kitchen_kink: (amazon)
Via [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly, my feminist hero of the week, the 28-year-old Virginian congressional candidate (yes her name really is) Krystal Ball, who responded with strength and incredible guts to the right-wing release of some mildly racy pictures of her.

If politics starts to change in this direction, I will be very pleased, indeed.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
The message from MassEquality, complete with simple link where you can send a form letter or write your own:

***
We need your help!

The deadline for reporting bills out of committee in the Massachusetts Legislature is March 17th. S.1687/H.1728, An Act Relative to Gender-based Discrimination and Hate Crimes (the "Transgender Civil Rights Bill"), which would add gender identity and gender expression to existing non-discrimination and hate crime laws, is still in the Judiciary Committee. Help us make a final push before the March 17th reporting deadline to get the bill out of committee and to the floor for a vote.

The time for this critical piece of legislation to pass is now! Please help us ensure passage of this bill by contacting your state legislators today.

We've proven time and again that the best way to affect change in the legislature is to run an aggressive grassroots campaign. That's why we need your help today. Please email your state legislators and ask your friends and family to do the same. The time for LGBT equality is now!

Sincerely,

Scott D. Gortikov
Executive Director

W.

Nov. 11th, 2008 11:12 pm
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Tonight, after a day mostly consisting of long term food preparation (two pots of stock and apple butter), I went to see Oliver Stone's new biopic, W.

To sum up: meh.

First off, I question the wisdom of making a movie about a president while he's still in office. True, this followed not only the first four years of his presidency but his misspent youth and subsequent bizarrely meteoric rise, but it still seems strange to make a film like this without there being a major ending: JFK gets shot, Nixon resigns, the first black president ever gets into office by a landslide...ya know. Something. Not to mention that all the things that might shock an audience about a major public figure are things that 1) we all already know about, and 2) we just saw on TV in the past eight years. Yes, the earnest, slack-jawed idealist/spoiled brat Stone presents us with is terrifying as a president. But watching it in a movie is no more horrifying than watching it on CNN.

Structurally, what I was hoping Stone would do he shied away from, whether by design or oversight I can't say. The film follows two linear timelines, alternating: the lead-up to the Iraq War, and the time from Bush's hazing into a Yale fraternity to his election as governor of Texas. The big missing piece, here, is his election into office, and the first few years of his presidency, including 9/11. My hope was that Stone would eventually have the two timelines meet, and climax the movie with Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks. Instead, we don't see the presidential election at all (something I was very interested in), nor, in spite of Stone's including the minor pretzel incident, do we see the incident with the goat book and the kindergarteners.

So what does Stone focus on? It's a little hard to tell. At moments, I almost expected there to be a laugh track: there are plenty of points where Stone shows the stupider moments of Bush's attempts at speech, highlighting all of the classic gaffes we've all heard by this point. But instead of being funny, it just feels kind of uncomfortable. The discomfort is understandable in a way, since the other thing Stone seems interested in is making his Bush sympathetic: he's not very bright but he means well; he's the neglected scion of a great man; he's just trying to live up to his father's hopes; he really has been born again and believes everything he says. Yet this sentiment doesn't go quite far enough to make up for the feeling that Stone is taking feeble shots at Bush; it seems he couldn't decide whether to go for the jugular or put his politics aside and tell a story. The result is funny moments that aren't funny, and touching moments that aren't touching: nothing quite sticks in this film.

Which is a shame, because Stone and his marvelous cast are throwing a lot of good stuff against the wall. The marvelous and still mostly-unsung actor Jeffrey Wright turns in a fantastically noble Colin Powell; Ellen Burstyn knocks Barbara Bush out of the park; the always excellent James Cromwell makes George H.W. Bush quite likable, and Richard Dreyfuss nigh-disappears into his portrayal of Dick Cheney. In the middle of all this is Josh Brolin as an affable but temperamental, earnest young man who just can't find his feet but somehow finds himself in the White House.

