MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
Visit me at my new blog, MsGeek.Org v3.0

Heard the Word of Blog?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Family trumps a visit from My President. I suppose that means I have "family values."

Yeah, Senator John Kerry, the man who should have been president, is coming to town to stump for Antonio Villaraigosa, the man who should be LA Mayor. He's actually going to be coming to Los Angeles Valley College, my once and future Alma Mater. However, my brother-in-law came here to visit, bringing my niece. He lives in the beet-red state of Tennessee, she lives in the Silicon Valley. Neither get down here much. I had a choice: go to the Kerry/Villaraigosa rally or take some more time to hang out with my family. It was a no-brainer.

I hope I get a chance, one of these days, to meet Senator Kerry. I want to thank him for taking on Darth Dubya, Mr. Borrow and Binge. I want to thank him for running a campaign anyone would have been proud of, one which saw little mud flung from our side. Never mind that maybe more mud should have been thrown, never mind that the next Dem candidate for the White House needs to get down and dirty and fight like a Repugnican. Perhaps Kerry's campaign was the last polite Presidential campaign, ever. He was the better man. He ran the loftier campaign. He nearly won. Goddess bless you, Senator Kerry.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I am:
"You're a tax-and-spend liberal democrat. People like you are the reason everyone else votes for guys like Reagan or George W."

Are You A Republican?

Damn right!

And by the way, the George W. Bush school of faux conservatism should best be referred to as the "Borrow And Spend Like Drunken Sailors" Republicans.

!Viva La "Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy!"

Note at 5:30pm: Actually, a better meme would be "Borrow-and-Binge" Republicans, now that I think about it. The "Binge" part of the equation suggests the fact that Dubya's a "dry drunk."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Oh Jesus H Christ on a Lamppost, man...just when things were looking good, what with the GOP backing down on covering DeLay's raggedy ass, this goes and happens.

Crappy bill. Crappy vote. This bill, the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," will make it illegal for a person to transport a girl from a state that has an abortion squeal rule to a state that does not.

It's not over yet...this is about to hit the Senate. I have a fair amount of confidence that Boxer and Feinstein will vote against this lawn cigar of a bill, just as Berman voted against it in the house. (Thank you, esteemed Congressman from RIAA/'re really redeeming yourself this session.) But the Dems are still the minority party in both houses.

And guess what? If there is a special election called this year for Ah-nold's questionable wish list, there's going to be another little surprise on the ballot. Yet another attempt to reinstate the California version of the abortion squeal rule.

This is bad, folks. Time for the pro-choice majority to step forward.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Any family who has a teen pondering joining any branch of the US Armed Forces needs to read this transcript of this Jim Lehrer News Hour segment. It will break your heart. Then it will change your mind about going.

A vital, strong, active young man named Jay Briseno was just out of his teens and serving in Iraq. In a single instant, BLAM...he's paralyzed from the chin down. A single point-blank shot did it. After the initial injury, Briseno suffered two heart attacks which starved his brain and caused extensive but not complete cognitive damage. He's not quite as bad off as poor Terri Schiavo, but it's close.

It makes me want to get in George W. Bush's face and scream "WHAT ABOUT ERRING ON THE SIDE OF LIFE NOW, GEORGE?!?!?! You bastard! You took a perfectly healthy young man and you turned him into a basket case FOR A LIE!!!!"

It is such a horror to me. It should be a horror for everyone who is a patriotic American. The blood that was spilled in World War II at least had meaning...we were fighting a true monster, Hitler, and his defeat was a victory not only for the Allies but for the entire world. The blood spilled in World War I, on the other hand, was spilled for a cause that is still a mystery to historians to this day. Vietnam was another war built on lies, from the Tonkin Gulf Incident to the incursions into Laos and Cambodia to My Lai to the final, honorless end. Will Iraq end up similarly? I think its ignoble beginning speaks to an ignoble end. I see a future President having to mop up the mess, leaving a hostile, radicalized and terrorized Iraq which might be at that point a client state of Iran.

This is a disaster. It was a fool's errand from the very beginning. May Whatever's Out There forgive us eventually for what we have done, are doing, and will do there. Every minute we are there, we dishonor everything America was built on and initially stood for.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Another "skin of the teeth" pass in Math 114...70/100. As close to "fail" as you can get without actually failing.

However, I do get an opportunity to pull up my grade on Wednesday, where we will have another test, this time on a rather small bit of material that I have a bit more of a level of confidence on. And yes, the low grade of the four in-term tests will get eliminated when it comes time to figuring out the final grade.

