27 June 2007

Elizabeth Edwards is So Hot Right Now.

And this is why:

Henry disagrees on her relative hotness, but he echoes my sentiment in a slightly more well-written manner. Cap tip to Feministing.

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26 June 2007

From the Department of You have Got to be Kidding Me:

Tom %&$(@#* Cruise is making a new movie. Why do I care? Because the movie is Valkyrie, and %&$(@#* Cruise is meant to play Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who is the guy who attempted to assassinate Hitler in the 20 July plot with a briefcase full of explosives.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger: Historical blah blah blah ahead.

Hitler wasn't killed by the blast (obviously). There were two bombs; von Stauffenberg had previously lost his right and and all but three fingers of his left, so when he was attempting to arm them in the bathroom, with not a lot of time, he was only able to get the one armed. For reasons unknown to history, he did not put the second bomb in the briefcase, but handed it to his assistant instead. He went into the conference room and put his briefcase under the table, then left to "make a call." One of the guys still in the meeting room moved his briefcase down to the far end and behind the table leg because it was in the way and people kept kicking it. Thus, the blast was deflected.

However, a recent History Channel documentary which completely reconstructed the whole thing, what actually happened, and what could have happened, showed that if von Stauffenberg had put the second bomb in the briefcase anyway, Hitler would have been screwed. von Stauffenberg and his aide were executed the next day.

Anyway, Tom %&$(@#* Cruise? To play von Stauffenberg? Fortunately, the Germans have banned %&$(@#* Cruise from the country on account of he is a Scientologist. Now, on a humourous level, I think this is great and that more Scientologists should be banned from more places, especially when their name is Tom %&$(@#* Cruise. However, I'm not sure it's the best thing in the world to ban Scientologists from a country on a serious level, because even though I think they are full of shit, allegedly, they should still have the right to practice their religion. Except for the part where they tell Brooke Shields that she shouldn't take antidepressants.

Anyway, my hope is that the movie makers will continue with Valkyrie, and will pick someone who is not annoying to play von Stauffenberg.

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24 June 2007

Obama Actually says Something

I've been annoyed with him lately for not really having anything to say, but in this speech, it looks like he's made up for it, at least a bit.

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart."

Well, give me a mud mask and call me Esther. A reasonably mainstream politician, to whom people are paying attention, is espousing a belief that I have been attempting to express for a while.

I hope someone listens; God is not a dividing, but a unifying force. He is The Force, and it is patently ridiculous that humans allow their varying perceptions of Him to become the focus of things.

Edit: To further the point, here is today's Opus, by Berkeley Breathed. He makes his point succinctly.

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21 June 2007

At Last, a Ray of...oh. nevermind.

"Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical, and it is not the only option before us."

Oh, good, the President is seeing the light, and we are going to withdraw from Iraq, stop executions, and not ever bomb civilians ever again...

Oh, wait. Those people are already outside the womb. They don't count anymore, unless they are in a coma. My bad.

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Feminism, Femmenism.

For most of my life, I have been accused, as it were, of being a man-hating feminazi. One would imagine that it would happen more since I figured out my homonism, but that's not entirely true; it's stayed about the same, but I surmise that the same people who were saying it before (or the same sort that would have been) just chalk it up to the homonism. I find this ridiculous since I live with a man. I like men. I just don't want to marry them. Why is this difficult?

Recently, I began to more deeply explore the wide world of feminism by reading a variety of feminist blogs. This has had two major effects on me: one is that I now realise that I am not nearly as radical as I previously thought, and the second is that I am far more radical than I previously thought.

