Thursday, December 30, 2004

Who funds this stuff, anyway?

Have I mentioned how much I really, really hate these kinds of studies?? "Men Prefer Subordinate Women to Equals". If I find out our taxdollars are paying for this kind of battle of the sexes bullshit I'm going to get really annoyed. The problem with this study (OK, the biggest problem) is that it asks college students about co-workers as hypothetical partners and totally ignores the real world problems that naturally come from those workplace relationships. So basically, this study is proving what we've known for decades - men fantasize about dating their secretaries. Even college boys who have never actually had a secretary.

One problem comes when the researchers seem to imply that because this behavior is 'natural', it's also preferrable. Seems like I recall similar studies of married men that showed the majority would like very much to fuck their secretaries if there was no way their wives would find out about it.

Another problem (it appears without reading the actual study)... is that all the subjects were given to evaluate their potential compatibility with a fictional colleagues was a picture and a job title. Which means it was left to their imagination to fill in the blanks about actual personalities. Given that very few college students have any real world experience in this type of hierarchical corporate situation they would be totally reliant on gender stereotypes to imagine the personalities of these colleagues. And let’s face it. The stereotypes of women in the workplace are rife with inaccurate and unfair depictions.

Ask a college age man to envision a female superior and I bet he picks Demi Moore’s character from Disclosure. Yeah, I wouldn’t marry that either. Female assistants, on the other hand are almost always depicted as sweet, fun Mary Ann types. You know, if you’re doing a study on workplace dynamics wouldn’t it make sense to use subjects who actually have experience in that type of environment?

Unrelated Gripe: News articles that say:

"Authorities prevented journalists and representatives of international aid groups such as Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders and CARE from visiting the islands to assess the damage and death toll."

And then don't explain WHY rescue workers were denied access. WTF???

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I'm still overwhelmed by the SE Asia disaster. I don't feel I can add anything more than what others are already providing - links to first hand accounts, aid organizations to donate to, etc. One story did catch my eye today, though: Animals spared from Tsunamis. Which once again proves that instinct can be so much more effective than intelligence. We humans can be so incredibly stupid. Sometimes I feel like we get what we deserve in that area.

Take for example today's post by Olbermann, which reveals that apparently the official meteorological agency of Thailand not only knew of the Sumatran earthquake an hour before their own coastline was inundated - they wasted that entire hour debating about how their tourism industry would be affected if they issued a warning and then no tsunami showed up. Am I just nuts to think that common sense would dictate a false alarm would have an infintessimal affect compared to what actually ended up happening - no warning, tens of thousands of tourists dead/ injured as a result, and more natives dead or dying from disease having lost everything? What affect do they think *this* will have on their tourist trade? Sure tsunamis are rare in the Indian Ocean... but when they do happen they're catastrophic. There is historical proof of that from the Krakatoan eruption.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Really, I'm still here - just was a little overwhelmed last week. Curt had his 2nd carpal tunnel surgery on Wednesday to his right hand so I had to not only take car of him while he was recovering but get ready for Christmas, also - mostly by myself. We were planning to have Grammama and Mom & her husband over for dinner at the same time. Since I'm normally totally spoiled with Curt doing the bulk of the housework, it was a little overwhelming. Mom did most of the cooking on Christmas Day, however so that was a bit of a relief. I still overdid it a little, however, and spent most of yesterday in bed and on the couch, resting my back and guzzling tons of water and popping echinacea to try to hold off the bug I could feel beginning to constrict the lymph glands in my throat.

It turned out to be a very nice Christmas - for us anyway. Not so lucky were the 22,000 + souls lost in the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean yesterday. Here on the West Coast of the grand old U.S. of A. we take our tsunami warning systems for granted. You see these little tsunami evacuation route signs all over the coast and can't help but think we overdo it a little. There hasn't been a tsunami warning that I know of in my lifetime.... but the system was put in place following the 1964 Alaskan earthquake and tsunamis that killed hundreds. Most of the damage and fatalities were confined to Alaska - only 4 lives were lost in Oregon but there was considerable property damage. Unlike the countries hit in the Indian Ocean yesterday, we are fortunate in the Northwest that most of our major population centers are located inland. Cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Portland - even Victoria and Vancouver B.C. are well protected from any tsunamis generated in the Pacific itself by islands or located far enough inland to not feel the effect. Californian cities like San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego however are probably at much higher risk - located as they are right on the Pacific.

