Thursday, April 30, 2009

David Duke busted in Czech Republic

As promised, part of Daisy's radical history! At left, video capture from the History Channel, in which I look like a fabulous 19-year-old and scream at the ku klux klan. See video below for the whole sequence, which got me a subpoena for the ensuing riot (since as you can see, I was standing about 10 feet from the action). During said riot, the intrepid Progressive Labor Party distinguished itself by pounding the Ohio Imperial Wizard (his name escapes me) into a lil greasy spot. (Of course, at the time, my memory failed me and I couldn't rightly remember who did it! Funny how that happens! :P )

This event occurred at the Ohio Statehouse, Labor Day, 1977. I chose it to go with the news of David Duke's bust (he also figures prominently in the video below).


David Duke reportedly arrested in Czech Republic
Southern Poverty Law Center/Hatewatch
by David Holthouse, April 24, 2009

Czech Republic media outlets are reporting that infamous U.S. white supremacist leader David Duke was arrested in Prague earlier today on suspicion of denying the Holocaust and promoting the neo-Nazi movement, crimes punishable by up to three years in prison in the Czech Republic.

According to a Prague newspaper, Duke was taken into custody at the Black Eagle, a Prague restaurant, shortly after arriving in the country at the invitation of Czech neo-Nazis. The newspaper reported that 30 law enforcement officers wearing ski masks surrounded Duke, who was scheduled to deliver lectures in Prague and Brno. A third lecture scheduled at Prague’s Charles University was called off earlier this week because the university banned it.

According to an Internet post by the Czech Republic neo-Nazi group National Resistance, Duke was in Czech Republic to promote his book My Awakening.

“Mr. Duke was arrested after previous approval [from the] state deputy for suspicion for committing the crime of supporting and promoting movements which are trying to suppress human rights and freedoms,” read a translated statement from Prague police spokesperson Jan Mikulovsky.

News of Duke’s reported arrest spread rapidly throughout the right-wing extremist online community. A “Free David Duke” discussion thread on Stormfront, a major white nationalist discussion forum, was fast-approaching 300 posts at 5 p.m. EST.

Discussion at Vanguard News Network was equally intense. “Though in the past I have disagreed with David Duke as being too moderate, I must say that this arrest is outrageous and must be protested, vigorously,” wrote EireanGoddess. “Damn the jews.”

David Duke too moderate? Saints preserve us.


The Ohio Statehouse-riot described above is in this video (jump to 3:18-40), which as I recall, was a law enforcement video. The show is a three-hour documentary titled The Ku Klux Klan, A Secret History.

Warning: violence, very disturbing...but Duke makes his appearance here as the face of the "new klan"--the klan's much-heralded 70s makeover. If not for Duke, I am confident the kkk would have died out completely.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Carl Edwards goes airborne at Talladega

Dramatic crash at Talladega this weekend, which I just saw:

Seven spectators at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama sustained non-life threatening injuries after a car being driven by Carl Edwards went airborne, hurling debris into the stands.

According to track medical director Bobby Lewis, two of the injured were flown by helicopter to nearby hospitals, one with an apparent broken jaw and lacerations on her face. Reports on the other were not available, but neither were believed to be seriously hurt.

The wreck happened just as drivers were approaching the final lap of the Talladega 500 on Sunday. The car driven by Edwards reportedly clipped a another racer, causing Edwards’ car to spin out of control, careening into a safety fence. Edwards was not injured, however, his car was destroyed, as were sections of the safety fence.

Here is the wreck from several different vantage points:

*This post is lovingly dedicated to JG Ballard, RIP again, my friend. We miss you already.

Daisy reveals cure for Asperger's Syndrome

Left: Tapestry on my living room wall.

I took THIS TEST, to see if I have, ha ha, Asperger's Syndrome. I knew the score would be low, as one who is perpetually in everybody's business. ((((pauses from looking through keyhole at neighbors, to blog)))

I got a 12--lower than average, even. I was thinking: if religious and superstitious obsessions had been included, I woulda got much higher. But maybe that is the whole point? Religious obsessions are very behavior-oriented and people with Asperger's appear largely unconscious of many behaviors.

But yes, while taking the test, I came up with the CURE for Asperger's, which I am blogging here and expect to get the patent. If any shrink goes on 20/20 or 60 Minutes or NBC DATELINE with my idea, I can point to this post and sue them for shitloads of cash. (I mean it!) And I use the word CURE advisedly and ironically... that word is employed primarily for the cool blog post title. The word TREATMENT is probably more accurate, in this instance.


Yes, make them sell ON COMMI$$ION!!!! That'll do it.

I realized while doing the test, that lots of my most un-Asperger's traits have been greatly amplified by doing retail and customer-service work, since forever. I can talk about anything, with anyone. I can start up conversations with whole families who don't even speak English! And they walk away smiling at me! Yes, people, a lifetime of retail/customer service is the CURE, by doggies. Or at least, a good teacher. Good treatment.

And you see, THE MONEY, the commi$$ion, is the reward that they will understand. It is nearly as flawless a barometer as you could ever find: if you have done well, they will buy it. And see the CASH FLOW?! This is positive reinforcement. BF Skinner would be so proud of me!

The problem, of course, is that they hire people like ME to do the retail selling and the customer service ass-kissing, for a good reason. One of my ex-store-managers used to call it "the personality for retail" and would give major hell to any low-level supervisor who had unwittingly hired some taciturn type for the job: "They do not have the personality for retail!!!!!"--she would periodically scream, pointing melodramatically at the dropping sales figures. She fired people right and left, and gave that as the reason. "You do not have the personality for retail," she would scrawl on their pink slips. (One of these people said, hell no I don't! and memorably stomped out with a flourish.) When we talked too much on the job, she would shake her head and say, well, these chatterboxes are a natural result of the personality for retail. (She used to talk about it rather as a state of grace, and I felt better about myself when she said it, oddly enough.)

But what if we tried to TEACH that personality, through positive reinforcements... like, actual monetary commissions? Would that work? I think you might have to start them very young, say, as teenagers. Would they learn to read faces, see the interest that signals a desire to spend money, and concurrently, the boredom that translates as "no thanks, just looking"? Could they learn which people to zero in on, as a good salesperson does? As people who are hyper-detail-oriented, they might well learn to size up a pair of $350 designer-shoes, and then think to themselves in that retail-mercenary way: we need to wring this rich person DRY. (If they grew up poor, they might find that as delightful as I do. Robin Hood, and all like that.)

The problem is that Aspies would simply never get hired to learn these skills in the first place. (Or get fired in short order, for not having the personality for retail.) It would take time to develop. Possibly a "retail workshop" could be created; a trial setting, and then they might cross over into a real job? Could it happen?

Of course, I realize my cure/treatment depends on the survival of capitalism.

I know, there are problems with everything.


