Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Baby Blogging

In The Hood
Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
Nephew Aidan filling in again for the Monkey.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Lie

So they can't even be trusted to keep one of the 10 commandments, Thou Shalt Not Lie, yet society is supposed to trust them to keep their pants on?
Teenagers who take pledges to remain virgins until marriage are likely to deny having taken the pledge if they later become sexually active. Conversely, those who were sexual active before taking the pledge frequency deny their sexual history, according to new study findings.
These findings imply that virginity pledgers often provide unreliable data, making assessment of abstinence-based sex education programs unreliable. In addition, these teens may also underestimate their risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases...
Previous research shows that survey respondents tend to answer questions about sexual activity according to their current beliefs, particularly if their current attitudes conflict with their past behaviors. Survey respondents may also underreport or overreport their health risk behavior.

Girls can't change tires

I love Schwabbies... have been a loyal customer for years.  I've always said the minute they go public I'm buying stock.   They'll come change a flat tire or jump a dead battery for free... simply with the understanding that you'll bring the car in to get a repalcement from them.  Their customer service is superb... always very fast, good prices.  Their annual free beef promotion is a nice plus, too. 

Shortly after I began patronizing their establishments, however I noticed (while admiring the taut, muscular thighs and buttocks of the guy squatting down to change my tire...) how they always have such kind, courteous, clean-cut and cute guys working the bays.  Being young and single (and always looking for a summer job) I thought "Hey!  Wouldn't it be great if I could get a job here and meet all these hardworking, adorable, sweet, mechanically-inclined guys?".  Then I noticed.  The only women I ever saw working at Schwabbies were behind the front desk.  They answered the phones (maybe).  Perhaps processed a credit card. Never saw one out in the bay. I thought about writing a letter, speaking to management...but knew it would be pointless.  If there *was* discrimination going on, surely somebody would have filed a complaint by now?  They're a HUGE tire chain, with "over 400 locations throughout the West!"

Over the years, that has never changed. Despite what pictures/disclaimers they have on their website,  The folks working the bays are a) all male; and b) all white.  Maybe Hispanic.  Perhaps the latter is a reflection of the predominantly all-white parts of town where I've lived, but I would not be surprised if that were the case even in more diverse locations.

So, it was no surprise when I saw this article today on our local news website: Les Schwab Tires hit with gender discrimination lawsuit : snip:

"In 1996, I started at the bottom and worked up to sales and management for an independently owned Les Schwab Tire Center. But when Les Schwab corporate took over this store, they demoted me to bookkeeper," Strange said. "When I asked about my prior position, I was told 'No gal in the company would ever make that kind of money. Gals should work in admin.' I stayed for almost two years trying to move back into sales and management, but the company refused to consider me for that kind of job."

The women's charges, which allege Les Schwab failed to hire female applicants into sales and service department jobs, form the basis of the lawsuit.

The sales and service department jobs positions -- which involve mounting, dismounting, repairing and rotating tires -- are held mainly by men and are required for entry into more lucrative management jobs, according to the lawsuit.

The agency said it found that Les Schwab has excluded women from those roles for more than 50 years and only recently promoted one woman to the position of assistant manager. "

It's about time.  Can't wait to see how this case goes.  Maybe it's about time I did write that letter....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Peace for whom?

"Locals say soldiers from one ethnic group are systematically raping and mutilating women from another group, with the intention, they say of destroying their child-bearing capabilities. Kabila was quick to acknowledge that more than 300 former soldiers have been convicted and jailed for sexual crimes, but admitted that is not enough. "We clearly need to do more for our citizens," he said. "But just imagine for a moment a country as large as all of Western Europe with few roads and little infrastructure. It's a difficult terrain to police and Congo doesn't have an effective policing system. But after the election, all this will change. If elected, I will make this one of my first priorities."
"Peace"... what a crock of shit. Apparently it's only "Peace" if men in uniforms are not running around brutally attacking *each other*.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The Monkey has become fascinated with any and all utensils, tools, or gadgets that we adults use. The remote, our cell phones, the regular phone... he refuses to be pacified with any dead units or cheap plastic facsimiles thereof even if they play ringtones or announce numbers/letters pressed in an annoyingly chipper voice. And he can tell which one we're actually using at the moment, too.

On the positive side, he's a demon with the broom and lawn rake. And per his father (who was working on the deck one day), "pounds a pretty good nail, too". Oy. So now all I need to do is teach him to push 9-1-1 , recite our address and the phrase "Daddy's fallen and he can't get up".

He brings me my towels after my shower. He brushes his teeth. Tries to brush his hair, and mimics me when I put mousse in mine. He is absolutely obsessed with drinking out of a cup/glass - either direct from the lip or sucking through a straw; and using forks/spoons. It's such a fine line between "yay! you're using a spoon!" and "You already ate your breakfast. Leave mine alone!." But he's so happy pushing around little orts of food while muttering "dis dis dis" to himself....

Sometimes it's scary what he picks up on. I've already had to tell Curt to quit groping me in front of the child... I worry we'll be in a check-out line someday and he'll reach up and tweak Mommy's nipple. Yeah, try explaining *that* to Child Protective Services!

