Saturday, December 31, 2005

I'm Beginning to See a Pattern

Hat Tip: Evil Li-Brul Overlord
You're your own prince charming! You go girl! You
don't sit around and wait to be rescued, you
take charge of your own life! You are
officially an empowered and independent woman!
Rock on!

What fairytale archetype are you?
brought to you by

Monday, December 26, 2005

This Just In:

Semester grades have been posted, and I have apparently survived the attacks of the roving band of feral PhDs that was released upon me just a few months ago. Yippee! The grades are not 4.0, obviously, or I wouldn't need that tiara ring to inspire me. However, they are good enough that I'll accept them. (By 'accept' I mean, of course, bowing-deeply-while-backing-slowly-away-from-the-professors-so-as-not-to startle-them-into-sudden-grade-changes.) I am hopeful that I will be able to implement a sort of Zen and the Art of Scholarship next semester, so I feel more in control of my world, and not quite so much like I'm just reacting to external stimuli. Or, I could drink. Definitely one of those.

(Cute penguin image appropriated from this fine Website)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Glædmód Crístesmæsse!!

Glædelig jul! Frohliche Weihnachten! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! You get the point, I think.

Well, the shopping and wrapping are done, and my apartment is finally fully clean. Twice now, in fact. Once to get rid of research strewn carelessly about the place, and once to get rid of wrapping paper and tags in the same condition. I'm off to my sister's for Christmas, to put in some serious auntie time, play with all the cool toys I bought the midgets,* and binge on sweets.

Wherever you're spending the holidays, enjoy the company and feasting.

*Several of the midgets are now significantly taller than I, but I refuse to rename them for a technicality.

(The medieval feast art swiped from here )

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice!

Whether you'll be building a stone alter to Bertha, goddess of domesticity, and lighting fir branches in hopes that she will appear and foretell your future, decorating and blessing apple trees, decorating and blessing pine trees, burning a yule log for no fewer than 12 hours while you get blasted on mead, kissing your new very best-friend-for-a-year under sacred mistletoe, consulting the urn of fate, tying holly to your doors and windows to ward off evil spirits, or just quietly recognizing the rebirth of the unconquered Sun, know that I wish you and your family the very best of the holiday.


Now that the first, extremely disorganized semester is behind me, I have come up with a way to motivate myself into a 4.0 average in the future. And you're looking at it. It looks like a little tiara, doesn't it? Perfect for a medievalist-in-training, I think. It may not be the dusting fairy who would make my apartment always tidy, clean, and smelling like cinnamon and vanilla, but it'll do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

And a Republican, Too!

Hats off to U.S. District Judge John E Jones III (shall we call him "Trip?") for being willing and able to make a ruling based on the facts of the case before him, the Constitution of the United States, and legal precedent. Against all odds as a Republican and a Bush appointee, Judge Jones ruled that the Board of the Dover School District did not have the right to compel educators to present Intelligent Design in science classes, what with its not being a science and all. Huzzah, philosophy recognized as such!

Kitzmiller. et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. <- The full 139-page case document is here.

The Highlights of Judge Jones' Ruling, as Reported by the AP:
"We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause."
"Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator."

"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity* of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has not been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."(emphases mine)

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.**"(emphasis mine)

*Oh, how I love that phrase!
** Through the soft prejudice of lowered expectations, this Republican judge earns double points for recognition of both irony and hypocrisy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Well, I've handed in all my papers, such as they were, and I managed to get the students' grades in on time. I still feel like I've been bludgeoned half to death by a roving gang of feral PhDs, but things are starting to look up a bit.
1) I slept for 8 solid hours two nights in a row! I felt very guilty about it, but it was a good guilt. Like chocolate, or ... well, none of your business.
2) My legs are once more clean-shaven. And not a moment too soon, either.
3) A full 1/3 of my apartment is sparkling clean, and I have plans to do laundry tomorrow. No more tripping over research, or hiding a sleeveless cotton shirt underneath a wool blazer and calling it "eclectic personal style."

So, the first semester hasn't killed me. However, I do have to rethink my organization style before the next semester begins. I really don't like staying up for several days at a time and trying to come up with intelligent things to write while doing so. On the other hand, I've just shelved all the books I purchased and read in the past four months, and gathered up all those I borrowed for research, and, seriously, I rock.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Immer Fleißig!

You know things are getting tough when you start giving yourself pep-talks in German.

Update: 1) Melville and Behn are dead, and I have killed them. I now await my sentence.
2) I am currently in the process of seriously damaging Bede and Willibald.
Late, obviously.
3) Following that, I have a date with the 18th century. Medievalism has indeed
staked its claim on me, folks. This semester I discovered that the 18th century
doesn't have nearly the amount of bloody revenge I like to read about. Batch of
sissies, they were. Crying over love-lost, bah! Anyway ...

Happy Happy Birthday to my super-fabulous sisters! I promise I'll be human again soon. I may even stop muttering to myself in German.

Also, Ron, the dust-bunnies thank you for remembering them. They were really touched.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Heo Cwaeth Knows Best!

Cue Theme Music!

via Ancrene Wiseass, via Lauren

You scored 73 masculinity and 46 femininity!

You scored high on masculinity and low on femininity. You have a traditionally masculine personality.

Update: Sparknotes Gender Test confirms these results. According to them, only 16% of their test-takers are more masculine than I. Does this mean I have to watch football?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

!@#$%^& Term Papers!

Update: Aphra Behn is totally starting with me, and I do not have time for her impertinence just now. Herman Melville is also being a bit of a shit, but I expected it from him. Fortunately, I get to talk about power relationships in both papers. Yay! Gotta love deconstructing elitist mythologies.

In related news: I'm going to go hide under my bed and stay there until the semester blows over.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Presenting The Beast!

