26 May 2008, by

Dear Internet

And typists thereof:

It’s segue. Ok? It’s not segway, unless you’re talking about the personal transporter. And I know it’s petty to point it out and blah blah colloquial and blah blah non-native English speaker and blah blah dogs can’t spell and why am I so uptight, but it’s bugging me. So could you please fix it? Segue.

That is all.

Or maybe not. It’s also per se, not per say. And if you’re in agreement with someone, it’s “Hear, hear.” not “Here, here.”

That is all.

For now.

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:

Welcome to my rant. If you haven’t been here before, this is where I vent, in an effort to diffuse my anger by using words instead of resorting to violence. Pointing out errors in my logic, or asking me to be reasonable, or suggesting I need to get over it is likely to occasion further rants, only directed at you. I have a hefty dose of Scotch-Irish in my ethnic makeup, and this causes me to be unreasoningly angry from time to time. Stand back from the spew.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store. While I was there I bought one hundred dollars worth of food. Among the things I bought were a bottle of Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab Boil (which is only sold in tiny bottles here in St. Louis) and a package of frozen crawfish tails. Now I don’t know the different combinations of things I could make with those two ingredients, not to mention all the others that I had, but I imagine the odds are good that the overwhelming preoponderance of things I could concoct would be at least Southern, and likely originating in Louisiana. Now, granted, cooking recipes from the south does not make you a Southerner, but just to be on the safe side, considering there’s thousands of displaced persons living in your city, mightn’t you consider not saying idiotic and offensive things about Louisiana and New Orleans on the off chance that the person you’re selling things to is from there?

You might think so. But no, these folks felt perfectly free to engage in a long and involved conversation covering such diverse topics as how Mardi Gras is not inviting if you have to float down the city streets, how the city should be left to drown and they should drive a big cruise ship into the Mississippi instead, how there’s no point rebuilding New Orleans because “nature will eventually win that battle”, how stupid people are to live below sea level, and so forth ad nauseam, punctuating the pieces of their talk that they thought particularly clever with laughter.

Things I tactfully did not say to these ignorant, self-appointed experts doing menial labor :

  • I realize your jobs are boring and you are just clacking your jaws for the sake of hearing your heads rattle. However, I am from New Orleans and I would appreciate it if you kept your mouths shut for the remainder of my need to stand within earshot of your callous stupidity.
  • One of the country’s largest ports mean anything to you? Where exactly do you think your state’s goods are going when you ship them down the Mississippi?
  • You talk as if your city wasn’t perched overhanging the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as if there were no levees here and no danger of flooding, as if within the last fifteen years there hadn’t been a flood so massive that Chesterfield Valley ended up under 10 feet of water. Oh, and let me see, were you people smart enough not to bother to rebuild there? NO! You weren’t, there’s scads of buildings less than fifteen years old shoulder to shoulder there!
  • New Madrid fault. I hear we’re standing on it. Your house built to withstand earthquakes?
  • You think that was only nature? You think the steady erosion of protective barrier reef islands had no effect on how strong the hurricane was when it made landfall? You think mankind forcing the Mississippi to stay its course for a hundred years had no effect? Ever hear of global warming, which may or may not have played its part and most certainly isn’t natural? You think there was nothing we could do to protect the city beforehand? All the experts recommendations about strengthening the levee and nurturing the outlying environment just so much balderdash, huh?
  • I’m so happy that a cashier and bag boy have figured out the solution to the problems of a million people. You are so bright! “Just don’t live there”, wow, I’m sure the president will be calling you shortly to ask your opinion on all sorts of critical world affairs! Palestinians living for decades in tent cities throughout Gaza? Just move! Unemployed? Go elsewhere! Living in famine stricken Darfur? Duh! Settle in a country where there’s food!

Small-minded jackasses.

What I did say, in the mildest tone possible: “The Dutch do alright. Their entire country is practically below sea level”. The cashier’s reply, “Yes, but well, they don’t have hurricanes, there, do they?” I refrained from pointing out that their system of pumps, sea walls and dikes would withstand hurricanes and more. I didn’t even point out how appalled they were when they discovered that a nation as rich as ours had no similar system in place. I am the model of restraint.

