Wednesday, October 31, 2007

November is National Blog Posting Month

That's right folks! Tomorrow kicks off National Blog Posting Month (also known as NaBloPoMo). I have been looking forward to November for a few months because of this. The NaBloPoMo project is where bloggers attempt to post an entry on their blogs for thirty straight days in a row, starting November 1st. Last year, I heard about it for the first time after it was already over, so this will be my first time participating. It's October 31st so that means there's time for you to get in on it too!

You can find out more about it on the official NaBloPoMo site. Come on! You know you want to!

Quiz: How Sarcastic Are You?

No, really? I'm sarcastic? Go figure! A real genius you are, Mr. Quiz-maker!

You Have Your Sarcastic Moments

While you're not sarcastic at all times, you definitely have a cynical edge.
In your opinion, not all people are annoying. Some are dead!
And although you do have your genuine moments, you can't help getting your zingers in.
Some people might be a little hurt by your sarcasm, but it's more likely they think you're hilarious.

Monday, October 29, 2007

30,000+ Visitors To My Blog

You know, I have a few little widgets on my blog that keep track of how many people have visited and where in the world their IP addresses are coming from. So, I was looking at My Private Casbah, trying to see what's making it take so long to finish loading, and I glanced down at my SiteMeter. I do take a look at it from time to time but since it's at the very bottom of the page, I don't really keep track of the numbers.

Today, I noticed that I've had over thirty thousand visitors to my blog in the past year. What the heck is that about? I mean, I know that's peanuts compared to some of the mega-blogs on the internet but, to me, that's an awful lot of people to have visit here and read my silly posts and poor grammar. Good grief! I'm embarrassed now!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Because Our System Is So-oo-oo Much Better Than Socialized Medicine

Don't let the art deco exterior fool you.
Photo description:the artwork above a doorway at the old Charity Hospital in New Orleans

I am a big believer in socialized healthcare. Yeah, I know, how unpatriotic of me! So sue me! I've had people make the stupid "In Canada, you have to wait months just to get an appointment to see a doctor" argument to me and I fairly chewed their head off. Months? That's all? Try being uninsured in this country. Your "wait" will last as long as it takes you to cough up the money for treatment, at the very least. So, anyone who has a problem with socialized medicine is welcome to bring on the arguments against it here. I will eat your lunch.

As The Tumor Turns is written by a fellow New Orleanian (Lymphopo) living with cancer. Her tumor, though a different type from my "unicorn with stripes and wings" variety, was also located in her chest. But you know what? I can barely stand to visit her blog. I mean, I avoid it like the plague. Do you know why? It's because I can't bear to hear what she's going through.

I'm privileged. I have healthcare coverage. I've had it for several years now. Lymphopo does not. So, while I am able to go to whatever hospital I need in order to get prompt treatment, she has to wait months just to have a basic mammogram at the local public (i.e. free) hospital. I go to see my doctors and if they want me to be seen by another doc or have some kind of test done, as long as it's fairly early in the day, all they have to do is make a single phone call and the hospital will have that other department squeeze me in that day so that I don't have to make a second trip.

At the public hospital, even if she has had all of her tests done by the time her next doctor's appointment is scheduled, if for some reason the test results aren't back or have been misplaced (something that happens with frightening frequency), she can sit there for the hours it takes to go through the check-in procedure only to be told that there isn't anything they can do about it except reschedule her appointment--for another few months later. I know. I've been a patient there.

My thrifty mother used to take us there as kids because it was cheaper than going to the private hospital every time we had a cough or cold. The pediatric department wasn't THAT bad, not nearly as bad as the emergency room triage that adults had to use if they needed to see a doctor. If you're an adult, you literally have to be dying to skip the hour's long wait. I have, with my own eyes, seen people sitting in the waiting room bleeding profusely and still be subjected to the six-eight hour average wait for treatment.

As a college student, I didn't bother with health insurance either. I didn't need to. My university had a doctor's office located within it and our tuition gave us free access to it. They couldn't do x-rays or mammograms but they did have arrangements with a local private hospital to provide those sorts of services to us as a reduced cost and the reports or scans would be sent back to the school's doctor's office so we didn't have to pay to see the private hospital doctor in order to get the test results. Pretty sweet deal, wasn't it?!

At the beginning of my cancer journey I had to use the public hospital but because of my college coverage, I was able to walk in with copies of my scans and records which meant that I didn't have to go through as many hoops as are usually required in cases where the person is just walking in from off the streets seeking help. What I saw during those months was heart-breaking. There isn't time enough for me to describe it all.

