Sunday, July 31, 2005

05 08-27-05 Picnic

05 08-27-05 Picnic
Originally uploaded by Ravenmn.
This is a flyer I made for a picnic to raise funds to send people to September 24. I created the logo and other art to resemble the Minnesota State Fair's logo and typefaces. Local people will get the similarities. You outlanders can see the State Fair site here. The State Fair is not just for rural people in Minnesota - nearly everyone goes.

WAMM's Fifties Birthday Bash

WAMM's Fifties Birthday Bash
Originally uploaded by Ravenmn.
I was asked to do some signs for an upcoming FUNdraiser for Women Against Military Madness. This one is to celebrate women in their fifties and takes the theme "Fall-in Shelter: Duck and Cover from the World's Woes". I made this sign for the doors, plus printed out several color posters from the Civil Defense museum site to use as decorations. I'm not quite 50, but they are adding an honorary year so I can be a celebrant as well!

Originally uploaded by Ravenmn.
Here also is an example of the nametags I made. It reminds me of an event some of the Nuclear Freeze campaigners did sometime in the early 1980s. The evacuation plans for Minneapolis in case of a nuclear disaster included all Minneapolis residents moving into the small town of Northfield, Minnesota. So as part of the Freeze work, some activists went door-to-door in Northfield with suitcases and told people they had decided to move in with them early. It was an interesting method to kick-start a discussion about the Freeze movement and a humorous way to approach strangers. I don't know whose idea it was, but it was really good!

All out for September 24

05 09-24-05
Originally uploaded by Ravenmn.
At work on a Sunday morning to put together a few flyers. This is the latest incarnation of our September 24 leaflet. Less text than before, added art and bus information.

If you haven't been to a national mobilization before, I encourage you to try it. It is amazing to see a sea of people who agree with you and disagree with what we see on the news most of the time. It is an awesome feeling and helps energize everyone for the continuing struggle against the ever-expanding American Empire.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


My webpal, Pinko Feminist Hellcat, has a post up calling for a new nickname for Karl Rove. She has been getting regular visits lately from a lefty-hater whose life is so boring he spends time reading a blog he claims to hate. Sad case, really. But he did bring up something that resonates with me:

When the hell did liberals start becoming concerned with the well-being of CIA agents?

Dimwitted poster is not familiar enough with the left to recognize that there are a wide range of viewpoints in the spectrum. And I am at the radical left edge that does object to the CIA, their plans, their tactics and their service to the greater glory of an Expanding American Empire (EAE). So I don't personally get all that upset when a CIA plot is uncovered and foiled.

Now liberals, on the other hand, have supported the EAE, albeit the wording is often cloaked in terms of "expanding democracy" or some such nonsense. So a liberal defending a CIA agent makes total sense.

But that's not why the issue has such resonance for so many people on the left, from liberal to radical. The popularity with Rove and his dirty tricks is that it directly contradicts the hype that George Bush was a man who would restore decency to the office of the President, which Bill Clinton so clearly sullied with his selfish actions. Rove outing a CIA agent to win a points against an op-ed page author is slimy in the exact same way that Clinton is slimy. Rove has gotten a pass for dirty tricks in political campaigning against Ann Richards and John McCain because what happens between two slimy politicians duking it out in the mud for their own self-aggrandizement is considered kinda ballsy and full of chutzpah. But outing an undercover CIA agent and picking on a man's WIFE to attack him is just plain tacky no matter how you slice it.

Unfortunately, I am again reminded, as I was in the Mark Felt/Deep Throat revelations, that the only time we huddled masses get an inside peek at the machinations of the asshole politicans who run our country is when they get pissed off at each other and start leaking each other's dirty laundry. The Rove case has "legs" now precisely because the people in power today are split on what to do about the Empire and they are duking it out in public for the sole purpose of embarrassing each other.

I do look at times like this when the political leadership of the U.S. is divided, as an opportunity to make a major impact on policy. That's why I'm making plans to attend the September 24 anti-war march half-way across the country in Washington, DC. I'll be marching with the U.S. Labor Against the War contingent. Please join us there, or if you can't help pay a scholarship for someone less fortunate than you to get there.

And to bring this post full circle, I'm gonna suggest Rove's new nickname be "Rolverine." I was born in Michigan, so I've heard the tales about why we Michiganders were called "Wolverines". Here's a couple of legends from the Michigan State FAQ:

Some people believe that Ohioans gave Michigan the nickname around 1835 during a dispute over the Toledo strip, a piece of land along the border between Ohio and Michigan. Rumors in Ohio at the time described Michiganians as being as vicious and bloodthirsty as wolverines. This dispute became known as the Toledo War.

