Wednesday, June 29, 2005

latest obsession: mythbusters


roomie is mystified whenever i con her into watching this show. but i can't help it: dorks, machines, explosions and a guy with a mustache who - well, sort of makes me feel naughty.

(of course he's a survival expert, boat captain, animal wrangler and speaks russian. i am fascinated by freaking strange men!! aghhh!)

in mah belly!

i'm starving. i skipped lunch, worked all day, went to an after work thing for cheap white wine, met an old friend from grad school for drinks on michigan ave and walked home sweating like a puckered sphincter in polyester pants, it was so hot tonight.

no dinner. no snackage. hungry.

so here's a really good blog about eating, screenwriting and the delicate tension between an aging movie star and his bemused chef: Delicious! Delicious!: Near Miss: Gingered Peach Cobbler!

and here is my friend J's blog about korean food, l.a. and the art of living simply, well. her post about the nyt food critic who called korean food 'basically japanese food with spices' is priceless.

Monday, June 27, 2005

sweet baby jesus: a feminist man

This Space For Rent: I Am Not My Cock

via bitch, a glorious post about, well, not being your cock.

'nuff said.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bitch. Ph.D.: It's America, learn some black history

Bitch. Ph.D.: It's America, learn some black history

amen. amen. amen.
a-non said it's time for our cultural wiring to be ripped out.

this is the most basic way to do it.

ah, my new best friend. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

the split me

My roommate called me out tonight. In the middle of another ill-advised discussion of politics she called me out: “And what about you? You’re working for your non-profit but what do you really care about people in other states? What’s abortion compared to black men being in prison, our education system falling apart, the classes being separate? To get down on rich progressives for not doing enough and you’re as rich as the rest of us. What are you doing?”

And there it was. What was I doing? Here I am arguing for more grassroots activism from the left, but what am I really doing? (leaving aside what my roommate is doing aside, for the moment.)

I’m not a lawyer. I don’t argue cases in front of the Supreme Court to protect our basic rights.
I’m not a social worker. I don’t have daily contact with poor black women and girls every day. (Truth to tell, tutoring every week was a trial for me. My student’s basic ignorance of her own history made me angry.)
I’m not an activist. I don’t march in parades against the WTO; I don’t agitate against the government; I don’t get on federal watch lists because of my activities against the state.
I’m not even a local politician. I go to work every day and push paper and work for a women’s non-profit; I don’t have contact with the women who use our services. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so; their and my experiences are so different.

I’m sick of the way our national Democratic party only seems to agitate on behalf of elections instead of people’s real needs. (Abortion being only one of them.) So what am I doing?

I’m thinking that if my roomie really knew what I was thinking, she probably wouldn’t be my roommate. I think this is so for many black/white folks who are friends. We all like Nina Simone, but black folk thrill to "Pirate Jenny" a whole lot more than, say, "Autumn Leaves." For, to be as militant as I want to be means that there are things that go by the way side. Gone are the cocktail parties, decadent and meaningless, not really important in the big scheme of things; gone are the easy entertainments, insensitive when you think about what kind of entertainments others don’t really have; gone are the indulgences, products of a bourgeois life. What is a person like me supposed to do? I’m the product of a poor black childhood with miraculous access to higher education; to be the good black woman I’m supposed to succeed in this world – be articulate, social, mobile. But success here also means to be separate.

An acquaintance of mine, H-, grew up in a militant family. I wonder if she feels this double consciousness – to want to lift as we climb, but not knowing how, because to lift would be to cut ourselves off from white people. Because my roommate called me out, I had a rare chance to look at what my life has become but maybe this introspection is a long time coming. I met a black woman at a party over the weekend; we sat and talked with her boyfriend about the election results in Ohio, the need for grassroots organization in the black community, the need for mobilization against certain power structures in this country. I ignored everyone else.

Which is the true self? Is the real me the me who speaks well, who can cook peach-bourbon glazed pork chops, and reads Jane Austen, or is the real me the black woman who reads Angela Davis, doesn’t want white people to touch her hair anymore (or really talk about it at all) and wants to see the city aflame in revolution? (I’ll say it: when the LA riots happened and white people were scared, I exulted in it. Yes, even with all my ‘advantages.’) Which is it? Is it the me who wistfully thinks about shopping at Bloomingdale’s and what social events could fill the summer, or is it the me who wants to see the black community stop being quite so polite and start putting Frantz Fanon in action? Is the real me bill cosby (which makes my friends more comfortable, I think) or is the real me bell hooks (who would freak them out, if they even fucking read her)?