On the plus side, the seafood gumbo I made was deeeeeeelicious. Also on the plus side, I am lucky enough to have any number of grocery stores nearby to choose to shop from, and am not required to ever darken the doorway of that particular place again.

I leave you with the biting humor of get your war on‘s take on Katrina:


iTunes says I was listening to Armageddon Days (Are Here Again) from the album Mind Bomb by The The when I posted this. I have it rated 4 stars.

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:

It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in a really good rant, but earlier in the week I was really, really torqued, so I’m going to vent here. Our town (and by this I mean our actual mini-city, not St. Louis itself) in conjunction with another nearby town, delivers us a weekly newspaper, free of charge. It’s a cute little thing, filled with letters to the editors, upcoming city council meetings, notices on city wide ordinanaces, and interviews with local high schoolers. It’s very Mayberry, I quite enjoy it. This week when I went to pick up the paper from our driveway, there was a tightly rolled, rubberbanded paper next to it. I picked it up and opened it, only to be assaulted by a noxious, racist screed. I’m not going to detail the group, or link the websites provided, or anything of that nature because the less publicity they get the better, but the piece was filled with usual resentment-mongering diatribes against Jews, segregation and so forth, containing “articles” with such lead lines as “Since my release from prison in 2002…” and “Euro Americans are forced to live with other ethnic groups…” and an awful, awful “Kid’s Corner” that was such an instrument of hate-breeding that it made me shudder and for once be grateful that my child cannot yet read.

The reasons this torques me so intensely are three-fold. One is tangentially related, and has more to do with social attitudes at large than this paper specifically. The commonly held (and expressed) notion is that the South is the bastion of racism. I’m not going to dispute any allegations that racism is alive and well in the South. In fact, I’ve talked here on the blog about instances of racism so profound I had difficulty accepting they occurred in my neighborhood. On the other hand, in my decade or so living in the South, never have I had flung upon my doorstep such a despicable platform of hate, never was it assumed that I would want or accept such a thing, and never was the widespread, blanket dissemination of such a screed condoned by anyone that I knew. So you can imagine that I’m a little tired about hearing all about the racist South, when it’s not until I move away that something like this happens to me. Look to your own beam, Midwest, before nattering on about the South’s mote.

Secondly, and more to the point, I really resent the fouling of my community by such garbage. I would not be surprised if this delivery campaign had been orchestrated by people who don’t live here, who have never lived here, and who don’t intend to live here. At least, one can hope that such is the case, and that these peddlers of inflammatory dissension are not my neighbors. I am a librarian, so it follows that I’m a defender of people’s first amendment rights to say whatever they please no matter how foul or nonsensical such utterances may be. However, though I would not dream of denying anyone their mouthpiece, I am still really angered that someone thinks spreading this vile propaganda was worth the trees and ink. It still bothers me that people use their opportunities to speak freely no better than to spew lies and bigotry. And it really bothers me when their spew ends up on the driveway of my home. I expect better of free-thinking citizens in the twenty-first century. I hate to see my confidence in people’s ability to be rational and civil dispelled.

Lastly, it makes me really angry that these people chose the exact same day and time of our newspaper delivery to deliver their own paper and that they couched it in the language of news. I know that it can’t be helped, really, there’s nothing the paper can do to keep people from piling stuff next to it, but it gave the real paper a stain by association. The two were lying side by side, a desperate attempt at legitimacy on the part of the racists but an inevitable, unavoidable link between the two created by everyone subsequently picking them up together. Intentional, I’m sure, as the outrageous claims pronounced in the distasteful racist piece could only benefit by the appearance of endorsement from the real local newspaper. The reason this is a rant, however, and not a meditated piece on the ills of racism is because I know that there’s nothing at all that can be done (and possibly nothing that should be done) to stop this. It makes me unreasoningly angry that it happens and I just can’t help but fume about the whole thing, even though its likely just the price I pay for living in a land of tolerance.


iTunes says I was listening to Monday Night from the album EP2 by Zero 7 when I posted this. I have it rated 4 stars.