Asserting its rights as Master of The Guest Room over Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Goodbye, Young Friend

Early yesterday morning, cancer claimed the life of yet another child. I've previously written that his final wish was that no other kid would have to have cancer like he did. Right now, cancer is the second leading cause of death for children younger than 14 in the United States.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December 1st: Blog Against Racism Day

Chris Clarke of Creek Running North has declared December 1st Blog Against Racism Day. For a brief moment on my drive home today, I was a bit torn about what I would write. While blogging against racism is a chance to start having a real discussion about race, today is also World AIDS day. I have lost someone to AIDS, or -- in medically correct terms -- a secondary infection permitted to run amok by an immune system destroyed by HIV. He was, and continues to be, the very best person I have ever known. There are not many aspects of who I am that would be as they are now, had I not had his example to work from.

My conundrum disappeared when I allowed a neuron or two to fire. I realized then that much of the racist discourse in America and Europe is inextricably linked to sexist discourse, all of it tied to Godliness in the perversion of faith that calls itself religion these days. Together, these discourses become the swirling vortex of fear, hatefulness, and apathy towards the injustices experienced by the "Other" in which we all live, whether we like it or not. Creek Running North, Quod She and Pandagon have good posts up about the hidden racist assumptions we make everyday, based on the information we've acquired as citizens of a racist culture. I'll let them speak to that.

The latest of the American Jeremiads, still continuing today in the body of neo-con "thought,"
became obvious to me and a number of others while watching the 1992 Republican National Convention. The basic tenets of that Jeremiad stated damned near outright that "we" (ie, WASP men in America) need to: 1) "Get the women back in line," 2) "Let the gays die of their disease, it's God's punishment, after all," and 3) "Get these Blacks to stop complaining about their fate, it's their own fault for having been born to the race of Ham anyway."

Let me quote Pat Buchanan, for the first and last time of my life:
"The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America--abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat--that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."... 1992 RNC speech.

And a few years later:
"Martin Luther King was one of the most divisive men. Some see him as the messiah of the nation, others think he’s a dreadful person. He is a divisive figure." ... NPR Talk of the Nation, May 30, 2000.

So, what the hell am I getting at, other than that racist jackasses tend also to be sexist jackasses? The bray is in the same voice, it just changes key sometimes. We all know that. Here's the thing, though. Oppression almost always involves assaults on the sexuality of the oppressed. ( I don't have citations for this. I'm too lazy to go get them. Look up Gender and Race in the Early Modern Period.) Women in the colonial period were not to be trusted around black men because they were perceived to be sexually attracted to the enslaved men. Shortly after, the fear of sexuality was transferred to black men, and how they all wanted to rape the white man's woman. Of course, black women were also "devilishly sexual," which made raping them far less likely to work on the consciences of the white men in the colonies. Moving along through the centuries, the myth of 'animalistic sexuality' in blacks/Native Americans/women/gay men/anybody "we" (again indicating WASP men) wanted to feel better than began to be seen as Truth. And then in the eighties, HIV came along. Now, we know that HIV affects proportionally more minorities in America than straight, white men. We also know that there's been a strong correlation documented between economic class and likelihood of catching HIV, almost the same correlation as between race and poverty. Coincidence? Nay!

Yet, because AIDS is a sexually-transmitted disease affecting minorities most, we have a government that deliberately, and evilly, refuses to work as hard as they can and should to eradicate the illness, or even educate people about how to avoid getting or transmitting it. What our government will do is lecture to "these people" about abstinence. Don't have sex, and you won't get a sexually-transmitted disease. Sounds logical. Except that people, much like other mammals, have sex. All sorts of people have sex. The neo-cons would like you to believe that straight, white, wealthy and married couples are above that sort of thing, but they keep breeding, so that can't be true.

Ask a conservative about taking care of AIDS patients and their families, whether here or in Africa. Watch their reactions. Suppose there were a sexually transmitted disease that disproportionately affected straight whites, and came originally from a bunch of god-fearing European dudes. Maybe the theory is that these dudes were assaulting sheep on cold winter nights. Do you suppose there would be a call to lecture the Europeans about the dangers of sex, God's wrath against the sexually active, and avoiding "the wrong kind of sheep"? Probably not. I'm guessing there'd be an invention of some sort that would allow the European menfolk to have sex and not get diseases.

In this case, we have a sexually-transmitted disease that does not affect those in power as much as it does the under-class, so we go back to stereotypes that served so well before. "Those people" keep having sex, they keep breeding, they keep getting diseases, and it's not my fault, they aren't my family, so I don't care. Racism, and all the braying about sexuality that accompanies it, has EVERYTHING to do with the way we deal with the AIDS epidemic in America and the world.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sad News

Several years ago, at 2 1/2 years old, my youngest niece was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. There ensued 2 years of intensive and frightening therapies which were often as dangerous to her as the disease itself. Fortunately for our family, my niece beat the unfavorable odds and survived her illness. She is now in remission, and is enjoying a normal, active life. We learned today that one of her friends is losing his second fight.

Parents and children on pediatric oncology units tend to separate themselves into tribes, based on the age of the affected children, and the disease the children are fighting. The kids with my niece's diagnosis, almost all very young (the disease attacks babies and toddlers), became over time brothers and sisters of sorts. They all have natural siblings, but their fellow patients were their trench-buddies. They were all children who felt well, but were told they were sick, and then brought to a hospital where people gave them medicine that made them feel sick. Each knew what the other was suffering after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or stem-cell harvesting without being told. They played together, went bald together, ate together when permitted to eat, celebrated their victories together, and even went to the same cancer-patient camps together the summers after their hospitalizations ended. Last year, the "older brother" of my niece's tribe was told his cancer had come back, and was inoperable. After a year of fighting the illness again, all his options have been exhausted, none of the children's hospitals can think of any way to prolong his life, and his health is failing. At nine years old, all he wishes for now is that no other kids have to have cancer like he did. Me too.