The latter is easier for me to wrap my mind around, so it goes first; essentially, I get way more annoyed with misogynist-speak than I did previously. I have been internalising and processing the why of that, and yesterday evening, I figured it out. The boy roommate and I were at Pluckers, a wing/burger/sports joint, and we managed to get there on trivia night. The category at this time was movies. Trivia man asks the question:
"In what (whatever year it was) movie did James Garner, Ashley Judd, and Sandra Bullock appear?"
This, in and of itself, was not the issue. He followed up with:
"Guys, you don't know this because it is a -total- chick flick. If you have a girl at your table, ask her, and if not, just give up. If you know this by yourself, you've lost cool points with me."
The nerve! The answer, incidentally, is Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, based on the book by Rebecca Wells. Why does this bother me so much all the sudden? I think it is because the insinuation from the trivia guy was that if the guys knew the answer, they were a) gay, or b) that ever-hideous epithet men use on other men, "pussies." Previously, I did not care for the latter term simply because it is rather profane, but now I realise just -why- it is profane: guys are insulting each other by calling them women.

I do not really get why I never really got that before, but the worst thing these guys can call someone is, essentially, a woman. And that really bothers the hell out of me, especially since I am meant to be so man-hating. However, I am certainly never going to attempt to insult a woman by calling her any bit of the male anatomy, and thereby a man. That's ridiculous.

The problem is, this kind of thinking, that men can insult each other by calling them women, is feeding into, and perhaps concurrent with this really, really odd idea that men helping women with domestic issues is a) emasculating, and therefore b) OMG SooooOOO SWEET! This is bullshit. Men are not some kind of omnipotent being who is so far above the menial tasks of life. They are just people. This is one end of the Crazy Men Spectrum: Men are powerful, men are above women, and when they deign to come down to are level, it is the sweetest thing ever and we should rejoice, and again I say rejoice.

On the other end of the spectrum are some really radical feminists. I believe that the truly man-hating ones are very few, and they exist on the other end of the Crazy Men Spectrum, which is to say, Men are dirt. I think it would be very helpful if the people on the ends could come together in a compromise. Men are people too, and men are just people like everyone else.

A step closer to the middle on the spectrum, but not much, are the women who take as a point of pride the fact that they do not shave anything, have very short hair on top of their head (which I find a bit silly. If they aren't going to shave their legs, why does it make sense to mess with their head hair so much?), do not wear make up, et cetera. Ok, that's fine for them, but a subset of those women conclude that I am bowing to the pressure of the patriarchy on account of I -do- shave my legs, I enjoy having long hair, I do wear makeup on occasion and yes, GASP, I both own and wear heels.

Great, so now I'm not feminine enough, and the radical feminists say I am too feminine. Here I am, stuck in the middle with...anyone?



Ok, perhaps someone else is in my predicament. I will not apologise for "bowing to the patriarchy." I do not think that's actually what it is. Frankly, I don't find shaving my legs a hideous and painful experience. It's not really that difficult. Also, I like the way my smooth legs feel. I like the way my girlfriends' smooth legs feel. I also like my long hair, and I like girls with long hair. I also like the way I look when I am wearing makeup, and guess what? I like the way other girls look when -they- are wearing makeup (as long as it's not that weird clone makeup). So, I'm not holding anyone to a higher standard than myself. I rather enjoy being a girl, with most everything that goes along with that.

I had a point, and I think it was that I really do not get why some of the people who rail against misogyny are so fascist on occasion, or why it is that other people (who are a much, much larger population) do not get that not being a poor, helpless little girl does not make you a man-hater. Most of the problems we have in our society could be solved if everyone would just sod off and let everyone else live their lives as they see fit. Why is this difficult?

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20 June 2007


Just now on Feministe, I read an article by a woman who wonders if it is possible to be a Christian and a feminist concurrently. My first instinct is to say yes, of course. Look at my mom, look at me, look at my female pastor, et cetera. That seems simplistic for some reason, and processing the "why" of that is becoming a bit difficult. Since I started reading the feminist blogs of late, I have been trying to define myself within the feminist spectrum, for my own edification.