The other advantage we have is a pretty well educated population. I don't think you'd ever hear something like this comment come from a resident of any coastal community on the West Coast: "No one ever told us that these things can be predicted and we can be told about them," said Sumana Gamage, a shopowner in Colombo, Sri Lanka. "Next time I hope our government can do this." If most folks here heard about a 9.0 earthquake in Japan or Alaska they'd immediately be on the lookout for a potential tsunami. The connection is just too well advertised. In fact, what would probably be a bigger issue would be rubberneckers from town hearing about it and heading *down* to the coast, camcorders in hand in hopes of watching one hit.

So sad that such a simple system could have saved so very many lives.

UPDATE: It's a sad day when the above noted Pacific monitoring system not only noted the Sumatra 9.0 quake, but also issued a tsunami alert long before the waves hit the Indian Ocean shores - correctly advising that it posed no threat to us. So we knew they were in trouble but without a comprehensive communications/alert system could do nothing to warn them?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Martian janitors....

... are apparently boosting solar panel energy output for one of the Mars rovers.

"...something -- or someone -- had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it was closed down during the Martian night. The cleaning had boosted the panels' power output close to their maximum 900 watt-hours per day after at one stage dropping to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dirt. "


Monday, December 20, 2004

Funniest description of a breastfeeding pump: "Could suck the patina off the freedom-loving coppery tits of the Statue of Liberty" and funniest description of attempts to preserve modesty whilst pumping: "The only thing this achieved was to give me a mouthful of fleecy lint, not unlike what you might expect after going down on a Muppet. " Just one of the funniest prego-related blogs out there, hands down. You should seriously check out Julie.

Knock, Knock? Who's dead?

As I wander the world of the world wide web I come across lots of data and register conclusions that lodge in the wrinkles of my mind, but which I can’t recall the exact source for. One of these hidden gems that has lodged itself firmly therein is the little known fact that the #1 cause of maternal death of pregnant women in this country is homicide, specifically at the hands of an intimate partner (husband, boyfriend, ex). Not complications from pregnancy, or miscarriage, or abortion, or car accidents. Homicide. I believe I picked this us while culling through some domestic violence information which indicated that an individual woman’s personal risk of being a victim of domestic abuse (be it fatal or not) skyrockets once she becomes pregnant. For some reason, the fact that about 6% of all pregnant women will be victims of physical abuse by intimate partners stuck.

This statistic surprises people. But it looks like someone in the mainstream media is finally beginning to pay attention, probably in part due to recent national news (Laci Peterson and Lori Hacking) headlines. Today MSNBC is highlighting a study done by the Washington Post that delves deeply into the issue. Some of their conclusions, which may be startling to some (but not so much to women’s rights activists):

“Until recently, many of the cases have gone virtually unstudied, uncounted, untracked. Police agencies across the country do not regularly ask about maternal status when they investigate homicides. And health experts have focused historically on the medical complications of pregnancy — embolism, hemorrhage, infection — not on fatal violence.” In fact, due to a lack of tracking this data, thirteen states have absolutely no way of telling how many pregnant and postpartum women had been killed in recent years. "

“The FBI collects comprehensive homicide statistics but does not look at pregnancy. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks maternal health but has no uniform way of monitoring maternal killings.”

“In Maryland, which keeps track of cases better than most states, slightly more than 10 percent of all homicides among women ages 14 to 44 happened to a pregnant or postpartum woman in the past decade. If that held true nationally, it would suggest about 295 maternal homicides nationwide a year.”

