Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wait - so, pumping out kids isn't the healthiest thing in the world?

This just in from the land of the obvious - larger families are harder on the parents' health than small ones

I'll wait while you fetch the smelling salts.


Ha ha, just a bit of drollness in keeping with the absolute hilarity that anyone ever doubted that having zero control over reproduction is bad for women.  From the article:

The researchers, from the University of Utah, analysed nineteenth century data from the Utah Population Database.

They found that the couples had an average of eight children each, but family size ranged from one to 14 or more children.

The data showed that the more children a couple produced, the higher their risk of early death.

The situation was worst for women, because they were affected by the physical costs of bearing the children. [emphasis mine]
Are you listening to this, Jim-Bob and Michelle?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Decemberween Round-up

Having just handed in my last paper of the term yesterday, I'm now trying to make up for the many weeks (and months) of neglect that most other non-school-related parts of my life have been suffering.  Such as: talking to friends/family; drinking; watching season 5 of Xena; reading for pleasure; catching up on holiday cheer; successfully waging war on Christmas with wishes of 'Happy Holidays' (wishing people to be happy?  Over the holidays? What an evil, oppressive sentiment!  Time to go back to my original saying of "Shove a snowball up your a**!"  Yes, much better.); drinking (the second one's a pre-emptive drink - it's only been one day, give me some time!) and finally, commenting on a few of the awesome and awful things that have been going around:

Item the first: Ironwoman sent me this vid a while back - coincidentally, the day myself and a fellow grad were discussing this exact topic - we laughed our collective asses off and raised our glasses to toast the destruction of the patriarchy (a fine toast if ever there was one).  As much as this particular text is pretty funny, there's still an element of truth there as any woman who's worked in a male-dominated field will probably tell you.  Like, say, being a political assistant who has to deal with smug little boys in expensive suits explain Parliamentary procedure to you incorrectly - and then smile at you smugly when you point out they're incorrect like a bunch of freakin' know, if I just had to pick a random example.

Item the second  - don't know if this made the rounds outside the merry land of Blog, but my current academic institute was a hot topic for December, when the student union voted on a motion to deny support to anti-choice student groups, either through funds or use of space.  Had a lively discussion in my class the next day about how I am ABSOLUTELY 100% SUPPORTIVE of this decision.  FACT: CUSA is not the student government or the university government. FACT: A loss of $250 and a couple of spaces on campus is not an attack on free speech.  FACT: The student union should stand up for the rights of students; groups that want to make 100,000 Canadian women into soulless murderers, groups that think the intelligence, humanity and morality are only carried on the Y chromosome, groups that would lie, threaten and manipulate women out of their rights, these groups have no place being funded or in any way supported by the students' union.  Students shouldn't be supporting groups that then use the money to actively attempt to strip them of their rights; anti-choice groups deserve as much funding as KKK, Nazi or anti-LGBT groups.  If they want to spout their hateful bullshit in the open air, they can pay to photoshop their own "OMG, look at this 8-week aborted fetus, yes, it DOES TOO have fingers and toes and weighs 6 pounds at 8-weeks, you baby-murdering whore!" photos. 

Item the third - Apropos of nothing - Green Christmas this year, much like almost every single year of my child and no year of my adulthood.  Save us Al Gore!

Item the fourth - How to sum up the movie (and, I'm assuming, book) Eragon: "Man, I hate being a teenaged-boy!  I wish I lived in a different place, and was 17 going on 21, and had my own dragon that only served me, and magical powers, and a hot girl who was totally into me, and like, fought sorcerers and stuff...that would be soooo awesome."

That is all - happy holidays to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fear of cooties now extending to adults


Alright, so you've got an administering pandering to the fundies, depriving teenagers of accurate sex-ed information, leaving the USA with developing-country rates of teenage pregnancy, encouraging the spread of STDs and who knows what other consequences when you OUTRIGHT LIE to people instead of giving them the facts.

BUT now that's apparently not enough for them.  They're not satisfied with lying and endangering teenagers - they want all those young, hot, single adults to keep in in their pants/skirts and stop having all that haawwt sex that makes those fundies green with, filled with righteous anger. 

Listen, sex-haters - sorry that your sex lives are nothing but a endless stream of of awkward, embarassing, semi-consensual fumbling with all your clothes on and an angry sky God watching, but stop trying to make the rest of us suffer. 

A much better article on this here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Choice of a New Generation

Hey y'all,

Like a lot of folks out there, I'm knee-deep in school and sinking fast...Those of you in school know what I mean, those of you being productive citizens will remember what I mean, so blogging has been a distant memeory for the past month.  However, there's a couple of articles that have been stewing in my brain for the past couple of months, and in between bouts of drunken rage at The Man (and also The Man) I've been putting some specific thoughts together on the continued attacks on reproductive rights in the US and around the world.

What's gross and hateful and disgusting is that the fundies hide behind "Won't somebody please think of the innocent blastocysts!" when really, they're not just against that mystical "9 months minus a day" abortion that all women secretly long to have.  They just don't see why should women have any reproductive rights at all.  Not medical abortion, not preventative birth control, not anything.  Because, after all, woman are here for one reason and one reason only - to be passive vessels for manly essence as decided by men who could never get anyone to bear their children voluntarily God.

Hat tip to Courtney who sent me this link which introduced me to that Kah-razy Karacter, Thomas Euteneuer.  Like most self-proeclaimed experts on sex, pregnancy and child-rearing, Thommy has experienced none of those things.  However, in his capacity as a Catholic priest, he does have the red phone to that big guy in the sky, and therefore feels qualified to dismiss contraception as it  "interferes with a woman's duty to produce "a full quiver" of children for God."  That's right ladies!  In God's eyes, we are all his precious children/children factories.   But hey, don't whine to Thommy about it - if God had wanted you to have an autonomous, spiritually-fulfilling life, he would have given you a penis.  Duh!

Because obviously women aren't supposed to make reproductive decisions.  I mean, when they do, look what happens (hat tip to Christine for the article):  the crime rate goes down, thereby robbing fundamentalists of their "oh noes, society is crumbling!!11!1" arguments.  And really, anyone who is actually surprised by the fact that women making their own choices is a good thing deserves the heart attack they get when it turns out that those walking sperm-incubators actually have the capacity to make moral decisions.

I mean, really - is this so controversial?  Are we really all that surprised that when women can choose when to have children, said children are generally better cared for and less likely to wind up on the hopeless path of crime?   And to those fundie groups that wave the strawman of adoption around, let me just point out three things: 1)Yes, there are plenty of families out there looking to adopt - healthy white babies.  Which poor, non-white women don't tend to give birth to; 2)There are far more children without families than families looking to adopt; and 3)Denying reproductive control to women in order to turn them into broodmares for middle-class, white, Christian families is a terrifying and inhuman idea.

Anyway - just needed to get that off my chest.  Next time I come up for air, I hope to deal with the issue of anti-contracpetion crusaders and how what they really need is a terrific lay with the consenting adult of their choice.   

Monday, October 02, 2006

What have they done to my brain?

Normally a two-week (or more) hiatus would mean that I did something really awesome or exciting...alas, that is not the case. I have been, for lack of a better term "buckling down". "Hitting the books". "Being a goddamn student again". Seeing as I have been coasting along in "adult" mode for almost three years now, shifting back into "student" was is proving to be a challenge - you could say I ground the gears on the transmission of my life, and now mom won't let me take the car out again until I learn to use the clutch of life transitions properly. Or something.

Actually, it's not all that bad, and it's downright enjoyable in certain aspects. But there are definitely some notable differences, such as:

The death of the 9-to-5. Okay, maybe somedays it was 8-6, and others it was 9:30-3:30, but the point is, there was a pretty marked distinction between work and non-work, in terms of time and space. I've been struggling to keep that distinction, and the guilt-free reality TV watching it implies, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Everyday is casual Friday! This one's a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I love wearing jeans everyday. On the other hand, 2+ years of professional work means I only own two pairs of jeans suitable for non-yardwork-related activities. Not that that would have stopped me as an undergrad, but now I am old and uptight, I guess.

People ask for my opinion! Again, a mixed bag. At my job, it didn't happen much, 'cause quite frankly, my opinion was irrelevant. Which it still is, only now I am being graded on it.

Reading is a chore again! The job years were a book-lover's dream - now I am reading 10 times as much, and (of course) being graded on it. I do actually enjoy most of my readings, though, I just don't like the terror that sinks in when I am halfway through one particularly interesting article and realize that I have 12 MORE TO GO IN TWO DAYS, and that MY NOTES ARE INCOMPLETE and dammit if I have to read one more POST-MARXIST CRITIQUE OF ANYTHING I am going to need a WAAAY STRONGER DRINK, which leads me to:

Drinking in the afternoon is okay again! Is it noon yet? Who cares, nobody's juding you! Rampant alcoholism and unabashed binge-drinking is both accepted and expected!

