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Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top. The tunes come from flashkit.com.

April 2003

Distraction 04.04.03
Recently... 04.07.03
Disorders 04.18.03
Surrender Monkey Custard 04.02.03

Mon Dieu! People are boycotting French products! Mais, je suis une friandise française! Moi, Creme Brulee!

Ah well, if this is the price of having opposing views, I shall have to suffer along with my fellow shunned french tidbits. Me and wine... hey, me and french wine... that's not bad company. I wonder if I can work it so that we're boycotted and warehoused in the same place? No, they'd probably warehouse me with the also boycotted Giant French Prunes (click here for previously posted info on those). Oh no! They're probably going to boycott my beloved Giant French Prunes! Well now I'm pissed. I'm going to have to eat some plebian prunes from god only knows where. This sucks. Damn the French for opposing our sovereign... I mean, president. Now I shall have to suffer deprivations and whatnot... or is that privations?

Colin Powell said France will face consequences for it's opposition to the War on Iraq. We're going to punish a democratic ally - this is brilliant. Punishing the French for objecting and protesting is like spanking the Pope for being catholic. You want to punish bad policy? How about punishing the Israelis for their policy of collective punishment? How about punishing the Chinese for suppressing information about a deadly virus until it had spread to several other countries? How about... Gah! Forget it.

Let me know if you're planning on boycotting me so I can stop posting and start doing something more useful for me and my boycotted chums. Let me know if you think I should change my name to Surrender Monkey Custard or Freedom Pudding. And while you're at it, let me know if you'd prefer me to post my next short written piece when it's finished and polished, or in stages as I'm working on it - it's, like, a poll and whatnot. Click here to e-mail moi.

While I'm in the grips of this beastly spasm... I wanted to let you know that I've noted a trend. And it's green. I resurfaced from recent tumultuous global events and a way crappy winter to be greeted by spring and to find that, "Green is the new black". Green? How the hell did that happen?

I was walking down the street, minding my own business and wham! my visual senses were assaulted by this young woman in green. Green top, green skirt and green knee-high socks. I think there should be a spring color recall before this gets out of hand. I mean, green.

My spasm is threatening to turn into a chronic tick, so I may as well continue on and give you the latest sodomy law alert: Lookie what another compassionate conservative thinks... Gotta love these people's idea of inclusive and not "singleing out a lifestyle" - if there was a privacy law that restricted them from, oh, say, engaging in heterosexual acts on Fridays - think they'd have a problem with it being encoded in the LAW!? But no, this has nothing to do with society telling certain people that they are objectionable, of course not - no, this is simply a matter of opinion on activism in the courts - it's nothing personal - we'll just imprison you if you touch each other in a way we find... less than legal.

His words (from an interview with the Associated Press): "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery," Santorum was quoted as saying. "You have the right to anything."

My words (from my heart): Hateful bigot.

You, Mr. Santorum, are not only a hateful bigot, but a cowardly bigot who hides behind legal arguments. Sadly, we live in a time when people like you can get away with thinly veiled bigotry against homosexuals. Trent Lott got sacked for his racial remarks, thank heavens. Homosexuals haven't gotten to the place where we can command that kind of outrage, but one day people will look back and say, "He got away with that?! Arlen Specter defended him? I'm glad I wasn't around then, it must have been awful!"

Article on the subject: click here

Other stuff of note...

Michael Moore just gets cooler by the day:

Edward Said, good commentary on Iraq: click here

If I was into conspiracy theories, I'd sign onto Mr. MadCow's mailing list (just wish he wrote more coherently...):

MadCow articles like this will make yer skin crawl: click here

This is the world, this is humanity: disturbing

I was walking down the street today and a bus rumbled past with an ad on the side that said, "United We Stand". There was a photo of the statue of liberty and an American flag waving behind it (through it... double exposure wise... whatever). It reminded me of a poster I saw years ago in a supervisor's office that said, "When you are busy rowing the boat, you don't have time to rock it." Which is to say, "Shut up and toe the party line."

After 9/11, when the "United We Stand" billboard first went up, I didn't find it as ominous as I do now. Changed times.

I would rather that the American flag did not become a gag. That patriotism born of grief and despair, not become narrow-minded nationalism that's easily manipulated by the opportunistic. That "might makes right" not become our nation's operating principle in foreign policy; not only is it bad policy, it doesn't take long for that kind of mentality to take root at home.

