Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fundamentalist Ranting or Japanese Packaging?

The first reader to e-mail the correct answers wins a Calin-Genou!
  1. Others like Sir Issac Newton believed that what they strongly studied had to do with a much greater being, that being God. Theyd acknowledge that Christianity is indeed extremely compatible with science.

  2. Beliefs they had may not be your own, and nor would you even consider actually studying through it, whether you be scared of finding something out, or just getting peeved off, but I highly reccomend researching like many others. Whether you have already, and still do not believe truth; it is the truth.

  3. Notice Less Red This Christmas Season? Maybe unclean spirits don’t want the power of red through the blood Jesus Christ sacrificed for our sins shining brightly this Christmas season and therefore they trying to faze red out of holiday celebrations.

  4. Do not use it for other use.
    Do not use it for body.
    Do not use it to something has absorption function or to paper
    When you are not sure if you can use it or not, please use it at an unnoticeable area to avoid the decoloration.
    Strong force can make this goods split.
    Please store it away from the children.

  5. Unlike you, we believe Jesus should be sought before inquiring about a medical doctor.

  6. Please make it cooperate though it troubles it.

  7. If patients keep the consciousness, drink two cups of water and make vomiting, then go hospital right away. If patients have loss consciousness, or shaking trouble, please do not feed anything, go to hospital right away.

  8. You all watched "The Matrix" I guess. What if we are leaving in a dream and we are not aware of the world we live in is just an imagination?
    At night we see dreams and while we are dreaming we don't realise that we are in a dream. we think as if it is the real world. we give real responds to the events. If the whole life(as we name it) is a long dream that we don't get up. Maybe one day we will suddenly wake up from "our life dream". Maybe we are living in the Matrix at it is called. Can we be sure of that?

Move Over, Harold Bloom

Reading Kate's blog today I am reminded that Lillet and I engaged in some tetrahydrocannabinol-inspired literary criticism the same evening we were reading Harry Potter.

We came across the Amazon page for Tim LaHaye's Glorious Appearing. As Publisher's Weekly describes it ...
Jesus returns at last in this 12th novel in the phenomenally popular Left Behind series, vanquishing his foes and ushering in a new millennium of peace and righteousness. Ray Steele is the only member of the original Tribulation Force alive to see it, however, since Buck Williams endures a bloody death in the opening pages.
Herein, our reviews.

It's like Wyndham Lewis' Human Age trilogy ... if you're a total fucking moron.
-- Trey Desolay
That's so cool! That's so heavy metal!
-- Trey Desolay
You know if it's a Christian book and the girl's name is Chloe, she's a slut!
-- Lillet Langtry

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

In The Spirit of Christmas, Calm The Fuck Down

It cracks me up, how all these wingnuts get in a lather about The Liberal War on Christmas, as if the ACLU were going to go from house to house confiscating Barbies, fruitcake, and Xboxes!

New York City as about as ethnically diverse as you can get. Especially Queens. And you don't see people here freaking out about whether people wish them "Merry Christmas" or "Fitzmas" or "Happy Holidays" or whatever. I think it's because here people just do what they want and everyone leaves everyone else alone, in that Great American Melting Pot way that this nation used to be about back in the days of Schoolhouse Rock. It seems to me it's in the burbs where this pernicious craptastic paranoia takes root, n'est-ce pas?

The Via Vespucci side of Graham Avenue is currently sporting those big happy tinsel arcs between the light poles, creating a gaudy lit-up bower from Metropolitan to the BQE. It's nice. Am I a Christian? No fucking way. Does it make me happy to see the street all pretty? Fuck, yeah.

Do Trey and I celebrate Christmas? Sure. We don't mind that Saturnalia got coerced into double duty, just as we don't mind sitting at the kids' table now and again. Will we lie to our kids about Santa Claus? Hell no. Will we perhaps one day tell our baby minous that Mommy and Daddy need to stay up late to eat oysters and Petit Robert? Probably.

Given that our government is TORTURING PEOPLE and INCINERATING ENTIRE CITIES WITH PHOSPHORUS and LEAVING POOR PEOPLE TO DIE, oh yeah, not to mention BLEEDING THE REST OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN ILLEGAL WAR WHILE OUR POOR TROOPS FUCKING SUFFER OVER THERE, I hardly think that an underpaid, uninsured Wal-Mart greeter's feeble "Happy Holidays!" warrants the teensiest quiver on Joe America's OutRageOMeter.

