Recycle all plastic you can’t avoid — lids, too. Avoid the rest. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it, for free, from drinking fountains or faucets.
It’s not that difficult, and it seems necessary.
Recycle all plastic you can’t avoid — lids, too. Avoid the rest. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it, for free, from drinking fountains or faucets.
It’s not that difficult, and it seems necessary.
We’re fighting over whether we should pay for budgets that have been approved and laws that have passed.
We should be fighting for this:
Education, and fair treatment of women, everywhere.
In Sunday’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about a medical center in Danja, Niger, where heroic surgeons do fistula repairs on women from the age of 12 up.
I apologize if this is distressing and unexpected to read — fistulas are tears between the urinary tract and the vagina, caused when girls of nowhere-near adult size have babies (many of whom die in the process as they are unable to pass through the birth canal and modern medical care like Caesareans are not available). These pregnancies are often a result of the girls’ first ovulation, as they have been married off before their first menstrual cycle and are almost instantly impregnated.
These “women” are then shunned and ostracized, put out of their homes by their husbands, and forced to scrabble for an existence in a town that mocks them and forbids them from even gathering water from a public well if anyone else is around.
Kristof has written about this before, and NYTimes readers contributed upwards of half a million dollars to funding this medical center and paying the staff. He is writing about women going there to find healing and hope, while recounting how one of the patients, upon completion of her surgery, returned to the home of her uncle/husband, who immediately demanded he return to her bed, in effect raped her, and ripped open the fistula again. She is back at the hospital for a second surgery.
These funds raised, this center, these doctors, are all doing good things for people who obviously and desperately need it. But wouldn’t it do even more good if some of that money and time were spent advocating for these CHILDREN, preventing marriage before the age of 18, and giving these girls/women a place to live for 6 months until their surgeries fully heal so that they aren’t just re-injured, as happens so often?
Does anyone know how to create/contribute to such a thing? I certainly don’t have Nick Kristof’s audience.
Interesting. Very, very interesting.
I’d like to go into a little rant about how nice, or should I say, “nice,” it is that people suddenly find support for equal rights for homosexuals when they find out that their son is gay, or their daughter is gay, or that ohmygodIactuallyknewthisthewholetimebutdidn’tdaretoadmititbecauseIwasafraidofhowtheworldmighttreatme he himself (never a she, why never a she?) is gay (never mind that he himself has been vilifying and tormenting and discriminating against and blah blah blah gays himself for years and years and years).
And “loving father” over “scolding big brother”? Seems kind of family specific, doesn’t it?
And I know it’s always good to apologize when you realize that you’re in the wrong, but sometimes an apology just isn’t enough. Is he going to spend the rest of his life trying to undo the damage his organization, and other organizations like his that continue to operate, has done?
I doubt it. But maybe. I guess time will tell.
Anyway. Read it, think about it, comment on it, print it up and burn it. Whatever floats your boat (as my mom used to say).
The man in the cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo, immediately ran to the site of the first explosion at the Boston Marathon, leaping barricades to get to the injured.
He helped the man in the wheelchair shown below, Jeff, wrap tourniquets around his badly damaged legs (which have since been amputated), and didn’t leave his side until he absolutely had to.
The remarkable thing is that Carlos himself had tried to end his life in 2004 — when Marines came to his door to tell him that his son had been killed in Iraq, he barricaded himself in his car and set himself on fire. The Marines saved him. His other son, so distraught over and unable to recover from the emotional trauma of his brother’s death, eventually committed suicide. I imagine he has seen some dark hours. I can’t imagine how dark.
He spoke on NPR today with grace and humility. An awareness that if the Marines had not saved him in 2004 Jeff might not have survived on Monday.
Never mind thinness, or perfect features, or flawless skin. Never mind a perfectly honed body or shiny hair.
This man, and his heroic act, is beautiful.
The person or persons who planted the bombs, on the other hand, is the worst kind of coward.
Well, maybe not the worst — worst is someone who arms himself and shoots up a school full of children, and a Congress which refuses to act to try to prevent such a thing from happening again.
I’m almost too disheartened to write this. Am certainly too disheartened to try to make any sense of it all.
I am grateful to Carlos for his heroism, and to the paramedics who died rushing to the rescue at the fertilizer plant explosion, and to all who act in interests other than their own.
I only wish there were more of them, and many, many fewer of the cowards.
Just read this excellent article by Jessica Valenti in The Nation.
Have been thinking about this case all week, trying to figure out how I really feel about all this.
The thought process goes something like this:
How could she be so drunk that she’s throwing up repeatedly and passing out, and no one’s helping her?
How could they take such advantage of her in such a compromised condition?
Teenage guys want sex, and will take advantage of any opportunity to get it.
But how could they take such advantage of her in such a compromised condition?
Why didn’t someone take care of her? She was clearly incapacitated, a true friend would have taken her home.
But remember those parties in high school, when ________ would always drink too much and end up in bed with someone? None of us did anything, we didn’t think it was our business.
Yeah, but none of us took pictures with our cell phones and posted them on facebook either.
We didn’t have facebook or cell phones, and _______ took that one Polaroid that one time.
Yeah, but __________ grabbed it from him and tore it up. Besides, we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about this.
Where were the parents? How did these kids get so much alcohol? And has no one taught this girl not to drink so much that she loses her ability to make decisions? And what’s up with the coach brushing this off? Was he really so callous? He must not have understood what was really going on.
But has no one taught these boys that it’s inappropriate to take advantage of someone who has clearly drunk so much that are incapacitated?
But they’re teenage boys, they’re suffering from hormone-induced mental illness.
But they still should know better. And how could they continue to be so heartless that really the only thing they are worried about is their reputation and their football career? What about her reputation?
And does he really think that texting her trying to talk her out of pressing charges because he “took care of her” is a valid argument? Really? How well was he taking care of her when he was raping her?
But they’re all young and oversexed and half of them probably go to these parties expecting to get drunk and have sex with someone.
But it’s clearly wrong, they clearly raped her, as she was in no condition to grant or deny consent.
But how could she let herself get into that condition?
How can these boys not know the difference between sex and rape?
etc. etc. etc.
They’re children. They have no judgment skills. Maybe the best solution is to not let anyone out of a parent’s sight until they’ve recovered from adolescence-induced hormone poisoning — girls around 18, boys, I hear, around 26 (sigh). I know that as a parent I have tried to teach my children everything they need to know to be good, kind, considerate, contributing members of society. That no always means no. That they should respect themselves, and everyone else. I also know that they have, and will, do things on occasion that I don’t agree with (although I am pretty sure none of my children have done anything even remotely like this). I also look back on my 16-year old self and shudder. The only criterion for me liking a boy was if he liked me; I drank too much wine with a friend, whose dad made it himself and stored it in vast carboys, almost every Friday night, we would go to school dances drunk, and throw up on the tennis courts after; I had this other friend I already mentioned who would always get too drunk at parties, and go to bed with any number of the “popular,” “in” guys. We didn’t do anything to stop it. WE DIDN’T THINK IT WAS OUR BUSINESS.
Granted, my parents didn’t talk to me much about any of these things. They were either too uncomfortable to, or too clueless to know that they should.
There’s a disconnect, probably partially borne of being adolescent and having no judgment skills; of being children who want to believe they’re adults; of living in a society where a blow job is referred to as a “good night kiss” and everyone’s violating their own privacy daily on social media. But don’t we all look back at things we did at 16, and realize how incredibly stupid we were? And maybe most of us were just lucky. Really, really lucky.
I hope you all realize that I am not making excuses for these two boys, nor for all of the people who stood around and not only let it happen, but documented it. I’m also not really making an excuse for this girl. We want her to be respected, she has a right not to be violated, but she didn’t respect herself, either, and removed her own agency by allowing herself to become so incapacitated that she couldn’t even say no. They were all very, very in the wrong. My question is, how far from that wrong were many of us at the same age? Probably (hopefully) not on par with the rapists, but what about the rest?
Is this only me? Am I the only one who sees this this way? I feel/fear that there is something wrong with me, that I’m not so willing just to point my finger and shout “You! You rapists!” Why is this issue, that is usually so black and white for me, giving me so much trouble in this case?
In a strange mental connection (my mind works in mysterious ways), one of the rapist’s claims of being a “nice guy” and “taking care of her” reminded me of this discussion of “nice guys”:
Some of the language is a little raw, but I like his points overall. I think he’s probably a really nice guy.
These two amazing people create beautiful works of art from the tons (I’m not exaggerating) of plastic they harvest from a small stretch of beach. They are completely aware of the irony.
I will take this opportunity to reiterate a point I’ve made a few times before: don’t use plastic that you are going to throw away unless you can’t possibly help it.
As they point out — the opposite of beauty isn’t ugly, it’s indifference.
The woman, whose intestines were removed because of injuries caused by a metal rod used during the rape, has not been identified. She was flown to Singapore on Wednesday night after undergoing three abdominal operations at a local hospital. She had also suffered a major brain injury, cardiac arrest, and infections of the lungs and abdomen. “She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds, but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome,” Dr. Loh’s statement said.
