My First Meme

Peggasus knocks and I answer.

Answer the question “If you could be —____ . Choose five titles from the list [below] and answer the question for each of them. Add a job title to the list when you are done, if you would like, but you can’t choose your own newly added job title.

Scientist – Farmer – Musician – Doctor – Painter – Gardener – Missionary – Chef – Architect – Linguist – Psychologist – Librarian – Athlete – Lawyer – Innkeeper – Professor – Writer – Llama rider – Failed actor gone political – Moonbat – Street Performer – Pro Bowler – Psychic

1. If I were a lawyer, I’d be an intellectual property lawyer. I think that “public domain” is one of the most amazing cultural resources that we have and it irritates me to see Congress continually bowing to pressure from entertainment conglomerates to extend copyright protection indefinitely. I’ve got no problem with people earning money from their creations, but I don’t think their creations should remain theirs forever.

So, I guess public domain is especially interesting to me because if, when, and how things enter the public domain says a lot about how we understand and balance the rights of the individual (and the corporate citizen) with the good of the community.

2. If I were a missionary, I’d be fired. I’ve got no problem with people doing good and, when asked why, telling the questioner that it’s because of their love of Jesus. But most people have their own religions that work for them and I find it really gross that people go into those communities and attempt to instill Christianity, especially because Christianity vilifies indigenous beliefs in order to justify such conversions.

3. If I were a linguist, I’d happily spend my days doing my own translations of the Voluspa and the Havamal and arguing with other nerds, er, linguists about whether Frigg and Freyja were ever the same goddess since Frigg is linked etymologically to the Indo-European root pri-meaning “to love,” and Freyja is linked to the Indo-European root per-meaning something like “to lead or to be at the forefront.”

Some days, I might argue that clearly they were always two separate goddesses, and on other days, I might say “per” “pri”: how much difference is there between those two sounds?

4. If I were an innkeeper, I’d be a cross between the innkeeper in The Castle of Crossed Destinies and Bob Newhart. In other words, I’d want to be the kind of innkeeper who organized strange mystical experiences for my guests, but I’d probably end up being the kind that had to continually explain the weird folks who worked for me, who would all surely be my family members. Luckily, the recalcitrant brother has done some plumbing as well as some cooking, so when he inevitably moved in, he’d be able to contribute.

5. If I were an architect, I’d be torn between wanting to design houses that seemed to exactly “fit” the landscape they are situated in (why, yes, Frank Lloyd Wright would be one of my influences) and building enormous, outlandish contemporary Victorian manors–full of turrets and stained glass and gingerbread.
And I’m going to tap two people who link to me, but who I know nothing about–Pissed (just to put it out there for the universe, if I could find a smart, funny unmarried man who left his dismantled Harley all over the house, I would be in hog heaven [bad pun intended] ) and Astrid, who intrigues me because I love her name–the name of Sigrid Tostadottir’s daughter and the name my tiny cat’s sister was going to have when it seemed like she might come to live with us–Stella and Astrid.

So, it should go without saying that I have no idea if they’ll play along or stare distastefully at their screen like someone just sent them a chain letter portenting some kind of terrible doom and then promptly vow to never visit Tiny Cat Pants again.

Unsex me here

What Lady Macbeth had to invoke spirits to get done, Congress does for me, unbidden.

Here’s her invocation:

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

Here’s Congress’s proposed definition of “Woman” (from Senate bill 51 and House bill 356):

“WOMAN- The term ‘woman’ means a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant, whether or not she has reached the age of majority.”

It’s not as poetic as Shakespeare, but reading it fills me “from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty.” Oh, Lamar Alexander, how I cannot wait to vote against you. But, Elizabeth Dole, strange creature, certainly you are no longer capable of becoming pregnant. Do you mean to legislate yourself into a third gender?

Mushy Post about Mrs. Wigglebottom

Today I took the dog back to the park. We usually do our long walk on Saturday, as was the case this weekend, but it was so beautiful today that I couldn’t resist her when she tilted her head and pricked up her ears and looked at me like “What awesome thing are we doing next?”

That’s what does me in about Mrs. Wigglebottom. She’s always game for anything. If you want to sit on the couch and read things that make you cry, she’ll cuddle up next to you. If you want to surf the internet, she’ll sleep at your feet. If you want to go to the park, she’s on her way to the car.