Another reason given for the nickname is a story that has Native Americans, during the 1830s, comparing Michigan settlers to wolverines. Some native people, according to this story, disliked the way settlers were taking the land because it made them think of how the gluttonous wolverine went after its food.

Vicious, bloodthirsty, gluttonous? Yup. Rolverine seems appropriate.


Tonight I went to see “Batman Begins.” Not a bad movie. I have a feeling it would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had a clue about the Batman from DC comics. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. The fight scenes were filmed in a way reminiscent of comic books. There were blurs, then a stop-action shot and a sound effect much like the "Zap!" "Boom!" "Zowie!" that we've come to expect in comic books. The sets were amazing, especially the "batcave" which was mysterious, undefined and magnificent all at the same time. Gotham was also a powerful image, both sinister and slightly familiar. A triple-decker monorail that formed the veins of Gotham, feeding people in and out of the caverns, was very effective.

The metaphor of false images was carried throughout and on multiple levels. This is the first movie I've seen with Katie Holmes and what a disappointment she proved to be. Yes, it was important that the heroine appear pure and young in a virginal way. But she was inappropriately young and foolish. I can think of a dozen actresses who would have been more suited. Natlie Portman would have kicked ass.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bulwer-Lytton 2005 winner

As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

For the entire list, go to Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Another Meal & Movie

08-13-05 Meal & Movie
Originally uploaded by Ravenmn.
I put this together on Tuesday after work and before the MFSO event. This is another in a series of regular "Meal & Movie" events at Mayday Books. This one is a fund-raiser for the Communities United Against Police Brutality.

The movie, Every Mother's Son, looks interesting. The website has lots of additional information about the three women profiled, each of whom lost a son in police shootings that were unwarranted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

After work today I hopped a bus and headed over to Macalester College in St. Paul for a talk by a founder of Military Families Speak Out. The group has a very limited and specific goal: to bring the troops home from Iraq and to take care of them once they return.

The speaker read an e-mail that rang true for me. Here it is from their website:

The Costs of War
A Mother's View

By Teri Wills Allison

I am not a pacifist. I am a mother. By nature, the two are incompatible, for even a cottontail rabbit will fight to protect her young. Violent action may well be necessary in defense of one's family or home (and that definition of home can easily be extended to community and beyond); but violence, no matter how warranted, always takes a heavy toll. And violence taken to the extreme -- war -- exacts the most extreme costs. A just war there may be, but there is no such thing as a good war. And the burdens of an unjust war are insufferable.

I know something about the costs of an unjust war, for my son, Nick -- an infantryman in the U.S. Army -- is fighting one in Iraq. I don't speak for my son. I couldn't even if I wanted to, for all I hear through the Mom Filter is: "I'm fine, Mom, don't worry, I'm fine, everything is fine, fine, fine, we're fine, just fine". But I can tell you what some of the costs are as I live and breathe them.

First, the minor stuff: my constant feelings of dread and despair; the sweeping rage that alternates with petrifying fear; the torrents of tears that accompany a maddening sense of helplessness and vulnerability. My son is involved in a deadly situation that should never have been. I feel like a mother lion in a cage, my grown cub in danger, and all I can do is throw myself furiously against the bars…impotent to protect him. My tolerance for bullshit is zero, and I've snapped off more heads in the last several months than in all my 48 years combined.

For the first time in my life, and with great amazement and sorrow, I feel what can only be described as hatred. It took me a long time to admit it, but there it is. I loathe the hubris, the callousness, and the lies of those in the Bush administration who led us into this war. Truth be told, I even loathe the fallible and very human purveyors of those lies. I feel no satisfaction in this admission, only sadness and recognition. And hope that --given time -- I can do better. I never wanted to hate anyone. Xanax helps a bit. At least it holds the debilitating panic attacks somewhat at bay, so I can fake it through one more day. A friend in the same situation relies on a six pack of beer every night; another has drifted into a la-la land of denial. Nice.

Then there is the wedge that's been driven between part of my extended family and me. They don't see this war as one based on lies. They've become evangelical believers in a false faith, swallowing Bush's fear mongering, his chicken-hawk posturing and strutting, and cheering his "bring 'em on" attitude as a sign of strength and resoluteness. Perhaps life is just easier that way. These are the same people who have known my son since he was a baby, who have held him and loved him and played with him, who have bought him birthday presents and taken him fishing. I don't know them anymore.