As many of you have been, probably, I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about this horrific story. I hesitate to lead off with the gruesome description above. Do any of us really want to think about this in such a graphic way? But it happened. Do we have a right to pretend it didn’t? Do we have an obligation to look at it, directly, and talk about it? t can’t even really decide if I can write about it — what can I possibly say that we either aren’t already thinking/don’t already know or that can make any kind of change in this world in which we live?
I had actually heard mention of this probably a dozen times before I could even bear to look for and read about it. Contrary to the belief that what we imagine is usually worse than the truth, this is even more horrifying than I could have imagined possible.
I can’t help but wonder about the other people on the bus. About the bus driver. How do you watch something like this happen and not do anything? I get fear, and self preservation, and all that, but what about humanity?
I shudder to imagine.
Sohaila Abdulali posted this op-ed in response, to the rape and to the protests which followed. I watched her being interviewed, and thought what a remarkable, courageous, articulate woman she was, and what a triumph it is for her that she has obviously moved past her own horrifying ordeal so that it no longer defines her. I don’t know if I could do the same. I am grateful for her that she had a family that supported her and didn’t fill her head with rubbish about how it was her fault and how she should be ashamed and how she brought that shame to the whole family.
There’s a lot of talk about how women are treated in places such as India and Africa and the more fundamentalist-Islam countries like Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. They are objects, to be owned and beaten and manipulated and controlled at will, and the loss of their virtue somehow not the loss of THEIR virtue, but the loss of their “owner’s” (brother, father, husband) honor.
We’ve heard the stories of the women in refugee camps in Africa whose legs are slashed by their rapists so that their husbands will know of their dishonor and not allow them to return home TO RAISE THEIR OWN CHILDREN. We’ve heard the stories of the young woman in Afghanistan who was attacked by her brother WITH AN AXE because he believed she had left her husband (much older, by an arranged marriage) and gone to another town with another man. This belief was unsubstantiated, but it didn’t really matter, because if it was rumored, even possibly true, the dishonor was too great to be borne by anyone. We’ve heard the stories of clitoral circumcision and of pre-pubescent girls being married to men in their 50s and of girls not allowed to go to school or drive or walk on the street with anyone but their brother or husband.
And we’re just not horrified enough.
Or the woman who had acid thrown in her face. Or how lesbian women in Africa are subjected to “corrective rape,” as if being brutally assaulted by a male will convert them from feeling a stronger romantic pull towards women.
And we’re just not horrified enough.
Girls and young women in India are being encouraged to stay home after dark; or to go out and to challenge the police to actually protect them. (Hmmm, why does this not sound like a good idea?) Boys and young men in India are being encouraged to behave properly, but female fetuses are still aborted at an astonishing rate and males are served their meals first, and sometimes separately, and sometimes need to finish before the females eat at all. One of the protestors viewed in one of the NYTimes articles was holding a sign beseeching men to “imagine she’s your sister” — but brothers are doing horrifying things to their sisters in the name of “honor.”
How about “imagine she’s a person”?
It’s so easy to demonize or dehumanize our enemies — Saddam Hussein in his “spider hole,” etc. I have always wondered if that describes the perpetrators accurately, or if it just makes it easier for us to hate them. And then I imagine these men, who were capable of such brutal cruelty, and try to imagine them as “people.” I just can’t. But I think part of the bigger problem is that they couldn’t possibly have seen that this woman was a person. I can’t imagine they would do this to another man, or even to a dog they found on the street. Yet they had the capacity to attack this woman so viciously SHE HAD TO HAVE HER INTESTINES REMOVED.
I feel such tremendous pain and sadness, from my head to my heart to the deepest part of my being. We can get all up in arms because Hilary was told as a young girl that girls didn’t become astronauts, or that op-ed writers think it’s appropriate to question her extensive travel as an exercise in vanity. And yes, we should be horrified about these things as well — all, in a way, part of the same problem.
We’re women, so we’re told that we’re less. Less smart, less strong, less capable, just less. We should even weigh less, talk less, be satisfied with less.
And we’re just not horrified enough.
Liza Long wrote an article called “I am Adam Lanza’s mother.” You can read it, if you want to, here.
I was trying to scroll down and comment, and apparently there are 100s and 100s of comments, and I just couldn’t get to the bottom of the page, so I gave up. (Just realized I could comment at the top. Duh.)
The gist of it is she has a son with psychosocial disorder, or attachment disorder, or personality disorder, or autism, or aspergers, or . . . . which causes him to react to frustrations and difficulties in an unpredictable, and often violent way.
She drives him past his school to the hospital because he is so upset at having to wear blue pants instead of black pants (the school has a uniform program) that he becomes physically agitated and uncontrollable.
Commenters range from sympathy to accusing her of looking for a chance in the spotlight to questioning whether “excusing” something by pointing fingers at any of the problems — gun control, mental health support, society — avoids taking responsibility.
My comment to Ms. Long was going to be: Yes. Your child is violent and unpredictable and often downright scary. I’m sorry for this, and for you, and that you apparently have not been able to find, or perhaps to afford, the kind of care he apparently needs. But I’m betting you don’t have a number of semi-automatic weapons within this child’s reach. If you do, please do something about it now. If you don’t, your story might be troubling and thought-provoking, but doesn’t really address the problem. Adam Lanza could be as nutty as a fruitcake, and however society may have failed him, if he couldn’t have gotten his hands on the weaponry, (weaponry his mother made readily available to him), no children, nobody, would have been killed on Friday.
It really is that simple.
I can barely stand to imagine what the parents and families of those precious children, and the teachers and administrators who died defending them, must be feeling right now.
This young woman hid her students in a closet, and then faced the gunman and told him the children were in the gym. He shot her, killing her, and left. All of her students survived.
I look into the eyes of this beautiful, obviously kind, happy young woman, a woman with a life before her — perhaps a husband, the family who mourns her, the friends who have lost her, the children she’ll never have, the life she won’t get to live, and I almost can’t bear it.
People want to find meaning, and pray for God’s light to shine and heal the world, and look forward to paradise, where these blessed children have gone and where everything is made whole, and I almost can’t bear it.
If God could have stopped this, and didn’t, I cannot forgive him.
If I’m supposed to find beauty and truth and meaning in faith in some kind of yet-to-be-revealed divine plan, I just can’t.
We don’t need faith, or platitudes, or to spend hours poring over photos of those who are suffering.
We need to change our policies, and we need to change them now.
As Gail Collins puts it so eloquently in today’s NYTimes article: “America needs to tackle gun violence because we need to redefine who we are. We have come to regard ourselves — and the world has come to regard us — as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education.”
People make many arguments: the community failed him (maybe it did), a lack of mental health services failed him (maybe it did), his parents failed him (maybe they did), guns don’t kill people, people do . . .but a deranged man, neglected by his community, mental health services, and parents, who cannot get his hands on a weapon can do, well, what? stand on a street corner and rant? throw things? even if he’s carrying a knife he’s going to harm a lot fewer people than if he’s carrying a semi-automatic weapon. People make arguments that allowing us to carry weapons freely (now, in Michigan, in day care centers, churches, and schools) allows us greater protection against vicious attacks. Does anyone have any statistics on how many times a person has been able to thwart a violent attack because he or she happened to be carrying a weapon? It’s not a story we hear. I’m thinking the likelihood doesn’t outweigh the risk.
And what do we supposedly need a semi-automatic weapon for, anyway?
No matter how many times I read the second amendment, I just can’t see support for the argument that our founding fathers intended for any and all of us to buy as many weapons as we think we need or want. The right to a well-armed militia is by no means equal to a well-armed, mentally unbalanced 20-year old loner.
How many mass shootings in public places have we endured this year? How many deaths? I was going to research and list them all, but I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I just can’t anymore. But can we invite these people into our living rooms and tell them that we’re sorry, but the rights of the lunatics to have ready access to weapons exceeds their rights to a long and healthy life?
As Charles Blow says: “Even if you believe, as most Americans do, that the Second Amendment grants Americans the right to bear arms, one must also acknowledge the right of other Americans not to bear arms and be safe.”
Please click here and sign the petition. And post it on your facebook page, and send it to everyone you know. We have to stop mourning and crying and praying and do something.
Before it happens again, at which point we have only ourselves to blame.
I used to believe, in my younger, more naive days, that politicians believed that they were actually working FOR us (the people), as they had, in fact, been “hired” by us, for a two- or four-year term, to represent our interests.
I realize now that politicians work for whoever is going to write the next, biggest, campaign check, and if they represent anyone’s interests at all, it’s their own.
All I know for sure is that I am immediately, deeply, and profoundly suspicious of decisions such as these that are made quickly, without discussion, and despite the protests of tens of thousands of people.
And apparently, it’s not just me.
It’s a little like the vacuum salesman short on direct answers but eager with the “Andyouonlygetthisdealifyousignonthedottedlineinthenextthreeandahalfminutes.”