Visualize, if you will, a leadership class that believes that might makes right... visualize opposition to that leadership class... visualize how the leadership believe that opposition ought to be dealt with. And with so many pumped up "patriots" ready to be called into service (not military service, mind you, you could actually get hurt and whatnot doing that these days), imagine that people get the idea that having an opposing view is the kind of thing that, well, is unacceptable and those folks should stop rocking the boat and stand united and whatnot - or else.

The neoconservatives are trying to eliminate the evils of relativist thinking and replace it with right (what they believe) and wrong (what anyone else believes). Can you say, welcome to the Dark Ages?

A 2000 report from the neocon think tank, the Project for a New American Century, co-authored by several key members of the Bush administration, laid out the vision of a world order completely dominated by unilateral American power. It also lamented that, due to opposition from more responsible elements in government, their hyper-aggressive agenda would have to be advanced slowly, "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor."

Playing exactly that role, the Sept. 11 attacks opened the political space necessary for the attack on Iraq, promoted mainly through the theory that Iraq might one day supply chemical or biological weapons to terrorists.

-from "The Misadventures of Neoconservatives"
by Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish - click here

But I'm, like, in the minority here. No one seems to give a shit. So, let's give the rich a tax cut ('cuz with the recession they're really hurting...), let's privatize public education, let's privatize the prison system all the way while we're at it, let's deregulate everything because business regulates itself so well (just look at the cowboy capitalists at Enron and WorldCom - they did a bangup job), let's privatize social security and let ex Enron execs invest it and ex Arthur Anderson execs audit the books, let's allow the government to conduct all of it's business in secret, let's eliminate affirmative action, let's outlaw homosexuality, let's bomb Syria, and let's make George Bush king and be done with it.

Oh, and let's allow false stories to be propagated in the media so that we can feel extra good about ourselves (click here, 'cuz I'm way too disgusted).

And how do you even begin to comprehend a government and military that rushes to secure the Iraqi Ministry of Oil (the hope of the Iraqi people to rebuild their country...), while allowing it's National library and museum to be looted and burned! American Marines were outside the Iraqi National Museum and didn't do a damn thing to stop the destruction because they didn't have orders! Why the !@*# didn't they get some? Okay, 19 and 20-something year old soldiers who're in the midst of madness get a pass, but what the hell were the higher ups thinking?!!! It's not like no one was reporting the story as it was happening. Or is this someone's idea of collective punishment? Some kind of backhanded anti-intellectual campaign? Or are they just that stupid?

Do you think in the years to come that Iraqis will thank us for preserving their musems and libraries and oil fields during a devastating bombing campaing only to let the museums and libraries crumble afterward? Oh, but we've alerted Interpol, and the FBI is on the trail of the art thieves... gah! Thousands of years later we remember the burning of the library of Alexandria - my synapses are fried.

Oh, but it's all worth it because North Korea's despot in residence has decided he wants to keep his statues vertical and we can stare down Syria (as we're, like, neighbors and whatnot now).

Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

Recently I heard someone say (on a program that was focusing on media coverage of the war) that readers of USA Today had called in to protest images of dead Iraqis on the cover of the paper. "It's an anti-war statement," they complained.

Recently I learned that on the eve of the war 42% of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Recently I learned that Clear Channel Communications (the media giant that is sponsoring pro-war rallies), has close ties to the Bush administration. And wants the FCC to demolish the remaining media consolidation rules.

"That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford nongovernmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all, and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests."

Associated Press v. United States No. 57 Argued December 5, 6, 1944 Decided June 18, 1945

Recently I learned that the major media outlets that are very busy covering the war, have yet to mention in any depth that one of the most important regulations against media consolidation is up for review. It's not that they don't know about it, they are extremely busy educating FCC folk (who will be voting on the regulations soon) about why it will be a great idea to do exactly what is good for media giants - kill all "outdated" regulations and let them buy up whatever they can get their hands on. (click here for more info)

Recently I learned that if, "You're not with us in supporting the war in Iraq, you're against us." And I'm apparently guilty of gross inhumanity to Iraqis by dint of the fact that I didn't wish them to be "liberated". And further, my patriotism is suspect. Welcome to the black and white world of right wing inspired, Bush-level dialogue. Demonizing the opposition is a crude, but effective debate tactic (especially in a country where 42% of the populous can't remember who was responsible for the single most horrific event in our recent history). Any opposing view is wrong, unpatriotic, and dangerous to the troops. Personally, I'd think the troops would be a little bit more worried about the munitions flying around their heads than my opinions, but in case they're not - I hope that they are deeply encouraged by the fact that they come from a country where debate is not a crime.

Recently I heard President Clinton say that there could be no more debate about supporting this war, we just had to - period. Well, isn't that... special. Do you think he's taking a moral stand? Can't he just go away? No - I spent six years that he was in office covering my ears and saying, "La, la, la, la, la..." And every damned time I took my hands away from my ears he was still talking.

