Archive for March, 2007

Kook of the week.

As we know, I am fascinated by kooks. Kooks of all kinds, but especially public kooks. Kooks who blog. Kooks who stand on street corners. Even kooks who cook.

So imagine my delight the other day when I was accosted while strolling down the street by a young, earnest woman in a grey hoodie, standing next to a card table from which dangled two signs: “Impeach Cheney First!” and “Al Gore is Lying About Global Warming.” “Don’t believe everything you read!” she yelled, pointing at the newspaper tucked under my arm. Then she thrust a pamphlet at me cheerfully. “Here, read this!”

An elderly, balding white man looked earnestly up at me from the shiny cover of the pamphlet. “Ah, Monsieur LaRouche,” I smiled. “We meet again.”

Lyndon LaRouche has had a long and surprisingly successful career in kookdom. In the 1960s, he was associated with socialist and radical leftist groups, despite his distaste for the influence of the counterculture of that time. He shifted in the next decade to become a rabid right-winger and anti-communist, encouraging his followers to physically attack members of Communist and Socialist groups, including one with which he had previously been affiliated, in his “Operation Mop-Up.” Since then he has run for U.S. President no fewer than eight times, usually trying for the Democratic Party ticket.

Throughout LaRouche’s various political permutations, one theme has remained constant: conspiracy. (Let me try that again. Conspiracy!) Lately, he has turned his attention to Al Gore and Global Warming, which, he says, is a Conspiracy!

Were Gore’s swindle to become established international law, the result would be that the entire planet would now plunge quickly into a prolonged dark age, one deeper, and worse than any other known to us from historical records of the past, a dark age from which only distant future generations would probably recover, but, that only after a probably long, and deep descent of depopulation, into rivalry with whatever species of baboons, or the like, might be available for making such comparisons.

Gore’s motivation for bringing about said Dark Age Of Chaos And Doom:

[T]here are almost species-like, culturally induced differences among human types, axiomatic-like differences in types of cultural breeding which are sometimes comparable in form of expression to differences in biological varieties among lower forms of animal life. In that sense of the matter, in the strictest sense of the term, Al, at bottom, underneath the affected “company manners” exterior, Gore as a specimen, is simply not a desirable sociological type, nor, at this stage in his life, probably civilizable, either.

He goes on to compare Gore to syphillis. No, really.

Of course, what kook would be complete without a Jewish Conspiracy! theory?

“being Jewish, they couldn’t qualify for Nazi Party leadership, even though their fascism was absolutely pure! As extreme as Hitler! They sent them to the United States . . .The independent central-banking-system crowd, the slime-mold. The financier interests.”

(My perennial question: if Jews control the world’s money, why haven’t I gotten any of it?)

Kooks fascinate me, therefore I share them with you. Enjoy.

Comments (27) »

Why don’t they consult me on these things?

Proposed addition to the California Code of Civil Procedure, Title 4 (Civil Discovery Act):

20##.###: If the party responding to discovery requests responds in such a manner as to make it perfectly clear that said party has no intention of actually answering and/or producing any useful information whatsoever, it shall be sufficient for propounding party’s Meet & Confer letter to read, in its entirety, as follows:

“You are a jackass, and you’re wasting my time. Now get it right or I’ll ask the Court to sanction the fuck out of you.”

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It’s a crisis, all right.

What would you think of an organization you could turn to when you faced an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy? One that had kind counselors, who explained all of your options and helped you make the decision that was right for you? Wouldn’t something called a “crisis pregnancy center” seem like a good place to go?

Sure, if accurate, unbiased counseling were actually what you would get there. But it’s not.

From the LA Times, last month: States fund antiabortion advice.

U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), an abortion rights supporter, last year asked undercover investigators to contact 23 crisis pregnancy centers; 20 gave misleading information, such as exaggerating the risk of abortion, he reported. In Austin, the diocese hands out a booklet — approved by the state — that suggests a link between abortion and breast cancer, though the National Cancer Institute has found no such connection.

Make no mistake, these clinics are neither few nor far between, and they’re getting your tax money. “Altogether, local antiabortion and crisis pregnancy centers have received well over $60 million in grants for abstinence education and other programs, according to a [Washington] Post review of federal records.”