The argument, of course, is that everyone should be "outside the box" and not be "pigeonholed" or "labeled" or "categorised." I say, fuck that -- I need some definition in my life, and everyone, whether they like it or not, is in a category, even if it is a category of one which contains only them. I am the sole member of the set of me. Hooray, now what else? My first tendencies to define or describe myself tend to be "German," "Lutheran" and "homo." I hesitate even to define myself as a "Christian" anymore because the vast majority of people recoil at the word. I can hardly blame the vast majority, because I tend to recoil when anyone mentions Christians as well.

This could be on account of recent high-profile "Christians" being, well, stupid, and because one in particular blamed me for those asshats who stole airplanes and ran into buildings with them a few years back. Because that makes sense. At any rate, as near as I can tell at this time, the word "Christian" evokes the images of intolerance, anger, hate, The Dark Side, an incredible naivety/stupidity, (cap tip to Bint for reminding me of that piece), bigotry, and a general inability to function in the world. This, of course, is the exact opposite of the effect which Jesus of Nazareth intended, according the the four canon Gospels, when he walked around the Galilee for three years about two thousand years ago.

I had a point. Oh, right. I do not want to be a "Christian," really. The problem is, I find the tenets which Jesus of Nazareth preached highly compelling. Don't be a bitch. Pray quietly, not all loud and out in public where everyone will see you being high and mighty. Take care of poor people, sick people, and generally underprivileged people. Shut the fuck up unless you are perfect. It's some good stuff. And then, to cap it all off, this guy sacrifices his life, painfully, for the good of humanity. Granted, there's a lot of people who don't think that Jesus of Nazareth is/was the Christ. Frankly, I think it's immaterial (for the record, I happen to think that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, but that's not the point). The whole point that this guy was attempting to make was to be kind, be unselfish, and to be self-sacrificing. I think he makes a good point.

I was raised Lutheran, which is a low-key, low-profile denomination described thusly on a recent episode of the Prairie Home Companion:
"Really quiet people; they go in for comfort food, hot dishes and so on. Very self-effacing, wear dark colours, navy blue. Like Amish, except they drive cars. Sort of modest in a kind of ostentatious way."
That sounds about right (Tip of the cap to Henry for hooking me up with that). So I've been living most of my life trying to do that, more or less. But then these bitches who call themselves Christians get on TV and start telling everyone else how hideous they are for not being Christian, and that if they will send five hundred bucks to X ministry, their eternal soul will be saved. Mary Chapin Carpenter said it well when she wrote "Forgiveness doesn't come with a debt." Commercialising alleged soul-saving is akin to that bullshit the Catholic church was pulling back in the day with the indulgences and suchnot. This is just televised indulgences, and anyone who wants to argue with me can name the time and place.

I really did have a point. Oh, yes. The majority of the "Christian" movement, at least in the United States, is so far removed from even what its own holy book says about it that I reckon if Christ came back at this time, He would barely recognise Himself anywhere in it. I have such sympathy for people who say that they loathe organised religion, probably because I feel the same way most of the time. I'm in a particularly unique position: the Christians do not like me because I'm a big old homo, and the homos eye me askance because I am a Christian.

The same thing happens with the feminists. I'm not as feminist as I am meant to be, apparently, and to the more conservative, "Oh, you can walk alone at night because you are a lesbian," set, I am a big scary dyke feminist who is going to turn all their women gay. And yes, that really was said to me, and I am allegedly meant to get over it. Forgiveness and all that, but what people do not understand is how much that statement really hurt me. It does not help that I know that it is a widely held belief.

So, where does that leave me? Well, I am a member of the only ethnic group in the world of which it is allowable to make jokes (more on that later; it's not a huge part of my life, but I think it bears addressing), I am a homo feminist Lutheran who is not a particularly accepted member of any of those groups. Bint might be right; it is impossible to be part of more than one group at once.