(Note: Edited for intelligibility)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Late Giving of Thanks, and Some Thoughts on Black-Friday

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Sappy Stuff First
I am deeply thankful for:
1) My mother, who is always always encouraging, generous, and loving with me. She taught me by example and with words how very important it is for me to be the woman I need to be, rather than the woman others would have me be. Go multi-generational feminism! While I'm at it, I should thank her mother and grandmother for having had the courage to be formidable women in a time when women were meant to be perpetual girls, and thank her father and grandfather for being proud of their wives' accomplishments.
2) My sisters, amazing people that they are, who were willing to drive up to Microburg from a suburb that isn't ashamed to claim itself as such so that our family might celebrate Thanksgiving together.
3) My nieces and nephews (family midgets), who never fail to make me laugh, even when I'm in the full power of my end-of-semester writing neuroses coupled with standard-issue holiday-hostess neuroses.
Youngest Niece, upon seeing me write margin notes in a book Wednesday: "Oooooh, that's so rude. I'll bet you get in trouble for that. So disrespectful!" Friday: "Reading, reading, reading! It's like you don't know how to do anything else. There are snowmen trapped on the lawn, and they need us to get them out!"
Eldest Nephew, upon arriving (after work and a long drive) at an ungodly hour of Thanksgiving morning and seeing my apartment for the first time: "So, this isn't a disgusting collegiate place. Want me to bring some dirty socks to throw around next time, so we can do this place up RIGHT?"
Eldest Niece, arriving with Eldest Nephew: "I brought stuff to make my very first from-scratch-pie, but you have to show me how."
4) Being in graduate school. As much as I whine about the work-load, and I do, this is the first work I've ever done that I wouldn't run from if I won the lottery. Also, as the first child of my generation to earn a B.A., simply being welcome in a graduate program is a constant source of amazement to me.
5) Having long-time friends who accept that I disappear for four months at a time, encourage my ambition, but occasionally insist that I surface for much-needed socialization.

Black Friday
I do NOT shop on Black Friday. Never have. Frankly, I find the idea of a national shopping day rather distasteful. Today, as I spoke to friends who do shop on Black Friday, they told me about shout-fests and physical altercations they witnessed that boggled my mind. "I will provide the newest toy/clothing/electronic doodad for my child, regardless of the immoral, illegal, and unsafe actions I have to take in order to do so" is not my idea of good parenting, folks. I don't have children, and I don't pretend to understand the pressures of parenthood, but ... damn! Imagine if your children saw you BITING ANOTHER CHILD'S MOTHER because she was in line for the much-to-be-desired sale-price object before you were. I was not permitted to own all the artifacts of affluence I wished as a child (in the 80's, so there were many), and guess what? I'm OK. It's very possible that your children will grow up to be fine, productive citizens without owning the "right" toy/clothing/electronic doodad. They'd probably prefer the embarrassment of that lack to having a parent arrested for assault. Just sayin'

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tired, Stupid, and Evil

1) came thisclose to wishing my PoMo professor -- the one whose pet peeve is the demonization of Indians in the old west -- a Happy Thanksgiving. Me, smiling: "Ha... [realization dawns, awkward silence]... uh ... [Internal dialogue:Quick! Say something, fool!]...Have a good weekend." PoMo prof, laughing: "Oh, you too." (wink)
2) While prepping pies for Thanksgiving (I'll be hosting this year), considered setting the parental controls on my TV to block out episodes of Law & Order just for the joy of watching my visiting family freak out.
3) Discovered that Queen Bertrada's name means "Broadfoot," laughed for several minutes, then tried to figure out how to form a Germanic name that means "One who argues with inanimate objects."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Democracy: n. 2005 edition

1) System of governance in which the majority of citizens are repeatedly asked to abandon their civil rights and legal protections to cater to the;
a)will to power,
b)religious convictions, and/or
c)bank-accounts of the minority.

It seems as if the only way -- the ONLY way -- some democrats can see the democratic party returning to power in the near future is to abandon the fight for women's rights to bodily autonomy. Now, last I heard, women were about 52% of the voting public in this country. And, based on the most recent polls the majority of Americans consider it a woman's right to determine for herself whether or not she will carry a pregnancy to term. So, why not just surrender women's rights to appeal to the MINORITY of the country who find self-determining women a threat to God's immortal plan for white, male, Protestant American domination of the globe? Fucktards!
Here's my modest proposal. Dump the party that wants women to give up their rights "for your own good, precious" AND the party that wants us to give up our rights "for the greater good of all" and come up with another fucking party. A party that holds the belief that women are, funnily enough, grown up people who can make moral decisions about their own bodies and lives, all by themselves. Couple that belief with some rudimentary mathematical skills, and you've got yourself a winning team.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm a Follower. Rats!

Also stolen ... er ... appropriated from Quod She:

You scored as Wiglaf. Loyal and brave in your own right, you are Wiglaf, one of Beowulf's Geats. You are the only one of Beowulf's hand-picked troop who stood by his Lord's side as he faced the dragon. After Beowulf's death, you rebuke those who fled when they were needed most.





The Dragon




Grendel's Mother






If You Were in Beowulf...
created with

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I Am Too Smart!

An idea appropriated from Quod She:

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Procrastination Meets Narcissism (with a dash of self-abnegation for flavor)

Question: What to do when one has three 20-page research papers due frighteningly soon, a stack of grading taller than the average kindergartener to get back to students, and is rapidly running out of clean socks?
Answer: Write a blog entry.

