Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm going to every restaurant in town today

For the freebies. Yes, I'm another year older. Time just keeps tick tick tickin' away.

Friday, June 23, 2006

OK, maybe summer isn't going as well as I thought...

I already told this story to several people, but I decided it was compelling enough to post here. Besides, I already wrote it as an email so, you know, cut/paste:

One of my neighbors has a grandson my son's age who comes over to play when he's in town. He and his 6-year-old sister and their mom are staying with the grandparents indefinitely right now because the parents are divorcing and husband/father is a lunatic. The boy will show up at my house at 10 in the morning and hang around all day if I let him, sometimes bringing the girl, who is young enough to make me more nervous about leaving her unsupervised than when it's just the older boys, which means I end up playing babysitter when I have plenty of other things I would rather be doing. Still, it's my son's summer too, and he loves having them here, so I deal.

A few nights ago D. (the boy) was here and my neighbor called and asked if I could keep him in the house until she came for him because his dad was outside her house raising hell and the police were coming. Lovely.

The next day both kids were in my pool with my son and suddenly this dude is at my back fence hollering for the kids, who immediately start running around crying. The mom appears behind him saying kids don't come while he's yelling at them to come here right now; meanwhile I'm between him and the kids, the kids are wailing, the mom is begging. So the bastard jumps my fence and grabs the little girl right in front of me. I picked up a towel and tried to wrap it around her to slow him down and said calmly "Let me at least get her dried off" and he got all LET GO OF MY CHILD. I tried again to just say why don't we dry her off--I mean she's dripping wet in her little swimsuit and scared to death--but he really got threatening so I let go and took the two boys in and called 911.

My son was completely freaking out--he thought the guy was going to hurt me--and D. was cowering in my living room, also dripping, of course. Dad put the girl in his car (in my driveway, the fucking bastard) and I heard the mom scream "I'll get him I'll get him!" and him screech off in the car with the girl. I had the boys somewhat calmed down and wrapped up by then (with the 911 person still on the phone) so I went and gave the phone to the weeping mother and a few minutes later Tarzan came back around the corner and let the screaming girl back out. I could see dickface in his car crying and carrying on, then mom let D. go out and talk to him briefly and I guess he left before the cops got there.

It happened so fast I didn't have much time to think about anything, but once I did I was so furious I could've killed him myself. Come in MY yard and scare the shit out of MY child? The sonofabitch. I talked to the poor mom for a long time the next morning (yesterday) and she confirmed my analysis that he's putting on a big show because he's trying to intimidate her. This has nothing to do with the kids, in whom he's shown next to no interest except when she's tried to leave him (this isn't the first time). She told me, wearily, that they're in the "please baby I just want to be a family again I'll change it'll all be better" phase right now, though she expects another round of histrionics in two weeks when he's finally served with divorce papers.

I was out front pulling weeds last night and some dude walked from down the street all "howdy neighbor" and asked if we'd be interested in feeding his dog while they go out of town this weekend. Sorry, man, but I'm having myself a birthday party this weekend and honestly? I feel like I've filled my good neighbor quota for this year.

I hate people sometimes. I really, really do.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The best rejection slip EVER

Got this email today from a site to which I sent one of my essays:

This is a family friendly site. Some of your wording is innappropriate. eg. penis. Please edit and resubmit if you wish.


I don't know that I've ever seen anything funnier than "eg. penis." I can't even articulate why I can't look at "eg. penis" without snorting my Diet Coke, but it slays me.

How is penis unfriendly to families? We wouldn't even HAVE many families without penises! And how is that a matter of "wording," exactly? I should say ding dong or something instead? Pee pee?

Do African Americans really buy skin bleach at WalMart?

Well, that's what happens when you actually leave the house. The need for tampons finally drove me from my cave this evening. (Yeah, TMI. Send me your therapy bill.)

I was so astonished by this little section of WalMart goods that I snapped some photos with my camera phone. First, a broad shot to set the scene:

African American hair products, do-rags(??), and, right in the center...

Skin Whitener? Fade Cream? Are they serious? There's really a demand for such products in 2006?

It's a bit funny when juxtaposed with the rows upon rows of self tanners you find right around the corner, but as a thing in itself I find it incredibly depressing. No doubt all the hair straighteners crammed in that out-of-the-way section carry the same political taint; bell hooks would probably set fire to the whole mess if she saw it. I stood there thinking that it really isn't my business to judge other people's beauty regimens, and maybe there's a use for such products completely outside of any racist influences. I don't have any experience caring for black skin; it's perfectly likely that I'm just ignorant.