Stone seems to be trying to address the question: how did this happen? How did we get here? But in the end, with Bush himself on his fantasy baseball field, losing the fly ball in the glare of the lights, I found myself just as lost on that question as ever. The gratifying thing was that the end of the movie actually contained the classic, screen printed words, "The End." I could only sit back in my seat and breathe, "Thank God."
kitchen_kink: (Default)
This post has caused quite a stir; in fact, I discovered today that someone on my friends list linked to a comment thread within it in a negative fashion. This annoys me, but it also makes me want to continue the discussion.

I believe that the comment thread in question actually opens up a lot of good dialogue about these issues, and gets me closer to what I was trying to say in the first place. What I am especially interested in pointing out from this thread, though, is my last comment in it, which I think sums up a lot about how and why I write here, and why I often post protected rather than letting this be a completely public forum:

A lot of the initial post, so you know, was written in the heat of the moment - on purpose; I wanted to get my feelings out on the page - and wasn't really meant to be a coherent political statement. If anything, it was exposing some of the feelings I'm ashamed of at times: the mirror work of my own intolerance. I assembled a pastiche of my experiences [the night of July 4th] in order to build up to a larger emotional point about how I feel about the way the overculture operates to try and keep us compliant and stupid. In the process I know I come off sounding judgmental and intolerant, but at times it's important to me to get those things out, acknowledge and (partly thanks to [[livejournal.com profile] hahathor]) examine those feelings.

It's part of my work to figure out how to walk the line as a freak in this world without becoming self-righteous and intolerant, without removing myself completely from the rest of the world. Part of my reaction was my own fear that I'm getting farther and farther from being able to enjoy time with people not in my social circle; that I'm getting so outside the mainstream that I feel like a space alien most of the time.

I've been doing a lot of work lately on being more permeable. Unfortunately, I've always been overly sensitive, and so I tend to swing between shielding too much and letting too much in. My goal is ultimately to have boundaries like a cell membrane: permeable to exactly the right things; decisively closed to those things that would harm me.


Other points from that thread I feel are relevant here... )


My apologies, in the meantime, to those who were so triggered by my use of the word "mundane," even though in the original post, I used it only to refer to mainstream friends of mine whom I like a lot. The subsequent ranting was more about mob mentality and government control (which I think go hand in hand), weird concepts of patriotism, and the lack of self-awareness and anger that I see around me.

I continue to be open to discussion.
kitchen_kink: (demon)
I've been meaning to write this review for a long time, and by now I've all but lost the rage that was to drive it. I'm hoping it will nonetheless still be interesting at least.

300

It seems I can count on at least one thing when one of Frank Miller's comic books gets adapted into a film: I will be outraged and disturbed enough to write an angry and hopefully thought-provoking essay about it.

But while I could see the beauty of Sin City and had some difficulty pinning down what made me sick about it, 300 gave me no such problems.

Its flaws and infuriating qualities were quite obvious.

When I left the theatre after watching this fiasco, I was boiling over. I didn't even manage to get out of the building before literally screaming to my viewing partner, "Where do I start??!!" And so it seemed possible that right then was not the right time to write a review. Instead, I ranted, from the Somerville Theatre all the way to my house and beyond, about all the the things in this film that made me want to tear my skin off while watching it.

Now let me start by saying that I know that some of the things I'm going to criticize in this movie are merely portrayals of a certain kind of society, one whose belief systems an audience member such as myself may or may not agree with. I will dispense with this objection before it is made, by pointing out the unequivocal way in which this film glorifies and fetishizes the way of life that this version of Sparta represents. Before going any further, I put forth as an argument that this film does not merely portray a particular society, however fantastically; it endorses it.