I really, really miss feeling smart and organized. It was a nice feeling, and I want it back. Back in the good old days of smart and organized Heo Cwaeth, I was convinced that this was unshakeable self-esteem. Ha! The degree to which I based that feeling (when I had it) on the approval of others was really brought home to me last week when the professor who frightens me most, the one who will not speak to or acknowledge students until he's convinced they're not complete dunderheads spoke to me for the first time. (It took twelve weeks to get out of dunderhead-land, that's a bad sign.) I was alarmingly pleased with the tiny little approving nodling that I got from this guy. Part of that probably comes from the fact that I had nightmares and daymares for a week leading up to my presentation in his class that I would give my evidence, make my argument, and he would just look at me and say "No." This didn't happen, of course. I got two whole syllables out of him. And I bragged about those two syllables to a friend, too. It's almost as if convincing this guy that I'm not vapid somehow proves that I really can handle grad school. Now, how sad is that?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Random Advice: With No Expectation of its Reaching its Target.

Putting my two cents in, in the vaguest possible way:

Sometimes it's very hard to let go of an insult, or what you perceive to be an insult. I've been there. I've even caused gigantic scenes about my insult, triumphantly informing others of the slight against me, and trying to woo them over to my side of a debate which was raging only for me. I've made myself childish, too. The temptation to revel in one's injured pride and 'obvious moral superiority' to one's opponent is great. However, I've also paid the price for that behavior, and it was high. Nevermind that what I thought my pride demanded of me resulted in more damage to the respect others had for me, and my self-respect than simply saying "Geez, I hate it when people do that" and then walking away would have done. Nevermind that my pride still wouldn't allow me to drop it and walk away after I knew the whole drama was an exercise in pointlessness. "Dammit! I'm tired of being 'the better man,' and I won't do it this time" was my mantra. The real issue, the one that will continue to be with you when that intoxicating, invigorating feeling of righteous indignation leaves, is this: the knowledge that the better part of the problem, the part that began when you decided to make a personal crusade of your injury, was your fault. You directed your energy toward this slight. You let it take over your brain and define who you are. The only one you changed in the process was you, not for the better. And it wasn't worth it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Clarification Needed

While walking to class recently, I happened upon a male professor I know and we engaged in conversation. So far everything's normal, right? This professor and I were going into the same building, and therefore needed to walk through the same doors. Professor X reached the outer door to the building before I did and opened the door for me, leaving me in the vestibule and able to open the second door. As I reached for the handle of the second door, Professor X yelled at me to wait. Startled by the sudden change in volume, and assuming some danger awaited me or another at the opening of the door, I let the handle go. At which point, Professor X reached past me, opened the door for me, and using much more civil tones and his inside voice, stated "I can't change the way I was raised." Now, I like a good irony as much as anybody, however I'm a bit confuzzled by this experience. Aren't feminists supposed to be the ones out in the world yelling at people over door issues? Also, having been born without a dangling participle, I did not get The Gentleman's Handbook and would like to know the rules regarding shouting at random women. Any ideas on this?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Thank God it Wasn't One of Those Goofy Egyptians!

Indeed, you are 75% erudite, 70% sensual, 50% martial, and 70% saturnine.

Freya, twin sister of Frey, is a member of the Vanir family, the Norse clan of Fertility Gods. Like her counterparts, Aphrodite, Isis, Venus, and Ishtar (Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Indian mythology), she concerned herself with sex and all that goes with it.

She was quite fond of cats, by the way. In fact, she was said to travel about in a magnificent chariot drawn by her two regal black cats named Bygul and Trjegul (Pronunciation? You're on your own...) that were rumoured to be possessed. After serving Freya for 7 years, the cats were rewarded by being turned into witches, disguised as black cats. Even many of her personal traits seem cat-like. For instance, she always wore a brilliant jewel studded collar symbolizing her authority over the fiery aspect of sexuality.

Besides being the Goddess of love, cats, the moon, magic, and of course sex, Freya was also skilled in a form of magic called "seithr" (meaning "sayer" or "seer") which consisted of putting oneself into a deep meditative trance so that the secrets of the future might be revealed. She also owned a feather coat which she could use to fly between the worlds.


free online dating

You scored higher than 31% on erudite

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 24% on sensual

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 34% on martial

free online datingfree online dating

You scored higher than 69% on saturnine
Link: The Mythological Goddess Test written by Nitsuki on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Interesting Happenings

1) I have somehow acquired a cat. It's a long-haired, smush-faced spotted thing I have been calling "Beast." I consider it below both my and his/her/its dignity to go routing around in all that fur to find sex "markers," and so Beast will live without all the irritating socially determined expectations of gender that are so hard on a cat. When Beast first began sleeping on my porch a few weeks ago, I was very excited about the implications of a volunteer cat. Alas, no magical powers have emerged in either of us. Therefore, I must conclude that this cat could somehow sense the presence of a spinster in my college-kid infused microburg (i.e., town that thinks it's a city), and knew s/he must go live with said spinster to fulfill both of our stereotypes.
2) The local news that usually isn't is predicting snow for Tuesday. This Tuesday. The one before Halloween. W.T.F.? Seriously? A white Halloween? Those originally from this area tell me that I should expect a "wicked-harsh winter." I blame the GOP. In related news: I have discovered that L.L. Bean sells some delightfully colorful parkas.
3) People keep volunteering gossip about my professors' personal lives. Knowledge that this information freaks me out has, in fact, speeded up the flow of gossip. Some of it coming from the professors themselves. (Does this count as gossip, or just creepy perv talk?) Now, I know this is a childish philosophy, and will present a few problems in the next 5 years, but I really don't want to know about the sexual perversions of people with advanced degrees. Especially not when I trust those people to teach me stuff. And, not coincidentally, especially not when those advanced-degree holding people-who-teach-me-stuff types are an average of 112 years old. (Obviously hyperbolic, but the faculty here at Microburg U. is elderly by any standard.) Just ...ew! Stupid Viagra! I want my sweet, avuncular old men back, dammit!
4) The professor for whom I work has turned the female population of the class against him, and is approximately 12 hours and one idiotic aside away from full-scale riot. He's a tried and true member of the old-boys network, and doesn't understand that the jokes that were funny to his all-male cohort at Old Ivy when he was a student MANY MANY MOONS AGO are not so funny in a mixed classroom in the 21st century. If I were a good employee, I would have told him that on Friday. However, I suck. And, frankly, I'm enjoying watching the girls take up their battle-formations.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Political Leanings

An idea stolen from Ancrene Wiseass....

