…starting Monday. Yippee! $$$$$$!
(let me say that again)
I’m trying to decide if this is going to reintroduce me as an active blogger…it might…
…starting Monday. Yippee! $$$$$$!
(let me say that again)
I’m trying to decide if this is going to reintroduce me as an active blogger…it might…
Generally, two things only women can be.
I’ve seldom been a slut–I was never able to say that before, or anything else on the topic of how much of a slut I was or wasn’t, because I never had a definition before that I felt satisfied any kind of consistency (internal or external). However, I have finally lucked out and stumbled across the bestest definition of s-l-u-t evar:
as the awesome Kelly Huegel pointed out, is a female person who has had sex with more people than any one person calling them a slut considers acceptable
Actually, by that definition I may never have been a slut, since as far as I know nobody has ever called me one. However, since the strong possibility always exists for any woman that at some point in time somebody somewhere has called her a slut outside of her hearing, I may have periodically been a slut. The closest I ever came to this face-to-face was the one-and-only-boyfriend-who-ever-asked-me-what-my-number-was, and appeared to be either deeply shocked or deeply impressed by said digit once it was delivered to him. (I returned the favor and asked him for his, and thence learned that his was, oh dear, lower than mine, which likely had some influence on the rather odd number-asking behavior and response to my response.)
I am mostly indifferent to the social construct that is a slut, but given my lack of personal dealings with the meme, I suspect a lot of my indifference stems from my privileged status as generally not being considered one. I have instead spent most of my sexual life married, which has resulted in more frequent accusations of codependency (not true–yes, I have checked with a psychologist on the possibility of that or any other quirks in my cortex–there are quirks, but not that one). I will say I have managed to spend the past five years only married for less than one of them, though I somewhat spoil that by having to admit that I have cohabitated for three.
Which is why I did really enjoy this piece from Jezebel, which has generated (unsuprisingly) all kind of bloggy feedback, both positive and negative. Not because I ever experienced the joys of “sluthood” myself, though I considered the idea on several occasions throughout the years, but because I know what it is to find well into my adult life that I was not only a serial monogamist but that I was a completely unintentional one, with unpleasant psychological results at the ending of the last foray into committed relationshiphood. I also found myself completely burnt out on the emotional roller-coaster ride, though my personal centering solution to this wasn’t to embrace casual sexual encounters. I figured out long ago that I am by nature monogamous, and in spite of the bewildering (to me, anyway–why does anyone care what someone else’s personal consensual sexual preferences are, really..? but oh, silly question–if that were the case, this wouldn’t be the behemoth it is) attempts by some to portray monogamy as unnatural and damaging for everyone. I have to admit, though, that my lack of interest in casual sexual encounters when monogamy is not an issue as everyone involved is totally single has eroded a little over the years. (Why this is, and why I feel I am naturally monogamous in general, is totally worth exploring further and I am gonna do it. Soon. Really!) But it still isn’t much of an interest.
But it’s really old news that only women can be sluts. I have periodically heard in passing, some man or other playfully labeled a “slut,” but it’s pretty meaningless in that context. For women, it can clearly become life-dominating. For Jaclyn Friedman, author of the Jezebel piece that prompted this train of musing, it clearly was as well. Frankly, I find the thought of it exhausting, the burden I and every other woman is supposed to shoulder at puberty (or even before, sometimes) based upon the fact that heterosexual men (the dominant variety) want to have sexual intercourse with us. Besides my history of not having to deal with it much personally, I suspect this exhaustion is the other main reason I am mostly indifferent to the slut meme–I don’t want to think about it. It’s not my problem, dammit! But you know, it is, by virtue of the fact that I am a woman. This is deeply irritating.
So I was already irritated when I continued my perusal of Feministe’s front page and got to this gem:
Diets all around!