Now there's already been a bit of talk from certain astute film reviewers about 300's references to the current U.S. administration and its relationship to the Middle East; I'm certainly not going to be the first to mention it. But besides my glib snarl after seeing it that "this movie was financed by Karl Rove," there are deeper questions of the rhetoric chosen here that warrant further examination. And beyond these issues, which are troubling enough, there are vast problems of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, and outright eugenicism that need to be addressed. I've heard some people say that watching this movie was "like a video game," or that it was just "fun" and made them feel like going out and kicking ass. That's all well and good, and I'm far from being against fun, or even ass-kicking, particularly where action movies are concerned. But there are times when we need to take a closer look at what these images are telling us, and what messages we are absorbing into our psyches without further thought. Just as many of us get desensitized to the news and/or don't look at it terribly critically, other cultural markers such as film tell stories about what assumptions are present in our culture now. I believe we ignore them at our peril, both as individuals and as a society. But now I'm getting all soapboxy. On to the movie.

It's raining men... )
kitchen_kink: (grammar)
Seen on a reshelving cart at the Newton Public Library:

Title: New Worlds to Conquer
Author: Halliburton
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I was almost sure that one of these times, I'd registered to vote in Cambridge, where I now live. There are always people about at tables and so on and one of these times I was sure I had talked to one of them and filled out some paperwork! Sure of it, I tell you!

Apparently not. Yesterday I called and found out I'm not registered in Cambridge.

In Somerville, where I stopped living in '04, I'm listed as an inactive voter. I could go to the polls, they told me, sign an affidavit under the penalty of perjury stating that I moved less than six months ago, and vote in Somerville.

Somehow that doesn't seem like it would be the right thing to do.

So instead I'll sit here and beat myself up about what a bad citizen I am.

Bad citizen. Bad.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Quoted from somewhere. ([livejournal.com profile] imlad, who gave it to me: help?) I do wish the scansion were a bit better, but still... can't... stop... laughing...


[With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, and
also to one Lollius. Note: In order to avoid the
infringement of individual rights by imposing
totalitarian ideals of harmony, the soloist and
choristers may sing each in his or her own tempo,
tune, and key.]


I am the very model of a modern Libertarian:
I teem with glowing notions for proposals millenarian,
I've nothing but contempt for ideologies collectivist
(My own ideas of social good tend more toward the Objectivist).
You see, I've just discovered, by my intellectual bravery,
That civic obligations are all tantamount to slavery;
And thus that ancient pastime, viz., complaining of taxation,
Assumes the glorious aspect of a war for liberation!

[Chorus:]
You really must admit it's a delightful revelation:
To bitch about your taxes is to fight for liberation!

I bolster up my claims with lucubrations rather risible
About the Founding Fathers and the market's hand invisible;
In fact, my slight acquaintance with the fountainhead Pierian
Makes me the very model of a modern Libertarian!

[Chorus:]
His very slight acquaintance with the fountainhead Pierian
Makes him the very model of a modern Libertarian!

All "public wealth" is robbery, we never will accede to it;
You have no rights in anything if you can't show your deed to it.
(But don't fear repossession by our Amerind minority:
Those treaties aren't valid---Uncle Sam had no authority!)
We realize whales and wolves and moose find wilderness quite vital,
And we'll give back their habitats---if they can prove their title.
But people like unspoiled lands (we too will say "hooray" for them),
So we have faith that someone else will freely choose to pay for them.

[Chorus:]
Yes, when the parks are auctioned it will be a lucky day for them---
We're confident that someone else will freely choose to pay for them!

We'll guard the health of nature by self-interest most astute:
Since pollution is destructive, no one ever will pollute.
Thus factories will safeguard our communities riparian---
I am the very model of a modern Libertarian!

[Chorus:]
Yes, factories will safeguard our communities riparian,
He is the very model of a modern Libertarian!

In short, when I can tell why individual consumers
Know best who should approve their drugs and who should treat their tumors;
Why civilized existence in its intricate confusion
Will be simple and straightforward, absent government intrusion;
Why markets cannot err within the system I've described,
Why poor folk won't be bullied and why rich folk won't be bribed,
And why all vast inequities of power and position
Will vanish when I wave my wand and utter "COMPETITION!"---

[Chorus:]
He's so much more exciting than a common politician,
Inequities will vanish when he hollers "Competition!"

---And why my lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, "Ridiculous!",
And why my social theories all seem so pre-Sumerian---
I'll be the very model of a modern Libertarian!