You are a

Social Liberal (81% permissive)
and an...

Economic Liberal (8% permissive)

You are best described as a: Socialist
OK Cupid Politics Test

My "Law Enforceable Forever by Goons" was: "I would dictate that...people who are born to wealthy families should have to perform a set number of community service hours per million dollars of their inheritance (i.e., unearned money). Something in the range of 300 hrs/Million should do the trick."

Monday, September 19, 2005

What I've Learned From Three Weeks of Grad School

1) It is actually possible to have enough books! (Imagine my surprise when, sitting in the local bookstore/cafe I discovered that --for the very first time in my life--I didn't have a compulsive need to bankrupt myself with book purchases.)
2) On a related note, professors are clearly not screwing around anymore.
3) Gregory of Tours was a gossipy old bitch(with cause).
4) I curse a lot more frequently and fluently than the average grad student.
5) University students will try to weasel information about upcoming tests from the female TAs first. ( It doesn't work.)
6) I'm drowning in a sea of papers, and I want my mommy!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Just for Fun.

You're Ireland!

Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this
makes you intriguing. You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as
worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice. You're good
with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato.
You really don't like snakes.

Take the Country Quiz at
the Blue Pyramid

Whom Would Jesus Persecute?

** Brought to my attention at Bitch PhD, and also commented upon on by The Un-Apologetic Atheist. (If I have transgressed against established blogiquette by linking to their sites without permission, I apologize.)

The New York Times reported today that the Vatican will be sending the thought police to American Seminaries, to rout for homosexuals and/or dissenters. Not necessarily practicing homosexuals and dissenters, just people who seem like they might be thinking about either sleeping with men or thinking for themselves. So the Catholic church is looking for heretics. Again. Because that's always worked so very well for them in the past. The impetus behind this Vatican decision is the belief that rampant homosexuality and liberalism in the seminaries was at fault for the child-molesters and their defenders in the American Catholic church. Nevermind that science has established that pedophilia and homosexuality are as distinct from each other as pedophilia and heterosexuality. Nevermind that no Catholic priest is meant to have sex with ANYBODY, EVER. Nevermind that priests -- whether pedophiles or not -- have been more likely to interact with boys than girls. Eighty percent of the victims were boys, so it must be the fault of the homosexuals and liberals. First it was the fault of the women's movement, then the sexual revolution, and now it's gay men. Crazy, isn't it, how it wasn't ever the fault of the Bishops and Cardinals who paid off and silenced the families of victims, and sent the criminal priests to new parishes without notifying said new parishes of the danger in their midst? Crazy,too, that notifying the civil authorities of sexual assaults against children was an idea that never came up. And, even when the scandal was out, the cardinals wanted to protect "their spiritual sons"?

But, hey, when there are heretics and homosexuals to expunge, stakes to erect, and fires to light, one doesn't have time for self-reflection.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Don't Let the Bible Thump You Upside the Head on the Way Out.

While I was focused on the damage caused by Katrina and the completely backwards way in which the government "handled" the situation, some interesting news passed me by. It seems there is a group from California calling themselves "Christian Exodus," who are planning to move to South Carolina in great enough numbers (they hope) to turn the state into one which supports theocracy, and/or to force South Carolina's secession from the union. Although I was startled to learn that there are wingnuts even wingnuttier than those I've encountered, I have to agree with these particular wingnuts. It would make everyone's lives significantly better if those who choose to live in a Christian theocracy would just move to one place, and have their theocracy. It didn't work the first time a theocracy was established on this land, and they'll probably return soon enough, but in the meantime we could let the kids get it out of their system without taking away MY human rights to satisfy their religious convictions. Do, by all means, go. And hurry up about it.

I've also been in a rage that the states that pay for the federal government are financially supporting the "people of the middle." You remember those, right? The ones who blather on and on about self-control, responsibility, the horrible 'welfare queens' who should never have had sex in the first place, and now expect THEIR tax dollars to pay for the children? It's not relevant to them that THEIR TAX DOLLARS don't even pay for their own expenditures, they want to be absolutely certain that mine don't go to help poor people. Helping the poor cuts into their welfare checks, you see. And if the poor just happen to be women, children, and the elderly (i.e., those perceived as too weak to defend themselves from attack), then that's even more reason not to help them. Maybe they should go, too. It'll give them an opportunity to live by their own philosophies for a time. They can, for once, really be as self-sufficient as they claim. My part of the country will still welcome the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. God knows we'll be able to afford to help them once we get rid of the "rugged individualists" who've been bleeding us dry for centuries.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Oh, Those Wicked Womb-bearers

Prince Albert II of Monaco believes he was "set up" by the mother of his child to be a parent. He also fears that other women will come forward, because he's been with so many women over the years, and is in the public eye. It's not his fault he impregnated a woman, you see, she did it. (in the case of many mothers, THEY did it) He's a victim of the machinations of a wicked womb-bearer, and there may be more out there, looking to victimize him. I wonder how many centuries of evolution it will take before men realize that they do have a right to say no to sex.

How to Profit from the Suffering of Others.

