determines my strength has caused a lot of people to underestimate my physical skill. I'm actually quite good at lifting heavy shit. And I find it demeaning when someone jumps to help me because they assume that I can't carry/lift something. I wanted your help, I would ask for it.

That post was all over the place. I promise more coherency in the next.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ok, NuvaRing, WE GET IT

I swear to god, if I have to hear that fucking NuvaRing commerical one more time, I will rip out my uterus with my bare hands and mail it in a white envelope to the NuvaRing marketing execs.

You know which one I mean: "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday every daaaaaaaay..."

Yeah, now it's in your head, too. TAKE THAT.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Old people make me sad :(

God, are old people downers.

My 80-something grandmother is moving to an assisted living facility this month. I haven't called her in a while, but my aunt sent out a family email urging people to check up on her, so I phoned. It's hard to talk to my grandmother, because apparently I talk too fast. Ever since I was a kid, adults have been completely unable to understand me for this reason. Our Christmas morning videos go like this:

Me: Wow! A My Little Pony! Thank you!
Grandparent: A high spittle baloney? What? Slow down, child!
Me: A my little pony, Nana.
Grandparent: WHAT? SLOW DOWN!
Me: A Myyyyyyyyy Liiiiiiiiit-tlllllle Poooooonyyyyyyyyyyy....
Grandparent: Good lord she speaks fast!

I dunno, old age refuses to hear youth, maybe. Anyway, talking to grandmother feels like a very slow conversation, with a lot of repeating. It was also a bit of a downer, because she talked some about how she wasn't really ready to move to this new place and was satisfied with her current apartment. Then she said that she was "ready now, but not before." But I don't know how true that is, because Grandmother is from the "shut the hell up and quit complaining" school. So I sort of suspect that she still isn't crazy about moving. Anyway, it made me sad that she's losing her independence, and is aware of it. I always hoped that if I lived long enough to lose my independence, I would be so out of it that I wouldn't even know. Basically, I'd rather be a huge burden to my kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Grandmother is lucid (her problem is that she has crippling arthritis in her knees, and just can't safely get around on her own). I don't want to see her sad. She's had kind of a shitty life, from what I hear, and she doesn't need more shittiness.

After I hung up the phone with Grandmother, our downstairs neighbor knocked on our door. She said that her husband had fallen and asked if we could help move him. The guy is pretty old, and he seems much older than his wife (not in a gold-digger way, but there's definitely an age gap). He had fallen off of a low air mattress and was too weak to move himself to the bed (before you medical-types jump on me, we did first ascertain that he was safe to move. Seems like he had more or less tumbled over, rather than really falling "down."). Boyfriend and I moved him, with quite a bit of difficulty, because he didn't seem to know what was going on and couldn't really move himself. He was shaking and scared, and we had trouble convincing him to lean on us and let go of the doorknob that he was using for support. After we moved him and left the room, our neighbor told us that he had cancerous brain tumors that prevented him from feeling his legs. What kills me is that we moved into this building in June, and at that time he seemed very healthy and active. It's disturbing to see such a fast deterioration.

Sorry about the sad post :( I will work on upbeat, non-wrist-slitting ideas for the next one, I swear! In the meantime, remember that it's down the highway, not across the street.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My official heathen atheist stance on Christmas

Boyfriend and I decorated our apartment for Christmas yesterday. We have a little table-top fake tree, with some lights and ornaments, as well as some multi-colored lights in the window. Since we both identify as atheists, I thought it would be topical to address My Big Official Stance on Christmas (alternate working title: Why We Keep Celebrating a Holiday that We Don't Believe In).

It is a good discussion topic (unless we are with Boyfriend's Southern Baptist family. In which case, it is the WORST DISCUSSION POSSIBLE). I mean, Christians don't often go lighting menorahs, and I don't know too many Jews who fast for Ramadan. A lot of Christians seem to take offense at non-Christians butting in on their holiday, and I can see why they would be peeved.

Lots of atheists justify celebrating the holidays by claiming "winter solstice" and all that. And it is true that this time of the year was originally celebrated for the winter solstice, back when those crazy Pagans were running the show. Then, the Christians decided that they REALLY wanted that celebration for themselves, so they pretty much just took it and (literally) told the Pagans to go to hell. So in a way, a lot of atheists use the holidays to point out that no, Jesus ISN'T the reason for the season, and yes, we still have a right to exchange gifts and put up a tree.

I feel like that is a fine explanation, but let's be honest here: I am not a pagan, and I do not wish to celebrate the winter solstice. So while I can understand telling people about the solstice (because it does make a valid point regarding the origins of the holiday and the existence of other reasons to celebrate), I don't feel like it really "fits" me.

What does "fit" is the simple fact that I like being with my family and friends, exchanging tokens of appreciation, the smell of pine, and pretty lights. I (and everyone else on earth) like things that conjure up happy childhood memories. I like to make my family happy, as opposed to hurting them by refusing to participate in their religious holiday. In short, we celebrate Christmas as a "cultural" holiday; i.e., one that is inescapable given the value assigned to it by our society and families. A lot of Jewish kids who grew up in Christian neighborhoods know what I'm talking about: Sure, your family doesn't "technically" celebrate Christmas, but on the 25th, your mom gets you some gifts anyway. It's all about inclusiveness. We grew up this way, our families are this way, and the damned town/city/state/country is this way. We will be this way, too, but only in some ways.

I don't go to church anymore, even if my mom asks me (and she hasn't asked in a long time, thankfully). That's where I draw the limit in terms of cultural participation. I will go into churches for weddings, funerals, etc., but I think that going as far as attending a Christmas service would place me in a very hypocritical position. Basically, the "fun" stuff (if you always consider the holidays "fun," which I don't) is something in which I feel safe as a participant. I can justify it as a "cultural" thing, a "winter solstice" thing, a "traditional" thing. That part of Christmas is so far removed from Christianity at this point anyway, thanks to sweet, sweet capitalism. But once I have to sit through a sermon it's no longer something that I feel I can justify in the same way. Not to mention that I just don't want to fucking hear it anymore.

So that's why we have a tree, lights, ornaments, and will exchange gifts with our families on the 25th. Are we greedy and selfish for celebrating a holiday in which we do not believe? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. If anyone feels like challenging me on that, I'd just like you to know that you are totally welcome to celebrate Spaghettimas, even if you don't believe/understand/know anything about the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarians. See, shouldn't everyone be so generous with their holidays?

By the way, our tree topper is a pink-frosted donut ornament. With sprinkles.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Maybe they should be treated for "head-up-ass" syndrome

I firmly believe that the US Armed Forces will always be the last frontier in conquering sexism. P.E. classes could be desegregated and the FCC could ban gender-typed marketing; but the US military would still insist that women are too weak to sign up for the draft, or too fragile to serve on the front lines, or too seductive and distracting to the men.

Evidence: Private Monica Brown. The CBS article is good and you should read it, but here is all you need to know:
  • Pvt. Brown was serving as a medic on Afghanistan's front lines with a paratrooper unit.
  • Brown's platoon drove straight into a massive ambush, complete with a roadside bomb, intense small arms fire, and mortar fire.
  • Brown ran through that ambush to provide medical aide to two of the most seriously wounded men.
  • As the ambush continued around her, Brown threw her body over the men as she worked on them, to protect them from the ongoing gunfire and explosions.
  • Brown then dragged the men back to the truck, and continued to shield them with her own body.
For all of this, Pvt. Brown earned a Silver Star. She is only the second woman to earn the Silver Star since WWII. She saved the lives of those two men, at the risk of her own. Both her brigade commander and sergeant major recommended her for the award, fully acknowledging her heroism.