“For some men, she said, the situation boils down to one set of unadorned facts: "If the woman doesn't want the baby, she can get an abortion. If the guy doesn't want it, he can't do a damn thing about it. He is stuck with a child for the rest of his life, he is stuck with child support for the rest of his life, and he's stuck with that woman for the rest of his life. If she goes away, the problem goes away."

Frankly, it surprises me that this information surprises anyone. Our society is so quick to romanticize pregnancy (the whole abortion debate, etc.) , and so quick to hold pregnant women responsible for everything they do that might adversely affect the fetus in utero ( alcohol, OTC drugs, caffeine, etc.) but they totally ignore the 800 lb gorilla in the room – abusive male partners. Forget for a minute the risk to the mother herself (which is tragic enough). Let’s remember that for every dead pregnant woman there’s a dead fetus (unless, you know it’s ripped out of her gut by a crazed stranger. Though, stranger danger by default is left out of this study). For every woman who is abused during pregnancy and survives, there’s a damned high likelihood that her child, once born will be abused as well.

So the big question. What to do about it? I’m very curious to see what, if anything Shrub & Co. will attempt. My bet’s on nothing. Maybe beat their heads a little harder against the brick wall that they call abstinence-only sex education. Once again, say “this is another terrible reason why you just shouldn’t have sex!” and totally ignore the underlying causes. Of course, I’m also betting that the Father’s Rights group jumps on this study as well for their cause, and will say “see, *this* is the extreme you drive us to with the draconian state sponsored slavery you call child support!”.

Once again doing absolutely nothing to promote the single most effective way of avoiding this issue altogether: Promoting a culture of Planned Parenthood, which teaches responsible methods of contraception, makes those available, and provides a financial safety net for mothers who do end up pregnant. Where every child conceived is wanted, and guaranteed to be taken care of.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Feel Good Friday

As is typical this time of the year, just when you’re beginning to hate your fellow man, a story comes around that reaffirms your faith in humanity. Must be an evolutionary failsafe to keep us all from blowing one another up in a pique of disgust once and for all.

Have you seen the cheesy ABC show called “Extreme Home Makeover”? Where they take one “deserving” family who have fallen on hard financial times and totally demolish the old house and build them a new one, all in the course of a week? I tend to just watch the intro and the finale to avoid the 50 minute hankyfest that comes between. The whole time thinking ‘Damn – wonder how many limbs I’d have to lose to get someone to totally remodel my house!’.

Well, we’ve got a little local version of the same dynamic going on in my neck of the woods. This summer a local good samaritan and father of three was paralyzed in the process of helping local police grab some bad guys. When the holidays came around, the local police and fire dept. wanted to help the family as much as they could. They finally got the family to agree to let them help remodel a bathroom to make it more wheelchair accessible. Other people heard about the project, thanks to the tireless efforts and free publicity provided by a local radio station . That’s when things began to snowball. Building materials suppliers, constructions companies and contractors heard about it and all began donating supplies and skilled labor. What was just supposed to be a single bathroom remodel has turned into a project where the entire house is now wheelchair accessible. It hasn’t been totally destroyed and rebuilt, but it’s apparently coming very close. They'll get new cabinets, fireplace, appliances, furniture, landscaping, you name it! Dozens of local community volunteers have all pitched in every after working their regular day jobs to make it all happen.

Unlike the ABC original show, it’s taken a bit longer than one week to get it done, but the family is supposed to get their house back on Monday. Local news will be all over the story, and I have a hunch the national news as well. It would be nice if our little community could improve it's image a bit. Before this, our most recent claim to fame was producing the notorious ice skating thug, Tonya Harding.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Where there's smoke there's fire

I always said that if there was vote tampering going on with those electronic voting machines, somewhere a programmer or two knows all about it. Finally, one has come to light with allegations that he created just such a program on behalf of a leading Florida Republican in the months before the 2000 election. He testified before a Democratic House Judiciary Committee Monday. From what I've read so far on the story, however - it's still going to be a pain in the ass to get proof of any actual wrongdoing since any malignant code on the machines would have definitely been patched/replaced after 2000. As for 2004... we had tens of thousands of lawyers out there. Couldn't one or two have filed a court order in suspect precincts to have the machines *themselves* taken into protective custody in order to check them for tampering?

