Friday, April 29, 2005


that's me.

it's 2 in the morning and i've rearranged my closet, thrown out a few pairs of shoes, set up my new bookcase, rediscovered the two chapters of my dissertation and i have such bad gas right now i can't possibly to go bed right now.

it's the kind of gas that makes you look forward to making a lot of noise, know what i mean?

see, look. i'm all pooched out.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

guess who

my father (the only man on earth who gives me a nervous breakdown as well as the only man i really listen to) will be visiting and so i will be less regular about writing.

our plans this weekend?


i had an incredibly vivid dream last night that the only non-profit job i was offered was working for an abstinence-only sex education program.

fear not, little one

don't be afraid of the word 'anarcha-feminist.' really. it's not going to walk into your neighborhood and scratch up your saab.

this is a great (if wordy) article looking at the ways race and class intersect with reproductive autonomy - and raises questions about the basic assumptions we have re: who should have the right to have children and who shouldn't.

it gave me pause and made me begin to look at my attitudes toward my own community, particularly why i'm so impatient for black women to use birth control. it's good stuff. wordy, but good.

[via black feminism]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

i don't get it.

venezuela is a sovereign country.
their president was democratically elected.
his recall was overwhelmingly rejected by the citizens.

what's the problem here?

updated: oh. now i get it.

and on this note...

i fantasize alot.
no, not the run of the mill stuff about being stuck in traffic in a yellow cab while entertaining three sailors (make it two.) i mean stuff like: if you could ask a powerful national figure anything, what would you ask?

and i think and think and think.
and never come up with something this good.

i'm going to bed. g'night.

Monday, April 25, 2005

did you know...

the bachelor can be educational?
especially when you're killing time writing the worst romance novel ever (because that's EXACTLY what the world needs now).

(oh, kim wild. we'll miss your ability to get down no matter the occasion.)
those of us who can't use the Pill, the sponge is about to reappear!!

but there are caveats. so - everything you've wanted to know about the sponge here.
SO disturbing.


why is it interracial marriage/dating/whatever is always framed as black/white?

it's nice kristoff wants to see more interracial couples represented in pop culture (so do i) but jumping the color line isn't always about replaying plantation paradigms, you know?

to be honest, i'm puzzled why kristoff is taking this up. he's usually into stories about buying asian women out of sex slavery.

blackfeminism has more on it and it's a good post.

Friday, April 22, 2005

boy blog roundup: steve gilliard and microsoft

Steve Gilliard's News Blog : Gutless surrenders rarely work

in the interest of feminist solidarity, i've segregated my blog reading into girl blogs and boy blogs. every morning, i go down my list of blogs written by women. i love it.

but the boy blogs are good, too. they have their fingers on the hot pulse of boy politics, manly debate and testically important matters.

like, did you know microsoft totally caved about endorsing gay rights recently? i didn't. go read.

odd messengers

T- lives across the street from me. He and his partner are artists; unlike wannabes these two guys live on their art. They sell it on the street, they donate it to friends, they have shows in local cafes, they work out of their basement. My roomie and I met a girl friend of ours at our local bar and T- sauntered over when he saw us. And the conversation between the two of us touched me more than I would have expected.

I was dumbstruck at how open this man is. With his southern accent, his long elegant body and his eye for beautiful things, he hangs out with the homeless people under wacker; he gives money to the crazy naked lady on halsted; he walks to the bus stop and invites the women from the mission to wait for the bus in his living room while serving them egg nog. When he digs in trash and finds the stuff to make his art he doesn’t think this is strange; to him trash is the equalizer – we’re all on the bottom, he says. Some of us just don’t know it.

And when I told him of the decision I’d probably have to make tomorrow morning (yes, it’s drawn out this long) he suddenly excused himself and went to his apartment next door. When he came back he had a short string of fresh water and black pearls and crystal in his hand. At the end of the short strand a tiny medallion of the Virgin Mary and a crucifix hung. He laid them on the table between us.