Recently I learned that, "British troops have found the body of Ali Hassan al-Majid, dubbed "Chemical Ali" by opponents of the Iraqi regime for ordering a poison gas attack that killed thousands of Kurds." He was a man capable of the most grievous acts against humanity and was able to joke about the number of people he was responsible for having murdered (somewhere in the hundreds of thousands). The news isn't all bad.

Recently I heard a WWII vet say that he had defended the liberty of this country by his military service and that protesters were nothings who never fought for anything. He sounded proud to have defended his country, but not the freedom that allowed his fellow citizens to object to a war that he so thoroughly supports.

For a good while in my adolescence I thought I was a pacifist. I'm not. This is neither here nor there really, it's just to say that I do believe that there are times when military force is unavoidable. How and when military force should be used... That debate was had by some and ignored by others recently and it's a moot point now. Now what we can hope for is the quickest and most humane end to this war and that the Iraqis truly get their liberation - because now, we owe it to them.

I wish the Iraqi people a more competent and well funded liberation than the Afghans got (they begged us after the war there to help stabilize their country - it wasn't worth the risk to the Bush administration - despite their promises to the contrary prior to the war there - Afghanistan is now a fractionalized mess and they aren't asking for more troops anymore, just money...).

The United States has a great responsibility in Iraq. To stabilize and revitalize it. To leave it better off than it was when the Bush administration gave the okay to invade it. It's an enormous task. I wish the Iraqi people the very best of luck.

Recently I read a Molly Ivans article (that's always a good thing): click here

I wouldn't be the first person to comment on how odd day-to-day life becomes during war. There are all of these life-altering, historical events going on and still you have to eat lunch, match your socks, be polite to coworkers, feed the hampster - whathaveyou. One feels somehow wrong to turn to the daily perspective while one's tax dollars are raining hellfire down on a nation thousands of miles away; while there are so many people suffering; death and destruction filling the airwaves twenty-four hours a day; us, them - ghastly nightmare images. One is tempted only to rage.

And yet, from my safe and privileged position thousands of miles away from Iraq (where the violence only reaches me as pictures and sounds), it's the daily occurances here that give me a sense of balance (I have no idea what could give one a sense of balance in a war zone... either great inner calm, or absolute belief in one's convictions... maybe). Not having children or pets, it's the odd social interaction that distracts my brain from the constant barrage of news.

Today, for instance, I had to go see a doctor about a spot. It's not a big spot and I have lots of spots, but this spot was worrying Ume who takes exception to spots on me that she can't easily identify herself.

"Where'd you get that spot?" she asks.

"Dunno," I answer - truthfully.

"How long have you had it?" she asks.

"Dunno," I shrug. "It's been there for a bit, it's gotten a little bigger than it was when I first noticed it. But it's not one of the scary spots on the spot chart the doctor gave me last year." The skin screening it took Ume two years to hound me into going to...

Before the words are fully out of my mouth she says, "I want you to go see someone about it."

Dermatologists are an odd lot. As a rule, I avoid them (people who have an overarching fascination with skin anomalies... think about it). Anyway, I went in and had someone look at it, but she turned out not to be a doctor, which was peculiar because I had asked to see a doctor... she assured me that she was familiar with a great many skin anomalies herself, but mine was an anomaly she'd not come across previously and would I mind coming back again so that the doctor could look at it and not to worry in the meantime because she didn't think it could be anything to worry about... this skin anomaly she couldn't identify... even though she assured me that she was familiar with such things...

Today, I met the guy whose fascination with skin anomalies is certainly an overarching preoccupation and has been for some (I'm guessing) many decades. He was an ancient skin guy - small and gray. I don't often come across doctors as old as he is - he was in a space and pace all his own and entirely unconcerned with the planet wizzing around him (my guess is this isn't only a function of age but also has something to do with being a senior senior doctor on staff).

He was interested in, but not at all concerned by, my anomaly. He told me what it was and shrugged, "Don't bother trying to remember it, it's a nonsense name. This will probably get bigger, if it bothers you we can treat it cosmetically, but otherwise, don't worry about it. You should stay out of the sun." He took my chin in his hand and looked carefully at my face (my anomaly is on my leg), "Your skin will wrinkle easily (it already has). If you want to play tennis (I haven't played tennis in years...) do it outside of the peak sun hours. Always use sun block."

His speech was so measured and thoughtful, I felt like I was being addressed by a skin monk. We chatted a bit and he seemed a nice guy, fascinated by things other than skin anomalies.