Now they’re targeting Black communities with their campaign of misinformation. They are “[fr]aming their cause as the new frontier in civil rights — an effort to stop ‘black genocide’ . . . [t]he black activist group LEARN tries to rally political outrage by touring colleges with the Genocide Awareness Project — giant murals that juxtapose photos of aborted fetuses with images of slaughter in Rwanda.”

A single statistic underlies all these efforts: African Americans make up 13% of the population but account for 37% of all abortions in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s a pretty scary statistic. But here’s an equally scary one: in the year 2001, 69% of all pregnancies among black women were unintended, as opposed to 40% among white women and 54% among hispanic women. [PDF]

If you feel the abortion rate is too high for any group of women or for all women, provide better education, healthcare, and birth control options to them. Maybe even fund improvements in infrastructure and promote job creation and local small businesses to support struggling families.

But don’t lie to them and deny them their right to choose.

Via Feministing
Obligatory Planned Parenthood link

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I’ve read this twelve times and I can’t stop giggling.

The following is dedicated to Arthur.

arthur in a drunken stupor

From the Best of Craigslist:

Oh no fatty. That food’s not for you.

Date: 2007-03-06, 9:35PM CST

Hey fatbottom, don’t think I don’t see you coveting the kitten’s rich tasty kitten food. So knock it off, cause you ain’t getting any.

You can hatch evil plans to acquire the tasty food all you want, but let me remind you, you’re a cat, and your strategies have been at best dismal failures. Let’s refresh, shall we?

You headbutted the kitten away from her food. This was your best strategy to date, and you actually got to snarf down some of good stuff until I caught you, and you were greeted by your arch nemesis, Captain Squirtgun and his sidekick Lieutenant My-Foot-To-Yo-Fat-Ass. Me 1, Tubbins 0

Brute Force no longer an option, you decided to go stealth ops. Lurk, waiting for the kitten to wander, then you swoop in on a high speed raid. That didn’t work out so well for you either did it? Why not? Cause at 20 something lbs, you don’t ‘swoop’ very stealthy. There’s a reason Possums hunt at night- because they’d starve otherwise… just like you’re doing now. Me 2, Sumo-cat 0

Taking no chances and sick of having to guard the kitten bowl until she was done, I decided kitten gets to eat up on the counter. You hate that more than anything don’t you? I can just see the resentment in your pudgy face. Why does she get to eat steak up there, when I’m eating compressed dust down here? Because I know you can’t get up to the counter without a loud distinctive grunt and making a calamity trying to wiggle your raccoon-ass between the wall and the toaster. Me 3, Fatty 0.

Clearly I own you. In all senses of the word. You really ought to just get used to the Vet’s prescribed food. You’re gonna be eating it for at least a decade, which is forever as far as you’re concerned.

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Other people are funnier than I am. It’s true.

For your reading pleasure, I give you some of their funny:

FOX NEWS AT ITS FINEST, from Welcome to Pottersville.
(PART THE SECOND)

TOP SECRET LOVE AFFAIR WITH DICK CHENEY, from Faux Real.

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No such thing as too many chefs.

We should all be grateful for our honest friends; the ones who tell us hard truths, like that we have something stuck in our teeth and that puce is not a color anyone should wear. Or, in my case, that the sweater I’m kntting so confidently is not going to fit.

Knitters: I need your help.

I optimistically embarked on Sizzle for my first sweater/top project, and I’m facing a difficulty. This is what it should look like when it’s complete:

Sizzle

The pattern said to choose the size based on bust measurement. I measured my bust: 38 inches. Okay. I cast on 98 stitches and began. When I was about six inches into the back, my friend Sara cast a discerning eye upon it and told me, as I mentioned above, that I was knitting a tent, not a close-fitting top.

“It has darts!” I protested. “It decreases to 86 stitches at the waist!”

Ever patient, Sara pointed out that at my gauge of 5 stitches/inch, the waist of this sweater was going to be nearly 35 inches. We pulled out the tape measure and wrapped it around my middle. 28 inches.

I kvetched, but I frogged it and started again, this time with 78 stitches, decreasing to 66. Problem: the bust measurement for this size is 31 inches, which is just not going to cover the area required. Clearly, Ms. Wendy Bernard did not have my body in mind while she was writing this thing. Which is fine – I don’t really expect her to dramatically tear up her patterns, declaring “these are wrong! All wrong! They just won’t fit Uccellina!” (though I kind of like the image) – but now I need to strategize.

