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.