And on that note - why yes. Yes it is past noon. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with 200 pages of feminist discourse and a bottle of dry gin...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

For the last time, Donald Rumsfeld, repeat after me: Correlation does not equal causation

Like all exciting young sophisticates nowadays, DD and I spend many an evening working on our growing collection of puzzles and watching/making snarky comments at the evening news. Despite the somber anniversary which last night's program covered, the snarky comments flew fast and frequently. Not because there is anything remotely snarkworthy about the events of that day - far from it. But because certain individuals (who are either mayo-for-brains doofuses or who believe that we, the audience, are mayo-brained-doofuses, which is pretty goddamn frustrating either way because I don't want to listen to idiots or people who think I'm an idiot unless there is something in it for me, like unintentionally enlightening irony, or a doughnut) who kept on insisting that all the restrictions on freedoms and human-rights-violating laws were totally worth it because, hey, there hasn't been another terrorist attack in the US, has there?

So let's sum up this argument:

1)Since September 11th, 2001, there have been increased restrictions on freedoms.
2)Since September 11th, 2001, there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil.
3) Therefore, increased restrictions have prevented terrorist attacks.

HEY! This is a fun game! Let me try.

1)Since September 11th, 2001, people are more nervous when they fly.
2)Since September 11th, there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil.
3)Therefore, passenger nervousness has prevented terrorist attacks.

Oooh! What else can we dredge up:

2)Since September 11th, 2001, there have been no Twin Towers in New York City.
3)Therefore, the destruction of the Twin Towers have prevented terrorist attacks.


2)Since September 11th, 2001, I have aged five years.
3) Therefore, aging prevents terrorist attacks.

But wait! Why stop at violating human rights when you can use a false causality to claim responsiblity for any event and thereby justify any action, as outlandish, unreasonable or asinine as it may sound?

1)Last night, my friend gave me $20.
2)My friend was not attacked by a polar bear last night.
3)Therefore, giving me $20 prevents polar bear attacks.
4)No, I'm serious, send me money right now, or you'll be sorry. Polar bears are really vicious.
5)For $50 I'll throw in comprehensive dragon coverage as well.
6)Look, I've been doing this gratis for years, okay? I mean, come on, you've never been attacked by a polar bear or a dragon, have you? So obviously it's because of me.
7)I accept personal cheques.
8)Or doughnuts.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Death by toothpaste!

So - three flights in two weeks and my brain is about to explode.  I can only take so many arbitrary, unfounded and asinine "security measures" before the part of my brain that processes logic and reason (a small node, nestled between the part that produces sarcasm and the part the contains my undying love for Skittles) overheats and shuts down.

So - a bunch of dudes were allegedly going to blow up a bunch of planes using liquid explosives.  Now, apparently airline security measures are put in place by people whose scientific knowledge of explosives comes primarily from watching Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and films of that ilk with their totally-stable-separate-but-mix-any-small-amount-together-and-BOOOOOMMM variety of binary-liquid explosives. 

But here's the rub - THEY DO NOT EXIST IN REAL LIFE.  So what the hell was going in the heads of the people who came up with this "security restrictions"?  I imagine it's something like this:

"So, this plot was "near impossible"?  Says who?  Us administrators of transport security can't listen to a buncha scientists, for goodness sakes!  Evolutionary, revolutionary, Big-Banging, godless scientists! What could those four-eyed geeks possibly know about The War on Terror, stuck in their little labs with their little white coats and their little nerdy glasses, just waiting to be, it's far better to just ban all liquids than to have to listen to a bunch of geeks lecture us important people on the actual real threats to planes!  We'll just ban all liquids from planes!  Oh wait...I think I remember from some high school science class...biometry or something...that people have to drink...okay, we'll ban all liquids except beverages.  But those will only be served in cups, not bottles! Because bottles are dangerous.  I mean, look at cousin Jimmy - lost two fingers to a bottle rocket!"

I mean - HOLY FUCK.  After 9/11, if you wanted to bring an unsealed, unlabelled container of liquid on the plane (like, say, a FREAKIN' water bottle) - they made you take a sip.  Ta da!  No mysterious liquid here!  But now - not only can you not bring ANY liquid of ANY sort into secuirty - you can't even buy a bottle of water at the gate or on the plane.  Because, secretly, terrorists have also discovered the secrets of alchemy - sure, Starbucks can sell the contents of a bottle of water - but if they allowed people to take the actual bottle, terrorists could use their evil powers to turn it into - um...that mysterious explosive that only terrorists know about.  But fortunately, some quick-thinking security experts foiled that plot by making sure the contents of the bottle are poured into a cup!  HA!  Take THAT, terrorists!  Because even the stupidest morons to ever crawl out of a dog's anus know that you can't perform alchemy in a plastic cup!

Anyway - two last thoughts to wrap this up.

First of all - check out the fabulous piece at McSweeney's, which sums this whole issue up much better than my Skittle-infused brain can (especially the one called Your Flight Three Years From Now - scroll down).

Second of all - I found it very fitting that the hand-drawn signs posted up on the now-dangerous vending machines in the airport read:

                                        Do Not Use

                                        Due Security

Thursday, August 17, 2006

We can too handle the truth!

So there!

Let me start at the beginning - or, at least, this morning when I started watching the three-hour black and white epic that is D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.

I missed the day in third-year film class where we watched this one, but did the readings on it which basically state that everyone, including the director himself, were of the opinion that this film is waaaay too offensive to be considered for public viewing, and really should only ever be shown to film students and academics (not because they are smarter or anything, but because they will likely be interested enough in the technical aspects of the film to tolerate the mind-blowing repulsiveness of white actors in blackface portraying "renegade negroes" (not my term!  From the film!)).

So anyway, this film made it to my Ziplist almost a year ago, and arrived in the mailbox last month, and I just didn't have the heart, stomach or patience to watch a 80-year-old racist civil war epic (call me crazy!) until  this morning. 

Having already seen Griffith's Intolerance (widely considered the greatest black and white film ever made) (yes, I lead an exciting life) I was semi-prepared for this film.  Intolerance lacks the blatant racial discrimination, but does get in a couple of good jabs at the suffragettes (notably the title card that reads "When women cease to attract men, they often turn to sufferage as a second choice" which is, I guess, the 1916 version of "Feminists are just ugly jealous hags!  They wouldn't want rights and equality and shit if random men shouted obscene "compliments" about their bodies at them!").

So, just how bad is Birth of a Nation?  [Spoiler alert - like anybody is going to watch this movie anyway]. Well, let me put it this way - I'm currently at the scene where the good-hearted Southern girl is being chased by said "white actor in blackface portraying a renegade negro" who wants to marry her.  But don't worry!  She'll soon jump to her death rather than risk bring dishonour to herself and her family by being contaminated by a filthy coloured man!  I only wish I was kidding - I also only wish that I didn't know that the KKK will soon make an appearance as the noble protectors of the "civilized white culture of the South". 

Watching this film reminds me of watching Leni Riefenstahl's Triump of the Will (yes, same film class).  Strip them both of their political, social and historical context, and they are technically masterful - flawless, innovative examples of filmmaking.  But you can't really do that - strip them of all context, that is.  Riefenstahl's gorgeous cloud montage set against Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries is breathtaking - but not enough to make you forget that that is fuckin' HITLER'S plane.

So it's an odd feeling watching these films, because academically, it's like "ooh, check out that cut - wow, the lighting is incredible - omg, that wide angle shot!" but intellectually and emotionally it's like, "WTF, the blacks are evil because they want to be equal?" or "Those thousands of people are cheering for fuckin' HITLER!"

And that, my friends, is why these films, and other works like them, cannot be censored.  Do they glorify tyranny, racism, xenophobia?  Yes.  (Am I currently watching a crowd of men in white robes dispense "justice" to that same white actor in blackface?  Yes.  Is it disturbing beyond words?  Yes.) 

These types of works are important not for the messages they seek to transmit, but for the message their mere existence denotes: that there were times and places where the notion of human rights was unheard of, where ignorance and hatred formed the root cause of most opinions, where blatant discrimination was not only tolerated, but openly celebrated. 

And that is why censorship is more dangerous than lack thereof - because it is too easy to forget these lessons.  When you take books off of library shelves, films out of public display, ideas of of public discourse, you hide a very real, very troubling part of humanity's history.  Are there people out there who would watch one fo these films and suddenly be filled with a desire to make their own white robes, or don the backwards swastika?  Maybe.  But there are far more who will learn the very valuable lesson: "Never again."

Let's all give ourselves a little credit - it might not be pretty, it might be unpleasant, and it might be downright disgusting at times -  but we can too handle the truth.   

Friday, August 04, 2006

It's too darn hot

Oh, wow - what a week.  Tuesday was the SINGLE HOTTEST DAY OF MY LIFE.  It went past 50 celsius (that's 122 farenheit) during the day.  Also, the air conditioner broke at my work, meaning it was the first day that I didn't freeze my ass off in the office because I'm in a building with two hockey rinks that is kept below room temperature at all time.  So that was good.  But then the ice rinks almost completely melted, so that was bad.  I guess.

And then the other night we had severe thunderstorms - and a tornado warning.  As this flashed across the bottom of the screen during Rockstar Supernova, I was all "whuh?  Wuh wuh?"  Because it never occurred to me that I lived in the part of the world where such things happenend.  So I looked at DD all, "So?  Do we bring in the container garden?  Tie down the patio furniture?  Sleep in the basement?  Tape the rest of the show?"

Fortunately, however, the warning was lifted, and I could enjoy my cheesy reality TV in peace, as nature intended.