As it is we won't be getting to meet my adorable nephew next month. Something about some super secret security detail blah blah blah.... Fucking terrorists. Maybe in September. IF he doesn't have to respond to any hurricanes. At this rate he won't get to meet HIS nephew until he graduates from college. Instead this month we're focusing on getting Curt's pottery studio up and running. We've got the kilns and wheel hooked up and ready to go. Plenty of elbow room cleared out in the garage/shed. I forced him to go buy clay & supplies yesterday, so now there's really nothing to stop him except a demanding toddler. We've already got a few people very interested in taking classes... this might happen yet!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

we eat feet

In honor of Mother's Day I've been drafting a huge Monkey Update, but then can't get any time to sit down and edit it into a coherent single post.  So I'm giving up and will just post snippets as I think of them.
Last night, the Monkey ate my toes!!  It's only fair, I devour his toes all the time.  Now that I'm fighting a prolongued case of Athlete's Foot, however I may have to put a stop to our mutual feasting.  Such a shame.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Baby Blogging

Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
The Monkey's cousin Aidan filling in as I haven't downloaded any recent pics of Duncan in awhile. Looks like we may, just MAY finally get to meet the little tyke in person next month! Cross your fingers!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Reply from Metpar Corp - RE: No Standing Room

Dear Ms. Sally,
    First and foremost, please be assured "we feel your pain".  In all seriousness, you are not alone in your concerns about bathroom stall sizes and door swings.  Although it is not an "industry standard" to swing stall doors into the stall, it has become common practice.  As a manufacturer, we certainly do not impose any such requirement.  All of our doors for any stall can swing either inward or out.  More often than not, when an architect is involved in 'designing' the overall bathroom, they usually dictate how the doors will swing for easthetic reasons [emph mine].  And since an architect or general contractor may be processing building permits and the Certificate of Occupancy along with the local building department,  it will be their final decision how a room is designed (hopefully in cooperation with the building owner).
You bring up some valid issues and some intersting scenarios to consider.  Although we may not be able to alter layouts that are already designed by the architect, we will certainly keep your comments in mind on jobs where we do have some "artistic license" to design it how we feel is best.  Thank you very much for taking the time to write to us.
So it is the f*ing architects and general contractors that are the problem.  The majority of which use a urinal 90% of the time they ever personally use the facilities.  This, people is why we drastically need more women going into these fields (though apparently getting them to stay in the field is the bigger problem).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Petty, Whiny, Trivial Compaints...

Letter I just sent to some random manufacturer of public bathrooom stalls:
I've had a long standing beef with public bathroom stall manufacturers, and you happened to be the first one I found online (hazards of good search engine placement)  WHY, oh why do the doors on the "regular" (non-handicapped) stalls ALWAYS open inwards?  Is this by design or default? Do your customers have the option to install the doors either way or do you specifically instruct them to install them this way? Is this an industry-wide standard or building code issue?
I ask because like the majority of Americans, I am a bit on the obese side.   As such, when opening the door after using your facility, there is precious little clearance between the edge of the door and the toilet itself to stand while opening the door.  I basically have to straddle the toilet seat (not pleasant, safe or hygienic) in order to open the door to exit.  If I happen to be wearing a skirt or a long coat/shirt/sweater (and God forbid I have any sashes or drawstrings hanging down) the threat of the bottom of said item getting dunked is considerable.
And even if I were not on the obese side, I have a small child who many times must join me in the stall.  Opening the door with BOTH of us standing there is impossible.  Or when I'm out shopping and have many large packages.
For any of these reasons, I use the handicapped stall whenever possible instead of the regular stalls.  And feel slightly guilty doing so.  So I am launching a minor grassroots effort to lobby folks like you (or whoever actually decides which side of the door to put the hinges on) to design the doors on ALL stalls to open outwards.  If it's a sutiation where you're afraid someone emerging from the regular stalls will open the door into the path of someone else walking by, I understand.  But people are just as likely to exit into the path of someone from a stall that opens inwards as outwards (I've noticed).  And in most facilities (office buildings, for instance), there simply isn't that high volume of traffic to make this a concern.  In a sports stadium or airport I could understand that... but in those facilities the bathrooms are generally large enough to allow deeper stalls anyway.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to vent my frustration. If you can clear up this mystery for me I will be eternally grateful, and able to turn my mind to less trivial matters.  Like how to cure poverty & famine around the world.
Sincerely, Mustang Sally

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

We're #32!! We're #32!!!

Hey, wouldyalookat that! Eastern European countries are tying with the U.S. in infant mortality rates! They must be really coming along there, eh? Oh, wait...we're #32?? There's only ONE other "industrialized" country WORSE than us? Latvia??? Nevermind...

Snips: "The United States has more neonatologists and neonatal intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but its newborn rate is higher than any of those countries," said the annual State of the World's Mothers report."
"The report...found higher newborn death rates among U.S. minorities and disadvantaged groups. For African-Americans, the mortality rate is nearly double that of the United States as a whole, with 9.3 deaths per 1,000 births."
Then buried waaaay down in the article, this: "Tinker said some nations ranked high in part because they offer free health services for pregnant women and babies, while the United States suffers from disparities in access to health care."
You'd think given this kind of information, the self described Pro-life nuts would be all over pushing for universal healthcare. Or at the very least free healthcare for pregnant moms and babies. But no. Can't do that! Why that would just ENCOURAGE those sluts to keep having sex and getting themselves* knocked up to begin with! It would be like giving them a license to be promiscuous. On the tax payer's bill!
*Because you know in Wingnut world reproduction is asexual... only the women are to blame.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Snip: The pioneer group of morchidat, who finished a yearlong course in Islamic law, philosophy and the history of religions in early April, was trained to give basic religious instructions in mosques and provide support in prisons, hospitals and schools. Their salary is about $500 a month.

Applicants for the course must have a bachelor's degree and be under 45. Male applicants must know the Quran by heart, while female applicants should know at least half of it.

Although it is a first for Morocco — which like many other Muslim countries has shunned the rise of women to senior religious positions — Egypt and Iran have seen an increase in female scholars of Islam.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Is the Internet a Heaven or Hell for grammar nerds?