‘I don’t know you very well,’ he said. ‘But I know that when you talked about working with the Y your voice lifted and your eyes lit up. When you talked about the other, you stumbled. There are things we all have to give away and pride is one of them. Life has taught me humility; I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, I’ve eaten peanut butter sandwiches and thought them feasts, I’ve counted pennies when I used to have thousands. But I’ve never lost faith that my life had meaning, that there was something I was meant to do. I don’t have religion the way other people have but I’ve always thought I’d have to answer to … some … spark.”

He gave me the short strand. They were beautiful – creamy misshapen pearls, gray black pearls and crystals the color of a girl’s blush.

“It’s better to know you’ve done the right thing rather than the convenient thing. A comfortable man is not safe,’ he said, quoting Benjamin Franklin. ‘When you pray about your decision, use these beads. This is the beauty of humility. This is the beauty of sacrifice.”

And, in all places – my neighborhood bar – I felt my eyes fill with tears as I wound the strand around my fingers.

[cross posted at church gal]

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

he's kidding, right?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Roe's Birth, and Death

please tell me i'm hallucinating:
"Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better."

mommy's choice

Being a Lady of the Day (aka, unemployed) means that I have the occasional moment to sit and watch Oprah while eating cereal in the morning. Monday morning I watched Jon Stewart cavort with Oprah until we were rudely interrupted by the Conclave; this morning it was a mother’s shocking confession that…she loves her husband more than her children.

Yes, Ayelet Waldman (wife to Michael Chabon) made the stunning announcement that she is in love with her husband and not her children; that if he died she would be devastated while, if one of her children died (God forbid), she could dare to imagine a life for herself. The stay at home mothers gasped in horror as if she had said, I would stab all of my children and drink their blood rather than be apart from my husband. These mothers were horrified that she, another mother, could pick her spouse rather than her child; one woman had even asked her own daughter what she would think if she knew her mommy loved daddy more and brought a note to the show to chastise Waldman – ‘Bad mommy,’ she said. (What an inappropriate question to ask a child.) The outrage and insecurity these women showed seemed out of place to me.

In the essay that sparked the discussion, Waldman had written:
“…my husband will say that we, he and I, are the core of what he cherishes, that the children are satellites, beloved but tangential.”

It was this marginalization of the child that outraged the mothers in Oprah’s studio; how could she say that, they cried. How could she call herself a good mother when she’s told her kids they don’t matter to her? Their blatant misunderstanding of Waldman’s position aside, my roomie and I found the other women’s attempts to get her to reorient her passions toward her children away from her life partner bizarre and rather cult-like.

It seems logical to me that a woman would feel for her husband more than her child(ren). Yes, I’m blatantly commitment-phobic but there is enough of a Catherine/Heathcliff-type romantic in me who thinks that’s the whole point of being in a relationship: to shout to the world that the metaphysically impossible has happened. You’ve met your soulmate.

I remember a day when it was made very clear to me and my sister that our father loved our mother more than he loved us. We had discovered a part of our mother’s past – a secret that my father had known all along; feeling hurt and betrayed we confronted him – how could he keep something like that from us, his children? My father’s answer was firm and quiet.

‘She and I – we – chose each other,’ he said to us. ‘That woman is my wife and I will not stand for anyone, not even you, stepping in between that.’ My father’s love and loyalty, we learned, was absolutely unwavering, as was my mother’s for him. My sister and I, as loved as we were, stood outside of their circle, only curious observers to what happened inside of it.

I’ve never been a mother so I can’t speak to the special bond one feels when breast feeding, blah blah blah. However, feeling so much passion for my partner it turns me into an oddity at Gymboree?

Sounds good to me.

[cross posted at church gal]

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

guess who's coming to dinner?

sometimes it's sad when one person makes a whole ethnic group look bad. for instance, take stanley kauffmann from the new republic.