Surprise, surprise. Reuters reports today that the companies getting government contracts to assist in cleaning up and rebuilding the gulf coast have strong ties to the Bush White House/ Tammany Hall. Because the most important thing to do, when you finally move your butt and do something, is to make sure that the people in your club get the spoils.

God Help America.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Thank You, Laura Bush

Like most people, I've been in an emotional maelstrom since the flooding of the gulf coast. Profound sadness, disbelief, rage, and fear battled for prominence as I watched Americans dying because our government is so very good at keeping us safe. I mean, that's what they promised, right? They would keep us safe. They would act quickly and decisively in case of disaster. If not for the loss of American lives, those claims would be laughable now.
I watched those in power, and those who desperately want to believe in that power hang on to the most convenient bits of the original European-American buckle-head philosophies;
1)Buckle-heads are God's elect, and therefore everything done in America will turn out just fine because God likes us best.
2)Wealth is an outward indicator of God's Grace. Poor people need not be fussed about too much, even in crisis, because God doesn't like them as much as He likes the wealthy.
3)God will smite those who disagree with Him, or the wealthy who represent Him on earth. (Also, anybody who happens to be nearby)
4) Paradoxically, God also "tests" his elect, to make them stronger. So, if you haven't died in recent floods, you either hated God, or He loved you extra, or He loved your leaders extra, or you were just one of the undeserving poor.

Now, I may not be the best person to speak to some of these philosophies because in the church I attended while growing up Schadenfreude was not considered a "Christian Value". So, when I see self-proclaimed Christians saying that God sent the hurricane to stop a gay-pride parade or to close women's health clinics, I have some difficulty accepting that. The Jesus I was taught about was a bit of a hippie, and didn't really go around attacking people at will.
I watched Barbara Bush say that the poor of New Orleans were better off for having a government handout, a thought which amused her greatly. I watched her nincompoop son declare that his unsuccessful horse-breeding friend was doing an excellent job doing NOTHING to help the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Of course, I watched the same nincompoop use Trent Lott's lost house as a metaphor for the lost homes and lives of the people of the gulf coast. (People who had only one home, to Lott's minimum of two.)And then, of course, we could see the victims being blamed. How dare one live in a city below sea-level near the sea. They had it coming. Rick Santorum, that intellectual giant, declared that we needed harsher penalties for those who stay behind in natural disasters, because drowning in a sea of sewage, toxic waste, and refuse is not a harsh enough penalty. And then there's the young black man who stole an abandoned bus, and saved 100 of the residents of New Orleans. Instead of handing him a medal on arrival, the people of Texas thought about whether or not they should charge him with grand theft.

Enemies of the United States, poverty-stricken countries, and "Old Europe" all responded to OUR crisis before OUR government did. An airplane full of food and water sent from Germany was turned back because there was no "authorization" to accept the aid. The Mexican army has rolled in to help. Castro has offered medical staff to help. All this while George "Nero" Bush continued on his vacation after the levees broke in NOLA, coming back only after the people of the city threatened to riot in the streets, and several newsreporters had emotional breakdowns on air. And now Laura Bush declares that Kanye West's and Howard Dean's criticisms of her husband are "disgusting". And I guess that's the word I was looking for to sum up the emotional maelstrom of the past several days.

This government's response to this tragedy shows just how DISGUSTING her husband, his cronies, his mother, and this entire shabby crew are. Now, my one question is this: How many counts of criminally neglegent homicide and/or depraved indifference does it take before they begin to count as "High crimes and Misdemeanors"?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's Wake

As our nation faces images of death, destruction, and disorder in Louisiana, and pundits speculate about the social and economical costs of Hurricane Katrina -- not just to New Orleans -- but to our entire country, we have to wonder just exactly how strong and united we really are. The people of the gulf coast are having to wait entirely too long for assistance; many have died waiting. There are living people still barricaded in the upper levels of their homes, waiting for rescue workers. Hospital staff are desperately trying to keep their patients and themselves alive without electricity to run machinery, adequate supplies, or relief staffing. In a country that has spent the past four years preparing for possible terrorist attacks, one would think that we would be better prepared for disaster. So the question is: why weren't we?

To the Press Corps:
Reports of looting coming from NO include as examples people taking bottled water, food, and diapers from local stores. Let me make something absolutely clear, getting necessary supplies to keep yourself and your family alive is not 'looting.' Feel free to call any person stealing electronics, jewelry, or artwork "looters." Those who are trying to survive through theft of basic necessities because we have left them too long without help are victims.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Inauspicious Start

Let me preface this post by swearing that I am, in fact, a functionally intelligent being. I can tie my own shoes, tell time, and even clean my house without creating lethal chemical combinations. However, rookie errors have plagued my first week at the new Grad School. I've managed to sign up for classes located at all corners of the campus, giving me the opportunity to sprint three times every other day. For now, this is simply good cardio-vascular exercise. But I'm the sort of person who breaks bones in the comfort of her own home, while doing things like painting the living room. Within two months the combination of my own native spastic tendencies, the piles of snow I expect at this latitude, and these sprints might just prove dangerous to my health. Good thing I brought my crutches with me.

I've also managed to sign up for a class taught by a professor renowned for his brilliant but dithery lectures, and almost satanic grading system. Fabulous. Nothing like knowing that the information you're given will be unclear, while the standards set for your scholarship--based partly on that unclear information--are frighteningly high, to make a new student feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

But the capper, the absolute "Damn it, woman, get a grip on yourself" moment came in my final class of the day; a hagiography course I've been dying to take since I saw the offerings. I know something about hagiography, and I've been reading new scholarship so that I could hit the ground running when I got to school this semester. And I'll swear any oath required that I had an intelligent, pertinent thought to add to the discussion. Until I opened my mouth. Somehow, my lips conspired against me so that my intelligent, pertinent thought came out something like, "I was reading this article...uh... and it was about a similar situation... uh, yeah ... except different." And I received the professor's pitying smile in return, the one that says "Let's all be patient with the stupid girl." Which is really the best possible scenario considering the blockheaded thing I said.