I've had 2 total strangers take the time in the last 2 weeks to either leave a comment on my blog or email me about some random typo or grammatical error.... errors that I can't actually find anywhere. Not on blog posts, not in comments I've left elsewhere. Not on bulletin board posts. THough I don't doubt for a minute that I've committed these sins against the English language. THe truth is, I don't give a shit.

Yes you idiot I KNOW "alot" isn't a word in the dictionary. If you spend any time reading my blog or comments I leave on other blogs, you'll quickly see that I'm the fattest-fingered typist you'll ever see. NOte hte very common DOuble capitalization at the beginning of sentences and the transposing of hte h and hte t in "the". Those my friend, are Mustang Sally trademarks. As is the passive voice and gratuitous use of run-on sentences.

I can barely summon the energy to take 5 minutes out of my precious daily existence to check for stray boogers on my face before walking out the door. Yesterday I put on navy BLUE socks with my black shoes and pants, BEFORE leaving the house. Yet, I DID NOT change the socks. Not even when I came home for lunch. Obviously, appearances do not mean a great deal to me. Not my real life persona, not my internet persona.

I catch spelling and grammar errors as I catch them, but I've never pretended to be a good copy editor. SOmeday when I write that best-selling novel I trust my publisher will hire a most excellent one to clean up my prose. Or not.

I have delusions of becoming the e.e.cummings of the blogosphere.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Here's a clue

Today Newsweek columnist Rabbi Marc Gellman tries to understand Angry Atheists, asking "Why Are Nonbelievers so threatened by the idea of God?" 
He starts out saying "I think I need to understand atheists better. I bear them no ill will. I don't think they need to be religious to be good, kind and charitable people, and I have no desire to debate or convert them. I do think they are wrong about the biggest question, "Are we alone?" ...
Then goes on to say "So we disagree about God. I'm sometimes at odds with Yankee fans, people who like rap music and people who don't like animals, but I try to be civil. I don't know many religious folk who wake up thinking of new ways to aggravate atheists, but many people who do not believe in God seem to find the religion of their neighbors terribly offensive or oppressive, particularly if the folks next door are evangelical Christians. I just don't get it. "
No, Rabbi - you apparently don't get Evangelical Christians. Because unlike you, they NO bear atheists ill will (remember McCarthyism and the Red Scare?) They DO think people need to be religious in order to be good, and kind, and charitable.  They DO have a desire to convert us, because they, unlike you... believe that THEIR personal salvation is dependent upon trying to do so. 
It's not the idea of God that we feel threatened by.  It's the very real intentions and agenda of your fellow believers in God that we are threatened by.  And we've got 2000 years of bloody, brutal history on our side to demonstrate that it's not God that's the problem. It's the folks who claim to do His will that are. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This is so sad: New study says  more than 40% of Americans earning between 20k - 40k / year do not have insurance. Per the Census Bureau, Poverty level for a single individual is $9600.  Poverty level for a 4 person household is about $19k. 

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bravest Woman In the World

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations to not clash, but compete. ... ... ...

The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: 'I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger.' When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to stop this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels. ... ... ... I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it. ...

You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs. ... The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blows himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them." (full translation by

Her name is Wafa Sultan. She's a self-described secular Arab-American Psychologist who went after the roots of radical Islam in a public debate on Al-Jazeera last week. And is now in hiding with a fatwa on her head.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fisking anti-Immigration bullshit rhetoric

I came across this phenomenal debunking of idiot anti-immigrant rhetoric today via Redneck Mother, via Super BabyMama (hey I did her template!). Everyone should memorize these facts the next time you're arguing politics with the in-inlaws (highly summarized - check out the link for a much more thorough analysis):

B.S. Point #1: They* place increasing demands on an overloaded healthcare system by going to ER's where they cannot be turned away.

Alisa's response: "Far and away the biggest strain on our emergency health system are the 45 million American citizens who are uninsured, not the illegal immigrants. 45 million is a number larger than the entire elderly population of this nation, larger than the entire African American population of this nation, larger than the entire LEGAL Latino population of this nation and larger than the entire country of Canada, and more than four times the entire population of Greece. Under Bush, the number of uninsured Americans has GROWN by over 5.2 million since 2000. Right wing pundits are pushing this b.s. to distract you from the real issue: More American citizens are sinking into poverty & losing health insurance than ever." If you're truly worried about an overextended emergency health system, push for universal health coverage.

Sally's Addendum to Alisa: The total estimated population of illegal immigrants is what: 7 Mill? And thanks to tougher laws that require E.R.'s to report the citizenship status of all patients, IME illegals only come to the ER when they have absolutely no other choice, for fear of deportation.

B.S. Point #2: They pay no property taxes to support the schools, which they overwhelm.

Alisa's response: No, but they pay rent and the landlords sure as hell pay property taxes. And you can be damned sure those owners are getting enough rent to cover those property taxes. So yeah, they pay property taxes.

Sally's Addendum to Alisa: Dude, does this mean we get to throw every child of apartment-dwelling American citizens out of our school districts, too?

B.S. Point #3: They do not register for selective service and do not serve in the military - forcing legal Americans to defend them.

Alisa's response: "All male immigrants – legal and otherwise – are required by U.S. law to register for selective service. Five percent of those serving in our military are illegal immigrants. The first soldier to die for the United States in the current war in Iraq was Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala. He died for you. You are not in Iraq fighting for anyone . You are home, sending lie-riddled missives to strangers at 3 a.m. on your computer."