The New Republic Online: Woody and Wine

you need a subscription for the whole review but here's the good part:

Twice in the film young black men figure in the story, and in neither case is there a mention by anyone of race. Both of these men are attractive and intelligent, fit companions for any young woman. But none of Melinda's friends ever notes that these men are black. Her friends are civilized New York whites; still, it seems odd that none of them says something like, "That man is very nice, but does Melinda, in her present emotional state, need to add racial problems?" Omitting any mention of the men's race seems factitious, an attempt to bring into being a social state that doesn't yet quite exist. May the day soon come when awareness of race is irrelevant; but that day is not yet here. [emphasis mine]

shorter stanley kauffmann: racial harmony is still a dream so when we see black people, let's point and shout really loud!

i think that this review says more about mr. kauffmann's social state than anyone else's. clearly, if he had any friends of color he'd know how immediately he'd get his ass handed to him if anyone said or did any of this shit.

i wonder if he'd be interested in knowing that, while this world fractures into tinier fiefdoms of myopia and isolation, there exist actual pockets of interracial harmony. (mine, for instance.)

[thanks to dc media girl]

Monday, April 18, 2005

i have decisions to make this week: non profit or corporate? the choice is down to these two organizations, both of them great. one will make me happy; the other will allow me to pay down debt (which will make me happy, but in a different way.)

roomie was offered a job today with a consulting company - yay!

so this week will be my turn.

i'll miss my mornings.

for the feminists in the room: dr b.

a very hot discussion about feminism going on over at my friend Bitch. Ph.D.'s blog. be sure to also scroll down a bit and read her post about trusting women. it was so spot on i had to stand back and go 'wow.' just - wow.

dang, i like smart women.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Black Commentator : The Plot to Destroy Social Insurance - Issue 133

The Black Commentator - Cover Story: Death by Design - The Plot to Destroy Social Insurance - Issue 133

why? because it's late, i'm about to go to bed, and in case the guy on whose blog i posted a snarky comment about why privatizing social security is bad for brown people stops by.

Friday, April 15, 2005

i shouldn't complain

from the greenfairy over in london, i guess i shouldn't complain about poss. working for the non-profit sector for 15k less than i made last year. i should be glad i'm not living in england.


tax day. thank god for e-file.

i'm spring cleaning this week; have reorganized the bedroom, bought a bookcase, separated clothes in Charity and Laundry piles; have interviewed twice this week (should know today whether i'm in or out); have purchased new yellow file folders and must decide what i'm going to do with all my shoes.

must also apologize to M- for totally forgetting we were having lunch on monday. i think i hurt his feelings. (you know, when you don't call to confirm, i have a memory like swiss cheese.)

let's wish roomie good luck on her interviews today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

real republican values

via echidne we get to see what republican members of the house voted for re: the bankruptcy bill.

it's a succinct post that makes me think their votes distinctly qualify as class warfare, don't you?

(ok, i have to go to bed. early morning interview.)

how to ruin comic books for everyone

The Heretik: From the Same People Who Brought You a Cartoon President!

so basically, our brilliant idea is that iraqi children are going to be extremely enthusiastic about a 'roid rage version of disney's jasmine whose boobs are falling out of her radioactive suit.

cuz, you know, they won't GET that she's an infidel tool of the united states or nothin'.

(what i love best about this tactic in the overall strategy to democratize the middle east is how totally fucking LOW BUDGET this is, as usual. our intel was low budget, the war/aftermath was half-assed and NOW we resort to superheroes. fantasy. myth. i know - why don't we just dig up john wayne's corpse, reanimate it and drop it from a helicopter in the middle of sadr city? i'm sure that'll be just as effective.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

another poem: jd mcclatchy

i was a senior when jd mcclatchy was my poetry professor at ucla. he spoke like a prissy brahmin grandmother, wore yellow very well, had a very precisely manicured beard and, occasionally, had to pick his pants from his backside during lectures.

i remember a day when he asked the class who frank o'hara was talking about in 'the day lady died.' some girl chirped 'judy garland?' mcclatchy stared at her, sighed. from the top of the lecture room, i said 'billy holiday. she's lady day.' we looked at each other and then he moved on. the next week, after class, he pulled me aside and gave me an advance copy of rita dove's 'through the ivory gate' saying he thought of me and thought i'd like it.

i like clean poetry that's crisp like cold green apples. so here's one in honor of our current cultural and political moment:

Honest Iago

If ever I did dream of such a matter,
Abhor me. And remember, I know my place.
In following him, I follow but myself.
All I want to do is help.