But enough of my whining. My son is alive and in one piece, unlike the 1,102 dead and 7,782 severely wounded American soldiers; which equals 8,884 blood soaked uniforms, and doesn't even count the estimated 20,000 troops-- not publicly reported by the Department of Defense-- medivaced out of Iraq for "non-combat related injuries." Every death, every injury burns like a knife in my gut, for these are all America's sons and daughters. And I know I'm not immune to that knock on my door either.

And what of the Iraqi people? How many casualties have they suffered? How many tens of thousands dead and wounded? How many Iraqi mothers have wept, weep now, for their lost children? I fear we will never know, for though the Pentagon has begun --almost gleefully -- counting Iraqi insurgent deaths, there is little chance of getting an accurate verification of civilian casualties. You know, "collateral damage."

Yes, my son is alive and, as far as I know, well. I wish I could say the same for some of his friends.

One young man who was involved in heavy fighting during the invasion is now so debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder that he routinely has flashbacks in which he smells burning flesh; he can't close his eyes without seeing people's heads squashed like frogs in the middle of the road, or dead and dying women and children, burned, bleeding and dismembered. Sometimes he hears the sounds of battle raging around him, and he has been hospitalized twice for suicidal tendencies. When he was home on leave, this 27 year old man would crawl into his mother's room at night and sob in her lap for hours. Instead of getting treatment for PTSD, he has just received a "less than honorable" discharge from the Army. The rest of his unit redeploys to Iraq in February.

Another friend of Nick's was horrifically wounded when his Humvee stopped on an IED. He didn't even have time to instinctively raise his arm and protect his face. Shrapnel ripped through his right eye, obliterating it to gooey shreds, and penetrated his brain. He has been in a coma since March. His mother spends every day with him in the hospital; his wife is devastated, and their 11⁄2 year old daughter doesn't know her daddy. But my son's friend is a fighter and so is making steady, incremental progress toward consciousness. He has a long hard struggle ahead of him, one that he need never have faced -- and his family has had to fight every step of the way to get him the treatment he needs. So much for supporting the troops. I go visit him every week and it breaks my heart to see the burned faces, the missing limbs, the limps, the vacant stares one encounters in an acute-care military hospital. In front of the hospital there is a cannon, and every afternoon they blast that sucker off. You should see all the poor guys hit the pavement. Though many requests have been made to discontinue the practice for the sake of the returning wounded, the general in charge refuses. Boom.

Then there is Nick's 24 year old Kurdish friend, the college-educated son of teachers, multilingual and highly intelligent. He works as a translator for the U.S. Army for $600 a month and lives on base, where he is relatively safe. (Translators for private contractors, also living on base, make $7200 a month). He wants to travel to the States to continue his education, but no visas are now being issued from Iraq. Once the army is through with him, will they just send him back into the streets, a virtual dead man for having worked with the Americans? My son places a high premium on loyalty to family and friends, and he has been raised to walk his talk. This must be a harsh and embittering lesson on just how unprincipled the rest of the world can be. My heart aches for his Iraqi friend as well as for him.

A year ago in January, when Nick left for Iraq, I granted myself permission to be stark raving mad for the length of his deployment. By god, I've done a good job of it, without apology or excuse. And I dare say there are at least 139,999 other moms who have done the same -- though taking troop rotations into consideration to maintain that magical number of 140,000 in the sand could put the number of crazed military moms as high as 300,000, maybe more. Right now, you might want to be careful about cutting in line in front of a middle-aged woman.

I know there are military moms who view the war in Iraq through different ideological lenses than mine. Sometimes I envy them. God, how much easier it must be to believe one's son or daughter is fighting for a just and noble cause! But no matter how hard I scrutinize the invasion and occupation of Iraq, all I see are lies, corruption, and greed fueled by a powerful addiction to oil. Real soldiers get blown to tatters in their "Hummers," so that well-heeled American suburbanites can play in theirs.

For my family and me, the costs of this war are real and not abstract. By day, I fight my demons of dreaded possibility, beat them back into the shadows, into the dark recesses of my mind. Every night, they hiss and whisper a vile prognosis of gloom and desolation. I order the voices into silence, but too often they laugh at and mock my commands.

I wonder if George Bush ever hears these voices.

And I wonder, too…just how much are we willing to pay for a gallon of gas?

Teri Wills Allison, a massage therapist and a member of Military Families Speak Out, lives near Austin, Texas with her husband. She is the mother of two grown children, the oldest of whom is a soldier deployed to Iraq.