B.S. Point #4: The only tax they're likely to pay is sales taxes which they cannot avoid and can remain anonymous

Alisa's response: Due to their extremely low wages no, they don't pay much in sales tax. But that tax cut Bush gave the wealthiest billionaires in the country? Thanks to it, we're losing $69 Billion a YEAR in tax revenue. For that kind of cash, we could have paid for 40 Million of the above-noted Uninsured Americans to have health coverage. "Sixty-nine billion dollars PAID BY OUR GOVERNMENT AS A GIFT TO THE RICH OF THIS NATION is many, many times more than anything 11 million illegal immigrants working for $4 an hour could contribute." You worried about people sucking the country dry of services and doing nothing to contribute to those services? Start with Bush's billionaire buddies.

Sally's Addendum: Let's not forget the corporate thieves who incorporate in Grand Caymen to avoid their federal tax burden.

B.S. Point #5: They refuse to assimilate, learn English, and send much of what they earn back to Mexico.

Alisa's response: Studies show "that by the third generation all immigrant grandchildren – no matter where they are from or the legal status of their ancestors are completely assimilated English speakers. There is not a single third-generation Hispanic in the United States whose primary or dominant language is Spanish. NOT ONE. This is precisely the same assimilation pattern followed by the Germans, Italians, French and every other linguistic minority immigrant group to this nation."
And regarding remittances: "The same argument should be held against US foreign investments abroad. After all, the amount of corporate transfers of capital is greater than the amount of remittances sent by low-paid workers. Moreover, if the US is to oppose the money remittances of "migrant workers" - should the reverse argument be held? That is, should US corporations abroad NOT be allowed to remit profits to the United States?"

Sally's Addendum: My grandmother (2nd generation immigrant on one side) actually only spoke German until she was in grade school. Nobody is suggesting we throw her out. Well, except my Mom & the Uncles when she's being a bit cranky. And re: money going offshore and depriving our economy? Dude..... the Saudi's & citizens of other oil-rich countries own half the stock in just about every major bank/financial institution in the country. I'd be happy to see some of those profits stay here.

* They being illegal immigrants, of course.

Monday, April 17, 2006

New Motto

"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.
They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Great quote I've seen in many places in the blogsphere lately, coined by Dem candidate for Maryland Senate, Jamie Raskin. Pump up the bumper sticker presses.

More on Right Livelihood

One other aspect of the controversy I hadn't picked up on until reading this:
"I have actually discussed it with my current employer when I was hired," said Norlander, who has been a pharmacist for 18 years. She felt at the time she was taking a risk by having that discussion, but it did not interfere with her employment. "I just don't want to be asked to dispense something which would not allow a human life to live."
That pretty much rules out EVERY SINGLE MEDICATION she would ever dispense, doesn't it?  So many Rx's for possibly fatal side-effects.  Allergic reactions.  Overdoses.  Conflicts with other contra-indicated medications. Hell, what about drivers who are mentally impaired by those drugs and who get in automobile accidents?  Vioxx alone was estimated to have killed nearly 30,000 people.  How many Vioxx Rx's did she dispense?  According to this article (which claims prescription drug are 16,400% deadlier than terrorists), there are probably up to 200,000 deaths a year as a result of prescription drugs.  How does she sleep at night?

Why Women Should be in charge

Owner of a self-serve golf driving range in Texas captures on video exactly why he thinks women should be in charge. Takes a minute to load.

Why Women Should Be In Charge.

The owner, Bud is hoping to make some $$ from his women's clothing line - the proceeds of which he tells me will benefit breast cancer research, a battered women's shelter and the campaign for the first woman president (no matter which ticket she's on).

Monday, April 10, 2006


Making me snort on a Monday morning: Pam at Pandagon brings us the great boob & panty wars of Alabama (a.k.a. gubernatorial race).  You've got to click through to Loretta Nall's website/ blog to get the panty story - definitely worth a read.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Springing Forward, Blogging Back

Why do we even bother with Daylight Savings Time?  Wouldn't it just be easier to start the workday and all activities an hour earlier in the day starting in the Spring rather than having to dink with moving the clock back?
I got my new issue of Discover magazine yesterday. This article in particular struck me: All Aboard the Cow Train. Snip: "The Svensk Biogas company of Linköping, Sweden, has built a locomotive that runs on cows and cow manure. The $1.25 million engine, which replaces an old Fiat diesel-powered locomotive along a local commuter line, is billed as the most environmentally friendly train in the world ."
At first glance, this looks great!  Then you read a little further: "Until recently, only cow manure and other farm waste fueled this process. This summer, however, Svensk found a way to use the whole heifer. Now the company chops up the cows and converts their guts, fat, and bones into an organic sludge, which then gets processed as before.

Obviously, there's a huge question left here - please Maude tell me that they're not raising the cows *specifically* to butcher them in order to throw 'em into the railroad hopper??  Please tell me that they're only "recycling" the entire animal after they've died of natural causes after a long and happy lifetime of frolicking in the fields producing manure for the train instead? 'Cuz if not - this next sentence is really horrifying:

"It takes about 30 cows to power the train along its 75-mile route from Linköping to Västervik, one of the countryside's most beautiful stretches of rail."

So that would be what, 2.5 cows/mile efficiency? First it's cows..what's next?  Rounding up stray dog/cats?  Unclaimed human corpses from the morgue? I don't know... it's starting to sound like the basis for a creepy Stephen King novel, crossed with the Polar Express.  Let's call it the Corpse Express.  Maybe Tom Hanks will agree to narrate?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Love and Labs

Breaking out of my blogging dearths to send some slobber-soaked felt ball love to Echidne, who recently lost her beloved chocolate lab, Hank to Cancer .    Don't open the comments unless you've got a box of Kleenex handy. You've been warned.
We recently had to make a difficult decision to let our beloved black lab, Jinx go live with Gramma and Grampa down at the beach, so this is especially poignant to me at the moment.  

