Sunday, February 27, 2011


On PostSecret this week:
My whole life I've been told to hate[Planned Parenthood logo] but I just made an appointment because my mom and I can't talk about 'down there'

They don't need public funding, do they?

Isn't it funny ironic to think about the way Planned Parenthood basically makes it possible for the socially conservative to not talk to their kids about safe sex, birth control, and "down there" in general?

Hey there privileged smug conservative paternalistic shitheads: Taxpayer dollars have basically been subsidizing your families' sexual dysfunction in this area for years now. So if you ever do succeed in cutting PPs funding, in addition to screwing over a lot of marginalized and disadvantaged folk, you'll be shooting yourselves in your own damn foot.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Things that don't suck

So, we've been checking out Sesame Street Old School dvd's from the library lately, because it turns out that it's not Sesame Street I dislike despise, it's Elmo. I know it's cliched and snotty, and I always thought I would never be the kind of parent who develops a violent and irrational aversion to a character from toddler tv, but that grammatically-challenged little fucker (and his friend Baby Bear) can work your last nerve. On the other hand, old school Sesame Street still kinda kicks ass. As it turns out, so does The Electric Company:

And, just in case you're not convinced, a bonus scene. The 3 y/o dissolves into a helpless giggling fit at this one. Every time. She's had to rewind and rewatch it at least 50 times.

I know, right? Indisputably awesome.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Depressing Links and Video of the Day

Want to know the end result of bullshit conservative policies? Check out Texas:
Mrs. Bush, Abstinence and Texas

The true cost of plastic:
plastic flood in philippines
Can you tell what that is? Look closely.

OK, this one might not be as depressing to you as it is to me, but if you teach at the college level it's both unsurprising and profoundly depressing. Meanwhile, people increasingly complain that a college degree is worth less and less on the job market. Gee, I wonder why?
What happened to studying?

I'm not a huge advocate of co-sleeping. I think every family should figure out what works for them, and being tuned in to your kids personalities and your needs as a parent is far more important that anything you can learn in a parenting book. Still, it was always puzzling/amusing/irritating to me when people reacted with horror and/or deep concern if I mentioned that I let my daughter sleep in our bed so she could nurse whenever she wanted to at night. It worked for us, and all the evidence suggests that co-sleeping is safe and good for tiny babies, especially those who are nursing. It's great for the mom - you get to sleep all night. But of course, as a culture our approach to things like this is anything but evidence-based. That makes this headline a bit ironic: Study: Average of 26 children hurt by cribs every day. I believe that means it's more dangerous to sleep in a crib than with your parent(s). Is that going to change the horrified reactions? Yeahno.

And then there's this:
Single motherhood still rejected by most Americans, poll finds
Which prompts me to ask "what about teh menz?!?"

On the other hand, there's this!

Have a good weekend y'all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Not To Say

A message from Tom Scocca to men who may be inclined to pontificate on the assault of Lara Logan:
So there is this horrible news about CBS correspondent Lara Logan. People are reacting strongly to it. You may feel an urge to say something or write something about it. But many of the things you are producing are stupendously inappropriate and wrong and offensive.

Here are some things that are OK to say about the news of the attack on Lara Logan:

1. "What a horrible, horrible thing to have happened."

2. " . . . "

No. 2, there, is the sound of you refraining from saying the other things it might occur to you to say. It might even be the sound of you being quiet and listening! Sometimes that's worth doing.
In conclusion:
Before you say anything, strongly consider the merits of saying nothing!

That about sums it up, don't you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011


Go on, guess. Guess whose shit I am totally sick of.
  1. State legislatures that think it's an awesome idea to allow guns on college campuses (even in classrooms and dorms) and in bars.
  2. State legislatures that can. not. let. the whole birther thing die.
  3. State legislatures that continue to obsess over defending ourselves from the OMG real!! and present!!! danger!!!! of gay marriage!!!!!
It's a good thing politicians heard the loud and clear message sent by voters in the last election - ya know the whole "we want you to focus on jobs and the economy" message. Yep, that one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dear Valentine,

Please accept this gift as a token of my affection and a sign of our collective comfort with our role as colonialist oppressors, colluders, mindless consumers of a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, and polluters of the environment.