Well, here’s some research that can’t possibly be misconstrued: a new study published in The Lancet has documented an association between the amount of weight a mother gains during her pregnancy and the birth weight of her infant. Since birth weight can be used to predict adult BMI, cue the ZOMG! Obesity! commentary. “For babies, studies are just now beginning to show that the effects of tipping the scales at birth may linger throughout life. Many experts suggest that excessive nutrition in pregnancy creates an abnormal uterine environment that permanently changes the baby’s brain, pancreas, fat tissue and other biological systems, said a co-author of the study, Dr. David Ludwig.”
I ate like a pig during both my pregnancies, once I was able to keep food down at all (in other words, not the first trimester or the first half of the second trimester). Though I may actually be insulting pigs by comparing my gestating eating habits to their usual ones. I gained about fifty pounds both times–I kid you not; when I stood on the scale in the delivery room while in the middle of labor with Offspring No. 2, I weighed in at 197 pounds. Not only did I consume vast quantities of food, it was whatever type of food I madly craved at the moment, which was quite the bewildering variety. (Yes, I drank pickle juice straight out of the jar, among other things. Pregnancy is weird. Avoid it until you are 100% sure it and its lifelong semi-autonomous consequences are what you really, really want.) Some of this food was great stuff for anyone, like the cucumber-and-tangerines kick I went on in the eighth month of pregnancy with one kid. Some of this food was not so great, like the french toast obsession I developed in month six or seven with the other kid.
So I starved myself (involuntarily, I assure you, not to mention dehydrated myself badly) for half of both my pregnancies and gorged like food was going to be gone tomorrow for the other half. I gained probably about as much weight as was recommended for the Octomom to put on (nope, neither of my pregnancies were even with twins). And yet–and yet–
Baby no. 1: male, full-term, 7 lbs 15 oz and 21 in. long
Baby no. 2: male, full-term, 7 lbs 15 1/2 oz and 21 in. long
According to kidshealth.org:
Most full-term babies weigh somewhere between 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 9 pounds, 2 ounces. Their average length ranges from 19 to 21 inches.
Hmm. Does the fact that at 5 feet 8 inches, I’m the shortest person in my family, and the only person shorter than me in the kids’ dad’s family is my sister-in-law at 5 feet 7 inches, and that in neither family is there an adult male below 6 feet in height, have anything to do with anything..? But even taking that into account, the kids weren’t outside the average range in length and were comfortably within the average weight.
Well, how about now though…? Maybe my goatlike approach to ingestion during pregnancy had a delayed response–
Baby no. 1: still male, 18 years old. 6 feet 4 inches tall. 160 pounds. (Actually a bit of a problem, as he is only 4 pounds over the underweight limit for an Air Force enlistee of his height. He has been advised by his recruiter to start scarfing down protein and hitting the gym for some weight training.)
Baby no. 2: still male, 13 years old. 5 feet 4 inches tall. 97 pounds. (According to standard charts for the US, this puts him at about the 80th percentile in height and 45th percentile in weight for a boy his age.)
…maybe I’ve starved them since birth, to hide my grotesque fetal abuse?
I know, I know, one piece of anecdata does not a refutation make…but it does make it hard for me personally to really take this seriously. It makes it very easy for me to see it as yet more womanshaming, safely targeting a role that only, indeed, women can and do take–there’s no way at all to slither out of gender-specific blame here, baby!
Let’s give the ladies a rest for a day, folks. Okay?
US Senate candidate Ken Buck of Colorado, referring to his own voter base. It should mean something to him that these are the people who are his voter base, but clearly he’s missing the tangy irony here.
When my mom and I first moved in with my dad, I was eight years old but already showing signs of the sf-fantasy geek I would develop into–he had a lot of posters up in his bachelor’s pad, and this was indeed one of them.