Monday, December 13, 2004


Kevin over at the American Street seems to once again be channeling my thoughts regarding the obsession ultra religious conservatives have with sex, specifically of the deviant variety. Maybe if these folks were better educated they would understand how their truly sick fascination with other people’s sex lives is a direct result of repression and projection (Psyche 101??). And my standard comeback to proselytizing door knockers sounds eerily familiar to his take on things. Namely, if Heaven is filled with repressed, uptight, judgmental ostriches like them, it sure doesn’t sound like anyplace I’d like to spend eternity. I’d much rather party it up in the fires of Hell, thankyouverymuch! Then, too - I figure that all the psycho serial murderers and other hardened criminals who have those miraculous prison chapel religious conversions will probably be with them too, in which case we'll be safer in the sauna.

Anyhoo, one of his commenters pulled a quote from the article he links to by one of the mouthpieces of the religious right that says: “It’s like when the hijackers took over those four planes on Sept. 11 and took people to a place where they didn’t want to go,” she added. “I think a lot of people feel that liberals have taken our country somewhere we don’t want to go. I think a lot more people realize this is our country and we’re going to take it back.”

Then I read a comment left by Sally (no relation, really) on my own post regarding the insurgent vs. belligerent question : “To my mind, "rebel" and "insurgent" are pretty much interchangible. I think Americans tend to avoid rebel because it has a lot of romantic connotations and because it's historically been associated with the Civil War and thus is pretty loaded.”

Finally, this afternoon my conservative co-worker has been all aflutter from a report I assume he got either from Drudge or the Freepers about how some school superintendent in Oklahoma removed all Christian references from the elementary school’s holiday play (including the nativity scene and the carol Silent Night), but left in references to Kwanzaa and Chanukah. Which is the latest in a long line of sob stories coming from the right about how Christians are being “persecuted”.

And I had one of those great epiphanies that you think is mind-blowing but which in all actuality, has probably already been thought about, and discussed, and published ad nauseum. To whit: As much as the Conservatives & their blowhards like to make fun of the alleged “victim mentality” of the Liberal Left, they’ve got an even bigger martyr syndrome going on over on their side of the spectrum. And what they’re really and truly pissed off about… is that they believe we’ve usurped their status of the ultimate martyr: the American Christian, red-neckian Underdog. As Sally reminded me, there is nothing, NOTHING more sacred to that “other”-hating, bible-thumping, homophobic portion of the population than the Confederate flag. The sons & daughters of Johnny Reb are inordinately proud of their rebel history. By some sick twist of logic, they see themselves as the natural successors to the Pilgrims, the American Revolutionaries, and Robert E. Lee. A huge part of their cultural identity is wrapped up in being the Underdog, and in being the religious minority.

So that’s why it is so important for them to continue to paint themselves as the Rebels and the Liberal Left/ACLU as cold-hearted tyrants who are persecuting them for their religious and cultural beliefs, even when reality is - *they* are the ones persecuting others. Without that over-romanticized rebel/ martyr identity, what do they have? This is why they delude themselves into thinking we’ve “taken over” when the reality is, their proclivity for procreation has ensured that *they* are the political majority and have been for quite some time.

The more I think about it the more I believe it might be a good thing they’re so committed to their beloved Underdog delusion. If they ever realize they have become the Alpha of the pack, we’re in big trouble.