Random old guys, second only to God in terms of moral judgement

A friend of mine recently went back to work after a year off battling breast cancer, just in time for to hear all about this wonderful example of humanity spout off about how women aren't capable about making their own decisions regarding their bodies.  At a "welcome back" lunch, we got into a discussion about abortion regulation, and the random old guys who wander around with signs just across the street, and who the hell they think they are to tell women about the morality of her decision. 

See, said friend is pretty young for a breast cancer survivor - 27 - and one of the main issues she's dealing with now is sex and reproduction, post-cancer.   To help prevent a reoccurence, she a) cannot take any hormonal forms of birth control, and b) is on a series of drugs that ARE NOT compatible with healthy fetal development.  She asked her doctor point blank what that would mean if she got pregnant - to which her doctor replied that it was her decision, but he would advise her to have an abortion.

Now sure - random old guys on the street, because they  are "Christian" men and therefore possessing far superior moral judgement to a young woman (or a medical doctor) as far as the issue of pregnancy is concerned - would simply tell her that she shouldn't be having sex anyway, because there's nothing in this world more EVIL than non-married adults engaging in consensual sexual behavior.

BUT!  Here's the sticky point - she IS getting married.  And, seeing as this story is taking place in Canada, I should clarify that she is getting married to a man. 

So it's a very real possibility that some day in the next five years, she might have to walk past random old guys to get to the clinic, and they will wish they lived in a society where, sinless as they are, they could cast all sorts of stones at her (magic stones that hurt the murdering whore without touching the precious angel growing inside her).

Now, some may say that, to be fair, I should accept the possibility that the random old guys would probably understand if she explained her situation to them.  They would probably accept her decision, and feel compassion that she was faced with so many challenges and such a young age.

But to anyone who says that, I say: SO FREAKIN' WHAT?    Oh, would they understand?  Would they be compassionate?  Would they tell her she's not making Jesus cry - this time?  Wow, what a couple of saints!  What truly phenomenal human beings they are - a woman made a personal decision affecting her body and her body alone - and after a detailed explanation, they considered it justified!  STOP THE PRESSES - here are the wisest, most noble of men!  Yes, there!  Hiding behind the "I'm a child, not a choice" signs!


Here's the thing about being pro-choice - it means that no woman, ever, anywhere, under any circumstances, needs to justify her decision to ANYONE BUT HERSELF.   Not to her friends, not to her family, and certainly not to complete strangers who spend their whole day protesting abortions while thousands of children in this city alone go hungry. 

It is her body, it is her business, and I am so goddamn TIRED of people who think that they should have the right to decide what are "good" and "bad" reasons for abortions.  There is only one good reason for an abortion - that she wants one.  There is only one bad reason for abortion - that someone else is forcing her to get one. 

That is why it's "pro-choice", NOT "pro-abortion", and if people are so thick-skulled they can't understand that, then they have no place making moral decisions for THEMSELVES, let alone anyone else. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Saved from summer reruns Rockstar: Supernova.  My love affair with reality TV pretty much ended this year, but that doesn't mean I can't have one last fling with this totally terrific show.  Okay, Dave Navarro is pretty irritating (maybe it's the impending divorce) (but still, telling a female contestant to "eat a sandwich" is pretty rude) (especially when you're lounging around bare-chested, and said chest is more Twiggy than barrel), and Tommy Lee needs to stop his "I am a big ol' horndog who must talk to women in blatantly sexual innuendo only", but the show itself is pretty awesome.  The singers are very talented, and there's a lot of rocking out, and not too much filler, and I'm actually pretty excited to see who will win (My hope?  Dilana.  My guess?  Toby.)

Anyway - if you're not doing anything Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday nights, check it out. 

Monday, July 24, 2006

Watch out, Melania!

Your husband was auditioning replacements last night...

That's right, it was the 2006 Miss Universe pageant, yeeeeeeaaaah!!!

I tuned into City TV (one of the half-dozen channels I still get, what with the cable being cut and all) hoping for a decent Sunday night movie - and instead happened across this strange throwback extravaganza.  Doubly strange was the fact that watching the first hour didn't make me nearly as angry as one would think (that one would be DD, who was visibly cringing as soon as the credits rolled - waiting for the inevitable "GGGGRRRRR PATRIARCHY" comment that was quickly at my lips, but which never fully-formed because - pretty!  Costumes!) 

Continuing that thought outside the brackets - oh, the costumes...they were very pretty.  My personal favorite was Miss Trinidad & Tobago, which made her look like she was surrounded by these giant, gorgeous, black and red  floating butterflies.  I also liked Miss Japan because she was dressed up like a samurai, albeit a sexy one, because we are talking about the grrrr patriarchy here.  But she had a sword!  C'mon!  And Miss...Peru, I think, had a big spear.  I am all for arming these women, and I'm not just talking about when Trump's around.

I sat through the swimsuit competition, mostly to hear some former Miss USA try to convince Carson Kressley that his enjoyment of said competition meant he was a closted heterosexual - to which he did not retort (much to my chagrin) that she seemed to be enjoying it just as much.  Honestly, people, it's a freakin' swimsuit show, not an infallible sexuality barometre (YEAH, that's right, I said it, DONALD TRUMP).

Anyway, like I said, I only watched the first hour, but I did tune in long enough to catch the mini-bios of the top ten contestants, in which I learned that Miss Canada was 6'1, Miss Japan spoke 4 langauges, and Miss Bolivia's interests included "Making people happy." I wonder if she also lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane? And then other women listed things like "Learning about new people" and "helping other people" and I finally snapped and snarked "Why don't they just list "Giving blowjobs" or "taking it up the a**"?" know the rest...

But really, I stopped watching more out of boredom than anything else, because at the end of the day, 95% of these women were pretty much indistinguishable from each other, and were all basically trying to compete to fit the mold of "most attractive woman in the world according to standards set by insecure Viagra-addicts who build giant phallic buildings named after themselves, which, incidentally, rhymes with "frump"", and it was just generally kind of boring and a little depressing, but the women themselves seemed mostly pretty cool, and will probably accomplish a lot with their lives, and generally raise the status of women everywhere, as long as they are stunningly beautiful.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Who really makes that baby?

I'm a frequent lurker on the Fark forums, which provide some of the funniest, most hilarious, most irreverent-and-not-for-the-easily-offended comments on all the Internet tubes.

However, it also provides an outlet for some of the most mind-numbingly asinine asshats to spout their stupidity, an example of which I came across recently in response to an article about anti-abortion groups buying out abortion clinics' leases to shut them down.  A self-proclaimed atheist pro-lifer was arguing against abortion based on his own misguided version of property rights:
Pro choice = pro destruction of shared property. Its half the fathers DNA too, making it not "part of her body". It is "part of her body" in the sense that when you deposit money into the bank it is "part of the bank".

Sure, the bank is housing your money like the woman is housing your uterus. Sure the bank adds its own money onto yours as the woman adds her own DNA to the child. The fact that it happens to be temporarily residing in one place should not give the right to unilateral destruction.
Now there's a thoughtful, egalitarian and realistic view of reproduction:  Women are like ATMs!  You put in $100!  A month later, you take out $100.05!  And that's how babies are made! It's a fun update on the "Magic Sperm" view of gestation.  If you've never heard of that one before, it's kind of like the belief that each sperm is a mini-baby, kind of like a pack of "magic grow" sponges.  Stick one in a woman/put them in a bowl of water, and poof! Dinosaurs!  Er, or babies, depending on the package.

This view - that women are passive baby containers - is at the heart of many anti-abortion arguments.  And, like many other views at the heart of anti-abortion arguments, it is entirely false.  Men and women do not contribute equally to the creation of a child.  Men contribute 1 (one) (uno) (ein) sperm.  That is it - one sex cell.  That is it.  That is all.  The human body has anywhere from 10-100 TRILLION cells.  At birth, you have anywhere between 5-10% of that (based on size), and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE CAME FROM YOUR MOM.  They came from the food she ate, what she drank, the contents of her blood, the air she breathed, the substances that permeated her skin.

Forget about that "magic sperm" of yours, buddy - you didn't make a deposit in a bank.  Making a baby is like building a house, and the man drops off half of the design plans, while the woman supplies the other half, as well as the concrete, the bricks, the mortar, the steel girders, the 2x4s, the nuts and bolts, the drywall, the shingles, the paint, the curtains, the major appliances, a couple of nice throw rugs, etc.  Congratulations - you have viable gametes.  But you didn't "make" a baby - she did.  You just supplied part of the blueprint. 

And to the ladies - be wary of misogynists who hide behind atheism - anti-abortion arguments are anti-women, and religion (or lack thereof) is just a convenient smokescreen for people who really just want those sluts to get what they deserve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sure, you can have a cigarette, right after you pee on this stick

The uterus-coveting, woman-hating, fetus-worshippers down south must really be doing a happy dance, if such a thing weren't so terribly sinful.  States like Arkansas and Utah are moving closer and closer to their ideal world of poor women having the same legal status as brood mares from menstruation to menopauseThis article (and bless them for using quotation marks properly) deals with the issue of states passing "fetal rights" laws, including one that would make it illegal for pregnant women to smoke.