Some other examples of my dad’s wall deco below the fold–Frazetta and Vallejo dominated:
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite children’s books was The Case of the Marble Monster and Other Tales of Ooka the Wise. I don’t know if this was a staple of too many other American kids’ childhoods (nobody else has ever mentioned it in my hearing) but I loved it, and one of my favorite stories was when Ooka, a judge, heard a case against a poor student living above a fish cookshop. Every day the student smelled the delicious odors of frying fish which he said helped flavor the plain bowl of rice which was all he could afford to eat. The cookshop owner was incensed and insisted that he be paid restitution by the student for “stealing the smell” of his cooking fish. Ooka deliberated, then instructed the student to pass a handful of coins from one hand to the other several times until they clinked merrily together, then told the cookshop owner he’d been paid. The cookshop owner angrily demanded how that was possible, since the student had given him no money, and Ooka told him that “the price of the smell of food is the sound of money” and then dismissed the case.
So I was reading yet another article about the Arizona immigration circus, this one about the hearings going on right now in federal court by challengers to the new law, and remembering reading about the possibility that parts, not all, of the law would be struck down–and then, like a flash of light, it hit me. I know how to fix the “show me your papers” part of the law, which is a grotesque violation of civil rights. Give Arizona law enforcement the power to ask anyone anytime what their citizenship is–keep that part. Just change the papers part to allowing a verbal or visual affirmative response to confirm any questionee’s legal status. Like this:
Arizona cop: Are you a legal citizen of the United States?
Brown-skinned person who was totes not profiled prior to being stopped: Fuck yeah.
Arizona cop: Well, then you’re free to go, sir. Have a nice day.
See? All teddy bears and rainbows.
Best protest signs evar. My favorites:
I think we all know how I feel about the Hypnotoad.
I think I have that one somewhere in the back basement room, too!
I had never heard of this before today, when I was browsing through Sam Kean’s Blogging the Periodic Table series on Slate. If you hadn’t either, you should really check it out. Some of my favorites from the 2009 Ig Nobel Prizes, awarded for scientific work that, er, either cannot or should not be reproduced (the 2010 Prizes won’t be awarded til the end of September):
PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.
REFERENCE: “Are Full or Empty Beer Bottles Sturdier and Does Their Fracture-Threshold Suffice to Break the Human Skull?” Stephan A. Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael J. Thali and Beat P. Kneubuehl, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, vol. 16, no. 3, April 2009, pp. 138-42. DOI:10.1016/j.jflm.2008.07.013.
CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M. Castaño of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila.
REFERENCE: “Growth of Diamond Films from Tequila,” Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga and Victor M. Castano, 2008, arXiv:0806.1485. Also published as Reviews on Advanced Materials Science, vol. 22, no. 1, 2009, pp. 134-8.
PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don’t tip over.
REFERENCE: “Fetal Load and the Evolution of Lumbar Lordosis in Bipedal Hominins,” Katherine K. Whitcome, Liza J. Shapiro & Daniel E. Lieberman, Nature, vol. 450, 1075-1078 (December 13, 2007). DOI:10.1038/nature06342.
BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.
REFERENCE: “Microbial Treatment of Kitchen Refuse With Enzyme-Producing Thermophilic Bacteria From Giant Panda Feces,” Fumiaki Taguchia, Song Guofua, and Zhang Guanglei, Seibutsu-kogaku Kaishi, vol. 79, no 12, 2001, pp. 463-9. [and abstracted in Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, vol. 92, no. 6, 2001, p. 602.]
REFERENCE: “Microbial Treatment of Food-Production Waste with Thermopile Enzyme-Producing Bacterial Flora from a Giant Panda” [in Japanese], Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, Yasunori Sugai, Hiroyasu Kudo and Akira Koikeda, Journal of the Japan Society of Waste Management Experts, vol. 14, no. 2, 2003, pp. , 76-82.
I don’t understand it. Part of me doesn’t want to understand it, either; as with exploring the motives of pedophiles, it leaves me queasy and shaken in any kind of belief in the basic goodness of mankind. However, I should understand it in order to better combat it…I suppose…meh…it’s really hard to work up enthusiasm for plunging your hands into untreated sewage, you know?