Interesting how the fireman and police are exempt from this legislation. Guess we don’t want to piss off the people with the guns.
Maybe this has something to do with it:
So much for serving the people.
Is there a petition somewhere we can sign that disallows Congress from passing laws that include clauses prohibiting repeal? (One would think this was automatic, but apparently not.)
Found this on “Quieter Elephant.” (One of my favorite Canadians, which isn’t a worthless distinction, given that I’m married to one.)
Beauty born of necessity. Just hoping it gets done, and that it works.
In a almost-but-maybe-not-quite-related story, we watched Blood Diamond last night. A little Spielbergian-sanctimonious at times, but it really changes the way you think about that particular gemstone. Was wondering if it would help anyone in Africa if I took the tiny diamonds out of my ears.
This in my email inbox today:
Stop the House from blocking abortion access for raped soldiers.
This is shocking, even for our U.S. Congress.
If a female employee of the U.S. State Department is raped while serving abroad in Afghanistan, her federal health plan will pay for an abortion should she become pregnant. However if a woman serving abroad as a member of the U.S. military is raped, her military health plan will NOT provide for an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of that violent and reprehensible act.
According to a report earlier this year from Mother Jones,1 the Pentagon has an even more drastic policy on access to abortion than the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds for abortion care unless a woman has been the victim of rape, incest or she could literally die unless she her pregnancy is terminated.
This disparity is so unsettling that the Senate passed out of committee the “Shaheen Amendment” to give women in the military the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as the civilians they protect. But if passed by the full Senate, the extremists in Congress will try to block this proposal from the National Defense Authorization Act when it comes up for a vote in the House. The only way we can hope to stop it is with massive public pushback.
Tell Republicans and anti-choice Democrats in the House: Don’t block abortion access for raped soldiers. Click here to sign this petition automatically.
According to Kate Sheppard’s report in Mother Jones,2 there are 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military and in 2011 alone there were 471 reported instances of rape. But with the Pentagon itself estimating that only 13.5% of rapes are officially reported, that means around 3,500 service members are raped per year.
Women who are serving on military bases abroad can’t simply go to their local Planned Parenthood should they seek an abortion after finding themselves pregnant as a result of rape. And if there hasn’t been a formal finding of rape, a rape survivor in the military can’t even pay to have the procedure done in the medical facility on base. Many women serving in our armed forces are stationed in foreign countries where safe abortion care is not easily obtained outside our military bases. And it may not be possible or affordable for a raped woman soldier to travel to the United States in order to receive the care she needs. Our policies need to be reformed to ensure that women in the military who have been raped have access to the medical care they need.
As Senator Jean Shaheen who introduced the change to this heinous policy explained to Mother Jones, “Most of the women affected here are enlisted women who are making about $18,000 a year. They’re young, they don’t have access to a lot of resources. Many of them are overseas.”
Tell Republicans and anti-choice Democrats in the House: Don’t block abortion access for raped soldiers. Click here to sign this petition automatically.
A handful of Republicans in the Senate realized that protecting rape survivors is not a partisan issue and joined Democrats to pass this bill out of committee and work to provide relief to women in our armed services. But their colleagues in the House will not join them in helping to pass this much needed bill unless we force them to take action. We need to tell Republicans as well as anti-choice Democrats in the House (including the so-called Stupak Democrats who voted against women’s reproductive health in the Affordable Care Act)3 that we cannot let this policy stand.
CREDO is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose and we will continue to work for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. But until then, even in our polarized Congress which is packed with anti-choice zealots, there are some lines that Republicans and anti-choice Democrats should be very afraid to cross. This is one of them. We cannot stand by and let women serving in the U.S. military be subjected to a stricter standard for abortion access than the already horribly restrictive Hyde Amendment.
Click below to automatically sign the petition:
This is one we can win if enough of us speak out. Thank you for taking action.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers, Mother Jones, June 13, 2012.
3. Many Previously Pro-Choice Dems Voted for Stupak Amendment, FiveThirtyEight.com, November 9, 2009
You can click here if you’d like to sign the petition. I think it would be a great thing if you did.
But what I really want to know, is why are so many women soldiers being raped? And why aren’t we doing anything about THAT?????
As if it’s not bad enough that adjuncts are bearing half of the teaching load at most community colleges, at ~ 1/4 of the pay.
Good thing they have unions so that their voices can be heard and they can at least exert SOME kind of power over the. . .
(All of the adjuncts in this country should quit. Or we should at least declare a day of protest, or a week. Let’s see how many colleges and universities are unable to meet their obligations to their tuition-paying students. Let’s see whether THAT collective voice can be heard.)
Read this, and watch the clips.
Take a good look at the young woman who is faulted for having “too big” of hips.
And then refuse to buy a single magazine with an underage, emaciated, and/or exploited female model in it.
Who knows, it might actually make a difference.
People in Syria are being terrorized by their own government, with actions reportedly including houses being looted and people being set on fire.
The Egyptian military hangs on to power while the people wait for an opportunity to choose their own government.
Iran pursues its own religion-inspired agenda, while North Koreans are kept in the dark, both literally and figuratively.
Putin will win this election, whether he wins or not.
Meanwhile, we live in a country that at one point had the right idea about how this should be done.
Now, instead, we have things like Citizens United, and these clowns:
We should be ashamed. We can, and should, do so much better.
I know I “promised” at some point to post a soup recipe every Sunday, but we didn’t make soup today.
I did make some kick-ass oatmeal bread recipe yesterday, though. I’ll put the recipe at the end.
Just some observations for now.
1. Veterinarians should seriously reconsider using anesthesia for any surgical procedures involving dogs. I’m thinking peanut butter in a Kong is sufficient.
2. Apparently, the line between political candidates and organizations known as “PACs” is getting blurry, casting doubt on whether it is actually possible that the one hand does not know what the other hand is doing.
3. Many of the leaders in our government seem to think that the U.S. offers some kind of moral compass; an ideal for the rest of the world to strive for.
This, in retaliation for American soldiers openly burning copies of the Koran. (If, as they say, they contained “messages,” couldn’t they have been burned maybe a little more discretely? How would Americans react to Islamists burning Bibles? Sheesh — a little respect wouldn’t hurt anybody.)
This, depicting American soldiers urinating on slain foes.
Or how about this, where our rights of due process etc., etc., seem only to apply to American citizens.
Wouldn’t our arguments about human rights have a little more validity if we applied them to, well, humanity?
4. Mod*el: perfect example: an excellent example that deserves to be imitated
At the risk of repeating myself.
The last thing I want my daughter to be “modeling” herself after. How about, instead,
5. Started using the “Fitness Tracker” app on Friday. Decided that it was appropriate for me to compare how much I’m actually eating to how much I think I’m eating. It’s been very revealing. You do “earn” calories by exercising, so that’s a good motivation, but most of the calorie information comes from prepared foods and we prepare most of our food ourselves, so that’s a bit of a bother.
Have also discovered that higher-than-expected percentage of my daily caloric intake is in the form of alcohol. That sounds bad. Mostly wine with dinner, but I do enjoy a little tippet of cognac (for medicinal purposes) as well, especially on these cold February nights. Am thinking I can balance it out by walking further or doing more vigorous yoga. Not sure what it says about me that I need to think twice about whether I want cheese on my chili or that 2nd glass of wine. . .
Anyway, according to the tracker, if every day is like yesterday I will have lost 8 lbs in 5 weeks. We’ll see.
Oatmeal Bread (Husband claims this is the best bread he has ever eaten. He might just be being nice, but still.)
Prepare 1.5 c. of steel cut oats (dry) for breakfast, following instructions on the can.
Leave 2 c. of prepared oats in a separate bowl. Eat the rest (giving the lion’s share to Husband, who likes porridge a heck of a lot more than you do), sprinkled with dried cranberries and with maple syrup and soymilk.
Soften 1 pkg. of yeast in 1/3 c. warm water.
When the 2 c. of remaining oatmeal has cooled, with the flat paddle on the mixer and the mixer running, add 3 T. canola oil, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 2 tsp. salt, and the yeast/water mixture.
Add 2 c. whole wheat flour; keep beating until the dough begins to get very stringy/stretchy.
Switch to the dough hook; add another 2 c. of unbleached flour.
Allow the dough to knead until completely smooth — 5-7 minutes.
Add another scant 1/2 c. of unbleached flour and let knead just until flour completely incorporated.
Allow to raise in a buttered bowl, punching down twice.
Divide and place in 2 buttered 8″ bread pans.
Allow to raise again (this is a good time to take a nap, or a “nap,” whichever you prefer).
Bake for 35 minutes at 350˚, 325˚ if using a convection oven.
Cool out of pans on a wire rack. If you can’t wait and must slice it while hot, turn it on its side first.
Really, really good.
But which concerns you more?
So the buzz on NPR this morning is that “Catholics” are upset about a new proposed law that would require all insurance companies to cover contraception.
At the same time, reportedly, 98% of the women in this country use contraception at some point in their lives.