However, contrary to my concerns, my fellow grad students are extremely friendly, and I may even get some of them to sit with me at lunch. Because stupid people need supervision.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What do Delhi and D.C. Have in Common?

It appears that the capitol buildings in Delhi are experiencing the same infestation as ours here in the U.S.A.

Internet Amusements & Irritations


1. Watching the complete emotional breakdown (paranoid delusions, ad hominem attacks that include accusations of ad hominem tactics, non sequiturs and red herrings aplenty) of a male chat room acquaintance who takes it as a personal insult that one considers oneself, and all other women, as more than life support for female genitals.

2. Finding crazy news stories from all over the world, like this one from Budapest, which tells of one government official's attempts to pretty up his workplace by making dress codes dependent upon the physical assets of the (female) employees. Way to go, chucklehead.

3. Hate-filled "Christians," given the rope they need. Seriously, folks, Jesus was not a hate-monger. All the same, thanks for the entertainment.

4. Self-styled grammar and usage mavens who have severely limited vocabularies, and no flipping idea how the English language works. Mrs. Malaprop lives! ( On a similar note: people who use words like "bloviatory" in screeds against verbose communication, with no concept of the irony.)


1. Doing a search for news pertaining especially to women, and coming up with several sites that promise to teach ugly and stupid men how to screw around with a pretty woman's self esteem just enough so that she'll want to date baby-eating trolls like them.

2. In same search, finding sites that extol the virtues of invasive, life-threatening, elective surgery that will make women "feel better about themselves."
Because nothing says 'healthy self-esteem' like having assfat transferred to your lips.

3. The many quizzes, blogs, chat rooms and games that call out to you, just as you're settling down to do necessary work. Damn you, age of information!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Theocracy & Women in the News

Theocracy: n., 1. government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. 2. a state governed by a theocracy.

  • Woman: n., an adult female person.
  • Let's Start with Happenings Right Here at Home.

    The New York Times reports today that the FDA Commissioner, Lester M. Crawford, has chosen to delay making a decision on Plan B. According to the article,some democratic senators were under the distinct impression that allowing a vote on Crawford was an exchange for a decision on Plan B prior to September 1, 2005. I can't say what agreements were made by whom and when, but I do know that the FDA's stated reasons for pushing off decision time are asinine. 1. They need "more time to gather public reaction to the plan and to figure out how they could enforce it." 2. The "agency had decided that the science supported giving over-the-counter access of the drug to women 17 and older, but that the agency could not figure out how to do that from regulatory and practical standpoints without younger teenagers' obtaining the pills, too."

    Let me help the geniuses at the FDA out a little bit. Gather round, wingnuts. For lo, I have much accumulated knowledge that I wish to share. You see, there are several substances within these United States to which access is controlled by age:

    1) For instance, liquor of any kind must not be sold to people under 21 years of age.

    2) This is similar to cigarettes, which must not be sold to persons under 18 years of age.

    3) Pornography also is limited to those over 18.

    4) Hell, I couldn't buy my mother a dozen eggs anywhere near Halloween until I was 18.

    5)The sale of cough syrup, in light of its newfound recreational uses, has been restricted to those over 18.

    6) The bagel shop near the high school I taught at briefly would not sell to school-age children between the hours of 7 AM and 2 PM.

    Are any of the purveyors of these fine products people who have gone through many years of schooling, and incurred massive debts in order to be licensed in their chosen fields? Are they 'professionals' we can trust to keep our children safe from poor choices, school-skipping, and their own seasonal inner vandals? Well, no. They are fairly unskilled, minimum wage clerks at grocery and convenience stores throughout our fair land. Do we imagine that pharmacists, the very same people whose consciences the right wing trusts to override decisions made by a woman and her doctor regarding her own health, are not responsible enough to card a kid? Pharmacists are the folks we let dispense all manner of addictive medications. They aren't good enough? I'm afraid I'm going to have to call bullshit on this one, Sparky.

    And what do the concerned citizens of the right have to say about this? Why the big brouhaha over a pill that must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to prevent the fertilization of an egg? What a shock! It's the same argument as they use against all birth control, and even sexual education. This pill, it seems, would encourage teenagers to have sex. And we all know that people who have sex are bad. (Burn the sex-having witch!) Incidentally, I was under the impression that puberty encouraged teenagers to have sex, but I am also one of those godless freaks who took health class in high school.

    From Afghanistan

    Freedom marches right past Afghani women when it comes to gaining positions of responsiblity and power. Also in The New York Times , there's this article that reports that Afghani women will not run for office, because they have no control over their money; that's a man's job. Apparently, the "many women" who came to vote in Afghani elections forgot to vote for less scumbaggy husbands. Or, could it be theocratic, misogynistic principles still in action in Afghanistan?

    And, Finally, That Great Bastion of Freedom: Iraq

    Still the NYT, (it's early, and I can only read one massive paper in the middle of the night. Sue me.) there's this op-ed piece concerning the Iraqi constitution that isn't. Despite all the grumblings about freedom for the three groups that make up Iraq, and all the struggling for safety for them, the provisions that seriously jeopardize women's rights in Iraq have been left firmly in place. So, like women in Afghanistan, Iraqi women can expect to be kept in a life of penury by legal restriction, unable to divorce, inherit, or in any way choose their own paths. But, I'm sure that won't affect their ability to assert basic human rights for themselves. As long as their human rights don't interfere with their husbands' rights to treat them like chattel "in God's name," that is.

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    A Belated Happy Birthday to the Nineteenth Amendment

    Amendment XIX - "Article-, Section 1. - The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
    "Section 2. - Congress shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to enforce the provisions of this article."