While the Monkey absolutely adores his furry big sister, and she's come to enjoy playing with him (which she does ever so gently, usually...) the truth is she still has not resolved herself to the presence of a new helpless and apparently imbecilic sibling who requires the bulk of our time and attention, and has yet to grasp the meaning of the word "No" or learn the boundaries of the alpha's in the pack (like, the console buttons peeking from the entertainment center).   By the time she was 1 yr old, after all she was fully housetrained and understood that NO means NO.  Why he can't make that same leap of understanding by now she does not get.  That would not be so bad, except that she does have a hard time understanding that we're disciplining HIM and not HER.  So we start telling the Monkey NO and she starts cowering in submission, even though she's doing nothing wrong whatsoever.
So she feels insecure, which makes her very needy.  She is constantly underfoot and trying to lay on/against us, which interferes greatly with effective toddler wrangling.  The Monkey falls down, bumps his head you've got to extricate yourself from the 50 lbs of muscle & bone that has taken up station 6 inches from your right toe before you can leap to his rescue, examine for signs of concussion and provide the requisite comforting.
We put her outside and she feels abandoned. Then she gets jealous... the minute we begin playing with the Monkey she brings us a toy to throw.   The Monkey enjoys watching her fetch, and even tries to participate, but more often than not ends up on the business side of a whiplike tail that's wagging in excitement RIGHT at eye level.  And as Echidne so eloquently illustrates.... you can NEVER play fetch long enough or frequently enough with a Lab.
So I finally gave in and agred to let Mom take her indefinitely.  My retired stepdad takes her for walks to the beach every single day where copious throwing of sticks into the river/ocean for her to fetch commences.  Mom cooks her gourmet dinners - none of this Purina crap we have the gall to call "dogfood" here.
But I still miss her.  Maybe when the Monkey is a little older and better able to keep her entertained we'll see if we can tear her away from her idyllic life in the retirement capital of the U.S. But for now we'll have to make do with frequent visits.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Monkey!

Duncan's 1st (47)
Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
One day early. Par-tay was on Saturday. Due to the frightfully unseasonal snowstorm we got my mom was not able to join us. But those that did make it had a blast. Especially the Monkey. He loves balloons so we had plenty of those on hand. And his addressing of the ice cream cake was spot on - totally cliche. Grabbed a chunk when he was blowing out his candle, then we hacked off a piece about the size of his head and he dove right in... face first.

Pictorial Proof!

Monday, February 27, 2006

On this day, I be birthed....

So happy birthday to me. Actually, I should say Happy Birthday to Mom. Because of the two of us, I'm sure she was much happier to see me than I was to see her. And while I'm at it... sorry for all the colic.

I believe Curt is out as I type buying my card at the last minute, in the time-honored Casa RiverRocks tradition. And maybe, if I'm lucky, some flowers. No carnations, honey. Mama likes the expensive flowers. But not everpriced red roses kind of expensive. Who likes flowers that bite (physically and financially? Oriental lilly & freesia kind of expensive. Though in truth, I prefer live flowering plants. He knows this. I received a lovely orchid for Valentine's Day. This is a trait we share, thankfully. He received 2 flats of super cheap perennials that aren't quite ready to be planted.

Pop sort of surprised me (Curt tipped me off) yesterday by bringing my grandmother and aunt for a visit to the new house. They brought cake and a lovely winter daphne with strict instructions to plant it by the front door. In this respect my family knows me well. Lets hope it smells as nice as the jasmine I left at the old place. I'd lugged that poor potted jasmine through 4 different moves. He was a staple on my front stoop. Until he fell in love with the particular light and gutter downspout of the front porch of the last house and I let him sink his roots in and start climbing.

Speaking of birthdays. The Monkey's 1 year event will be here in 2 weeks. I suppose I need to start planning my very first kids' par-tay. Mom is coming up, and I told some friends, but this is where being a child of divorce gets a little sticky. I do not want to set a precedent of having multiple parties for each step situation. Mom's a given due to her need to travel. But do I invite Pop & his stepfamily too? They, after all are the ones in town who provide sitting services when needed. So it would be rude to exclude them. OTOH, I want to invite some of the cousins on Mom's side as well.... which means aunts & uncles, too. Damn.

You know what, fuck it. I'll invite everyone, let 'em know who else will be there and they can choose to come/not as they'd like. Luckily, our house can now accomodate more than 2 visitors at a time.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Our darling boy is showing early signs of deviousnes.
The other morning I was in the living room with the Monkeyfish and Curt in the bedroom.  The Monkey decided he had to go see what the Da! was doing and headed down the hallway, babbling "thith thith thith".  I called "He's Coming Your Way!".  Five seconds of silence (which is never a good sign) passed before I heard Curt say "Where's my Monkey?".  In response a gleeful chortle floated up from the stairway.  Oh Shit.  Curt & I met at the top of the stairs where I'd apparently left the gate partially unlocked to find the Monkey halfway down the stairs, proudly laughing his little head off. 
The Monkey, he likes the stairs. But not as much as he loves the remote control.  Toy remotes, or dead remotes to devices we never use will not suffice. It must be the actual remote mommy and daddy use.  The other day he was a might cranky and was determined to get it.  I was equally determined to watch my recorded Daily Show episode in peace and refused to hand it over.  Giving the best nonchalant performance I've ever seen by a toddler, he disappeared behind the couch to his toy box and emerged all smiles with his  popper toy.  He can't quite push it himself, but loves to have Mommy chase him around with it.  Sucker that I am, I put down the remote and caved to the unspoken request. As I ran around one end of the couch, he bolted around the other and made a beeline for the discarded device, then laughed diabolically as he waved it around in victory.  
Guess we'd better start looking for that private South China Sea island to build his evil mastermind lair. I just hope there's room for the Ma!  and the Da! somewhere in his plan for world domination....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Don't be silly, Sally...