[Chorus:]
His novel social theories all seem so pre-Sumerian---
He is the very model of a modern Libertarian!
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I find I can't even think about this conflict between Israel and Hezbollah without wanting to cry, scream or tear my hair out. Or all of those things. Perhaps also rip W a new one. But what else is new.

The only think I've been able to focus on is the disparate panoply of pronunciations for one of the key players in this war. In fact, thinking about that keeps me just a little bit sane during the continuous barrage of news from NPR and the BBC.

So, forgive me if this seems flippant. But seriously:

[Poll #784507]
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Working Assets, a pretty cool long distance telephone company, is running a campaign to have Guantanamo Bay shut down. 'Sabout fuckin' time, say I.

Sign the petition here.

Hope

May. 26th, 2005 12:29 pm
kitchen_kink: (meditative)
Having recently finished the highly worthwhile book of essays, The Impossible Will Take A Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] amber_phoenix), I've begun thinking more and more about what I can do, as one person. It's still difficult to have hope, but I begin to believe more in nonviolent resistance, grassroots organization and protest, and especially, the ability of one person to do something.

It's a huge movement, and a lot of you have probably seen it before, but One.org is, it seems, a very neat way for one person to come forward and have his or her voice heard. All you have to do is go and add your name to the campaign.

There's also a hot video with Brad Pitt, Steve Buscemi, Al Pacino, Orlando Bloom, Ellen Degeneres, Holly Hunter, Antonio Banderas, George Clooney, Bono, Kevin Bacon, Edward Norton, Cameron Diaz, Tom Hanks, Salma Hyack, and, like, a zillion other of the coolest famous people talking earnestly in black and white.

I'm not entirely sure how the entire thing works, even after it was explained to me on the website. But it's got a lot of the major humanitarian organizations behind it, and hell, the financial power of all of those celebrities must be enormous. But more importantly, it seems, all these folks are using their extreme visibility and fame to get ordinary Americans to voice their opinion about a simple notion: what if just an additional one percent of America's budget were devoted to relieving starvation, AIDS, and extreme poverty in the poorest countries of the world?

It sounds as idealistic as any other such solution. But think about it. What if?

I don't know about anyone else here, but I'm tired of sitting around not doing anything. This isn't much, but it's a start.

Go.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
EDIT: They're not going to kill them. (I might kill the people who keep giving animal lovers a bad name, however...) But these animals do very much need homes. Please go here for how to help!

***
I can't have dogs in my current apartment, but I'm trying at least to spread the word about this, and might put forth a bit of money as well. Please repost whereever you feel appropriate and forward to your friends.

******

Subject: [DachsForum] Fw: Massive Greyhound rescue

PERMISSION TO CROSS POST. DO NOT HIT REPLY, USE CONTACT INFO BELOW

Leigh Grady
Executive Director
Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling
17 Laurelwood Road
Sterling MA 01564
978 422 8585 shelter
978 563 1039 fax
www.sterlingshelter.org

500 Dogs to Die! (posted 5/1/05)

The greyhound track in Plainfield, CT voted on April 26th that they would discontinue greyhound racing. Unfortunately - and heartbreakingly -
they've also decided that rescuers have only two weeks to get the dogs out, and any dogs remaining at the track on May 14th will be euthanized. This is a monumental task because there are at least 500 dogs currently at the track. These are all young, healthy dogs, 2-4 years of age, who would make great family pets.

Why is the track doing this? Greyhound racing is a business and because the track is no longer profitable, they're getting out. To us, dogs are
cherished companions. To the greyhound racing industry, dogs are expendable commodities to be disposed of in whatever way is least expensive and most convenient when they aren't making money.

We've committed to saving as many dogs as we possibly can in the next two weeks. We'll be working with an experienced greyhound rescuer who has been placing retired greyhounds for many years. She will be going to the track and bringing us dogs. As soon as we have more room, we'll do it again. We will repeat as many times as we can before May 14th. After May 14th, there will be no dogs left alive at the track.