This post was inspired by fabulous Meowser, and her great post over at Shakesville--which yes, I just got around to reading. (Shiva pointed me to it, so thank you!)

Full disclosure: Meowser already sold me on this caftan, so I think she (in particular) has definite sales-potential.

Epilogue and partial disclaimer--This post is meant partly as a tongue-in-cheek critique of my job, but also meant to remind everyone there are excellent life-skills that emanate from even the "lowest" point on the economic scale.

Also, the post is meant as partly serious, to point out that the people in this world who need something the most are often not very likely to get it. For instance, the seriously-impoverished kids who could never hope for a college scholarship, but who would get the most out of it and be the most grateful for it? Many are barely literate and could never qualify, or even finish high school.

Likewise, the people who could benefit the most from my job, will not be hired for it. And that's too bad, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu lesson: STOP BUTCHERING ANIMALS!!!!

The swine flu epidemic is all over the news. And I am wondering: how did a swine virus get into humans?

Now, why would we be associating with SWINE? Umm, let me guess.

I went to the CDC website and I am informed:

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.
"Swine industry"--doncha love these half-assed euphemisms the pork industry employs? HA! Industry?!? You mean, the death industry?

Do you mean KILLING the swine, like, for meat?

Does this mean, none of this would be happening, if people didn't BUTCHER PIGS TO EAT?

(((pauses for dramatic effect))) (((lets this realization sink in))))

Eating meat is disgusting. Raising pigs for slaughter is GROSS. Factory farming is unnatural, filthy and horrific, and a sin before Almighty God. And when you mess with the almighty, this is the kind of thing that happens. (Will you meat-eaters learn from this, at long last?)

Why aren't news reports properly focusing on butchering animals for meat as the cause of this epidemic, rather than babbling about the Mexicans?

Ohhhh, probably because it's all carnivores reporting the news, hm?

More on the flu:

Mexican Schools Shut as Epidemic Hits 'Critical' Point (Washington Post)

Cases confirmed in Asia, Middle East as virus spreads beyond Mexico (MSNBC)

Swine Flu: Chicago's Mexican Community Prepares, School Bans Handshakes (Huffington Post)

H1N1 (Alas, a blog)

PS: Leave the pigs alone, and I bet we won't catch their nasty germs. How about it?

EDITED TO ADD (for strong stomachs only!): Swine Flu: Smithfield Foods' statement vs. the ugly truth (Cogitamus)

Been to Canaan

Tami did a thread on the book Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller, and asked us to name songs we liked by the three women who are the subjects of the book, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King.

I linked this song on the thread, and ever since, major earworm time! (This neurological phenomenon is undoubtedly exacerbated by the fact that the song gives me excellent, first-class acid flashbacks!)

I love this song with a passion, so enjoy. I was thrilled to find such a lovely version.

She always sounded fabulous!


Been to Canaan - Carole King

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bea Arthur 1922-2009

The first time I saw her (below), she was playing the part of one of the women in my family...defending Franklin Delano Roosevelt!

And I loved her forever after.

Goodbye Bea.


All in the Family - Cousin Maude's Visit

Free the Weed!

Fox News called us all trolls for trying to free the weed.

We should take it as a compliment!

The story, from NORML:

On three separate occasions, the White House has asked the public to provide them with feedback on the top public policy questions facing the nation. And on three separate occasions, the leading question for the new administration — as chosen on and voted by the American public — pertained to the legalization of marijuana.

One might examine these results and conclude that marijuana law reform is an issue that is becoming increasingly popular with America’s voters. Of course if you’re Fox News, you interpret these results another way:
Obama's Effort at Online Transparency Stymied by Internet Trolls

“Three and a half million people participated in the event, but the ‘trolls’ had their way: Following a coordinated campaign by marijuana advocates to vote their topic to the top of the list, questions on the future of the U.S. dollar and the rising unemployment rate were superseded by questions about legalizing pot as an economic remedy.”
Got to hand it to the folks at Fox. (PS: For the record, Wired makes the same accusation!) National polls show that the public’s support for legalization has never been greater. Leading political and media pundits are now demanding that we end the criminal prohibition of pot. Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, the old guard at Fox News cynically clings to the notion that nobody supports taxing and regulating marijuana aside from a handful of “Internet trolls.” We report, you decide, huh?

Of course, Fox News didn’t come up with this spin on their own. After all, it was White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs — yes, the same Robert Gibbs who couldn’t come up with one valid reason to oppose regulating pot besides “uh” — who initially tried to downplay the popularity of marijuana law reform, telling the New York Times that “advocates for legalizing marijuana, … includ[ing] NORML, had mounted a drive to rack up votes for the question.”

So let’s set the record straight shall we?

For the record, NORML did not engage in any deliberate campaign to "rack up votes" through the use of list-servs or their thousands of e-zine subscribers, nor did they even circulate information about the poll to the oodles of reefer-heads on their Facebook and Myspace websites.

No campaign, I repeat. THIS IS FROM THE PEOPLE; THIS IS REAL. As Paul Armentano of NORML writes:
The simple explanation for the White House poll results is this: Marijuana law reform is immensely popular with the public. That’s why we win initiatives — time and time again. And that’s why when the public is asked whether they support ending prohibition they say ‘yes’ — in overwhelming numbers!

As my colleague Scott Morgan writes at “This is a movement, and it isn’t going away. Our issue is bigger than the organizations backing it.” He’s right.

Americans are demanding a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing marijuana. They have come to this conclusion on their own — simply by witnessing the failure of the drug war all around them.

It seems that these politicians (even the ones with their fingers perpetually in the air, kissing voter ass and endlessly angling for re-election) don't understand how incredibly FED UP everyone is, tired of WASTING MONEY BUSTING POT SMOKERS.

The economy is in the shitter, and there is a cannabis cash cow beckoning. Why can't they see it? What is taking them so long?

There is money to be had, and time is wasting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dead Air Church: Azaleas!

I first visited South Carolina on Easter weekend of 1987, and there was an amazing explosion of color everywhere. I had never seen azaleas except on TV and in photographs... I still don't think you get the full impact unless you see rows and rows and rows of them in person, covering hills and yards and roadsides; their bright, beautiful colors gleaming all over the place. I felt like I was visiting a tropical paradise.

I still feel that way when I see them bloom every spring.

Alice Walker said God wants us to notice the color purple, and I would add, He also wants us to appreciate His stunning azaleas in bloom!

Have a lovely Sabbath!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Me and Columbine

It's very hard to write about things that are so personal--the mere scratching of the itch to discuss them, tears huge pieces off my hide.

So, I speak in a roundabout way, and hope you will all forgive me for being so imprecise with the details. I invite you to read between the lines. At this point, my vivid, emotional memories overlap another person's very intense memories, and her account of these events will be radically different. (How to honor both of our accounts? Is it possible?)

I remember the date of Columbine very well, because it was on the second anniversary of Columbine, that my own teenage daughter ran away from home. (It was 2001, the year so much else happened to rock our universe.)