I'd rather have the tongue cut from my mouth
Than speak against my friend. This crack of love
Will grow stronger than it ever was before.
There's reason to cool our raging, no?

I cannot think he means to do you any harm.
The chemotherapy seems promising.
These latest figures will show you what I mean.
All I want to do is help.

I had not thought he was acquainted with her.
Yes, yes, this boxcar is returning to Poland.
Sure, I've already tested negative twice.
I am bound to every act of duty.

Your sins are forgiven. This is only a phase.
I could swear it was her handkerchief I saw.
Trust me. Everything is under control.
All I want to do is help.


Monday, April 11, 2005

poke my eyes out with a flaming fork

this :

a. takes the word 'tacky', dresses it in a pantera t-shirt with gold lame tap pants and then stands it on a corner wearing frosted pink lip gloss.
b. ironically exposes the hollow heart of our post-9/11 patriotism.
c. is almost as sad as bikerfox (almost)

extra credit:
the man who loves america is not wearing underwear. (True/False)

[thanks, bitch and eschaton]

Sunday, April 10, 2005

another one for the culture wars: man dates

Feckless is back.

and she comes out the gate with a times article about the curious lengths straight men go to avoid being taken for gay.

sad. the male mind seems to be a rabbit warren. (did i spell that right?)


welcome, heretik.

pharmacists for life: creepy

when a new political action group pops up, as problematic as we find their positions, we tend to assume the people behind them are well-intentioned if a mite misdirected, right? i mean, we may disagree with phyllis schafly but she's not crazy, right? (bad example) or, those chicks at concerned women for america - they're just carried away by their fervor, right?

well, here's the scoop about karen brauer, the president of pharmacists for life. via atrios.

read it, follow the links and wonder at the sheer bucket of crazy this woman is.

then, when you've picked up your jaw from the floor, contact your nearest planned parenthood and ask what you can do to help stop these people.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


is that pain in his eyes?

oh, the short path from 1970s heartthrob to...real estate agent.


via DC MediaGirl

late night blogging: dithering

wednesday, M- and i were supposed to have lunch at his place. now that he's dating our good friend T-, he and i don't really hang out much. (my basic theory: hm, you are no longer available to give me the attention i require, so...) but i had been feeling a little bad that i dropped off the earth for a little bit so we agreed on a cheap lunch date at his place.

M- moved to the northside, across from the catholic church where he's music director. it's an old neighborhood full of families, indie rockers who've been priced out of bucktown and wicker park and people's grandparents. it's like the brooklyn of chicago, almost. since it was a mild blustery day, i decided to take the bus up western to his place and walk over. the best of al green played on my disc man and i was in urban bliss, traveling across the city to my own soul soundtrack.

when i got to his place, i looked for a buzzer. couldn't find one. i read all the little notes and signs on the front door. i even jiggled the doorknob. there was his mailbox. how to get in? i walked around to the side of the building; maybe there was another entrance. nothing except an entrance to a lawyer's office on the ground floor. two white haired old men shuffled past, giving me a once over as i paced on the sidewalk. i called M-. wrong number. strange, i thought. i re-read the signs telling the UPS man to come on up if he had a delivery. whatever, i thought. no one would actually leave their front door unlocked in the city for a UPS man.

so i called M- again. still a wrong number and the guy who answered was getting pissed off. by this time i'd been loitering for about 10 minutes on the sidewalk wondering how i was going to get to M-'s apt. it never ocurred to me to actually open the effing door. i mean, this is the city! who leaves their front door unlocked to all and sundry? off the sidewalk??! it's unsafe!

so i found M-'s car, wrote a note and stuck it under his windshield:
"hey! i was here! i did NOT blow you off! i just didn't want to get arrested for breaking into your building. let's reschedule for next week. i have your birthday card. love, ding"

it also never ocurred to me to get ghetto, step into traffic and yell up at his window. i just turned around, started walking the pleasant 5 blocks to the train back to the loop, sang 'how can you mend a broken heart' aloud and spent a lovely afternoon in bookstores reading dirty french poetry instead.

there are things i'll do for friendship but, apparently, using common sense isn't one of them.

late night blogging: poetry is good

it's national poetry month. to celebrate i bought a copy of verlaine's femmes/hommes. yikes. naughty, naughty, naughty.

you must get a copy.

here's one of my favorites from billy collins.