Besides, I have snarly curly hair myself, and if I decided one day that I'd had enough of its crap and had it straightened bell hooks wouldn't give a damn. Why shouldn't black women have the same freedom to choose the hair they want? And if I can slather myself with Ultimate Glow or whatever because I prefer my skin browner, why shouldn't a black woman feel free to use skin bleach? Why do I breeze by the self tanners and recoil in horror from the skin whitener?

So. I'm still here, I guess.

Sorry about the sporadic posting these days. I'm allowing the cocoon of summer to fold me into its somnolent embrace. I haven't even listened to any news or watched any television besides Judge Judy and the Mavericks (and I don't want to talk about the Mavericks).

I've made a few trips to the library and read several books, which just adds to my dreaminess. I've always been that way; if you let me read novels long enough my mind goes floaty and vague and it's an effort to focus on "reality," like when your alarm is going off and you keep dreaming about waking and getting up, over and over, until you're not sure it's real even when you do finally rise.

(Heh. I'd like to introduce my guest blogger today: Rene Descartes!)

This may be useful to someone: I pulled Stephen King's latest novel Cell off the new fiction shelf last week. Don't waste your time. It wasn't as bad as some of the rubbish he's cobbled together in the last decade or so, but there's nothing to recommend it either. My main impression was that it's unfinished; it doesn't even answer the questions of the perpetrator's identity or motives. Maybe he went for postmodern denial of closure or something, but it's tough to pull that off with a pulp horror novel. It's also a painfully obvious cardboard cribbing of The Stand, which is a legitimately good book, so there's that as well.

I'm about to start on Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day this afternoon. I expect that to be a markedly more satisfying experience.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

I feel so connected to humanity right now.

It'll fade, of course, but for the moment I'm rolling with it.

This morning I was driving my son to basketball camp down a main road of our town. It's a long, straight road, two lanes each way, surrounded much of its length by trees and neighborhoods. Speed limit is 40, which can be tricky even for a sedate driver like myself since even as the road boasts no curves it is slightly hilly, making it deceptively easy to let your mph get away from you.

Almost immediately upon turning onto this road from my subdivision today, a driver advancing toward me on the other side flashed his lights. By the time I raised my hand to wave thanks, I faced a flash from another driver behind him. Soon, another.

Moments later I eased by a tree-shadowed motorcycle cop at a parade-worthy 38 mph, like Cleopatra cruising the Nile in a purple convertible, in love with the world and every creature in it.

I still remember when I discovered this wondrous manifestation of human empathy. I was riding with my father and couldn't have been more than ten years old. We were humming along and suddenly cars from the other side were flashing us. When he explained what this meant, I felt a swell of awe, almost enough to bring tears. (I was a very sensitive child. Shut up.) How did this communication evolve? How does everyone know?

I spent some time this morning pondering this phenomenon and my feelings about it. It's not like you're saving anyone's life with your headlights; it's just a ticket. But consider: Most people are going to help someone whose life is endangered. We expect that of each other. At the very least a driver passing by as you smash into a guardrail and splatter against your own windshield will trouble to fish out his or her cell and call 911. More likely, people will stop and do their best to save your brain-damaged ass. Extreme circumstances bring out the best in all but the most apathetic of us.

But why trouble yourself to help a stranger avoid a traffic ticket? Precisely because it's not an extreme circumstance: It's a common experience. Everyone who drives will get one, or will at least have the "oh, shit" moments in which you fear you're about to get one, so we all know how much it sucks.

Look, I have respect bordering at times on reverence for the law and its officers. I'm not celebrating the screwing of The Man. What I love so much is the "we're all in this together" mentality that seems so instinctive, so based in common experience and empathy. I think it's beautiful.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Don't ask me about the anti-gay amendment. I mean it.

I cannot write about the effort to use the U.S. Constitution, that brilliant beacon of personal rights and liberties, that glorious ode to democracy, as a vehicle for the denial of rights to a minority group based solely on an arbitrary Christianity-derived bigotry. The whole business enrages me past the point of lucidity. If I spend too much time thinking about it I'll go up like a Spinal Tap drummer.

While I hose myself down, please enjoy this charming moment with one of our proud senators from the great state of Oklahoma:

Senator Inhofe Showing His Ass

So touching, so heartwarming. I'll look away politely while you wipe away that tear. I can't wait for the episode where he talks about how proud he is that none of his children married outside their race! That SMUG SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITICAL PIECE OF REFUSE. That DISGRACE TO HIS STATE HIS COUNTRY HIS FUCKING PERFECT FAMILY AND HUMANITY AS A WHOLE.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Son hits mom during American Idol discussion

Staff Writer, The Press Republican
June 01, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — A Plattsburgh man is facing felony charges for allegedly striking his mother in the head with a sharp object hooked to a bicycle chain after she made a comment about "American Idol."