Getting back to the point, this is the system that Lymphopo is still forced to use to get treatment for her cancer. Pre-Katrina radiation therapy was administered in the basement of one of the hospital buildings. It was a dark and depressing place. Thankfully, I only had to visit it once. By then I had coverage and I was able to make the choice to go somewhere else for radiation. Lymphopo didn't have these options.

Until this sort of disparity ends, I have no desire write off the possibility that socialized healthcare may very well be better than what we have here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal--The history of my Uterine Sadness

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast
Man never Is, but always To be Blest."
Alexander Pope

I've tried to write about this many, many times in the past. It's so agonizing that I just haven't been able to sit down and finish out my thoughts in one sitting and when I do try to go back to the topic, the words that I've already written just don't seem quite right anymore. Maybe this will be the time I get it all out.

There are many reasons why, and I could spend hours writing about them all and trying to make really compelling arguments to convince people that it's more of a need than a desire, but, in the end, it all boils down to the fact that I just desperately want another child.

Often, this life seems like some sort of timeshare deal. You only have a little while to make the most of what is basically a shitty deal. Unless you're one of very few people, by the time you get enough money to do all of the really interesting stuff, you're either in jail or in federal prison. Couple it with a potentially life-shortening health condition or two and you end up with some very limited options.

I had never planned for VanGoghGirl to grow up as an only child. Still, nobody ever let me forget how irresponsible it was for me to have given birth at eighteen years old so I knew that having another baby soon after her birth was out of the question. My mother had always promised to throw me out of the house if I got pregnant out of wedlock, so the fact that I was still there after having VanGoghGirl meant that my situation was pretty precarious.

I was diagnosed with the Systemic Lupus when VanGoghGirl was about less than a year old and it made me pretty sick but I didn't understand that to mean that I couldn't have any more kids. I had a miscarriage shortly before I got pregnant with my daughter but I didn't see it as necessarily a result of my lupus until my rheumatologist warned me that it might be.

A few years later, while I was at one of my routine doctor's appointments, my rheumie pointed out that he noticed from my charts that I was about to turn twenty-one years old. I smiled because I thought he was about to congratulate me. Instead, he suggested that I ought to consider having my tubes tied as a birthday present for myself. I was stunned. He could have been a bit more tactful about it but I understood the reasons behind his advice. The lupus meant that birth control containing estrogen, IUDs, and Norplant were contraindicated.

I didn't listen to him. I knew that some women with lupus go on to have children. The statistics are: a third of those lupies who are pregnant will experience an exacerbation of their disease, a third will experience an improvement in their condition, and the final third will experience no disease change whatsoever. Those odds aren't great but the records showed that my lupus symptoms slacked off while I was pregnant with VanGoghGirl, so that gave me reason to be hopeful. Well, that is until the rheumie explained to me that the odds applied to each pregnancy and how one fared in a former pregnancy didn't really prove that their body would react the same way with other pregnancies. Even still, I decided to hold on to my reproductive abilities for a while longer.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Defining "Woman Über Alles" White Feminism

(I think I need to note that the term used in the name of this post isn't original to me. I am pretty sure that incredible and always witty belledame22 used it before I "stolez" it.)

Yesterday I was in a conversation and someone criticized the fact that I have stated that I'm a womanist. For privacy's sake, I'm not going to reprint their comments but eventually the conversation led to some discussion on whether "womanism" is antithetical to feminism. Anyway, I wound up using the term "white, Western, middle-class feminism" and a fellow woman of color asked me what I meant by this. I've used it several times in the past and I figure she might not be the only one who didn't know what I was talking about. I just thought I'd reprint my description of this group that I refer to when I talk about why womanism describes my views better than just using the word "feminism".

White, Western, Middle-Class Feminism
(aka "Woman Über Alles" White Feminism)

White, Western, middle-class feminism tends to view ideas like "freedom" and "liberation" in terms of what people in this society value or consider desirable. It tends to mimic Western society as a whole in that it can be quite imperialist regarding what needs to be done to "fix" other societies/groups. It centers issues that affect whites but those issues that mostly affect women of color are de-centered and often ignored completely. It tends to downplay the role that race plays on the oppression faced by women of color because they are "of color" and, regardless of what WOC say to the contrary, it is often times stated that ending the patriarchy is all that's needed to end that oppression. It denies the historic role that white women have played in the oppression of people of color and how it continues to do so in many ways to this very day. It is the feminism of the those whose biggest problems really may be the patriarchy. It is the feminism that insists women of color wait for a "more convenient season"*.

This phrase was taken from a letter written by Martin Luther King Jr. while he sat in a Birmingham jail. The following passage shows the context of this quote.

"I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season."

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fan in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."