Are you ready for the kicker? Sure? You're positive you really want to feel this story punch you in the face? Ok...

The two men who Brown saved, Larry Spray and Stanson Smith, don't really care that Brown saved their asses when they were bleeding, burned, lacerated, and dying. They don't care that in addition to doing her job as a medic in extreme conditions, she risked her own life to shield their bodies TWICE. Apparently what Spray and Smith care about is that Pvt. Brown has a vagina:

But both of those men, Smith and Spray, declined to give 60 Minutes an interview. When we asked why, Smith said flat out women have no business being on the front line..."People ask, you know, like, 'Was she a superhero? Did she do anything, you know, super woman, super heroic?' No, she did her job," Best (a gunner with the platoon) says. "And she did a very, very good job doing it. Now, that fact that she was 18 and, you know, a female and all, you know, that adds something to it."
I don't understand how the fact that Brown was not "supposed" to be there negates from what she did. She shielded two severely injured men with her own body as she gave them life-saving medical attention. Whether she was "supposed" to be there or not is irrelevant. She was. She did. It happened. People in cases of "right place, right time" aren't usually "supposed" to be there either, but everyone talks about how fortunate they are anyway.

As for Best's comments, I call shenanigans. While Brown was certainly "doing her job" as a medic, she went above and beyond the call of duty when she continued to expose herself to enemy fire. Her job as a medic is to treat wounds, not to act as a human shield. So yeah, I would say that what she did wasn't necessarily in her job description. Best's dismissive comments are the direct result of his inability to see past Brown's gender. He clearly feels that her femaleness gives her some sort of unfair "edge" in earning a star. I'd bet dollars-to-donuts that if Monica Brown were a Mark Brown, he would not be so quick to dumb the actions down to a job description.

But I'll give Best a fair shot, here: Let's look at the actions of some past male Silver Star awardees. I'm sure history will show that those men worked MUCH harder for their recognition:

Antonio Rodriguez Balinas (1951): Defended the left flank of his company from ongoing enemy attacks at great risk to his life. Hm. As a second lieutenant, isn't it his "job" to defend his company from enemy attacks?
Harry Frederick Bauer (1942): Was a Lieutenant Commander who was wounded, yet ordered his own men to turn attention from him and rescue another man instead. Bauer died, so I would say he definitely risked his own life while "doing his job" (ordering his men to rescue a wounded man).
Michael A. Monsoor (2006): Ran into a street under insurgent gunfire to rescue a wounded comrade. Sounds familiar.
John Stebbins (1993): Was supposed to be serving as a clerk for the Somalia conflict, but joined fighting anyway. That alone earned him the Star. But he had no business being there!

Sorry, Best. Looks like plenty of men have earned the Star for the same reasons as Brown. Try to contain your exploding head.

In 2008, there is not a single fucking excuse for feeling threatened by a woman's ability to match the ability of any man. We prove our equality all the time, but ignorant asses like Spray, Smith, and Best always find ways to justify the cognitive dissonance. Heaven forfend that they ever justify it by re-examining their personal perceptions of women. Brown could have thrown her body over a hand grenade for them and they would still claim that she didn't do anything special.

How about some fucking appreciation?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Le Femme Obamas

Today I head a teaser for a "news" story on the potential designer for Michelle Obama's inaugural outfit; later, I read a story on Jezebel about what Malia and Sasha will wear. And to all of this I say: WHO THE FUCK CARES? No one ever speculates about what suit Barack Obama will don. No one analyzes the shit out of his tie colors and the crease on his pants. Can we talk about the things Michelle might like to do with her new position in the Whitehouse (And I'm not talking about decorating the fucking Christmas tree)? You know, I never hear it mentioned, but the woman has a fucking career, too. We could talk about how that might play into her future plans? For crying out loud, why don't we write about Sasha and Malia's favorite sports or school subjects? WHO CARES WHAT THEY WEAR?

My point is that the media can not seem to learn that WOMEN ARE NOT FUCKING DECORATIONS. Michelle, Sasha, and Malia are not pretty accessories for the president-elect. They are people. With minds. And one of them has a really fucking awesome career (can I just point out here that while Barack Obama was still a senator, Michelle earned waaaaaaay more than he did? like, over $100,000 more a year?). And there is more substance to them than how they look when they wear clothing. So it would be fucking awesome if the media dug a little deeper (I'm talking to you, Jezebel).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Writer's Block

I'm feeling a bit clogged in the cranium, if you will. So I'm taking a cue from the One Minute Writer blog and writing for one minute on today's topic: What is your least favorite food, and why?

Vegetables. I fucking hate most vegetables. I know that vegetables are really more of a group of foods than a single food, but that's what I hate. Boyfriend has actually forcibly inserted broccoli into my mouth, only to have me push it out with my tongue. They taste bitter (or like nothing at all), some of them have bad textures (corn kernals), and some of them are too hard to chew (shut up. I have a delicate jaw). When we are at a family dinner, I will always fail to place the green beans/broccoli/cooked carrots/corn/nasty-ass vegetable combo on my plate. Instead, I will take seconds and thirds of the potatoes and rolls.

The only time that I will eat vegetables is if they are in a stew (and even then I often eat around them), deep-fried (particularly zucchini), or covered in ten pounds of cheez-whiz/peanut butter (this is how my mother got me to eat them as a child). I will not force myself to eat vegetables for the sake of my health. I'd rather stick a fork up my anus. Make that three forks.

I imagine that I am quite lacking in many essential nutrients. This does not bother me. Ask me again when the DIABEETUS (thank you, Wilford Brimley) kicks in. Because this bitch loves her sugar.

I didn't obey the minute-limit, but it's my blog and I can do what I want. So thhpppttt.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Passport 2 Teen Pregnancy, Part Deux

Awhile back I wrote about some concerns I had about spending the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday with Boyfriend's family. You can read all about it here, but it you're anything like me, you generally don't follow the links back because you're a lazy sonofabitch. So I will be really nice and sum it up for you: Boyfriend has an Aunt and Uncle, with two daughters, Cute Cousins 1 and 2 (CC1 and 2). They are some sort of crazy Southern Baptist, from a VERY southern state. This year, CC1 is 12, and Aunt is doing an abstinence-only sex ed with her called Passport2Purity.

Boyfriend and I are quite concerned about this abstinence-only sex ed, for all of the reasons illuminated in my last entry (I know you didn't click the link, jerk). So we had talked about it and decided that if the opportunity arose, it would benefit CC1 to give her our perspective on sex (that it's AWESOME).

Ha! No, that would be age-inappropriate (that talk doesn't come until next year). We just wanted to let her know that A) She should ALWAYS seek either birth control pills and condoms if and when she decides to have sex, without shame or embarrassment and B) It's totally okay if you decide to have sex, so don't think that you're any less of a person (this is an especially important message if she gets molested or raped. Not that it's okay to be raped, but that it won't devalue her in any way).

We got to spend about two full days with this branch of Boyfriend's family. There were about 14 people in the house, so we figured that we probably wouldn't get a chance to talk to CC1 (although I was just dying to say something). On the last night of her visit, I went to call my mom privately in the basement, and CC1 sort of wandered in after me and was hanging around. I figured this was about the only chance I would ever get, so I said good-bye to my mom and went to talk to CC1.