There are approximately 313 million people in this country, and, according to this chart, 24% of them are Catholic. It seems safe to assume that approximately half of that 24% are female, 98% of whom apparently use contraception — 36,808,800, according to my calculations; would it be presumptuous to think that perhaps this 37 million are not at all upset?
Has anyone asked them?
And even if no one has, one can still presume.
So who’s upset?
The cardinals, priests, bishops, the POPE forcryingoutloud?
Why do they even get to voice their opinion? They don’t need contraception. They’re MEN, who can’t procreate, because they’re not supposed to be having sex. (If they are, they’re probably molesting young boys.) They shouldn’t get to decide this.
So either Catholic women are using contraception and not talking about it (shame on them), or, well, what? What’s the alternative here?*
Why is this even an issue? As we are living on a planet that’s about to collapse under the collective weight of humanity, can “they” possibly still believe that the “be fruitful and multiply” is a good edict to follow? I’m sure that’s useful to the woman in Kenya with 14 babies and living through famine.
Women who have a say in their procreation have more power. Is that the problem? We all know how “the Catholics” (not to mention the rest of the
men world) feel about women with power.
Does anyone else have a problem with a religious organization, run by “celibate” men, telling women that they have no right to claim control over when and if they procreate?
And if we all have a problem with it, why don’t we say anything?
And now the biggest supporter of breast-health and breast-health-awareness has decided not to give money to Planned Parenthood to be used for breast cancer screening by women who maybe can’t otherwise afford it.
And then we have women putting themselves forward as viable candidates for this country’s highest office, namely Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman, (whose primary selling points seem to be general attractiveness and nice hair rather than intellectual rigor or experiential qualifications), questioning the fairness of laws protecting women’s rights to access to contraception.
Is this the best we can do?
We should get to decide if and when we have babies or not — especially since women who have children are automatically considered to be less viable in the workplace. How many men give up their careers against their will because they had children?
And if the insurance companies are going to pay for Viagara, they should pay for our Apri, or our IUD, or our diaphragm.
*I have very good, self-aware, contraception-using, parents-of-gay-children, female friends who consider themselves to be “good Catholics.” I don’t get it. The people running your particular show are telling you that you’re sinning and you’re wrong and you and/or your children are going to burn in hell, but you go every week and find great comfort in the ritual or something. Maybe it’s the incense. I don’t get it. I. Don’t. Get. It.
Maybe someone can explain it to me?
(Click on the headline to read the whole article.)
I guess I could be really naive and ask what kind of religion sanctions such behavior, but we all know the answer to that question. (What WOULD Jesus do?)
I’ll just pose these puzzlers instead:
Person A’s right to free speech surpasses person B’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Sticks and stones can break bones, but words will never hurt?
What’s wrong with these people?
(sorry about the title; it’s from YouTube, and I can’t seem to change it)
This reveals, as I always suspected, that Michelle Bachman is, truly, an idiot.
Two tidbits from the NPR report regarding the alleged sexual harassment charges against the Republic party’s newest “golden boy.” (I tried to write that without irony; what is the typing-on-a-laptop equivalent of snorting coffee out your nose?)
1. He claims not to remember the woman who has come forward with allegations regarding him groping her in a car as she was talking with him about getting a job. But then he claims that she is a disturbed person, and one who is apparently in some kind of financial difficulties. Interesting how much he knows about someone he doesn’t “know.”
2. He also claims that the Democratic “machine” is at work trying to undermine his legitimacy. There is no Democratic machine. That’s probably the biggest single thing that prevents them from competing with Republicans in political machination-type activities. Sheesh. He might want to make the argument that a Presidential candidate for one of the world’s most powerful and influential countries doesn’t need to know the name of Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan, but he should at least know that.
Maybe he’s just not paying attention.
Art Pope, who inherited from his father of a chain of discount shops known as Variety Wholesalers (basically a smaller but still incredibly profitable version of WalMart), is systematically purchasing legislative seats in North Carolina. (Click on the picture for a link to the whole article.)
He claims this is all done out of completely altruistic motives — rampant capitalism and the creation of wealth as the system that will save the world. His explanation of the existence of poverty and low incomes is that these are merely a factor of youth and poor education, but “usually, as people get older. . .they [will] save and retain wealth, and [eventually] work their way up.” He also claims that most poverty exists as a result of “self-destructive behavior.” Tell that to the nearly 33% of the minority children living in his state who are living in poverty. What were their self-destructive acts, one might ask? Being born to the wrong parents?
Meanwhile, he funds battles (even more easily than he did before, thanks to helpful decisions like Citizens United) that put people who think like him into state government and on school boards and as trustees of major universities where budgets are cut and one of the best integration systems in the country is decimated, seeming completely to miss the point that he has made earlier — that a lack of education is one of the things that keep people from prospering.
And never mind the fact that he was born into wealth, status, and privilege, and that the “work ethic” that produced most of his wealth comes from the parents he was born to, the writing of the will that passed it on to him, and the people who work for his company at minimum wage.
He claims to be both a “traditional conservative” and a “classical liberal” (whatever that means), and that his philosophy is based in his belief in the “marketplace of ideas.” Meanwhile, he machinates the drastic cutting of university budgets, followed by a benevolent offer to donate millions of dollars to fund programs that would turn liberal-arts educations into “personal creation of wealth” trade schools.
So many voters have been beguiled by the (family foundation-run) Civitas-sponsored robo-calls and misleading-to-the-point-of-racist-sexist-and/or-libelous postcards deposited into their mailboxes that Republicans have gained a majority in the North Carolina legislature for the first time in a hundred years.
Pope reassures us, though, that there’s plenty we can do about it. If his opponents disagree, they’re welcome to “fund their own side.”
Because all those people working minimum-wage jobs and/or struggling to put their children through colleges that are getting more and more difficult to afford have the resources to do so.
We’re selling our country, and the running of it, to the highest bidder. When will we stop being sheep? When will we stop believing every ridiculous lie told to us by the people with money we all secretly wish we had? When will we hang up on the robo-calls and throw the postcards into the trash where they belong and actually bother to research the people for whom we are being asked to vote? And where are the true liberals — those who believe in both economic opportunity and social responsibility, those who recognize both the benefits of a free market and its perils, those who can frame our arguments in compelling and actionable terms, those who not only believe that we have a moral responsibility to make this world the best we possibly can for everyone but who can help us recognize that what is best for each of us is what is good for everyone?
I thought it would be Obama. I’m not sure anymore, especially because he seems to be so busy being conciliatory and careful he never really seems to stand up for what I’m sure he still believes in. But I am sure that it isn’t any of the current Republican candidates either, and I am constantly perplexed by the centrists who voted for Obama, are disappointed in what has or hasn’t happened since his election, and think that Rick Perry or Mitt Romney might be a viable alternative.
Meanwhile I’m too busy trying to scrape together a living from my three part-time jobs to participate in marches on any street, and am tiring of the flooding of my inbox by petitions that need to be signed and worthwhile causes that need donations. Where is all that wealth I’ve been educated for (doctoral degree) and work for and still can’t seem to accumulate while I pay down my $120,000 mortgage and try to put three kids through college?
Or maybe having three children without a multi-millionaire father and business to inherit qualifies as “self-destructive.”
H.R.358, would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman lifesaving, emergency abortion care…even if she will die without it. And they call it the “protect life” act — is there no end to their cynical, self-serving, politicizing, marketing bullshit?
And this has passed the House? Seriously?
So they are saying, in all earnestness, that the life of the unborn is more valuable than hers?
Do you suppose they take into account the possibility that she is already alive, and “viable,” and may have a husband, or even, perchance other children who might need her? No. I didn’t think so.
Is it possible that I’m so out of touch that a majority of Americans actually support this sort of thing and I not only don’t know it but I can’t understand it?
And we’re not even addressing the complicated issues that abortion presents, including the possibility that it may be approached in a frivolous way by people who don’t consider the consequences of their not-all-that-well-thought-out actions. I personally think that abortion is tragic and regrettable, and would hopefully be avoided by myself and everyone I know or care about because of the psychological and emotional pain I imagine it would present. But we’re talking about old men making these decisions for women, and we’re talking about women whose lives may be at stake, and we’re prioritizing the potential life of an unborn fetus over the life of an actual person, and we’re using money, or, rather, the withholding of it, to make our arguments for us. This is pathetic, and reprehensible, and unforgivable.
As I tweeted recently (albeit that time about the fact that Canadians wanted former president George W. Bush arrested, and I didn’t even care why), yet another reason to move to Canada.
I just can’t live with these people. And I’m writing this from my iPhone because I still don’t have internet. And I’m so upset I’m not even sure I’m speaking in complete sentences anymore and I’m trying to read it on a 3 inch screen, so it’s just making me claustrophobic and even more pissed than I already was.
I’ll edit tomorrow.
Republicans claim this as one of their main platforms, but let’s get something straight.