Copyright C2004 Teri Wills Allison

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sucky Weekend!

It was hot, humid and icky. Ravenhub and I both had a touch of something intestinal that wasn't horrible but was irritating in the extreme. Ugh. Whine. Complain.

There. That's enough.

I've added Bitch PhD to my blogroll because I have thoroughly enjoyed my visits there lately. I posted there in a pique of anger that I thought might be on the TMI side, but the responses were wonderful and so my worries were pretty much unwarranted. Even if I had come under attack, I'm confident that the women who post there would have had my back. That's cool.

I am currently facing a health issue that is disturbing. I have a biopsy scheduled in a couple of weeks. Yikes! Just the word is frightening. I am determined to not be worried about it for now. What the hell can I do at this point? OTOH, I'd just as soon not have to spend all this time at various doctor's offices getting inconclusive tests over and over again. Yeah, I'm not a robot, and that's good for a whole lot of reasons, but if I was a robot the diagnostics would be so much easier!

Tonight I spent a couple of hours at the offices of Mizna at the California Building in Northeast ("Nordeest") Minneapolis helping them put out the mailing of their latest journal. This one focuses on humor and satire and is really worth reading. Only three of us showed up to do the work. OTOH, it was nice getting to know a little bit more about each other. Oddly enough, we talked about our pets a lot and a bit about our parents. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Fun!

SatireWire interviews a Search Engine is cute. Found via Presurfer.

Double Super Secret Background a video cartoon by Mark Fiore. Found via Bitch PhD.

Nice Guy Syndrome

As for my internet travels, I've been following the "Nice Guys never get dates" discussons all over the feminist blogosphere. I'm not sure what to say since I married the nicest guy I've ever met. Does this make me deeply flawed, I wonder?

Recent Reading

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This is a very sad tale told from the point of view of an adolescent boy who has autism. He is a fascinating character but the story is quite the downer. I'm glad I read it, though.

Origin in Death by J.D. Robb. Number billion in a series. This is just plain guilty pleasure reading. The plot for this book is better than most because the villains are less vulgar and disgusting than usually and they are also extremely intelligent. The book ended suddenly with all kinds of loose ends hanging. At the very least the reader deserved a peek at the Thanksgiving dinner that had been a subject throughout the book. No such luck. But then, with Robb, my expectations are so low that it really doesn't matter.

The King of the Confessors by Thomas Hoving is a book I'm slogging through slowly. My co-worker gave it to me after we discussed the art curators mentioned in the book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Hoving is (was?) the curator for Metropolitan Museum in New York. The book is about his search for a purchase of an ivory cross from the Middle Ages. Lots of characters and insight into the world of art collectors. But slow reading. I'm stuck in his tour of Rome and I should just skip over it and finish up. Sigh.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I am not a jerk because I beat up a sexist asshole!

I've been wandering around among some feminist blogs lately. And I've spotted a pattern among some men who tend to get uptight when women call men on their sexism. More often than not, these men will tell a story from their past in which they and their friends beat up a rapist, a sexist asshole, a domestic abuser or a pedophile. And the women who were victims were pretty damn pleased that they had such wonderful men to protect them.

Well that pretty much proves that they are the Goddess' gift to women, right?

I will give a $5 gift certificate to the independent bookstore of choice to anyone who can come up with a snappy comeback to these morons. I've had too much red wine and am far too mellow to take them on at the moment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Because you just might need it one day!

Keep this web site handy:

Bovine Descenders found via Presurfer

Monday, July 18, 2005

Olen vs. Tessy

Helaine Olen writes an article under the headline The New Nanny Diaries are Online in The New York Times Style Section on Sunday, June 17. The article is about her decision to fire her nanny after reading entires in the nanny's blog. The article contains enough references to the blog to allow anyone with a beginner's knowledge of Google to be able to find the blog easily.

Tessy, the Nanny, writes a blog response entitled Sorry to Disappoint You which not only tells her side of the story, but also links directly to the posts Olen discusses in the NYT article.

It is clear to anyone who actually reads the nanny's blog posts, that Olen's interpretation the posts is not only wrong, but deliberately sensational. OIen labors under the convenient misconception that anything Tessy says on her blog MUST be about Olen. Tessy freely confesses that she made an unwise decision in giving her blog address to her employer. But Tessy also goes one stop further in a way that I admire. She says that even if she was the pill-popping whore that Olen portrays her to be (and she is not), the she would still have posted about it on her blog and she doesn't automatically condemn promiscuous women who take OTC sleep aids.