At some level, I did know that babies come with an overwhelming amount of shit. Not just the literal kind but the plastic and cloth kind. This weekend we found a wonderful mom on who was looking to sell a used crib for an insanely cheap price. After agreeing to come look at it, she calls back and says, “you know, is this your first baby? I’ve got tons more stuff I need to get rid of if you want to look at it, too”. So one long drive to the backwoods later we come home with a car full of 1) disassembled babyjail that converts to a toddler bed, then to a day bed – with 4 different heights you can set the mattress to in order to thwart said child’s aspirations of recreating the escape from Alcatraz ; 2) Four really cool developmental toys of the leapfrog variety; and a half a dozen bags/boxes of assorted clothes from newborn on up to 2 years, including I shit you not, no less than 10 pairs of shoes and an Eeyore Halloween costume.

So began our weekend of sorting, laundry, organizing, playing with toys and cussing at pathetic crib assembly instructions. Which was fun. Picturing the River Fry in little fuzzy footed pj’s and miniature sandals was more so. But most fun of all? Tormenting the dog with the new baby toys!! You must understand. Jinx, like all good Black Labs, loves toys. Especially those that make noise. So when Curt was disinfecting the musical/talking walker type toy (similar to this) and it went off, you can imagine her fascination!. But it’s a big toy. Kind of scary. On wheels. And it smells funny. So she’s standing there outside the door to the nursery streeetching her head in to investigate the thing - ears cocked and an inquisitive look on her face. And Curt pushes a button so it plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. You haven’t seen a dog so startled since she somehow managed to get a bouquet of helium-filled, mylar birthday balloons wrapped around her hind legs.

But after much wagging of the tail, more furtive sniffing and apprehensive looks at me like “what is it? Is it OK? Can I play with it?” we finally coerced her into poking the buttons on the toy with her nose so she could play “Twinkle Twinkle” all by herself. And! the look on her face was priceless! By this time I was laughing so damned hard my gut was hurting. Then when she began poking and running, poking and running I totally lost it.

I guess the Fry will learn how to share his toys pretty young.

Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm updating my blogroll a bit, trying to categorize better. "Rapids" are sites that focus almost entirely on politics; "Eddies" are more personal journals that I find vastly amusing or touching, though most also touch on politics a bit, too because they're kick-ass people. And I've created a new category "Spawning Grounds" for blogs that focus almost entirely on things parental (though, they too are vastly amusing or touching and feature kick-ass progressive type parents). Under "Confluence" are sites that conveniently list many like-minded/themed blogs in one place. "Landings" remains a source of miscellaneous non-blog type websites I like to keep on hand for reference. Let me know if you'd like to be listed and I've neglected you.

euphemize this

A coworker posed an interesting question yesterday: What, pray tell exactly is an "insurgent"? Is this a new term describing a new situation or just one that hasn't been used often before?" Now, in my mind "insurgent" equates to "rebel" or "revolutionary" but not necessarily belonging to a well-organized group. This got me thinking, however (always a dangerous and at times exasperating occurrence, I know). Why *are* Shrub & Co. labeling Iraqi rebels as insurgents, specifically when they really are rebels? And why is nobody questioning this seemingly innocuous choice of words? So I looked it up. Come to find out, according to Merriam-Webster, "insurgent" actually means:

1 : a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government; especially : a rebel not recognized as a belligerent 2 : one who acts contrary to the policies and decisions of one's own political party.

Now, the insurgents we're facing in Iraq are most certainly of the belligerent variety. Which means the media has happily adopted Shrub's label without bothering to check Merriam-Webster themselves to make sure he's using the term correctly. That's very interesting, I think. But I still haven't quite figured out why they adopted this phrase when it so obviously does not apply. My hunch, however is that it was used initially following the invasion in an attempt to minimize the dangerous nature of opposition forces: "Oh, no Mr. & Mrs. America - they're not *dangerous, violent* rebels! The vast majority of the population are thrilled we bombed the shit out of them! These are just, well... harmless, disgruntled, religious foreign nutcases who are trying to stir up national feeling against us. "

Now after roadside bomb after roadside bomb, beheading after beheading, the violence of the rebels has become a convenient scapegoat for why we can't get our shit together (to provide critical fuel, electricity, water and basic human services). It is now not only impossible to ignore the extremely belligerent nature of the opposition, but has turned to the administration's advantage to highlight it. Since the non-belligerent euphemism no longer holds water, though I'm very curious to know why they're sticking with it. Maybe it's nothing. Like Shrub I've been known to creatively bend the rules of English myself quite often (much to my copy-editor's dismay. As my high school journalism teacher once put it, "It's not that your style is technically incorrect, per se... just a little odd"). And I know there are far more important things to contemplate in the grand scheme of things. But it's something to ponder.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A + B = WTF????

