September 11, 2018

Never Forget What?

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:59 pm

We must never forget September 11th, 17 years ago today.

Though maybe we should try to remember just what it is we should be remembering.

It’s been 17 years. Certainly we can’t still act like it only just happened, though individuals may have their own feelings about it still, particularly if they were present at the attack sites or lost a loved one. After all, people who are now the age I was at the time would have no memory of it. I do remember it. I was in college. But, this far out, what does observing today mean? Some have declared it a day of service, and today some new memorials are being unveiled and ceremonies are taking place. There can be a certain connection to one’s own emotions to recall such horrific events.

But I think what we need to remember is what happened afterward. The healing, for one. The Pentagon has been repaired. The rubble has been cleared, and there are two memorial pools where the towers stood, beside the new tower, One World, which I visited two years ago.

What else?

I remember how I felt about the attack, sure. But I also remember the foreboding, wondering what would happen after this. And what did happen. There was big stuff like the “war on terror” and increased airport security and the Patriot Act. There was also the often violent scapegoating of Muslims and anyone who looked like them, with serious concerns over whether we’d see a return of internment camps. There was how for days after the attack all media outlets had turned into 24 hour news channels, disrupting usual entertainment to run footage of the attacks and George W Bush’s speeches over and over. There was how for months after the attack everything seemed to allude to us living in a “time of terror”. There was a marked increase in showy patriotism, with, once they started playing music again, radio stations playing songs like God Bless the USA all the time, and avoiding certain others. There was the insinuation that if you objected to or questioned any of this in the slightest, then you’re letting the terrorists win.

When the attacks happened, we were shocked and hurt and looking for answers. We were vulnerable.

And in the time that followed, our vulnerability was exploited.

We were kept scared while being told we were brave. We were told they could never take our freedom while we allowed our freedom to get taken by those telling us this. Our fear and anger were encouraged by those who found it useful.

And suddenly September 11th was the go-to excuse for everything for any agenda no matter how remotely if at all linked, from the War in Iraq to some truly shameless anti-drug campaigns.

I wouldn’t worry about forgetting the attacks happened. You won’t forget that.

What we must never forget is that ultimately the best way to honor those lost on that dreadful day is to heal and move on, at our own pace. And to not get swindled into supporting even more atrocities and loss of civil liberties in their name.

September 2, 2018

Somebody’s Talking About It

Filed under: Shut the Hell Up!,Teh Interwebs,What the hell? — Katrina @ 1:00 pm

Now for an insufficiently newsworthy edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

A form of clickbait that especially irritates me are the articles that feel the need to append something like “and nobody’s talking about it” to the title. Seriously, I will not click it if it says that no matter what the preceding text might have been about. It’s obnoxious. Cut it out.

For one, you’ve made clear from the get go that whatever isn’t being talked about isn’t what you intend to talk about either. Your point is to grandstand about this lack of coverage of the thing rather than the thing itself. If you want to talk about the thing, talk about the thing. And if you’re talking about the thing, hey, look, someone is talking about the thing!

Of course, this is assuming this assertion that said thing isn’t being talked about is even accurate. Oftentimes, when it’s claimed that the mainstream media is ignoring something, particularly if this is being stated in an image macro with no citations, one of three things is happening.

1. The thing happened ten years ago.

2. The thing isn’t actually real.

3. The thing actually is being extensively covered on the major news outlets which a five second glance at Google News would confirm, but the person claiming this either doesn’t check any news source besides their local half hour evening news or is more interested in manufacturing outrage than having an ounce of honesty, perspective, or social responsibility.

Insufficient news coverage of certain events is certainly an issue. I mean, the top priority of the news lately is “look what the Orange Thing tweeted now!” News coverage priorities leave a lot to be desired. Even so, sometimes important things fall out of the spotlight not because they’ve been resolved in any way (Puerto Rico, Flint water, separated immigrant kids, etc.) but because other stuff keeps happening. A lot of this is simply the reality of news media.

But, okay. Let’s say something that isn’t being covered well is finally getting more attention. All good, right?

Well, then I found this Facebook post of mine from a few years ago…

Saw an ad for the evening news earlier saying “How will the attacks in Syria be affecting your wallet?” … I just… don’t… words…

Sometimes saying nothing might be better.

August 31, 2018

Round 18

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Going Places — Katrina @ 10:56 pm

This again! Yup, it’s August 31, so that means…



Day
100


It’s this thing I started doing in 2001 counting down the days I’d return to college, and for some reason am still doing 15 years after I graduated.

Anyway, let’s get to it…

Day 1, ah, the day after the Caps won the Eastern Conference.

Day 3, *Infinity War credits roll* … What?!

Day 4, I got it!!!

Day 7, WHAT?!

Day 14, what did you do?!

Day 15, CAPITALS!!!!!

Day 16, Anthony Bourdain

Day 17, JUSTIFY!!!!

Day 18, shade is thrown.

Day 20, Caps parade crowd size >>>> Orange Thing’s inauguration crowd size

Day 22, Flag Day.

Day 25, go walk by a lake.

Day 32, what do you mean you don’t have the orzo tabouleh anymore?!

Day 35, so busy.

Day 36, so very busy.

Day 37, so busy it’s unbelievable.

Day 38, protest against immigrant family separations! Which I couldn’t go to because I was so tired from all the busy.

Day 41, snack time!

Day 42, chili con… corn.

Day 43, Pruitt’s out.

Day 46, ah, someone is back in area!

Day 49, go walk by a lake again.

Day 50, pizza pile!

Day 52, these sunflowers do what they want.

Day 53, awww, I was hoping Croatia would win it.

Day 54, okay, is the Orange Thing just committing treason in plain sight?

Day 66, why do I get sucked into these pointless arguments?

Day 67, only to realize no one is on my side?

Day 68, *opens fortune cookie* *it’s empty* That can’t be good.

Day 70, hmm, cable’s out.

Day 71, I knew it!

Day 73, cable’s back.

Day 77, goodbye, Sense8!

Day 80, YASSSS!!!!

Day 81, fuck off out of my city, white supremacists!

Day 85, at the fair with Kathleen who met the sheep.

Day 87, fair again? no, other stuff happens.

Day 88, Disenchantment!!!

Day 90, crab cake and crepe!

Day 94, so McCain goes.

Day 95, PUPPY!!!!

Day 97, another crab cake.

And…

Day 100, a Friday, before the three day Labor Day weekend, and I’ve got some poke. Mmmm.

As these 100 Days of Summer draw to a close, completing my annual countdown to nothing, our political climate continues to be batshit and leading to… something or other. What can you do? Well, there’s voting in the midterm election in November, of course. What else? The usual. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, of course. And whatever else is ahead. Got to look ahead. It’s the direction we’re going, even if it’s always so hard to see.

*rereads last paragraph* Ugh. Who writes this stuff?

Anyway, back to this for some reason next year for Round 19, on May 24, 2019, whatever the world will look like then.

This has been Day 100 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

August 26, 2018

McCain the Honorable

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,Think About It! — Katrina @ 4:21 pm

So, anyway, John McCain died.

As with any such political or otherwise high profile death, there’s the predictable and rather tiresome back and forth where some want to venerate him while others want to yell at those venerating him that he was responsible for lots of bad stuff.

I’m not interested in doing any of that. Instead, let’s have a look at this.

If you don’t feel like clicking and watching, it’s the clip from 2008 during the McCain-Obama presidential campaign (was there ever such a time?) where a woman says she doesn’t trust Obama because he’s “an Arab”. McCain shakes his head no, that he’s a “decent family man” and that his only differences with him are policy, that there is nothing to be afraid of about him.