Now, before anyone accuses me of encouraging pregnant women to smoke, that is obviously not the case.   (Furthermore, that's not even relevant - am I a freakin' doctor? Who cares about my recommendations for pregnancy?)  The issue here is that, if these raving fundies have their way, all of us will have countless inalienable rights as little cell clusters in the womb, and none when we're actual living, breathing human beings.

A pregnant woman has just as much right to smoke as anyone else.  She has just as much a right to not smoke, or be exposed to smoke, as anyone else.  She is still a person, she is still a FREAKIN' HUMAN BEING, and she is fully entitled to make the decision whether or not to smoke, or drink, or eat sushi, or play sports, or ride a bicycle, or have crazy hot sex.  She also has the right to be presented with accurate, unbiased, scientifically-proven information regarding fetal development, so that she can have the tools to make the best decisions possible.

The logical progression of this type of thinking - that is, the "protect the fetus from all potential harms, real or imaginary" - is truly terrifying.  I mean, so this law prevents pregnant women from smoking, and we get others that force them to adhere to a specific diet, specific activities, specific thoughts, etc.  But what about other people?  We could pass anti-smoking laws everywhere a pregnant woman might go, which would cover - well, everywhere.  Probably just easier to ban pregnant women from these places.  Easiest, in fact, to round them all up in one place where all these various laws regulating their activities can be enforced.  Sure, lady, you're giving up all personal autonomy and living like a prisoner for commiting the heinous crime of fertility, but it's for THE GOOD OF THE FETUS.  You must live your life for THE GOOD OF THE FETUS otherwise you are a terrible person.  Of course, you're probably a terrible person anyway, because God made you woman.

This quotation almost hits the nail on the head, but then misses the point at the last second:
Even Mathis, the Arkansas legislator, harbors doubts about the state's ability to enforce an anti-smoking law. "The more I think about it... you might end up with a fat lip" if police approach a smoker who is overweight but not pregnant, he said.
Which, dude - yes, you are likely to get a fat lip, but I'd say more so from the pregnant woman who's been dealing with nausea, diarrhea, headaches, swollen ankles, food cravings, strangers fondling her belly, being defined by her condition, judgmental glares and holier-than-thou stares, people glancing down at her hands looking for a ring, and such, who decides that she just needs ONE GODDAMN CIGARETTE to try and get through the last month of this shit, and next thing she knows some rando's all up in her face about how that makes her a criminal. 

Fat lip?  Hell, if it was my mom, that person would have been off solid food for weeks. 

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Those of you who know me are likely aware that, despite having grown up on an temperate island with plenty of lakes and rivers, I am a piss-poor swimmer.  But don't blame me!  Blame my irrational fear, generated in early childhood by seeing the poster for the movie Jaws, of being attacked by a shark.  Try as they might, my Bubbling Beetle swim instructors cold not get me to float on my back, and I never told them why, because even back then I knew it was a stupid reason.  But still, deep down inside, I felt that if I turned my back to the water...that was when the shark would get me.  And before anyone asks the obvious question - yes, I was in a pool.  So what?  Sharks are SMART.  They'll find a way. 

Of course I'm hardly the only person in this world to have this irrational fear - and it's certainly not the only irrational fear that people have.  So I was smugly superior when I read this article about the six most feared but least likely causes of death.  After all, one out of six isn't bad, right?  Because I've never been scared of flying...or falling...or earthquakes...or axe murderes in my closet...or terrorists...gaaaahhh...okay, now I've got to finish my post from under my desk...

But, really, people get pretty freaked out over harmless things.  Like with mad cow disease and avian flu and people getting all freaked out about how burgers and KFC will kill them.  Which, it will, but just not in the way they think

But that's the difference, isn't it?  If it's our lifestyle that gets us in the end - we wind up killing ourselves.  (Aside - the best retort I ever heard to the snottily-asked question "Why do you smoke?" was "I'm suicidal, but also a procrastinator.")  If anything, we should be scared of us.  Every time I go to the pool I should be afraid, but not of sharks - of my own reflection in the water.  "Omigod!  There's the person who's eventually going to get me!  AAAAIIIIEEE!!!!"   

Anyway - I guess all I'm saying is that it's pretty funny how people, on the whole, tend to fixate on way-out-there bizzarro things that are incredibly unlikely, and ignore the things which are actually dangerous.

Not that it matters - we're all going to be killed by a giant asteroid, anyway.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How much is a good sex life worth?

According to a recent study, about $50,000.  But I doubt this applies to lights-off, eyes-closed, man-on-top-of-women, God-is-watching-quick-don't-enjoy-yourself-this-is-only-to-create-viable-embryos sex. 

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Wall Comes Down

Last day at my job as political hack/office monkey/spin doctor.  I'm currently packing up all the random shit I've littered around the office: two years' worth of clippings from various religious and political publications, various mementos like the matchbook from 24 Sussex, the freakin' sweet suit from Femme de Carriere that I kept here in case I had to pretend to be a competent young professional, and, my personal favorite, The Wall of Randos.

The WoR is (was?) my own personal shrine to the homobigots of Canada who saw fit to influence their federal leaders during the legislative run of Bill C-38 by faxing in a variety of letters and drawings that ranged from "mildly crude and laughable" to "incredibly asinine and offensive".  I'll post some pictures later, but you can get the general idea here.  Every morning my co-worker and I would gather round the fax machine and pull off a stack of few dozen of these (somedays I'm sure it must have been more than a hundred) and pull out those that were ridiculous enough to deserve a spot on the wall,. Which, technically, wasn't a wall at all, but the back of my door, but "The Back of the Door of Randos" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

It might sound masochistic, but it was actually quite cathartic - it was a reminder of the stupidity of these arguments.  Many of them featured seatbelts/cutlery/nuts and bolts.  Many of them featured trees or animals, complete with skirts for the females - you know, just like in nature.  Many of them were from children, which was heartbreaking, and arguably reason enough for a call to Social Services. 

I can't think of a stronger argument for free speech.  As soon as these people opened their mouths (or in this case, uncapped their felt pens) the sheer banality of their reasoning was revealed.  Every letter I read, every picture I saw, every single one of their so-called "arguments" only strengthened my convictions against their discriminatory cause.  They were the best argument against their own beliefs, and the greatest reminder of the importance of secular law as the basis for civil society.  There are people out there who believe that marriages, like seatbelts, require interlocking parts, and I don't want them shaping the social policy of my country.

So the wall's coming down, but it's coming with me. I promise picture goodness later.  And let us all hope that it is truly the end of an era.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

This girl kicks ass!

Just stumbled across the story of 15-year-old Ava Lowrey from Alabama, a peace activist who makes Flash animations protesting the war.  The story, as far as I understand it, is that she's made over 70 of these animations, gone on CNN (interviewed by a complete MORON - honestly - needs to be seen to be believed) and received (surprise surprise!) numerous death threats, a lot of which related to her "WWJD" animation, in which she has the unbelievable audacity and unrepentant gall to imply that were Jesus around today, He probably wouldn't be first in the "Indiscrimate-killing-of-Iraqi-children" line. 

Yes, that's right - her animation attempts to show that war is un-Christian, using a hymn, passages from the Bible, and some downright heartbreaking photos of the consequences of violent conflict view it here). 

She's a truly courageous person to stand up to the groups and invididuals who are co-opting (what I'm assuming is) her religion. The extent to which Christianity has been hijacked for political and personal motives by extremist groups is both tragic and terrifying.  These people that hide behind the cross (or any other religion) in order to spew ignorance and hate need to be unmasked and disowned by the truly faithful.   Non-religious types need to do their part as well, by not referring to the aggressive hatebots as representatives of a religion.  Ann Coulter isn't a Christian, she's a marketing tool.  (And just kind of a tool in general).  Osama whatshisface isn't a Muslim, he's a cold-blooded psychopath.  Doesn't matter if they self-described as such - if just saying you were something made you that something, then this world would have a hell of a lot more astronaut-rock star-veterinarian-presidents.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An Open Letter to Paul Steckle

Dear Honourable Member for Huron-Bruce,

First and foremost, allow me to congratulate you on becoming the first MP to take advantage of the first (albeit minority) Conservative government in office for 13 years to introduce a Private Member's Bill restricting abortion access[link to follow].  My own pick for this dubious honour was a certain Maurice Vellacott, but this is hardly the first time he has disappointed someone with his actions, or lack thereof. 

However, while I missed the "who" I do want to assure you that I was bang-on in the "what" - as in, what kind of legislation would be introduced.  As has been the case in the US, the fundamentalist-anti-abortion-legislation-wedge of choice seems to be what they charmingly refer to as "partial-birth abortions" (which, as long as we are completely making up supposed medical terms, I prefer to refer to as "red herrings distracting people from the erosion of bodily autonomy").  And in that regard, you have come through, with your law restricting abortion access after 20 weeks.

Now some people may wonder why you believe a woman's ability to make a conscious moral decision somehow mysteriously dissolves at 20 weeks of pregnancy.  At first, I simply assumed that you do not trust women's judgment, which seemed a tad bit ironic coming from the man who used, as his official House of Commons Christmas card, this photo of him and member of his family, in camouflage and bearing arms, inscribed with "Glory to God in the highest, And on Earth peace, good will toward men."  (As far as celebrating Our Lord and Saviour's birth in such a manner, I can only imagine that my copy of the Bible is missing the passage where Jesus and the disciples bag some deer.  Of course, it also appears to be missing the passages where He says "Abortions make Me cry" and "I hate gays", so I suppose that's par for the course.)