I don’t think they ever questioned the me they have; I don’t think I did, either.

(i'm not the only one with a split pov.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

texas: no place to be gay

i don't know how i missed this speech, but here is rep. senfronia thompson pulling all the relevant strands together in support of gay rights. here.

they passed that bill.
and that makes her words even more stark.

Monday, June 20, 2005

what a whirl: weekend update

lovely gorgeous day. just cool enough you need to bring a sweater to the boat you and your coworkers will be on for the rest of the afternoon. just warm enough you're glad you tied your hair back. i discovered many things on the boat cruise with the non-profit folks: never eat chinese food when you're on a boat, it's important to target the non-drinkers in your group so you can use their drink tickets, and it's never a good idea to be in a soul train line in front of people who sign your paychecks. when will i learn?

toddled home to meet roomie who, bless her heart, rented The Corporation (which made me hate corporate capitalist america all over again) and carlo ponti's 'yesterday, today, tomorrow.' can i just say that sophia loren is my idol and i want to be her? really. i want to be her - all rounded, voluptuous womanhood and sassy hips and mouth. i especially want to learn how she can take off stockings like that.

slept late and went with roomie to evanston to see 'batman begins.' i rather liked it - for what it was. was it fabulous? no. i must confess that i preferred christian bale in 'equilibrium' than in this movie. i mean, how can you resist the allure that is gunkata? you can't. you are powerless to resist. roomie hated batman with a passion and so we passed the rest of the afternoon in silence, portraits of disaffection brought on by bad cinema. after reading a bit i dug out a cocktail dress for a martini party in river west, with a fantastic view of the Mart and the trains leaving the city. nights like this almost make me wistful for companionship. i hung out, ran into old friends, made dinner plans with a friend and his adorable little girlfriend (fresh like a daisy, she was, and made me feel like a hoary crusty old piece of toast), then came home where i ate half a can of cashews and watched the bbc.

rotarians descended on the city. did you know the rotary club began in chicago? i had no idea. neither did roomie as we left the apartment early to fulfill our church duties downtown. we skipped the actual services to drive down lake shore drive and michigan avenue, killing time. when we blithely arrived at the stately gray church, we were prepared to speed through church tours, intercessory prayer and a little glad-handing. the presbyterians know how to really make you relaxed, you know? no baptist-like stress or angst here.

i sat in the stone chapel, waiting for someone to come in for prayer. everyone had told me, 'it's no problem; no one ever comes in.' oh! foolish hope! the final hymn had barely finished before a neatly dressed woman stepped inside and shut the door behind her. she sat next to me and whispered that her brother had recently died alone and unclaimed in another state. so we prayed together. when she left, i stayed behind and sobbed for five minutes. (bad time of year for me to be thinking about dead family members.) my roomie was faring no better; her church tour was stalled at the transcept while a short asian woman grilled my roomie on the exact doctrinal tenets of our church and the specific wording of the apostles creed. i could see the sweat on my roomie's brow as she desperately tried to wrench back control of the tour group and direct their attention to the fine skinner pipe organ in our choir loft.

needless to say, we spent the rest of the afternoon shunning contact with our fellow man, watching taped episodes of british serial killer tv shows.

Friday, June 17, 2005

everyone likes good hygiene

this needs to be on a t-shirt (you won't be able to wear the t-shirt but the sentiment needs to be acknowledged):

Hobo: How you doin'? How you doin'? I'm doin' good. Yeah, you know I'm doin' good, cause I'm lookin' good! And you know why I look good? 'Cause I clean mah ass!

--1 train

and with that, i say good night.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

ooh, hot

I’ve been having strangely erotic dreams lately. They aren’t the hot and sweaty dreams, the ones that make you wake up suddenly thinking ‘holy shit, if only I could meet five sailors in an elevator who want to take me to visit their pet donkey!’ No, these have been different.

In one, I was a fabulously devastated widow. My husband had died too young and I couldn’t let go. I carried his ashes in a beat up metal box that would sit in the front seat beside me as I would drive up the California coast, the ocean to my left, and the brown hills on the right. On one of these trips I drove toward a black mountain with a tunnel running through it. My convertible Mini chugged through the broken terrain inside the tunnel and I complained to my dead husband’s ashes about the broken axle I was sure to get, the damage to the tires, my hair getting all messed up and how fucking long it was taking me to get out the tunnel. When I finally emerged, it was into a beautiful department store, all honeyed wood and velvet curtains, like a David Lynch movie.