Now what’s remarkable about this? Well, nothing really. Except the fact that, looking back on it from a decade later and in our current political climate, it seems remarkable at all.

Really, there is so much wrong in this exchange it’s hard to know where to begin. For one, this woman rather confusingly claims Obama is an Arab, because she likely thinks “Arab” and “Muslim” are just interchangeable terms referring to the exact same people. Which, of course, isn’t even close to true, with a great many people being one and not the other (including my own Christian Arab mother). But I guess I forget there are parts of this country where such distinctions never cross anyone’s mind, where people who aren’t white or black are pretty much unheard of. And that such people might be such a sizable portion from these regions that they get to ask such a question on the national stage of a presidential candidate.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being either Arab or Muslim. Just an ethnicity. Just a religion.

That’s what’s tricky with responding to such a claim. “I don’t trust Obama because he’s Arab!” He’s not Arab (or Muslim for that matter), not that there’s anything wrong with that if he were. But McCain didn’t mention that latter part (though perhaps due to time). He simply refuted any assertion that he’s dangerous or untrustworthy, with the “decent family man” comment. Not that men who are Arab and/or Muslim can’t be decent family men. Not that being a family man necessarily makes one decent, of course.

His response left something to be desired, or at least it would if not for us now being starkly aware of how much worse it could have been. I mean, we really shouldn’t be holding him up as honorable for simply doing the bare minimum of decency in refuting such assumptions about his opponent, in trying to keep it about policy rather than racist paranoia. That’s what he should be doing. It’s not extraordinary. What’s extraordinary is that he even needed to. What’s extraordinary is that, in that video, when McCain uttered his defenses of Obama from these weird assertions, the crowd grumbled and booed.

Instead, all we can think now is how the Orange Thing would and does handle such questions.

Of course, McCain has been a vocal critic of the Orange Thing, so lately he’s had that going for him as well, if he perhaps could have done more to stop him. Though, again, that should not be extraordinary, since everyone should be against the Orange Thing. What’s extraordinary is that most Republicans have fallen in line behind the Orange Thing, with McCain and a few others being the exceptions to varying degrees.

Perhaps you could still say McCain is honorable in the sense that he’s mostly if imperfectly resisted the temptations to paint Obama as dangerous and the Orange Thing as not dangerous. But really it’s all a sign of just how low the bar is set now.

This has been Day 95 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

July 8, 2018

Pruitt the Faithful

A few days ago, Scott Pruitt resigned as head of the EPA, the latest departure in this revolving-door-like administration. In doing so, he penned a letter to the Orange Thing. Let’s have a look…

Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA.

And you use the term “honor” very loosely.

Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally

I wasn’t aware Orange Thing was capable of blessing people. Or of having confidence in them for that matter.

and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated at the beginning of your Administration.

Be it through catastrophic environmental damage or nuclear war, his agenda of turning our planet into a smoking husk will be realized much sooner than anyone would have thought, yes.

Your courage, steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes as well as historical regulatory reform, is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.

In other words, we’re way ahead of schedule on that 2°C rise.

That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6.

Now that wasn’t that hard, was it? Take note, Sessions! And Sanders. And Nielsen. And the rest.

It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity,

Someone has a cruuuuush…

but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring.

Look at those ice caps melt!

However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.

Yeah, really, all the horrific accusations about you having a private e-mail server and running a child trafficking operation at a pizza restaurant- Oh, wait, that wasn’t you…

I believe these are yours.

My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people.

You talk to and about the Orange Thing as if his occupation of the White House is ordained by God or something-

I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence.

I believe that same providence brought me into your service.

Actually, Orange Thing appointed you- Oh, that’s what you mean. Weird.

I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people.

No entity real or imagined anywhere ever has enough power to make the Orange Thing an effective leader. All you’re doing is feeding his already dangerously high narcissism by speaking to and about him like some god-king, for reasons I’m not really sure I want to know.

Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you

You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.

Because when you’re famous they let you do it.

Your Faithful Friend, Scott Pruitt

This has been Day 46 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

July 4, 2018

This Is Not Who We Are

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:03 pm

On July 22, 2016, around the time of the Republican National Convention, I posted this to Facebook:

I spent my 4th of July evening on a plane flying home from across the country. When the sun was out, I saw craggy desert that gave way to the Rocky Mountains that became flat farmlands. When it got dark, far below me, blinking on and off all over like lots of multicolored fireflies, were the fireworks shows. From above, on its special night, I watched my country sparkle. And under the sparkling were the people, in all the various terrains within our borders, from all walks of life, enjoying a cozy summer evening and watching bright flashy colors across the sky, saying “ooh” and “ahh” and “oh, look, a plane”. Diverse yet with a common bond. That’s who we are. That’s what it means to be American.

Yet, we have a presidential candidate and the major political party behind him peddling paranoia, xenophobia, bigotry, greed, and violence. Worse still, these things are being touted as “American”, that these things are not only desirable but are part of our national identity, that they are what makes us “great”. And the thing is, as the primaries have shown us, this is resonating. Maybe it’s because so many, of any political persuasion, whether in support or against, really are buying the idea that this is what it means to be American.

So let’s maybe drop that idea already. It is a dangerous lie. Don’t lend it any credence. We’re a diverse land and people who value freedom and human rights and other nice stuff like that. And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!

The Orange Thing’s campaign seemed like a bad parody of white conservative American intolerance, from the longing for some imagined “great” past to the hostility toward Hispanic and Muslim immigrants, with the explicit notion that those white conservatives who have these beliefs are the only “real” Americans, that the rest of us either don’t exist or aren’t important or don’t belong in our own country. The rest of us make up the vast majority of the country, and surely, I and so many others thought, what he’s saying is so blatantly toxic and against everything we’re about.

But then, on the night of November 8, 2016, I reshared that post with the added comment:

THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!

*looks at electoral map*

…right?

The following January, a few hours after Orange Thing made it official in front of probably anyone, at a resistance event at WES, I read the above post in the open mic portion. In person, through a microphone, with my actual voice, to a room full of people, I recited: “…And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!” Followed by a round of applause.

It’s a year and a half later, and so so so much has happened, much of which I don’t even remember because it’s been one thing after another with this administration. There isn’t exactly anything great going on, that’s for sure.
(more…)

June 30, 2018

Immigrants Aren’t the Problem

Now for a migratory, border wall busting edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

This one is for just about anyone blaming immigrants for, well, anything.

We’ve all heard it. “They’re taking our jobs! They’re committing crimes! They’re costing tax money! They won’t even learn English or assimilate!” And so on.

Just stop. It’s been the same complaints over and over, ever since those horrible immigrants were Irish and even in other places. And it’s not clear why some of these complaints are specific to immigrants, as native born citizens are guilty of whatever the complaints are as well.

Oh, “they took our jerbs?” So are you saying that if you lost your job to a non-immigrant citizen it’d be fine? Wouldn’t you be just as without a job?

“They’re bringing drugs and gangs!” Right, because there aren’t any homegrown gangs? Trust me, even if all traffic in and out the country stopped, these things would continue.

“But it’s illegal immigrants that are the problem! They’re illegal!” So let’s make the path to legal citizenship easier then- Oh, you’re grumbling at that now? Okay, so somehow I don’t think the legality is what you’re so worried about. But I already knew that given all the jaywalking and neglecting to use turn signals that you do.

“But they don’t understand or care about American values!” Do you?

There’s no real backing to any of these usual anti-immigrant complaints, yet people are screaming bloody murder about them coming here as if this is life or death. No, you imbecile, it’s life or death for those who are coming here. They’re not leaving their home countries for shits and giggles. They are leaving because the situation at home has gotten extremely dangerous, such that their lives are on the line if they stick around.