And already, she would phrase it differently. She would say she didn't "run away"--she needed space, she needed a breather from her parents; she needed to be somewhere else for awhile, blah blah blah. But of course, the disconcerting fact is that she decided this for herself, for the first time in her life. It was a decision that did not include us, the people who had been making all of her decisions up until that point. It was her decision as a separate, sentient human being. An adult decision, by one not yet legally an adult, but physically an adult, who will do as she pleases. As I did. As we all did, at some point, unless we were exceptionally-obedient teenagers, and I certainly was not.

In my child, I deliberately inculcated the desire to question, to think, to consider the deeper concepts and major ideas... and then I was furious when I was the first person she questioned, that she applied these values I taught her to ME, the one who taught them.

Of course, that is always how it is.

But my sense of failure as a mother, my feeling of abandonment, was overwhelming, all-encompassing, smothering and seriously disabling. I lost friends. I took anti-depressants for several weeks and then stopped. I starved myself intermittently. I also lost a job during this extended debacle. I lapsed into almost-delirious magical thinking. I began friendships with people who claimed to have seen the Blessed Mother in person; I venerated relics of saints, and had novenas going to virtually every saint in Butler's, even the obscure saints of the Middle Ages that nobody ever heard of. (The magical thinking wears ever on, as I remain extremely fond of the saints I believe listened and responded; I never lost this deep attachment to saints that I formed during this critical time. Without them, I believe I might have gone stark-raving insane.)

And I thought about those other parents. The parents of Eric and Dylan.

Why didn't they know?--the accusatory questions for the Harrises and the Klebolds came fast and furious, and have never really abated. The contempt for these "clueless" parents was legion.

And so: The two-year-anniversary of Columbine was under discussion and the yearly parental inquisition and finger-pointing was under way on Fox News, exactly when I got the phone call that would change my life, alter my thinking, forever making me unwillingly sympathetic with the bad parents of the world.

In a daze, I saw the TV, seeing but not really seeing. Eric and Dylan. Thus, their photos will always mean something very personal to me, but probably not what they mean to you.

They represent that which we have brought into this world, but can no longer control. "Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself," wrote Kahlil Gibran. They will do what they think is necessary. Not what we think is necessary.

If we have taught them to think for themselves, they will come to different conclusions. It has been ever thus.

And they do. They will. They may decided to run away from home, or they may decide to shoot up a school. But that is nothing we wanted for them.

That is not our fault.

I crossed a line, that day. I was one of the parents who cried, who shakes their head, who doesn't understand what has happened. I was the woman in the Beatles song "She's leaving home"--I just plain didn't get it. Because it was another person's decision, what she should do with her life. It was not mine.

It was not the decision of the Harrises and the Klebolds, either. They did not make the decision that day. Eric and Dylan did. And that day, eight years ago, while the anniversaries played out on TV, my heart inexplicably pounded, as I knew I could never, ever judge their parents. Not now. Not ever again.

On the two-year anniversary of the Columbine massacre, I wept for the dead and injured of Columbine... and even more, even though I did not want to, I wept for the parents of the boys who went their own way. Who decided on their own, what they would do. The boys who did not stop to ask what mom and dad would think; and would not have cared anyway. The parents left holding the bag, shaking their heads, not understanding.


My family situation, over eight years, has worked itself out. There were several years that it looked dicey, but maturity and intelligence eventually manifested in my daughter's life, as she began to make the right decisions. Unfortunately, this cannot happen in Eric and Dylan's lives, which they decided to cut short. Their parents' suffering is ongoing, it will not pass, as mine has.

And on the ten-year anniversary, a few days ago, I wept again.

I pray always for those people forgotten in the carnage, the people who are hated and reviled for bringing these two lost souls into the world. I will pray for you always, Wayne Harris, Katherine Ann Poole, Thomas Klebold, Susan Yassenoff and the unique and unending pain you have endured. That day, I felt the connection with you, and I felt your consciousness merge with my own, as clearly as if you were standing right in my own kitchen.

And I am so, so sorry.


She's Leaving Home - The Beatles


Gone, when you wake in the morning
Gone, when you find that there's no one sleeping
Gone, pretty Penny was her name
She was loved and we all will miss her

Pretty Penny - Stone Temple Pilots

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

Live at the Fillmore East, 1970. Duane Allman in the flesh! Fabulous jams.


In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - The Allman Brothers Band

Student files lawsuit challenging Sanford's refusal of stimulus

Left: South Carolina state flag.

As you know by now, our Idiot-in-Charge, Governor Sanford, declined a hefty portion of the federal economic stimulus funds, due to some Ayn Randian nonsense he subscribes to. Unfortunately, the "tea party" protest against the economic bailout/stimulus here in upstate SC was nearly 10,000 strong last week, one of the largest in the country. I am sure Sanford perceived this sordid event as a sign of political support, even if the dopey tea parties are basically aimed at the federal government and President Obama. (I told you I lived in possibly the most conservative county in the USA!)

An 18-year-old high school senior, Casey Edwards, filed a lawsuit, which has been thrown out (for now):

State high court declines to hear stimulus suit
Justices rule Legislature must act first before decision can be made

COLUMBIA -- The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a high school senior's legal petition asking the court to decide whether the Legislature can bypass Gov. Mark Sanford to accept $700 million in federal stimulus funds but left the door open to hear the case if the Legislature appropriates the money.

State Attorney General Henry McMaster had argued that the case wasn't yet legally "ripe" for court review because some action had to be taken, either the Legislature appropriating the money or passing a resolution to accept it.

The justices on Wednesday agreed, denying a review "at this time."

"We find this action is not ripe and appropriate for judicial determination unless or until the General Assembly has taken, as it is authorized to do, measures to appropriate the funds at issue," the court said.

"Until that time, there is no real and substantial controversy, as opposed to a contingent, hypothetical or abstract dispute, upon which this court can render a declaratory judgment."

Dwight Drake, one of the student's Columbia lawyers, said he believes the order is "good news."

"The Legislature was going to have to appropriate the funds before they could get to the schools anyway," he said. "Some people in the Legislature had argued the Legislature could not appropriate the funds. The court order says they can appropriate the funds."

McMaster responded by saying the order gives Sanford and the Legislature time to resolve the matter "free of any extraneous complications."

The governor has refused to apply for $700 million of $2.8 billion available to the state over two years unless lawmakers agree to spend an equal amount to reduce state debt.

Joel Sawyer, Sanford's spokesman, said the justice's order Wednesday "confirms what we said all along, that the governor is the one who has the authority to request the money. So there really is no issue for the court to resolve here."

Legislators have predicted for weeks the issue would eventually wind up in the courts. State Attorney General Henry McMaster, in an opinion weeks ago, said he thought Sanford had to apply for the money but said if the Legislature also requested it, the issue would have to be settled by the courts.