Alas, it is a uniquely American exceptionalism and contempt for history that fuels these tantrums: Marriage is "sacred", except, oh yeah, women used to be property and polygamy used to be totally normal, and "Christmas" is sacrosanct, umm, except it was a pagan bait-n-switch and now is an excuse for people to rack up debt and trample people while they buy more shit no one needs made by the people who got their outsourced jobs.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

So Paresseux Me

To comfortably share silence with another person is a rare thing.

Trey and I had a lazy, lovely day Saturday. I had gotten him the Harry Potter boxed set for an early Christmas present, and he started the first one while I knitted my dad's birthday present. Then I got jealous and started re-reading #'s 2 and 3 while sprawled in front of the space heater. I drank pomegranate mimosas from leftover wedding prosecco, and Trey made garlic pasta, of which I had two plates.

Our conversations went something like this:

T: Oh--

L: What part are you at?

T: Harry just got his owl.

L: Yay!


L: (giggles, wipes away tears)

T: What happened??

L: Ohh, just a really good part! You'll see...

T: Oh.

L: Ohmygod -- look at the cats!

T: I love you.

L: I love you!

Friday, November 25, 2005

He Must Be Suck Beast

Hey everyone, I am at work today!

Riding the train to work on the Friday after Thanksgiving feels distinctly, disorientingly different from my usual commute -- a combination of I am on my way to the airport and Are we near Coney Island?

At least I didn't see this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's Spelled L-A-M-E-S-T

Number one on FEMA's list of its top accomplishments for the year:
Hurricane Katrina: The response to Hurricane Katrina was FEMA’s largest response in its history.
(via Talking Points Memo)

Commitment to Soul-Withering Rhetoric

One thing I genuinely appreciate about working in a bar is that there is no commitment to excellence, nor is anyone adding value to anything. I need not attend any team building workshops or waste a weekend at a strategic planning retreat. My reviews — peer and management — are not much more than nice job or get your ass in gear. And spending my time actually working rather than trying to maintain a straight face while I help justify someone's MBA is, I believe, just as beneficial to my employer as it is to me.

My first office job that I was supposed to care about was as an assistant editor in an academic publishing house. There was a strange inverse meritocracy here. The assistant editors all had strong interests as well as advanced degrees in the subject fields in which we worked, while the editors — our bosses — were interested largely in getting drunk and cheating on their spouses at conventions and held marketing degrees from the University of Phoenix. I was lucky: the editor I worked for knew he was in over his head and understood that all the workshops and reviews and the value statements that adorned the hallways were just cover. When he saw me emerge stupefied from my first meeting he said, "What did you expect from a bunch of people who get their management ideas from reading the in-flight magazine?"

I earlier had made my transition from academia to the business world working at SRI, at one time known as the Stanford Research Institute. The name change was part of an incremental separation of the institute from Stanford University, which had experienced some internal strife surrounding the matter of doing R&D for an illegal war. SRI is today well-known for two additional reasons. SRI conducted the Uri Geller remote perception experiments and it is where (in a laboratory a short stroll from where I sat at the time) a physicist literally blew his head off in a cold-fusion experiment. (Oh, it's also where many MK-ULTRA experiments took place, but your memory of that was erased upon seeing the second comma in this sentence. LAMBCHOP)

Even in such a heady atmosphere we were bludgeoned with management-speak. I will never forget the talk given by the incoming president of the institute, partly because in both appearance and speech he was a dead ringer for Pat Paulsen, but mostly because of the way in which he motivated us to commit ourselves to excellence. He urged us to think about the difference between "involvement" and "commitment." "In a ham-and-eggs breakfast," he told us, "the chicken is involved but the pig is committed."

Those were different times. It was the mid-90s. Clinton was President. We were in Northern California and finding a job then and there was like finding some spare change between the cushions of your couch. It's likely for these reasons that someone in that audience felt comfortable enough to ask during the Q&A whether our offices would now be renovated so as to more closely conform to contemporary abattoir design.

Today, everyone would just clap.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Are You There, God? C'est Lillet ...

I have been having my period for SEVENTEEN YEARS.

SEVENTEEN YEARS! With not much to show for it. My period has become like the soap opera that no one watches and never gets cancelled. All the actors get older and older (or in my case, heavier and heavier, so heavy they could have shot that elevator scene from The Shining in my panties.)