Fortunately, you have an answer to that - it's not that you don't trust women's judgment, it's that the poor fragile creatures simply aren't capable of handling the consequences of making their own choices:
If a woman is so ambivalent about having an abortion that she cannot make the decision until after she is in her 20th week, then a choice to terminate the pregnancy at this point is likely to be even more traumatic for her.
How terribly thoughtful of you to try and protect these women from the terrible, terrible situation of having to make and live with their own decisions!  You are not only on a quest to save these helpless unborn babies, but also to save their hopeless mothers from being full human beings!  It is so unbearably noble, I almost hesitate to point out that some women may, perhaps, feel perfectly qualified to make their own choices at whatever stage of the pregnancy they're in.  And I am certainly even more hesitant to point out that some of the more hysterical ones may question even your qualifications to rule on the emotional consequences of a decision which you yourself could not, under any conceivable circumstance, face. 

Yet I doubt that will persuade you.  You have, in the face of epidemic poverty, rampant illness, international epidemics of child (and here I must distinguish between "living, breathing" child and "still technically a part of a woman's body" child) abuse and exploitation, chosen to devote yourself to bringing unwanted children into this world.  I'm sure that the currently-endangered children completely understand your choice to ignore their needs in favour of the unborn, and are likely happy to rot away, alone and abandoned, if it means that you are doing your utmost to usher in their replacements.  And if that isn't a morally sound decision, I suppose you don't really know what is.



PS. Get your own damn uterus.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On Chivalry

Brace yourselves: I'm about to say something only a crazed, man-hating feminazi looking to incite fear and anger would ever consider...

I don't like it when men hold the door open for me.

Now, before you need to reach for your smelling salts, torches and/or pitchforks, allow me to add a little context: I don't like it when a man holds a door open for me because I am woman. If he's doing because I have my hands full, or he's gone through first and doesn't want the door to slam in my face, or there's someone right behind me he's holding the door for, then fine. But I hate, hate, HATE the concept of "Ladies first".

I haven't always hated it. Well, I hated it at first, and then I was told that I should stop being such a reactionary uppity bitch and accept these actions gracefully, and then I quietly stomached then, and then I grew up, grew a pair of ovaries, and decided that if chivalry wasn't dead, then I would track it down and finish it off once and for all.

Because this world doesn't need "doors-open-chairs-pulled-out-coat-in-the-puddle-ladies-first" chivalry - it needs simple human consideration. You should open the door for others because it's a nice thing to do, not because they have XX chromosomes.

And this cuts both ways, women on my bus who won't give up their seats at the front for the elderly or obviously pregnant.

Still, I like to think that we are moving more towards a "people helping people" society rather than a "men helping women who then fix sandwiches and/or sleep with them". But just when I start making my peace with it, of couse I stumble across an article by Bella Online's Sons Editor (no really, that's her title):

Everywhere we go, people comment on my son’s manners. Not just the ever-present
“please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” in his vocabulary, but holding the
door open for women, allowing ladies to exit the elevator first, and holding out
his elbow to “escort” me during our “dates”. All this, and he's not even eight

"Please", yes. "Thank you", yes. Letting other people exit the elevator first? Why not! BUT WHY JUST THE WOMEN?

Because chivalry is about the powerful being momentarily gracious to the powerless. The white knight who picks up the lady's hankerchief moments before he wins her, an ox, 13 chickens and a peasant or two in a jousting tournament. Chivalry is about perpetrating the myth that fine "ladies" do nothing for themselves - not dress, not sit, certainly not open doors. The less capable a woman is of taking care of herself, the more dependent she is on a male provider, the more attractive she is.

I am perfectly capable of opening my own doors. I am perfectly capable of seating myself. I am also perfectly capable of walking on my own, unescorted (unless I am wearing high heels in which case I must cling to the nearest friend, stranger or parking meter for safety).

One would think that any mother would want to instill in her children the idea that she is their caretaker, their protector - not the other way around. And yet:

From the time my son could walk and talk, as he saw his father open the door for
me, we always told him, “Ladies go first”. This became ingrained in his
thinking. At every opportunity, we explained to him what Daddy was doing and
why. Now, it is second nature to him.
Notice she never tells the reader what was explained to her son:

"Oh, Daddy's opening the door for me because I'm a lady!"
"Because 'Ladies First!'"
"Because...ladies should be treated special from men."
"Because! We, uh...aren't as strong as men."
"But you're stronger than me, mommy. Why do I open the door for you?"
"Because I AM A LADY!!!!!"

In a similar vein, this is why I don't go out of my way to open doors for people in wheelchairs. It's insulting for me to assume that they aren't capable on their own. If someone's right behind me, I'll hold the door the same for them as for anyone else, or offer my assistance if the building seems inaccessible - but I've seen people sprint to get to the doors first, and it's about as big a slap in the face as it gets. He made it all the way to the bank in the wheelchair, pal - I'm sure he can handle the button. You gonna offer to operate the ATM for him too?

I'm not saying we shouldn't be nice to each other. And I'm certainly not saying, as in the words of a commentor on a BBC article which I cannot find for the life of me so you'll just have to take my word on this more-or-less accurate paraphrase, that "Women got the vote, so they're not getting my seat on the bus - they can't have it both ways." We should be courteous out of human kindness, not out of outdated gender notions.

Now, this is likely a generational thing, and I respect that. And I'm also not about to judge couples who partake in chivalry together - knock yourselves out. But the day an eight-year-old opens the door for me because he's a manly man and I'm a mere woman is the day his parents get to explain just what "nice misplaced socialization emphasis, jerkwads" means.

Also - true story - the other day at the library as this post was fermenting in my brain, a frail-looking elderly man stopped to hold the door open for me and another woman. She was clearly of a like mind - that the person who looks as though a stiff breeze could blow him over should not be doing the heavy lifting for two healthy adults - and said firmly: "You didn't need to do that!" To which he replied, "It's what I do - I'm a Wal-Mart greeter!"

So - I guess the moral is that I hate chivalry, but I hate assumptions more?

Why anti-abortionists are anti-women

Couple of great links - first, to Alas, a Blog and the terrific table done up there that shows anti-abortion policies and analyzes whether said policy is consistent with the belief that abortion is murder. I'd summarize it here, but it's terrific on its own already. Check it out.

And a post from from Amanda at Pandagon, who is currently my hands-down favourite non-friend blogger, looking at how fundies aren't really worried about the poor innocent sex cells zygotes embryos fetuses babies as much as they are about making sure the wimminfolk aren't out there exercising their own autonomy. Basically, if an embryo fails to implant because God so willed it/it was touched by His Noodly Appendage, that's okay - but if a woman makes a conscious decision to prevent pregnancy on her own, that's eeeeeevil.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Some good news!

The FDA has approved a vaccination against certain strains of cancer-causing HPV.

Now - Canada needs to get its act together! If they can get it passed in the US despite some vocal opposition about how not being able to threaten pre-teen girls with a highly-fatal form of cancer will turn said girls into wanton, sex-enjoying women, then certainly it should be a cinch up here.

I hope.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sorry I'm Late - Must Be the Daycare

The Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recently published a booklet containing some pretty startling facts about daycare in a totally reasonable, unbiased, unpatronizing, non-mysogynistic, scientifically-thorough and non-ideologically-motivated way! Oh, except for all those last parts.

The cover letter accompanying their ground-breaking pamphlet states that three studies found results that are "a serious cause for concern", such as:

1) The amount of time you spend away from your mom before you turn five is a "predictor of assertiveness, disobedience, and aggression." Whereas the amount of time you spend away from your dad is a predictor of how many fart jokes you know.

2)Daycare before the age of three increased anti-social behavior at age three. And we all know that nobody changes after age three. Now excuse me while I go play with my Barbies without sharing.

3)Children in daycare either become aggressive or compliant. This is totally in sync with the study I did just now in my head that shows that they also grow up to be tall or not tall.

Basically, they have 40-odd pages of poorly punctuated "articles" (honest to goodness - every single title uses is terribly awkward...not to mention incorrect...) describing how anything less than 24/7 mothering turns infants and toddlers into, at best, emotional basket cases and, at worst, dangerous psychopaths.

I'm all for scientific inquiry into the effects of early childhood groupcare and education, but if you want to be taken seriously, maybe you shouldn't start the intro to your "scientific" report with:
I feel sorry for women who cannot look after their babies themselves[...].

Aw, that's so nice! You feel sorry? For my mom? Wow, I bet she really appreciates your pity. Here, why don't you go tell her in person! Oh, and just so you know, in our family we show appreciation by smacking people upside the head.

This issue really burns me because I went to two stellar, and one pretty good, daycare. I made good friends, had plenty to keep me busy all day, learned a lot about a variety of topics (including socialization because - duh, I had to get along with other kids) and had access to activites, toys, games, play structures and other things that my own parents could never have provided on their own.

Do I wish I had been raised at home? Do my parents wish they'd been able to do so? Maybe. But I'd say that's based more on the desire to have spent those precious years together, than out of regret that daycare has turned me into some sort of mentally unstable, violent, anti-social monster.