The petition that triggered Wednesday's order was filed last week by Casey Edwards, an 18-year-old senior at Chapin High School who said she is concerned about the impact on schools if the state doesn't receive the $700 million in stimulus funds.

The House has included one year's worth of the stimulus funding at issue in its budget plan. A Senate plan now being debated also would use the money.
Nice try! But as stated before, I still think we are fucked.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Real Housewives of New York City thread

This thread is for fans of the mindless reality show!

Questions for this round:

*Will Bethenny kick Kelly's ass?

*Should Bethenny kick Kelly's ass? (And won't that be fun?)

*Can Ramona be any more annoying?

*Will Ramona's little Avory be a child-star?

*What do you think of Jill's pseudo-Liberace decor?

*Do you want to smack the Countess upside the head as much as I do?

*What does Simon do for a living?

*Will Alex's boys turn into famous philanthropists or serial killers?

And the bonus round:

*Which one has the most botox?

*Which one is NOT a size zero?

Add your own observations!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why can't we not be sober?

There is a scene in David Cronenberg's VIDEODROME, wherein Bianca O'Blivion removes the umm, mutated-videotape from James Woods' insides, where it has become embedded. (This is David Cronenberg, okay?) She jerks it out forcefully, saying something about how it's always hard to remove the video, then intones Death to Videodrome, long live the New Flesh! IMHO, The New Flesh is computers. (However, this is a pre-computer movie, so they don't get that far.)

But yes, it was as difficult for me as it was for James Woods. Trying to detox from blogging was tough; it was hard to remove that pesky video from my insides...I felt like I was constantly in need of online succor; a veritable Baptism-by-immersion in pixels. I was in major withdrawal, and I found myself listening to Tool's SOBER, unable to answer their existential question, Why Can't We Not Be Sober? (Honestly, I have no idea.)

By the weekend, I had forgotten the blog. Mission accomplished. I think it is now safe to go back in the water.

My initial plan was to return on Earth Day (leave on a Christian holiday, return on a secular one)-- but I could not allow the death of my favorite writer to go unremarked upon. I decided to go ahead and jump in and update.

Which brings me to the changes I am making here at DEAD AIR: I'll be updating more often, and some of my posts will be very short. That seems to be the overarching trend in Blogdonia, particularly at some of my favorite blogs, Feministe, Tiny Cat Pants, Renegade Evolution, Alas, and many others. I initially got in the blogging-habit of always doing relatively long posts, and for some odd, idiosyncratic and utterly neurotic reason, I felt like they all should be a certain length. At times, I had almost a Disneyland approach--I would collect a bunch of stuff and write about it all at once, hoping at least one item interested someone. And now, my crowd-pleasin ways are on the wane. ;)

I will also be focusing more on my own radical history. I find there is a dearth of radical history on the net; political demonstrations I recall as enormous and eventful are not mentioned ANYWHERE, AT ALL. This is horrifying. History, as we know, is written by the victors, and the fact that large-scale, near-constant computer-interaction basically came of age during the Bush era, has been an unmitigated disaster for lefty history. I will take a few small steps in rectifying this, but I would encourage all baby-boomer lefties to get involved in history-recovery.


On Easter Sunday, I heard from no less than THREE PEOPLE about how my blog has moved them, and how much they appreciated what I wrote. In all three cases, these were obituaries. WHY do I write so well about dead people? Obviously, this is a subject for another in-depth post. Short answer: From what we greatly fear, often comes good, and my abject fear of death focuses my mind wonderfully. When people die, I try to focus on their legacy and the memory they leave behind; the way they shape survivors. I am told I describe people perfectly, that I have captured their essence. This is the greatest compliment I could ever receive. My obituary for Kathy was read at her memorial service (that I was unable to attend); again, a great blessing and kindness from her children, who I think always regarded me as something of a pest... the sweetest compliments have come from them. I was so happy to be able to contribute something lasting, heartfelt and genuine to this turning point in their lives.

One of the folks who contacted me on Easter told me in no uncertain terms, that I should add a payment link to my site. And so, continuing my Deadhead theme, I have added the properly-named PANHANDLING ZONE: Got any spare change, Mister? I have always believed that was not a cool thing to do, but the person who contacted me was adamant (hint, hint!), so I did it. (And after writing an obscene check to the Infernal Revenue, I didn't need as much prodding as usual.) My weird, almost knee-jerk redneck pride about not doing such things or asking for contributions, appears to have been misplaced. So, contribute away, affluent (and other) readers!

And for others who have asked, I charge a measly five dollars for tarot readings; yes, I've done quite a lot by email. In person, I enjoy tips of various herbs and spices (giggle) as well as personally-constructed items; I have been compensated with beautiful handmade scarves, jewelry, cakes, vegan casseroles galore, and other lovely personalized gifts. Also accepted: t-shirts, books, CDs, DVDs, and so forth. (If you have something cool like that, contact me and perhaps we can arrange a trade.)

"Pin the tail on the Possum" sounds far better than "Pin the tail on the Opossum"--now don't you agree? But I guess they have to teach the kids the correct spelling, and all that. As my regular readers know, I would never sacrifice a good alliteration for the sake of propriety! (from the Wildlife-Rehab benefit, more photos below)

During my blog-break, our apartment was invaded by honeybees, like something from a (haha) B movie, reinforcing me and Mr Daisy's plans to move to a condo where there is no Walmart parking lot anywhere for miles.

Phil Spector, subject of much fulminating on this blog last year, was at last found GUILTY in his retrial! HAPPY DANCE! JUSTICE at last for Lana Clarkson.

Apparently, Phil Lesh tried to sing during the Dead's recent appearance on THE VIEW, and as usual, this was not a good idea. Several different folks asked me if I saw it, and when I said no, I was told DON'T WATCH. Okay, I'll take yall's word for it.

One of the people telling me DON'T WATCH, is below, Mr Deke (at the mike) and his band, Unbroken Chain. Enjoy photos from the Wildlife-Rehab benefit over the weekend! The attentive little squirrel (in the first photo) was nearly as tame as a kitten; Molly the flying squirrel (second photo) liked to burrow and hide in the wildlife-lady's shirt. Both were simply too adorable!!!!

(And hey yall, I'm baaaaaack!)

More photos here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G. Ballard 1930-2009

The greatest living writer of our time has passed.

There is nothing else to say.

And now he belongs to the ages.


Ballardian contains many pertinent links remembering Ballard; Simon Sellars writes:

Ballard articulates clearly to me the implications of living in an age of total consumerism, of blanket surveillance, of enslavement designed as mass entertainment. But he also speaks to me of resistance through irony, immersion, ambivalence, imagination -- of remixing, recycling, remaking, remodelling.