    I'd like to thank my Great-Grandmother, and all the men and women of her generation who fought so hard for women's suffrage.* There are so many aspects of our lives, far beyond the voting booth, that have been made inifinitely better by their work.

    *Let's be serious, it was mostly women.
    Credit where it's due: This post was inspired by, and is almost identical to, one posted on Bitch PhD by Elise, who is substituting for Dr. Bitch and also has her own fine blog called After School Snack.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    La Plus ca Change...

    Lurking somewhere not so deep in the recesses of my mind is a five year old, and she's annoying. I am currently preparing to meet with fellow grad students at my new University, and I should be thinking about all the exciting new stuff I want to learn and teach, and how I'll be meeting people who may prove to have thoroughly pickable brains, and what sort of advocacy groups I might want to get involved with since this city doesn't have the same groups I've joined before. Instead, most of my worrying has centered around the questions that used to plague me as a child whenever my family moved; will they like me? will I have anybody to sit with at lunch? will my new teachers be as nice as my old ones? (This last is partially amended in the case of two ex-professors, whose soul-sucking attitudes and behavior I hope never to encounter again. I say 'partially' because spite was a wonderful motivator for me in response to those two knuckleheads. "There's no way those miserable bastards will put a red mark on MY paper" leads to pretty damned good work sometimes. Still, doing my best work in the company of instructors who emphasize the *enriching* half of the humbling and enriching experience of education is preferred. ) So now, just as then, I feel myself putting on the cloak of insouciance as the meeting time becomes closer, hoping that I can trade it in for a more comfortable garment soon.

    Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Whine Selection

    Blogging Lesson #1: Don't start a blog a week before you have to cart all of your stuff, including thousands of pounds of books, several hundred miles away. Life Lesson #1: A) Do not rent an apartment in a building that has no elevator when you have thousands of pounds of books. B) Moving suuuucks! C) When your legs have given out, and you can't get your stuff up the stairs anymore, know that undergrads will do any heavy lifting you can throw their way if you offer them $50.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Numbers Can be Fun: Mandate This.

    Some math people I know keep telling me that numbers can be fun. They're nice people, and I don't want to hurt their feelings, so I pretend to believe them. I'm sensitive like that. Besides, nobody who studies antique dirty books for college credit, and teaches slightly less elderly books for a living (while pretending not to notice the sexy bits), has any business making fun of mathematicians. So, I decided to look at numbers from a slightly different angle, to see if anything fun popped up.

    My first forays into the numbers game validated my 'numbers suck' philosophy. This is not to say that there aren't people in the world who would consider my bank account amusing, but I'm a poor sport about it. The 77 cents on the dollar promise for my working life is equally grim. I mean, I like a dangling participle as much as the next guy, but I can't see how having one merits a 23% salary differential. However, with due diligence, I discovered a way to make numbers work for me.

    Remember last year, when the friends of Dick Cheney and his Pet Monkey decided that 3 million more votes comprised a mandate? (We won't talk about disenfranchised voters now.) Have you noticed that the Monkey has used his 'mandate' to do whatever he damn well pleases with our country, including appointing an embarrassment to speak for us at the UN? Well, a quick look at the 2000 census has cheered me right up. It seems that American women, with a whopping 5.3 million-strong lead in the gender poll, have a super-mandate. Women are in charge, kids. And, frankly, I'm tired of these uppity dangling-participled minorities telling us how to run OUR country, acting as if we should put ourselves out giving them meaningful voices in the media. Blathering on incessantly about their rights to a fulfilling career, happy family lives, entertainment, and pin money to spend on the frivolous things that make their little days go more smoothly. My God! Isn't it enough that we pretend to listen to their thoughts, and never tell them how fat those khakis really make them look?

    Clearly, since God made more of us, He wanted us to be in charge. And, when God wants one to be in charge, He means "get out there and steamroll over every person who doesn't look, act, and think just like" the ones He put in charge. So, ladies, I suggest we get busy doing the 'hard work' of being ridiculously privileged, and develop the entitlement issues we have been ordained by God to have. You wouldn't want to upset God, would you? Gentlemen, you needn't worry, we'll be a kind as kind can be to you, provided that you're pretty and agreeable enough, and can make a decent cup of coffee.

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    Inaugural Address: "You Don't Seem Like a Feminist"

    I started calling myself a feminist when I was twelve years old, as soon as I understood that there was a word for thinking that boys and girls having different chores, rules, or allowances wasn't fair. While I hope my thinking has become broader and more nuanced since then, the general idea remains the same. As far as I'm concerned, there is no reasonable way for any person to argue with the basic tenets of feminism. Women and men are intellectual and emotional equals. Women and men should be socially, politically, and economically equal. These were radical thoughts in 1792, when Mary Wollstonecraft wrote her A Vindication on the Rights of Women, but they are not radical now.

    Still, whenever I have called myself a feminist, the term has elicited a reaction. The reaction varies; it can be an eyeroll, sudden anger, or--more rarely--a sense of instant comraderie. However, the reaction that concerns me most, and paradoxically appeared only after I became a grown woman, is the correction. This is most often a variation on the theme stated in the title of this post. "You can't be a feminist, you're not like them." It should be noted that the 'them' in this sentence is clearly used as a pejorative. The 'them' of whom I cannot be a part, are different, other, wrong. This reaction is partly due to the success of the opposition in characterizing feminists as bellicose women with whom nobody would care to associate anyway. Well, wrong. It is entirely possible to have both social skills and self-respect. Assuming that the men you know are not in immediate danger of having their opposable thumbs rescinded, it is also possible to be a feminist who enjoys the company of men. Hey, it's even possible to be a man and a feminist! So, I freely confess to you now that I am, indeed, one of those pesky women who has respect for herself, and a willingness to speak her mind.