They’re “pro-life,” by which they mean:
protecting CEO’s salaries and millionaires’ rights not to pay taxes are more important than teacher salaries,
best of luck to you or your spouse procuring full-time work which includes health care benefits,
and oh, while we’re at it, (Romney’s latest), we’re going to cut federal support for Planned Parenthood, so not only are we not going to allow you to have an abortion, we’re going to make it more difficult for you to procure affordable contraception.
So while “we” can’t be bothered to make contraception or STD testing available or affordable, you can just keep having those babies !!! (the more the merrier, until the planet collapses under our collective weight?), and how you feed them, educate them, and keep them healthy is your own problem.
And never mind that offering these services to people in the first place saves money; we’re not that gifted in long-sightedness.
Just like the decision not to cover prostate cancer screening, or the fact that my HMO only covers $85/year in blood work, which is inadequate just to monitor my thyroid condition. Guess it would be better/cheaper if I took inadequate levels of medication and ended up with a thyroid tumor or in a coma?
Is it really that difficult to understand that spending a little bit on things like preventive screening and contraception saves a lot of money in the long run? Seems like something an 8-year-old would understand.
Every day across the western half of North Dakota 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is deliberately burned by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it. (NYTimes, 2011; click the photo for the link to the slideshow)
Isn’t that just terrific? Yet another demonstration of not only American ingenuity in finding solutions to difficult situations, but of
Republican’s fiscal conservative’s philosophy that the market will automatically solve all of our problems.
An excerpt from an email I just received from “People For the American Way”
At last night’s Fox News debate, the crowd actually booed a gay soldier who asked a question about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! At the first debate, mention of Rick Perry’s record-setting number of state executions as governor drew huge applause. And the crowd at the first official Tea Party debate cheered just as raucously for the suggestion that the way to deal with a sick person without health insurance is to “let him die.” Of course, in all these instances, the candidates said nothing to dissuade the crowd.
Is THIS the American Way?
I’ve decided to add any of my can’t-we-do-better-than-this-politically rants to the Palinschmerz category. It all seems to be basically one and the same. Is there not a single intelligent, discerning Republican candidate who doesn’t feel the need to pander to the lowest common über-religious/closeminded branch of the American people? And why are there so many of these people in this group anyway? Do I dare open the door by asking if I’m missing something?
Nowhere on the internets has a selection of absolutely hideous pants quite like shopbop.
I don’t know how they do it.
Here’s a snippet. (You might want to shield your eyes.)
Oh, it burns.
I like to go there every once in a while just so I can feel better about the crap hanging in my closet.
They seem to hit about 50/50 on the dresses, alternating between average, stunning, and whatweretheythinking?
To whit, and which I rank:
Quite stunning Beautiful To-ga To-ga, Ugh. . . Hmmm. . .maybe?
I can’t help but wonder if they’re actually trying to sell clothes, or just posting random styles for our confusion and/or amusement.
Then there’s the maternity clothes page, modeled by a) women who are clearly not pregnant and b) badly misshapen men.
And let’s not forget
anorexia corner the swimwear.
Now I’m just sad.
I want to rant about Michelle Bachman and her pandering pledge, or about the ridiculous position of the U.S. government and its inability to recognize that if your budget is in trouble you need to cut spending and raise income, just like the rest of us.
Or maybe about the sputtering economic recovery, the fact that despite our best efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan anti-American sentiment grows, (why? you like the Taliban? you don’t mind that your daughters aren’t allowed to go to school? what?) or that Rupert Murdoch has finally been revealed to be the sneaky, pseudo-journalist skank we always suspected him to be.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn maybe have raped the hotel maid, but she’s a liar and a cheat, so that will be the end of that. And Casey Anthony has been acquitted, despite the fact that her daughter was missing for weeks? months? (the whole thing makes me so nauseous I don’t even have the stomach to research it) and she failed to report it. I might understand not knowing where your toddler is for a minute or two, but beyond that, if you aren’t worried, you’re guilty.
And look at what else I just found. Don’t we live in a wonderful world? Not to mention the man in Grand Rapids who went on a bipolar/cocaine-induced rampage that resulted in him killing two ex-girlfriends, their two children (one of whom was his), one of the girlfriend’s parents, and taking two hostages before killing himself. I’ve already wondered, in a previous blog posting, how he managed to get a gun. My next question is, if you’re this angry/depressed/psychotic, if you must do this, why not turn the gun on yourself first and spare the innocent?
Look at this man, who has just found out that his daughter has been killed. Can you look at that without weeping?
But I’m tired of all this. I know I’ve said this before, and I hate to be Debbie Downer, but enough already?
The Old Testament claims that we were made “in God’s image,” and many of the world’s religious people believe that tragedy and sickness and moral struggles indicate the darkness of our deepest selves, the importance of prayer in controlling our Free Will, an opportunity to do service to the world through acts of redemption and humanitarianism and kindness.
Maybe they’re right, and we’re just not praying hard enough. Or maybe they’re wrong, and there are things we’re supposed to be doing besides feeding our families and putting gas in our cars and complaining about the pants in our closet that don’t fit or how our teenagers stare at screens all day and don’t clean up after themselves.
I think I’m going to go on a news fast. Not sure what I’ll have to blog about. I have teenagers, and pets, work that simultaneously enriches and frustrates me, a husband I love dearly and am grateful for every day. That might be enough.
How much money would you have to make not to worry about money anymore?
How emotionally healthy would you have to be to actually be qualified to bear and raise children?
What country could you live in where hard work, discipline and industriousness were rewarded, but the disadvantaged were nurtured and encouraged?
Where is there a society where no one needs to take drugs to escape reality, or where all recognize the innate worth of everyone else?
Our children are going to graduate from colleges their parents can barely afford with more than tens of thousands of dollars in debt into the worst economy since the 1930s, the government can’t pay its bills and the wealthy won’t pay their share, the Fukushima power plant is no closer to stability than it was months ago, who knows what kind of damage the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion and spill has done to the Gulf, stupid people still drive ginormous cars that get 9 miles to the gallon, states are under water both literally and figuratively while others deal with drought and children in Africa are starving and going blind from vitamin A deficiencies, Al Qaeda revamps its image by changing its name and North Korea starves its own people and Greece is going broke and America sells its elections and its court to the highest-bidding corporations and I eat too many potato chips and look in the mirror and see old and think that actually qualifies as a problem.
I can’t even just decide to go to bed and get up tomorrow and face another day because it’s all just going to be the same thing. Just the same.
I’m sorry, I probably should be minding my own business, and just sit over there on my fraying pink bedsheet reading my book and eating my pull-apart licorice, and perhaps you have a good reason for doing what you’re doing, but I’m wondering if you realize that ALL THAT BEACH GRASS YOU’RE DIGGING UP ACTUALLY HAS A PURPOSE!
It’s not like weeding your flower garden, even if it’s true that the dune grass has sprung up there of its own accord and with no help from you. In fact, it’s an important part of the beach ecosystem and should be left alone. If you’d like to know more, read this. Besides, there’s a good 25′ of un-grassed beach for your four vinyl lounge chairs and your little umbrella. The dune grass keeps this beach you seem to love so much, as evidenced by the leather-like quality and maroon hue of your skin, from blowing away.
And yes, I understand that it’s your personal property and you can do whatever you damn well please on it, but when your beach is eroding and your front lawn has fallen into the lake, please do not come to the taxpayer and ask for money to help restore it.
Have a nice day.
Hundreds of mentally ill people successfully petition the court each year to have their gun rights restored, often after a hearing that lasts less than 5 minutes and which does not always include the judge asking to see written reports from psychiatrists stating that the person has recovered from their mental illness.
Even when it does, the reports might be written by a general practitioner, or a psychiatrist who has just met the petitioner, and has been duped. Often friends and family who can testify to the instability of the petitioner are not questioned. Or the petitioner shows up in court, wearing full camouflage and muttering gibberish to himself, and has his gun rights restored anyway.
Why aren’t these cases being looked at more carefully?
I think the source of some of the problem is that the right to bear arms is a national one, but the regulations relating to the purchase and possession of firearms fall to the states to create and enforce. And states don’t always talk to each other, or mental health facilities don’t share their information with the state or the FBI, or when information is requested from a state or the FBI privacy laws may prevent its disclosure.
Who came up with this system?
And why is it more important to preserve the rights of those with mental illness than is it to preserve the rights of the rest of us not to die a violent death at the hands of someone who may be unable to discern fantasy (i.e. the voices in his head) from reality?
Judge Lookabill “. . .would feel a lot more comfortable if there were more safeguards.” Ya’ think?
There are concerns that this constitutional right must be upheld, and that if people can demonstrate that they have recovered from their mental illness the rest of us don’t have the right to refuse them. But that’s ridiculous. First of all, most mental illnesses seem to be of the chronic sort, and any recovery is more like a remission, and completely dependent on a) the patient staying on their meds and b) no extraneous emotional stresses in the patient’s life. Is the judge going to monitor that somehow? Is the patient going to come back in a few months and say, “Ya’ know, I was feeling pretty good, so I stopped taking my meds, and now I’m unemployed again and my ex-wife won’t let me see my kids because I’m hearing voices of the people that live in the walls of my house, so I think that, given the circumstances, I probably shouldn’t have these weapons available to me right now”? Somehow I doubt it.