His work embraces dystopian scenarios, including the archetypal non-space often characterised as a deadening feature of late capitalism. But this is not simply a call for nihilism. Ballard's characters are not disengaged from their world. Rather, they embody a sense of resistance that derives from full immersion, a therapeutic confrontation with the powers of darkness, whereby merging with dystopian alienation negates its power. This is predicated on concurrency: Ballard's writing turns objectivity into subjectivity, opens up gaps where there is room for new subjects. His scenarios are what I term 'affirmative dystopias', neither straight utopia nor straight dystopia, but an occupant of the interstitial space between them, perpetual oscillation between the poles – the 'yes or no of the borderzone', to use a phrase from his work.

Here, dystopia becomes the real utopia, and utopian ideals, typically represented as a stifling of the imagination, the true dystopia. He reinhabits the frame to present a clearinghouse in which corporate and national governance is overthrown and regoverned as a 'state of mind'.

To read and to understand Ballard, then, is to be gloriously, finally liberated.

To James Graham Ballard: thank you.

From Iain Sinclair:

“Everything that everybody else was bored by or appalled by, he was excited by. He wasn’t really interested in English literary parties and kept himself outside that.

“He was bored by the heritage of Central London and, unlike other writers, never wanted to talk about what he was writing. He preferred to talk about ideas, or some weird news cuttings he had brought along.

“Living out in Shepperton for so long, he was one of the first to understand that the psychosis of suburbia was a fascinating thing to pursue.

“He loved the edges of cities: shopping complexes, motorways and airports. He was very taken up with Watford because of its multi-storey car parks.

“Where other people were terrified by the consumerist culture he saw it as exciting, something he could manipulate, shredding it and making his own world out of it.”
One of my first addictive tastes of Ballard was The Crystal World, one of the quartet of disaster novels described here by Tim Martin:

From the peerless science fiction of his stories in the Sixties, to the later dystopian satires on middle-class England, Ballard's fictions circled relentlessly around the most troublesome of modern preoccupations: tribalism, self-immolation, the fiction of belonging. Assisted by a peculiarly unliterary style that was heavy on aphorism and jargon and light on character and dialogue, Ballard created a literary microcosm all his own: a place where everyday life is a nest of competing psychopathologies, where human dreams and desires are reflected in their physical environments and where the workings of the mind become indistinguishable from external reality.

Ballard's work seized upon the vocabulary of marketing and the media, mixing them with techniques learnt from surrealism to create a new kind of fiction. His first quartet of novels told the story of four apocalypses, as the Earth was variously reclaimed by air, water, drought and a strange creeping crystallisation. In each novel, the world's changed circumstances were mirrored in the mental landscapes of Ballard's small group of characters. These complicated, troubling works, which included The Drowned World and The Burning World, began the games of repetition and identity that would resurface in all Ballard's subsequent writing, as well as giving first proof of his uncanny capacity for prediction.

Surreal though the early novels undoubtedly were, they paled beside The Atrocity Exhibition, a collection of stories and fragments that may prove to be Ballard's most influential work. Ostensibly a fever-dream taking place in the mind of a deranged psychiatrist, this was a work of violent postmodernism, drawing on the war in Vietnam, the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination and the world of advertising to create a terrifying and uproarious new form of satire. Prescience was everywhere at work: he noted Ronald Reagan's habit of using "the smooth, teleprompter-perfect tones of the TV auto-salesman to project a political message that was absolutely the reverse of bland and reassuring", while a frightening comic piece about focus groups analysing the "optimum sex-deaths" of female celebrities in automobile accidents not only looked forward to his later novel Crash but ensured that the newspapers besieged Ballard for comment when Diana died.

How JG Ballard cast his shadow right across the arts (Guardian)

JG Ballard remembered (Sameer Rahim, UK Telegraph)

J.G. Ballard, 'Empire of the Sun' Author, dies at 78 (Huffington Post)

J.G. Ballard (Scriptorium)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring break

Left: Sacred Heart of Jesus (stained glass) from St Mary's, oldest parish in Greenville, SC.


I am using the occasion of the Paschal Triduum to announce a blog-break, my first real break since DEAD AIR's inception. It's been a long time coming!

A great deal of this is spiritual, and I am now reflecting on exactly what I am doing with my blog, what I want it to accomplish, etc. When I return, I hope to make some stylistic changes and improvements here at DEAD AIR. (And BTW, yall can go vote for me over at the Canadian F-word awards!)

On a more personal note, I am not sure how much of myself and my life I can safely share, and how much I should ideally share.

I am also presently dealing with almost-overwhelming issues of overwork, health and taxes. All of which have exhausted me. Admittedly, I have once again become obsessed with blogging and blog-stats, despite the better angels of my nature. It's time to take a step back and re-evaluate.

If you pray, please pray for me, as I wish all of you a happy, glorious, wonderful Easter.

As the governor of California so memorably said, I'll be back.

PS: I am very pleased DEAD AIR's official Easter Hymn is still alive and well on YouTube.


And the angel spoke to the women, saying, you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth.

He is not here, for He has risen, as He said


After the Goldrush - Prelude

[via FoxyTunes / Prelude]

Art by John Pitre. Song by Neil Young.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Let there be light: Blessing of the Sun

photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Left: Orthodox Jews pray during sunrise in the Judean Desert in the West Bank above the Dead Sea. Tens of thousands of Jewish faithful blessed the sun all over Israel. The prayer is said as the sun comes up to mark what according to Jewish tradition is the sun's return to its position at the moment that the universe was created 5,769 years ago. It returns to the spot once every 28 years.(LA Times)

Jews worldwide mark Blessing of the Sun
by Kobi Nahshoni

Tens of thousands of men, women and children woke up at the crack of dawn Wednesday to take part on the Blessing of the Sun prayer.

The unique event occurs only once every 28 year when, according to Jewish tradition, the sun reaches the exact spot it graced in the heavens at the moment it was created.

Hundreds of special prayer services were held throughout the Jewish world Wednesday. A mass prayer service was held in the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, with senior figures from the religious community in attendance. The service was led by Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv.

Similar gatherings were also spotted at the capital's International Conference Center and Temple Mount. Tel Aviv marked the Blessing of the Sun with mass services held at Hayarkon Park, Rabin Square and atop the metropolitan's signature Azrieli towers. A special service was also held in the ancient desert fortress of Masada in southern Israel.

"We thank God for the Sun, which lights our days and ripens our crops every day," explained Rabbi Mordechai Gnut. "But nevertheless, once every 28 years there is something out of the ordinary with the sunrise."

According to Judaism, the sun's year is 365 days and six hours long and it is divided by the four seasons. The year's onset is marked on the month of Nissan – the seventh month of the Jewish calendar – which marks the beginning of spring and coincides with the months of April or May on the Gregorian calendar.

According to the calculations of the Bible, says Rabbi Gnut, the sun is reborn on the Wednesday marking the new cycle, at 6 am, but since the Jewish year is never exactly 365 days long, the blessing is not said every seven years but every 28 years. The last time the blessing was recited was in 1981.