She and I were playing in the tall grass and she’d put her front paws out in front of her, her butt in the air, and her tail would stick straight up, waving just a little bit as I looked over at her, a little bit more as I ran at her, and then, just as I got to her, she’d shoot off in a large looping circle around me, leaning in towards me as she slid by, then off to the end of her leash, turning just before it reached taut and coming back my way.

If you’ve never seen a dog running just for the hell of it, you’re missing out.

Then, she’d flop down in the grass, her tongue hanging out, and she looks up at me, with this big smile and then, rolls in a big pile of poop!

Gross for me, but heaven for her.

Ah, well. My dog makes me a better person–more active, more at ease, less stressed by a little poop here or there–but I don’t know if I’ve made her a better dog. I’d like to think so.

The Price of Gas

So, we’re watching Bill Maher last night and he trots out that tired big-city bullshit (here’s how to know you’re about to smell some big-city bullshit: they start out with “Well, in Europe…”). So, Bill’s big-city bullshit starts out, “Well, in Europe they pay [some exorbitant amount] for gas.”

Then he goes on to say how he thinks that the government ought to put a huge sin tax on gas, like they have on cigarettes, to discourage people from driving so much.

This pisses me off so much I almost can’t talk about it rationally. But before I’m reduced to angry cussing, let me make the following points:

1. Most of the country doesn’t have public transportation. If we can’t afford to drive to work, we cannot get to work.

2. Most of the country doesn’t make that much money. A lot of us are getting by paycheck to paycheck. The cost of fuel doesn’t just affect the price of filling up our cars. It affects the cost of everything we buy–food, clothing, etc.–because Walmart and Kroger’s have to pass the increased cost of their fuel to us.

3. Nope, that’s it. Two things before I start screaming “fuck you.”

Let’s go off on a tangent.

I’m starting to suspect that, when people talk about “liberal” bias in the media, depending on who’s talking, they’re actually talking about two different things. Politicians want to talk about the media’s “liberal bias” because they want to keep the media on the ropes, swinging wildly at straw men and not finding real stories–and to that end, they’ve succeeded wildly.

But when some folks talk about “liberal bias,” I wonder if they don’t mean something like what I also loathe, the feeling that the media views rural America as some scary backwards place that can’t truly be understood by anyone safe on the coasts.

For instance, think of how the media starts every story about us with “in the Heartland…” Jesus, how big is this heartland? Because I’ve seen and read stories that place it in Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, and New Mexico. It starts to feel like “heartland” is just some place that the media views as quaint.

Or how the media holds so fast to the first amendment but seems to view the second as a problem. Okay, I don’t own guns, because I’m afraid of them. But a lot of people in the U.S. own guns and they aren’t criminals or deviants. No, the NRA hasn’t done gun owners any favors with that laughable “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” nonsense, but the uncomfortable truth is that the Constitution gives people the right to bear arms. You might not like that. I might not like that. But that’s how it is. And just because it makes us uncomfortable doesn’t mean that people who own guns are bad or irresponsible or freaks.

By and large, people who own guns are not going to shoot you. But when the media covers a gun story, you get the feeling that everyone who owns a rifle is just one bad day away from shooting up his place of work.

But the thing that annoys me the most is how the media thinks that it “knows” our values without actually doing the work of trying to figure out what those values are. How long are we going to have to hear them talking about “Christian” values and the Republicans’ alignment with Christians, as if Christianity is one monolithic set of beliefs held by all of us out here in the wastelands.

For instance, I keep waiting for someone to ask one of our Catholic bishops if he’s uncomfortable with the alignment of the U.S. Catholic church with Evangelical Protestants, when most Evangelical Protestants believe that, at best, Catholics are really fucked up Christians, and, at worst, that they’re pagans whose style of worship is a kind of blasphemy against Christ. But either most reporters are cowards or they’re unaware of the deep history of anti-Catholic sentiment among Evangelical Protestants. I suspect that it’s the latter, that they’re unaware of it.

Which brings me to what really pisses me off, and what I suspect pisses a great many people out here off, the patronizing tone they take, as if they know what’s best for us, when they don’t really know us. They can’t get past their preconceived notions of what we are. So, Bill Maher can say asinine things about how the price of gas isn’t really a problem, because no matter what the price of gas is, he can afford to pay it, and he can’t imagine that folks can’t.


Why does the ‘safe’ alternative to the Dixie Chicks suck so bad?

Seriously, isn’t it a well-known truth that if you have to stick “blah, blah, blah” in your song, your song needs drastic reworking? But, no, SheDaisy and their record label decide to release it as a single.

I’m dumb-founded.