Basically, we only got a little bit of time. I started by asking her about her Passport2Purity trip, and if it was embarrassing ("Yes!") Then I asked her if her mom told her about birth control or condoms on the trip. Of course not. This pisses me off. You take a whole fucking weekend to talk about sex with your kid and you can't include something about birth control or STD prevention? Are you fucking kidding me?

So I went for it and gave her my spiel about THESE ARE WHAT BIRTH CONTROL PILLS LOOK LIKE AND SWEAR TO GOD YOU WILL USE THESE AND CONDOMS WHEN YOU HAVE SEX (I hope it came off less desperate than that). I also got in some bit about how they aren't bad and she shouldn't be ashamed or scared to buy them, and the pills don't kill babies and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Then she got called upstairs for something. When whoever called her was done, she ran right back down to talk to me more. She seriously had a ton of questions, and she was super curious. Boyfriend figured out what I was doing and joined me to talk to her. We got a few more things in before we got interrupted and had to postpone the convo for later. Unfortunately, we didn't get another chance to talk to her alone (There were three other kids in the house and I swear we were like some sort of crack to them). So when she left the next morning I told her she could email us anytime she wanted to talk.

But wait, there's more.

We left on Sunday, by train (we're so old-fashioned, by which I mean "too cheap for plane tickets"). Two hours into the train ride, Boyfriend's phone rings. Sure enough, it's Aunt. CC1 spilled. Aunt asked for me (as an "outsider," I am naturally the main culprit). She wasn't very happy, to say the least. Well, no shit, I did undermine her parenting strategy. So I sat through a thorough telling-off. Looking back on it, I remember sitting in the train seat talking on the phone, quite upright. But then I could feel my spine slowly melting and swaying as it slowly turned into some sort of gelatinous goo. And just like that, I lost any nerve to actually debate Aunt on her choice of sex ed. Instead I spent the phone call telling her that I was "sorry for offending" and "respected her decisions."

I think that my yellow-bellied response was the right thing to do, for the sake of family harmony. First of all, I knew what I was doing in terms of undermining Aunt's parenting. I know what a big problem that is, and yes, I had considered how I would feel as a parent if someone did something like that to me. So I feel conflicted about our decision to talk to CC1. But what I've ultimately concluded is that in this case, CC1's health and well-being is at stake. CC1 is unlikely to hear this information from her school (VERY southern state, if I haven't made that clear enough already) or her parents. And anyone with their head NOT up their ass knows that abstinence-only sex ed has significantly higher rates of teen pregnancy and STDs than comprehensive sex-ed. So if Boyfriend and I can do ANYTHING to get the information that she needs and deserves to protect herself as she gets older, then we will. I knew going into it that CC1 was likely to tell Aunt. And I knew that I was risking some serious family Drama.
So bowing to Aunt's almighty sense of indignation was the least price we could pay, I think, for the potential to help CC1 avoid a lot of nasty troubles.

It really could have gone worse, I think. Aunt could have completely cut us off from speaking to her daughters, which would have been too painful. Instead, she did a very "Christian" (or just plain nice) thing, which was to tell us that she loved and forgave us (whether she really feels that way is questionable. But it was nice to hear it, rather than ex-communicating us from her family).

Aunt also said a few things on the phone that bugged the shit out of me, which I failed to argue (harmony, harmony). She made the comment that "I wasn't ready to talk about this with her." Oh really? YOU weren't ready? Because I think what actually matters is whether your DAUGHTER is ready. And she seemed pretty fucking ready to hear about it to me. Plus, if you are going to have a whole weekend to talk about fucking, then you had BETTER be ready to discuss any and all aspects of it. Aunt also noted that CC1 is "12, not 14" to illustrate that she is "too young" to hear all this. Sorry, I fucking disagree. 12 is the PERFECT age to know this. Know why? Because it's old enough to comprehend, but (hopefully) before the need to practice. So when she IS 14 she's already armed. Also, she may not be having sex now, but that shit happens fast. I mean really. I think I decided I wanted to finally have sex in about two weeks' time. And if I hadn't known anything about birth control or condoms BEFORE then, I imagine that I would have figured I would be just fine without them (you can't get pregnant or STDs from just one time/if you pull out/ if you do it in the ass, right?). Not to mention that CC1 isn't some delicate fucking snowflake. Her head won't explode if she hears those words at 12. My middle school started sex ed in grade 6. Frankly, waiting until 12 is a bit generous, in my opinion.

Aunt got pretty condescending when she told me that I am young, don't know anything, and will change my mind when I'm 45 with kids. Actually, no. I'm pretty fucking sure about this. Mostly because my reasoning is grounded in reality, while yours is grounded in your pastor's asshole. That's why future 6-year-old will fucking school you in the latest stats on birth control effectiveness.

Aunt also said that CC1 was "upset." Really? If anything, CC1 is probably confused, because two people she trusts suddenly told her the OPPOSITE of whatever crap her family and church feed her. But I highly doubt that she is "upset." She was curious. She had questions. She said that she wanted to talk more. She never indicated that the conversation made her uncomfortable or that she didn't want to talk about it. If that was the case, I wouldn't have talked to her.

The one thing I regret is that I did tell CC1 to not tell her mom that I told her these things. When I said that, I was particularly thinking that I didn't want CC1 to tell her mom personal details about MY sex life that I was sharing as an example (age I started on birth control, etc). Admittedly, I would have preferred if CC1 didn't say anything to Aunt at all, for the obvious reason that Aunt would be angry with me. Of course, this is how it came across to CC1, who has been taught that an adult should never tell her not to share something with her parents (which is a good lesson). So I was sorry that I said that, because it probably came off as shady to CC1. But I'm not a creeper, I swear.

Anyway, we think it's mostly over (until next holiday. This could be one of those things that drags on for years). I am sorry that Aunt (and probably Uncle) are upset and may not trust us with their daughters in the future. I am sorry that I intentionally undermined somebody's parenting. But I am NOT sorry, nor will I ever be, that I did what I could to give CC1 honest information for the sake of her reproductive health. I am NOT sorry that I gave her the idea that she CAN have sex if she is safe. I am NOT sorry that I told her that she should not be too ashamed or embarrassed to protect herself. In this case, CC1's right to health and safety trumps Aunt's right to insulate her daughter in an archaic purity bubble.

Boyfriend and I now joke that this is that historical holiday we tell our kids about when they ask why Daddy's family doesn't talk to us. Ah, memories.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Atheist Adverts

There was some article somewhere, that I am too lazy to look up right now and link to because I have a headache. But the gist of it was that some group of atheists (freedom from religious thought? something like that? GAH I HATE EFFORT) are all getting together to fund billboards and bus adverts to get their message out there. Things like "Reason's Greetings" (around xmas) and "reject religious Dogma" and "Don't believe in god? You're not alone."

Anywho, I'm just gonna come out and say that I'm not totally cool with this concept of "organized" atheism. My thinking is that I really fucking hate those stupid Christian billboards (there's one on the drive down to my parents' house that says "Keep using my name in vain, and I'll make rush hour longer. -God." WTF? That doesn't even say anything. What retarded monkey was allowed to pick that message?). So I can't see how the atheist billboards are any better than that. Honestly, I don't want any advert telling me what to believe in, or attempting to guilt me or whatever. So even though I may agree with the messages on the atheist billboards, I can't say that I believe in any great gain from their existence. If anything, it makes us look as obnoxious and insecure as the fundies. Isn't the idea that we don't need to get on a soapbox or have rallies or be fuck-ass CrAzY to be secure in our beliefs?