As I said to Ashbloem on the phone the other night, I wish that there was some kind of Coinstar for menstruation that I could just SIT on and at least have a couple of bucks to show at the end of the week, and take my husband to a movie or something!)

Ah, if only my period were like THIS!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Because I've Never Lived In Kansas

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Enemy Thine

It's been several days since Bill O'Reilly promised publication of an enemies list on his website. Nothing's there yet, but Bill's a busy guy, not the sort just to blow hot air or fail to stand by his words. So we thought we'd lend a hand and get the list started for him.




Giordano Bruno

Gilbert du Motier,
marquis de La Fayette

Richard M. Nixon

Valdemar Poulsen

  • Developer of logic and syllogistic reasoning, a method by which arguments can be shown to be fallacious.
  • Not Christian. Not even Jewish.
  • Lived for a while on Lesbos

  • Key terrorist/docetist in the war on Christmas
  • Itinerant adjunct academic, forever on the royal dole
  • Continued to insist that the Earth revolved around the Sun, despite the shoutings of the Bill O'Reillys of his day

  • Meddled in U.S. foreign affairs
  • Had several given names, one of which was "Marie"
  • Let lapse his subscription to the Paris Business Review

  • Coddled Red Chinese
  • Became most socialist President in U.S. history when he instituted wage and price controls
  • Quaker from California

  • Invented magnetic audio recorder, making radio and television talk show hosts forever accountable for their own bullshit

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Neighborhood #17.1 (Old School)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Neighborhood #17 (Old School)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

I am home drinking wine and knitting and poking about on the Internet. As you, perhaps, might be.

A few things -- Have you experienced the glory of YACHT ROCK? Gentle Reader, prepare to have your mind blown!

And then this: I was rereading Trey's and my library of e-mails to each other (I know, so mushy) and I found this phrase in an e-mail I sent him a few days after he asked me to marry him in the Central Park Zoo.

You know what is the greatest? That you and I are as capable of being as cutting and arch and cynical as anyone in ethe world, and now we don't have to at all, that you can hold my hand wearing our ring at night and have it mean exactly what it is suppose dto mean.
Wow. Like the Harry Potter trailer I just watched that reduced me to tears:

2004 was the spring where he and I both, made the choice between "what is right, and what is easy."



Friday, November 11, 2005

My New Favorite Blog!

is Living The Scientific Life, by Hedwig The Owl.

Take a look at this post in particular, and you will see why.

Reading her blog makes me feel much the same way I feel when I read this poem.

Hedwig, you have a standing invite to dinner in Brooklyn, anytime.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Daddy Issues Than The Entire Print Run of Parenting Magazine

Why is it that so many Christians insist that there can be no moral calculus save that dictated by an all-powerful, paternalistic God, yet they prattle on and on about "personal responsibility?" The whole raison d'etre of the Discovery Insitute is predicated on replacing materialistic understanding of the natural world with a "theistic" one, thereby eradicating "moral relativism." From the good-ol Wedge Strategy:
The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.
Excuse me, but -- isn't leaving moral calculus up to your Invisible Grandpa the ULTIMATE abdication of moral responsibility? Isn't demanding that every thing in the culture around you be tailored to not conflicting with your belief system TOTALLY FUCKING WEAK? These are the people who would rather that women die of cervical cancer as punishment for lacking the personal responsibility not to sit on the wrong toilet seat at the community pool or sleep with someone who did.

Anyone who has sat through 15 minutes of a community college philosophy course knows that God is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for morality. But that would involve taking personal responsibility for actually thinking. "It's okay because my frigid ass is going to Heaven, while poor slutty Susie is going to die of cervical cancer because she had sex with someone!" Yeah, that's really fucking responsible! What moral courage!

Here's something: I quit eating meat on Memorial Day. Trey has been a vegetarian for some time, but never said one thing about the fact that I ate meat and in his presence. And as my relationship towards animals changed, I just couldn’t eat meat anymore. I still eat fish, but can’t bring myself to eat octopus or squid, because they are so smart. I ate meat with relish for 33 years — but I have come to two conclusions, one very personal, and one less so: that animals are living creatures with particularity and interests, and out of empathy I wish to hurt or eat them as little as possible. And factory farming is the single most environmentally destructive activity on the planet. So, having come to these conclusions, I am acting according to my conscience. I am taking personal responsibility. Nobody hands me a fucking medal when I order falafel instead of shawarma — nor should they. But I’m happy with myself for the most part when I am falling asleep at night. This is something I need to do for myself to be a good person in my own eyes.