In order to save as many dogs as we can, we are going to try something we've never done before; sending as many as possible out into foster care by May 14th. Every time we send a dog into an adoptive home or a foster home, we can take another dog off the track. We will take the fostered dogs back into the Dakin Animal Shelter for adoption over the next few months as spaces open up for them - as long as they're off the track by May 14th, they'll be safe.


How can you help?

a.. Adopt a greyhound They're wonderful dogs - gentle, quiet, sweet, and graceful. The ones we'll be getting will be good companions with other
dogs and with cats. Surprisingly, they're couch potatoes. They do need to be in a fenced area or leash walked; they aren't dogs to let run loose. For
information on what it's like to take a greyhound home, visit www.greyhoundgang.com. To find out what greys we have available for
adoption, call us at 413-548-9898 or visit our dog adoption page.

b.. Foster a greyhound If we can send greys into foster care and out of our Shelter, we can pull more from the track before May 14. We'll get them
back into the Shelter over the next few months. We will provide all their medical care and a crate to make their transition easier. You provide your time & love and together we will give them a new life! For information on what it's like to take a greyhound home, visit www.greyhoundgang.com. If you can help, or are interested in more information, contact us at 413-548-9898.

c..Donate Money: We are going to need extra funds to help these dogs. We'll be buying crates and other supplies as well as paying all their medical
bills. You can send a check to: Dakin Animal Shelter, 163 Montague Road, Leverett MA 01054, or donate online. Please mark your donation "Save the Greys".


d.. Donate a large dog crate. We need these to send with the dogs going into foster care.

e.. Spread the word! The more people who know about this tragedy, the more help the dogs will get. Many of you have seen greyhounds in the community - they're lovely, gentle dogs.



When we started working with greyhounds, we discovered that there are a lot of misconceptions about them.

a.. Greys are not hyper - they're actually couch potatoes!
b.. They love to run - for about 5 minutes - in a safe, fenced area.
c.. Greys spend most of their day snoozing and adore soft sleeping places and all the comforts in life.
d.. They are actually very good dogs for apartments or small homes because of their low activity level.
e.. They are very clean dogs, and in some ways are very catlike in their cleanliness and love of comfort.
f.. Most greyhounds - including all the ones we'll be getting - can live with other dogs and cats, once they've been introduced, and actually
love living with other animals.
g.. They rarely bark and shed little.
h.. In their life on the track, they live in crates for 22 hours per day, so most things in the 'real world' are a surprise to them.
i.. They've never seen simple things such as: slippery floors (wood, tile); stairs; television; windows; cats; dogs who are not greyhounds!
j.. They generally housebreak very easily because they're completely crate trained (they aren't housebroken because they've never been in a house,
so they have to learn what a house is!).
k.. They walk very, very politely on leash - they learn that at the track.
l.. Greyhounds are very good companions for homes with gentle children because of their own gentle nature.

This is a tragedy of enormous proportions, and we've decided to throw everything we've got into doing as much as we can. It's easy to get
overwhelmed thinking about the scope of the problem - and do nothing. If we instead work together as a community, we CAN make a difference. The Dakin Animal Shelter has always relied upon our community for our support, and we're counting on you now. With your help, we WILL make a difference.

Leigh Grady
Executive Director
Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling
17 Laurelwood Road
Sterling MA 01564
978 422 8585 shelter
978 563 1039 fax
www.sterlingshelter.org

Read this.

Feb. 17th, 2005 04:03 pm
kitchen_kink: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] ceelove made a post about environmental stuff that I never would've had the guts to make, mainly because I'm nowhere near as good about all of this stuff as she is.

But I think she makes some excellent points here, isn't didactic or condemnatory at all, and made me think long and hard about what I could be doing better.

For my part, I buy organic (though I eat meat - I try to buy organic, and when I don't I buy naturally raised), I recycle everything I can, I turn off lights and electrical appliances, and, after reading this post, I took a little extra time to find a used Ziploc bag instead of using a new one, I made sure to turn off my computer speakers, and I decided against a drink at the water cooler in the absence of non-disposible cups.

They're all little things, but every big thing is made of a whole lotta little things.