There is hope for me actually graduating for real now, without having to take Math 114 over.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Perhaps we'll be able to invent our way out of the Energy Crisis? Penn State announced that two of their scientists have figured out a process by which bacteria eating biomass create hydrogen for energy purposes. While the paper does not promise that this process will replace petroleum and create a global hydrogen economy to replace a petroleum economy slouching towards Peak Oil, it is useful on a number of levels, including cleaning up wastewater.

Here's a few links to the news:

Penn State press release
Penn State press photos
Science Daily coverage
Slashdot coverage, complete with gratuitous rude and vulgar fart jokes.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Dammit, hope I'm not too late...almost forgot...

Happy Earth Day.

Media Girl's essay is worth far more than my blather. Enjoy. Maybe weep a little too, but enjoy.

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And moderation in the pursuit of laying the smackdown on right-wing nut jobs is no virtue!

Barry Goldwater Jr. RIP

The DailyKOS had a wonderful article about the legacy of one Barry Goldwater, Jr. I have mentioned earlier in these pages about how I have no quarrel with paleo-Conservatives...the kind who believe government has as much right nosing around your personal business as they believe it has nosing around your business-business. There's another word for them: Goldwater Conservatives. My dad was one.

Here are some quotes which you might want to hang onto if you have to do battle with the Theocratic wing of the GOP. They love to say that they are carrying on this man's legacy. It's like the scene with Marshall McLuhan in "Annie Hall." If AuH2O was alive today he'd be saying the same thing or similar: that some of the people invoking his name and his legacy don't have a clue about his beliefs and his life's work.

Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

-- From Goldwater's acceptance of the GOP nomination, 1964

My faith in the future rests squarely on the belief that man, if he doesn't first destroy himself, will find new answers in the universe, new technologies, new disciplines, which will contribute to a vastly different and better world in the twenty-first century. Recalling what has happened in my short lifetime in the fields of communication and transportation and the life sciences, I marvel at the pessimists who tell us that we have reached the end of our productive capacity, who project a future of primarily dividing up what we now have and making do with less. To my mind the single essential element on which all discoveries will be dependent is human freedom.

-- From With No Apologies, 1979

If he'd let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off.

-- A reference to Bill and Hillary Clinton, from a Washington Post interview, 1994

However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'

-- 1981, might have been in the Congressional Record for that year.

When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.

-- From a Washington Post interview, 1994

Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.

-- Attributed to Goldwater, but no date/source found

You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.

-- Attributed to Goldwater but no date/source found

There are other quotes attributed to Sen. Goldwater, but those are the best I've found. If he were alive today he'd take the Shrub out behind the woodshed and give him a nice old-fashioned whuppin' on principle. Yes, that gravitational perturbation near Phoenix, AZ is him spinning in his grave. He's been doing that since 2000.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Capped and gowned and ready for June 7th...

Woman graduating with a music degree from UPenn, 1894.

OK, that isn't me but I thought that was a way cool photo. The robe I have to wear is pretty damn cheesy, but what did I honestly expect for $30? It's prolly something I wouldn't wear again, not even around Halloween, unless Woodbury also used black robes for its graduating students. Or wherever else I go. If I could wear the same robe every time I graduate, not just to save money but for the symbolism of it going on the educational journey with me, that would be cool.

I gotta get a pair of scrubs to wear under it too. Jeans and T-Shirt is a bit bulky to wear under it, but scrubs would be just right. There's someone at the Swap Meet who makes scrubs custom...I'd like to get a pair in green with a yellow collar...LAVC's colors are green and gold, and Woodbury's colors are green and white.

The next thing on my agenda is going to have to be putting up a website for the benefit of my family and friends to give directions and a reminder as to the when and where. I don't want to mess with mail...sending out invites is traditional and they were pimping engraved commencement invites at the same table where I filled everything out for my robe order, but it's a pain in the ass. They were also pimping class the LAVC bookstore deluded or what? Once you pay for several year's worth of books, you're going to be so damn tapped out that you can barely afford the mandatory cap and gown, let alone a class ring.

Anyway, it's on. Regardless of whether I technically graduate with the Class of 2005 or not, I have my cap and gown, I will take the freakin' walk, and hopefully I'll get a bit of closure. Of course, whether it's a sham or not depends on whether or not I pass Math 114. Grrrrr...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Today was my day for a second Math 114 test. I don't think I passed, but then again I didn't think I passed the last time and I did by a whisker. I was more relaxed during the test for more of the test, so that's worth a "whoa Ms. Geek" in my not so humble opinion.