Allying With Parents of Children With Disabilities

I'm just getting around to checking out last month's Disability Blog Carnival. The first entry I clicked on was called "Trache-ing Elmo". The thought of this made me laugh even before I read it because I have seen VanGoghGirl "alter" many of her dolls to suit her own aesthetic. Her toy room is cluttered with scenes of doll carnage. Barbie never stood a chance with my kid.

My niece is an Elmo fanatic. She has several of the plain plush dolls, the battery-powered one that does the chicken dance and even the Tickle Me Extreme Elmo that can fall to the floor and then raise itself back up to the standing position. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tuck Elmo in or talk to Elmo or apologize to Elmo for something I said in his presence. I don't really mind though, it's all a part of being an auntie. In the process, I've developed a fondness for Elmo over the past couple of years. As far as muppets go, he's really a complex character, so I really wanted to hear about the plans that Hannah's mommy had for her doll.

At this point, Elmo has been accessorized with some of Hannah's old walking equipment but, as the title suggests, he may soon be fitted with some ultra cool body mods. I'm not going to give everything away here so you'll have to visit her blog if you want to get the whole story.

On a serious note, when I read her post, I thought about how, when I was pregnant, I made the decision that I would only purchase dolls who were "people of color" (e.g. non-white). I wanted my daughter to be able to surround herself with toys that added to her self-esteem. I wanted her to see that color is beautiful. I figured she'd see more than enough whiteness in her lifetime without me having to contribute to it. When she's playing mommy with her dolls, I want them to look like her. I never really told my mother-in-law, who is white, about my feelings on this but instinctively she has never purchased a doll for my daughter that didn't at least have a nice tan.

I'm lucky or, I guess I should say, privileged. These days, even though most dolls on the toy store shelf are still white, more non-white dolls are being available for purchase. If I visit two or three toy stores, I can usually find a couple of Black or Latino dolls to choose from even though Asian ones are still fairly rare. Even though I have serious issues with the body types and clothes that some of them are dressed in, VanGoghGirl can at least have dolls that closely match her skin tone.

However, when it comes to dolls that depict people with disabilities, parents are still pretty much out of luck. The American Girl doll line features a wheelchair and a cast that you can put on your doll's leg but that's it. I think I've seen a Barbie doctor set with a few bandages and arm slings but nothing more.

This situation makes me reflect on the ways that even people who belong to marginalized communities can still be privileged relative to other marginalized groups. I can afford to ignore the unavailability of dolls featuring body non-conformance because there are enough people with children that look like mine for manufacturers to consider it worthwhile to make dolls with tans and/or curly hair. Do I make as big a deal out of the unavailability as I would if I had a child with a trache? Admittedly, no. Should I? Yes. I guess that means I have some changes to make if I want to be an ally to parents with children who have certain disabilities.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Go Check Out the Disability Blog Carnival #25

On tomorrow, this month's Disability Blog Carnival is going to be hosted by Kara over at If The World Had Wheels. The theme is "If".

"If" as a topic has a lot of significance for me. I spent the first few years of my cancer experience consumed by "if". What if I'm not making the best decisions regarding my treatment options? What if I had seen a doctor back when my chest first started hurting? What if the meds that I took for lupus are what caused me to develop this cancer? What if I leave my daughter without a mother at such a young age? It may well be the case that "if" is the most frightening word in the English language.

The Perverse Pleasure of Laughing at Addicts

I have a brother who used to have a drug problem. I'm not talking about the socially acceptable kind. I mean the sort of drug that runs the risk of killing you every single time you do it. It took me forever to see it, though.

Like me, my siblings were all, to some extent or another, adversely affected by our upbringing. Some of us have survived relatively intact and others of us are still struggling a great deal. There was a long period of time when my own behavior was so risky that I really am very blessed to have made it through to the other side. I can only call it a blessing because it's more than I can, in good conscience, ascribe to luck. I'm not saying that there's no possibility that I will turn out like some of the people I used to associate with.

Lately I've noticed how much of a thrill many folks in this society get from making fun of or looking down on people with drug addictions. I guess it's just so easy to do. After all, how many people are willing to stand up for someone who "just isn't willing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and kick their addiction to substances that they know are harming them? I can't even count how many jokes and quips and skits I've seen that use people with drug addictions as the punchline or as the object of derision. Frankly, I'm downright sick of it.

I understand that a lot of people need to have someone to look down on in order to feel better about themselves but enough already!

Reading an article in the newspaper is what got me thinking about this today. I am very annoyed after reading this article about a woman who nearly burned to death in Michigan. It seems to me that this woman's tragedy is being used as a PSA by the newspaper. Her addiction to nicotine nearly cost her her life. Instead of focusing on how much damage was done to her apartment, they should be focusing on how much damage the cigarette companies have done to people's lives.

