Friday, February 29, 2008

Found via reddit, Dianne Sylvan talks about a visit to a coffee shop inside a bookstore:

Now, this woman...oy. There are thin women, and then there are Skinny Bitches, and my radar went screaming off on the latter immediately. She's standing there in her overpriced workout clothes--you know, the kind nobody wears to actually work out in, they just wear around town to make it look like they're oh-so-health-conscious. She has one of those stupid little pink leather purses that should have a dog in it, and an armload of magazines about pilates and yoga; her hair is that expensive streaky blonde that's all the rage in people trying to look young and hip. She's making fake small talk with the adorable pierced-and-tattooed boy en flambe, and taking forever to decide what she wants, talking herself into and out of a piece of cake about five times.

I'm barely paying attention, as I am scanning the menu myself (you know, making up my mind BEFORE I get there?), but she has one of those nasal voices that worms its way into your brain and makes your spine hurt, so before long I'm listening to her; I think she was trying to be flirty. Anyone with half an IQ would have known her charm was absolutely wasted on our friendly neighborhood cafe lad.

The woman is now weighing the pros and cons of having skim milk versus two percent milk in her latte, and she says, "God, I don't know, I just feel so, like, fat today. I feel like such a big fat cow."

Then she turns to me, and she says, GET THIS, "How do you stand it every day?"

I blink.

The adorable pierced-and-tattooed boy en flambe blinks.

Several heads in the cafe pop up because nobody can believe this woman actually said this to a total stranger. I feel as if the sitcom camera is pulling in tight for a closeup on my reaction.

But the gods of snark are smiling upon me today. I reply, straightfaced, "You know, it's normally not too bad, but today I'm having one of those days where I feel like a shallow dumb bitch. How do you stand it every day?"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Sarah and Jimmy story

Yes. It's stupid. But I laughed and laughed. But then, I'm one of the pro-sex feminists!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another patriarchal oppresser is among us

Head on over to visit and congratulate Antiprincess for enduring 18 hours of labor and bring us our newest little patriarch, Wolfgang!

Minneapolis fire

Screen shot - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

This is a screen shot from an amazing slide show you can view here by local photography Tony Webster. Please visit and post your comments on the flickr site.

This is what happens when you try to put out a fire with water in sub zero temperature. Amazing ice sculptures. I don't recall ever being at this bar, but it's a mere couple of blocks from the collapsed 35W highway bridge. The neighborhood is having its problems.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Could not resist this stupid test

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Abortionist's Daughter

Finished this book this weekend. The Abortionist's Daughter starts with the murder of a female abortion provider in Colorado. She is found by her husband, lying face down in a lap pool at her home with a huge bruise on the back of her head.

I was interested in the book right up to the point at which the murderer confessed. For no apparent reason. And that pretty much blew the book for me. The one passage in the book that I did find interesting was the passages told from the point of view of the abortion provider: why she chose to provide abortions, the doubts she had, the convictions that developed over time. These seemed very real to me.

The fact that she realized the danger she was in, yet chose at several points to place herself in a vulnerable position were beyond belief and poorly written.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pretty Bird

Found this on reddit. Click on the link to see more bird photographs from Philippe and he lives in Grand Baie, Mauritius. The bird is a Red Cardinal Fody, aka Red Fody, native to Madagascar.

Nice picture from Phillipe in Mauritus - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Sunday, February 17, 2008

For argument's sake

Renegade Evolution has a wonderful post up debunking an anti-porn blogger's insistent post claiming that an individual cannot be both pro-porn and feminist.

Ren does a great job of dismantling the post. You should definitely read that first link.

Belledame's commentstakes on the similarities between the anti-porn argument and fundamentalism.

I want to take a slightly different take. Maggie Hays isn't really communicating with anyone but her choir here. She's set up a scenario in which anyone who disagrees with her is an idiotic, brainwashed, mis-taught, un-examining, thoughtless, braindead amoeba.

Why write a post like this? The obvious reason is to shore up your tribe. Assure your posse that they are smart, thoughtful and empowered while everyone else is a hopeless, clueless idiot.

Gee, where have I seen that before? We women were also told not to worry our pretty little heads about things outside our abilities. There is something deliciously erotic (pun most definitely intended) about believing that we and we alone are intelligent, while those who think differently are helpless dupes. And it really isn't a bad thing, all in all, to reinforce ourselves and our fellow thinkers that what we believe is right. That's a good thing and an important thing in the activist community.

But I've found something thrilling and exciting in communicating with people who hold different ideas about politics. I don't want this to come off all self-righteous and full of self-praise, because that really isn't the point. Instead, I want to focus on the value I've found in deciding that people who hold political beliefs opposed to my own have well-thought-out reasons for their beliefs.

I had a co-worker who considered himself to be a conservative just to the right of Genghis Kahn. He understood that I was a pinko commie. Yet there were so many issues upon which we agreed. His explanation was that we each were so far outside the traditional boundaries that we had come full circle and met on the far side of the moon.

His thoughts thrilled and excited me. I loved the fact that we both were thinking and drawing conclusions about the realities we faced. Some of our conclusions were opposite, but our thinking processes were similar and useful and stimulating. One thing we had in common was that we had a basic fundamental belief in the intelligence capabilities of our fellow human beings. We mistrusted stereotypes. We mistrusted politicians. We trusted our fellow human beings to be able to think, reason, and see through the bullshit.