I tried to post here yesterday but I really didn't like what I was going to post. Suffice it to say that the College of Cardinals made a supremely bad choice for a Supreme Pontiff. However, since I am not now nor never have been a Catholic, it's really none of my business, is it?

The world has been on an uglifying trend since Ronald Reagan's first election to the White House in 1980. The collapse of the Warsaw Pact, then later the Soviet Union and the Clinton Administration were but respites from the overwhelming ugliness of the past 25 years. Even during the Clinton administration things weren't so fun, with the Disloyal Opposition wreaking havoc on Clinton every chance they got. And of course, it all ended up with the Blue Dress. We screwed up not giving the former Soviet Bloc countries a "Marshall Plan" like we should have, and now we have Vladimir Putin riding roughshod over the Russian people like Stalin Lite.

Getting ready to graduate from Valley, (if I can freakin' pass freakin' Math 114!) which I actually should have done sometime during the '80s, has made me think a lot about what was going on in the '80s and why to understand where we are at now, we have to look back in their direction. However, I cannot say I am nostalgic. They were dangerous times, as dangerous as ours are now. Maybe the only thing I can take comfort from is that we survived them, and maybe if we're lucky we can survive this hideous decade of ours we're currently going through.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I might not have the greatest grades once this semester is over, but at least I will have a great upgrade to my iBook. Cue Alannis because this situation is rich with irony. If I had the necessary upgrades done to my iBook locally, the labor alone would set me back $225. Now then.

Wegener Media is a company based in South Carolina which has been in business for 15 years doing PowerBook upgrades. They also sell parts for desktops but their big stock in trade is PowerBooks and iBooks.

They charge a mere $50 for labor. That's a flat fee for any situation where you have to crack open the case. They will do any and all desired upgrades and/or repairs for that $50. $225 versus $50? I'd say it's a big difference.

They also say that this iBook can take a 512MB SO-DIMM in the slot. They sell one for $94.50. They also sell a 256MB SO-DIMM for $60 less. So now I have a new $60 and just get 256MB, or cram it full of RAM for $95. I'm going to think about that a bit and get back to them. I will also be getting a hard drive and a license for MacOS X Panther.

They say they will pay for shipping to their South Carolina shop, and the return trip will probably cost something like $20. They suggest wrapping the lappie in about 1 1/2" of bubble wrap before it goes into the box. They'll ship it back in an official iBook box. Kewl.

It might have to wait until June, after graduation. Initially I was hoping I'd wind up with a Mac mini as a grad gift. But boosting this machine's RAM to 288 or 544MB and a bigger hard drive would make this suddenly become a very strong MacOS X machine. And the Blueberry Clamshell iBook is just plain cute. You can't get around that. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. We are the kawaii iBook Clamshells of Apple.

ph34r t3h cut3 0n3z!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

This says it all:
George W. Bush. Worst. President. Ever.

My thanks to whoever did that graphic. You don't know how right you are. [sigh]

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Transmitting live from Woodbury University...

Using wireless bandwidth on a Mac has got to be the easiest way of using wireless bandwidth there is. I changed the "location" on my Mac from home to "out and about" and switched the AirPort on, and yes! I'm on.

I am also noticing that having AirPort on is not a huge drain on the battery. This is not the case with modern Macs with AirPort Extreme cards, which seem to radically increase their power drain. My friend Kara has a 12" Aluminum PowerBook, and I watched the battery drop to zilch after only a few minutes of use with a Starbucks/T-Mobile hot spot.

So nice that this is a truly open wireless system too. At LA Valley College, the student hotspots require a Windows Domain Login and only Ports 80 and 443 (http and https) were open. I'm on AIM here which is something I couldn't do at LAVC. I suppose this makes this a more dangerous system, and I'd probably be wise to enable the firewall while using the lappie here. However, a default install of MacOS X doesn't have a hell of a lot of services up, and nothing "interesting" like Apache or FTP or even SSH.

I am appreciating this iBook more and more. Yes, I've been pissing and moaning about the lack of RAM and HD space, but when the rubber hits the road it's pretty darn good as-is. Yes, I'm going to need to have it updated if I use it for my school lappie here at Woodbury. But even though the cost of getting this working right is way more than what it would cost just using the ThinkPad, running in Linux when connected to the school network and only running the Windows side of it when not connected; it will be worth it. The description of the precautions I would have to take when running the ThinkPad should clue you in as to why I feel this way. If I got this machine shaped up, I'd only have to boot into one OS to do work here and not have to reboot into another to use the network.