(I typoed that at first as "every big think..." The same is true, I suppose.)

And now to the post.
kitchen_kink: (sleepy)
This is how it is. You get up, you go to work. You do what you have to do; if you're lucky, you do what you want to do. You eat. You exercise. You make love and do the dishes and drop the kids off at school.

You keep going.

I wake up early, but doze until nearly ten. It's the first day of February, which I conveniently forget; perhaps the knowledge would have gotten me out of bed sooner with the fond realization that January, the dread month, is finally over.

I drag myself around. I clean up a bit, fix breakfast, write a journal entry. I get ready to leave for Krav practice for the first time in a week and a half. Last week was eaten up by sickness, snowed under by a hail of Kleenex.

Finally I have the ambition to work out again, or at least I have the ambition to get into the car and go try to do so. I'm dreading the class the way I dreaded the classes I taught yesterday: the depression, then, nearly trapped me in the bed for the day.

But yesterday I managed for three hours to talk about literature to a bunch of kids who, with a few exceptions, couldn't care less and thank me with their blank stares, and today I manage to get out on route 93 and head for Roxbury. I'm even on time. At about ten minutes before noon I'm just outside the tunnel, waiting to get off at exit 18.

At 12:30, I'm still there.

It's enough that I'm infuriated by having to sit on the highway for this long. It's more than enough that I've dragged myself out of depression and sickness to go do some cardio and kick some ass, a proactive step to make myself feel better. But the worst of it is that the whole time I'm listening to NPR, and the reports are as follows:

A conservative talks about how a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage should be higher on Bush's agenda, and the reporter takes him seriously, in fact doesn't challenge him at all. Bush's approval rating is lower than any second-term president since Nixon, yet he still takes the November election as evidence that he's been given a mandate by this country to effect change. Meanwhile, as they're still counting the ballots from Iraq's election, an insurgent group has taken an American soldier hostage and says that they will behead him within 72 hours unless the U.S. releases its Iraqi prisoners. In slightly lighter news, the makers of the Oscar-nominated documentary Born into Brothels (subject matter self-evident in the title) are interviewed about their program to rescue children of prostitutes in India, themselves lined up at age 13 to continue the tradition, from their plight.

It's another day in goddamnfuckingparadise.

So I turn around, I go back home, I'm pissed off that I've wasted an hour and a half driving and that meanwhile the world, the country I thought was mine is, as usual, falling apart, and I'm thinking about where I would move and how I would work if we passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, if we overturned Roe v. Wade, if in four years Dick fucking Cheney secured the presidency, if we go to war in Iran, Syria, Korea...

And I hear a report about an all-male ballet troupe who performs female roles on pointe and in tutus, with no attempt to conceal their maleness, and I laugh a little. I go to the gym and get on the elliptical machine and burn for 25 minutes, in high gear, my rage and helplessness. I read an amusing article about Johnny Depp in Rolling Stone (The New Yorker isn't available today and I didn't bring it from home).

And I go home, and shower, and go to the cafe and write, and I think, this is how it works. This is why it works. This is a few million people, feeling helpless, feeling rage, feeling the same way I'm feeling and knowing that the only thing to do is chop wood, carry water. Keep going.

This is how the status quo holds on, this is how the politicians get away with what they get away with, this is how a government strips its citizens of its freedoms, bit by bit, and legislates the hell out of our lives. And this isn't me telling you to get off your butts and do something, this isn't me getting up and being politically active, this isn't even me going to a demonstration or writing a letter to my congressperson. This is me seeing that it's pointless.

This is me, just trying to live my life.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I don't really know what can be said.

I think I'm going to be sick.

I'm off to teach classes, wearing all black.

Good night, Irene.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
My stomach's fluttering, I'm snacking on sweet breakfast cereal, and I can't stop refreshing, like, three different sources of news.

Oh, and I'm listening to NPR.

Grr. I think I need to go for a walk or something. Yarrrrrr.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Anyone holding nail-biting election parties tonight?

Profile

kitchen_kink: (Default)
dietrich

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