Honestly, I do not think I could bear believing that the world was full of idiots. That's a form of pessimism even my depressed soul cannot embrace.

Gotta say it

I've got way too much graphics work to do lately.

Ravenmn must learn to say no.
Ravenmn must learn to say no.
Ravenmn must learn to say no.
Ravenmn must learn to say no.
Ravenmn must learn to say no.

Yeah, like that's gonna work. Meh.
Edited to add: See! I told you! Test found via Presurfer

How evil are you?

Another new flyer

IVAW fundraiser - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

New Flyer

For a discussion forum at the Bookstore.

Mayday election forum - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Updated flyers and a newspaper ad

Round 3 of Iraq March 19 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Round 2 of the Year 5 calendar - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Newspaper Ad for March 15 antiwar rally - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Three things

On metafilter there is a post by some privileged white dude who decided to toss privilege to the wind and pretend to be homeless for a while. Somehow, through absolutely no attempt to assert his privilege, he managed to move out of a homeless shelter, get a job and an apartment and even save a bit of money. Then he wrote a book about it. Well, bloody fucking bully for him. The nice thing is that all kinds of metafilter-ites called him on his unfucking believable privilege.

Today I watched the movie, The Last King of Scotland for the first time. Privilege, let me recognize you once again.

Somehow, I purchased a mystery novel called Suspicion of Rage which includes a white woman married to a Cuban who visits modern day Cuban and exhibits all the endearing characteristics of the ugly American in a foreign country.

Tired now. Really fucking tired of it all.

Look who's blogging

When I was in high school, I got a job at my city's newspaper covering high school sports. I had it in mind to be the first female sportswriter for "Sports Illustrated". I never made that goal, but I still remember my heroes from back then. One of them, Kareem Abdul-Jabar is writing a blog for the Los Angeles Times. He's got some great, short posts to African Americans who made a difference, including Charlotte E. Ray, the first African-American attorney, and Bessie Coleman, the first African-American airline pilot while noting the problems these women faced are still with us.

It's nice to know one of my childhood heroes continues to be an awesome human being.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


CNN has been having problems with geography it seems.

Monday, February 11, 2008

One updated, one new flyer

Sami returns updated - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Bridge Vigil - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Yeah, that second one needs work. I'll have time to improve it, but this one needs to go into a mailing right away.

I've been punked

Donna from The Silence of our Friends has dug up this old video of me working at the bookstore and placed on her blog for everyone to see. I especially like the part where "we" have had no customers all day, but close the door on someone who wants to come in 30 seconds after closing time!

Actually, there are lots of stories I could tell about running an all-volunteer bookstore. I once got in a huge fight with a co-worker about whether to shelve the books alphabetically!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

First Draft

Sami's coming back for another visit to Minnesota. Here's a first draft on the leaflet. Not feeling all that creative today. It feels kinda bland.

Sami returns - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The caucus

The streets were filled with people tonight. Overflow crowds meant breaking up our local precinct into two separate venues. I lined up and signed in and checked a box on a tiny piece of paper. Not that it makes a difference at all.

BUT, I came with 300 flyers for the March 15 antiwar events and passed them out as the long lines of people waited. Got great responses from everyone in line, including long-time neighbors I recognized. Coolness.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sex Wars by Marge Piercy

I am totally in love with Marge Piercy's writing. I used to buy her books as soon as they came out. But in the last couple of years I've been slacking. So I've just finished reading Sex Wars: A Novel of the Turbulent Post-Civil War Period and I loved it, of course.

She makes obvious the commonality between activist women of 130 years ago and activist women of today. Piercy know activism because she has been and continues to be an activist. Here's her comment on the reason she chose to examine the later half of the 19th Century:

"I was attracted to the era after the Civil War because I found it had so many of the same divisions and conflicts as our own time. The role of women in the public sphere and in the family, the degree to which free sexual expression was valuable, permissible, tolerated or condemned, whether Church and State should continue to be separated or whether Christianity should be the official religion, as opposed to all the other religions found in the States – these are all deep divisions in our own time as they were then."

Class issues, sexual issues, race issues, labor issues all came crashing together for the activists then just as they force activists today to question our assumptions and broaden our horizons.

Women got screwed royally back then and I suppose the novel will provide fodder for those who haul out the "women have always been oppressed" line. What's valuable to me, however, is how Piercy shows that strong women survive and thrive, especially when they have the ability to analyze their oppression and figure out who is an ally and who is a self-serving git.

I'm going to be re-reading bits of this book and will perhaps post more of my responses. Mostly, I'm reveling in the sheer comfort and delight of spending time with a writer who understands feminism and classism and life in ways that are so familiar to me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beautiful writing

This post at La Chola moved me deeply.

When bfp talks about her father, she is sharing an experience that is almost the complete opposite of my own relationship with my father. But the beauty of this post, the way she frames it, fills my heart with understanding. This is the kind of writing we need in the world. This is the kind of writing that will show us that even though we have completely different experiences, we can connect and learn and grow. This is good in so many ways.

Friday, February 01, 2008

New game!

Got this idea stuck in my head and decided I had to create it. Let me know if it makes the point!

Are you smarter than a president? - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Times stops at Grand Central Station