So they come here to the US. And we should be PROUD of this! That when other countries unfortunately have problems and their people need someplace to go for safety, they see us and think “hey, that place looks great!” And they come here and become part of us and flourish. Isn’t that what we’re all about?

At least they would, except right now we’ve got dickheads in charge who recently decided it’d be a good idea to break up the families of those trying to seek asylum here. As in snatching small children from their parents and locking them away in their own camp, without any real means of being able to reunite them, all because these people had the gall to -gasp!- try to come into this country and HOLY SHIT this is a real thing that is happening in my country and how the fuck is anybody okay with this?!

Except for Jeff Sessions, who gleefully declares it a means of deterring these desperate people from trying to come here, because, well, it’s already obvious he has no soul, but I think his presence also saps the life force of anyone in his general vicinity. This is just plain raw evil right before our eyes, as this country’s Attorney General, and he does this believing there is a base to appeal to with this behavior. That the people who share in this evil, who are all for it and genuinely believe it’s good for the country, are the only people in this big diverse country worth appealing to.

And, you know, even if all the above paranoia about immigrants were true, and even exclusively so for immigrants, how is this sadistic backlash justified? How is ripping a terrified toddler from his mother’s arms and locking him up hundreds of miles away without any means in place of returning him no matter what happens with the rest of the family even remotely an appropriate response? Or, since that practice was finally ordered to halt a few days ago, locking them all up indefinitely? Why is there such a deep-seated fear of immigrants, be they Latin Americans or Syrians or whoever else, that anyone could believe them so deserving of the most horrific treatment for simply trying to come here? That this attempt to migrate here is deserving of swift and terrible retribution? What the fuck kind of country are we to behave this way, and what the fuck kind of people do we have here who look unflinchingly at this and think “this is fine”?

I don’t have an answer for that. Other than that it may be apathy or simply not knowing what to do or what can be done. Or in the case that they do truly believe all this is fine and good, and there is a fair share of them, they’ve been lied to for a long time. Because it’s not like such people feel this way due to specific incidents with immigrants. Even if they lost their jobs or were victims of some crimes due to illegal immigrants, somehow they had to be convinced it was the illegal immigration aspect to blame rather than anything else. Somehow they’ve been convinced not to look at the hiring practices and motivations behind those who might take an illegal immigrant employee over a citizen, that they might perhaps see an excuse to pay this person less and threaten them with deportation if they complain about treatment. It’s like, why blame those in power who create the problem when you can blame the powerless desperate migrant who has so much more to lose?

And that’s the core of it all here. Those screaming against immigrants are doing it because someone wants them to and is happily stoking the paranoia. Someone pointed to the immigrants, said they were the reason for the economic hardships of much of our population, and that population swallowed this right up and watches the indefinite migrant detentions with glee. Without a care for the long-term effects, be they personal for those migrants or for all of us for being citizens of the country responsible for it.

Immigrants aren’t the problem. Whoever is trying so hard to make you believe they are is the actual problem.

This has been Day 38 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

June 14, 2018

Internal Threats

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Decrees!,Sports! — Katrina @ 1:54 pm

I hereby decree…

Colin Kaepernick is an American hero.

So a few weeks ago, NFL owners banned players from kneeling or otherwise not overtly respecting the flag during the national anthem. Or they could just stay in the locker room during it. That way they are out of sight and their lack of participation in athletic patriotic theater doesn’t have to offend anyone. Any non-compliant players and their teams would be fined.

Now there’s a ton to unpack here. For one, how many of these players do we keep finding out have been beating women and children? Yet they just get to keep on playing as long as they stand for the flag.

Why do sporting events have these patriotic and military displays to begin with? What do they even have to do with each other? Well, it seems the Pentagon has been paying teams for these displays for a long time, although apparently they’ve finally stopped. It explains why the games have them, but there’s the other troubling question of why the Pentagon has been doing this in the first place. Perhaps the pageantry is supposed to inspire a feeling of blind loyalty?

That may be the case. After all, Kaepernick and all the others who have taken a knee are doing it because things within the country we love aren’t that great, namely, as these guys are about, police brutality and the racism that perpetuates it. They don’t hate the country itself. They hate something seriously wrong that is happening in it and are using their public platform to call attention to it.

But calling this attention to something wrong in the country ruffles a lot of feathers. For one, so many miss the important distinction between calling attention to a serious wrong in an otherwise loved country and hating the country. The message is supposed to be “please stop killing black people!” but some keep reading it as (or claiming to read it as) “I don’t support the troops!”

It’s a weird stretch to see a perceived lack of reverence for the flag and the national anthem as a slight against the military. Perhaps it’s mostly a guilt trip, that these soldiers went out and died for this country and that flag while not showing proper reverence for that flag somehow diminishes their sacrifice. It’s a bullshit guilt trip, of course. I mean, the Star Spangled Banner is literally about the flag surviving a war, but apparently it can’t survive a football player kneeling?

It’s also bullshit because the point is to silence the kneelers’ message. I mean, I get being indignant when it seems like someone is raining on your celebration, where you want to enjoy the bit of tacky showy patriotism, only for someone to be like “okay, but a lot of bad shit is happening”. We’re all permitted our escapism, and watching football is most definitely that. But the military promotion is kind of in and of itself flying in the face of that, because it’s like we all just want to chill and watch a game, and there they are being like “but don’t forget, war is a thing!”

You know, they go on about the sacrifices these soldiers have made and celebrate them and the country, but gloss over any justification for why those soldiers were wherever they were in the first place, why they had to die, or, which would drive their point home more but they nonetheless avoid it, how mind-blowingly horrifying war is. But of course that’s how they sell it. They want more people to sign up and keep promoting doing so as something heroic and glorious, and a lot of us eat it up. I mean, if it were always just causes, sure, but the reality has a lot more shades of grey.

Maybe this is why it ruffles so many feathers to see a black man kneeling instead of saluting, calling attention to the senseless murders of other black people in a society that sees only white people as important or worthwhile. They don’t want their attention called to serious problems within the country these soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice for (and they certainly don’t like a black person calling attention to a failing of white society). They don’t like this perceived slight against heroes.

But then again, Colin Kaepernick is himself heroic. I mean, he’s not at a literal war, true, but he’s speaking out about an important issue at great personal risk.

I’ve mentioned before about the difference in perception of members of the military and social activists, where the former are considered heroic and deserving of unquestionable praise while the latter are troublemakers who should sit down and shut up, something that is clearly playing out here. But the social activists need to be recognized as the heroes they are, because what they work on are internal threats, which are often even more dangerous than anything from the outside.

For example, September 11th was touted by some as an attack on our freedom. But what ended up happening was we curtailed our own freedom in response. The horrific attacks happened but alone did nothing to change how free we were or weren’t. Everything from reduced civil liberties to Islamophobia we did on our own. None of that could be fixed by sending troops to Afghanistan. These were at home internal threats that domestic activists had to rectify, knowing it would destroy us to let them go unabated, all the while being called unAmerican.

Let me say this again. These internal threats would destroy us. Racism is destroying this country, as are sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and the rest. These are not mere inconveniences for certain affected populations, but a serious problem that can and will destroy us. After all, those affected populations are just as American, and more importantly just as human. This country belongs to them at least as much as to any privileged white people who get to debate this as a distant rhetorical game rather than live it on a daily basis. When you truly understand that, then you’ll understand how urgent the problem is, and how much deep shit we’re in as a nation when we not only don’t effectively address it but mock and vilify those who do. And you’ll understand it’s nothing you can point the military at. It’s all within.