I imagine it looks like we're being pushy in those ads. And to the average fundie, I imagine that it looks like we're WAGING A FUCKING WAR on Christmas/god/America/little Debbie snack cakes. I don't think we need to feed into their bizarre martyr complex/delusions of grandeur anymore.

But there is a flip side. Because even if I disapprove of this "in-your-face" movement from organized atheism, it is doing things for us that are helpful, and which wouldn't be possible without group cohesiveness. For instance, this atheist group managed to hire its first lobbyist to speak for us in DC. That's a pretty big deal, because we're a pretty disenfranchised group in this country (can I refer you to the 14 states that don't officially let atheists hold office? Or the theistic chant that public school teach our children?) And I do sort of like the idea of letting people know that we do exist and we do matter. Seriously. Because some people actually believe that our numbers are so small that we don't matter. Or that we don't exist at all. So that makes it sort of hard to live, and I'm glad that a group is trying to ameliorate that for us.

My feelings on organized atheism also make me feel apathetic about blogging my non-belief. I'm not really interested in arguing it, or hashing it out, etc. There are plenty of good atheist blogs that do that already, and they're interesting to read...to a point. But at some point, I'm not interested in watching a reasonable, logical atheist hash it out against some infuriated barely-literate fundie. It's a one-sided argument, it's not going to get resolved, and it's only re-stating what I already know. Preachin' to the choir, yo. So that's why I probably won't post on atheism as much as, say, queef jokes that Boyfriend makes. That's right, I said QUEEF. Don't act like I didn't make you CRINGE.

Anywhoodle, I know I was just absent from blogging for a bit, but I'm actually not done being absent. We're spending Thanksgiving with Boyfriend's family out-of-state, so I probably won't be blogging in a house where my online musings might be discovered (I guess I could blog and if someone asks what I'm doing, I could say that I'm looking at hardcore sadomasochist goat-cheese porn, but I don't know if I wanna risk it). So Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'll be back next week!

Why I Love New York, Reason #1,233,434

Because sometimes, when you step on the subway after a 4 hour bus ride from your mom's house dragging 60 pounds of luggage with a new cold and hungry as fuck, a young man with a pleasant voice and an acoustic guitar is standing across from you singing a Beatles song. And that just makes it all okay.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That was weird

You know all of those fake-ass warning stories they tell to women, like "once a woman heard a baby cry on her porch but she thought it was weird so she called the cops and the cops were all DON'T A RAPIST HAS BEEN IMPERSONATING A CRYING BABY TO LURE FOOLISH BABY-LOVING WOMEN LIKE YOU RIGHT INTO HIS CLUTCHES and the woman is all PHEW I could have been raped"???

Yeah. I hate those urban-legends-passed-as-true stories. Oh, but one of them sort of happened to me tonight.

At around 10 tonight, Boyfriend and I are on the couch. The buzzer rings. Now, we live on a second floor apartment facing the street, and we can look out the window and see people at the door. But sometimes I think it's better to not look out the window and reveal yourself to whoever is at the door. 'Cause if it's some cute kids selling candy for school you look like a big scrooge when you drop the curtain and walk away. Anyway, for this reason, I asked who it was over the intercom before I looked out the window.

"Package for apartment two."

Um, okay. It's 10 pm, and we are not expecting a package. There's one other apartment on my floor, so I ask which apartment it's for.

"It just says two."

Okay. This is shady. Now I ask who's name is on it.

"It doesn't say."

Now I'm definitely not buzzing them in. Boyfriend glances out the window, and goes across the hall to see if our neighbor is perhaps expecting something. I push the "talk" button once more, and tell the person to hold on for a minute.

Silence on the other end.

I cross the room and look out the window. No one is at our gate.

The neighbor doesn't answer and Boyfriend comes back. I ask him if he saw someone standing at the gate when he looked. He had. Did they have a package? No. Were they in a uniform? No. What was he wearing? It was someone in a dark blue hoodie, with the hood up.

Nice. My night almost turned into a cautionary tale, doomed to eternal circulation in emails from well-meaning aunts.

So, at this point the guy was gone, but I felt unsettled knowing that some guy is in our neighborhood ringing buzzers and trying to get into apartments. His motive could be anything, really. It's cold out tonight, so maybe he's just trying to find a warm place to sleep. Or maybe he's trying to rob the shit out of someone. Honestly, I'm not much of a gambling woman, so I'd rather not try my luck. We called the cops, and made a report. The cops can't do anything, but it will ease my conscience if I read in the paper tomorrow that a guy in a dark blue hoodie killed a family of five by ringing their buzzers and pretending to have a package. At least I let someone know.

The best part of all this was that the cops who stopped by were waaaaay more interested in our house bunny than in making a report. They didn't even write anything down. Which I get, because legally speaking, nothing happened. But when I apologized for bothering them they were very sincere in assuring us that we had done the right thing.

All the-call-is-coming-from-inside-the-house stories aside, I will be out of town for a few days, so no bloggity bloggin'. But don't try to rob me if you've been stalking me, because my fierce attack bunny will be holding down the fort. Hell, he nibbled on one of the cop's shoes. He's that hard.

Monday, November 17, 2008

An Underdog Undergnu Story

I was going to post something femininsty tonight, but then Boyfriend and I watched the following video and I decided that I just really had to share this. It's eight minutes, but I promise that if you watch every minute of it you will NOT be sorry.

Let's just say, Gnus ain't nothin' to fuck with

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Protest H8

Boyfriend and I are going to City Hall as part of the Join the Impact national protests against Prop 8 today. If you have free time, please please please show your support for equality at your local city hall. The website lists where a protest is near you today. The more bodies, the better.

We will win this.

Update: The demonstration was so energizing and inspiring. I haven't heard official numbers yet, but they announced that they had it at over 5,000 in NYC (we could hear the roar of the crowd as soon as we got off the subway). And I heard that San Diego had 15,000. It took us some time to make our way over to a speaker so we could hear the speeches, but they were wonderful. One man talked about how he married his husband in California in October, and he was still married no matter what the government told him. Another person spoke about how he doesn't want to raise his son in a country where the government sees his father as a second-class citizen. And when everyone started chanting "Yes, we can," I may or may not have choked up a bit. Sentimental fool.

We didn't bring a camera, but someone posted a pic that caught our sign. It's the one that says "Gays aren't second-class citizens." My hand is holding it on the left side, Boyfriend's is on the right.
The other side said "Focus on your own family."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jesus Truck

The Yellow Jesus Truck is out again.

Boyfriend and I occasionally see YJT on our way home from the subway. It's a yellow truck, think like a mid-size U-Haul truck, and the side of it folds out into a stage. They park the truck on the sidewalk outside one of the housing projects, and spread blankets on the sidewalk for kids to sit on. Then whoever it is who owns the YJT holds a noisy Jesus rally for the kiddies.

I fucking hate YJT. Seriously. I seethe with anger when I walk by.

"But why, Phoebe! Why do you hate Jesus!"

No, no, I don't hate your precious lamb of god. I just hate the YJT. Because the weird Jesus rallies they have send fucked-up messages, and those messages remind me of the Jesus Camp that I attended for two summers in my early teens. The sick fucking Jesus Camp that played sick fucking mind games, except we were too young to know better so we just accepted the brainwashing. I don't like watching other children accepting the brainwashing from the YJT.