I'm really smart and nice!

Unlike many a convert, however, (like our President, say) you don’t see me suddenly standing in front of Peter Luger brandishing images from the abbatoir, you don’t see me lecturing my friends at dinner.
I don’t condemn people for doing what I did for 33 years. I don’t interrupt my co-worker’s tepid enjoyment of her lemongrass chicken Lean Cuisine to tell her about the miserable conditions in which her poultry were raised.
But then, I also don’t feel the need to burn a high school kid’s art project on evolution or keep two men I’ve never met from marrying each other. Maybe because I have done a lot of lonely emotional and mental work to figure out my values and my place in the world, and transformed myself from a completely lost and suicidal 14 year old to a very happy married lady? Maybe because I was willing to take some REAL personal responsibility for myself? I am far, far from perfect: but I know who and what I am, and although I’m no atheist, I don’t need to sit on Invisible Trust Fund Grandpa’s lap while he cops a feel just so I get my existential fucking lollipop.

I bet you a winning Powerball ticket that all those zealots beating their breasts outside of Terri Schiavo’s hospital had no problem getting extra bacon with their Denny’s Grand Slams — righteous indignation sure makes you hungry! — even though their bacon was once far more of a “person” than poor uber-appropriated Ms. Schiavo at the time of her passing. Sorry, but it’s true! These are the people who are so woefully insecure in their faith that they need to shit upon science because it makes them feel scared and small -- the spiritual equivalent of that girl who will only be friends with ugly girls in order to feel remotely pretty. These troglodytes will shit all over the scientific method, but I bet they won’t refuse a cure for cancer that is a product of godless naturalism — oops! unless it’s a women’s reproductive health issue.

I'm not going to get mad at you if you eat meat [s'okay Ashbloem!] -- I think that's a deeply personal issue,[although for your own health and the environment I would suggest buying/eating only organic and locally raised meat] and I have no objection to religious belief per se. What I do object to is being subjected to infantile, howling hypocrisy. Jesus Christ -- I mean, Holy unnamed designer, Batman!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Neighborhood #16 (South Side)

I lived on the Lower East Side in the 80's and in San Francisco's Mission District in the 90's, but never have I seen a neighborhood so quickly and ruthlessly gentrified as the South Side of Williamsburg. Bodegas turn into boutiques overnight and "luxury" condominiums resembling minimum-security prisons spring up seemingly out of nowhere.

Last week Lillet and I wandered this neighborhood, noting changes and just generally being awed by the manly power of the Free Market. One block seemed to be lagging behind in the inevitable rush towards homogeneity, and this is where we happened upon this sign.

What I wonder is, what the hell is a 7A building? And by so wondering am I engaging in the very kind of speculation I am being warned against?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thursday Knitting Blog!

A good housewife knows how to Economize! In that spirit, I decided to stay in last Friday night -- and not just to drink to excess while reading Wikipedia, but to stay in and KNIT!

Emboldened by the runaway success of the Calin-Genou, I was ready to take on a new project …


Behold the Trésorerie Tricotée! I whipped this baby out of some fuzzy green yarn, again on needles, but fatter ones, while drinking a very nice Hugel et Fils Gentil. BAM!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Truth or Consequences

From The Panda's Thumb and elsewhere ...
The National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association have refused to grant copyright permission to the Kansas State Board of Education to make use of publications by the two organizations in the state’s science education standards.
And of course they have. These materials are produced in order to facilitate good science education. How could these organizations in good conscience allow them to be used by those who want to subvert good science education?

So while these refusals may not in the end be terribly efficacious, I think that they may be necessary. What I wonder is why the presidents and provosts of all the Ivy League colleges, Stanford, Chicago, Duke, MIT, Caltech, and so on have not yet said to the parents in such school districts that their children's chances of being accepted into one of their universities is now ... well, zero. If you graduate from high school not understanding what a scientific theory is, you're not getting into Brown, okay?

I have no doubt that if such an announcement provokes any response at all from the inquisitors who would usher in a new dark age it will be something like, good riddance Swarthmore, we'd rather our kids go to Bob Jones University, anyway. Still, someone ought to let the other parents know just how their school boards are dictating their children's future.

There ought to be more public discussion of the long-term consequences of the attacks on science and enlightenment values. I'm talking to you, Shirley Tilghman.