Secondly, I understand that it’s an illness, a disease, so I’m trying to come up with a comparison like a diabetic’s right to eat candy bars or someone in the final stages of lung cancer and their right to continue smoking, but in those cases they are only going to hurt themselves. We’re talking about guns, here. Guns. Guns that they might not only turn on themselves, but guns that are often turned on others: bystanders and coworkers and fellow students and teachers and completely random strangers.
We should be being more careful about this.
The Second Amendment was written right after the revolution, when our ability to become an independent country and write our own constitution and govern ourselves had been challenged and fought for. Any revolutions we want to fight now are supposed to be fought at the ballot box. Is there concern that we might need to fight one again? Maybe the poor and downtrodden, you know, the 90% of the country that holds only 28.5% of the country’s wealth, (are YOU one of the top 10%? I know I’m not) will decide THEY need to take THEIR country back. But somehow I doubt this will happen.
Maybe we should give it back. They took better care of it than we do, and were here first.
Yeah, let’s give it to this guy, he’ll know what to do with it:
(In my quest for the pictures above I ran across this:
Seriously? That’s offensive, reprehensible, irresponsible. Maybe if you want to be taken seriously you should try not to be such a wingnut. Although comparing Obama to Hitler might not interfere with your right to get your gun rights back, the racist implications alone are disturbing, not to mention that Hitler had millions of people killed because of their religious beliefs. So much for that basic right the conservatives are always harping about. And it’s interesting that when I look up Leninism on Wikipedia I find the theory explained that a communist revolution will only occur under a pre-condition of an economically exhausted industrialized nation, so maybe we should keep those gun rights available just in case.)
Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent, not unrelated to what happens when I spend any time at all on youtube.
So. . .
. . .what is it about guns, anyway? Can someone explain to me the fascination? If you’re not a hunter, or in law enforcement or the military (the last two of which, if no one had guns, we would maybe need less of), what’s the attraction? Can someone explain it to me? I know this is going to make it obvious that I’m a girl, as if you couldn’t tell that already, but I JUST DON’T GET IT.
I give up, and hereby turn myself into the proper authorities.
I killed them.
I recently spent $50 for two of these flower baskets:
I bought them 4 weeks ago. They were full and lush and beautiful. When I put them into their special hanging baskets the foliage was so thick I could barely see to get the hanging chains around the pot. When I took them back to the store, 2 weeks ago, I was told that I had underwatered them, and that I should water them twice a day until water runs out the bottom. Now they’re still dead, but they’re also really really wet. I’ve removed them from their hanging locations on my front porch so as not to frighten neighborhood children.
I also bought four of these little mum pots:
These were not underwatered, but, rather, drowned in the water captured by the deceptively innocent-looking, brightly-colored, outer pots after the last big rain storm, a development which went unnoticed by me for a couple of days.
The above were all purchased from a fancy nursery chain, where I paid premium prices.
This basket was purchased at my grocery store for a humble $12, and for some reason seems to be thriving. Apparently my aura doesn’t reach to the back yard.
You’ll also notice the beautiful tomato plant in the background, which has yet to be eaten by the deer, and is, at this moment, the proud bearer of a single green tomato. This is, of course, only a matter of time.
I was under the mistaken impression that the stinky spray I squirt around the yard was actually protecting the daylilies by my mailbox from the local deer population, until I went to get the mail yesterday and noticed that, while all of the stalks are still there (they’re tricky, those rats with long legs), there were only 2 actual blooms remaining. I give them a day, two at the most.
I was visiting First Son in Cleveland over the weekend, and we were sitting outside Presti’s in Little Italy. (If you haven’t been there, get thee hither. And have a buccalati or two, and a cinnamon star, or three, and their antipasti, and a cappuccino. Not necessarily in that order. Their “Italian Sandwich” didn’t look half bad either, and the lemon ice was crisp and refreshing. And no, they’re not paying me for advertising. That’s funny, I almost wrote they’re not paying me for free advertising. Ha!) Hanging over our heads were beautiful flower baskets, not unlike this one:
As I had spent several hours there that day, first eating my lunch and sipping my coffee and reading my book (The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, I highly recommend it!) while First Son worked his shift, and then again when he met me there afterwards, I eyed them frequently, on the alert for signs of wilting or the loss of the will to live.
I’ve decided my gardening efforts might be better spent with plants like this one:
Although one of the little metal petals (see what I did there?) have been bent by the hose. At least it’s not dying. Not yet, anyway. Give me a few weeks.
Here we see Second Son celebrate his 18th birthday:
First Son was 21 in February. Only Daughter’s a beautiful 10.
Given my record with plants, I guess they should count themselves lucky that I’ve managed to keep them alive for this long.
Some great photo shots of the rioting in Vancouver last night at this site.
I commented thus:
People are stupid. And violent. And looking for an excuse to behave badly. In some weird way I’m comforted that it’s not just Americans who act like this, although I wish no one would.
They can’t really be expecting this to accomplish anything — it’s not like they can expect to turn the game around: “Oh, look! We broke that shop window and stole stuff that wasn’t ours, punched that guy in the face and set that car on fire, and now the score is 5-4!” They have to know this, somewhere in the backs of their addled little brains.
Wonder how it all looks in the morning when they realize their faces are on facebook and people are identifying them. Wonder if they realized beforehand that there is still a standing law that makes participating in a riot 30 minutes beyond when being asked to disperse is punishable by life in prison. Wonder if that would have made any difference.
Mob mentality is a scary thing. I’ve felt myself caught up in it a couple of times before, most specifically once in a religious/retreat setting which I now look back upon with something like horror (I had no idea I could be so easily brainwashed, suspending all things I knew to be logical and true about both the world and myself). I’ve also been around when the crowds have started swirling, both times on the Michigan State University college campus. Once was at the beginning of a much-publicized block party in the mid 1980s which the police were reputedly going to discourage, and a lot of people were threatening to go and “show them.” I stayed home. The other was more recent, I think in 1999 when the MSU basketball team lost to Duke, but when I look it up online there are a disturbing number of post-sports disturbances on the MSU campus. To the point, alas, that they warrant their own entry on Wikipedia. In any case, I was driving west alongside campus as more and more people were rushing out into the open spaces on campus and along the sidewalks. I couldn’t get out of town fast enough.
Besides mob mentality is a thing referred to as herd mentality, which describes how people are influenced by their peers in areas like fashion, music, etc. This urge to belong, combined with what might even be an instinctive sense that we have more power if we act together, can trigger us to act in ways which we would never act alone.
There was a video clip on the CBC this morning of a man hurling things at police — and not just pieces of trash, like many in the crowd were throwing, but the legs of barricades, heavy things, things that could hurt someone. And he’s standing there in front of them, arms outstretched, with a look of proud defiance on his face. A look which would be heroic if he were staring down tanks in Tiananmen Square, or the National Guard at Kent State. But he was looking at police who were showing great restraint, who were there to keep people from getting hurt, and who weren’t hurting him, even though he was posing a threat to them. So, wow, yeah, you really showed them. Asshole.
Anyway, apparently there have already been ~ 150 arrests. Many businesses are trying to clean up their messes; a lot of (innocent) people are going to be contributing to a lot of rebuilding via insurance payouts. We don’t really seem to learn anything, just keep making the same mistakes over and over and over and over. . .
And many consider us to be the most “advanced” species. Anybody ever see any wild animals tear up their own place of residence or set their modes of transportation on fire after other animals vaguely and remotely “related” to them lose in a sporting event?
From the spring 2011 collection:
One question, about the outfit on the right.
And then there’s this one:
My caption for the outfit on the left: Ado Annie meets Laura Ashley.
In my quest, I found these:
Apparently the version on the left isn’t thin enough, so they had to remove all evidence that she had internal organs or a ribcage.
And then we have Filipa Hamilton, before:
According to the site from which I obtained the above picture, when enough people complained to Ralph Lauren about how flipping deformed this woman looks, they claimed responsibility for their manipulation of her image, and apologized. Is it actually possible that no one noticed that she looks like a bobble-head doll until people complained? And look !!! at the first picture of her. Why are they manipulating her image? Is there supposedly something wrong with how she looks? Actually, the first image is from Ralph Lauren, also, so maybe nobody really knows what her body looks like. Has anyone seen her in person, taken a picture of her, and not photoshopped it?
Oh, look what I found:
Which one do YOU think is more attractive?
A friend of mine with a unique sense of humor sent me a link of old advertising clips for my amusement.
I laughed a little, but mostly felt a kind of sick horror, like how one feels when passing a car that’s upside down in the median, wheels still spinning, or on the shoulder surrounded by fire trucks and ambulii and stretchers.
They seem to fall into a few very distinct categories.