Today when I walked past YJT, two staffers (ministers? missionaries? crazeballs?) Were doing a little call-and-repeat. They were holding up a sign with the messages that they wanted the kids to shout. The first sign item was "Jesus loves me." That's cool. I sort of like that message. It's cute to hear them all shout that someone loves them.

The second message is what makes me clench my teeth and fists: "I am a sinner." UGH. I HATE IT. Making little kids say that they sin, that they're sinners, that they're unworthy, etc. It's so FUCKED UP. Do you know how much guilt I had as a kid over messages like that? No wonder I had such low self-esteem my whole life. No kid should have to go through life having extreme guilt over that stupid fucking shit. What sort of "loving" religion makes little kids chant that they're "sinners"? Fucking FUCKED UP.

The third message wasn't much better: "Jesus died for me." I triple hate that one. Now, on top of making a kid feel like a sinner, you're making them feel responsible for some dude's grisly death 2000 years ago.

"Hey Billy! I just want you to know that there is this guy who REALLY loves you, with all of his heart and soul. But also, I want you to know that you're the reason he died. Oh, and the things that you do everyday make him sad and unhappy."

Yeah, that's religion in a nutshell for me. I just really hate the way it's taught to kids. I mean, it's great to teach kids right from wrong, like don't steal. But really, I think it's better to teach them to not do those things for their logical reasons (like, stealing will hurt the owners' business and you can go to jail); rather than just saying "it's a sin and sinners go to Hell." And I don't like how lessons of "right and wrong" snowball into telling kids that they are sinners. Because whatever they're doing that's "wrong" in religions' eye shouldn't really define the whole person. Especially not a kid.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I MUST have this child. Right now. Someone find her and mail her to me.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Note to self: Have children, and raise them to speak French. It is way fucking cuter in French.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I shake my fist at you, Mormons

Everyone knows by now what an asshole the Mormon Church is when it comes to The Gay. But now, it seems that they've also been disrespecting another group.....(wait for it)....Jews!!! And not just any Jew, oh no. Turns out that the Mormons have decided to specifically hate on DEAD HOLOCAUST JEWS.

Yeah. Apparently they believe that Mormons can only be reunited in the afterlife with other Mormons. They also believe that it's not too late for your dead relatives to become Mormons, too, so that you can see them again. So they have a church member "stand in" for your dead relative during a baptism. They believe that by doing this, the stiff can then choose Mormonism and go to heaven for punch and cookies for all eternity.

The Mormons are also crazy for genealogy records. So they have a big-ass database with a bunch of names. In this database are the names of a bunch of dead Jewish Holocaust victims. So, it turns out, they've been taking the names of the dead Jews and baptizing them in the name of the Mormon Church.

So let's get this straight. You're a Jew. You are taken to a death camp, tortured, and killed because you are a Jew. Then, 70 years after you die, some self-righteous Christians ignore your religion, ignore the suffering that you endured for your religion, and claim your soul as a member of their religious group??

This is a huge insult to Holocaust victims, survivors, and their relatives. Basically, the Mormon Church is saying "We're right and Jews are wrong. So we're going to just go ahead and make them Mormons." It trivializes the entire Jewish religion. It's disgusting.

As it turns out, in 1995 the Mormon Church had agreed to stop this practice, and removed a number of names from the database. But someone who was keeping tabs on them discovered that Jewish names have been continually resubmitted and added to the database since that time.
The Church's defense for this blatant violation is a kicker. A spokesman said that the names were added by a small-group of "well-meaning" Mormons. Oh, fuck you. Fuck your intentions. That doesn't make any of this okay. Your intentions may have been good but the effect is horribly offensive. And the effect is the only thing that matters here.

The even sadder part of the story is that the Jewish people who have been decrying the Mormons' actions are basically giving up. The initial agreement has been violated for 13 years, so simply removing names from the database obviously isn't enough. So the Jews are tired and aren't negotiating with the Mormons anymore. It's basically like this:

Mormons: *Punches Jew in the face*
Jews: Ow! Quit it!
Mormons: Oh, sorry, I thought that it would be good for you. *punches Jew again*
Jews: That hurts! Please stop!
Mormons: Ok, I'll stop. *Punches Jew in balls*
Jews: Fine. I'm walking away.
Mormons: *Follows Jew, repeatedly punches Jew in back of head*

It kills me that Mormons are so nice to your face, and then they turn around and do shit-head things like this. No regard whatsoever for any group but themselves. They will cry all night about respect for their rights and their religion, but they don't give a flying fuck about gay rights or respect for other religions. I don't know how anyone who believes in being a loving person could EVER support an organization like LDS.

My only consolation is that I think this whole thing is ridiculous because A) I don't believe in souls, so the fact that the Mormons take this whole posthumous baptism thing seriously is fucking laughable and B) it's funny to see people waste so much energy and life because they think they're going to go somewhere after they die. Hey, Mormons: Just enjoy your fucking life and quit wasting your time making other people miserable. Because I bet you dollars to donuts that when you die, you ain't going nowhere but six feet under. And you won't hear your relatives' damn baptisms down there, either. So just abstain from your coffee and tea and leave the rest of us the fuck alone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Amish Country

I met someone new at work today, and we started talking about a trip that she had just returned from to Amish country in PA. I got retardedly excited about this topic, because I grew up in that area. So when I get to the Big City and the City-folk want to discuss things like this, I'm all LET'S TALK ABOUT RUMSPRINGA AND FASNACHTS.

Man, the Amish piss me off. I know, it's not nice to say. But I can't help myself. They make me really angry. And it's not because they're Christians and I'm a godless heathen. It's because they are a FUCKING BRAINWASHED CULT and yet, they are revered for it.

The Amish live in isolated communities (no shit). They rear their children with little to no exposure to the English world. They stop educating their kids at an eighth grade level (and prior to that, the quality of education that they give is questionable). And then, at fucking 16 years old, they give their kids a couple of years to go crazy and experience the English world (Rumspringa). Eventually, the kids have to decide whether they want the English life or the Amish life.

Okay, so let's think of another scenario for a second. Imagine that for your whole life, you were only allowed to eat wheat bread. Your parents tell you that eating anything other than wheat bread is bad for you, will fill you with cholesterol, and kill you.. Your teachers say the same thing. They point to non-wheat-breaders and tell you how sick they are and how they are going to die. Suddenly, at 16, your parents say that you can try bacon. You try it. It tastes good, and you sort of like it, but you're uncomfortable. Isn't wheat bread the only thing that is good to eat? Won't eating bacon kill me? Then, to top it off, your family makes you choose: wheat bread or bacon? If you want to keep eating bacon, you can't have your old life. You have to leave your family and go out into the world. If you pick wheat bread, you can go back home. So: health, home, and wheat bread; or sickness, strangeness, and bacon?

It doesn't seem like much of a choice. That's what the Amish kids basically get. They aren't educated outside of their community, so when they have to choose what life they want, they almost always pick Amish.

Furthermore, some kids do pick the English life. But guess what happens to them? They have to go out into the world WITH AN EIGHTH GRADE EDUCATION. You can imagine how successful they will be.

So I don't really have much respect for the Amish, because they brainwash their children and deny them a lot of opportunities. Also, they have a lot of genetic problems from inbreeding (bilirubin problems in particular), and that's not cool either. Oh, and did I mention how they treat their women? LIKE SHIT. Amish women can't do shit except cook and clean and squeeze out more Amish babies. Because they have vaginas. Oh, and because some bitch named Eve gave some dude named Adam an apple. So, you know, if you have a vagina you should really just stay in the kitchen and cover up, for god's sake.