Not So Lucky

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Walk on the Wild Side!

Thanks to Ravenmn,

Tulip the Ibex-elle-bat

Ibex horns-
Your Ibex horns can grow up to three feet long. Unlike antlers,which are shed every year, you get to keep your Ibex horns for life.

Thomson's gazelle
Ready! Set! Go! Your Thomson's gazelle legs make you one of the fastest animals in Africa. When chased by cheetahs, gazelles can reach speeds of 50 mph.

Rodrigues bat
Your Rodrigues bat wings are very different from bird wings. Bird wings are made like human arm bones. But your bat wings are more like really long fingers. Creepy long fingers!

Now go make your own:

New York Zoos and Aquarium

Who Ya' Gonna Call? The CIA CounterTerrorism Department?

What do you get when you combine this:

plus this:


Do you give up yet? The answer is:

You get the CIA's new logo for the DCI CounterTerrorist Center.

Yeah, I'm not even kidding this time.

The German read about this on a forum and showed it to me. Has anyone else seen this? I thought this was a joke until I went on their website and saw it for myself. What the heck is this crap? Is this a Halloween prank? The German just had one question: How much did they we pay to have this thing made? Look at that thing! I may not agree with much that the CIA counter-terrorism department does but, if we're going to have one, can't they at least have a real kick-ass logo? I mean, if anyone should get one, shouldn't it be them? If I had to work at DCI, I'd be rioting in my office about this foolishness. It's just freakin' embarrassing to look at!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quiz: Would You Have Been A Nazi?

You betcha I'd leave. There is no place on the planet that is worth giving my life for.

Your Score: The Expatriate

Achtung! You are 15% brainwashworthy, 31% antitolerant, and 9% blindly patriotic

Congratulations! You are not susceptible to brainwashing, your values and cares extend beyond the borders of your own country, and your Blind Patriotism does not reach unhealthy levels. If you had been German in the 30s, you would've left the country.

One bad scenario -- as I hypothetically project you back in time -- is that you just wouldn't have cared one way or the other about Nazism. Maybe politics don't interest you enough. But the fact that you took this test means they probably do. I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt.

Did you know that many of the smartest Germans departed prior to the beginning of World War II, because they knew some evil shit was brewing? Brain Drain. Many of them were scientists. It is very possible you could have been one of them.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would not have been a Nazi.

The Would You Have Been A Nazi? Test

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Casa Segura Project

Leaving supplies out in the desert for all those who happen to brave the U.S.-Mexico border isn't a new concept. There are a few groups that go out and leave gallons of water and first aid supplies for immigrants but not nearly enough because, every year, people are still dying out in the deserts.

Robert Ransick created the Casa Segura project as an alternative to the situation that exists today. "Casa Segura" means "safe house" in Spanish. These safe houses contain water and food and something that differentiates it from other desert way-stations. Inside Casa Segura, the travelers will find a touch screen that will allow them to leave a message for the homeowner or the next person who reaches it. These messages are then recorded and downloaded to the Casa Segura website.

Here's the article where I first read about it:
Casa Segura article on We Make Money Not Art

And here is the Casa Segura website:
Home of the Casa Segura project

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Weight Saga Continues

I've been feeling pretty lousy lately. I'm not sleeping well and I'm having a lupus flare-up which only adds to the daily fatigue. I've been eating like a hog lately and hoping that it might help my weight issues. However, I got on the scale yesterday and it shows that I've lost three more pounds. It wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't for the fact that I just ended my period so, at least part of that weight is just a result of my usual "water weight gain". I try to refrain from weighing myself at other times of the month because I just don't want to freak out and I just might if I looked at the scale and saw what I weighed during those months where my stomach has been bothering me a lot.

The Onion Skit About Paranoid Schizophrenia and the Government

Normally, I don't really care for jokes about schizophrenia so, maybe I'm just partial to The Onion because this video made me really laugh. I can relate to a lot of the stuff they are spoofing.

Check out this video: Is The Government Spying On Paranoid

How to Peel a Raw Egg Video

How To Peel a Raw Egg Video

Happy Belated Eid

I know I'm off by like a week but I simply forgot to post this so now it's late. Anyway, I hope that everyone who celebrates it had a thoughtful Ramadan and a magnificent Eid al-Fitr. My younger brother and his wife just celebrated their first Ramadan as a Muslims. I'm going to have to call them and see if they managed to make it all the way through Ramadan without breaking their daily fasts.