The Best Cigarette

There are many that I miss
having sent my last one out a car window
sparking along the road one night, years ago.

The heralded one, of course:
after sex, the two glowing tips
now the lights of a single ship;
at the end of a long dinner
with more wine to come
and a smoke ring coasting into the chandelier;
or on a white beach,
holding one with fingers still wet from a swim.

How bittersweet these punctuations
of flame and gesture;
but the best were on those mornings
when I would have a little something going
in the typewriter,
the sun bright in the windows,
maybe some Berlioz on in the background.
I would go into the kitchen for coffee
and on the way back to the page,
curled in its roller,
I would light one up and feel
its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee.

Then I would be my own locomotive,
trailing behind me as I returned to work
little puffs of smoke,
indicators of progress,
signs of industry and thought,
the signal that told the nineteenth century
it was moving forward.
That was the best cigarette,
when I would steam into the study
full of vaporous hope
and stand there,
the big headlamp of my face
pointed down at all the words in parallel lines.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

what academic 'freedom' would look like

having taught at a university i think i can insert myself into this conversation, as annoying and dumbass as this conversation is. but instead of rehashing the 'you're a leftist brainwasher/no, i'm not - you're a luddite!' arguments, let's get practical.

what would a conservative or, ahem, balanced english course look like?

let's put together a course description and reading list for a general lit course for non-majors - late 19th/early 20th C? feel free to respond with your suggestions, additions.

where's kathleen woodiwiss when you need her?

i think i'm getting bored or burnt out or something. after months of reading how everything basically sucks unless you happen to be a very rich white man living in a suburb, life's glow sort of dissipates. and this job/life purpose crap is wearing me down. ding used to be a fun girl, full of wacky naughty romperific stories. no longer. all she can think of is debt, responsibility, obligation and taxes.

today i actually had a 3-minute fantasy about landing another corporate job, selling my soul to mammon and saving enough money to buy a condo. this blows. this totally blows. i'm about as fun as a southern baptist in boystown. on my other blog, churchgal (which has gotten some good traffic lately), someone actually implied that my worry comes from satan. sigh. sigh. SIGH.

i want to live in that sarah vaughan song, 'bewitched bothered and bewildered.' instead, today i'm standing in the unemployment line and manny, the case worker, called me 'little girl' and said my name the way it was meant to be said. and i blushed!!

is that what my ordinary life has come to? getting jazzed because someone PRONOUNCED my NAME RIGHT?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

can i get an amen?

Ravings of a Corporate Mommy: Corporate Life Archives

i'm supposed to be on my way to the unemployment office; i'm supposed to be throwing my panties in the dryer; i'm supposed to be getting some coffee.

instead i'm reading corporate mommy's tales of corporate hellishness and i'm riveted. i can't tear myself away. it's the same, isn't it? being an office wench or being upper management - if you're a woman and there's someone bigger than you in the tank, it's the same.

whaddya know: an epiphane.
(yeah i'm spellin' it the OLD way!!)
make your own south park character.


all about The Man

this story made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, didn't make much of a blip (thanks, terry) but here's another go at it from alas, a blog.

when it was discussed on another blog, a question was raised about the disparity between black and white women; i was sort of struck by that, too, and came to the conclusion that it was because black women tended to stay in the workforce. meaning, we don't go on sabbatical, on leave, work part time, etc. most of us either can't take that time (is there another breadwinner in the house??) or won't (i've worked my ass off for this job and you'll pry it from my dead brown fingers.)