Rivka and Echidne both focus on the alarming “white natalist” movement, which is a pretty lame attempt to cover up white supremacist ideals in anti-choice lingo. Blatant racism has been pretty well marginalized as a universal negative today. But dress up those marginal beliefs in a cute little onesie and you garner instant credibility in today’s abortion/baby-obsessed media. Next thing you know, the KKK will be hiring Anne Geddes to produce annual calendars for them with precious white babies all dressed up in mini capes & hoods.

There’s always been a strong element of religious fundamentalism in the white supremacy movement. They’ve always justified their hatred in Biblical terms, with America cast as the new Promised Land and white Americans cast as the new Chosen People. And they’ve gone right along with the Jerry Falwell’s of the world in casting the women’s right’s movement as their common, natural enemy. I’d provide some sources but frankly I don’t have the stomach to surf down that slimy rabbithole today.

So, it’s nothing new. What is new, and frightening is, they’re taking advantage of the current Shrub-boosted ascension of the general religious fundamentalist movement to try to weasel their way back into the mainstream. Yes, this is alarming, but on the other hand I think it might prove to be a good thing. Finally, the more moderate Repubs who voted for Bush based on selfish financial and safety concerns, and *not* religious concerns might actually be forced to see exactly who they’re in bed with.

Actions speak louder than words, and if anyone looks at the apparently self-defeating actions of the religious right, their primary intentions do become crystal clear. First, promote abstinence only sex ed, which has been proven to correlate to kids getting married younger . Specifically, 50% of kids that take “virginity pledges” get married by age 23, compared to 25% of kids who don’t (and incidentally, they both end up with the same rates of STD) .

Repubs make it very clear that it’s *unwed* pregnancy & teen promiscuity that are their biggest issues, not necessarily lowering the rate of STDs or pregnancy overall. It's the sex, not the repurcussions of that sex that worries them. Here’s their interpretation of the same study regarding virginity pledges. As you can see, they come up with polar opposite conclusions based on the same data. They claim these pledges result in “no negative effects”, because pledged kids wait a little longer to have sex, get married at a younger age to have sex, and therefore any pregnancies resulting from that sex are “in wedlock”.

What they totally ignore are the studies that show that 1) The younger people are when they get married, the higher their divorce rate. Many bloggers noted following the election that in the Bible belt states (where abstinence programs are most popular) the divorce rates are higher. Experts blame two things on this phenomenon – lower incomes; and higher tendencies to marry young. It’s a well known fact that average income is dependent upon education level. It’s also common knowledge that marriage & parenthood usually comes at the expense of education.

But again, our Republican buddies at the Heritege Foundation poo-poo the correlation between poverty (specifically of children) and maternal education rates. They claim that a stable marriage is more important. Again, totally ignoring the fact that younger marriages are more likely to be unstable and the fact that marriages where the partners are economically disadvantaged and uneducated are more unstable.

But by some freak of logic, the Heritege folks don’t draw the obvious connection that 1) early marriage is a negative effect of abstinence only sex ed; which results in the additional negative effect of 2) lower incomes; and as a result of both; 3) more unstable marriages and higher divorce rates. Even though the statistical results of that connection are plain to see - decade after decade.