I parked my little Mini in the special parking lot for special guests and a thin blade of a man was about to escort me away from the car when I remembered my husband – I went back and scooped up his box, as well as a couple of pounds of his favorite cheeses – a Morbier and the Humboldt Fog.

I walked slowly through the department store, carrying my stinky cheeses and my dead husband’s ashes, and I passed Gil Grissom (yes, from CSI) in the men’s fragrance department. I’m twisting open a small dark green bottle shaped like a twig and the scent makes me cry. He comes along to tell me some obscure story about smell and an equally obscure culture; he offers to walk with me. We’re looking at beautiful glass things and there’s something about his spectacles, his rumpled little jacket, his bow-legged walk and his weird little stories that makes me decide to put my husband’s ashes in the trunk of my car along with the stinky cheeses.

We leave the department store and then we’re in an empty house by the ocean; we’ve made love. (Yes, my dream had completely skipped the sex!!) Like a cheesy French perfume ad, the sheer white curtains at the windows overlooking the beach are fluttering, the sun is either setting or rising and Gil Grissom and I are nestled snug in a bed with a quilt on it. It’s quiet and I am filled with such lassitude it almost makes me want to cry. I can hear his voice rumble through his chest, can feel him stroking my back and he begins to tell me another queer story. This is how it ends.

Yeah. An erotic dream where NOTHING happens. I woke up feeling like I had a secret.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

shrill? me?

via feministe Posted by Hello

clearly, it's abortion week here on screed

t r u t h o u t - Ann Crittenden | The Price of Denying Choice

more flames being thrown over at the abortion=autonomy diary on kos (there was a side thread about why women don't just get sterilized if they don't want kids so much and this was my cue to take a breather) but who cares what's going on over there?

over here...nothing much is happening. just abortion, slavery, lynching...


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

see? not scary at all.

You scored 33% Gender-Abolitionist, 100% Sexually Liberal, and 40 % Socialist

You are the Liberal Feminist. This means that you tend to think the women's movement would best succeed through legislative changes to the system as opposed to radically restructuring our governments or ideas on gender. You tend to be mainly concerned with sexual liberation, and think that much of the oppression of women is leveled against them as a result of oppressive sexual morality. Men who sleep around are pimps and women are whores. You would claim that the negativity associated with a female's sexual freedom is only a blatant attempt to repress femininity into a submissive role. Also, you probably believe women should have access to reproductive controls such as abortion and contraception. You most likely embody the ideals of the typical American Democrat: you are pro-choice, sexually liberated, and politically active (though your political views aren't very extreme).

The other feminist types:

The Housewife

The Marxist

The Liberal

The Liberal Extremist

The Gender Abolitionist

The Radical

The Gender-Liberal

The Revisionist


Next Generation of Conservatives (By the Dormful) - New York Times

so, since the media is all balanced and shit, i'm sure an article about the new crop of progressives will pop up, right?

(how many times do we have to read this story? it's in every magazine and newspaper every quarter. why not really have a challenging feature - find conservatives of color. any color. do it. write about how they're invited to the heritage foundation. really. i'd really like to read about it.)

no? didn't think so.

choking big bird

Free Press : Put the Public Back in Public Broadcasting

do what you gotta do, people.

Monday, June 13, 2005


you're effing kidding me.

a week after my rather long and rambly musing on the lynching exhibit, the senate issues a cosmetic apology for not outlawing lynching earlier - well, except for 12 senators who shall remain nameless (thanks, procedural rabbit hole.)

our nation is amazing. really. look the other way while over 4700 black men, women and children get lynched and then, at a symbolic moment of reconciliation, show how begrudging you really are. nice.

Bitch. Ph.D.: Do you trust women?

over at kos, i'm afraid i let my rhetoric get the best of me. yes, big surprise. some guy said that he was 'queasy' at the tone and tenor of the comments in response to the diary i posted below. and, well, ding took it upon herself to say 'get over your nausea.' i mean, come on. who cares about your wishy-washy pro-choice 'but i'm uncomfortable with abortion' queasiness?

then the guy said 'i'm just saying there are moral questions that need to be considered and the reservations of pro-choice allies should be...blah blah blah.' and i said 'so your moral quandaries and reservations matter more than a woman's decision to have an abortion or not? give me a break. your moral quagmire isn't the point.' or something along those lines (or more strongly worded.)

so, for that guy and others like him, here's an oldie but goodie from our favorite bitch:

Bitch. Ph.D.: Do you trust women?

boys club - again

in the heat of the election, i read kos every day (hence the link on my blogroll). but after the election, during all the post-mortems, i started noticing an alarming trend: more and more calls from the boys' treehouse over there to take a step back from abortion rights because it's so 'narrow' and 'single-issue' and scares the moderates out there. hm. it mirrored the mewling backpedaling going on in the democratic party at the time and it enraged me so much, i stopped reading so regularly. now, to be honest, i stop over only to check out the big-boy gossip. it really is like a tabloid magazine of what's going on at the DNC. infighting, schisms, breakups, hookups.

well, the 'no girls allowed' sign on the daily kos tree house gets good treatment in the comments section over at Bitch. Ph.D.

and here is a very good (and angry) diary on kos telling him to stuff his 'abortion isn't really important to our strategy' up his ass.

update: here is the original post (with his update) that started the whole thing. um, check out the references to 'sanctimonious,' 'humorless' , 'extremist subset' and 'important shit' (as if to say that feminist concerns aren't important compared to masculinist strategies and shit like that.)

know your fucking feminist history, kos. [deleted because even i recognize what i said made no sense.]

update 2: since the original post humorless, women-studies types and unshaven hags alike have weighed in and found kos, his treehouse and his posse wanting. heh.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Angela Davis

now, isn't she more interesting than audie murphy?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

did you get the memo?

in case there's anyone out there who's just emerged from a cave and still thinks our iraq adventure was justified, here's the memo that says ''

come on, we impeached clinton for a blow job!
how about impeaching someone for something REALLY important!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

an excellent composition exercise

who says politics can't be useful? Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming - New York Times

the attached graphic is a textbook example showing how vague language destroys a paragraph's intent. yay for the white house.

[Update: according to the white house, global warming is a myth. so...why are these people moving again? things are melting, but it's not global warming. just...melting. got it.]


guilty confession of the week:
dwayne johnson sort of makes me wanna see him do the man-hula.

(don't tell me you don't know the man-hula. aka, the angry, 'we're gonna kick some missionary ass-making us wear this baggy baptist dress shit' hula.)

Monday, June 06, 2005



pretty. (did you know they make lunch boxes? wouldn't this be cute, on the cta, going to work with my sammich in it?)

update: credit where credit is due. via my friend at delicious biting.

and now for something lighter: chick lit Screening Room

we have a friend who has a friend who, last year, wrote just about the worst chick lit book EVER and got it published. my roommate, bless her stalwart heart, read it and grew so angry she'd interrupt her reading to shout, 'this is crap!! aghh, i hate her!'

well, roomie shouted again when she read that this woman has written a second book (please let her have kept out her crappy ass poetry) and has been invited to the printers row book fair this weekend. 'aagh! she wrote another one! god!' was my roomie's refrain.

i have to agree. while i enjoyed bridget jones (years ago) i don't think i want to read another book about a mediocre woman who deserves to get run over by a bus get romance instead. quite frankly, i'd never be friends with any of those women. or, if i was, i'd tolerate them in silence and wonder why the hell i didn't just shoot myself for having bad taste in companions.

i blame this crapload of chick lit on an apalling misreading of austen and her domestic fiction, and a complete ignorance of bronte. why not have some kick ass chick lit based on the bronte model of female behavior: be the smartest girl in the room and don't apologize for it; get the hots for the hottest man in the room and don't apologize for it; get wet, often; run away from the lame ass social mores of your society; get wild; get destitute; get dirty; get punished; get even; get wet again. burn down someone's house.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Chicago Historical Society - Without Sanctuary

this was not a picker upper. as soon as i got off the bus in front of the chicago historical society, the skies turned black and a wall of rain blew horizontally down the street. inside, the mood was just as somber, if not less violent.

we all know this summer is the 50th anniversary of emmett till's lynching. pairing that anniversary with this exhibit showed it wasn't an isolated incident. it wasn't just the event that made white america open its eyes about what was happening down south. till's death was a tiny death in a huge group of deaths from reconstruction to 1968. that's a year before i was born. that's only 35 years ago.

the rooms were dead silent. post card after post card, photo after photo - of black people hanging, burned, mutilated. it was intense. these aren't images you see every day - or at all, anymore. did you know there's barely a state in this country that didn't have a lynching in it? illinois, california, minnesota, washington, connecticut. these are nothern states. montana, nebraska. oregon. did you know that women and children were lynched? immigrants, jews, communists, chinese. lynched because they were the other. what was the very academic phrase the society used to describe it? 'extra-legal deaths at the hands of unknown persons.'