But what kills me is that for some reason, people fucking WORSHIP the Amish. They take special trips to Amish country. They go crazy over photographing buggies and hitching posts. They buy books that paint the Amish as a noble and admirable people. They lose their fucking minds over quilts. Enough with the fucking quilts. Boyfriend's mother makes quilts and you don't see a bunch of people acting like jackasses to get one.

I'm not saying that the Amish aren't nice or whatever. The Amish people that I've met are so damn sweet they'll make your teeth rot and fall out. But I don't think any group of people that purposefully denies its children educational opportunities or keeps its women so subservient deserves that sort of hero-worship.
I realize, of course, that the elder Amish are themselves lacking in educational opportunities, and don't know any better themselves. But it's still not okay that they shame and guilt their kids into following their religion. Or that they keep their kids stupid so that they don't know any better. Or deprives their women of choices and careers (A documentary on the Amish called Devil's Playground profiles a 42 year old woman who uses anorexia as her only means of birth control; she didn't want more than eight kids). For crying out loud, they don't even want their people to get treatment for mental disorders.

That's just how I see the Amish. They aren't monsters or anything, but they aren't much more than a group of people whose religion keeps them ignorant. So I don't get the reverence.

But, to be fair, I do enjoy Fasnachts, so I guess I have the Amish to thank for that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spare the rod

When I ride the subway to and from work everyday, it's generally pretty deserted since I'm going the opposite direction of most of the NY workforce. This leaves me a lot of time to sit and people-watch. Today, I was in a car with maybe 6 or 7 people, all spread out. To my left and across the aisle, in line with my peripheral vision, was a mother and son.

They were pretty ordinary, except that the son was whining for something or other. He looked like he was roughly 8 or 9 years old. I'm not sure what he was whining for, but he kept doing that "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" thing over and over again.

I know how super frustrating that constant whining is from kids. They don't know when to stop, and it really grates the nerves. This mom felt that way too, apparently. Because she was FUCKING LOSING HER SHIT. Conversation sample:

Child: Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!
Mom: Shut up! SHUT UP! You sound STUPID! You shut up NOW.
Child: Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!
Child: Mommy!!!! MOMMY!

At this point, the mom started slapping him. She started on the leg, with quick swats. When the kid didn't relent, she graduated to slapping him on the side of the head and face. I guess the kid is pretty used to this by now, because he was still pestering her. She did the old "cheek squeeze," where you grab the kid's cheeks between your fingers and squeeze their mouths into a fish face (My mom used to pull that one. That shit hurts). Between the bouts of physical violence, she threw in a bunch of physical threats (YOU WANT THIS HAND IN YOUR FACE?) and generally nasty comments (YOU SOUND STUPID, ARE YOU STUPID?)

I think it's safe to say that most of the people in the car were watching this peripherally. At one point, a guy on my side of the car made eye contact with me in a can-you-believe-this sort of way. But no one said anything, and eventually my stop came and I left the car.

I don't have anything too profound to say about the incident. I got hit a lot as a kid, and it's not like I never see parents being physically rough with their children in public. But it just made me sad. It made me think about the things that this mother inflicts on her child in the privacy of their home. It made me think about how I was witnessing a kid's life unravel, because his parent doesn't know how to properly respond to a nagging child.

I don't believe in spanking or using intimidation to raise kids. And I'm adamant about not using violence to raise my own potential offspring. Resorting to spanking/slapping is a quick fix, and it's a terrible example to set for your children. I think it breeds a lot of resentment between parent and child, and kills the potential for teaching moments and open dialogue. It fails to teach long-term consequences. And if you have a kid like I was, eventually it doesn't work. Eventually, you get a kid who doesn't give a shit how hard or how often you hit. So you hit harder and more often. And then your kid fucking hates you. So, you know, I just don't think it's a good idea.

I realize that alternative disciplinary tactics (I am thinking specifically of time-outs, reward systems, etc) take time. They take more patience than the average person possesses. They take more time to kick in. But when they do, they kick-in for the long haul. They create an environment in which the child can understand the ramifications of their behavior (rather than "because I said so"). And they teach the child to evaluate their actions beyond "will I get caught?" But let's get one thing straight: they don't "spoil" the child. If you are a grown-ass person and you think that failing to HIT a CHILD will spoil them, then do us all a favor and stay the fuck away from children. You fucking bully.

Once, in a college class, we were debating this very topic. One particular student made the claim that she had been spanked, and had turned out "okay." I would counter that her anecdote is not something that we can generalize to a larger population. I would also counter that her definition of "okay" is not the same as my definition of "okay." I would further counter that perhaps she could have "turned out better," had she not been hit. But we can't know that for sure, can we? So, the argument isn't valid.

I hope that mother somehow receives the help that she needs. Unfortunately, that kid is pretty much damaged goods already. It's likely that he'll grow up to treat his kids in the same way.
Cycle of abuse, blah blah.

Anyway, it just made me sad.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Post-election blah

Don't get me wrong, I'm still elated at the outcome of the election. Every time I think about it, I pee my pants a little (in excitement, not in fear). But as much as the election brought out the worst in some people, the outcome brought out even more.

Here's a good example. This was on the facebook status of a friend's high school friend:
I NEVER want to hear about African Americans complaining about anything being unfair to them ever again. if that makes me a racist, so be it.
Oh, I'm sorry, is racism extinct? I hadn't heard that. I didn't know that putting a black person in a position of power automatically ended all institutionalized racism in this country. I didn't know that Obama's presidency immediately got blacks equal pay, equal educational opportunities, better neighborhoods, and better treatment from white people. I didn't know that putting Obama in the white house would ensure that cops didn't unnecessarily arrest or shoot innocent black people. Phew. What a fucking relief. Racism and dinosaurs: You don't have to worry about them anymore!

I don't know who that bitch is who wrote that. Coincidentally, Macon D covered this topic today, so I sent the link to my friend, who posted it so that the waste-of-life who wrote that status could see it. Like always, Macon D said it better than I can.

So as much as I am ecstatic with Obama's presidency, I am deeply saddened and troubled by the attitudes and ideals of my own peers. For some reason, I can only see some 80 year old southern grandma saying awful, awful things like that. But to hear it from the mouth of someone young and supposedly educated makes me feel so sick. To think that people like that are representing part of my demographic brings the taste of bile into my mouth.

On a related note, let's not forget about Prop 8. Unbe-fucking-lievable. There are hardly words. When will people see the discrimination? The unconstitutionality? The perverted sense of right and wrong? As an atheist, I don't believe in hell. But if I'm wrong, and there is a hell, I'm POSITIVE that there are spots reserved for people who would actively discriminate against their fellow man in such a manner. And I know that no benevolent god would save a place in heaven for bigots assholes trash shitmotherfuckerdouchedicks. My only consolation in this is that the ACLU and a few other groups are bringing lawsuits in an attempt to claim that the proposition would alter the state constitution and warrants more consideration than a popular vote. So maybe something will come of that. I've said it before and I'll say it again: GAYS ARE PEOPLE AND CITIZENS TOO. THEIR MARRIAGE WILL NEVER HURT YOURS. THEIR MARRIAGES WILL NOT BE "TAUGHT" TO YOUR CHILDREN. YOUR PRIESTS WILL NOT HAVE TO PERFORM THEIR MARRIAGES. GAY MARRIAGE IS NOT BAD FOR CHILDREN. YOU CAN'T "CATCH" GAY. But apparently stupid is genetic, so stop having kids and raising them to post facebook statuses like the one above.