I’d like to point out also that I do like our flag and our national anthem. I can feel that way while recognizing how dangerous it is to make them mandatory.

This has been Day 22 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

June 8, 2018

All for This

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Sports! — Katrina @ 7:27 pm

Sometimes you find that time after time, year after year, you hit your head against the same wall. Or you put your hopes in something that continually disappoints and does so hard. Sometimes you find yourself hoping and yet knowing the result will be the same. Sometimes you go or end up into something where it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re staring down hurt and frustration and disappointment and the subsequent depression.

This can be said for a lot in life.

Here in DC, the hope gets shattered in October and in May and sometimes in January, if any of those gets that far. When they do, they are shut down and hard. Every time there seems to be hope, a possibility. Maybe this time, it is said time and again, followed by maybe next year. Maybe next year. Maybe next year.

And why? What is even the point? Why be set up just to be knocked down? Why endure the nervousness only to feel it replaced with the icy rush of defeat flowing through your blood vessels? Why keep coming back? Why?

Because…

That tiny little possibility that it really just might be different this time.

Because…

Somehow…

Sometimes it is.

6/7/18 – NEVER FORGET

This has been Day 16 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

May 8, 2018

Bird Battle

Filed under: Check It Out,Science,Sports!,Teh Interwebs — Katrina @ 11:45 pm

So, in this year’s second hockey related pleasant surprise, my Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins last night to advance to the Eastern Conference final. Yay!

I could discuss the six-game series and the plays and the sending the puck around and what all else hockey entails. Perhaps just lavish praise on the Caps players for breaking a 20 year DC sports curse. Perhaps, since I turned 35 two days ago, this new age means good luck for my teams, as on my birthday I went to the Nationals game and, what rarely seems to happen when I go to the game, they won! Last night too, though I wasn’t at that one, what with me having other stuff to do and the game being way the hell across the country in San Diego (with its very real risk of spontaneous swarms of bees).

But instead I’m going to devote this to the best thing ever…

The National Zoo in DC and the National Aviary in Pittsburgh going at each other on Twitter about the superiority of their respective team’s bird mascots! Enjoy! (Clicking the image opens the original tweet.)

(more…)

April 7, 2018

If They Could

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Going Places,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:26 am

So I was at the March for Our Lives in DC two weeks ago, joining in with WES, who I somehow managed to find in the crowd.

Check out my sign!

Yup. I figured everyone else would have the basic gun control angle well covered, so I went the voting age route, if with a well-deserved jab at the NRA to play to the audience.

And if this whole thing isn’t a major reason for lowering the voting age, I don’t know what is. But more on that in a moment.

The speakers were mostly Parkland students, as well as survivors and friends and family of victims from that and other shootings, all demanding an end to gun violence, all urging our leaders to take action. All calling for sensible gun control.

Not that that’s a simple solution. Gun control has its own complexities and can very easily be racist, ableist, and numerous other inequalities (which, not being Kathleen, I’m not going to sit here and spend ten paragraphs naming!). Certainly not even those at the march would be in agreement as to what that would look like, as some just want guns to be more difficult to get, requiring background checks and perhaps licensing, while others straight up want the Second Amendment repealed.

But all that aside, gun control as a response to school shootings would be significant in a way I hadn’t really even realized before. Until one of the speakers straight up said they do not want zero tolerance policies.

That’s right. Zero tolerance policies and other academic security theater, making the schools become somehow even more like prisons, are often the go-to response from policymakers when these atrocities happen. We’re seeing calls for harsher school environments. The idea being that if students are super restricted they won’t shoot or be shot.

In other words, instead of going with gun control, which would directly affect and restrict adults and acknowledge that adults must accept responsibility and make sacrifices, whatever they may specifically be, they go for zero tolerance policies and tougher schools, all of which pin all the restriction and blame on the young students they’re supposedly protecting.

They also say that #WalkUpNotOut bullshit, telling students not to walk out and demand change but to just “walk up” to some lonely classmate and befriend him so that he doesn’t flip out and shoot everyone. Which, while certainly befriending people is good, is just more of adults shirking responsibility and blaming the problem on young people and bullying, with a side of “therefore, sit down and shut up because it makes me uncomfortable when you challenge authority or think critically except where doing so is convenient for me”.

To these adults, it’s all a young people problem, young people need to be made to behave and kept on a short leash, and if adults are responsible for anything it’s that they’re not being tough enough with those horrible young people.

And, of course, gun control would affect voters. The students being heavily restricted and nonetheless still shot at aren’t old enough to vote.

That’s also why I’m so dismayed at the push to raise the firearm purchase age to 21. As I said before, it doesn’t actually accomplish anything or force our society to tackle the hard questions around guns. It just, like with the zero tolerance policies, pins the blame on young people and calls that a victory. They rightly see zero tolerance as the pathetic cop out that it is, yet somehow raising the purchase age is any better? Vast majority of these mass shooters were well over 21, and the deaths of their victims weren’t any less tragic and horrifying. Nikolas Cruz is only 19, sure, but I doubt an age restriction would have stopped him here, or that in two years he’d be over whatever made him do this and that he’d be all sunshine and roses. Not that I think he should have been able to get an AR-15 however he did, but that should be a question of the general population’s ability to get one rather than picking on and thus blaming young people.

After all, blaming young people is just going to make this worse. Not only are policymakers choosing to place restrictions that apply only to young people and not anyone or very many old enough to vote while ignoring gun control policies which would apply outside of schools and affect adult voters and actually be effective (or at least much moreso than zero tolerance policies and increased age restrictions), but in showing little willingness to consider more effective options, they’re making clear that, despite the thoughts and prayers, they don’t really care that much that these kids are dying. After all, they are teenagers, a group thoroughly villified at all corners of society. Teenagers are nothing but trouble, something their voters must put up with. The voting parents are devastated, absolutely, and that’s where there’s some lip service to these voters having lost cherished property but not much more. Even after Sandy Hook and the victims being much younger, nothing was done. Kids might make adults as a whole feel sentimental, but it doesn’t mean they value their lives enough to make widespread societal change for them. Except where they can make themselves look like they care to score points with other adults.

Hence my sign.

The march included frequent reminders to vote in November, against those who just do and say whatever the NRA tells them. Those who would rather make schools more restrictive and punitive than even think that an adult might not need to be able to get a semiautomatic weapon that easily. Because, as the march concluded, we must remember the children at the ballot box.

And I was standing there with gritted teeth, thinking “there’s an obvious change to call for here… politically active teens needing to beg adult voters to vote a certain way… we’re just a few miles from three towns that did it… come on…”

Because, seriously, would this be an issue if these teens could vote? I mean, yeah, probably, but all this highlights what a gross injustice it is that they can’t. They want safer schools and for these mass shootings to stop, but because they don’t have the franchise, elected officials aren’t under all that much obligation to listen or care except where those of voting age show solidarity. Because the group that is endangered in these shootings, the students, isn’t considered a group worth having a voice except by way of parents and teachers, which is of course not good enough. Lower the voting age to 16, and make the high school students a voting bloc who can tip the election results one way or another, and suddenly the candidates can’t afford not to listen to their demands or at least stop scapegoating them.

This isn’t just wishful thinking on my part. Lowering the voting age has very much been part of the conversation here, with a slew of articles and whatnot coming out around this issue here and here and here and here and here and here and here. The Parkland students’ activism, while not about this specifically, absolutely demands it. Without the youth vote, adults can much more easily simply choose not to listen.

Without the youth vote, adults can much more easily not care when young people die.