The New York Jewish community is said to mark the event with two special services held just outside the United Nations and at a 17th-story penthouse overlooking ground zero (the site of the demolished World Trade Center).

The Orthodox Jewish Chabad Movement scheduled live web-casts from seven service locations as the sun moved across the time zones, starting at 8 am local time in New Zealand, followed by events in Australia, Jerusalem, London, New York, Colorado and Honolulu.
Adding my praise, with everyone else's. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Odds and Sods - the smashing edition

From my Upstate SC photoset on Flickr.

West Asheville co-op faces eviction; calls community meeting
by Brian Postelle, Mountain Xpress
April 6, 2009

The Haywood Road Market, which has a history of financial struggles, now might have to leave its location of six years.

April DeLac, president of the co-op’s board, said the market received an eviction notice from Bledsoe Building owners West Asheville Development in late March after the market had been late on paying February’s rent.

DeLac noted that the co-op’s money woes stretch back further than two months.

“We’ve been a struggling co-op for a long time,” she said. “There’s been financial issues almost the entire history.”

Those financial issues include not only late rent payments but also a series of personal and business loans extended over the years to try to help the market reach a sustainable level, says WAD partner and West End Bakery co-owner Krista Stearns.

“This has been years in coming,” Stearns said. “And it was a very hard decision to make.”

Stearns’ husband Lewis Lankford, also a member of WAD, said the co-op’s poor payment history led to the decision not to renew the market’s lease in January, switching to a month-to-month status, and eventually to the eviction notice, which is effective the end of May.

But Lankford, himself a founding board member of the co-op, said that empty shelves and declining business also gave a dim forecast of the market’s future.

“The decision was reinforced by going in and seeing the condition of the store,” he said. “It didn’t have the feel of anything except something that was going away.”

For DeLac, however, there are still options on the table (granted, those options include moving or closing shop for good). The co-op will hold a member’s meeting — with the public invited — on Tuesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bledsoe Building to try to figure out the next step.
Thinking fondly back to my own co-op days; I wish you the best of luck for the continuing success of your endeavor.

I now live in a community with no food co-op, and feel the lack significantly. Starting a food co-op in this area proved to be an impossibility, but at least I got to meet cool folks like Ted Christian in the process.

Nonetheless, it is one of those things I didn't get accomplished, and any mention of co-op failure and/or disinterest, just plain makes me sad. :(


Lately, Cripchick has been inspired to write more, and her poetry soars through the stratosphere, way into heavenly terrain. She is very gifted. Check out her wonderful poetry!

Also, you might want to visit the First Asian Women's Carnival!

New to my blogroll is YouTomb--an extremely-welcome free-speech project tracking one of the most maddening modern phenomena of Blogdonia (often fussed about in extremis here at DEAD AIR), the removal of videos from YouTube:
YouTomb is a research project by MIT Free Culture that tracks videos taken down from YouTube for alleged copyright violation.

More specifically, YouTomb continually monitors the most popular videos on YouTube for copyright-related takedowns. Any information available in the metadata is retained, including who issued the complaint and how long the video was up before takedown. The goal of the project is to identify how YouTube recognizes potential copyright violations as well as to aggregate mistakes made by the algorithm.
This is one of those hypnotic websites, so be careful. You can get lost in data over there.

Count me in as one who adored the First Lady's fabulous J Crew cardigan, worn during her trip to London this past week. (photo at left)

She looked SMASHING (as British broadcasting legend David Frost always enthused about his favorite female guests).

Not at all surprising that the press is glued to her every fashion move. She is beautiful and radiant.

And when she spoke proudly of her working class roots, she made me proud, too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Boys swim

I am the subject of two threads at Feminist Critics.

Am I important or what?

I'll bet that never happens to you!

Well, okay, it's actually the same thread... but there is a restricted-posting version, and a regular free-for-all version, wherein the insults come fast and furious and the regular commentariat makes jokes about suddenly needing to buy guns. (I guess I make them mad.)

From the Original Poster, comes this:

Please acknowledge female privilege. Alternatively address the question set forth above. You will not get a good response on FCB [Feminist Critics Blog] if you demand that men acknowledge male privilege until you do one of these two things satisfactorily.
And I think my regular readers know that will happen (as we say here in the south) on the second Tuesday after the third week hell freezes over.

The genesis of this argument was a post I was writing for this blog, actually, which I described on FCB some time ago. I was going to write about not being permitted to play the drums as a girl, and how I think that influenced my personality. Just as many women wish they had learned to participate in sports and compete, I think it would have very good for me. Drums would have been a way to control my aggression, or perhaps (as people like Mickey Hart have said) it would have increased my concentration and meditation capabilities. I consider the fact that I never grew up unselfconsciously drumming (as a method of relaxation or as a way of having fun--a HOBBY, okay?), one of the great losses of my life.

No, I do not think I would be some star drummer like John Bonham. (As a girl, I would not have even thought of such a thing, since I had never even seen a woman drummer before.) I was merely expressing sadness, and incidentally, giving this as an example of my earliest feminist consciousness. When I grew up, in the radical feminist 70s, I met women who had been denied other supposedly "male" activities: scientific careers, knowledge of car mechanics, the chance to play on sports teams with men, etc.--and I instantly identified. I offered this as an example of male privilege, the fact that my untalented brother was encouraged to do something that I even seemed to have an aptitude for and he did not.

Needless to say, I was savaged.

No, I don't think I would have been a star. Yes, I know I could have learned as an adult, but that is not the unselfconsciousness I am discussing here--I wanted this to be second nature, as is singing or dancing (for me). Yes, I know other girls in other places learned to play, and I have even mentioned them here on this blog. Yes, I know that other families did not think playing drums was too butch, and allowed their daughters to play, but that is not the family I came from. (I probably would have been allowed to play sports, if I'd been interested. However, other girls in other families I grew up with were never allowed to wear pants; hence, no sports.)

And no, I don't think my family was necessarily "worse" than others regarding sexism ... I think sexual stereotyping is very idiosyncratic, depending upon race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, class and overall general background. I knew girls forced to wear mantillas to church, who were allowed to play very rough-and-tumble sports... I knew girls allowed to do science experiments but never allowed to wear pants... I knew girls (like me) allowed to beat up harassing, nasty boys (and it was a lot of fun!) but not play drums. Go figure. I don't know why, or pretend to know why.

Actually, I do know: life is complex. Get a fucking clue.

It seems these guys on FCB do not understand this, although they love to continuously bellyache about whatever THEY were never allowed to do... surely they understand the dynamics I describe are very similar for boys? Some boys were allowed to play with dolls, but never permitted to cry. Other boys were allowed to cry, but never wear dresses; yet certain boys could wear dresses if they called them kilts. Etc. I knew boys not allowed to play violin (the instrument forced on me) since it was considered frou-frou and girlie, but were forced to play properly manly brass instruments. Again, go figure. (Cultural note: For this reason, I've always found it fascinating that BRASS is often used as a euphemism for boldness and/or high-ranking military status.)

