August 31, 2007
There really isn’t much I can add to what’s already been said about this anniversary. However, my dear friend Yaxley P. Crankypants, Ph.D., M.A., B.S. (it’s a pen name; you’re shocked, I know) wrote something recently on her MySpace blog that I thought was quite well put, and so I asked for and received permission to repost her words. Here they are, with bold added by me:
Today is the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which, among all its other destruction, made rubble of the houses on the street I grew up on, washed away whole sections of my former neighborhood. My childhood home had a couple of exterior walls still standing and most of the interior demolished. Four people died in a house that had once stood about a tenth of a mile from my own house.
So today (on the treadmill at the gym) I said, “Fuck you,” to the digitized representation of President George W. Bush as he chuckled over all the rebuilding and advances that have occurred in New Orleans and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the past two years. Seems he and others observed a moment of silence in New Orleans to commemorate the anniversary.
Methinks President Bush has allowed himself to observe too many moments of silence and abject inaction in the face of this ongoing catastrophe. It’s true that Yaxley would still scoff and say fuck you if Bushie yanked off his tie, rolled up his shirt sleeves, and observed a moment of hammer-wielding as he nailed together some two-by-fours in the name of building a new house in the Ninth Ward, say. I can spot a photo op from 1200 miles away. But I’d rather see him do something than more of the nothing he’s been up to these past couple of years (at least as concerns that particular part of the U.S./world).
Heck of a job, Bushie.
(The stunning image at the beginning of the post is from Suspect Device.)
(I had to create a new category for this post, because there was no way I was going to file it under Literature. Blech.)
Yesterday Slate published a review of O.J. Simpson’s book, If I Did It. The book has been discussed on the blogs already, but this is the first actual review I’ve seen. It seems as if the “speculative” aspect of the book is just as transparent as everyone expected it to be:
The narrator of If I Did It introduces his story not as an exercise in counterfactual speculation but rather as the God’s honest truth. Indeed, the phrase, “to be honest” appears in this book no fewer than 29 times. By comparison, O.J.’s much-touted disavowal of the book’s truthfulness surfaces exactly twice. An “author’s note” up front reads, in full: “If I did it, this is what happened.” And the narrative in the chapter titled “The Night In Question” pauses briefly for the following public service announcement: “Now picture this—and keep in mind, this is hypothetical.” That dispensed with, O.J. relates with gusto some gruesome details about how he killed Nicole and the man he believed to be her lover. The book’s two wan disclaimers are overshadowed by the truth-telling posture that O.J. strikes throughout this book.
Added to that, however, is the fact that the explanation of how the killer “did it” seems to fade into the background next to what might have been the book’s main purpose: to make sure the world knows that Nicole Brown Simpson “was no innocent victim”:
“Nicole was on the fast-track to hell,” O.J. explains with what little calm he can muster, “and she was determined to take me and the kids with her.” The woman was a drug abuser, a tantrum-thrower, and a slut. She was also a ravishing blond beauty. She was a disturber of her long-suffering ex-husband’s peace of mind. “That woman is going to be the death of me,” O.J. remembers thinking one hour before he killed her. The bitch had it coming. Read the rest of this entry »
So, in case anyone was still wondering what this was about, a week ago today we adopted two six-month-old kittens from a local shelter. Without further ado, then, meet the Professor:
Obviously we didn’t end up using any of the names suggested, but I certainly appreciate the suggestions! I particularly liked Scout, but then we couldn’t think what to call the boy if we called her Scout (as he just didn’t strike me as a Jem, and that name reminds me a bit too much of the 80s cartoon character). I also liked the idea of David and Amy, after the Sedaris siblings, but my father is named David, as are two of my exes, so, not so much. We spent several days tossing ideas back and forth (I was a steady advocate of Tuxedo Sam for a while), but not really getting anywhere. Late Wednesday night we were lying in bed, exhausted, and I had an unpleasant case of “traveler’s tummy” (I’d just gotten back from a 24-hour jaunt back to New Mexico), and as a result our suggestions were getting increasingly silly. Suddenly it dawned on me: “They’re the Professor and Mary-Ann!” I giggled. “And then when they’re not in the room we can just refer to them as ‘the rest!’” Turned out we both actually liked the idea, but we agreed that we should wait and see if we still liked the names in the morning. And then, well, here we are…
August 30, 2007
On Owen Wilson’s (ostensible) suicide attempt: Owen and Me at the Thinkery:
Another aspect of all this is how it doesn’t help for people to be surprised that a particular person is depressed, or bipolar, or suicidal. On the surface it seems like a compliment, and surely that’s how people always intend it to be. But to have everyone express shock and wonder that you’ve got a mental illness only serves to increase your sense of alienation. That it was my wife who first spoke of depression to me, who insisted that I seek help has been an immense comfort to me, because it showed that she knew me, the real me, and knew there was a problem, and she cared enough to want to fix it. When I told my mother about it, she wasn’t expecting it, but neither was she in shock. “I’ve known there was something for years,” she said, “But I never could put my finger on it. And I never knew what to do for you.”
