October 31, 2007

Fear me… if you dare!

Posted in Animals, Apropos of nothing at 4:38 pm by The Lizard Queen


Via Liss. And while I am indeed happy to see you, that is, in fact, a tiger tail in the back of my jeans. ūüėČ

Go build your own wild self here.


We’re tired of campaign news, but we still don’t know where the candidates stand

Posted in Media, Politics at 12:58 pm by The Lizard Queen

I came across this study via Gristmill; it compares media coverage of individual candidates as well as of 2008 primary campaigns in general.  I found the following passage particularly disheartening:

In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%) or the candidates’ ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found.

To reiterate: the politics of the season are receiving more than four times the coverage of where the candidates actually stand.¬† But wait, there’s more:

The press’ focus on fundraising, tactics and polling is even more evident if one looks at how stories were framed rather than the topic of the story. Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates. Those numbers, incidentally, match almost exactly the campaign-centric orientation of coverage found on the eve of the primaries eight years ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, no?

Hump Day Poetry, Part Two: Edgar Allan Poe

Posted in Poetry, Television at 12:19 pm by The Lizard Queen

The Raven

Animated version, read by James Earl Jones:

Text below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

Hump Day Poetry, Part One: Robert Burns

Posted in Poetry at 11:52 am by The Lizard Queen


Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin’ clear,
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween
Fu’ blithe that night. Read the rest of this entry »

October 25, 2007

Thursday YouTubein’ — The Blues Brothers

Posted in Movies, Music at 12:09 pm by The Lizard Queen

Evil Bender and I watched The Blues Brothers the other night, and I commented that it has a lot in common with more recent films based on Saturday Night Live sketches (namely a thin plot that largely exists as a pretext to string together a lot of celebrity cameos and musical numbers) — and EB commented that he hadn’t seen the SNL sketch Blues Brothers was based on.¬† “Really?” I asked.¬† “You haven’t seen ‘Soul Man’?”¬† “Don’t think so,” he replied.¬† So, then, here it is:

Read the rest of this entry »

October 24, 2007

Knut: Let me show you my pumpkin.

Posted in Animals, Apropos of nothing at 6:24 pm by The Lizard Queen

My pumpkin.

Let me show you it.

(Scroll down the page I’ve linked to for a video of Knut the polar bear enjoying his birthday present — a welcome change from much of the rest of my day, I tell you what!)

Fires, Glenn Beck, and other natural disasters

Posted in Family, Musings, News, Personal, Racial issues at 6:11 pm by The Lizard Queen

I have family (father, aunt, grandmother) in San Diego County.¬† They were evacuated from their home early Monday morning.¬† The house is tucked in among lots of other houses, so I would be surprised if it ended up burning, but the fact that the fires have gotten as close as a mile away is sobering, to say the least.¬† I was just out there last month.¬† Most important to me, of course, is the fact that my family members are safe — but once I made sure of that, I began dwelling on all that’s at risk.¬† The house that is the closest I have to a house I grew up in that I can still go back to (the actual house I grew up in — from age 4 to age 16 — was a rental, and while I do think I might head back there someday and ask if I can just have a look around for old times’ sake, it’s not the same).¬† The hawk I saw hop nonchalantly off a tree branch just beyond the backyard.¬† A variety of familiar vistas.

And I think of a spot next to a gas station just a mile or two away from the house.¬† It’s a location where day laborers congregate.¬† Where have the day laborers gone?¬† My father volunteers at Interfaith Community Services — where have the people who depend on those services gone?¬† If you were already homeless before the fires, are you still allowed to go to Qualcomm Stadium?¬† If not, what are you supposed to do?

I can understand the desire to compare the current CA wildfire season to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.¬† Natural disaster, displaced people, an excuse for wingnuts to rant about god’s punishment, potential for governmental ineptitude.¬† But it is rather like comparing apples and oranges in a lot of ways — or, as the Rude Pundit puts it, comparing apples and drowned people.¬† This isn’t to say my heart doesn’t break for the people who’ve lost everything — of course it does.¬† There are still people, friends from high school, for the most part, that I need to get a hold of, make sure they and/or their families are all right.¬† And for the individual who is looking at the smoking rubble that used to be her home, the fact that things could be worse is cold comfort, I’ve little doubt.¬† Still, apples and oranges.

One thing’s for sure, though: Glenn Beck can kiss my ass.