Roses in a vase with a Mr Yuk sign

Hugs and kisses,

Millions of American Consumers

Fair trade sources:
Make a Difference With Fair Trade Flowers
Organic and Fair Trade Flowers


U.S. aid to the Mubarak regime 2009-2010: $4 billion
U.S. aid to home-owners facing eviction 2009-2010: $0

Friday, February 4, 2011

Video of the Day

Eat More

Just so you know, as I write this post I'm unashamedly drinking a cup of coffee with (gasp!) real half-n-half in it, along with a totally not low-fat or low-calorie homemade almond biscotti. It's not a guilty pleasure. I'm not ashamed of it, or promising myself I'll do 10 extra minutes on the treadmill to atone for this "sin." I'm not trying to hide this from my co-workers. I know this seems like some kind of proud villainy, given our cultural approach to food. But really, this is just me, eating the food I like. The food that makes me feel good.

But ... as I was meandering through the New York Times this morning, I stumbled upon this: Government’s Dietary Advice: Eat Less.

Now, you may not have the same reaction to it as I do, but when I hear someone exhorting us/you/them/anyone to eat less, an image of my sweet, frail, tiny little great aunt comes to mind. And I'll explain why in a second. But first I want to say this about the actual article.

It is indeed an eency weency baby step of progress when government regulatory agents of any type make even the most toothless statement in opposition to the agendas of the powerful lobby groups that control them. So, ya know, yay for that.

I even agree that the recommendation to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and veggies can be a good one. Even a great one. Avoid the dirty dozen if you can help it, but do what you can. Score 1 for whole foods, -1 for processed foods. So far so good.

But, this "eat less" thing....

Let me tell you about my Auntie E. Auntie E is my grandma's younger sister. My grandma, the one who flew her father's plane between Iowa farm fields and had gorgeous skin and hair and ankles (apparently that was a big deal once upon a time), and sang beautifully and danced gracefully and argued forcefully, and baked and sewed relentlessly, and knocked all the men dead. That one. She has a younger sister, E. And E was petite while her sister was tall; she had thin straight dark hair while her sister had thick wavy blond hair, etc. etc. It's not that E wasn't pretty and talented and intelligent enough. Taken by herself, she was all these things. But her older sister was the stuff of legends, especially in a small Iowa town. So E grew up with a major inferiority complex that even escaping that small town and that big shadow couldn't reverse. She went off to college and made her own friends and got her own boyfriend and was respected and valued for her own accomplishments, but it was never enough.

Somewhere along the way E decided that the one thing that made her special was her knack for self-denial. Her own grandmother, who was also thought to be a great beauty, once remarked that the secret to maintaining your youthful beauty was to push back from the table while you were still a little bit hungry. And E could do that. Oh boy could she do that.

I remember visiting E's family as a child, and E would cook a big fancy dinner for her family and guests, and then sit down with just an apple while everyone else ate the dinner she had prepared. I remember family reunions where good food was everywhere, and E didn't take one bite all afternoon. People often complimented E on how thin she was, and she would wave it off with some self-deprecating comment. In recent years E has had terrible health problems because her bones are razor-thin and break with alarming ease. As she ages she seems even tinier, with rounded shoulders and apologetic eyes. And looking at E makes me feel indescribably sad, because I suspect she has spent her entire adult life hungry. It just seem like an incredible tragedy, to spend your whole life hungry in the middle of such abundance.

So here's what I say. Eat more. Eat more whole foods. Eat more local foods. Eat more homemade meals with real ingredients. Eat until you're satisfied. Eat healthy whole-fat dairy products that actually give a feeling of satiety. Snack on nuts and homemade cookies. Eat eggs from happy cage-free chickens. Eat avocados and olives and other "high-fat" foods that are nevertheless really good for you. As much as you can, avoid foods that are packaged in plastic (plastic is a terrible environmental scourge, and it transfers some of its toxins to the food packaged in it, y'all!). Bake, if you enjoy baking. Surround yourself with good healthy foods that make you feel nourished and satisfied. But don't deprive yourself. Don't go hungry. It is neither healthy nor virtuous to deprive yourself of the nourishment you need. And good food provides both physical and psychological nourishment. So eat up. Eat until you're satisfied. Ignore the government "experts" who always and everywhere turn out to be the pawns of some industry, whether it's the diet industry or the food lobby. Learn how to listen to your body, and give it what it needs. Eat until you're satisfied.