March 21, 2018

Nothing but a Number and a Distraction

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Decrees!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 10:36 pm

I hereby decree…

Age restrictions aren’t solutions to serious social problems.

For one, they are in and of themselves a serious social problem. But even if you don’t care about that, there is still a lot to be concerned about with a reliance on age restrictions when faced with a public health challenge.

With still more horrifying mass shootings in recent weeks, talk of gun control vs gun rights has surged as expected. It’s a messy issue that I mostly stay out of as I really have no strong feelings or a lot of direct knowledge about it. But there’s still plenty of terrible ideas floating around, especially the suggestion to arm teachers, which is without a doubt just about the worst idea in the history of the universe.

Of course, there’s also calls for raising gun purchase ages to 21.

Which, aside from age restrictions being harmful discrimination against young people that exacerbates their already severe marginalization, is completely beside the point.

Raising the gun age does nothing about all the politicians who are in the NRA’s pocket. It does nothing about navigating the balance between good faith self defense measures and enabling someone who wants a lot of people dead. It does nothing about reconciling gun restrictions with those who feel this would be an attack on their culture. It does nothing about making sure any gun control measures or enforcement aren’t racist or ableist or otherwise target or scapegoat vulnerable populations. It does nothing about the conditions of certain institutions of our society that might drive someone to want to commit some atrocity in the first place. It does nothing about all the guns adults can still purchase and thus are still being put out into the world (something the retailers raising their gun sale ages don’t seem to mind continuing to profit from). These are the complicated issues, among many others, that need to be addressed to do the issue of guns any justice. At best, acting like an age restriction solves anything is a waste of energy, but worse it distracts from the real issue in all its complexity, making the age of a shooter at all important, making fixing that a goal, such that when it’s done someone can claim a victory without having really done anything. And given that, while this complicated issue is being negotiated, people are dying, distracting it with unrelated tangential non-issues is downright irresponsible. Focus on the matter at hand and leave age (and mental health, by the way) out of it.

And it happens in other areas.

States have been raising their age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21, just to say, hey, look at us championing public health. Even though most smokers are much older than that. They say the age restriction is because it’s easier to get addicted when you start young, but this then really just takes responsibility off older smokers to quit. When raising the age is touted as some big solution rather than a pathetic grasping for straws, then the issue of smoking is made to be a young people problem, that the problem isn’t that the tobacco industry is making bank putting out a deadly product but that those who use it are the wrong age.

And let’s not forget alcohol and the questionable logic allowing one to sincerely believe you stop drunk drivers by raising the drinking age to 21, rather than, say, doing something about actual drunk drivers. Or, like with cigarettes and guns, questioning the industry and culture that promotes and clings to alcohol so hard despite all the harm it does.

Seriously, with these and more, look for an age restriction someone wants to raise or enforce more strictly, and I’ll show you an actual serious social issue that’s being avoided. If young people are being restricted like this because of some personal or social hazard, maybe we should be looking at that hazard and its place in our culture.

Okay, so I’m not saying the age restriction is always at the expense of actual concrete solutions. But it does present itself as a bandage, as a comparatively simple fix to rally around just to be able to notch a victory. It makes one look like they’re taking action, doing something they think is at worst harmless and perhaps common sense anyway (which, of course, isn’t even close to true, but that’s what they believe), and patting themselves on the back for being on the right side of progress. And advocates need to wise up and stop falling for it.

In truth, age restrictions are far less about safety than about adult policy makers making themselves look good and responsible to one another while simultaneously shifting blame off themselves. And it’s so easy to do, because we’ve been conditioned from a young age to equate an adult restricting a young person with responsibility, without questioning the efficacy or morality of the restriction, without wondering that the adult has their own difficult questions to answer and changes to make on the issue.

Believe it or not, young people having even the slightest bit of freedom and autonomy isn’t the cause of all or even any of the world’s problems. If we truly want to solve anything, if we truly want to see meaningful change and save lives, stop acting like it is!

February 22, 2018

So-So Silver

Filed under: Estrogen,Here's To You!,Sports!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:11 pm

And now for an icy, once-every-four-years edition of…

Here’s to You!!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Team USA Women’s Hockey!”

Winter Olympics. The gold medal match for women’s hockey. USA vs Canada, of course. Two countries who are in absolutely every other context the best of friends, which dissipates the moment a hockey puck is dropped between them.

Team USA up 2-0 into the third period. Then within the last couple minutes, Canada scores two goals and sends it into overtime. And then scores again. Sudden death. Suddenly they’re all on the podium, the gold medal winners grinning as O Canada blares around the arena, the silver medalists in frustrated tears, and the bronze medalists being all “Hi, we’re Finland!”

USA was up until almost the end, pretty much had the gold for sure. And then lost it. A cringeworthy result that, honestly, I as a DC sports fan know all to well. *stares blankly at brief memory of NLDS Game 5 in 2012*

That was four years ago in Sochi.

Last night in Pyeongchang (well, it was mid-afternoon there) came the long awaited rematch, after USA and Canada again prevailed through the earlier rounds to face each other again in the gold medal match. After having already faced each other in the preliminaries anyway, with Canada winning 2-0, in which the last several seconds of the game pretty much turned into an all out brawl.

The match began, and soon enough Team USA scored a goal. Then a little while later, Canada scored two goals, giving them the 2-1 lead. And then about halfway through the third period, USA scored again, tying it at 2-2. Once again, this was the score going into overtime.

It was the score at the end of overtime as well. Time for shoot out! Blocked, score, score, blocked, blocked, blocked, score, score, blocked, blocked. Okay, still 2-2.

Team USA shoots…

Score!

Canada shoots…

Blocked!

And with that, unbelievably, staying up way later than I should have last night when I had work in just a few hours, right before my eyes, right there on my TV… Team USA cheered and hugged and waved big US flags around.

Then they’re all on the podium. The gold medalists are grinning as The Star Spangled Banner blares around the arena, the silver medalists in frustrated tears, the bronze medalists being all “Hi, we’re Finland!”

Amazing. Such a great team. Certainly better than our men’s team who 24 hours earlier lost their quarterfinal to the Czech Republic, FFS.

But, all of that said, there’s something in all this that is very much not amazing.

I’ve been watching every day of these Olympics, as I have for every Olympics going back to Vancouver, with Beijing and Torino having just been on and off, further back mostly just watching the Opening Ceremony. I’m old enough to remember a time when the US athletes marched in the Parade of Nations in cowboys hats. *shudder*

But I digress. Anyway, what is very much not amazing happened in both of these gold medal finals and surely others. Same deal with some events in Rio and maybe others I’m forgetting.

I realize I don’t know the first thing about planning the events and schedules and ceremonies in the Olympic Games. It looks unimaginably daunting. Getting things to happen at certain times and organizing everything makes my head hurt to think about it.

But…

If the silver medalists are crying, maybe give them some time to compose themselves before you have the damn medal ceremony!

I say this whether Team USA are those gold medalists or those silver medalists or neither. Even though they were the teary silver medalists four years ago, and now it had turned about and it was Canada in that position, there’s nothing satisfying about this. When the match is won, the joy is in winning the gold medal, not in the other participants being sad, unless you’re a complete and utter sadistic asshole anyway.

The silver medalists’ feelings are entirely understandable and justified. Once the match was over, for me anyway, any competitiveness vanished and I was looking at the forlorn Canadian players and wanting someone to give them a goddamn hug. Consider any time you’ve worked so hard for something and at the final moment it wasn’t good enough and you still failed. Then multiply that by a whole lot because it’s the Olympics and it’s a fierce emotional fight. Then consider that these are athletes on the international stage who would be used to the highs and lows of it all, and still they can only be so composed upon the end of the match.