At 66 stitches, the narrowest point in the sweater will be 26.4 inches.

sizzle math

(First of all, really? Is this right? Because although I teach English, I am beyond awful at math. So if I’m doing this wrong, please tell me.)

(So far beyond awful, in fact, that I just noticed that my fancy equation up there could be simplified by just subtracting 31 from 38. Yup. That’s how bad I am. It’s embarrassing, really.)

On the recommendation of several people, I picked up Big Girl Knits. It has wonderful instructions on how to create short-row shaping for de boobies. I practiced it on some spare cotton, and hey! Look at that!

practiceshortrows.jpg

Extra inches of breast-space, as promised.

But . . .

How do I incorporate the short row section into a pattern that already has darts? Do the short rows interrupt the pattern, or is there some way of adjusting the pattern to do the darts and the short rows simultaneously? And what to do about the neckline shaping and armhole shaping that’s supposed to happen at approximately the same place in the pattern where the short rows need to go? Should I abandon the short rows and just increase the dart stitches more than the pattern says?

Help.

At least the back is pretty. Maybe I’ll just wear that.

sizzleback.jpg

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I’m glad I’m at the office today.

Repeat: I’m glad I’m at the office today. Screenshot this sucker, people, because it may be the only time you ever hear me say that.

It’s not that work itself is so orgasmically glorious – au contraire, I just started working for a second Lawyer, whom we’ll call Litigator. In fact, we’ll call him The Litigator, and we’ll say it in deep voices with phony Austrian accents. This means that my normally light-and-fluffy workload has been increased by approximately 6,351 times, and now threatens to crush me at any moment.

So no, work itself is not why I’m glad to be here. I am glad to be here because it is going to hit ninety-two degrees in Los Angeles today, and my home is unblessed by air conditioning.

Ninety-two degrees! Eight days before the first day of Spring! I’m pretty sure that’s unacceptable, even in L.A. It was nearly this hot yesterday, too, and I was not best pleased. I sat out on my lovely patio to knit and had to slink back inside after maybe an hour, because I was developing unsightly sweat stains. The cats have made signs and are planning to take the bus down to town hall in order to picket. Or they were, before I reminded them that they spent all their bus money on Feline Greenies. Now they’re just going to write nasty letters to the Times.

Listen to Al Gore, people. The man knows whereof he speaks.

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Such a pussy.

Thank god, I say thank god we women have men like Christopher Warner looking out for us. What would our vaginas do without him?

Christopher A. Warner says he considers himself something of a maverick, a caring physician willing to challenge medical orthodoxy in order to help women.

That’s why the 39-year-old board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist recently opened the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of Washington in a red brick townhouse off Washington Circle. There, he is building a business as the first area physician to perform controversial procedures that use a laser to enhance sexual gratification by repairing tissue damaged by childbirth, to give women a “youthful aesthetic look” or to make those who are not appear to be virgins.

. . .Warner, a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine who started an ob-gyn practice in 2000 and also maintains an office in Southeast Washington, said his goal is to empower women.

Shiny pink empowerment via surgical quick-fix for socially-inculcated insecurity! That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

It’s not as if Dr. Warner hasn’t put his methods through the most rigorous scientific scrutiny, after all.

Warner, who has operated on 18 patients, said he does not consider the lack of published studies to be problematic.

“Life isn’t all about studies,” Warner said. “These are real problems that don’t require 50 people to research the same topic. Women are telling us that it’s working.”

Well . . . okay. But still, the ultimate goal is to improve women’s health.

Warner and Matlock say that patients frequently request “a nice sleek look” similar to images seen in Playboy magazine and on some cable TV channels. “Women tell us they want to look like they’re 18 again,” Matlock said.

. . .”I did it for both of us,” said Figueroa, adding that their marriage has improved as a result of laser rejuvenation and a procedure she said Matlock suggested to beautify her genitals. “Before the surgery I felt really old . . . and ugly. Since the surgery that’s changed. I’m very happy with it — and so is my husband.”