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15 June 2007

The Defense Department Regrets to Inform You That Your Sons are Dead because They were Stupid

Yesterday morning, at four or so, this happened. Everyone in Baytown is up at arms about it, as well they should be. Four kids are dead, and it stinks. There is no way around that. However, there is a certain amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth that needs to subside at this time. Why? Well, if you're too lazy to read the linked article, here follows a summary:

The driver was fifteen and unlicensed. The rest of the kids were fifteen, three fourteen year olds, and a twelve year old. They were in a stolen Jeep Cherokee, and driving really, really fast in a thirty mile an hour zone (the top was sheared off the Jeep by the railroad car), and it was four in the morning.

The parents are blaming a) Union Pacific, b) TxDoT c) liberals (I'm sure it will happen), and d) the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Let's examine this for a moment. The driver, fifteen and unlicensed, apparently stole a car. The newsies are calling it "purloined" and the whole thing a "foolish lark." STOLEN CAR. FELONY. Not a "foolish lark." I have driven over those tracks at that spot a hundred times. The speed limit there is thirty, and not that I'm a great believer in speed limits, but it does behoove one to NOT go sixty miles an hour there, because aside from the tracks, there is a very sharp turn immediately thereafter. This guy should/would have known that, but that didn't stop him, and it makes me extremely angry that his mother tried to play it off by saying he was "just trying to get that little girl home."

Bullshit. She oughtn't have been out in the first place, and there's no point in going eighty there on East Archer over those tracks because a) it's four in the morning and you are already in trouble, and b) you're going to die even if you don't hit a train because you'll miss the turn.

The other attempt is to blame the parents; this is mostly coming from the commenters on the Chronicle website. This too is bullshit. Every one of those kids made the choice to sneak out, go out, and get into a stolen vehicle with an unlicensed driver at high speeds. Both articles mention siblings and friends who said, "Ya know, that doesn't really sound like a good idea." Look who's alive.

The thing that really irritates me is that knowing Baytown as I do, had this been a car full of Mexican kids, there would not be any "poor kids!" going around. They would be being maligned as juvenile delinquents and hideous things would be being said about Mexicans on general principles, but since they are rich white kids it's a hideous tragedy.

I really, really don't get why personal responsibility is only meant to apply to specific people. Stupid crap like this goes down all the time, and the rich white kids never have to take responsibility for it. Sigh. I hope their parents make it through this mess.


12 June 2007

What the Hell kind of country do we live in?

"How did they manage to get that close to him? They're ruffling his hair and hugging him! We can't even ask the guy questions!"

That's another John Stewartism. And he's damn right. Bush went to Albania at the end of his European tour and received a hero's welcome. There's footage of him being hugged and squeezed and called George, and the Albanians really just think he's the shit. We have foreign people rubbing his head for good luck (hopefully not to improve their English), and we can't even get in to talk to the guy unless we are on a vetted list of people that his people know will a) agree with every damn thing he says and b) will ask him softball questions pursuant to a).

The question, of course, arises as to whether those people were actually vetted and behind them were a bunch of snarky Albanians, or perhaps just Albanians who don't care. I want to know, personally, why the Albanians think Bush is so great. What has he done that makes the Albanians like him so much? That could perhaps be the best reason for why they like him. What, exactly, has Bush done to make the residents of Albania regard him with anything other than apathy?

Well, according to the BBC, it's that his visit allegedly makes it more feasible for Albania to join the EU and NATO, and Bush supports the UN's plan for Kosovo to become independent. This could just be me, but I fail to see how Bush's support has anything at all to do with Albania's membership in the EU, given that the United States has less than nothing to do with the EU. In this same vein, it really seems to me that Albania should care more about what the other European countries think about any given subject than what we think.

But more importantly, my disgust with a president who is more available to foreign citizens on foreign soil than to the people he allegedly serves is absolute.

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08 June 2007

John Stewart is my Hero, and This is Why:

"I am not a graphic designer or artist. I don't necessarily understand the nuances of composition and negative space and these kinds of things. But I do know what it would look like if a slot machine went down on a stop sign."

I want to be like him when I grow up.

07 June 2007

Gay Rum!

Testing: One, Two, Three. And a buffer post for this blog, v. 2.0.