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:

For those of you who aren’t followers of what categories posts go to, this is falling under the rant category. You may not recognize it, or me, because it’s been a very, very long time since I ranted about anything (a quick check shows me the last thing in this category was written in March of this year, six months ago). It’s been kind of hard for me to get good and angry lately, since I’ve been grieving Simone, but I think I’m ready to get some things off my chest. This is a rant I’ve been pondering for a long time now (in fact, I reference it as the next rant in the last paragraph of my previous rant, so you can’t say I don’t follow through). At any rate, here are the rules and disclaimers for rants : everything ranted about is my opinion and I’m venting here so while I will usually start at the point of facts I will likely end completely in emotional territory. If you don’t agree, power to you, but I don’t really care. Here we go, hang on while we tread the controversial grounds of politics and I foam at the mouth.

Although I don’t often write things that are directly political, it’s probably become pretty obvious to most readers that I’m somewhat left leaning in my political views. I would probably be most at home living in a social democracy of the type that can be found in Scandinavian countries, the main problem with that being that I’m not really all about the snow, if you know what I mean. My political ideas are considered and I’ve always taken politics somewhat seriously. Nothing like growing up in a military dictatorship to emphasize the importance of voting. That said, the last time I voted for a major party candidate in a presidential election was in 1988. Yes, I voted for Dukakis (not that it’s anybody’s business who I voted for and will vote for). I voted for, to my mind, the lesser of two evils. My voting choices were much more immature then, and I voted for Dukakis because I very firmly believe that no one who has been director of any of the branches of the secret service should become President. This seems like an obvious conflict of interest. Back to the point though, discounting local politics, where I often have no choice but to vote for major party candidates, I generally vote outside the major parties. This is because the two major parties suck.

Just in case you didn’t hear me: the two major parties suck.

I’m not one of those people who believes that there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats, though I’ll often say as much because I like to see both sides sputter and magnify differences that seem fairly minute to me. I’m not a one-issue voter (I’m a three-to-four-issue voter and if I thought anyone but me cared I would go into a lengthy explanation about which issues and why) but on all the issues that are most important to me Democrats and Republicans usually fall into the same boat. For example, civil liberties are extremely important to me. Again, see the military dictatorship of my childhood and draw your own conclusions as to why. Ok, let’s look at civil liberties and then look at both major party candidates. Most people would agree that the latest ballyhoo over civil liberties is the Patriot Act. Bush signed it, Kerry voted for it. Is there a difference there? None that I can see. In fact, the Patriot Act was passed with overwhelming support from both parties. Pot, kettle, black. I could go on like this, ticking off all the things that are really important to me and showing that the differences are either negligible or non-existent between the two parties. I will readily admit that this is not the case for most people, as for most people there are issues that are very important in which the two parties differ on standpoint, approach and policy. It just happens not to work out that way, nine times out of ten, for me. Frankly, if the two party system works for you, you’re riding high, because that happens to be the kind of system we have. You get to stay within the confines of the party that exactly speaks to what’s most important to you and vote with the vast majority of the rest of the people. That doesn’t work for me and so part of my striving against the two majors is the hope that in a lifelong pattern of independent voting I can strengthen some of the smaller parties so that there will one day be more true choices for people like me.

And now, finally, we arrive at why I’m truly angry. Last week I got a letter from the Democratic Party that included a glossy 8×10 of their candidates (suitable for framing) and thanking me for all my great support. I don’t know if it’s because of my gender or what (my husband got no such letter) but excuse me, exactly where do you get off sending me this waste of trees? I am not now, nor was I ever, a member of your party. I have not now, nor likely will I ever, give your party money. I try not to give your party votes, but sometimes that can’t be helped. In case you haven’t noticed, I think your party sucks. This fawning letter was really the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, because for months I’ve been reading about how all us leftish independent voters are betraying the country and giving George Bush the election because we won’t vote Democratic. I’ve been told I’m stupid, that what I do when I vote a third party is pointless, and that I’m a traitor. Strangely, these insults and threats coming my way from Democratic pundits, bloggers and friends are not so different, from where I’m standing, to Cheney’s threats that we’ll have another attack if we vote against Bush, though I’m sure the people uttering those statements are themselves sure it’s a completely different thing.