The blogosphere then erupts into wide-ranging discussions about the women in question with commenters taking sides, insults thrown at one or the other women, attacks on one or both women as being stupid, naive and/or self-center, and psychologically suspect motives being applied to one or the other women. This all gets followed by the requisite dozens of indignant posts by people who think this is just too stupid to comment about.

In fact, this odd little pairing of monologues by two relatively intelligent women who write openly about their lives, their doubts and their insecurities, manages to touch on a lot of hot-button issues that our society does not handle well.

First, there is the issue of motherhood and all the expectations our society heaps on mothers. Olen is, of course, suspect for hiring a nanny -- why isn't she staying at home and taking care of the children herself? Tessy is guilty as well: as a nanny her role is to be devoted to someone else's children and to sacrifice her personal life for the children and the family who employs her.

Second, there is the issue of employer to employee relations. Olen is suspect for expecting the woman she has hired to think of her employment as an opportunity to be part of a family and not, actually, "a job." Tessy is suspect because she is accused (falsely, I believe) of revealing private details about the life of her employers. Tessy has also broken the newly-minted rule that one must never reveal one's blog to one's employer. It is newly-minted only because Olen turns out to be such a lousy employer. Had Olen merely ignored the blog, Tessy's blog wouldnot have been a factor in the relationship.

Third, there is the class issue of power relations between two women who, while sharing some aspects of class (both well-educated, both career-minded), are involved in a relationship of uneven power. Olen admits to being uncomfortable with that power, although she proves herself a hypocrite by using that power to tell only her side of the story in a national publication. Tessy, while having a better understanding of that power relationship, makes the mistake of not understanding just how much Olen can use that power to her own advantage.

Fourth, there is the diary-reading impulse (for lack of a better term) that makes all of us complicit in this spectacle. Olen allows us a peak into the lifestyle of the upper middle class, two-career family that can afford a nanny. Tessy reveals intimate details of her life that most of us would not normally gain acess to. Because of that openness, we, the readers, feel as if we are qualified to pass judgments on both women -- as if we know them both and can reasonably advise them of what they did wrong and what they should do in the future.

Fifth, when has a major blog story existed in recent memory that had as its basis, the discussion of differing viewpoints of two women?

Given all these opportunities to make glib and cheap statements about the two women involved, I am heartened to see thoughtful posts by women who blog. I recommend reading the following posts and theadditions in the comments sections by the authors below:

The Politics of Nannies and Blogging by Amanda at Pandagon

The More Things Change by Bitch PhD.

I also feared she would judge me by Teresa Nielsen Hadyn.

Anyone else see a pattern here?" by Dorcasina.

If Karl Rove worked for Helaine Olen" by Lindsay at Majikthise.

Nanny Blog Kerfluffle!

Wonderful round up and comments at Bitch PhD about the latest blogosphere dust up. This one involves an upper-class twit bitch writing in The New York Times and her ex-nanny who writes a response in her blog.

I might have more to say, although thousands of words have already been spent on this issue.

To balance the serious with the silly, I bring you links to 30-Second Bunnie Movies:

Pulp Fiction re-enacted by bunnies

Alien re-enacted by bunnies

The Exorcist re-enacted by bunnies

Freddy vs. Jason re-enacted by bunnies

It's a Wonderful Life re-enacted by bunnies

Jaws re-enacted by bunnies

Scream re-enacted by bunnies

Titanic re-enacted by bunnies

Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-enacted by bunnies

Sunday, July 17, 2005

That's "Clam" for short!

Which VD are you?

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Go see these amazing images of Mammatus clouds over Hastings, Nebraksa photographed by Jorn Olsen. Link via Presurfer.

The All New Sesame Street is a round-up of the newest additions to the show now that Cookie Monster is part of an anti-obesity campaign. Also via Presurfer.

And from a commenter at Pandagon, links to comics about sensitive guys who can't get dates here and here.

These fun posts brought to you by me, trying to get out of my brain a huge discussion I read over at The News Blog about the bombings in London and absurd demands from some American twit about what Muslims in London should be doing in response. First, they had to condemn the attacks, then they had to issue fatwas, and finally the Muslims should have been out in the streets in the tens of thousands condemning the attacks. I had to wonder what else she wanted her little trained monkeys to do before she'd cut them some slack.