Hump Day Poetry: June Jordan

Posted in Poetry at 3:59 pm by The Lizard Queen

Poem in Memory of Alan Schindler, 22 Years Old

Except for the tattoo
how could I recognize
my son
what with the way that monster
his skull
what with the way that monster
then pulverized his jaw
what with the way that monster
kicked apart
the rib cage of my only son/
except for the tattoo
how could I recognize
my boy
my manchild grown into a sailor
for the Navy

I have buried him
my son
who lived and died loving
other men
I have buried him now
beneath the earth that allows for no
distinctions among men
except for the tattoo
that personal flag
of an honest body
as courageous
as ordinary
as continuing to breathe
when the world demands your death
as courageous
as ordinary
as an everyday parade
across mined territory
as courageous
as ordinary
as all of that
Thank God!
except for the tattoo

—June Jordan, 1997

October 23, 2007

Marc Acito discusses Dumbledore on All Things Considered

Posted in Children and adolescents, Education, GLBT issues, Literature at 5:22 pm by The Lizard Queen

On my way home yesterday I heard Marc Acito, author of How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater and the upcoming Attack of the Theater People, discuss on All Things Considered the most recent Harry Potter scandal: J.K. Rowling’s revelation this past weekend of the fact that Dumbledore is gay. You can listen to his commentary here, and there’s a transcript (transcribed by yours truly, so I take full responsibility for any mistakes or glitches) below the fold. I very much appreciated Acito’s take on the situation — he summarizes a number of the reactions people have had to the news (mine: “Huh. That makes sense. Cool.”), then connects it to his own experience as a teacher and a homosexual. I think he’s right: “In a world where sexual orientation is still headline news, too many real gay people lead fictitious lives.” Mustang Bobby of Shakesville puts perhaps a finer point on it: “It also makes it clear that a gay man such as a teacher can be a mentor and a friend without any of the lurid overtones of pedophilia that is never far from the fevered imaginings of the Christian conservatives and their perpetual adolescent fixation with sex.”

That idea connects to a post of Melissa’s from yesterday, the So-Called Public School Plague, which discusses an Associated Press report on sexual predators in public schools. She takes the AP to task — and rightly so — for playing fast and loose with the numbers. But in the context of LGBTQ teachers having to keep their sexuality or gender identity quiet in the classroom, I couldn’t help but notice another aspect of the article. It refers to a handful of incidents:

  • One male teacher stands accused of, among other things, fondling a fifth-grader’s breast and forcing the hand of another girl onto the zipper of his pants.
  • “DNA evidence in a civil case determined that [a male principal] impregnated a 14-year-old student.”
  • Another male teacher’s “bosses warned him not to meet with female students behind closed doors. . . . Police later found pornography and condoms in his office and alleged that he was about to have sex with a female student.”
  • A female teacher “conceived a child with a 16-year-old former student.”
  • Another male teacher victimized a young girl, and wasn’t taken to task for it until it happened with a second young girl.
  • A male teacher in Pennsylvania developed a romantic and sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl.

Notice a pattern? The majority of abuse cited is male-on-female or female-on-male. Now, I’ve said before (and I’m sure I’ll say it again) that pedophilia is an entity entirely separate from normal (if you will), healthy adult sexuality. However, religious fundamentalists continue using the “homosexuality = pedophilia” talking point as if I hadn’t said anything at all (which rather makes me want to take my well-thought-out arguments and go home, except they’re out there trying to influence public policy, so I have to keep trying), so I thought this was worth pointing out. Conclusion: A GAY TEACHER IS NO MORE LIKELY TO ABUSE A CHILD THAN A STRAIGHT TEACHER IS. Thank you, and goodnight. Read the rest of this entry »

October 22, 2007

Phill Kline: still at it, unfortunately

Posted in Politics, Reproduction, Sex at 6:35 pm by The Lizard Queen

I’ve generally left the posting on Phill Kline up to Evil Bender, given that he’s the native Kansan. But now we both live here, and in addition to being passionate about reproductive freedom in general, I’m now dependent on the very system Kline is attacking (Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, for annual women’s health exams as well as birth control), so I figure EB won’t mind if I tread on his toes a bit.

Anyway, you’d think that after being voted out of the office of state attorney general last November, and then having his three years of work trying to persecute and prosecute women who’d had abortions and the people who’d provided the abortions end in a declaration by the current attorney general that there was “no evidence of criminal wrongdoing,” Phill Kline might stop trying, or might try another tack, or might try elsewhere, or something.

Not so much:

The prosecutor’s latest salvo against the abortion industry began Oct. 17, when he filed a 107-count criminal complaint against Brownlie’s Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, located in Overland Park, Kan. Twenty-three of the counts are felony charges.

The clinic has denied any wrongdoing and has called the complaints “baseless.”

*Sigh.*¬† Here we go again. Read the rest of this entry »

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