As for the medal ceremony, it’s bad enough for them they lost the match at all. But to force them to stand there and receive their medals when they’re still in the throes of processing the loss and project them in that state, that’s just an extra and very unnecessary shot at their dignity. It doesn’t help that the commentators then remark upon this obviously involuntary display of sadness, like “what business do they have being sad? they still got silver!”

And it so very doesn’t help that, well, this is the women’s portion of the sport. On Sunday when the Canadian men beat the Czech Republic (I’m calling that now), when O Canada is blaring around the arena then, let’s see if the silver medalists are crying. I’m sure they do and will be. And I’m sure it won’t be all that obvious to those of us watching at home, because they won’t be so keen to show it. Because that would undermine the men’s dignity.

Update, 2-23-18: Okay, Canada and Czech Republic both lost their semifinals and will instead face each other in the bronze medal match. So we’ll see this weekend what happens with the medal ceremony after the gold medal match between Germany and “Russia”.

February 14, 2018

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 13

Filed under: Think About It!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:41 pm

“U R CUTE” Aww, thanks, candy heart.

“EMAIL ME” I have such a backlog already though.

“TRUE LOVE” Yeah, that’s a great way to get swindled by a Prince of the Southern Isles.

Happy Ash Valentines! Enjoying the candy hearts and still going meatless today despite having walked away from Christianity nearly a decade ago. In 47 days, we’ll be looking for colored eggs that might turn out to be an overshaken Duff beer can.

Anyway, here’s the thirteenth installment of this, the annual glance at love and relationships and how people seem to deal with them.

Let’s see…

Ever notice how basically everybody seems to think they are unlucky with relationships? I mean, that’s the trouble with love, in that we’re all built to some degree to crave the hell out of it, so of course it will more often than not feel lacking. And for very many people, well, this is absolutely true, that pairing up with someone for a while seems to happen almost as often as a transit of Venus.

But for others, they’re all like “no one wants me” and the proper response is “dude, you dated like three people this year and it’s only April”. Perhaps none of those dates progressed into anything else, and that’s certainly frustrating. But other times, you just wonder what they’re comparing themselves to.

It’s one of those times you must say… you know TV isn’t real, right?

I mean, if you’re comparing yourself to basically any sitcom character, where even the “losers” seem to not have any trouble getting dates and sex, yeah, of course you’re going to feel like a romantic failure. That TV show or movie is a fantasy, playing on a very universal insecurity where the only winners would be aromantic asexuals if this weren’t yet another occurrence of their existence being denied. Because of writers seeking widespread appeal and ability to identify with the characters in a given situation, they make characters whose lives revolve around their dating lives, with everything else secondary, whereas one’s entire worth has everything to do with how well they conform to an unrealistic standard of romantic or sexual frequency.

Maybe it’s kind of like how the fashion and other industries set unrealistic beauty standards, undermining the inherent worth of those whose appearance doesn’t conform. Where, like how they need to acknowledge more diverse body types to allow those with different bodies to feel beautiful, maybe we need characters with more diverse types of relationships, so that someone who spends six consecutive months single isn’t made to feel they shouldn’t exist. Or, hell, just more media without any romantic plotlines. Not that there’s anything wrong with romance, of course. Just that there’s more to life.

Then again, everyone knows TV shows aren’t real and neither are the relationships depicted. Perhaps the feelings of romantic inadequacy stem from real life or at least a perception thereof. And it’s understandable, because, for all its faults and all the bullshit, when there’s a connection there with someone, it’s no exaggeration that everything is amazing and beautiful and all is right with the world. For a little while anyway. Reality always forces its way back into the picture, whatever it may be. But when it’s good it’s so very good. So of course when media and culture and friends and family say this so very good thing will definitely come to you if you’re worthwhile, and when reality doesn’t sync up, you wonder that maybe you’re not worthwhile after all. Perhaps with the unfortunate side effect of casting ridiculous aspersions on desired objects of affection.

It’s all such a mess. But we still have these candy hearts and their messages.

“SOUL MATE” Wait, do candy hearts have souls? I have made a terrible terrible mistake…

February 5, 2018

This Is Actually a Tide Ad

Filed under: Idiot Box,Sports!,Teh Interwebs — Katrina @ 10:21 pm

So, as you can see on the sidebar, I’m on Twitter. Kind of on and off over the past nine years. But I always manage to tweet during the Superbowl, so here’s some of the crap I was saying and retweeting.

sciville As a Redskins fan, normally I want the Eagles to lose, but dear God, I’m so sick of the Patriots, so… *cringe* Go Eagles! *cringe* #atleastitsnotdallas #SuperbowlLII

sciville I saw the beginning of the #PuppyBowl. None of the puppies took a knee during the national anthem. Or at least Animal Planet didn’t want to show it.

sciville When my NFL team was last in the #SuperBowl, a Simpsons episode was made about it. A third season Simpsons episode.

sciville If you order delivery today (and have the option of not doing so I should specify), you suck. It’s a busy night for them already. Make your own stuff for the occasion or have something ahead of time.

sciville Oh, hey, something is coming on NBC right now.

(Retweet) ACLU Respect and love for America doesn’t require blindness to America’s failure to honor its promise of racial justice and equality. #TakeAKnee

sciville Well, with that “I’ll stand by you” ad, seems we’re getting started on the “feels” ads.

sciville Oh shit, the crowd is booing the Patriots! LOL #SuperBowl

sciville Everyone is sick of the Patriots, and the Eagles beat the Vikings to get there tonight. Minneapolis is just the wrong city for this today. #SuperBowl

sciville Take a knee. Take a knee! It’s anthem time.

sciville “I’m trying to watch the #Superbowl! If people don’t support this thing, it might not make it.” -Abe Simpson, Season 7, “Mother Simpson” #simpsonsquotesforalloccasions

sciville Three-pointer for Philadelphia! #wrongsport #Superbowl

sciville A trailer for a trailer. Trailerception. #solo #Superbowl

sciville “This is Bill Beeeeelichick.” -Eric Cartman #SouthPark #SuperBowl

sciville WOW!!! #touchdown #Superbowl

sciville “Can you survive the ground?” “Can any of us survive the ground?” #SuperBowl

sciville You have ONE JOB, kicker!

sciville And a few days after this, ‘lympics!

sciville Does either team have like any defense?

sciville It finally happened. Someone stole Morgan Freeman’s voice.

sciville This looks like a tweet, but it’s actually a Tide ad.

sciville o snap, no goal #youhadonejobkicker

sciville Wow, are three-and-outs still a thing? #Superbowl

(Retweet) sciam How much water weight can an NFL player lose during a game? A running back might drop four to five pounds, and a lineman might expend closer to nine pounds. http://bit.ly/2GNDgxK #SuperBowl

(Retweet) BoJackHorseman if they start performing their own halftime show im out [Pic of BoJack sitting in a living room with Hollyhock and her 8 dads having a Superbowl party]

sciville “It’s a burrito full of plants pretending to be meat.”

sciville Go home, Tide. You’re drunk.

sciville That is one #SuperbOwl. [NatGeo tweet about a Superb Owl.]

sciville GOOOOAAAAAAAL! #wrongsport #Superbowl

sciville The fuck was that, Febreze?

sciville Okay, who dropped $5 million on 30 seconds of blank quiet time?

sciville Keanu Reeves is surfing on a motorcycle through a desert. Your argument is invalid. #Superbowl

sciville Truly that is a #SuperbOwl [NatGeo tweet about another Superb Owl]

sciville Another GOOOOOAAAAAAL! For the other ones now.