Two news items today: One is Sarah Palin’s admittedly very funny Twitter debacle, where she confuses “not knowing what existing words mean” with “inventing new words.” Is she too stupid to be embarrassed? But aside from the vocabulary funzies, this was the sentiment:
Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.
I feel unprovoked and unstabbed. Really. Now, the case could be made that I am not a New Yorker and therefore, perhaps, am missing some special degree of angst that would make this all explicable; however, Sarah Palin’s not one either. And in my case, I was actually within some geographical proximity of 9/11 events. Anybody remember this..?
(The US Pentagon, 9/11)
(Near miss of the US Capitol–in rural Pennsylvania about 20 minutes from DC)
There are lots of terrorists out there. I remember learning in the 5th grade that while all squares are rectangles, not all rectangles are squares. And in this case, it can’t even be claimed that well yes I’m sure not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists ARE Muslim, you know..! Neither Ted Kaczynski nor Timothy McVeigh were Muslims, for example. Since 1977, 41 abortion clinics have been bombed–forty-one!–and to the best of my knowledge, none of the bombers were even remotely Muslim. Among these were an abortion clinic and two physicians’ offices in Pensacola, Florida were bombed in the early morning of Christmas Day, 1984, by a quartet of young people (Matt Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons, Kaye Wiggins) who later called the bombings “a gift to Jesus on his birthday.”
I’ve also heard the argument that the Koran encourages Muslims to kill unbelievers. Gee, now there’s a point. I mean, just listen to these!
Suppose you hear in one of the towns that God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.
If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him.
Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed.
They entered into a covenant to seek the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord their God was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
Oops, wait!…those are from the Bible.
This, and the ongoing furor over illegal immigrants, has really led me down a depressing path. “Several states” (reported variously as nine, ten or twelve depending on where I’m looking) are supposedly following Arizona’s lead in obsessing about their undocumented worker populations. Why the obsession..? I’ve heard it variously and defensively described as “Well they’re breaking the LAW don’t you CARE about the LAW?” (frequently put forth by people who regularly speed, jaywalk, cheat on their taxes and smoke weed–a rather selective reverence towards the LAW)
“Well they’re costing us MONEY WELFARE!” (Nevermind the fact that in 2008, the percentage of Arizona’s state budget going towards welfare was 12%…not exactly the lion’s share…and presumably even that isn’t somehow all being distributed to illegal aliens–how could it be?)
“Well they’re taking all our JOBS!” (FactCheck.org doesn’t agree.)
I’m pretty sure it all really boils down to one thing, and for that one thing, see the title of this post.
…but to give me credit where credit is due, the problem posed to us by our instructor was a lot less interesting, too. As I recall, he had us come up with something you could put on your shoes to prevent slipping on an icy sidewalk. The constraints were the same, though, in terms of cheap household objects etc.
Rice University undergraduates Lila Kerr and Lauren Theis were presented with an assignment in their Introduction to Bioengineering and World Health class. As Theis explains:
“We were essentially told we need to find a way to diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and with a portable device.”
In a solution short on cost but long on ingenuity, the duo modified a basic, every day salad spinner into an easy to use and transport centrifuge that successfully separates blood to allow diagnosis of anemia with no electricity. The device costs about $30, can process 30 individual 15 microliter blood samples at a time, and can separate blood into its component red cells and plasma in about 20 minutes.
My life has been hectic lately…er, by “lately” I mean for like the past two years or something…actually, when has my life not been hectic..? When I was in the womb? More accurately, my life has been hectic lately in ways that have prompted me into intense rounds of self-analysis and discovery.
When I’m feeling cool about this, I imagine myself as a butterfly still trapped in her cocoon–I was a worthy caterpillar! but further journeys of transformation, to always more accurately perceive the world around me and do with my life what is truly the worthiest and best use I can put to it, called me out of my more comfortable form. The process has been painful and destructive in many ways, but the end result will be more than worth it.