(Figueroa, by the by, is a 32-year-old who has borne four children. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that after a total of three years of pregnancy and four births, it’s really fucking sad that your husband would encourage you to undergo $15,000 of surgery (even paying $8,000 of it himself!) rather than love the body you have.)

Ah, well. At least we can rest easy knowing that Warner trained with David Matlock, the best guy in the field.

In 1998 the [Medical Board of California] sought to revoke his license, charging him with insurance fraud, dishonesty, creation of false medical records and gross negligence in connection with his treatment of two patients . . . In the past 10 years, records show, Matlock has been sued for malpractice 10 times in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The article concludes with a section about the popular surgery, hymenoplasty.

“I’ve been performing this on and off for years,” said Marco Pelosi II, a Bayonne, N.J., gynecologist who says the “revirginization” operation has become increasingly popular as a gift for men. Pelosi estimates he has done about 150 hymenoplasties in the past two years.

Hey honey! For our anniversary, I’m going to make sure that we get to relive the ecstatic moment when I squeaked, bled all over the sheets, and wondered if the whole “sex” thing was really worth it. What a lovely gift.

Comments (24) »

Happy early César Chávez Day.

I have to file something with the Court on Monday, so I checked the Court Calendar to make sure it wasn’t a holiday. Don’t laugh – the Court recognizes holidays I’ve never even heard of. For instance:

Me: Huh! Who knew there was a César Chávez day?

Grandma Secretary, passing by: I forget; was he legal?

Me, with narrowed eyes and sarcastic tone: He was born in Arizona, so I assume he was legal, yes.

Grandma Secretary: Hey, the only reason you don’t mind the illegals is because you don’t work in a job area that they’re taking over.

Me: I’m sorry, do you work in one of those jobs?

Grandma Secretary: Yes! Some of the firms downtown hire hispanic legal secretaries because they can get them for $38,000!

Me: Are those secretaries illegal immigrants?

Grandma Secretary: Well, no, but -

Me: Then that’s completely irrelevant.

Grandma Secretary: But they’d have to pay a white or a black a lot more than that.

Me: So your issue isn’t with illegal immigration; it’s with wage discrimination against legal hispanic workers.

Grandma Secretary: Look, don’t try to tell me they’re not taking away jobs. When my husband worked construction a few years ago, he said there were no white faces there any more.

Me: Again, I’m going to have to go with, “not a statement about illegal immigration.”

Grandma Secretary: Well, if you think I’m racist, you should hear what my black friends have to say about it.

And with that she flounced out of my office.

Ever willing to spend my lunch hour doing research, I immediately hit the internet. If the problem is illegal immigrants taking jobs, then there must be plenty of Americans ready and waiting for those jobs, right? According to the LA Times, Colorado is now facing the consequences of that particular fallacy.

Ever since passing what its Legislature promoted as the nation’s toughest laws against illegal immigration last summer, Colorado has struggled with a labor shortage as migrants fled the state. This week, officials announced a novel solution: Use convicts as farmworkers.

[snip]

[Farmer Joe] Pisciotta said he hoped the program highlighted what he viewed as the absurdity of Colorado’s position — dependent on immigrant labor but trying to chase migrants away. He said the people leaving were not just those who entered the country illegally.

“Some of them have said, ‘We think our paperwork is in order, but how about if it’s not and we get caught on a glitch,’ ” he said.

But for those unwilling to have felons pick their melons, it seems like a guest worker program would be a good option. Or maybe not, says the New York Times.

Labor experts say employers abuse guest workers far more than other workers because employers know they can ship them home the moment they complain. They also know these workers cannot seek other jobs if they are unhappy.

[snip]

Critics, including many labor unions and immigrant groups, say employers exaggerate the labor shortage because they are eager for cheap, docile, temporary labor from abroad. The critics say there would not be such a shortage of American workers if employers offered a living wage for these jobs.

Huh. Maybe that’s the real problem, eh? Employers are unwilling to offer a living wage – never heard of that happening before.

Oh, but it’s so much easier to blame the brown people.

Comments (12) »

I’d rather be blogging

My boss is leaving for a week’s vacation tomorrow, and has suddenly discovered about 18,375,492 things that absolutelymustbedonebytheendoftheday. Don’t give up on me yet! I may squeeze in some time later today, or tomorrow at the latest.

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