So my spot, which had a short lived moment as an anomaly, is now a spot with a nonsense name... which I haven't bothered to remember and I'm not going to worry about.

While I'm on about doctors...

I finally went and had my leg glitch (not a spot, a glitch - which differs from a spot in that it's architectural in nature) looked at by an honest to god Dr. person. It was a while back... <flashback effect>

There I was sitting in the chair as this bear of a man wiggled my leg this way and that. His hand could circle my calf without any problem and I'm thinking, "It's February, does one shave one's leg for the Dr.? Does one care? Ouch!"

"Did that hurt?" he asks.

"No, I just say 'ouch' when I'm bored to tears by people poking at my joints and whatnot. I'm sure that if, say, there was a ten foot tall burly man wrenching your leg about and tying it into a pretzel you'd be saying things like, 'Can I get mustard on that?'"

Having established a rapport with this megalith of a physician... we struggled onward. He told me the kind of surgery that could alleviate the problem in my leg. I listened, fascinated by the intricacies of modern medicine, before saying. "Though the idea of having screws and stuff in my leg is nifty for sure, isn't there something a bit less... oh, I don't know, intrusive I could try first?"

I proceeded to wow him with my lay person's understanding of the situation, vis-a-vis my bum leg. He allowed as how there might be another approach, but it would involve nothing so glamorous as screws and relocated bone bits. It'd be more common, infinitely less fashionable - along the lines of custom inserts in my shoes and me trying to walk a bit less like a duck.

"At the risk of being dull and unfashionable, I think I'll take the latter option and run with it," I said. "Though given the condition of my leg, I'll limp steadily with it for a while and see if it doesn't help before I let you get your knife happy fingers near me again." I could tell by the way he was outlining stuff on my leg for me to see where the hardware would be located that he was already halfway to the chopping block with the aforementioned limb."The screws would go right here," he said, lightly tracing the area. No way pal! Ume's, like, a sucker for my legs and I'm going to see if I can't keep the scars in that area to a minimum as long as possible - thank you very much!

Getting old has a few tricky drawbacks, no? Take care of your software youngsters or they'll be trying to install hardware in it before you know it.

Other history in the making... The Supreme Court is considering state sodomy laws. You know what those are, right? Those laws that criminalize various sexual practices. Yeah, on one level they're laughable, but then, people are arrested because of them (homosexuals, oddly enough...) and all of a sudden, it's not so funny anymore.

An exerpt on the issue from the HRC site:

"These laws unfairly brand lesbian and gay people as criminal sexual deviants, and burden them with legal stigmas like 'sex offender.' These laws are clearly discriminatory. By striking them down the Supreme Court could put an end to a tremendous and very real legal hardship on this country's gay and lesbian community," said HRC Senior Counsel Liz Seaton.

In 1986, the Supreme Court upheld sodomy laws 5-4 in Bowers v. Hardwick. Since the ruling, much has changed. Only three justices from that ruling remain on the bench. And the Georgia sodomy law, which was at issue in Hardwick, was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1998.

I remember that 1986 ruling. I remember reading about it in Time magazine. I was in the dining room of my parent's house and I was thinking, "This is the kind of crap I'm going to have to deal with if I come out? Most people get nervous that maybe their parents might walk in on them having sex, and later on maybe their kids might see them - if I do the becoming an 'active' homosexual thing (not just the theoretical homosexual thing), I'm going to have to worry about cops too?"

I came out (surfaced for air, breathed a confused sigh of relief, whathaveyou) the next year (by that time an entire police force couldn't have kept my raging hormones in the closet). No one showed up to arrest me (though my mother threw a fit her southern ancestors would have been proud of - "You will not live in my home if you intend to go on like that! Where did you get such notions? Certainly not in this house! Stop sitting like a linebacker when I'm talking to you, young lady! I should NEVER have let you play football as a child and CERTAINLY not have let you wear black in high school!" - etc, etc, it was the longest spring break on record, but one of my favorite bits was, "Your father is not pleased to hear that you're thinking of being a lesbian." Sigh.).

Let's see if they get that ruling right this time. I bet a bunch of young people will quietly be saying, "Maybe my life won't suck as much as I thought it was going to..." Wouldn't that be nice? And if not, at least there's a hell of a lot more positive messages available to people these days than there were when I was reading about that first ruling.

The HRC article can be found by: clicking here

For info, you can check out the ACLU's page: click here

2003 Déjà vu - March - Feb. - Jan.

2002 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov.- Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - May - April - March - Feb. - Jan.

2001 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov. - Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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