When I am NOT feeling cool about this, I want to kick my own ass around the block for not appreciating what I had prior to all this upheaval anywhere near as much as I ought and also wonder why I am clearly one of those people who just has to pee on the electric fence for herself to learn some of life’s lessons. This is when I ponder the conundrum that is intelligence versus wisdom, and why one doesn’t automatically lead to the other–
The reason I bring all of this up is that it is partly to blame for why I have mostly ceased blogging–I have lost the surety of my convictions in too many areas that I used to blog so confidently about. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to suppose that nobody’s too interested in reading me express meandering thoughts that go nowhere. (The other reasons were that for several months I was unable to sit for any length of time at a computer due to a very stupid back problem that was happily surgically resolved a few months ago, and that when I do sit at the computer, I am either working on changing my employment status from “couch potato” to “salaried” or I am slowly refinding my way back into my fiction writing.) BUT, based upon encouragement from my fellow absentee blogger Quin, I have decided to at least attempt to get back into the blogging saddle. I do kinda miss it, you know. Nothing like getting to exercise a pithy clever phrase or twenty while also expounding upon matters that are very close to the heart!
But I am going to start slowly, because as I said, oftentimes nowadays, I find myself not only unsure of what I want to say, but even that I want to say it. So I will simply present a handful of fleeting impressions from last week…passing thoughts and observations…and see how that pans out.
Name: Olivia Munn
Indifference level (mine, anyway): medium-high
Synopsis: I had never heard of her before The Daily Show dustup. I had and still have no opinion about the sexism or lack thereof of The Daily Show’s hiring process–to me, they certainly don’t seem to have less women running around than any other show, but then again, the amount of attention I pay to TV shows in general could be measured by a thimble. However, I did find this distasteful enough that I am disinclined to check her out on The Daily Show anytime soon:
“I never tried to use anything besides my own sweat and blood and talent to get somewhere. I think that anyone who’s out there trying to bring down why any woman would get anywhere, or why we’re different, just needs to f**king turn her f**king computer off, take the sandwich out of her mouth and go for a goddamn f**king walk. You know what? Just walk it off, bitch. Just walk it off, bitch.”
Yes, Olivia, my concerns aren’t really about sexism in hiring practices. Really, I’m just jealous because you are so, so hot. Yes, that must be it. That’s why I complain about Sarah Palin, too, because she is hot and I only wish I was hot like her. And you. Being hot is so, so, so…cool! Yes, that’s IT! And I also wish I was married again, because it’s been almost a whole year since I was last married and I think I’m having withdrawal symptoms–
Name: Mark Williams, right-wing radio talk show dude and spokesperson for the Tea Party Express, whateverthehell that is (I had to look it up)
Amazement at sheer chutzpah level: Stratospheric
(addendum: amazement that he got shunned by his homies in the fallout: Stratospheric, but in a good way this time)
Synopsis:I mean, did you read the thing he wrote..? It’s hard for me to believe he was actually trying to rebutt the NAACP’s resolution condemning Tea Party racism. Honestly, about the only thing he could have done that would have been more of a statement of “Damn right niggaz, we ARE racist and here’s why!” would have been to, well, just say “Damn right niggaz etc. etc!”
Name: BP’s Gulf oil spewing madness
My personal ability to do anything about it: nonexistent
My faith in the likely success of BP’s latest attempt to cap it: nonexistent
Synopsis:It’s gross and not entirely unexpected and I’m sorry for it, but mostly I find myself still wondering why people object so strenuously to nuclear power. Anybody out there have strong feelings on the subject..? If so, feel free to share them with me.