This type of argument does nothing more than pit people against each other, which is where the ideology seeps in. Are they really doing this out of concern for mothers and children? After all, if they'd managed to guilt my mom some 25 years ago into quitting her job, she could have reaped the glorious benefits of raising infants in abject poverty - which, as we all know, has no negative impact on children whatsoever.

It's not an either/or issue, no matter how hard they try to frame it as one. You can easily be in favour of both daycare and homecare. There is no conflict, no cognitive dissonance, in saying "I believe that both daycare and homecare are valid and valuable ways of raising healthy and happy individuals".

Oh, but there I go, asserting myself again! Damn you, daycare!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I Wish I Hadn't Done it; Therefore, No One Else Should Have That Option, and other sad moments from The March for Life

They're probably the only anti-abortion group that gets to me: average women, sombre faces, black signs with white writing that proclaim "I Regret My Abortion".

And my first thought is: Dude, that sucks.

And my second thought is: That's not a valid argument.

And my third thought is: Why have you gone to the dark side?

Let's deal with those thoughts one at a time, shall we?

First of all - that really, really sucks. I can't imagine how much stress, depression, insomnia, and wordless rage that kind of regret must generate. Every day, every smiling family, every child, every parent, must provoke a numb hollowness that is unbearable.

BUT - and this brings us to thought number two - that is not a valid argument. You made one of the most difficult decisions any person will ever be faced with, and now you regret your choice. You have my sympathy. But you don't know better than I do what's right for me and my body. I'm sorry that you regret your abortion, and I'm interested in your story, but you don't get to make that choice for me.

Laws don't exist to protect me from making decision I might regret (hello, grade six perm), they exist to protect my fundamental human rights and freedoms. They exist to create a society in which fully autonomous citizens are informed and aware and capable of excercising free will.

Which leads me to my final point - these woman have(unwittingly, I like to think) gone over to the dark side by endorsing the same social factors which likely contributed to their regrettable decision in the first place: the systemic devaluation of women, their intellect, their contributions to society, and their intrinsic worth.

Did these women abort because of pressures from their partners, parents or peers? Were they made to feel selfish for considering what was best for them and not the interests of others? Were they threatened with financial abandonment, physical violence, or moral judgment?

Abortion wasn't, and isn't, the problem - it's a society which consistently undermine women's rights. And that is why, when I look at these women, I want to extend my arms and invite them over to this side of the fence, where they belong, where every woman can choose what is right for her and her alone and not fear retribution for daring to presume to act like a full human being with the rights and privileges thereby accorded.

Friday, May 26, 2006

It's only fun if she can be arrested

Originally posted on The Fetal Position:

As a woman, prostitution has always been somewhat of a puzzle to me. The thought of paying someone for sex is so strange, so alien - like, I will give him money? And he will have sex with me? - just doesn't compute in my brain.

Whether this is a sign of moral superiority of my sex or the complete and total absorption of patriarchal hegemony that turns the female body into consumer wares, I don't know.

But I do know that Geoff Matthews needs to spend a few years being a sexually abused drug-addict living off the avails of prostituting himself before anyone should take him seriously when he spouts drivel like this - his recent story talking about why the legalization of prostitution is bad.

Which it is - but not for the reasons he gives, which are:
making prostitution legal would take all the fun out of it.

I dare say that most people who patronize prostitutes now don't do it because they can't get sex anywhere else -- from wives, girlfriends or people they meet at the neighbourhood bar.

They go to prostitutes because it's a thrill ... a chance to walk on the wild side ... to do something because it's against the law and there's a possibility of getting caught.

Well, he's sort of right - men do go to prostitutes because it's a thrill. The thrill of owning another person, of subjecting them to your will, of taking the single most victimized and powerless group in the world and lording over them, like a REAL MAN. Nothing more thrilling than making a drug-addicted teenage runaway give you a blowjob in a back alley. And of course you could have asked your girfriend/wife/stranger at a bar to do that, but then she might have asked you to wear a condom/expected something in return/kicked you in the balls. Ooops, I mean, "it wouldn't have been as thrilling". Riiiiight.

Legalizing prostitution is a terrible idea, though, but not because it would destroy one of the treasured benefits of the patriarchy, as Matthews claims, but because it would normalize what is essentially an abherration in our society born out of inequalities of power. If being a prostitute is legal, then wouldn't the next step be having pimps and madams at high school career fairs? Or a woman being denied social assistance because she refuses to take a job offer from a brothel?

The obvious solution, and one which is usually ignored because it is reasonable, practical, and unpatriarachal, is to target the real criminals in this situation, like they do in Sweden. There, the government has stumbled upon the fact thatthe abused single mother trying to support her children is not so much a threat to society as she is a victim of that society:
In Sweden, prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children that constitutes a significant social problem, which is harmful not only to the individual prostituted woman or child, but also to society at large.
OMG! It's not those wanton harlots tempting otherwise good and honest hard-working family men with their irresistible charms, it's a patriarchal society commodifying the female form to dominate and exploit it? That's kah-razy!

And the best part of that solution is, not only does it allow the state to protect and assist those who are forced to prostitute themselves, it also lets Matthews and their ilk enjoy the thrill of being criminals. Everybody wins!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Discovery of the Week

Oh oh oh soooo exciting! So, I've been reading up more on this eating local, 100-mile diet DD and I found our way to the local farmer's market on opening day last week. And there were organic tomatoes and cucumber and asparagus and radishes and spinach and all the ususal suspects. And then there was (drumroll, bated breath, please): A LOCAL ARTISAN CHEESEMAKER AIEEEEE!!!!

So. Exciting. They were all sold out of everything but feta, but we sampled their blue cheese (divine) and a couple other soft cheeses and oooooohhhhh so good. So I'm thinking maybe this summer I'll try going full-out some week on a local diet, and see how it goes. I was sure about it, but at least know I know that, if nothing else, I can eat cheese all week.

In other news, the garden, she is growing - we've had over 3 inches of rain this past week, so the plants and veggies and lawn are just sprouting up like crazy. I mean, they are doing that because I am such an excellent gardener!

And - in work news - I guess I lost the bet I had...with myself. It wasn't Maurice Vellacott who introduced the first fetal rights bill, but his friend and party-member Leon Benoit. There'll be a post on this later at The Fetal Position, 'cause I'd like to go in-depth on this one. It is a very particular issue. But I'm still holding out for good old Mauriiice in the anti-abortion bill area. Don't let me down again!

Oh, wait - please do. Please let me down, now and forever.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

That Was Fast! US Solves Infant Mortality Rate Problem declaring that all women of child-bearing age treat themselves/be treated as "pre-pregnant".

Read the article here, read Amanda' Marcotte's excellent post on it here (and check out the comments too), and then, if you're a, I mean "female", go enjoy that pack of smokes and dry martini while you still can, before the government decides that it could harm the unborn child you may or may not be carrying to term within your body.

THIS IS FUCKING SICK. What's next? "Gee ma'am, I'd love to get you a beer, but first you need to pee on this stick and wait 5 minutes." Or maybe they'll just go one step further, and ban anyone without a Y chromosome from drinking, smoking, eating sushi, dancing, riding horseback, watching violent TV, standing, sitting, thinking, etc.

It's like the fucking twilight zone. Am I actually reading this correctly? The US is getting its fucking ass kicked in infant mortality rates, but that's not the fault of the corporate-controlled private healthcare system or the religious right's takeover of reproductive information...nooooo. It's those goshdarn ladies not devoting every aspect of their lives to being the best baby-machine possible!

How about giving women accurate, correct, scientifically-sound information and access to quality healthcare if and when they choose to have children? HOW ABOUT CARING ABOUT WOMEN'S HEALTH BECAUSE WE'RE PEOPLE WITH OUR OWN INTRINSIC WORTH AND NOT JUST FETAL-INCUBATORS?

If these mysoginistic wackos have their way, it'll only be a matter of time before us womenfolk learn that our place is in a Matrix-like compound of goo-pods, pumping out infants from puberty to menopause.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

March for Life? Fuck off and die

Thank Jebus it only comes once a year, or my head would asplode faster than you can say "Get your own damn uterus!"

Yes, it's the effin' March for Life on Parliament Hill.

I haven't dared do much more than peer out my window, lest I be overcome with the temptation to bash their stupid faces in with their "yes, of course an 8-week old fetus has arms, legs, and eyes, as you can clearly see in this totally accurate photo of a helpless aborted baby" signs.

I just...I can't. I just can't face these people. There is no reasoning with someone who believes that they are divine champions on a holy quest to be saviour to zygotes cannon-fodder adorable little cherubic angels trapped inside an demonic incubator-thing that ridiculously purports to be an actual, living human being with, like, "rights" or something.

What drives me bonkers is that these people are trying to frame the argument in that if you support abortion rights, than you despise babies. Well, I've always known I wanted to have kids. I want to have kids because I want to experience the full power of my body, a woman's body. I want to have kids because I've always loved kids. I want to have kids so that when I grow old I'll have people to nag about not calling me who'll listen 'cause they want whatever's left of my wealth that didn't go to feeding, clothing and educating them.