However, as I have bemoaned in the past, getting someone to crack open this laptop, install a new hard drive and replace the memory in the single slot with a bigger SO-DIMM is expensive as hell. This is the procedure for installing/replacing RAM, this is the procedure for replacing the Hard Drive. Read through them, plus download and read the various PDF guides they have on the site, and you will know why this model makes a grown techie cry.

Anyway, I gotta shut down before the battery flatlines. You can run this on battery for about an hour and it's getting close to that point. Ja nai!

Friday, April 15, 2005

OK, I have tons more respect for John Stossel now. He's doing a "Gimme A Break" about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and how it's keeping willing soldiers out of the Armed Forces while others who are done with their hitches are kept on beyond their time by the "backdoor draft." Very cool.

Ever heard of Alexander The Great? Ever heard of Lawrence of Arabia? There have been great military minds throughout history who have been gay or bisexual, and they have never had any problems maintaining "morale and group cohesion." Ever heard of the Spartans, a civilization known for both their military might and

Sometimes Stossel seems like he's gone to the Right of his avowed Libertarian roots. This time, he really did represent for freedom. Rock on, John.

The Debt Peonage bill is on its way to George W. Bush's desk, thanks to some spineless, thoroughly 0wn3d Dems and, of course, the GOP.

Want to find out how your representative voted? Here you go.

73 Dems voted for this stinking piece of crap! I am personally surprised that Howard "I never met an RIAA or MPAA signatory I didn't like" Berman voted against it. He's my Congresscritter, you know. I guess when commercial banks are way down the list of your contributors and you don't get jack from the consumer credit industry, you are free to vote your conscience rather than your campaign contributions.

Of course, when the RIAA/MPAA and other factions of Big Media arrive with another "stick it to the music/movie consumer" bill, Berman will be right there sponsoring the bill. But until then, thanks for voting for the little guy this time, Howard.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Math remains a total freaking pain in my ass. I'm serious. English 103 is going fine, Biology 3 is meh but it's going to at least be passable, but Math 114 is really giving me fits. And it's the one course that can prevent me from getting my AA. It won't prevent me from "graduating"...going through the motions at Monarch Stadium, the cap and gown, the whole damn thing. It won't prevent me from matriculating to Woodbury University...they have assured me that "if you don't pass Math 114 at Valley you'll be able to get up to speed in classes at Woodbury." However, the piece of paper that basically is my confirmation that I have achieved closure with the LA Community College District, and finished what I started in Fall 1980, would elude me.

It shouldn't mean anything. But it does.

I am hoping that I'll be able to pull this out like I did with Math 112 and Math 113. I am hoping I can devote enough time to it and enough mental energy to, if not "get it," at least make a good enough appearance of it to get a C.

Anyway, enough rumination about that. Since Dr. Roth gave yet another true/false quiz about The Scottish Play, I think I might mention a few of my thoughts about it here.

Shakespeare was a fucking misogynist. Period. Dr. Roth suggested I give a look at some of the women he wrote about in his comedies for a different view, but when you take the female characters in Hamlet and Macbeth they either fit into two molds: bitches or victims.

You wonder if Lady Macbeth was Shakespeare's take on Queen Elizabeth I. The play was written by Shakespeare as an offering to the court of King James I, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and hence someone with mixed feelings, to say the least, about the Queen who ordered his mother's execution.

In a way, Macbeth was alright before his wife started getting ambitious. He was not the sharpest tool in the drawer, but he was a strong fighter and had won a second Thaneship after a crucial battle. He was of noble blood but not of royal blood, and probably if he had left things well enough alone he would have been a trusted aide to King Duncan and his son Prince Malcolm. In short, he had it made.

However, like it is with a lot of men, his he-man image contrasted with a big problem in reality: he was impotent. Nowadays it only takes a little blue pill to fix that problem; in Medieval Scotland, one couldn't fix things so easily. Lady Macbeth could twist her hubby's insecurities around to allow her to get the power she desired. Of course, she couldn't just get her power herself...this was Medieval Scotland, as I mentioned before.

As a Neo-Pagan, it is downright offensive to me how Shakespeare took sacred archetypes from the pre-Christian past of the British Isles and Greece and twisted them. Hekate was not a goddess of evil, but a night goddess and a presider over women's mysteries. Perhaps she, like Artemis/Diana, was added to the Greek pantheon as acknowledgement of having been worshipped for millenia before the ascendancy of the Greeks in that part of the world. However, in Macbeth Hekate is evil personified...Satan in drag.