Updated to add: What I should’ve said was, anybody out there have strong feelings on the subject whose opinions on it are based on actual fact as opposed to not having a clue what they’re talking about? In other words, if you think nuclear reactor waste remains toxic for 4 billion years, or you think that fission or thermonuclear bombs are made out of nuclear reactor waste, or you don’t know that petroleum as fuel and petroleum products are both extensively used to make weapons, you are not being asked to comment. As a matter of fact, you are being asked not to comment. Thank you!–The Management
Here, watch this while I write something.
I’ve blogged less about racism than I have about sexism. This isn’t because I think racism is a less important issue than sexism; I don’t. It’s because I am steeped, like strong coffee, in my white privilege. In other words, I don’t blog about racism as much because I don’t think about racism as much because I don’t have to think about it as much because I personally am not confronted by it as much. For this we can thank my blue eyes, blonde hair and reasonably fair skin.
But today, for some reason, I am finding myself reading about racism at every turn. I shouldn’t say for some reason; one obvious reason is the passage of Arizona’s SB-1070, otherwise known as the Fuck All You Mexican-Looking Motherfuckers!!11! law. It’s having unsurprising fallout already even outside Arizona’s borders, and what’s really been boggling the mind (mine, anyway) is how supportive the Libertarian contingent has been about it. (The reason I’m aware of it is that my housemate, a self-identified Libertarian, is completely horrified by the evidence piling up daily that a lot of other, so-called Libertarians favor this law. He can’t understand that dynamic at all; to him it’s a clear-cut massive governmental infringement of citizen rights along the lines of the Patriot Act as well as a blatant crossing of the line between states’ rights and the constitutional jurisdiction of the federal government, though admittedly in the opposite direction of the usual infringement. Poor baby.)
I have some Facebook friends who are generally all about individual freedoms, but they’ve pretty much all also come out in support of Arizona. One even declared boldly that the opposition to the new immigration law makes him want to go visit there even MORE (this was in response to a link I posted about the RNC deciding against having their convention there, which is some tangy irony if there ever was any). As I pointed out in response, with his own mop of blonde hair and white skin, making such a, er, radical and rebellious trip into ShowMeYourPapers!OrIArrestYourAss!Land isn’t all that impresionante.
I do understand when people hold differing views from me, and under certain and specific conditions I have no difficulty respecting said differing views and even seeing quite clearly where they are coming from and generating a reasonable amount of empathy. However, there are those conditions…the one that is being massively and regularly violated for me now is the consistency condition. I have encountered this issue before–for instance, in the everlasting abortion debate. If you tell me, for instance, that you truly believe that developing human cells in utero are morally equivalent to a born human being and this is why you violently oppose abortion, I can absolutely comprehend where you are coming from…as long as you don’t also display stances ranging from total indifference to wild-eyed enthusiasm about killing off those living outside the womb, for instance, via state-administered executions or foreign war initiatives. I am sorry, but when your concern about the rights of citizens being egregriously violated by the government suddenly becomes gung-ho eagerness to jump right in and help the government do it if said citizens happen to have brown skin or speak English as a second language, my contempt begins to uncontrollably sprout up between us.
I admit, when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, while I wasn’t such a mooncalf as to even remotely credit the whole we’re now living in a post-racial America! meme, I did hope it was at least a small and permanent swipe at the underpinnings of white racism. However, I am becoming more and more convinced that the existence of a self-identified African-American President is actually acting like fertilizer on the apparently-unkillable weed infestation that is racism in America. Because of this
I didn’t necessarily think Obama’s presidency would make racism go away, but I didn’t think it would make it worse. (Was that the blindness of my white privilege again..?) Not that there are more racists now–ha! but that they’re all losing whatever it was that was preventing them from being utterly and unapologetically aggressive about it previously.
Is that a good thing? Now that it’s so much out in the open, will that make it easier to kill? Maybe–but, like the Arizona’s new laws, how many people are going to get really hurt in the process? And what if there’s not even an end that’s justifying these means?
Please, folks, stop doing this. Is it really that horrible to you that we have a black President? Is it..?