Whatever the reason - I WANT to have kids. But I want to have them WHEN I want to have them, under the circumstances I choose, with whom I choose, by whatever methods I choose, and that means controlling my reproduction by contraception, emergency contraception, or abortion, and it doesn't matter how much of a sinful whore you think I am, random old guy with a sign, because there's all of four men whose advice I would seek on pregnancy, and YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM, and it doesn't matter how fervently you pray, scary young woman my age, you are not going to influence my decision on whether or not to abort, and angry little grandma? Congrats on your daughter's fertility, but fuck off about mine. And fuck off about everyone woman or man out there who DOESN'T want kids, for whatever reason, because it is none of your GODDAMN BUSINESS.

These people, with their righteous anger and their holier-than-thou smugness, and their, "Big Daddy and the sky loves me more than you, nya nya nya" make me physically ill. How they courageously speak up for non-sentient blobs of tissue while ACTUAL, HONEST-TO-GOD children are being starved, beaten, abandoned, abused, exploited, and so forth; how they act like they are all "pro-life" for wanting to impose motherhood on woman, even though pregnancy is more dangerous than abortion; how they probably pray every night for this to be invented...

There are six billion people on this effin' planet. We are not likely to die out any time soon. We are likely to kill each other in a variety of increasingly diverse ways and poison our environment beyond habitability. Drop the anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-reason argument and go and do something that God ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT.

Maaaan...would you believe me that today's post was originally going to be on the suckitude of Hollywood Homicide and the awesomeness of my high school rugby team? See? The fundies RUIN EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Onion Gets It

Today's lead article at The Onion is fan-TASTIC. I wonder how many uterus-covetors are nodding their heads in vigorous agreement.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

New blog, and other things...

Wow, this is an entry-riffic day so far. Coupla things; I'm gonna start with the small stuff first and work my way down to the heavies:

1)I have an rss feed now. I think. Maybe? Also possibly an atom feed, but I'm not 100% sure. It is so funny how my boss thinks I am some sort of Internet whiz...

2)I've started posting on a new blog called E-Parliament. For you political junkies out there...

3)I've also started a new blog called Fetal Position, at It's still under construction, and it's mostly there because to give me place to vent on issues surrounding reproductive rights. Maybe it's all the freakin' right-wing, pro-life, "fetuses are more important than woman" crap I get in the mail, maybe it's the creepingly regressive movement that's pushing back women's rights, maybe it's the time that I once sat at my computer typing with my 50-year-old mother of two co-worker doing the same while our boss was lectured on the pro-life agenda by a 23-year-old boy and the full assbackwardness of that fact finally surfaced in between thoughts on Bill Napoli and Canada's own uterus-covetor extraordinaire, Maurice Vellacott, but the last month or so I've found myself driven to the point of wordless rage more times than I can remember over the holier-than-thou crap that spews out of pro-lifers mouths as if recognizing women as full human beings is the single most immoral thing they've ever heard of.

SO! If that's your bag, check it out. And I'd like to thank everyone who spends their valuable time travellin' with Floyd. And also to those who shared their gardening stories/suggestions/memories of the time I killed their plants. I will try and have herbs and edible flowers to go with my radishes. Gambia. Yes, while the Gambia. Yes, while the beacon of democracy and freedom that is the US continues to tighten its grasps on the the uteri of the nation, there are still some countries in the world actually progressing towards the recognition that there's a woman surrounding each uterus!

National Assembly Members (NAMS) on Tuesday unanimously ratified Articles 5, 6, 7, and 14 of the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of the Women in Africa.

Dota Kamasso, NAM for Wuli East; Netty Baldeh, NAM for Tumana; Halifa Sallah, NAM for Serekunda Central; Sedia Jatta, NAM for Wuli West; and Nyima Sata Sanneh Bojang, a nominated member, all spiritedly defended the motion. Mr Sheikh Tijan Hydara, Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice, who tabled the motion before the NAMS argued persuasively why the motion should be ratified.

In respect of Article 5 of the Protocol which deals with the elimination of harmful practices against women, he said popularly, women are referred to as being the weaker sex and if it is true, the strong therefore are expected to protect the weak. " Women are the object of love and affection. They are the mothers of mankind, the salt of our world and the inspiration behind many lofty achievements. They not only nurture children, but also nurture adults, male, and female alike and including their husbands as well. Therefore, whatever concerns them should actually not be taken lightly but very seriously," he said.

Progress! But there's still a ways to go, and judging by the whole "pregnancy is a punishment for being a dirty slut" mentality of allowing abortions only for victims of rape (emphasis mine):

"[...]victims of rape, incest, or other sexual assault be given the opportunity
to rid themselves of the consequences forced upon their lives, just like where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the foetus."

So - every time a woman consents to sex she is implicitly consenting to pregnancy, and therefore ineligible for abortion because a woman can't have her cock and eat it too. But at least it's a step in the right direction. And with any luck they won't look to Bill Napoli to define rape.

Why You Do Me So Wrong? Episode II redux

Dear contributor to my already obscene amount of personal wealth,

Here you go. Now shut up about it already.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It takes a village to raise a child, but just one idiot to write a budget

Oh, Jim Flaherty. Jim jim jim. Jimmy jimmy jim-bob bobby jim. What are we going to do with you?

I know, I know, you've got it tough. Minister of Finance for an entire country. The first budget for a party that has not held power in over a decade, and, technically, never governed really governed this country in its current incarnation. No matter what you did, somebody was bound to complain. I hear ya!

And really, I shouldn't be complaining about you. It's not your fault that your so-called economist boss put forward two of the most economically unsound campaign promises since...well, okay, since the Liberals promised to cut the GST. But at least they had the good sense to not follow through with it.

'Cause here's the thing, Jim. This whole 1% GST cut? Is awesome - for you. And your golfing buddies. And all other high-income earners in Canada. Here's some simple math for you (and it'd better be simple, for the guy who thought that 15.5% was a smaller amount than 15%).

Last year's income tax cuts put around 1$ back in taxpayers' pockets for every 100$ they earned between $8500-34,000. It also, by raising the basic personal exemption by $500, gave an automatic $75 back for everyone earning at least $8500. If you made $34000 or more, it meant savings of between $250-300.

In order to get the same savings out of a 1% GST cut, someone earning $34000 would have to spend $25,000-30,000. Yes, that's right - THEY WOULD HAVE TO SPEND ALMOST EVERY SINGLE PRE-TAX DOLLAR THEY EARNED. Genius! Spend to save! Brilliant:

Person 1: Love the new car!
Person 2: Thanks! It cost $50,000. I was going to buy the $25,000 one, but I realized I could save twice as much on the GST if I bought the more expensive one. Now I have an extra $500 towards retirement.
Person 1: But...couldn't you have an extra $25,000 by buying the cheaper one?

And don't even get me started on your Universal Child Care Benefit. Oh, too late! So, let's after study comes out showing that early access to educational and developmental programs is the key determinant in future success. Countries around the world (and Quebec right here at home) progress towards universal daycare. The former Minister of Social Development and Making Hockey Dads Stare in Awe manages to pull a goddamn miracle out of his ass and get ALL 10 provinces to sign Childcare Agreements whereby they will receive federal funding to creat childcare spaces that meet the QUAD criteria of Quality, Universal, Accessible, and Developmental.

And then your boss says, "Fuck that! $1200 taxable bucks a year per kid under six! For everyone! No matter if you're barely scraping by, or if you wipe your kid's ass with hundred-dollar bills!"

And you're all - fo sho, dawg. I've already helped out my privileged male friends with stay-at-home wives earning more than $100,000 grand once - why not do it again?

Because, here's the rub: those are the people who will benefit most. Well-off, single-income families (and not to make this a gender issue, but...OH WAIT. THIS TOTALLY IS A GENDER ISSUE. 'Cause the number of stay-at-home dads is about as high as the number of female heads of companies or states. WHAT A CRAZY COINCIDENCE. But now, thanks to this extra taxable $1200 a year, moms have a choice! They can choose to stay at home with their kid(s), or they can choose to...stay at home anyway because the real problem is that it is almost impossible to find quality, affordable daycare outside of Quebec!) will keep the most of the benefit. Lower income, two-earners households will keep the least. Plus, some of their other benefits are being rolled back. Oh, yes, Stephen Harper, champion of the working Canadian family - the way he wants it, with Dad off to the office and mom making dinner and babies.

Dammit, Jim, I'm a spin doctor, not an economist, but even I can see that your plan sucks. It sucks so much that even light cannot escape its swirling vortex of doom. Now, to be fair to you, I can hardly claim full non-partisan status. But, to be fair to me, the budget sucks. I don't want to save by spending, I want to save when I earn. I don't want you to throw spare change at parents, I want you to give them real choice. I don't want a transit tax credit, I want a bus with brakes that don't squeal like a group of teenage girls at a Simple Plan concert.

I don't want a paltry cheque, a slap on the back, and a hearty "Here you go - now fend for yourself!" I do want a village, a community, a country that grows and prospers together.

And at the end of the day, all I can do is rally the villagers. Normally that means pitchforks and torches and I guess that explains the extra 1,000 RCMP officers.

Maybe you're not such an idiot, after all.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Who am I kidding? I don't care about the "how". I only care about the "does".

There's an awful lot of self-esteem and responsibility tied up in having a garden, as I am finding out. DD and I put in 3 smallish beds last year when we went on our Landscaping Extravagan-zah!, and I spent the better part of the winter staring at the snow-covered yards and thinking "Well...they were nice plants while they lasted."