but in the photos you see who did it. they aren't unknown. they're whole crowds of people. imagine wrigley field on a game day. imagine what wrigleyville looks like. the crowds, the vendors, the traffic, the holiday spirit. buy a hot dog. drink a beer. now imagine, on the mound, dusty baker naked, covered with gasoline, swinging from a telephone pole, about to be torched. that's what a lynching was. an event. a public spectacle. everyone out in the open, staring at the camera, holding their piece of the body. looking at those faces in the background was hard. they're smiling, relaxed, excited, pointing to the corpse.

the exhibit came from a book i found a few years ago: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. i found it in a bookstore while i was still living in boystown. i felt like i was looking at pornography so i had to shut the book and walk away. but the images alone aren't what make you set your mouth and try not to make a sound. there are only about 100 photos, after all. the stories behind the images make you sick. this man and that man were accused of rape...of talking back to a white man...didn't get out of the road fast enough...dragged from the jail...courthouse burned to the ground. the narratives of violence, insanity and hysteria make you look at your fellow human beings and want to vomit.

they had a story of a man named caldwell. he owned 400 acres of the prettiest cotton land in the county. he financed a school. he was a big man at his church. had 12 kids, all lived on his property and the land was their legacy. one day he took his cotton to town to sell it; he wasn't given a fair price so he said someone else would pay more; he was accused of lying; he became angry and cursed the man who called him a liar. he was hit with a hammer, driven into the street where a mob of 200 men stabbed and beat him until the law stopped them; he was jailed, dying from his untreated injuries, when the mob came back and got him, dragging him behind a cart through the black and the white part of town. then he was lynched. the next day, the mob ran his family out of town and seized his land. (did you know blacks owned between 12-15 million acres of land at the turn of the century? did you know that number had decreased to just a little over 1 million acres by the 30s and 40s? a journalist said in an interview, 'follow the lynchings and you'll follow the land. they run side by side.')

this man's great-granddaughter was there. she read his name out at the naming ceremony and a little ripple moved through the crowd. this is all her family can think about. they talk about the murder like it happened yesterday. they tell you how they ran and hid in the woods while their land was taken. better the land than your life, they say.

what was it the president of the historical society said..."There is nothing more powerful than a people, and a nation, steeped in their own history." too often, we're presented with the history of lynchings or the civil rights struggle or anything about black people as black history - like it has nothing to do with white people, or anyone else. but this afternoon showed me that's not true. this is our history. it shouldn't be isolated and cut off from the people who descend from it.

givin' a brother a chance

i thought this idea had gone the way of the dodo.

but, alas. idiocy, in the form of thomas lopez-pierre and the women who actually applied to this buppie bordello, knows no bounds. perhaps his next venture will be quadroon balls.


[via gilliard]

Thursday, June 02, 2005

diddle diddle ding

today...blew. (how can you tell? it took me three tries to spell blew.) went into work early to get a head start of prepping for board meeting and annual meeting; all sorts of things went wrong. (note to vendor: when you fail to do your job three times, do not bother to invoice me.) went to meeting site and set up meeting; attended board meeting, noting that female philanthropists in the city like the color beige; drank white wine while tangling in name tags and registration forms; sold books; broke down meeting; drank more wine; got book signed by local author; walked halfway home, discovered i have $17 in my checking account and am grateful that masturbation is free. got home, said hi to roomie (who, poor thing, languishes with phlegm) and ate a late dinner of leftover homemade fried rice (the garlic content is way too much - for a while there, it opened roomie's sinuses!)

what will i like about tomorrow? i get to wear jeans and i get out of the office at one. (i'm so poor i'll just come home and touch myself.)

Blogebrity: The List

just in case you didn't feel bad enough about yourself, they do it for you.

la shawn barber is a b-list blogger? i guess that's what you get for sucking the cock of patriarchy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

waxing turkish

ok ok. i know i vowed not to blog at my new job because i loved it so much. but it's the end of the day and this is the best story of best friends, hot wax, back hair and turkish masculinity that i've read - ever.

gaggle: scottie bobs and weaves

if you don't have the stomach to read all the way to the end scroll almost to the bottom and catch the exchange between scottie mcclellan (our fave rent-boy loving press secretary) and les, a journalist who just wants to know:

does bush oppose contraception?



i still don't get why contraceptives aren't automatically part of a woman's health care plan... anyone? anyone?

look here.