Melissa McEwan (usually of Shakesville) writes of Senator Craig at Comment is free: His own private Idaho:
Which in the end makes him a truly pitiable figure, just another victim of the so-called morality that casts same-sex attraction as a conquerable bit of devilry, like the offer of a rich dessert during a post-holiday diet: “Oh, I really shouldn’t … well, maybe just one bite.” Or would make him a pitiable figure, except for the niggling truth that Mr Craig was one of the purveyors of that morality, an architect of its policies and wielder of its wedge issues. And that sort of thing tends to rob people of their sympathies – even when it’s not remotely clear that he deserved to be arrested in the first place.
Bill Quigley at The Black Commentator: How to Destroy an African American City in 33 Steps — Lessons from Katrina:
Step Twenty Two. Keep all public housing closed. Since it is 100% African-American, this is a no-brainer. Make sure to have African-Americans be the people who deliver the message. This step will also help by putting more pressure on the rental market, as 5000 more families will then have to compete for rental housing with low-income workers. This will provide another opportunity for hundreds of millions of government funds to be funneled to corporations when these buildings are torn down and developers can build up other less-secure buildings in their place. Make sure to tell the 5000 families evicted from public housing that you are not letting them back for their own good. Tell them you are trying to save them from living in a segregated neighborhood. This will also send a good signal – if the government can refuse to allow people back, private concerns are free to do the same or worse.
U2: Mothers of the Disappeared — Live in Santiago, Chile from the PopMart tour in 1998
Posted in honor of the International Day of the Disappeared.
August 27, 2007
I just discovered, via Gristmill, that a company I love, Working Assets, has recently started offering a wireless plan. My contract with my current company doesn’t run out until June ’08, but methinks there will be some serious discussion about switching once that time comes around. Here are the deets:
- Free LG 150 phone with Bluetooth® — a $179 value
- We’ll purchase 10 tons of carbon emission offsets from CarbonFund.org on your behalf
- 1% of charges to progressive non-profits including Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists and Vote Solar
- Excellent coverage via the nationwide, all-digital Sprint® network service* [Though they're careful to note that "Sprint is the network provider only; your service is handled exclusively by Working Assets." Good, 'cause I've not heard good things about Sprint's customer service. Just sayin'.]
- Keep your current phone number
- Dedicated customer service that connects you to real help from real people
- Many individual and family plans to choose from
- Unlimited night and weekend minutes
- Free mobile-to-mobile calls to Working Assets Wireless members
- 30-day trial*
Why do I love Working Assets, you ask? Well, there’s lots to love, but my specific reason is that my mom and stepdad had Working Assets long distance when I was an undergrad, and in their bill there was included fairly frequently, if not every month, a coupon for a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I often became the recipient of said coupons. Need I say more?
Alberto Gonzalez announced his resignation (effective September 17th) this morning. So far, Jeff Fecke (a contributor at Shakesville) has written my favorite post on the subject:
No, if Alberto Gonzales exists, and we’re not 100 percent sure if he does, but assuming that he might, his legacy could possibly be that memory is a slippery and imperfect thing, especially when the memories in question involve serious issues of executive branch interference in the Department of Justice. That’s if If Gonzales exists, and I didn’t say that he did.
I can see you’re getting confused, so let me try to clarify things with an example. Let’s say you have a watermelon, and it’s got it has seeds in it. Suddenly, a truck backs up, and the chicken gets loose.
I’m sorry, I can’t write any more of that metaphor due to executive privilege.
Good stuff; go read, and enjoy!
August 23, 2007
A favorite band of mine… this first track is from their second album, Chinatown.
First, I get outraged about dogfighting regardless of the profession, race or creed of the participant. It’s vicious and inhumane. Period.
Second, I don’t think outrage is a zero-sum game. I can be angry about violence against animals and still find it in me to be angry about violence against women. Do we really need to waste time arguing about which is worse? What say we fight against both?
Finally, you’d better believe I get pissed off at the passes that men who participate in professional sports often get when it comes to domestic violence and/or rape. I wholeheartedly agree that this issue needs more attention, and that sportswriters and other folks in the media need to consider the role they’ve had in downplaying it. Feminists and other advocates against domestic violence have been aware of this for a while now, btw.
Dogfighting has been in the news a lot lately, and while there’s no shortage of outrage that a man who many looked to as a role model was involved with this inhumane (not to mention illegal) “sport,” there are also plenty of people who don’t understand what the big deal is. Dogs fight naturally, just like horses run naturally, so what’s the problem with encouraging that behavior for sport and gambling? The problem is that dog fights are brutal and bloody, and the training methods are terribly cruel. (In case it’s not obvious, gentle reader alert: there’s plenty of upsetting stuff below the fold.) Read the rest of this entry »