One of the basic truths about sexual stereotyping and gendering is how arbitrary and ridiculous it is. OF COURSE it makes no sense and is not consistent! That's how feminists first discovered it was a crock!

I am glad a lot of these things seem bizarre now, but that IS the way I grew up. It is a shining testament to the fact that feminists have made so many improvements in life for boys and girls, that all of this seems so distant and strange now. But I grew up never wearing pants to school, ever, amen. It was against the rules, and it is still against the rules at places like Bob Jones University. These anti-feminists don't want to face these facts, since they would have to admit that FEMINISM HAS DONE GOOD THINGS, and they are, as their blog name proudly proclaims, FEMINIST CRITICS. In any event, the thread in which I stated these things was my last participation on FCB.

Unfortunately, I realize I made the mistake of trying to compare my experience to other women, and since NOT EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IN THE WORLD experienced what I did, well, obviously, sexism had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Even though I was explicitly told that GIRLS DIDN'T PLAY DRUMS (and since I could not find one in 1964 to point to and say "What about her?"--it seemed true enough to me), obviously, I must have been imagining things, since you know, sexism doesn't really exist, or something. I was informed "my assertions were unconvincing"--and since I don't take accusations of lying well, I went off on several arrogant FCB participants. (And no, not a bit sorry.)

I tried to explain that in working class, industrial Ohio in the 60s, this is the way it was. And again, I was savaged. Know why I must be wrong? Because ELLY MAY CLAMPETT (yes, Donna Douglas, ex-girlfriend of ELVIS) was a tomboy and much-beloved by America. This proves that gender stereotyping for women/girls/tomboys was not a big deal in the 60s.

Yes, you heard it right. The BEVERLY HILLBILLIES was used as proof that I am wrong about my life. A fucking TV show!

This individual repeated this inane and bizarre statement a number of times.

And see, at this point, I whistle to the intersectionalists in my readership--YO! Hey yall, over here!

At left: Elly May Clampett (Donna Douglas) of the 60s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies churns butter with her pet possum. (With that hair, it's pretty obvious that she is hard-core tomboy, yes?)

I did not consider Elly May a tomboy, but a redneck. To an upper-middle-class Canadian like my critic, Elly May was a tomboy. (Isn't it interesting that poverty/hardscrabble existence is regarded as masculinizing to the upper-classes?) They really didn't get it that Elly May was a stereotype of a backwoods girl, albeit one who was played by a former beauty queen. But what did she do (besides wear dungarees tied with a rope) that was tomboy or butch, besides have a multitude of "critters"? Actually, nurturing animals in the style of Elly May, is traditional feminine behavior. (?) (But maybe if you think tending animals is low-class farm-work, you don't know that?)


As I said, that was it. I left FCB, since I was too livid to continue.

And I put the drumming post on the shelf, since I was too confused, at that point, to even attempt writing it. And a good thing too.

At the city swimming pool I attended as a girl, there were segregated swimming periods designated "boys swim" and "girls swim." The boys swim was known for people getting held underwater and nearly killed, while of course, ours was civil, except for girls making fun of each other's swimsuits and boob-size.

Feminist Critics blog is "boys swim."

And thus, I hereby name the threads currently frying my ass, BOYS SWIM.

Here are some of the highlights of Boys Swim (spelling and grammar remains intact):
I get sick of hearing about it, frankly. If she wants to play the drums, get a job and buy some drums. And then play them. If her parents sucked, she should yell at them (or whatever). America is going to fall apart with these spoiled princesses and the enabling male chivalrist idiots.
This marks a first: I've been called a lot of things by men in my life, but "princess" is most assuredly not one of them.
Women are the big victims in war, because the men die and then no longer support them (paraphrased from a statement by Hilary Clinton).

It’s kind of like … I don’t care if he got drafted and then shot at and then killed, I BROKE A NAIL. Everyone pay attention to me.

And all the chivalrous males DO pay attention to her. No one cares about men. That’s why these princesses can still be complaining when they’re the most entitled, privileged, spoiled group to ever walk the earth. Maybe Daisy ought to work for a few months in a rescue mission for homeless men (and they are mostly men, don’t kid yourself). Maybe she will get a different attitude.
I think my regular readers can probably guess that I have done such work...but doncha love how they make assumptions that I have NOT, without coming over here to read and find out what kind of person I am?
[...] I do think there’s a problem in the reactionary, aggressive and confrontational way Daisy deals with these misunderstandings. It doesn’t invalidate her opinions or arguments but it does tend to inhibit the coherent and productive discussion I see as the goal of (at least) this blog.
Misunderstandings? I think I understand them just fine.
I don’t know if I should really address this because there’s a need for my rage to be put under intensive care for the moment.

Thing is, DaisyDeadHead isn’t the only one who experiences hard times due to gender. I’ve been bullied by both men and women, had been betrayed by someone I thought cared about me.

Her comments about male priveledge set me off due to the fact that I’ve never had the “Luxary” of priveledge while both genders were slinging arrows at me left and right.

It’s unfortunate we got off on more than the wrong foot.

My opinion is strictly based on the fallacy of male priveledge. Because I’m not priveledged. Period. I’m a human being who’s had his fair share of hardships. Calling me priveledged due to my sex is a surefire way to negate those experiences. That’s why those types of discussions make me explode and I haven’t participated in a gender debate for a while.

And if she has a problem with that, then whatever her opinions are strictly her opinions. But don’t go calling me priveledged.
Privileged! Nyah- nyah! Yes you are!

This one is from typhonblue, internet circumcision crank, mentioned in my last post:
By not being circumcised a girl can experience something a circumcised man never can: sexual pleasure from an intact set of genitals.
Doncha love when people say exactly what you predict they will?

At this point, the thread threatens to totally melt down into still another male circumcision discussion. (See what I mean? PENISES UBER ALLES!)

Oh wait, they get back to the subject eventually:
And assuming that you [women] didn’t fill-out the [Selective Service] form when you turned 17, I assume you’ll now be *voluntarily* placing all of the appropriate restrictions upon yourself out of principle.

Failing to do so would show that you tacitly agree with the notion that you, weak woman, are poor solider material.

Maybe it’s not as fun as smashing the patriarchy by getting stinking drunk and having kinky sex all over the place, but I know you’re serious about walking the walk in addition to merely talking the talk.
I had no idea I had such a reputation over there! No wonder they address posts to me.
When women get drunk and have kinky sex, they are smashing the patriarchy. When men do the same, they are *reinforcing* the patriarchy. It is therefore vital that women go full-scale hedonistic without restraint while men refrain from doing the same. Go ask the denizens of Feministing, and they’ll assure you that this is absolutely correct.