but this is a mere digression: the real news - all women still make FAR LESS than our fair brothers. (cough) still. STILL.

even playing field my ass.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Ravings of a Corporate Mommy

i was totally surprised by this one.

usually i gloss over motherhood blogs unless they're by academics; it's my own bias and i freely admit it. but this one struck me differently. maybe it's her voice - smart, sharp like a filed paperclip, and funny. maybe, because i've worked in that world and worked for women like her, i understand how she's juggling her life, travel schedule, presentations and fighting with HR. this post about a meeting is spot on - the corporate ego, the stultifying meetings that stretch the space/time continuum, the divide between team members and upper mgmt.

hers is a blunt-eyed view of a world she knows well.

[edited because a good post is a clean post.]

heh. red tent.

since Hugh, my monthly visitor, just left (after taking up residence for the past 2.5 months straight), here's a little ditty from the Pissed Kitty.

monday's meme

i'm too preoccupied with boring job search stuff to be very engaging and so i need to blow the cobwebs away. so i'll do this (thanks, psycho kitty):

If you had to pick five fictional literary characters who would best embody you (in some aspect, either now or in the past), who would you choose?
Emma (Emma - Jane Austen)
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte)
Dorothea (Middlemarch - George Elliot)
Monica Szabo (Spending - Mary Gordon)
Robin Hudson (Robin Hudson Mysteries by Sparkle Hayter - who cares if it's not literary?)

Which five books (any genre) have had the greatest influence on you?
When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race & Sex in America
Pride & Prejudice
The Wretched of the Earth (Fanon)
The Signs of Our Time (a very light intro to semiotics but it was the first wedge that broke literary theory open for me.)
A Rose in Winter (Kathleen Woodiwiss - uh...when you read her and you're 12, you are never the same again. where is my pirate? oh, where?)

What is your favorite commonly censored book?

If you would ever burn a book (God forbid), which book would it be? Why?
Waiting to Exhale. Painful boring craptacular - and singlehandedly created 4 stereotypes of black womanhood that made us all look like we hate black men.

Are you a monogamous reader, or do you like to read around?
I get so bored so easily. Why read one when you can read 3?

Last one, and be honest: Do you skip ahead to the ending?
Always. Just the last paragraph.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

another one?

do we really need another book about hooking up? really? are we really such a fertile, clueless market that we need some manhattan twenty-something telling us how to date casually?

i have an idea for a dating book. how about one called Grow Up.

think oprah would invite me on her show for that?

why it's good to live in a blue state

The New York Times > National > Illinois Pharmacies Ordered to Provide Birth Control

note the worry of ms winckler: that the state's order to pharmacists to do their job might, in fact, prevent the pharmacist...from doing their job.

uh huh. yeah.

now i'm getting sleepy

before i forget, roomie and i caught the matinee showing of sin city and it was fabulous. if you've always wanted your movies sprinkled with an axe to the groin, now's your chance.

i can't sleep. went to see jon stewart tonight at the rosemont theater. (i don't think these two things are related.)

1. he's shorter than you'd think. but, for some reason, that doesn't really matter to me.
2. uh, when he used profanity i got all tingly.
3. if only they could clone him and then distribute him freely amongst all of us who love him. yes. i love him.
4. i was one of four brown people in the entire theater. we even had the two guys in front of us help us look. said one to the other: "you know, this is just about the whitest crowd i've ever seen."
5. i tinkered with the idea that i'd post my photo, just to spark things up a bit, but then had a few thoughts:
- i don't understand the instructions for posting a photo on my profile
- blogbot needs better technical writers because i didn't understand ANYTHING
6. hmm...who would i pack for a deserted island: eddie izzard or jon stewart? oh, jon. you had me at 'we have a tape of a guy fucking a pinata...'
7. if i take the nonprofit gig and supplement my income by... selling an ovary, that's ok, right?
8. steve gilliard is an angry black man and i heart him for it.
9. hugh's visit is finally coming to an end. i can start taking iron pills for all the blood loss.
10. what's the actual definition of having one's salad tossed? (ahem)