As a person who has actually done the work to get 10s of thousands out into the street several times in the past, I can promise one thing: the last thing the authorities in London want right now is thousands of Muslims (or anyone else for that matter), marching through the streets. Can you imagine the security nightmare it would be to protect such a crowd from racists who are using the bombings as an excuse to attack innocent Muslim people in London already?

I don't know how to link to the discussion directly, but it was pretty damn pathetic. I think there was a point in there somewhere about how a healthy community can create an environment in which the lunatic fringe finds it impossible to carry out their lunacies. I wish I could figure out a way to link to that post directly, because it will soon be off the scrowl. But I don't reommend it to anyone, anyway. Hmph!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Military Families Speak Out

Originally uploaded by Ravenmn.
Came in early Sunday morning to produce this flyer. It's good to be working with the Steelworkers again.

What's fascinating is that when I was searching the net to look for images to use, I tried "military families" and I got picture after picture of family members against the war in Iraq. I tried "military mother" and got pictures of funerals. I tried "U.S. soldier female" and got lots of returns for the infamous photos of Abu Graib. What a strange world we live in!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ken Livingstone & the Working Class of London

Text of statement delivered by Ken Livingstone

Published: July 7 2005 18:04 | Last updated: July 7 2005 18:04

This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank the emergency services for the way they have responded.

Following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11 in America we conducted a series of exercises in London in order to be prepared for just such an attack. One of the exercises undertaken by the government, my office and the emergency and security services was based on the possibility of multiple explosions on the transport system during the Friday rush hour. The plan that came out of that exercise is being executed today, with remarkable efficiency and courage, and I praise those staff who are involved.

I’d like to thank Londoners for the calm way in which they have responded to this cowardly attack and echo the advice of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair - do everything possible to assist the police and take the advice of the police about getting home today.

I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack. We did hope in the first few minutes after hearing about the events on the Underground that it might simply be a maintenance tragedy. That was not the case. I have been able to stay in touch through the very excellent communications that were established for the eventuality that I might be out of the city at the time of a terrorist attack and they have worked with remarkable effectiveness. I will be in continual contact until I am back in London.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.


It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners...

Damn, I wish one American politician would have to guts to say something like this. Not gonna happen!



Overview: This post is a community experiment with two broad purposes. The first is to create publicly accessible data about bloggers' personalities, which may have sociological value in addition to being just plain fun. The second is to track the propagation of this meme through blogspace. Full details and explanation can be found on the original posting:

Instructions (to join in the experiment):

1) Take the IPIP-NEO personality test and the Political Compass quiz, if you have not done so already.

2) Copy to the clipboard that section of this post that is between the double lines, and paste it into your blog editor. (Blogger users may wish to use 'compose' mode to preserve formatting and hyperlinks. Otherwise, be sure to add hyperlinks as necessary.)

3) Replace the answers in the "survey" section below with your own.

4) Add your blog information to the "track list", in the form: "Linked title - URL - optional GUID".

5) Any additional comments should go outside of the double lines, including the (optional) nomination of bloggers you wish to pass this experimental meme on to.

6) Post it to your blog!


Age: 49
Gender: Female
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Religion: None
Occupation: Graphic Artist
Began blogging (dd/mm/yy): 22/03/01

Political Compass results
Left/Right: -10
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.64

IPIP-NEO results

Friendliness 98
Gregariousness 95
Assertiveness 87
Activity Level 61
Excitement-Seeking 47
Cheerfulness 96

Trust 89
Morality 28
Altruism 85
Co-operation 27
Modesty 12
Sympathy 98

Self-Efficacy 56
Orderliness 15
Dutifulness 16
Achievement-Striving 47
Self-Discipline 43
Cautiousness 43

Anxiety 8
Anger 17
Depression 16
Self-Consciousness 6
Immoderation 63
Vulnerability 11

Imagination 82
Artistic Interests 82
Emotionality 53
Adventurousness 88
Intellect 70
Liberalism 92

Track List:
1. Philosophy, et cetera - - pixnaps97a2
2. Fly by Night - - ravenmn


Thursday, July 07, 2005


This morning, London was hit with terrorist attacks. At the end of the day we've learned that there were four different bombs targeting the mass transit system including buses and the subway. Compared to September 11, the loss of life was small: less than 40 deaths and hundreds of wounded. And yet, world response is at the nearly the same level as that experienced during September 11 and the Madrid train bombings.

The war in Afghanistan and Iraq was supposed to protect the West from such attacks. Well, guess that didn't work, eh?