"If Bush gets elected, he won't appoint anti-choice zealots to the Supreme Court.  You're overreacting.  He's a moderate. He's only using those Evangelicals to get into office... they don't really have any influence on him.  And there's no agenda to overturn Roe.  You're being paranoid.  What we really need to worry about are those scary terrorists - and he's my Joe Sixpack dream of a Jack Ryan wannabe who's gonna protect us." 
General gist of an actual 2004 election year conversation I had with someone very dear to me who was blinded by the flag waving into voting for Bush even though he's been a lifelong Dem.
Today: Reshaped Supreme Court agrees to review a U.S. appeals court ruling that declared unconstitutional the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, signed into law by Bush in 2003, because it lacks an exception to protect the health of a pregnant woman. 
Another day where I hate being proved right. 

Friday, February 17, 2006

Perspective Check

Here's an Interesting article from the Economist I came across while surfing today (I think via Clicked): The Mountain Man and the Surgeon: Reflections on relative poverty in North America and Africa.

The author compares two men making about $500/month each - one a former coal truck driver from Kentucky on public assistance, and the other a doctor in the Congo.

The overall gist seems to be "what are poor Americans complaining about?" and it's definitely slanted to the right (highlighting how the Mountain Man & family take advantage of gov't assistance), but it does provide an interesting "slice of life" comparison. And to its credit, it also highlights the high rate of domestic violence in the Kentucky subjects...

This, however cracked me up:

"How, then, to account for the apparent rise in poverty? It is partly a matter of definition. Some non-cash benefits, such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid, are excluded from the calculation. And the raw data must be wrong. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, notes that while reported annual income for the poorest fifth of households in 2003 was $8,201, their reported expenditure was $18,492. Nobody can explain this vast discrepancy." Um, HELLO???? Have you looked at the crime rate lately??

Hint to conservative think tanks: Maybe you should try factoring in UNREPORTED annual income: Record Washington marijuana harvest makes it state's 8th largest ranked agricultual commodity. How in the hell else do you explain that "A typical poor household in America has two televisions, cable or satellite reception and a VCR or a DVD player." ???

Which makes me wonder - how much does illegitimate criminal activity such as selling drugs contribute to the legitimate GDP? Which leads to... I wonder if that might not be why we don't crack down more on property/drug crime in this country?? It supports the economy in a sick and twisted way...


It's long past due for a Critter Update, I know.  Though that nickname doesn't really fit anymore.... he's evolved into a walking, almost talking, pushing every button on the TV, eating-everything-in-sight Monkey child.
Besides Da!  and Ma!  He has begun saying "This" when pointing to some item of interest. Only he can't quite make out the sibilant so it comes out more as 'thith'. Which is truly a multi-functional word, when you think about it.  Serves as question, "what is thith?", command "Give me thith!" while reaching agonizingly towards the object of his desire, and all around monologue filler as he mutters adorably to himself while figuring out some new toy "thith thith thith".
My MIL (who has been staying with us for the last 6 weeks, and who we are going to miss mightily when she leaves tomorow) has taught him to patty cake (sort of), and close cupboards (that he opens and pulls everything out of when the kitchen isn't gated) on command.
We call him Monkey because he is SO incredibly curious about EVERYTHING. But I'm starting to think "Monkeyfish" might be more accurate.  He is as quick and slippery as an eel as soon as he notes a crack in the babygate defenses - can dart across the room and slide between your legs and the doorway without your ever feeling it.  Just to get to whatever fascinating activity is making all that noise (Emptying dishwasher?  OOH KNIVES I CAN PLAY WITH!!) or whatever it is you are trying to keep him away from (like toilet paper role in our bathroom ) .  And he communicated very well nonverbally... starts smacking his mouth like a gaping gold fish when he gets hungry before makine a beeline for his highchair.  When he's excited about anything he does this long, drawn inhaled exclamation of joy that I can only describe as a fish gasping for water - much like the scene in Total Recall where Arnie & his girlfriend get sucked out onto the Martian surface and can't breathe.  Only in the Monkey's case, it's a good thing.  Scared the shit out of me the first few times he tried it, however.
Oh, and he gives Da! Gramma, me, the dog and cat all this huge, wide-open, slobbery, wet, dripping kiss when he's feeling particularly generous. But he warns you when it's coming with the cutest little "aaawwww" that any tongue suppressing doctor would be proud of, and that is guaranteed to melt his daddy's heart and forgive any sin. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How to Get More Sex From Your Wife

*UPDATED 8/11/08 Who knew this would be such a popular post? Just for you guys who try the following advice and still feel shafted (or not, as the case may be).. I've put together some recommended reading/viewing. MustangSally's Marital Recommendations.  Or hire your wife a housekeeping service for cripe's sake!

or.. "Blow Jobs for Bowl Jobs" . Now Here's some brilliant advice just in time for Valentine's Day.
"I will tell you how to have more sex immediately.
You will clean up the kitchen.

But I hate cleaning up the kitchen! Can't I just whine for some ass and get it?


Awwww! Dammit!

Sorry. However, when you have finished cleaning the kitchen, you will have whatever you want sexually and you will have a clean kitchen, and that will make you The Richest Man in Bedford Falls, George Bailey.

I was recently reading the online ravings of a very depressed Internet friend who is entirely dissatisfied with her life, her marriage, and everything. She can barely get through the day. She's on Prozac. She feels worthless, sucked dry from raising her kids, unproductive. She asked her husband to clean up the kitchen one evening. "I'm too tired," he said.

Jackass, you walk right back in there and clean the kitchen. I don't care how tired you are. You clean the kitchen. If I can't convince you to clean the kitchen, and she can't convince you to clean the kitchen, then perhaps your dick will convince you to clean the kitchen.