Aren’t We Glad We Know Better
So what if the alcohol consumption interferes with their ability to learn to read later, or to form emotional attachments; at least we can count on those pesky little critters to sleep through the night!
It’s hard to know for sure, since when I zoom in it gets quite blurry, but I believe the claims include that it will help you get your homework done properly, AND strengthen family ties. What’s not to like?
Of course we don’t really know if the ingredients help cure your toothache, but you’re so flippin’ high, who cares?
What We Didn’t Realize We Wanted
Yeah, because my primary concern when I’m suffering from the myriad adverse physical affects of PMS is whether I’m GOOD TO BE AROUND.
Sorry; I’m so offended I have absolutely nothing to say. Those of you who know me well will probably be flummoxed by this, but I’m flummoxed by that.
And then we have the best-represented category of all:
Women’s primary objective is to appear to be sexually appealing to you (men) while performing her housewifely duties
(ugh; I’m feeling a little queasy)
The answer to your question, honey, is that you’re actually a lazy whimp, and I am enervated by the smell of dust and burning bacon.
Seriously? Is anyone believing this crap? She WON’T be happier with a Hoover, she’d be happier with a man who could get off his fat lazy ass and pick up some of the potato chip crumbs he’s managed to scatter around himself while watching Monday Night Football. How did man survive the 1950s? If I’d have been there, there would have been some serious trouble.
(Gag.) O, but look how happy they both are; this must be true.
First of all, could this BE more patronizing? Cry a little? Just a little? What are we, five?
And secondly, um, no.
Try these instead:
And then there’s this one. Inexplicable.
Praise be we all know so much better now.
I get a message much like this almost every day of the week:
Dear MoveOn member,
The fight over our budget is really heating up in X, and your state legislators need to hear from you today.
Governor X’s proposed budget would slash funding for public schools and universities—while cutting taxes for large corporations. But most shocking of all, Gov. X’s budget would push 14,000 children into poverty by repealing the Earned Income Tax Credit—raising taxes on the working poor.
Call your state legislators today. Tell them, “It’s immoral to raise taxes on low-income working families, who are struggling most in this recession. I urge you to vote to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
Do I really have to tell my legislators this? Don’t they know it already? What am I missing here?
And I get so many of these, day in and day out. How many petitions can I click on to sign and still feel like I’m actually accomplishing anything? I thought I was tired because I work too hard, or don’t get enough sleep, or maybe have mono, but maybe I’m just tired of all this.
Posted this on facebook the other day, “borrowed” from someone else:
I’m tired of America being dumbed down. I’m tired of a country who thinks that The Arts should be the first to go. I’m tired of fighting wars instead of teaching our children how to avoid them. I’m tired of a shrinking middle class. I’m tired of corporations and lobbyists running our country. I’m tired of a budget where defense is more important than education. I’m tired of a Nation divided. I’m tired of people texting other when they are sitting next to a real person and not talking to them. Maybe I’m just tired. Period.
This country is going to hell in a far-right Republican handbasket.
Can anyone explain this shift to the hard right?
Can anyone tell me how to start a revolution? No guns, please.
Republicans want to cut taxpayer funding of NPR. They argue that this is in the interests of fiscal responsibility, but the effects of this cut on the budget are negligible at best.
What they really want is to silence the voice of reason, one which presents all sides to the story, a “fair and balanced” view of the world and the events going on in it, rather than the FOX news version.
It’s so much easier to govern the ignorant.
I also worry that it’s yet another step in the efforts to privatize everything. (David Mitchell writes effectively about this in his beautifully-written book Cloud Atlas, although I wish the part about the journalist researching lax safety practices at a nuclear power plant had been “real” rather than “fiction.”) In Michigan, the governor is trying to overturn democracy, all in the name of handling our “financial emergency.” These steps include giving him the right to dis-incorporate towns and take over school districts and turn them over to “financial managers.” Of course, these would be privately-run companies, and there would be no guarantee, for example, that the person put in charge of your school actually has any experience at all in education.
THEY want to take THEIR country back? From who? And so they can give it to the corporations? Are this many of MFA really that stupid? How can these people, middle-class, hardworking people, believe that any representative of the current incarnation of the Republic party is looking out for them? Do we really need to protect the interests of the wealthiest just in case someday you win the lottery and don’t want to pay any taxes on it?
And don’t we all realize that if we prodigiously pollute our planet, and don’t educate our children, and don’t provide basic services for the ill and the poor, we all will pay? That we’re paying already?
I feel like we’re at the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire.
Should the Western world stand by while Quaddafi annihilates his people?
Do I really think I’m making a difference by clicking on every MoveOn petition that I agree with?
Am I pathetic that I have time to click on a petition, but not to call my senator?
Should we use nuclear power?
If we’re going to use nuclear power, should we, oh, I don’t know, maybe go so far as to have a method for disposing of the waste and of averting nuclear disaster?
Should we buy goods because they’re “cheap” even if the cost of those goods to the environment — both in terms of their production and their disposal when they stop working in record time — has not been included in that calculation?
Should we drive cars fueled by gas drilled for and/or refined in countries where women are treated as property rather than people?
Do we realize that 40% of the food that’s produced is thrown away?
Should we try to do something about that? (I’m NOT eating that I-think-it-used-to-be-a-cucumber I found in the bottom of the crisper, btw, but maybe I should be more careful about if I really wanted/needed to buy that cucumber in the first place?)
Should we pay for our children’s college education (“free ride”) or should we have them pay for it themselves (“responsibility,” “accountability”), even if it means they’ll be in debt for the first 20 years of their “adult” lives?
Should we spend some of our free time writing a blog that 100 people read a day, or should we play a game with our 10-year old instead?
Why is it that the older I get the more questions, and fewer answers, there seem to be?
First comment: 20%? Aww, poor babies. Welcome to the real world.
Second comment: What many are saying: What? You mean he’s going to cut taxes for businesses and pass the cost on to the middle class? You’re kidding! That’s outrageous!!! Let’s go protest and get arrested like we wish we had in the 70s but were too young or well-behaved. What the rest of us say: Well, duh? You’re surprised? You voted for him, what did you expect exactly? Then we shrug our shoulders and go about our insanely-overscheduled lives trying to keep our financial heads above water.
Is it actually possible that they didn’t see it coming?
I know, I know. Of course they didn’t. Alas, the average American just can’t pay attention long enough to make such predictions.
I’m so tired and disillusioned by this, and so many other things, I can think of nothing better to do than to go to bed and hide my head under my pillow.
Maybe by tomorrow it will all go away.
At least we’re not victims of a recent earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster.
That makes it seem so much better.
p.s. What’s the difference between “As if?” and “Who knew?” I think I’ve inadvertently created a redundancy.
I find my faith in the goodness of humanity restored by the agreement Afghanistan is signing with the United Nations to stop recruiting children into its police forces. Even more reassuring is the decision to ban the common practice of boys from the age of 9 being used as sex slaves by military commanders.
Apparently this custom is more than 300 years old, and carried out openly in many communities.
President Karzai is motivated to end this reprehensible practice as it has resulted in Afghanistan being blacklisted by the U.N.
That seems like a good enough reason.
Here is the transcript from Obama’s speech in Tuscon yesterday.
Or, if you’d rather watch it, click here.
The best, most important, part:
They believed, and I believe, that we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here, they helped me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that’s entirely up to us. And I believe that for all our imperfections we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as the forces that unite us. . .we should do everything we can to make sure we live up to our children’s expectations.
Let’s make it so.
New York Times has a provocative “year in pictures” series. Click here if you’d like to see it.
I didn’t do an official count, or anything, but it seems to be made of 3 categories:
1. Horrible things mankind does to each other and the planet.
2. Natural disasters and the havoc they wreak.
3. Sporting events.
Unfortunately, it is only pictures from category 3, Sporting events, and those of the rescued Chilean miners and of Aung San Suu Kyi finally, and probably temporarily, released from house arrest, that seem to reflect anything positive.
I wonder if we could come up with a year in pictures of more uplifting things. Second son vacuuming the basement (as we speak), for example, or my daughter’s beautiful face.
Would anyone want to see that, do you suppose?
I “commuted” 180 miles round trip 2 days a week for 5 years, and found that my faith in humanity was drastically undermined by the behavior I witnessed on the road. People behave in such a way as they never would if waiting their turn in line or dealing with someone face to face. Couple that with a generalized lack of attention, and the road is a dangerous place to be indeed.
For example, today, on my 9-mile drive from work to home:
1. Driver #1 sits in the lane for the duration of the green left-turn arrow, then zips out at the last second and dives into the far right lane, turning right on a red light without stopping first (apparently, since he/she had stopped at a green light, she/he was then granted one go-at-a-red-light pass).
2. Driver #2 proceeds down busy 3-lane road at ~ 7 mph under the speed limit, then turns on her left turn signal, pulls into the right (parking) lane, and turns right.