Cory K. Favreau, 24, of 200A Margaret St. was discussing the television show "American Idol" with his mother, Jan M. Chagnon, on May 24 at about 10:15 p.m., according to Plattsburgh City Court records.

At that time, Chagnon told Favreau that a particular contestant, Katharine McPhee, was going to have a successful career despite losing to another contestant, Taylor Hicks.

Favreau allegedly stood up, made a malicious comment to his mother and struck her in the head with a sharpened, cross-shaped object attached to a bicycle chain.

Court records say that Favreau and Chagnon were drinking alcohol at the time.

Chagnon was treated at CVPH Medical Center for a cut to the top of her head and was released.

Favreau was charged with second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was sent to Clinton County Jail, where he was still being held Wednesday for lack of $5,000 cash bail.

Chagnon had told City Police she did not want to press charges because she said her son did not intend to hurt her. Police can press charges themselves in cases where they feel it is warranted.

Favreau was convicted in Clinton County Court in 2003 of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and sentenced to a year in jail.

He is scheduled to reappear June 5 in City Court.

How awesome is that? Can't you just see it?

Seacrest: "Your American Idol is...Taylor Hicks!"

Mom: "Katharine will still have a nice career."

Son: "SOUL PATROL, BITCH!" [swings bicycle chain at mom's head]

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ann Coulter's book Godless

This is an excerpt from Ann Coulter's new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism:

"Darwinism never disappoints the liberals. They never say ‘Well, I'd like to have cheap meaningless sex tonight, but that would violate Darwinism.' They can't even say ‘I'd like to have cheap meaningless sex tonight with a goat, but that would violate Darwinism.' If you have an instinct to do it, it must be evolved adaptation. Liberals subscribe to Darwinism not because it's science, which they hate, but out of some wishful thinking. Darwinism lets them off the hook morally."

I don't even know where to begin. Maybe with the first word: What the hell is "Darwinism"? Does she mean the theory of evolution? Evolution has nothing to do with what a certain society deems moral or immoral. It does not address moral concepts at all. I do not understand why these anti-evolution zealots insist upon attacking claims that evolutionists have never made, and I REALLY don't understand why there are still publishers willing to serve this Kool-Aid, albeit to a public that should know better.

The only connection I've ever seen made between morality and evolution remains the fascinating (to me) idea that in the same way our evolved reasoning abilities contribute to our survival, so do our highly evolved emotional capabilities. One very reductive example: Even though babies are, let's face it, way annoying a lot of the time, "normal" people don't throw them out the window and head for the nearest casino because we love our children so powerfully; even when it doesn't make clear sense to keep them because they drive us crazy, we keep them and make sure they survive.

But these concepts have NOTHING to do with following evolution as some kind of moral compass. Who does that? Did Coulter actually find someone who does that? I don't even understand how one would do it. Unless she's accusing "liberals" of adhering to a "survival of the fittest" mentality (which would also be taking Darwin's findings egregiously out of context since, again, natural selection is not about how one shellfish treated one other shellfish very badly indeed in that one shellfish community in 1985, but about changes that occur to large groups over millions of years). But even that seems unlikely since the other favorite complaint about liberals is that they're "bleeding hearts" or whatever, wanting Daddy Government to take care of everyone. How could someone support survival of the fittest (by the false definition) AND welfare?

Also, where did she get this inanity: "If you have an instinct to do it, it must be evolved adaptation."

WHAT? Again, I defy her to quote an actual person saying that. Have you ever known someone to take this position, that we should do anything we feel like doing because all urges come from evolution? That doesn't even make sense! I've heard the hedonistic "if it feels good, do it" perspective espoused, but that's completely different because it still takes into account consent. If two people past the age of consent want to have "cheap meaningless sex" tonight? Go for it. None of my beeswax. You know why you can't have that cheap meaningless sex with a goat though? Because the goat can't give consent. That's it. It's not that complicated, really, and it has fuck-all to do with Darwin because, AGAIN, evolution is not concerned with one freako in June of 2006 who wants to shag a Chamois. It's about adaptations of entire populations over vast amounts of time.

READ A BOOK, ANN. No, not that one.

I don't even have the energy to tackle the other bizarre accusation that liberals "hate" science. I can't imagine what support she provides for that one.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The hell?

There's something wrong with, meaning all my links are gone. Here's hoping the problem will be fixed quickly.

Lioness in zoo kills man who invoked God

Lioness in zoo kills man who invoked God
Mon Jun 5, 2006 8:31am ET

KIEV (Reuters) - A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said on Monday.

"The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."

The incident, Sunday evening when the zoo was packed with visitors, was the first of its kind at the attraction. Lions and tigers are kept in an "animal island" protected by thick concrete blocks.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved

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