sciville LOL kicking just isn’t there tonight. #Superbowl

sciville Australia. #thankgodthatsnotarealmovie

sciville I just assume every ad is a Tide ad until I see evidence to the contrary. #Superbowl

sciville What a #SuperbOwl! [Still another NatGeo tweet about a Superb Owl]

sciville Wow. The ball went through the uprights. Didn’t know that was possible. #Superbowl

sciville Time to turn the football game into a concert real quick and then turn it back into a football game real quick. #halftime #Superbowl

sciville *watches Pepsi Half-Time Show* *drinks Coke* I’m a badass. #Superbowl

sciville Minneapolis is turning purple!

sciville FYI, last time #Superbowl was on February 4 was in 2007. The halftime show act in that one was… Prince.

sciville Awww, what a #SuperbOwl! [Yup, it’s another NatGeo tweet with a Superb Owl]

sciville Oh, right, the game.

sciville The plot thickens. #touchdown #Superbowl

sciville Ah, company that profits from alcoholism is at least keeping people hydrated. *shrug*

sciville This isn’t actually the #Superbowl. It’s all a Tide ad.

sciville Announcers don’t like call stands ruling. LOL #Superbowl

sciville The Bud Knight is in the audience.

sciville Another Guardians of the Galaxy? Wait, there’s the Hulk. Some Marvel mashup? Er, no, it’s a Tide ad. #Superbowl

sciville Uh oh. Game could go any which way. Suspense! #Superbowl

sciville LOL Peyton Manning at Universal Studios.

sciville Agholor sounds like a villain in a 1960’s Hanna Barbera cartoon.

sciville HOLY SHIT! #turnover #Superbowl

sciville “Fuck you, waterfall!” -Jeep #Superbowl

sciville Patriots fans, switch to Animal Planet and watch the #PuppyBowl. You’ll feel better. Everyone else, also watch the Puppy Bowl. To celebrate. To just be cute attacked. It’s all good.

sciville They’re smudging that shiny trophy. #Superbowl

sciville There is a word called “everything”. It’s… the word “everything”. #Superbowl

sciville Okay, football is done. Is it baseball season yet? #imissmynats

Well, that was fun.

January 31, 2018

False Alarm

Filed under: Assorted Politics,WTF Did I Just Write? — Katrina @ 5:58 pm

Hawaii: Everybody okay? No threat. Let’s just breathe. It’s okay. It’s okay-

FCC: WTF Hawaii? You really fucked this up big time. Fix your shit.

Hawaii: …

Hawaii: …..

Hawaii: ALRIGHT, THAT DOES IT! I have put up with this bullshit for too fucking long!

Other 49 states: !!!!!

Hawaii: You know what? I was happy as an independent country. Fuck you guys. I’m seceding.

South Carolina: Been there. Done it.

Hawaii: And what has being a part of the United States gotten us? Our native people and culture attacked and nearly decimated.

Oklahoma: Actually that makes you very much part of us.

Hawaii: And, you know, forgive me for thinking an Asian country that doesn’t like the US very much might be wanting to bomb me because it’s not like it’s happened- Oh wait, it’s happened before, December 7, 19-fucking-41, the day that lives in infamy! You all got through World War II mostly unscathed, but look at the bullshit I went through.

California: Oh, I had some bad things going on over here I’d like to forget.
(more…)

January 9, 2018

And Greenbelt Makes Three

Filed under: Check It Out,In the News,NYRA Happenings,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:15 pm

Usually when there’s a map of my region with triangles on it, it’s the Pepco Outage Map.

But here’s an awesome triangle for the region.

At one point farthest to the west, we have Takoma Park, the first of them, which did it May 13, 2013. The southernmost point is Hyattsville, the second, which did it January 20, 2015. And to the northeast, the third point, which did it January 8, 2018, is Greenbelt.

These three towns at these three points have all have lowered their municipal voting ages to 16! A move with lots of good reasons and lots to think about and lots of tweets back in the day.

I was there when Takoma Park and Hyattsville each sealed the deal. Sadly, I was unable to attend Greenbelt’s due to freezing rain encasing everything in ice. But at least the people who mattered were there.

The three towns are all right by each other, too. The idea is spreading throughout the region. College Park is inside the triangle, almost totally surrounded and must surely join in at some point! The geographical proximity commands it. You, too, Berwyn Heights, especially if College Park does get in on this. And you, New Carrollton, just outside the triangle to the southeast. Why should the Green Line terminus in Greenbelt have all the fun of being in a #16tovote town when you and your Orange Line terminus could as well? Also, perhaps you’d then provide a little encouragement to a certain town just a bit south of you, just off the above map…

Yes, I’m talking about you, Glenarden! Get it together!

January 2, 2018

Stalker App

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 9:42 pm

I began my 2018 waking up to the New Year’s Day marathon of The Simpsons on FXX I’d turned on the night before and had fallen asleep watching. I stayed in bed for a while and watched some more, not wanting to get out of bed because, don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a bit extremely cold here in the mid-Atlantic states this week.

Then during one commercial break I saw it. A rather extended ad for a product (not saying the name) for tracking someone, ostensibly a family member. This way, you’d know exactly where this person is at all times, whether they are driving too fast, etc. You know, perfect for the psycho stalker on your belated or Orthodox Christmas list.

Oh, did I mention this product was specifically geared toward parents to use on their teens? Yeah, that’s supposed to make this any better somehow. I mean, even if that did, it’s worth remembering any spying technology doesn’t actually know the relationship of the user to the person being tracked. A man could be using this on his wife rather than his teenage daughter. Think about that. What healthy reason could he possibly have for tracking his wife’s whereabouts, knowing how fast she drives, and who she sees? Doesn’t that seem gross as hell? Don’t you kind of wonder that this wife should probably get away from him?

So for that matter, what healthy reason could a parent possibly have for tracking a teen’s whereabouts, knowing how fast she drives, and who she sees? What, the parent cares and wants to make sure she’s safe? Okay, but maybe that husband just cares about his wife and wants to make sure his wife is safe. Oh, wait, that doesn’t fly.

I would go further with this analogy, perhaps going into how we don’t want the government or Google spying on us like this (even though they probably are, every time we say “okay Google…” perhaps) so that we shouldn’t be normalizing it for the next generation, but the sad thing is, youth rights aspect of this aside, you find people are often not all that bothered by it. Some people may look at the husband spying on his wife example and not find anything wrong with it. Perhaps calling up the property argument, where the car and house and phone and whatnot are property that one has every right to keep track of and otherwise do as they wish with. Of course, what they also aren’t shy about saying, they see the teen as property as well.

So what I must wonder is the mentality of the person who clings to this right and would actually seek out and actively use spying technology on a teen (or anyone else). I mean, this is rather obsessive and time-consuming behavior that, well, even someone so inclined might lose interest after a while. After all, they have something better or at least more interesting to be doing. A show or a game is coming on. Got to go make dinner. Got to go to bed and get up for work. I mean, being like “okay, she’s at school… okay, now she’s visiting a friend… still visiting the friend… on her way back here…” is boring as hell.

Unless, of course, you’re just that obsessive. Or you’re looking for something specific. Such that simply talking to the teen about any concerns is apparently out of the question.

The ad indicated the product would prevent kidnapping (they literally used staged footage of a girl being pulled into a windowless white van), so that this would keep kids safe. Well, I’ve gritted my teeth through enough conversations with coworkers and others over the years to gather that safety is barely on anyone’s radar with the idea of keeping track of kids. Some have said straight up they’d catch them lying about where they are and would punish them, with no effort to hide their glee. Safety is the stated concern, but, let’s be honest, the whole idea is, here, assert your dominance over someone in your household who drives you nuts because you can!