What boggles the mind is how obvious this self-defeating cycle is to everybody except the Bible-blinded religious right. It makes perfect sense why folks in the Bible Belt and other Christian communities are so overly concerned about divorce rates. It's a bigger problem there. But in trying to solve that problem, they just keep going back to the self-defeating philosophy that is causing that problem in the first place. Or worse yet, going one irrational step further and blaming other people for their self-inflicted problem; namely, homosexuals, atheists* and feminists.

Since nobody can be that stupid (can they?), I'm led to conclude their primary intent really is to promote the "barefoot & pregnant" Christian lifestyle. Everything they advocate ends up resulting in that outcome. They really are trying to breed an uneducated, impoverished army who will eagerly suck up their irrational hatred for all things "other" and gladly lay down their votes (if not their lives) in the interest of world dominion. Really, what other conclusion can you come to?

*Did you know? Atheists & Agnostics have the lowest divorce rates of all religious groups.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Latest story to have me crying over my keyboard: Strange-Voiced Whale at Large in Pacific. I'm having visions of Free Willy and Star Trek IV.... some poor lonely whale is wandering the oceans for 12 years desperately searching for his family, who have probably all died as a result of military sonar or ended up beached on an island in Australia..

This hormonal shit is for the birds. Maybe I should lay off listening to sad Irish ballads online for awhile....

Prego hormones gone amuck

Conversation over candlelit turkeyloaf dinner last night:

Me: "So did you talk to friend S. today? How’s her new job?"

Curt: "OK. Only the 19 yr old son of the owner asked her to move her car to the other end of the lot so he could park his Hummer in one of the spots right out front. "

Me: "Fucker."

Curt: "I told her I’d go wave my handicapped sticker under his nose (she got one after that car accident last year) and tell him to piss off. But then, that’s probably why I don’t have a job right now. Then, she went to register for classes & get set up to start her new graduate program but they didn’t have a record of her in the system. Apparently, there’s like a $200 deposit you have to make before you exist in the sytsem. So she’s desperately scrambling to borrow it from friends and family. "

Me: "Why does all this random bad shit always happen to her?"

Curt: "Dunno. Anyway, she called the Dean (or maybe registration did?) and he remembered her – she’d gone to the same school for her undergrad and was on the Dean’s list, so he recognized the name. He basically told Registration the school is really lucky to have someone of her caliber in the program and to do whatever it takes to just make the $200 deposit go away. "

Me: "*Breaking out in tears* Oh my God, that’s so wonderful! *sob*. It’s about time she got a break!! "

Curt: "*Horrified look on his face* Oh shit!. How in the hell am I going to deal with you being like this? "

Me: "Beats me. *blows nose* - maybe stock up on Kleenex?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Remember M*A*S*H ????

Remember how doctors and hospitals used to be, for the most part - respected in a war zone? On both sides? Well, as I've previously mentioned , those days are apparently gone for good. More evidence that the U.S. is targetting those "evildoers", aka "doctors" - who try to tell the truth about the casualties they treat (via slate). And what's so amazing is, we don't even try to hide it. But nobody is picking it up in the mainstream media. So apparently, this is just ducky with your average American? We get outraged that a training flight in New Jersey strafed a grade school with live ammunition in practice, but this behavior doesn't raise an eyebrow??:

Snip: "The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under military control. The New York Times reported that "the hospital was selected as an early target because the American military believed that it was the source of rumours about heavy casual ties", noting that "this time around, the American military intends to fight its own information war, countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons". The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers "stole the mobile phones" at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with the outside world.

But this was not the worst of the attacks on health workers. Two days earlier, a crucial emergency health clinic was bombed to rubble, as well as a medical supplies dispensary next door. Dr Sami al-Jumaili, who was working in the clinic, says the bombs took the lives of 15 medics, four nurses and 35 patients. The Los Angeles Times reported that the manager of Falluja general hospital "had told a US general the location of the downtown makeshift medical centre" before it was hit. "

I guess it's one of those things where different rules of morality apply depending on your GPS location. You know what I'd like to see.... American doctors and healthcare workers getting pissed and standing up for their foreign comrades. Even if you don't believe in the Golden Rule from an enlightened moral point of view, most folks with any hint of common sense should recognize the reality of "what goes around, comes around". You don't want your medics and field hospitals targetted, don't target those of the enemy. And you sure as hell don't target those that are by all accounts, neutral. Where's the outrage & formal complaints from the U.S. military medical corps? Where are the protests from the U.S. civillian healthcare professionals?