In the spirit of unity, I wanted to post some of my favorite verses/messages from the Holy Qu'ran, The Holy Bible (al-Injeel), and several other faith traditions. I hope you will enjoy reading them and if anyone can think of some similar ones that I can add, I'd love to see them.

One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.
Mahavira, Sutrakritanga
(Thanks, Daisy)

The Wiccan Rede:
An it harm none, do what ye will.
(Thanks, Lisa.)

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law of the prophets.

Is there one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s whole life? Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness:
Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

This is the sum of duty. Do nothing unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.

No one of you is a believer until he desires for others what he desires for himself.

What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary.

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.

That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto others whatever is not good for itself.

"O people, We have created you from a male and a female and made you
into races and tribes so that you may know each other. Surely the most honored of you in the sight of God is the one who is the most righteous of you”
Qu'ran (49:13)

"Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory."
The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quiz: What Kind of Blogger Are You?

(Shamelessly stolen from Daisy's Dead Air)

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

Ann Coulter Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Ya know, this just hasn't been a good week to be a theist. First I read Summer's post about people telling her that she should be celibate for the rest of her life because thinking you're gay is just a test by Allah. Now I hear about this ridiculous idjit Ann Coulter getting on Ronny Deutsch's show and repeatedly making anti-semitic remarks.

Is anyone surprised? This is the same person who said we ought to kidnap Muslims and force them all to convert to Christianity. Those who put money in her pocket by paying to have her on their shows are contributing to her ability to spread hatred. They are just as guilty as she is.

Oh yeah, and Ann, anti-semitism? How original! Could you at least surprise us by being a creative racist? Right now, you bore me.

More on Martin Lee Anderson: The Disability Aspect

Martin Lee Anderson (aged 14 at death)

Martin Lee Anderson had Sickle Cell Trait. If the boot camp had done a thorough examination of the child before they started marching him around the camp, then this would have been obvious. It is well-known amongst medical professionals that exercise-related death is a real threat for people with Sickle Cell Trait, especially children with it. Hell, even I know this and I'm just the parent of a child with Sickle Cell Trait.

If there are adults that the courts put in charge of children (against the will of the child or the child's parents), don't those adults have a responsibility to take care of them? And wouldn't taking care of them require these adults to at least have some idea of what sort of medical conditions these children may have? I would think so.

But hey, what do I know? I mean, maybe being slumped over on the ground because your body is being deprived of oxygen to your brain means you deserve to be hit, kicked, and suffocated to death with ammonia. After all, forcing children to run around pointlessly under the midday sun is just essential to reforming them of their evil ways.

While you're pondering that, feel free to check out the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse. They do great work and they have done a lot to cover the Martin Anderson case and other cases where children died while in government care.

National Crisis

Jugend Dient Dem Führers (of the USA government)

(Hat tip to Another Conflict Theorist)

You know, I have just been really dumbfounded by the crap that goes on in this country lately. There's Jena, and lord knows I haven't finished processing that yet, then there's the New Jersey 7, and now there's the case of Martin Lee Anderson.

This fourteen year old child was held down, kicked and hit repeatedly while he was on the ground unable to move. They covered his mouth and forced him to inhale ammonia until he essentially suffocated. But hey, why take my word for it? See it for yourself:

So how is it one can torture and kill a child, on tape no less, and be found not guilty of any crime? Well, just make sure the child is black! Of course, you can probably get away with it if the child is Latino or NDN or Asian but if you want to play it safe, it's always best to go with the black kids.

Hell, you can even be a medical professional who comes over to watch as the entire torture session occurs and still not be found guilty of any crime. That person on the video wearing a white jacket--she's a nurse. And what does Kristin Schmidt do as this boy is dying in front of her very eyes? She stands there with her hands on her hips like a female Josef Mengele. But that doesn't mean she's a bad person, right? After all, according to her evaluators over at the so-called "boot camp" where all of this occurred, one of Schmidt's best traits is that she “is a rule follower which helps things flow better.” Oh yes, Mengele would definitely be proud.

From what I see on this tape, these brown-shirts killed Martin Lee Anderson, but who should I believe--the all-white jury (that took less than an hour and a half to discuss a case that took three-weeks to present) or my lying eyes?

I feel guilty about using the comparisons to concentration camps but I don't think Godwin's Law applies in this case. There's just an overwhelming amount of similarity that I see here. We've got the para-military force (Sturmabteilung), presiding over camp of repeat offenders of state sensibilities ("undesirables") aided by medical professionals whose presence adds to the supposed legitimacy of the camp (Nazi doctors).

But maybe I'm being melodramatic. Martin Lee Anderson was a criminal, right? I mean he did steal his grandmother's car and trespass at a school and I just know that I'd be scared to death if the state allowed kids who trespass to just roam the streets with the rest of the good citizens of the USA.