Hey, wait a minute. Are you suggesting some kind of sex-for-cleaning exchange? Doesn't that kind of logic turn people into commodities?

No, I am not. See, here's the funny thing. Women want to have sex anyway. We like to do that stuff. And we want to have sex with a useful person who has cleaned a kitchen or otherwise contributed to the basic maintenance of the household (instead of sitting on the couch playing X-box and scratching himself). Because people who can clean kitchens are hot. People who cannot or will not clean kitchens are not hot.

Some kinds of attempts to initiate sex are not hot. I once had the terrible misfortune of living in a very crappy apartment in Boston with these tiny thin walls, and one day as I was reading somebody's Sunday Times--okay, it wasn't actually mine--I could hear the guy next door whining, "Oh, come on. It's my birthday, dammit." That is not hot. I was tempted to put down my coffee and pound on the wall: "Hey, man! That approach isn't going to work! Quit bugging her and go clean the kitchen!" When your partner is a mother and small people are always whining at her, that approach will keep you from having sex for an extended period of time. If you are lucky, she will hand you a piece of string cheese to shut you up. She will not fuck you. I repeat: She will not fuck you. By acting like a toddler, you have killed whatever passion still exists inside your woman. She might put you in time-out. She will treat you like a child because you are acting like one. She will say, "I'm sorry, but I can't understand you unless you use your big-kid voice."
Gentlemen, let me testify. Nothin' makes me reach for the silk teddy quicker than coming home to a clean kitchen. The sight of laundered underwear freshly folded by my sweetheart creams mine every time. My darling husband is a genius and figured this out himself a very long time ago. The man not only cleans my kitchen, takes care of the toddler, cleans the toilets and mends my clothes. Needless to say, he's usually the one telling ME "No, not tonight honey..."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Who cooperated with the NSA?

Something I was not aware of with the whole NSA spying scandal:  "Under federal law, any person or company who helps someone "intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication"--unless specifically authorized by law--could face criminal charges. That means any telecomm company who cooperated with the NSA could be criminally liable if it is determined that Shrub did not have the legal pwer to authorize warrantless wiretapping."  Though no company is admitting cooperation, there are plenty willing to confirm they did not cooperate.  Check the sidebar to see if your cellphone company is one of them.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I'm taking pity on Roni on her sick day and breaking my no-Meme rule. 
If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or don't really know each other) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sarah at Past is Prologue explains why American soldiers might be* dying of dehydration rather than risk being raped by their comrades.

*2/9/06 UPDATE: There's some speculation that this story isn't all it's cracked up to be. Here, and Here . Which would be great - i would like nothing more than to rest assured that this kind of shit IS extremely rare in our military. I'm still not convinced of that. Even if Karpinski is exaggerating, this part still bugs me: "For example, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's top deputy in Iraq, saw "dehydration" listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, Karpinski stated. The official explanation for this was to protect the women's privacy rights."

If, as the naysayers allege - the reports of these attacks are greatly exaggerated, and if, as they say dehydration doesn't kill that quickly (though they speculate heat stroke could), that still does not address WHAT WAS SO ODD/SENSITIVE about the manner of these women's deaths that anyone would feel the need to protect their "privacy rights" to begin with? If they died of legitimate causes then there'd be no need to cover up, would they? Why would a women's cause of death need to be hidden and not her male comrades?

Bright spot

One bright spot today... my newly adopted state just passed a gay righs bill that's been 30 years in the making. It adds sexual orientation to the list of race, sex, religion, marital status, disability and other banned discrimination categories. To noone's surprise, the hatemongers have already filed a referendum to overturn it.
Excellent primer on the inner workings/battles of the Bush Dept. of Justice vs. Cheney 'cabal'. and how that all led to the leaking of the Torture Memo, and NSA eavesdropping program.

Black Tuesday

Coretta Scott King passes and Alito gets confirmed.  I'm waiting for the 3rd tragedy fo the day....
I did my best and wrote all 4 Northwest Senators (OR before the move and WA after) but knew there was nothing we could do to stop Alito. I must say, I'm very disappointed in my new Senator Cantwell, who voted for cloture.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cry Me a River....

I'm feeling the need to vent but life's getting in the way of googling lately so I apologize in advance for not having links to support the following rant:
The GOP and their assorted talking heads are apparently coopting one of the oldest tricks in the book to try to garner sympathy while their collective asses are in the fire... a woman's tears.  First it was Mrs. Alito bursting into tears at the confirmation hearings when (it should be noted) a Republican started with a fairly tough line of questioning regarding her hubby's character... they all spun it that the DEM senators were making the poor woman cry.  Today apparently the news is poor little Jack Abramoff's daughter burst into tears while watching the Golden Globes when George Clooney made a joke at her father's expense on national T.V.  Grampa Abramoff is now publically attacking George for making her cry and screaming to the rafters that his son's good name (and hence his own) will be cleared eventually. 
First - has not the man ALREADY BEEN CONVICTED of felonious activity?
Second, given the above, don't you think you should place the blame where it belongs - with the criminal, YOUR SON for willingly (and eagerly) committing such crimes and not on the messenger?  But no.  That would not be standard GOP operating procedure.  Which clearly states, when one is confronted with a friend/family/colleage/speaker of the house/president/terrorist's wrongdoing, one should BLAME A LIBERAL for that wrongdoing.  The criminal/perpetrator himself bears no responsibility.  You can learn a lot by watching rape trials on TV.  It's the victim's fault. 
Third - I do have sympathy for these women.  I do. I'm willing to shed a tear for their pain. But Mr. Abramoff should have thought of the consequences to his family when he chose the crooked path.  And Mrs. Alito should be well used to having her husband's character scrutinized. If she can't handle the pressure of being espoused to a public figure then maybe Mr. Alito ought to consider withdrawing his name from consideration on her behalf.  If she thinks it's tough now... wait until he starts to receive death threats from various whackjobs or does something that makees him the brunt of late night comedians. If he really loved her, he should consider that.  Don't you think?
But Fourth - and most importantly.  I'll shed a tear for them.. but that aint nothin' compared to the rivers I shall shed on behalf of the Cindy Sheehans.... the American mothers and fathers who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq.  The widows.  The orphans of those brave soldiers who won't be coming back.  The babies who will only ever get to see their parent in dusty family albums.  Or the shattered families when they DO come back with out a leg.  Or an arm - with half a soul after being stop-gap drafted back into harm's way for a cause that many don't believe in.. and were nevertheless MORE patriotic than the most ardent Bush supporter because they did their duty, and gave the ultimate sacrife ANYWAY.  For love of country and comrade.  For love of the Constitution that this administration, and their associated Alitos and Abramoffs are so willing to discard like so much toilet paper.  Then there are the Iraqi and Afghan families who live in the most primitive conditions and still run the risk of losing someone they love to a suicide bomber or misguided American bomb.
For all of them the river of my sorrow runs deep. 
Yet the GOP talking heads want me to shed a tear for the families of Alito and Abramoff?  One.  That's all you get.  Join the military - put your life where your mouths are and I'll offer a few more.