Racism and homophobia will never die. But I wish the pieces of shit who keep trying to make those things legal and commonplace would keel the fuck over right now.

I get my first paycheck in two weeks. The first think I'm doing is writing a check to both the NAACP, GLAAD, and Planned Parenthood. Those links go to the donation pages, and so I encourage you to do the same.

Update: I just read Melissa Etheridge's brilliant fucking plan: California won't give equal rights to gays? Then gays won't pay California taxes. Too bad, could have done a lot with Ellen's tax money.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Can it be votez time now pleez?

Ok, we voted. Took about 10 minutes. No problems, no one asked us for ID, no one told us we weren't in the books. Nice and simple. And the machines were those old lever machines!! The last three elections I voted in (2004, 2006 mid-terms, and 2008 primaries) were all the fancy-shmancy computer touch-screens. I liked the lever machine because it made me remember going to vote with my mom, and how she let me flip the switch (I'm sure it was for a Republican candidate, but it was a nice memory anyhow). AND it makes that satisfying mechanical sound.

We celebrated at IHOP with strawberry milkshakes and bacon. Mmmm. Election-day bacon.

And now enjoy my favorite Barack Obama viral video:


I have the day off of work today to vote, although I don't need it because I'm waiting for Boyfriend's work-day to end so we can vote together. I'm all antsy about it. CNN is on in the background, and Palin just cast her vote and is getting interviewed. Someone asked her who she voted for. Her response:

"I am also exercising my right to privacy! I don't have to tell anybody who I vote for, nobody does, and that's really cool about America."

Do I doubt that Palin voted for McCain? Not really. But wtf? Sarah, aren't you supposed to ENDORSE your OWN ticket? Also, the line about how the right to privacy is "really cool about America" slays me. Is she implying that other countries don't have secret ballots? Because here's a list of them...

I may be reading into that statement too much, but I get really sick of the constant implications that America is somehow more civilized, or socially advanced, or "the best country in the world." Sure, there are worse places to live. But I don't think this country can hold a candle to certain other countries in terms of infant mortality rates, health care, civil rights, education, and foreign policy. And I think that constantly denying our problems through rhetoric only negates and undermines the efforts of people who want to fix those problems.

Go vote to fix those problems today. If you encounter any problems, call the ACLU Voting Rights Project at 1-877-523-2792. You can even call if there are too few machines that cause discouragingly long lines (this happened to me when I voted in the 2004 election. I had to wait for a few hours, miss work, and miss class. A lot of people didn't vote because they didn't have hours to stand in line. I wish I knew that I could have called someone about that).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

So sad that Obama's grandmother died the day before her grandson was (most likely) elected president.

First day of work today. I'm so fucking exhausted. But it was good, and most of all I'm pleased that everyone was a fervent Obama supporter. So I think I'll fit in.

Tomorrow is the day that everything changes.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Live from New York, it's a last-minute attempt to endear yourself to voters!

If there's anything to say about McCain's last-minute SNL appearance tonight, it's that this was the only time that I have ever felt like he was kind of a cute old codger. I especially enjoyed the line about being a Maverick republican, because other republicans have money.

How come Daisy, Daisy Adair (yay obscure reference to obsolete premium channel show!) didn't speak? I have a feeling that there is a strict "keep your goddamn fool mouth shut, woman" clause in her wedding vows. I know that she does speak, I just hardly ever hear it. She knows that rogues get the back hand in McCain-land.

Man, SNL sucks since Tina Fey left as head writer. I mean, the skits just fucking draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag. Like they did before Tina Fey was head writer. Sl-o-o-o-o-w. It's sad when McCain is actually the comedy highlight of the show.

Okay, just a few more hours of Fallout 3 and then bed. If anyone is looking for a good gift for a nerd in your life, I and Boyfriend highly recommend it. I don't even normally like first-person shooters, but this one is off the chain, as the kids are saying.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wicked, wicked wabbit

We went to a showing of Wicked last night for our anniversary. We had good seats, not nose-bleed or anything. It was a good show, by the way, but I think I rank it below Young Frankenstein and Avenue Q.

But upon our return that night, the first thing I noticed was that clumps of something were all over our area rug. Clumps of something blue, brown, and tan. All over our blue, brown, and tan rug. And in the midst of these yarn-y, colorful clumps, was our house-bunny. Our bored house-bunny. Our bored house-bunny who decided to occupy his time by pulling up chunks of our rug.


Glad we figured this out now before I went to work on Monday and left him loose all day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Punkin Day!!!!

Happy Halloween!

This is, in my opinion, the best fucking holiday of all. There's candy. There are scary things lurking about. You get to dress up. You get to carve cool pictures into hollowed-out gourds. It's not a disgusting, crass display of commercialism in the sense that Christmas is (although I admit that it's commercial, obv). It's not a celebration of white supremacy over the indigenous peoples of North America, like T-day. It doesn't require anyone to sit solemnly in religious services all day (unless you're a big D-bag and think that kids dressing as pirates and collecting candy is the "Devil's Holiday").

But the BEST reason to love Halloween (especially if you happen to be me or Boyfriend) is that it is our anniversary :) Yes, indeedy, we do mark this holiday as the date of our romantic beginnings (although we were friends for quite some time beforehand).

This Halloween is the three year mark (gasp! And already shacked up with each other!). I'm quite proud that despite many, many emotional problems, I have managed to find and keep a man for so long. And not just any man. A man who is totally awesome in every way. He cooks! He does laundry! He forces-feeds me vitamins when he is concerned about my health! He supported me through 4 months of unemployment! Hell, he even bought me a bunny rabbit to keep me company during those four months:

That's right. A fuckin' bunny. And he is ADORABLE. And that's not even a billionth of everything this man has done for me, on top of loving me despite my crazies (one day, I shall post on all of the incredible things that he has done. Including driving me and my 8-month pregnant best friend from Pennsylvania to Mississippi). Oh, and he's cute and smart. Duh, of course he's cute and smart. He's MY boyfriend.

So Happy Anniversary, Boyfriend, and Happy Halloween, everyone else! Please indulge in our pumpkin creations: His witch on the left, my Nosferatu on the right:

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Eep! I start my new job on Monday. Panic is setting in. I'm making a bulleted list of the things that I'm panicking over, because I find bulleted lists comforting:
  • Arriving at 9:30 am. That means I have to wake up at 7:30 to make sure the subway takes me there on time. Because I must be the only person in all of Manhattan who actually LEAVES MANHATTAN to get to her job. I'm doing it wrong.
  • Running out of clothes in the first week. Boyfriend and I made two mad dashes to acquire business-y clothes during the Time of Interviews. But I still only have three pairs of pants and three shirts. One of those pairs of pants does not match any of those shirts. Don't get me started on what shoes I don't have. And I *really* can't put more onto my credit card. Really.
  • Will you be my friend? I miss my friends. I had a lot of friends. Now most of them are a nine-hour train ride away. I know it's not always best to mix work and pleasure, but I would really like to make at least one good work friend. I need friends again. Or a drinking buddy. Maybe a dealer (perhaps you can guess what sorts of jobs I have held in the past).
  • Eventually causing a huge scene. I have a temper. And a strong tendency to resist orders. I have been known to be, ahem, outspoken. This has been problematic in the past (although it has never gotten me fired. If anything, it's almost always gotten me what I've wanted. I suppose this is why I continue to behave this way). But these people seem so nice, and I hate the idea that I may snap on them.
  • Don't touch me. One time, at one of many jobs I held in college, I was sexually harassed to the point that I had to report it (oh, I think I've been sexually harassed in EVERY job. But this one was pretty serious. As in, stop touching my tits/ass and stop removing your wedding ring and directly asking me to fuck you). So I prefer to work with and for women. You may think this sexist, but if that's your stance, you can eat shit. This boss is a young-ish male. He seems like a decent guy, but I shall be in a state of cat-like readiness.
  • Lunch. Brown sack or invite co-worker to lunch? Or perhaps bring a brown sack, but wait for co-worker to ask first? Okay, I'm going with the latter. How do I pay for a lunch if she asks me out? Shit.
  • Vacay. I need to ask off for two days in November for which I had previously planned to leave town. I haven't earned vacation time yet. I sort of assumed that they would be flexible, but my stomach is in knots thinking that for some reason they won't be. Or they will be offended that I asked. Yipe!
  • Being a big fucking white-trash weirdo. I already sort of stalked one of my new co-workers on facebook. She went to two Ivy League schools. I may appear out of place (note to self: refrain from mentioning your love of Pabst, your knowledge of farm-animal castration, and try not to pick your teeth with a pen cap). Also, I may hate her, depending on how wrapped up she is in her privilege. But maybe I'm making false assumptions here. Maybe she isn't privileged at all. Maybe she's one of those people who was homeless and then pulled herself up by the bootstraps to achieve her dreams. Psh, yeah right.
  • Being a liberal douche-bag. Sometimes when I meet other people in academia, I just sort of assume that they are all a bunch of bleeding-hearts like me. And then it turns out that I'm wrong. So I really need to keep that in check.
I feel comforted now. Sort of. Aw, I've soiled myself again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Passport 2 Teen Pregnancy

Thanksgiving is coming up, and this year we're spending it with Boyfriend's family. Boyfriend's family is sort of spread out all across the US, but they are all coming together at his parents' house this year. We decided to forgo my family's dinner for his, since I will so rarely have the opportunity to see his extended relations.

I'm sort of psyched about this family dinner because there will be 4 kids there, ranging from ages 3-13, and I feel like family gatherings are really lame without kids to liven things up. When my mom's side of the family gets together, I generally tend to go off and play with the wee ones, because I find it less stressful and more amusing than talking to the adults. Especially adults who I am concerned might disapprove of me. And what's the fastest way to earn family approval? Why, being "good" with the kids, of course! I've got it all figured out...

Boyfriend has two young cousins who I met once, two years ago. We stayed with them for a few days during a christmas-time road trip. At the time, they were 11 and 9, so we had a lot of fun with them. They were super sweet and smart little girls, and their parents were also really fun and nice.

Cute Cousins 1 and 2 will be at this particular family gathering. But something has been nagging at me about seeing them, particularly regarding Cute Cousin 1 (the elder). Apparently, CC1's parents are some sort of hard-core Baptist. And last year, they took her on something called Passport2Purity. It is every bit as ominous as it sounds. Apparently, it's a kit that you buy to help you plan a weekend retreat with your son/daughter during which you explain the importance of abstinence and purity. From what I can see from the website, it emphasizes five main areas: Dating, peer pressure, purity, sexual maturity, the importance of god's word.

Okay, cool. You're a Christian, and you want your kid to not have sex. I get it. That's okay.

But what upsets me is that I can't really find any indication about whether this kit talks about safe sex. Including preventing pregnancy and STDs with methods other than abstinence. Or, if it does include these things, how accurately it discusses them. (I'm picturing a glossing-over that goes along the lines of: "You can use a condom to prevent pregnancy and STDs. But abstinence is THE ONLY WAY THAT IS TOTALLY EFFECTIVE. Also, birth control actually kills babies.")

My parents never gave me the sex talk. I believe I got it in the fifth grade from my sister, after she heard me singing Nine Inch Nails' "I want to fuck you like an animal." And even after that I was way confused for a while. When we got the internet in the eighth grade (remember when the internet was a novelty?) I had to turn to hard-core porn to figure out how the hell a penis could actually fit into a vagina (OH MY GOD IS THAT HOW EVERYONE DOES IT?) For crying out loud, my mom didn't even tell me what a period was. I had to figure it out from a Human Growth and Development class, which left me EVEN MORE CONFUSED (does the blood only come out when you pee?). And I didn't hit menarche until I was 15, so I was confused for an awfully long time. So, I really like the idea of having a talk with your kids about sex and sexual maturity. I think it could have saved me a lot of anxiety.

But here's the thing. There's a lot of things wrong with abstinence programs, mainly that they DON'T WORK (go ahead, Google it. It's old news, but someone just came out with yet another study confirming that they don't work). And as I implied in an earlier post, I feel like I've seen the effects of them first-hand. See, I have a theory that abstinence programs are not only damaging on their own, but that they tend to negate the effects of a comprehensive sex-ed program. In my high school, we had a good sex-ed program. The texts and teachers were honest. We got to anonymously ask whatever questions we wanted. We had sex-ed many years in a row, starting at sixth grade. A few times a year in high school, someone would drop a big box of free condoms in the locker room. But once a year, this lady came in from some religious group, and we were required to sit through this abstinence talk. I understand that this person's presence was an attempt to please the religious zealots in our rural community. But dammit if her talk didn't induce enough fear and shame to prevent us from buying condoms, or seeking birth control.

And guess what? A lot of girls got pregnant in my high school. A LOT.

This woman probably wasn't the sole cause of all those pregnancies. It was probably a combination of people like her and rural, uneducated parents who gave the same talks at home. Or who threatened to kick their kids out if they caught them fucking (stellar parenting).

But that "fear and shame" element is why hearing about this Passport2Purity program is bothering me. The program makes sex into a much bigger deal than it needs to be. It makes it into this big, scary, ominous thing that will either cause disfavor in the eyes of your god, or somehow decrease your value as a person. For chrissake, making the talk into an entire weekend getaway sends a pretty scary message all on its own, doesn't it? This "sex thing" is SO HUGE that we need an entire damn weekend to talk about it?

I'm upset that CC1 (and later, CC2) will have to hear about how shameful and dirty sex is. How it will make them lesser people if they fuck. How do lessons like this help girls who are victims of rape or sexual abuse? How do they help them make smart decisions about purchasing birth control? If CC1 happens to get molested at school, will she tell anyone after all she hears is that "God wants you to wait" and "Your future husband will be so disappointed if you aren't pure." If she hits 16 and decides to have sex, do you think she'll be more or less likely to run to the drugstore for condoms? Or ask her mom to take her to the gyno to get birth control pills?

CC1 is a smart girl. So I hope if those events do occur, she can see through the bullshit and make healthy choices. But my specific problem in this is that I don't think her world is set up to encourage this. Her parents are quite set in this thinking, her church is set, and until a few years ago, she attended a small Christian school. Now she attends public school, but it's in Mississippi. Not a very progressive state, I imagine, in terms of comprehensive sex ed. So I'm torn. I want to say something to her, anything, to help her out. But I know that it's not my place, and I could do real damage if her parents found out that I tried to undermine them. At the very least, I want to tell her that it's not dirty and she's not going to hell for it. I want her to have at least one person who tells her that. It would have been nice if someone I trusted had told me that when I was 13.
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