The Count 2010

This will only take a minute. I promise.

VIDA has published a comparison by gender of both bylines published and books reviewed by a wide range of magazines and journals. In a super accessible format, no less. Of course, the men are disproportionately represented in almost every area:

Depressing, no? Cue the rash of quasi-misogynist explanations and rationalizations for this phenomenon. Women just aren't assertive enough when pursuing publishing opportunities. Women just tend to write chick-lit, and not the real serious important stuff the public is really interested in. Etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm sure that will make it all better, Roger

This week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has this to say about Ben Roethlisberger: "I think Ben's committed to making the right decisions. He's doing a tremendous job of focusing on football and trying to win the Super Bowl, and I think the fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers appreciate that."

Here's the thing, Roger. Your boy has repeatedly proven himself to be a sexist bully and predator. Focusing on his game and winning the super bowl ain't gonna change that. I feel sorry for Steeler fans, but I hope the Packers win.

Either way, this is the first Super Bowl I ain't watching. Because fuck Ben Roethlisberger. And fuck the culture of professional athletics that allows this behavior to continue, in spite of the token sanctions the league may impose. Fuck the moving-in-packs-and-protecting-your-boy m.o. that allowed Roethlisberger to commit repeated sexual assaults. Fuck the system that allows wealthy white men like Roethlisberger to avoid criminal charges or repercussions. And fuck the example athletes and celebrities like Roethlisberger set for young men.

My daughters are watching me, and sadly, I don't want them to see me watching football right now. Maybe some day. Maybe even next season, accompanied by some serious discussions about the flawed culture of male professional athletics and our social construction of masculinity and the sad reality of rape culture. But not right now. This year on Super Bowl Sunday I'm hosting an anti-superbowl, Chinese New Year party. Good food will be eaten, crafts will be crafted, and chocolate will be consumed. But no football will be watched.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Miscellanea

At Kern Valley State Prison, inmates have no choice but to drink water containing toxic levels of arsenic:
Drink up -- assuming you like arsenic, that is
You may notice that this story is kind of old. Why is it included in this week's Miscellanea post? Because, even though the court ordered the prison to fix this problem years ago, no progress has been made and the inmates continue to drink toxic water. After all they are just inmates. It's not like they're human or something.

In my neckathewoods, everyone's all fired up about loosening gun laws and basically allowing anyone without a felony conviction to carry a gun just about anywhere. Cuz of the safety and all. Because we all know that having a gun on your belt prevents you from getting shot, right? I mean, it totally worked in Tuscon:
Myth of the Hero Gunslinger

On the cognitive benefits of nature:
Thoreau Was Right: Nature Hones the Mind

A Food Manifesto for the Future
A summary:
  • End government subsidies to processed food.
  • Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption.
  • Break up the U.S. Department of Agriculture and empower the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Outlaw concentrated animal feeding operations and encourage the development of sustainable animal husbandry.
  • Encourage and subsidize home cooking.
  • Tax the marketing and sale of unhealthful foods.
  • Reduce waste and encourage recycling.
  • Mandate truth in labeling.
  • Reinvest in research geared toward leading a global movement in sustainable agriculture, combining technology and tradition to create a new and meaningful Green Revolution.

The result of constantly cutting taxes and spending?
A generation of malnourished, undereducated kids. Which is fine if you're a wealthy conservative politician who knows that your children will never have to "tighten their belts" or forgo medical care when they're sick or receive substandard education...

OK, so they hate health care for poor people and deficit spending (except when it's spending that benefits one of their causes) and gun control and the Gays. So what does the GOP love? Greenhouse Gasses, baby:
Upton Looks to Block Greenhouse Gas Rules

Another reason not to give birth in a hospital?
Rules on Cameras in Delivery Rooms Stir Passions

Monsanto wins again. Small farmers, organic farmers, local co-ops? Screwed.
Genetifically Modified Alfalfa Officially On The Way

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Photo of the Day

And a quote to go with it:
"If there is democracy in my country, then I can ask for democracy in my own home."
-Sahar Ahmad, a 41-year-old school teacher and mother