Pandagon has a wonderful round-up of the conservative blogosphere falling all over itself to turn this latest strategy into an excuse for their depraved agenda. Fucking ghouls!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

School's Out

Lately I've been thinking about school. I've been browsing through blogs by academics, including Bitch PhD and Sappho's Breathing and I recently learned that Jill from Feministe will be going to Law School. If you haven't read these women, go there now and learn lots of good stuff!

I was amazingly inept at college. I set myself up with huge expectations. When I failed to meet those expectations, I decided that I didn't deserve to finish my classes and earned incompletes. I scared myself out of handing in any work because I hadn't done all the primary and secondary reading. I became terrified of being judged.

The only exception was in classes in which the teacher was obviously phoning it in. I had a 19th Century American Literature course in which I did almost nothing but read the Cliff Notes for Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn and aced the course easily. This is because the teacher barely bothered to show up for class. There was a labor dispute of some sort and we all knew that class was a gimme.

Or the class I took on "Drifting Continents" -- a "Hail Mary!" course put up by the Geology Department to fill the science requirement for College of Liberal Arts students. The professor ran out of course material half way through the quarter. He started giving out bogus assignments. We spent one class period filling in the state names in an outline map of the U.S.

I wrote an essay about the fossil evidence for continental drift in the style of a Fairy Tale about a huge clam bake in Gonwanaland. I not only got an A on the paper, I got to sit through a class of the teacher reading my essay because there wasn't anything else to talk about and it was the one bright spot in his utter boredom.

But when I respected a professor, I became incredibly intimidated and incapable of handing in my work. I convinced myself that nothing I did or said would be good enough. Mostly, I would stop attending class. I would do all the reading and the secondary reading and any additional reading that sprang from that. Because the subjects I took really interested me and I sincerely wanted to learn more. But the more I learned, the more I realized I needed to know. I imagine I mystified my professors.

I don't know where this particular phobia came from. I was never in the best of situations when I was in college. I suffered from repeated, untreated clinical depressions. I worked full time. I was living on the edge financially and involved in abusive relationships. Things weren't rosy in general. Any of these factors may be to blame.

Yet, I still retain that fear of being graded. I took a class in mystery writing a couple of years ago from a writer I admire and it practically killed me to turn in my writing. I doubt my abilities and am always shocked when someone compliments my writing ability.

I've had tons of training. I was a successful journalist throughout the 1970s. I studied Latin and Spanish and understand the basics of grammar. I understand the nuts and bolts of writing. I studied Shakespeare and Milton and many more writers. I am well-read and have a phenomenal memory for literature. I'm not saying these things to brag -- I'm saying that I've put in the time and had the benefit of training from knowledgeable teachers.

Yet when I take a class, I live in desperate fear of being judged. My confidence level always hovers around zero.

So why is it that I retain little fear in regard to blogging?

Is it because I haven't "come out" as a blogger to my family or my friends?

Is it because blogging is a new concept and doesn't have the traditions and established culture of academia?

Damned if I know.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Feminist Men

Here's another interesting discussion over at Feministe. She was e-mailed questions from Jim of Feminist Men and asked for responses. Here's my take on the issue:

1. What can men do to end sexism?

Men need to acknowledge their own privileged status and make the decision to consciously avoid acting upon that privilege. For instance, if you are the only man in a group of women, spend most of your time listening and learning, not talking. In the reverse situation, nine times out of ten, the woman’s voice would neither be heard nor welcomed. Look at your own experiences and realize how they would be different if you were a woman. How many times is your word accepted without question? How many places do you inhabit comfortably that other people, without your privilege, would fear. Notice how often this occurs and discuss it with other men.

2. Do men have a place in the feminist movement? If so, how do they fit in? If not, why?

Of course. They fit in by supporting women’s efforts and by providing an example of a man who acts in non-sexist ways.

3. Should men be leaders in feminist organizations?

Of course not. One of the reasons we need feminist organizations is to support the rights of women to empowerment in a world where power is unevenly distributed. Our organizations may be one of the first places any women confronts power and learns how to handle it wisely. To turn that learning experience over to men would be to defeat one of the core purposes of our efforts.

4. Can a man be a “feminist”?

No. A man can support feminism, but only a woman can be a feminist.

5. Please add any other thoughts or comments you have about the the subject of men and feminism.

We are still a long way from equality on any level in this country, so I believe it is way too early to demand equal treatment for men in the feminist movement.

This is one of the hardest issues to explain to anyone living in a privileged position: that it is not a question of everyone attaining your privileged position. In fact, we need to live in a world where nobody exercises that privilege over others. That means that each of us will have to cede some of our power.