Because, seriously - how could any living thing survive that without the benefit of fourteen layers of fleece and a thermos of hot cocoa? HOW? Mentally, I had already said my farewells, and dreaded the spring melt where I would dig up the hosta and cedar corpses and put them to rest in that big black composter in the, backyard.

And then the spring melt came and, lo and behold: there was green! Actual, real live plants, right where I left them! Flush with success and drunk on my amazing powers of nurturing, I thought the only possible thought: "Hell! I should grow veggies this year!"

So I did the only reasonable thing - drag my partner to every home and garden store in a 15km radius inspecting every single planter until finally settling on some which, upon closer inspection, didn't really suit my purposes after all and therefore it's back to the stores with a rapidly-changing schematic in mind for building one ourselves using everyday materials such as wood, black plastic, four gajillion nails and screws and, of course, sections from a Derek Zeisman campaign sign.

In the meantime, though, I did actually plant a few things in my pre-purchased containers...and was that ever a nerve-wracking week, waiting to see if anything would actually grow. Every morning I'm out to water, all "any day now!" and every night I'm out back "stupid seeds! Why don't you freakin' grow, you stupid stinky seeds...oh, I didn't mean that, I love you! Please grow!" And you feel like a terrible, terrible person, especially if your record as a guardian of living things is four dead fish, one bird that flew away, and that one horrific summer where you killed every single plant (including bamboo) in the apartment you were subletting.

So would anyone be terribly surprised to learn that I did a full-out touchdown dance when the radishes started growing? Which, by the way, are my total favourite vegetables in the whole world, along with green onions, two varieties of lettuce, green onions, carrots and, if they know what's good for them, snow peas.

Now, all of these are still in seedling form, and they've just undergone a couple of days of frost, and my compost still isn't ready (stupid worms! Eat faster!) so it remains to be seen whether of them will actually make it to my tummy, but - it sure feels nice right now. And I've already got images of plump tomatoes, robust pole beans and abundant zucchini in the "so pretty that I'm not sure I want to get it all full of dirt and such" container that we built.

So here's hoping that if any of you make it out to the 'burbs this summer, you will have some of Floyd's bounty to enjoy. Even if it is just one radish.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As Bad As You Can Possibly Imagine

Now, I know this story has been out for awhile, but I just wanted to weigh in on the whole South Dakota abortion ban boondoggle. Let me start off by giving my heartfelt thanks to Bill Napoli. Bill, or B-Nap, as I like to fondly refer to him, is one of those few men out there who really goes the distance to try and bridge the gender gap. He's one of those few dicks (and I mean that literally) who's willing to put his money where his mouth is and try to get into the mind of a pregnant woman.

Now, of course, being a dick, B-Nap can't ever really know what it's like to be either of those things. But at least he's thought about it. I mean, A LOT. Especially in the case of rape victims. I would imagine that, based on this video, he has selflessly spent at least the better part of his life since puberty thinking about rape victims. Especially young, nubile, virginal rape victims. To which I can only ask, WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE BILL NAPOLIS OF THE WORLD? Where are the rest of these men who will take the time out of their day, packed with important manly things, to ponder vivid and brutal rape scenarios, replaying them over and over in their minds until their wives can't help but wonder why they are suddenly being asked to dress up like Catholic school girls during sex? WHERE?

Now, a lot of people will say that just because men will never have to face the physical, emotional and psychological realities of pregnancies, their opinions are somehow less valid when it comes to that issue. But I think what B-Nap has shown is that if you think about something a lot, then you are totally qualified to pass judgement on it. This is also known as the "professional sports fan" syndrome, as in "You suck Redden! Learn to skate! If I could get off this couch without falling over, I'd show you a thing or two about [falls over]".

I would also be curious to now where B-Nap stands on gay rights. I would guess that he would be against them. Now, it may seem hateful and ignorant, ladies, but him and other supposed "homophobes" are actually doing us a favour! It is obvious that only heterosexual men can really care about women: after all, how much time do you think gay men (or women, for that matter) spend thinking about the violent sodomy of young female virgins? I bet not even one split second. Yeah, that's right, I said it. And what kind of debased pervert doesn't take the time to imagine the most terrible possible violation of the other sex?

So thanks, B-Nap, for reminding me that that certain type of man still exists. The type of man who doesn't need a medical degree, or a uterus, to know what the standard for pregnancy rights in this country should be. The type of man who's willing to spend countless hours imagining the most horrible rape he can, and then brave enough to go on TV and share it with the nation.

The type of man who knows that there aren't many women out there who would procreate with his type of man voluntarily, and so decides to make some important changes within himself, like becoming a politician and making a law that allows him and his type to rape women and then force them to bear their children, just like in that mythical Stone Age his blasphemous science teacher once told him about.

So to you, B-Nap, I say, may I never forget that your type is not yet extinct. And so determined am I to remember this fact, that I even purchased a little memento.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Opposing Forces

There's few times more profoundly disorganized in politics than a change of governing parties. It's like moving to a new home, times one thousand. I mean, there's the actual moving part - defeated and retiring MPs cleaning out their offices, former Cabinet Ministers giving up the cushy corner spot for the broom closet in the attic, my co-worker and I living in fear that someone will notice we have a (small, cold, usually functioning) bathroom in our office and try for a hostile takeover, the new Government Whip trying to buck decades of tradition by abandoning the "MPs assigned those plum offices in Centre Block by seniority" in favour of kicking out all opposition MPs before the House opened, only to be stopped by the House of Commons Material Management staff who are a)unionized, and b)reasonable enough to explain to him doing a move of that magnituted before the House opens is nigh impossible, asshole (well...maybe that last part was silent) - and then some.

There are websites that need updating, contact lists that need changing, people out job-searching (Liberals), people out desperately looking for someone, anyone, who can stomach even the cushiest of jobs working for them (Conservatives), people upstairs at the vending machine wondering why they stopped stocking Twix (me), and so on.

So, it's been a pretty big change. Now, very few Liberal staffers have ever worked in Opposition before, and people were all "Oooh, it's going to be sooo hard, how're we going to do this, where's my cushy ministerial job at age 26 that I, like, totally am qualified for, I'm scared, hold me!" and yet...not so much. From a communications perspective, Opposition is a breeze. Opposition is not only shooting fish in a barrel, it's shooting dead fish who have been immobilized with tiny chains, using a laser-sighted bazooka. Because at the end of the day? It's waaaaaaay easier to complain about something than to actually do something.

For example: Let's say I am the Minister Finance. Everyday, people are all up in my face, all "My taxes are too high! Why are my taxes so high? This is bullshit! I drove all the way here my fancy SUV on these nice roads past all these structural sound bridges and first-rate hospitals to tell you this, you big jerk! Why aren't you doing anything about it? I pay my taxes! I know my rights! I'm a citizen blah blah blah blah" and so on.

Now I, the Minister of Finace, have to come up with a plan. It should, ideally, be a good plan, but thanks to the miracle of partisan politics, it doesn't really matter because whatever I propose, my party (the government) will support me and every other party will say that my plan's not worth the 100% post-consumer recycled paper it's written on. I cannot stress this enough - IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT MY PLAN IS. I could have the best, most even-handed, most realistic, most scientifically-supported plan in all of creation, and the opposition will say that it is a pile of bear shit. Conversely, I could have a plan that IS actually bear shit, and my party will say that it's magical golden bear shit which will amazingly solve all problems, ever, and truth be damned!

But the bottom line is - I, the Minister, still have to do something. I have to get research done, hire policy analysts, economists, specialists in their fields; I have to go over this research and policy analysis and guide it and approve and have it go through the single most confusing internal process in the known world and throughout it all, defend myself against the inevitable attacks from the opposition.

And now, let's pretend I am in the opposition. Here is the sum of my work day: "Mister Speaker, the Minister of Finance has clearly come up with the single worst piece of legislation ever. When will he resign?". Then, I go have a martini in the lobby.

Okay, I'm exaggerate slightly. The MPs are far more likely to grab a Keith's.

Seriously, though, even my job as a staffer in an Official Opposition office is a lot easier. It's busier, but it's easier. Let me explain the first by explaining the second:

We've already discussed how much less effort it takes to complain than to actually accomplish something. So, I don't have to spend any of my time thinking up ways to promote and defend the government's policies. All of my writing can basically be summed up as "The government stinks. Like, ew. Gross!"

That being said - it's a lot easier to write those pieces. And somebody in the know caught on to this now I have to write a lot more. So! Like I said - easier but busier.

Also fun - when people call up to complain about how the government stinks - before, I had to get all informed about stuff and get the official line and explain to them that the stench was really the overpowering smell of the government's inherent awesomeness. Now, I can just go, "Oh yeah, they totally stink! Like, ew. Gross!" And it is waaaay easier to say that than to write it. Honestly, that is kind of my ideal job - people calling me up to say how much they hate certain sucky things (our current government, tailgaters, mushy peas, the fact that Everybody Loves Raymond ran for a zillion years and Firefly got pulled before one full season) and I would totally agree and we'd bitch together and maybe I'd have some Ben & Jerry's and later we could braid each others hair.

Yeeeeaaaah....this opposition thing isn't going to be that bad, after all.