Let’s get this straight Democrats : I’m not your pawn and I am not in your pocket. You don’t own me. I owe you nothing. I’m sick and tired of your patronizing attitude. If you wanted me to vote for your party, then you should have nominated someone I could stomach. There was someone, by the way, that I would have crossed over to the major parties and voted for with a skip in my step. He wasn’t good enough for your party leadership and now whether your candidate gets elected or not is a whole lot of not my problem. I vote my conscience, and my conscience sure doesn’t point to Kerry. If Bush gets re-elected, it is not my fault, and your saying that it is my fault won’t make it so, any more than Powell pointing at satellite pictures and saying there were WMDs in Iraq made it so. You can’t cajole me or bully me into voting for someone as a vote against someone else. I vote for candidates, not against them.

I’m sorry that your party is in such a disarray that you feel you have to use these offensive tactics against me to try and draw me in. It reeks of desperation on your part. I’m just letting you know that they’re not convincing me, just making me angry.

My next two long-brewing rants will be taxes and religious ambushes in the workplace.

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:

I just elected the “Rants” category for this post. I’m not sure how ranty it will really turn out to be when all is said and done. I’m not feeling particularly angry at the world, but I’m about to vent my spleen on an assorted list of social and political topics, and the results of my unvarnished opinions could definitely be construed as lunacy by some, if not all my readers. That’s all the caveat I’m giving. To be truthful, I don’t often get political in my blog. I am a political person, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my politics, my beliefs, my positions and the world at large. With any luck my opinions will not fall into the category of ignorant and misinformed, though they do tend toward the stubbornly naive and idealistic at times.
I’m sure there are more incisive and eloquent blogs out there that discuss politics in a way that’s truly useful and thought-provoking (Slacktivist, for one, comes to mind). I’m not aiming to do that or have that here. I’m just airing out some stuff that has been on my mind, lately.

I guess I could start by giving a nod to the gay marriage discussion. I am sure more words in print and blogs and in the media have already been given to this whole discussion than it merits, but I have to say that I’m honestly astonished at the furor this has created. I understand that even though my experience with marriage has been intensely individual and personal, that it is a social and cultural institution and that on some level it has to be given context as a generally accepted and understood thing in order to function as a workable unit for our social structure. I understand resistance against the wholesale liberalization of language. I hate losing words to misuse, imprecise use, overuse and sloppy generalizations. Syllogism in language doesn’t work. If A means B and B means C then it doesn’t follow that A means C. So I can kind of sympathize with people who are upset because as far as they’re concerned marriage is a unit that involved one man and one woman. On the other hand, language is a living thing. It evolves and changes in ways that are beyond the control of any one of us, and on a purely semantic angle, I don’t see why we can’t call a couple of people committed to one another forever and ever “married”. I don’t particularly care what gender that pair of people is. I’m more open, in fact, to calling a social unit of a committed couple married regardless of gender than I am to accepting polygamy. And while I understand being uncomfortable with the sloppiness of having any two random people who decide to get a piece of paper from a civil court be wedded, I was uncomfortable with the flimsiness of it long before it included homosexuals. This has to do with a personal moral imperative about commitment and nothing at all to do with law. I have a general concern that our society is becoming increasingly disposable and that we’re chasing temporary pleasures instead of ultimately more fulfilling endeavors that take dedication and time. That’s a social thing, though, and it is really neither here nor there when it comes to homosexuals and marriage. I haven’t seen any studies, but I imagine that when it comes down to it, gays are just as likely to be faithful and monogamous as the rest of us (which alas, isn’t very). All told, I can understand where people who hesitate to be inclusive are coming from. What I can’t understand, at all, is the position that someone else’s marriage somehow weakens mine. Whether you live in sin, become legally married, divorce seventeen times or live a happy life of freewheeling bachelorhood for all your days is of no consequence to me. At all. I don’t comprehend feeling attacked by the fact that someone else who really, really wants to is getting married. If marriage is, in fact, a weakened and devalued institution that needs bolstering, wouldn’t a flood of marriages be the best thing for it? I am having a really hard time looking at the public outcry as anything but a screaming tantrum from a group of people who don’t want to let anyone else in their club. Yes, I realize this is a simplistic way of viewing it, but I can’t help myself. And clearly, this is something people are really worried about, and I probably shouldn’t be trivializing it. Still, I fail to see what the issue is. Is it that we need someone to marginalize and ostracize to establish what’s normal and mainstream? Because it sure isn’t that all of society will come grinding to a halt and become utterly meaningless when we let homosexuals marry. No more than it did when we decided against segregation, and I’m not anywhere the first person to draw the parallel between the type and tenor of the arguments being made against that when it happened and what we’re hearing now. So what’s the real issue here? But lest I only take one side to task over this, I also have to say that I wish that gay people didn’t feel they needed to chase after all the established patterns and institutions of traditional heterosexual society to feel validated. I know, yes, of course I know, that there are some very real legal ramifications involved in this and I do think that people should have the right to make decisions for their loved ones, participate in health benefits through their partners, share wills, share guardianship of offspring and so on and so forth. I’m not against any of that. And I understand the longing to be just like anyone else as we all have it very deeply ingrained. Still I can’t help feeling that there’s a piece of this struggle for a portion of people involved in it that is about proving oneself to be just like anyone else and that seems sad to me. I know not everyone has the temperament and dedication to walk the path of the outcast and to stand deliberately apart, but truly, if you are gay, and if it’s true that you’re part of a very small portion of the population and will always be a small portion of the population, then you are never going to be run of the mill. You will always be an exception. I don’t know. Like I said, the issue is tangled for me by the impossibilities of legal consequences that really have not much to do with compliance and conformity and social issues. I just wonder if in the desire to be married, like so many others, there’s not some kind of rush to the bottom, to mediocrity and to the commonplace. It’s not like marriage has worked wonders for the heterosexual population of this country. And maybe my view is hopelessly skewed by being so utterly commonplace. I’m a very heterosexual girl in a very traditional marriage about to have the second in the obligatory pair of kids. I don’t really have a path to the unusual or the unique, so maybe I’m standing on my side of the fence going, “You guys are climbing over here? What for? Sure, the grass is pretty green, but it’s just the same green grass every day. Really, it’s not that great. Well, yeah, I do like it, but it’s nothing to get excited about, if you know what I mean.” Of course with everyone else on my side of the fence screaming, “NO! Stay out! We don’t want you here! There’s not enough grass to go around! You make my grass less green by standing near it!” it’s no wonder the fence is being breached on a number of fronts. Well, power to you, my fence jumping brethren, and welcome to the world of uniformity. I hope it lives up to your expectations.