In fact, since inequality is so rampant on so many levels, each of us will have areas of our lives in which learning to cede privilege will be our greatest contributions to a more healthy society. So while some of us will have places where our privilege is favored (women in feminist movements), all of us will have to acknowledge our un-earned power in other environments (race, nationality, abilities, etc).

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Just finished reading this book and my response is -- conflicted.

There is a tradition in the U.S. of reading one or two books from or about a foreign country and then believing we understand that culture. So I am always suspect when I read reviews that taut only one book as the gateway for western readers into a particular culture. This time the country is Afghanistan and the characters are deeply flawed and comfortably backward. Far enough removed from us that we can all look down upon them with pity.

Then I began reading the book and again I was reluctant all over again. Because the main character is really quite despicable in his callous use of his own class privilege. Again and again, he stoops to his baser instincts in ways that seemed entirely gratuitous to me. The writer seems to be telling us that the drive to power over another is so strong that it can overcome even the deepest friendships.

In the end, the moral of the book is that the sole way to create good acts among people is the motivation of guilt. Only by feeling dirty and useless can a man begin to act nobly.

Well, you know, fuck that shit anyway.

Just once I'd like to see a book about a foreign culture become a best seller by depicting a great and noble people. Well that certainly does not happen here.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


This joke came via e-mail with no source mentioned. Enjoy

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're 30 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Democrat."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, then you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met but, somehow, now it's my fault."

Friday, July 01, 2005


I just finished watching the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" on HBO. It is truly awesome. I'd heard many good things about this movie from people whose opinion I respect. But I really did not expect the film would affect me so much.

Eighteen years ago I married my best friend. Nothing I have read or seen since then has ever approached the special joy and acceptance that comes from choosing to share a life with somebody who fascinates, inspires and influences me quite as much as this movie has shown.

I'll probably post more later.

The CWA (no, not the union)

Thanks to Feministe I've been engaged in a discussion about an article that concerns Gil and Janice and a couple of mops.

Mad at my Mop is an article written by Janice Shaw Crouse about her sudden realization that she had been following her husband's advice on how to mop a floor for 20 years and that she was pissed off about that. The article is posted on the site of a group called Concerned Women of America.

One of the wonderful comments posted at Feministe was written by Amanada from Pandagon. I visited her blog and she has yet another sweet little article by the very same mop-conflicted Janice Shaw Crouse. I couldn't help but comment in the dicussion and I'm reposting it here so all my readers (both of you) can catch up:


It's so funny that I'm reading this, because I happen to be the woman in the airport that Mop-Loving Janice was talking about!

Let me remind you of Janice's story:

I watched as he looked everywhere but at her; aloof and detached, he never even glanced in her direction. She, on the other hand, would glance at him and then look away. She would lean toward him and make a hesitant, brief comment with a slight, tentative smile. He would nod, but never did even turn in her direction or make eye contact....Equally apparent was the fact that the man held all the cards in their relationship.

Janice is right. I was restless. In fact I was searching the airport for my gal pals. We were on our way to our annual summer reunion at the castle we built in rural Michigan with male slave labor. We FemGang Warriors(tm), had recently taken over several Fortune 500 companies and were due for a vacation. I didn't want Veronica and Jennifer to miss the flight!

I'm so pleased that Janice liked the looks of George, my own personal boytoy. He is not allowed to speak or even make eye contact when we are out in public. The consequences are severe and he obeys me entirely. My brief comments were mere reminders of the rewards waiting the poor boy if he behaved appropriately. After all, I don't normally let him out of the home where he cleans and cooks for me every day. Good Georgey Boy!

My galpals and I are having a good laugh at Janice's misreading. If I had any time away from my slavish men, my obedient children and my enjoyment of corporate perks, I might fill Janice in on her errors.

I hope you all can join us at the castle next year. We really enjoyed our time there. The chef is a genius!


For background on who the Concerned Women of America are, see Concerned Women for America: A Case Study. Here's a snippet:

Though CWA is a multi-issue organization, its "special role" in the Christian Right has been that of an exemplary foil to the women's movement: the good, pro-family, "spirit-controlled" women, who, in LaHaye's words, are "truly liberated" because they are "totally submissive" to their husbands (The Spirit Controlled Woman, [Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1976], p. 71). CWA activists, though they may appear to be showing dangerous signs of independence, are in fact doing the will of their husbands and their Christian duty to promote pro-family values.