3. Driver #3 merges onto the highway at a blistering 37 miles per hour.
4. Driver #4 changes lanes, from the right to a left, in the middle of an intersection, proceeds in the left lane ~13 mph under the speed limit for approximately 1/2 of a mile, and then goes back into the right lane to turn right (this is not the same as driver #2, alas).
What is wrong with these people?
Nobody knows how to merge, people either don’t use their turn signals or use them too late to be of any use to anyone, most people seem to be driving cars without cruise control and are completely unable to maintain a consistent speed on the highway, and way too many people cross center lines at random or hug one line or another, seeming to indicate an intention to change into a different lane, but failing to actually do so.
Many of these drivers are talking on their cell phones, and apparently have forgotten that a) they are driving a car, and/or b) they are not the only person on the road. Besides DWD (Driving While Dumb) we have DWD2 (Driving While Distracted), DWoCP (Driving while on a Cell Phone), DWT (Driving While Texting), DWO (Driving While Old) and DWY&C (Driving While Young and Clueless).
A few weeks ago a man driving a large pickup, and pulling a VERY long trailer, simply merged onto the highway and into my lane without looking at me once. If I had not been able to get into the left lane instantly he would have “taken me out.” He never noticed — he was talking on a cell phone, which he was holding up to his left ear, the result of which a) he couldn’t see me and b) he didn’t notice and/or c) he didn’t care.
Various surveys show 4 out of 10 accidents being caused by people driving while on a cell phone or texting and compares the reactions of 20-year-olds while on a cell phone to those of 70-year-olds in general. Other surveys show that driving while on a cell phone is more dangerous than driving drunk and include using a hands-free phone in these statistics, some studies showing that these are even MORE dangerous.
In general people seem to be getting away with worse and worse driving abilities and habits, although maybe this is just my opnion.
In any case, it would be good for everyone if people drove smarter and stopped treating their car like a living room or a phone booth. Remember: Your primary job is to a) drive your car safely and b) be considerate of everyone else on the road. If you can’t do those two things, please stay home, or at the very least, stay out of the driver’s seat.
Think of it as your Christmas gift to the world.
This young man:
is suspected of having murdered this young woman
the day after her return home from college for Thanksgiving break, following 18 months of an “on-again-off-again,” apparently troubled, relationship.
Now of course, he is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and maybe I should avoid “jumping on the bandwagon” by writing about this, but I have children, and can only imagine the pain both of these sets of parents must be feeling at this point.
What crucial emotional piece is missing that would allow anyone to do such a thing?
I’m going to go hug my children now.
(This, and the following, in the name of “religion.” If your God decides to punish my son because my “country” has decided to accept homosexuality — which it hasn’t, really, although it should — then I want nothing to do with your God. And notice the young teen making the posters; it’s important to start teaching them these things while they’re young and before they can start thinking for themselves. Wonder if the look on his face reflects distaste for what he’s doing. Or maybe it’s just the smell of the glue.)
This one makes me wonder — how does a woman who comes from one of the most vilified religions in the world decide that it’s a good idea to vilify another? You stab me in the back, I’ll stab you? (Duh? I guess this philosophy has governed a lot of political, inter-country, and sibling relationships for a long time. Silly me for hoping we could do better.) I am very reassured to find that she is able to afford maintaining her hateful blog because of her hefty divorce settlement and the sale of a nearly-two-million-dollar home.
I guess it’s not just us.
These from just one day. There are more. I’m going to stop now because it’s just too depressing.
Meanwhile, a colleague of my husband drove by this accident 5 minutes after it happened.
Those beautiful children, those poor families. They know, at least for now, what’s important. And they’ve lost it. For how many people does it take tragedy to remind them of this?
Is it really so hard for the human species to live a life of love?
Why CAN’T we all get along?
Just finished reading a very enlightening book, The End of Overeating. The book is targeted towards people who have real problems controlling their eating, to the point where all they really do all day is think about food.
Now any of you who follow this blog at all know that I’d like to weigh a little less, and that I really like food. Especially good food. I’ve got a chicken roasting in the oven right now, stuffed with lemons and rosemary, and a bowl of tabbouleh chillin’ in the fridge; I’m really looking forward to tonight’s meal with a nice glass of Beaujolais.
I’m not obsessed with food; I eat 3 pretty healthful meals a day, and sometimes a snack late afternoon — usually an apple, a bowl of almonds, a chunk of cheese, something like that. I struggle with cravings for potato chips, pretzels and blue cheese dressing, cheetohs, but can usually resist, especially if I don’t have any in the house. I try to limit snacking in the evenings — have discovered homemade applesauce and plain yogurt, or a frozen Yoplait, can substitute for ice cream or sorbet, which my husband enjoys.
I digress, again.
The book revealed a few things to me which I did not know before, and which may not be common knowledge.
1. Eating food that you enjoy triggers dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel happy.
2. Eating food as a comfort, especially if it accompanies another sort of comfort — a plate of warm cookies from mom when you get home from a hard day of school, a rich dinner prepared by your spouse at the end of a long day — triggers a memory/conditioning response so that our desire for that food is triggered by a need for a similar comfort.
3. The food industry has very carefully deduced the prime combination of sugar, fat, and salt that triggers the production of dopamine, and therefore the desire for MORE, and just as carefully manipulates these combinations in the foods it produces.
White flour has most of the germ, bran, and fiber removed.
Chicken is processed, shredded, and then reassembled with binders, “supplemented” with saline, and then fried before being flash-frozen so that it is cheap, tender, juicy, dissolves in our mouths quickly (more calories, less work), and is easily digested (more calories, less work). Healthful-sounding meals like quesadillas include chicken that has not only been fried at the stage of production, but again at the restaurant, and accompanied by vegetables that have been fried in oil, 4 servings’ worth of cheese, layered into two white-flour tortilla shells which are again fried on the grill, and then served with guacamole (with massive amounts of added salt and fat in the form of mayonnaise or sour cream), sour cream, (sweetened) salsa, and tortilla “crisps” — more tortilla shells which have been shredded and fried.
The author of this book calls it fat on sugar on fat on salt on fat on fat.
Sugar is omnipresent — not just in cereals and jams but in peanut butter, bread, jarred spaghetti sauce. Even cereals that seem to contain a reasonable amount of sugar per serving are, in fact, ~ 1/3 sweetener of one sort or another. All they’ve done is constructed it out of 5 or 6 different versions — sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, etc. so they can move each of them a little further down the label. Apparently there’s almost as much sugar in a McDonald’s hamburger bun as there is in a home-made cookie.
Don’t even get me started on the sugar on fat on sugar involved in a Krispy Kreme doughnut. (They do look yummy, don’t they?)
And have any of you looked at the percentage of RDA of sodium in anything packaged lately? Chicken broth — no msg, no added sugar, reduced sodium, still contains 25% of the RDA per serving. The compensation for poor ingredients is salt; at least then it tastes like something.
Even reading the label on the tray of sushi I bought today gave me pause — does there really need to be that many ingredients in it? When I make it, it’s a sheet of nori, some rice that’s been seasoned with some rice vinegar, fresh tuna, and some cucumber. Granted, mine doesn’t stay in those neat tight little rolls when I’m done, but at least I know what’s in it.
Coincidentally, a facebook friend posted this picture of the meat that has been scraped from bones to be reassembled into chicken nuggets.
If you read the article you’ll find out that the scraping of the bones is just the beginning: the meat is now awash with bacteria, so it’s treated with ammonia. Now it tastes terrible (as one could imagine), so artificial flavorings are added to mask the flavor. Because no one wants to eat chicken that’s the color of Play-Doh, it’s bleached/colored to look like chicken. Gives new meaning to the expression “tastes like chicken.”
The other thing to be suspicious of is restaurants who are packaging an “experience.” Watch out for the flashy menus with glossy pictures and publicized “ambiance” or “fun-loving atmosphere.” It’s not about the food anymore, but about the escape from your tedious, mundane existence.
The gist of it is, I’m now mostly eating at home, food that’s been purchased from the periphery of the grocery store. I’ll have to find my escape elsewhere — Scrabble anyone?
I bought my daughter a new school bag in August and a new pair of shoes in September. The bag’s lining is already torn and the soles of the shoes are shredding off in little rubber bits.
I lived in a house for 9 years, from 1997-2006, during which we bought 2 washers, 2 dishwashers, and one refrigerator. (The dryer we bought in 1991 still works.)
I was told that appliances don’t last because the strain put on the motors so that they are more efficient consumers of energy means that the motor can only be expected to last ~ 7 years. Right now I have a refrigerator, a washer, and a dryer, all of which look and act like they’re at least 15 years old, but I’m afraid to replace them because then I know I’m going to be replacing them again before my 9-year-old graduates from high school.
I have a pair of shoes I bought 15 years ago; they look great, except the soles were wearing out about a year ago so I had them repaired. I noticed yesterday that those soles are shredding away in little bits of rubber.
What are we doing to our environment by making so many things that we’ll have to throw away? Common knowledge would say that’s the price to pay for cheap stuff, but it’s not just the cheap stuff that’s falling apart.
Does anything last anymore?