My next topic also falls under the realm of the overdiscussed, and it has to do with the infamous SuperBowl exposure incident. Again, I have no idea what the big deal is about this. The fallout from this non-incident has made
me feel like no one has any kind of a sense of perspective in this country. Actually, though, that’s not even why I’m bringing it up. The real reason I’m bringing it up is so I can have a chance to be a little smug and self-congratulatory. I am repeatedly pleased with and proud of myself for opting out of certain mainstream cultural entrenchments. TV is one of those. I have a TV and it goes on quite a bit, to be honest, but the scope of what I see on it is so narrow that I rarely find cause to be disgusted or outraged by what I witness there. I’m also magically empowered by my off switch. Whenever I’m unhappy about
what I’m watching, I feel completely free to hit the power button and go do something else. I get the
feeling, from some of what I’ve been seeing and reading about people’s reaction to Janet Jackson’s bared breast during the SuperBowl, though, that everyone else’s
living room is decked out like the re-programming center in the movie “A Clockwork Orange”. They get in there and are strapped in, with their eyes held open by metallic pincers, and with no option but to watch the horrifying things that are endlessly paraded in front of them. I can’t imagine a situation where, when I’m free to opt out so easily and painlessly, I’d expend the energy and effort to mount a tirade, write letters to the FCC or file a lawsuit. I don’t feel a need for television to reflect my own personal values or mores. In fact, it rarely does, as it’s way too corporatized and materialistic for my tastes, but I can’t imagine being upset at what someone else chooses to show there. I can imagine rolling my eyes and being disgusted at the quality of programming. Believe me, I used to like TV much more than I do now. I used to follow three or four shows a week! I decided, though, at some point, that I was only going to watch things I was really truly interested in, and have found, increasingly, that there’s not much that falls into this category for me. Almost nothing on TV appeals to me, and I refuse to believe that it’s because I’m
weird and don’t like anything. I guess I’m just not the demographic the producers of shows are aiming for, is all. I’m ok with that, the same way I’m ok with not listening to the radio or going to movies or buying magazines. I
don’t need a bunch of stuff to fill in the spaces and time of my life. In fact, I need less things and less appointments. Of course this point of view doesn’t make me any better than people who watch a lot of
TV. Everyone makes choices about how to spend their time, and for some people, TV is genuinely very enjoyable. Still, even when I do watch the thing, I don’t have to worry about boobies or guns being imposed on me, because I always have the last word. I can stop the machine any time I want to. How many things in life are so easy to control?