Friday, January 20, 2006

RIP Mister Wicked....

We'll take a moment of silence here at RiverRocks to mourn the passing of the great Wilson Pickett yesterday - without whom, there would be no MustangSally.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Faithful wha?

I've been loving most of Al Gore's speeches lately.  That held true for the excerpt of yesterday's that I heard replayed on the radio this morning:

"Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same."

But then I thought hey, wait a minute - WWII?  Faithful protection of our freedoms?  Tell that to the Japanese American citizens who a)lost property without due process and b) were unlawfully detained without reasonable cause. Also - my German American great grandmother lost her U.S. citizenship solely on the basis that she spoke German as her first language. And she was BORN here.
Granted, our government has since apologized to those citizens, recognized the illegality of the actions that were taken and made some attempt at restitution.   Shrub & Co. certainly aren't the first administration to take the "it's easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission" road to national security.  They're just the latest incarnation.

Let's hope this is the end of it...

"Ashcroft's directive declared that assisting suicide was not a legitimate medical purpose under the Controlled Substances Act and that prescribing federally controlled drugs for that purpose was against the federal law.

[Kennedy] said the administration maintained that the law delegated to a single officer in the executive branch "the power to effect a radical shift of authority from the states to the federal government to define general standards of medical practice in every locality."

Kennedy concluded in the 28-page opinion that the text of the federal law shows that "Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance."

The scary thing is - when in 1970 Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act they did not have that intent, however Congress in 2006 most certainly would.  How soon do you think it will be before we see a new bill introduced in the halls of Congress trying to federalize medical practice standards?  Would solve so many tricky problems... Assisted Suicide, abortion providers, pharmacist ethics, pulling the plug ala Terry Shivo...

Blue Oregon illustrates just how much you can trust a Supreme Court nominee who is willing to say anything to get confirmed: To whit: Roverts assured Sen. Wyden before his confirmation that he would "be careful not to strip states of powers they traditionally have held" but then lookie here! He voted today with Scalia and Thomas to do precisely that.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hold on to your knickers, folks

The Critter is WALKING!  With some prompting (i.e. Daddy pulling out the training fingers once he gets going) he took 4 unassisted steps last weekend quickly followed by 4 more after we turned him back around.  The Indiana In-Laws all swore he took 2 unsupported steps whilst navigating between furniture over Christmas (when we were out watching Narnia) but we'd seen him do that a couple of time ourselves and it's more like free-falling to the next handhold, which as everyone knows - does not count. 
This, we decided in all our parental authority was the REAL THING and we actually managed to GET IT ON TAPE!  Photographic evidence that yes, indeed he was born to be a biped. 
He has started to say Mama, in addition to Dada, though it's not terribly clear if he's being specific with either.  Dada is still more common, albeit usually jumbled up with a bunch of other babble. Half the time I think he's trying to say "Dog" and not "Dad", however.  With the addition of new teeth come more linguistic possibilities and he's exploring them all.  
In other news, we *finally* signed loan papers on the new house, the sale has recorded and we start moving today.  Well, Curt & some hired muscle will start moving the heavy outdoor stuff today and the rest of the house will move tomorow with the regular movers.  This is the 3rd time I've had to reschedule the move due to lending paperwork f*ups and my patience has about evaporated.  Thank all the gods that the nice people buying our house didn't have to move immediately and were willing to rent it back to us for an extra week.
Regular ranting and raving and railing against the system should resume after I've cleared the packing peanuts out of my brain.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Best Christmas Present Ever

Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
Oh, and I can't forget to mention, my new nephew Aidan made his entrance to the world on Dec. 23 while we were flying somewhere over Tennessee (I think). The Critter's first First Cousin! We're hoping to introduce the two in March (Aidan's in Houston). Congrats to my bro, T and his wonderful fabulous wife, E.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Years from the Critter.

Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
He was quite the hit with the in-laws. It was the Duncan show all day, every day. Travelled pretty well - slept most of the time on all our flights. No screaming. Spiked a high fever the night we got to Indiana, though - very odd. No other symptoms. But was well over it by Christmas morning and charmed one and all.

All I want for Christmas is my 2 Front Teeth...

Originally uploaded by MsMustangsally.
and I got 'em! That makes four - count 'em, FOUR teethers!