And even without anyone purchasing the product or any of the far too many like it that have been around for some time, the ad does its own damage. It tells the parents and teens and others watching alike that this is normal, that this is how it should be. It reinforces the already far too reinforced message that teens are property that can and will cause major trouble at any moment and that it’s the parent’s right and duty to keep them as watched and controlled as possible for the sake of themselves and others.

All of that said, it was still pretty hilarious that the episode playing when I saw this ad was Barting Over, when Bart gets emancipated from Homer and Marge after exploitation and abuse. Now the ad just needs to run during Lost Verizon.

December 31, 2017

Well, That Happened 2017

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:22 pm

*inhale* Here goes…

January: This Is Not Who We Are

-I wonder if this is a good idea after all.
-Cash only!
-Hidden Figures
-It happened. That thing is… sworn in.
-So tonight… the un-ball!
-Me: “And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!”
-Women’s March!
-Wow, two hours just to get on the Metro.

February: Overtime

-Falcons are kicking ass. Another year without a Superbowl going into overtime.
-Okay, the Falcons fell apart and the game is tied at the end of regulation.
-Python
-These people are driving me nuts.

March: Ten Hours Apart

-Python
-Finally, a weekend cold enough to go skiing.
-What do you mean you closed early for the season because it’s been too damn warm?!
-Well, I’ll just have to go to one further north.
-I still have a mouse in my house.
-I have a bad feeling about this event…
-Worse than I thought.
-And I just yelled at someone about it. Well, don’t put on an ageist event!
-Maybe I was harsh. Was I harsh?
-Hey, two NYRA babies born the same weekend!
-Got rid of the mouse, I think.
-So am I going to do this or what? And how?

April: Third Time’s the Charm

-Python
-Something about the zoo, old chemistry equipment, and a Canadian.
-March for Science in the rain.
-We are the cosmos made conscious.
-We are the means by which the universe understands itself.
-Act like it!

May: West Side

-What a nice birthday!
-COLD!
-Okay, I think we need a new water heater.
-Oh, that’s over now. Sigh.
-Awww, Chris Cornell.
Politics is getting violent!
-Something about fish, more fish, and a Canadian.

June: Radiculopathy

-I’m formulating a plan.
-Ouch!
-Oh, look who came back east.
-AwesomeCon! Something about a keyblade, a life-size dragon, and a Canadian.
-Ouch!
-I have a pinched nerve. Now for weeks of slowly subsiding arm and neck torture.
-Pier Six concert

July: Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze

-Chili and ‘splosions. After seeing ‘splosions from above last year.
-Something about an art museum and a Canadian.
-I think I somehow got lost hiking on Theodore Roosevelt Island. LOL
-A long coming event comes rather unceremoniously.

August: 80 Percent

-Ah, white supremacist assholes in Charlottesville. Lovely.
-Eating bacon s’mores and weird Colombian hot dogs and Krispy Kreme burger at the Montgomery County AgFair. The fair fare, if you will… I’ll just show myself out.
ECLIPSE!
-One of those times you get bad news that actually wasn’t all that surprising and it has the side effect of increased confidence in your intuition.
-And now I’ve got a cold for the first time in almost four years.
-I think it’s time for Kingdom Hearts again.
Pizza pile!

September: Tabouleh

-New season of BoJack Horseman!
-Welp, now I’m traumatized.
-Middle Eastern Bazaar.
-I’m dabkeh dancing and eating tabouleh and the same time because why not?
-The words we’ve feared every day are said.
-Lots of bad hurricanes.

October: Rainout

-Nats game! I finally go on the last game of the regular season. They lost.
-Taste of Bethesda!
-Alright, finally calling them on their ageist bullshit, particularly what happened in March.
-Something about a rain delay, robots, and a Canadian.
-And… the Nats lost another NLDS Game 5 because of course they did.
-Dinner with three NYRAnians!
-Going to the auction with a keyblade.
-Finally booked the damn thing.

November: Kaleo and Po’okela

-Hey, Astros got their first World Series win.
-I think I overdid it on the hot chocolate.
-Time to go…
-Holy crap, I’m finally in Hawaii!
-Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor and some marine mammal friends!
-Black sand beach and Kilauea Iki and Chain of Craters and Mauna Kea!
-And back home.
-To Stone Soup.
-And Thanksgiving weekend to sleep off the trip.
-#27: Southern Cross

December: An Existential Question

-Again, not doing the entry a day thing anymore. Screw it.
-Meh, not sure I want to do Christmas alone again. I guess I’ll go to Las Vegas again.
-Winter Festival!
-Off to stop Glenarden, who lowered their voting age apparently without anyone knowing, from raising it again.
-Okay, Glenarden has issues and we want none of it. Let’s just go encourage Greenbelt to lower theirs as is planned.
-Cookies!
-Lights!
-Why in the name of hell did I decide to go to Las Vegas on Christmas Day again?
-I got stuck in hourly parking at the airport because everything else was full. It’s going to cost me a fortune!
-And enduring those few days.
-And back home to the very cold.
-And here’s this recap.

While 2016 was a lot of “because fuck you, that’s why”, 2017 was the unraveling of the very fabric of space-time, with event after event, be it personally or the world at large, being of the “is this actually happening?” variety. Cool stuff like some stuff that went on around Easter as well as going to Hawaii. And politics continues to boggle us all and lose all of any sanity it may have had, what with, oh, every time Orange Thing says or does just about anything.

So, 2018, what’s next? With 2017 and all its surprises drawing to a close, what are we left with? How much further can anything spiral, any which way?

I suppose we’ll just have to strap ourselves in and find out.

December 22, 2017

Christmas Toys

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Musical Musing — Katrina @ 5:33 pm

Many Christmas songs are about or at least mention gift-giving, particularly to children. Some are even specific about it. Let’s see…

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas”

The lyrics:
“A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that can talk and can go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen”

So then…
Gift for boys: Cowboy boots and a gun
Gift for girls: Doll

What else?

“Up on the Housetop”

The lyrics:
“First comes the stocking of little Nell
Oh dear Santa fill it well
Give her a dolly that laughs and cries
One that can open and shut her eyes.

Next comes the stocking of little Will
Oh just see what a glorious fill
Give him a hammer with lots of tacks
A whistle and a ball and a whip that cracks.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Hammer, tacks, whistle, ball, whip.
Gift for girl: Doll

Moving on…

“Run Rudolph Run”

The lyrics:
“Said Santa to a boy child
What is it you’re longing for?
All I want for Christmas is
A rock n roll electric guitar.

Said Santa to a girl child
What would please you most to get?
A little baby doll
That can cry, sleep, drink, and wet.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Guitar
Gift for girl: Doll

Okay, seeing a pattern here.

“Jolly Old St Nicholas”

The lyrics:
“Johnny wants a pair of skates
Suzy wants a dolly
Nellie wants a story book
She thinks dolls are folly.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Skates
Gift for girls: Doll… and a book!

Alright, so Nellie wants a story book, with the need to explain why she did not choose a doll. Whereas there was nothing saying that Suzy, or Johnny for that matter, considers books folly.

Although, this song does have alternate lyrics to this verse:
“Johnny wants a pair of skates
Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book
Yellow, blue, and red.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Skates
Gift for girls: Sled and picture book.

Hey, no doll! Suzy has decided sleds are more fun. Nellie, however, seems to have been downgraded to a picture book, one with specified colors for some reason. Perhaps this was a trade off. That, okay, no doll for either girl, and we’ll give Suzy an item for an actual winter activity much like Johnny’s skates, but in exchange, Nellie’s is a picture book now, because we can’t have a girl being too smart.

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