Well, we’re out of time for today, but do join me in my next rant, where I take aim at the Democrats, tell them to piss off, and revisit the issue of taxes and why I don’t hate them.

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:

5 May 2003, by

I’ve been meaning to make a correction. It’s not the sour kangaroo who says “Quit your yapping!” in Horton Hears a Who (as I mistakenly wrote the other day) but Vlad Vladikoff, the black-bottomed eagle. I was tempted to go back and just change the text of the original entry, but I decided a correction would be better.

With that brief PSA out of the way, I can now feel free to bust out into full on rant mode. The object of today’s rant is one Blair Hornstine, who apparently feels
she’s being treated unfairly when asked to share the position of valedictorian with two other students
. Someone has neglected to tell Ms. Hornstine that in the big wide world of real life no one cares who was a valedictorian, much less who had to share the honor. I don’t know if she was rushed through school in some kind of gifted program (and I could go on about gifted programs at length, but I think that’s another rant for another day) or not, but it seems obvious the young lass missed those essential moments in kindergarten where they teach the concept of sharing. Not only is it, to my mind, ludicrous to assume that other people’s accomplishments diminish her own, I find it offensive that she thinks her miniscule school achievements merit the time of the court and the taxpayers’ money. It’s inconceivable that we’re going to be paying some judge to listen to some spoiled brat of a high school kid whine. What kind of a skewed world view makes people do dumb things like this? Does she realize how petty and petulant she comes across in her actions? Does she think her college mates aren’t going to know what a big baby she is? Where are her parents? Why aren’t they telling her to get a grip, already? When is suing people going to stop being the answer to every real or perceived slight?

Since we’re all having so much trouble sharing, maybe I can go sit in time out for a bit? Like on another planet? I don’t care if it’s not as nice as this one, so long as Ms. Hornstine and her ilk stay here and carry on their pointless squabbling competition without me.

[Link credit to Legomancer who had his own (funnier) take that you should read as well.]

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:

22 Apr 2003, by


A friend of mine linked the Belief-O-Matic yesterday. I’ve seen it before and taken the quiz several times, but I went to take it again, just for funsies. Now mind you the quiz has several disclaimers about how it may or may not work for you very well and so on and so forth. I guess before I start into full on rant mode I should say that this isn’t an angry rant, but more of a perplexed rant. Usually when I take social, political, or religious quizzes I get answers exactly like I expect them. Beliefnet has me scratching my head every time I take this test (three times in the past three years or so). Why, you ask? I’ll paste the top three matches of my result set below :

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Orthodox Quaker (91%)
3. Liberal Quakers (87%)

Now you, too, are scratching your head, right? Of course blah blah blah Protestant comes as no surprise as I have been heavily steeped in Protestantism all my life, but Quaker?! How is Quaker even a category? How am I a Quaker? I don’t even like oatmeal, except in cookies, and I’m certainly not at all like the most famous Quaker I know (that’d be Nixon). So…..what’s going on here? Last time I took this test, if memory serves, I came out 100% Quaker. I’ve never been to a Quaker service and don’t know any Friends personally. I don’t even know where the geographically closest group of Quakers to me might be! I come from a highly religious background, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about my spirtuality and religiosity. My beliefs are usually fairly thought through and personal. It’s just plain weird and I don’t know what to make of it. The beliefnet link to what Quakers are and believe in is a lot of some like blue, some like red and not all believe in orange, so it’s not much help deciphering what pegs me as a Quaker. I find it very mysterious, though.

Continue reading

In: rants | Tags:
Powered by WordPress