Snort coke? Fine. Drive under the influence with your child in the car? Just dandy! Swipe your grandmother's car as a teenager and go visit your buddies at another school? You deserve to die. Somebody should have explained the camp rules to Martin Lee.
After all, children are supposed to listen to the men in uniform.

The poster reads, "Youth serve the leader" in German.

If he had just done what he was told, I'm sure he'd have quickly passed through the camp and been released back into society as a better person than when we went in.

P.S. Anyone who ever comes here telling me about how the torturers at abu ghraib were an anomaly and their actions don't reflect the way America views people of color had better come prepared with an explanation for why this sort of shit keeps happening over and over again.

My Jung Typology Type: iNFj

(Taken from

Your Type is :

Strength of the preferences %

Counselor Idealists

The Counselor Idealists are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in reaching their goals, and enterprising and attentive in their interpersonal roles. Counselors focus on human potentials, think in terms of ethical values, and come easily to decisions. The small number of this type (little more than 2 percent) is regrettable, since Counselors have an unusually strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others and genuinely enjoy helping their companions. Although Counsleors tend to be private, sensitive people, and are not generally visible leaders, they nevertheless work quite intensely with those close to them, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes with their families, friends, and colleagues. This type has great depth of personality; they are themselves complicated, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.

Counselors can be hard to get to know. They have an unusually rich inner life, but they are reserved and tend not to share their reactions except with those they trust. With their loved ones, certainly, Counselors are not reluctant to express their feelings, their face lighting up with the positive emotions, but darkening like a thunderhead with the negative. Indeed, because of their strong ability to take into themselves the feelings of others, Counselors can be hurt rather easily by those around them, which, perhaps, is one reason why they tend to be private people, mutely withdrawing from human contact. At the same time, friends who have known a Counselor for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that they are inconsistent; Counselors value their integrity a great deal, but they have intricately woven, mysterious personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.

Counselors have strong empathic abilities and can become aware of another's emotions or intentions -- good or evil -- even before that person is conscious of them. This "mind-reading" can take the form of feeling the hidden distress or illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types to comprehend. Even Counselors can seldom tell how they came to penetrate others' feelings so keenly. Furthermore, the Counselor is most likely of all the types to demonstrate an ability to understand psychic phenomena and to have visions of human events, past, present, or future. What is known as ESP may well be exceptional intuitive ability-in both its forms, projection and introjection. Such supernormal intuition is found frequently in the Counselor, and can extend to people, things, and often events, taking the form of visions, episodes of foreknowledge, premonitions, auditory and visual images of things to come, as well as uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance.

Mohandas Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt are examples of the Counselor Idealist (INFJ).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Good-bye Vernon Bellecourt

Wabun Inini (Vernon Bellecourt) was one of the most influential Native Americans in the fight to end the racist use of Native American imagery in sports. He was also one of the original organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Yesterday, he died of pneumonia. He was seventy-five years old. He has earned a place in American history.

Chemo a.k.a. "Liquid Death"

Have I ever written about my chemotherapy experience? I don't think I have. It was several years ago now but I still remember that period and I think I always will.

People often associate chemotherapy with cancer but it isn't the only condition it's used for. I was given chemo as treatment for my lupus. The rheumatologist prescribed weekly doses of Methotrexate that I was to administer to myself.

It came in little glass vials that I picked up from the pharmacy. I was working there so at least I didn't have to worry about anything like this happening to me. I purchased a clean needle each week. The pharmacy sold them in singles, ostensibly for diabetics though I'd think that anyone who was insulin-dependent would probably need more than one needle at a time. The people who came to purchase them varied so widely that I don't know what they were used for mostly. Anyway, I had to push the needle in through the rubber top on the bottle and draw out the amount that I was prescribed to take each week. After ensuring that I had the right amount, I withdrew the needle and pushed the contents into a glass of orange juice which I then drank straight down.

The stuff tasted horrible. It gave the orange juice the worst taste imaginable. It was sort of like how I'd imagine drinking Pine-sol would taste. Almost as soon as I drank it, the seasickness would begin. The floor felt as if it just wouldn't keep still. I remember one evening I was walking to my assigned register with my cash till and feeling like the world was sliding from under me. I was right next to shelves full of glass liquor bottles stacked from the floor to above my head. I slammed the till on the counter as I steadied myself. When that wave had passed, I put my drawer in the till and kept working.

My hair was long when I began chemo. It was glossy and past my shoulders and always perfectly coiffed because my mother is a former cosmetologist who styled my hair every week. It had never been prettier in my life. At least, it certainly seems that way to me but perhaps that memory is tainted by the fact that in a little while it was all gone.