I just do not get it. We're practically inviting the terrorists to come bomb the Mayo Clinic or Walter Reed with this kind of callous disregard for basic tenets of human civility. And I'm not hearing a peep from the Red Cross. But then, after Abu Ghraib that shouldn't surprise me.

Random Thoughts

This is pretty nifty: Scientists make phone that turns into sunflower. Biodegradable, non-toxic plastic. What took them so long?

Until the immigration papers go through, Americans travelling abroad can now impersonate our friendly neighbors to the north much easier with this "Go Canadian" package. Besides various accessories of the Canadian flag to wear prominantly, there's a 'How to Speak Canadian, eh?" guidebook.

Note to Self: Might not be a good idea to read sci/fi fantasy whilst pregnated. Dreams of delivering puppies are a little disconcerting.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday Fun

Most people would chalk this up as a dubious honor but honestly, I'm so proud I can't stand it! Other bloggers (of the famous variety) get bookdeals. My first published sentence, however is a slogan for a women's sex-toy shop. My winning entry ("Turn your ho-ho-ho's into Oh-Oh-Oh!s") in Fleas holiday slogan contest got a mention in the Chicago Tribue. No attribution, though - I don't know whether that's a pro or a con. We'll see how my fledgling career as a sex industry tagline/cheesy softporn writer goes and then I'll tell you. Oh!!! Here's a thought!! I could write naughty Christmas/ greeting cards!!!!

"Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the house...
Not a creature was throbbing not even a mouse
The fishnet stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that the sex toy fairy soon would be there

The parents were spooning all snug in their beds,
While visions of vibrators danced in their heads;
And mamma in her teddy that closed with a snap
Settled with a sigh on dad's waiting lap"

(copyright moi)

Help Make Every Vote Count!

Dear Santa,

I want a statewide hand recount of the Washington State election for Christmas. Enclosed please find my $25 contribution to the Washington State Democrats accordingly, who desperately need to raise $750k by day end today to make that happen. I'd send money to
Ohio to help out there, too but it looks like the nat'l dems are focusing on that and I'm totally tapped out. WA on the other hand is just over the border, is like a second home and I have tons of family there. The female Democratic candidate for governor only trails her opponent by 42 votes. This Christmas, I want to give the country back her democratic ideals, starting with my beloved neighbors to the north. Please help. Thank you! (P.S. - did I mention what a very good girl I've been all year?)

****Update: Thank you Santa! Democrats have enough to pay for recount in governor's race "Top-ranking Democratic sources said the party has raised the necessary $700,000-plus to recount all 2.9 million votes cast for governor on Nov. 2 - not just votes in selected counties. A flood of online contributions put the party over the top, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

I'm very proud of Gregoire for hanging tough on her "entire statewide recount or no recount" position. The nat'l party initially only wanted to do recounts only in selected counties/precincts where they thought the results of said recount would be in her favor. This way, it's not just a point of one candidate trying to selfishly play spoiler - it's about upholding the integrity of the entire election process for *every* voter, even the ones who didn't vote for her. Bravo.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Socially Conscious Holiday Gift Buying

Just a friendly plug for my favorite charitable online "daily click" and storefront: The Animal Rescue Site. Every time you click the button on that linked page advertising sponsors donate food & care to rescued animals in shelters and sanctuaries. Other partnering sites that you can help out from the same page are: the Hunger Site, Breast Cancer Site, Child Health Site , Rainforest Site and (I think this one is new:) the Literacy Site. A portion of the price of any of the wonderful products you buy from any of those storefronts goes to the specified charity, and there are many, many Fair Trade products available.