True, it seems to involve a double-standard, but that only ignores the *real* double-standards inherent in phallocentric hermenuetic power systems of dominance and control blah-de-blah blah patriarchy racism.
As one who has discussed alcohol and alcoholism very personally and critically on this blog many times, I'm not sure where this fella is getting this, but obviously, he has issues with some female who is not me.

But then, I guess we all look alike in the dark, right?

More from the brawl:
It’s fine with me really. I can’t say if DDH will understand my reasons for thinking the way I do, though I hope she does. I do believe that now, in the present, in 2009, male privilege and female privilege are about equal (different things in different areas), all it comes down to is what you seek and if you’re encouraged or prevented from doing it (not why I transitioned, and I certainly don’t recommend transitioning to solve this). This will affect one’s perspective.

A woman who wishes to be a construction worker versus one who wishes to be a mother and housewife. One will feel more wronged than the other or more blocked in her choices. The same for a man who wants to be a stay-at-home dad.

It is less anti-woman bias than plain categorization bias. That is, people generalize traits of a category to all instances of that category. If they don’t fit, we’ll make it fit… This applies to both men and women. Don’t want to be a provider? You better be really lucky, handsome and find the very very few women who would like to provide for you, if you’re a man…or there’s always suicide. I hear there’s a high rate in men.
And I am sure there will be plenty more... the restricted thread is about to be "opened up" so that people can pile on me even MORE!

Let this be a cautionary tale to any feminist who seeks to discuss anything with the Men's Rights crowd: Don't. They just want to put you down. They just want to generalize about you without knowing anything about your personal history. They don't CARE about anything but reducing all arguments to FORESKINS.

And if this is how they are when they are heavily moderated, imagine how they REALLY are.

Friday, April 3, 2009

DEAD AIR always did like Iowa!

Once again, listening to the ever-fabulous Frank On Friday...who gives me the courage to confront the right-wing bobbleheads running my state. Sometimes I wonder what he would say if he were still here. Frank Zappa, your country needs you.

Moving to Montana soon
Gonna be a dental floss tycoon

And speaking of Montana, Governor Brian Schweitzer has just caved in time and has accepted his state's stimulus funds.

That leaves us.

South Carolina. The first state to secede from the Union, sweet schoolchildren are frequently reminded!


Yes, our beleaguered state is still fucked, as previously written... the deadline for accepting the disputed $700 million is tonight, and Head Dick, Governor Mark Sanford, is still holding quite firm on not accepting it. A press conference/brawl ensues within mere minutes, down in Columbia, and as the infamous Texas Chainsaw Massacre trailer asked: Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

As Kia, commenting on my previous thread, stated: "Surely it's a sign of the apocalypse when Lindsey Graham is a voice of reason."

I couldn't have outlined the situation any better.

Frank, we need you man. Come back, come back...


I've been a busy little bee this week, but as always, managed to catch some interesting internetz action.

Lindsay Beyerstein attempts to discuss the very serious subject of clitorectomy in New York State and the laws pertaining (or not) to its continued practice:

According to one estimate, 41,000 women in New York are at risk of being cut, or have already been subjected to genital cutting. This estimate is based on data from the 2000 census, so clearly more up-to-date information is needed.

Female genital cutting can range in severity from a harmless ritual pinprick to the complete surgical removal of the external genitals. These procedures can cause acute and chronic infections, loss of sexual sensitivity, difficult labor, and PTSD.

According to a lawyer quoted in the article, no one has ever been charged under New York's anti-FGM statute or its federal equivalent since the laws were enacted in the mid-nineties. The last state-level FGM outreach program in New York took place a decade ago.
Scary stuff.

And of course, before you can say FORESKIN, various obnoxious males show up and hijack the thread: WHAT ABOUT MALE CIRCUMCISION?!

((((reads post back))))

Well, what about it? That was not the TOPIC, assholes. Guys were not the subject. I realize this is disorienting for you, since GUYS ARE ALWAYS THE DAMN SUBJECT. (Of course, if Lindsay had issued a "no guy zone" statement on the thread, they would undoubtedly start screeching about that, too.) Lindsay writes:
Can we ever have a discussion of FGM without the neonatal anti-circumcision crowd hijacking it? This has happened about four times already, and I'm getting sick of it. I'm sympathetic to your position, but folks, please don't commandeer every single thread about female genital cutting. Have some perspective, here. You're cheapening your own cause by hijacking FGM discussions.

Yes, there exist variants of FGM that are roughly anatomically analogous to neonatal hospital circumcision--but they are more like points in logical space than health concerns. The main, pressing, public health problem of FGM is analogous to removing the entire penises of male adolescents (and, sometimes, turning the whole bleeding, unsterile mess inside out and stitching it back together).

There are extremely active forums for you to discuss the evils of neonatal foreskin docking. Please take your concerns there.
And did they? Ha, are you kidding?

As if on cue, typhonblue, a well-known and tedious internet-obsessive on the topic of MALE circumcision, shows up and starts preaching and monopolizing the subject on behalf of the poor oppressed men. (Because you know, men are just more important than women, and don't you forget it.) Even after being politely asked NOT TO.

Some people just don't have any decency; their basic sense of overweening entitlement and abject rudeness just take over everything.

Lindsay is far nicer and much more tolerant than I am.... if any of you assholes show up hijacking HERE, I will eat you for a nice little snack (burp). And I am in a rather contentious mood and kinda hungry, with all this calorie restriction... so bring it, you unsuspecting penis-obsessed pseudo-trolls!

Yum, yum!


Longish thread at Astarte's Circus, titled Be the President or Marry the President, brings up fascinating questions about whether being a First Lady is something to aspire to, in and of itself. Admittedly, I am rather clueless concerning some of the comments. I don't think Octo was criticizing Michelle Obama, per se, but questioning the whole First Lady cult...of which I am also periodically critical. But check out the thread and comments and see what you think.

Can we criticize the "First Lady culture" without also criticizing the woman who is First Lady? This echoes several old (and unresolved) feminist questions: can we criticize the housewife cult, the Playboy Bunny cult, the supermodel cult, etc etc without criticizing women who have personally made these choices? How to criticize the male-dominant culture, without hurting or disrespecting women within that culture?

It is like we don't quite have the language for what we are trying to say, and what we seek to do...


And the GOOD NEWS:

The Iowa Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of same-sex marriage!

YES! Congratulations on your progressive politics, Hawkeyes! Alas, a blog, and Feministe are also presently discussing the ruling.


It's bloody embarrassing how many of my previous musical posts are missing their centerpiece. Warner Music Group, bad capitalists extraordinaire, have taken away so many of my YouTube presentations--they are as bad as WalMart for stealing neighborhood fun away.

Nonetheless, I plow onward... let's hope some brave tunes remain!

Meanwhile, here is the song I can't get off my mind/official earworm for this week, which also helpfully fits into our Hawk motif:

Jayhawks - Waiting for the sun (1992)