This is a picture of me and VanGoghGirl that shows my hair prior to chemotherapy.

Okay, this is as much as I can do right now. I'll try and come back to this later.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

If The Kids Can Understand It Why Can't The President

VanGoghGirl constantly amazes me. I visited her blog today and found this. I'm proud of how she's growing up to be such an empathetic individual. There are children dying, children just like her who have dreams they'd like to fulfill and talents they'd like to share with the world. Their lives are just as valuable as hers and they don't deserve to be caught up in these conflicts.

I'm not a member of any political party but she identifies as a Democrat. She has said that she'd vote for Obama if she were old enough. My hope is that she'll have less baggage than I've been saddled with, thanks to my religious upbringing. I want her to believe that she has the power to make the world a better place.

Friday, October 12, 2007

We're All Just a Circus Freak Show to Them

The idea that someone can actually win another person's body part in an auction is pretty outrageous to me. Goodness knows what this man went through that required him to get his leg cut off and now he's got to deal with the idea of complete strangers paying money to gawk at it without his permission. This shouldn't even be a controversy. It's the man's leg! I don't care how many payments he missed, you shouldn't be able to sell his limb without his permission.

Bizarre Custody Battle For Leg

A US man is locked in a custody battle for his own severed leg.

Shannon Whisnant acquired John Wood's amputated limb when he bought the barbeque smoker it was kept in at auction.

The cooking appliance was auctioned off after Wood missed payments on the storage facility where it was stored.

Whisnant gave the leg to South Carolina police, who then handed it to a funeral parlour who planned to hold on to it for Wood.

Whisnant - who was planning to charge adults $3 and children $1 for a look of the limb - is now trying to persuade Wood to share custody and profits.

Wood said: "He's making a freak show out of it. I just think it's despicable."

Whisnant says he is the rightful owner and has threatened to begin legal action if the leg is not returned to him.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

For the Love of God, Please Stop

While visiting Mera Terrha Pakistan I read one of Summer's posts entitled "Ex-Gays". After hearing about some of what she's experiencing, I thought it might be a good idea to send this short message to all those who happen to stop by here.

For God's sake, and I mean that literally, if you believe in any sort of deity, would you please do all of us a favor and stop projecting your fears and worries onto other people who do not share your beliefs? Please? Pretty please?!!

Lots of theists and agnostics get along in life perfectly fine without having to proselytize the world around us. You can too. Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that the best way to win people over to your side, if that is what you wish to do, is by showing that your beliefs have instilled in you a sense of compassion and loving-kindness towards your fellow man and provide you with peace of mind and a desire to make the world a better place. Telling people that they should lead miserable lives (just to make you feel more comfortable with the choices you've made) or that they will burn for all eternity in some fiery furnace (a.k.a. hell, jahannum, gehennom) just isn't going to increase the likelihood that they'll take you or your religion seriously.

This ends today's religious public service announcement.

Insomniac Monday

The German and I both deal with bouts of insomnia. Why does it seem like whenever he's getting a good night sleep, I'm up tossing and turning? I'm jealous! Tonight he's sleeping like a baby and even VanGoghGirl didn't make us have to fuss to get her to go to bed.

My left shoulder has been really bothering me for the past few days. I think it may be contributing why I'm not sleeping well. Maybe I twisted it in my sleep or lifted something too heavy with my left arm.

At this point, I might as well just sit up and wait about fifteen more minutes before trying to get to sleep because it's almost time for VanGoghGirl to wake up and get her hair combed before school. Hopefully, I'll be able to crash out for a few hours once her dad drops her off at school.

There's really no point to this post. I just wanted to see if blogger would let me use a lemniscate (i.e. "") as a blog title and whether it would show up in a blog post.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Creating a "Disability Culture" Section of my Blog-Roll

I've been thinking about separating the links on my blog-roll into two sections: one for people who have disabilities and another for people who have the boring experience of spending this life as non-disabled. However, I'm not sure how to go about this because I don't know who on the list actually identifies themselves as being disabled or a part of disability culture.

So, if you're on my blog-roll (or you just happen to have a blog that touches on disability issues or your life as a person with disabilities) and you'd like to be among those that would be put in the ultra-hip, quite exclusivist, section of my blog-roll, please drop me a line.

I wanted to provide some sort of definition of what I meant by "disability" but, as anybody who has attempted this probably knows, there is no one definition that will apply to everyone who identifies as being disabled. So, basically, if you consider yourself a part of disability culture, I'll move you over whenever I get around to creating said list.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Quiz: Should you be Male or Female?

Should you be MALE or FEMALE?*
created with
You scored as Either

You brain is neither specifically male, nor female in the way you perceive your surroundings. As bad as this may sound to some, it can easily mean that you are capable of combining both gender aspects to your advantage. Rather than being genderless you are possibly able think freely. This does not mean that you are bisexual or androgynous or indecisive, but it might.









Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Sockpuppet To Call Her Own

Okay, this was pretty hilarious to me. As I've said before, I post on a web forum that's frequented by that wacky faux-lesbian Mrs. Cheryl Seelhoff. When I first started posting there, she made this long drawn out post about how she won't be responding to anything I write. Well, today I found out that a few days after this, she created a sock puppet identity to use in order to respond to me without anyone actually knowing it was her.

In the thread today, she sent a totally ridiculous comment to a woman who identifies herself as trans-gendered. I'm not going to bother quoting her because I'm just not in the mood to see another example of her idiocy on my blog, even if it's to refute it. Anyway, being the narcissist that she is, Cheryl signs all of her posts even though the forum is set up so that each post lists the user-name of the person who wrote it.

Well, I guess old habits die hard. She had been using the "crunchygranoladyke" username and when she wrote her comment to the transgendered woman. At the end of the comment, she signed it with her other user-name. I guess she saw her mistake and then tried to go back and edit out the part where she signed it. Unfortunately for her, I happened to refresh the page before she editted it, so I saw her little slipsie. I instantly responded letting her know that her slip was showing and the jig was up. She hasn't posted on the thread again since then. I wonder how long it will take before she introduces yet another sock puppet identity in order to bolster her claims that she speaks for "class woman", "women born women", and all of the world's lesbians.

Well, I figure if she's willing to go through all of the trouble to create a sock puppet identity just to talk to me, that sort of effort deserves recognition. So, Mrs. Seelhoff/Heart/Amazon Heart/CrunchyGranolaDyke, I dedicate this picture to you:

Monday, October 01, 2007

Our Disposable, Invisible Lives

So, today I was online checking out a YouTube video that Tigera Consciente has on her blog in a post called "These are the demented minds that racism breeds: Two Cases- Black Woman Tortured in West Virginia and The Jena 6". Later on I came across another YouTube video that someone created as a tribute to the American soldiers fighting overseas. While watching it, I noticed something that has been on my mind ever since.

The "Remember Me" video features pictures of soldiers with messages interspersed between like "The soldiers fighting this war could be your father (picture of male soldier), your mother (picture of female soldier), your sister (picture of soldier on hospital bed), your brother et cetera. Then it goes on to messages saying, "Aren't you proud? Did I do something wrong? Are you still there? I need you to support me. To be behind me. You're what I'm fighting for. I want to come home to smiling faces".

Anyway, it goes on with this stuff for a few minutes more and then it continues with "But if I don't, I need to know that you love me and you'll miss me." After that, it goes to all these shots of military funerals, people crying and families kissing caskets. It ends with, "Remember Me."

Now, I'm all for supporting the soldiers who are stuck fighting in the wars they didn't start. I have a bit of a soft spot for soldiers because several people in my family have served (one of my step-brothers barely got out before they froze discharges). However, this video really rubbed me the wrong way.

In this entire five minute video, out of all the soldiers they showed, NOT ONE was identifiably a person of color. In fact, there were only two snapshots that featured the families of soldiers who were people of color. In one, there is a woman who appears to be a Latina that is crying at her child's funeral. In the other, there are five or six somber looking black people sitting at the funeral of one of their family members who died in the war.

When this person was going through pictures of soldiers, looking for photos that would pull at people's heartstrings, they didn't choose a single one featuring a soldier who looked anything other than white. What's up with that? To me, it illustrates how disposable black lives are to people in this country. So what if a few black kids go to jail for the rest of their lives because they got into a scuffle at school? So what if a black woman was raped and forced to eat dog feces and drink urine from a toilet? So what if people of color--Latin@s and Blacks especially--are being forced to kill other people of color in this war? Well, that is, when they aren't the ones being killed themselves.

I'm so sick of this society!


I was just on flickr, checking out somebody's photos and I decided to see if there had been any activity with my own pictures. To my surprise, two people had favorited this picture of me and Neko-chan:

That seemed a bit odd to me because--let's face it--it's not one of my prettiest poses. So I took a look at the profiles of the two people who favorited this shot. Wouldn't you know it? They were both mask fetishists. Well, I guess at least two people can say there was some good that came from Hurricane Katrina!

My Conversation With The German Yesterday

Bint alshamsa: "When the revolution comes, you know Imma have to kill you first, right?"

The German: "Whatever, jackass!"

Five euros for the first non-POC who can identify the source of my quote.