Even more offensive are the Three Weird Sisters. The pre-Christian Irish Goddess Brigid was seen as tri-fold in nature, and her father, The Dagda, the father of the Tuatha De Danaan, forged her cauldron. This magic cauldron could produce the elixir of immortality or feed a great army, and if one gazed within one could see the future. The Cauldron of The Dagda became Christianized as the Holy Grail. There are other Triple Goddesses and trinities of Goddesses in mythologies throughout the world, and of course, Greco-Roman mythology had the Fates, which Shakespeare specifically modeled his Weird Sisters on. But he twisted them into horrible caricatures. What's bubbling in their cauldron is Hell-broth, not the elixir of life or nourishment for a multitude. They play Macbeth like a violin, telling him exactly what he wants to hear. Want to compensate for your failings? Wanna be King? Sure, you'll be the King.

Anyway, just as I suggested Hamlet could have disappeared and gone on to a new life in Britain the last time I visited a Shakespeare play in these pages, I think if Macbeth could have been content with the titles he had and the trusted position he had in King Duncan's court, he would have been fine. As before, however, there would have been no story in that, would there?

The real historical figure of King Macbeth of the North Highland Clans bears little resemblance to the bloody, sulphurous Usurper-King of Shakespeare's play. He is not viewed kindly by history: he was a bit of a Quisling who threw in his lot with the Norwegians, and killed King Duncan and became King of Scots in battle, not by "most sacreligious murder." He lived and reigned a good long time (at least by the standards of the time) and was killed by King Duncan's son Malcolm at an advanced age. The BBC website says the battle took place in a stone wonders if the battle was some sort of pre-Christian rite that had survived to that day.

I need to point out that studying these two plays in detail was quite interesting, and since we were examining the moral implications of these two plays I got a chance to take a good look at them that way. I can't say I related to or agreed with the course of things in the plays, or to the point of view Shakespeare took. One day when I can sit down and read for pleasure, I might just revisit the Shakespeare comedies to see what Dr. Roth was saying about how perhaps The Bard wasn't a total misogynist, and whether I agreed with my prof or not on that score.

With that, I must sup. Cheerio.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

First off, thank you, Uncle Steven. We couldn't have replaced the car without you. We pick it up tonight...if this was LiveJournal I'd say that "Goin' Mobile" by The Who would be the background music for this post.

However, the rest of the post is not about anything of the's about how Big Media is dividing, diluting and conquering Left-leaning Talk Radio.

First, Howard Stern announces that he's leaving broadcast radio and jumping to Sirius Satellite Network. He does this in response to mounting FCC fines, and perhaps because his biggest ally at the Viacom media octopus, Mel Karmazin, is now CEO of Sirius. There is now rumor that Stern's exit from his and Karmazin's former employer, Viacom's Infinity Radio division, might be bumped up a bit from the 1/1/2006 date he initially set.

Next, XM Satellite Network announces that Air America Radio, the progressive talk network, will go from being carried on both XM and Sirius to an exclusive deal with XM.

"Hmmm....Divide and conquer strategy?" mused my husband as we both heard the news. I wouldn't doubt that this was the case. Firstly, the Clear Channel media octopus was an "original investor" in XM Satellite Network and a major content provider for the network. Next, Clear Channel is providing a home for Air America Radio in several markets, including KTLK 1150AM in Los Angeles and KQKE 960AM in San Francisco.

As Marvin Gaye asked about 33 years ago...what's goin' on? Both Howard Stern and the hosts on Air America are critics of George W. Bush and his administration's policies. Those who want to listen to both on satellite radio will have to buy into both networks and get receivers for both systems. Air America is indeed available online (where I listen to it most) and in most of the big radio markets now. Howard Stern, however, will be unavailable everywhere but on Sirius.

I'm a feminist...why the hell should I care about Howard Stern, whose Farewell Tour of the US will include, in his words "The hottest chicks in the country," and whose show consistently degrades and slobbers over silicon-enhanced strippers? Because when Howard Stern isn't drooling over his dork, he's commenting on the stupidity of the Bush Administration. Although Stern was unable to deliver his mobs of testosterone-crazed fandom in sufficient numbers to unseat Bush in 2004, he's still a strong voice against the nut job Theocrat wing of the GOP.

Again, what's going on here? Are XM and Sirius dividing progressive talk audiences up intentionally, through some sort of collusion, or is this just a big fat coincidence? I'm just decide...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Richie's off to look at a couple of cars I found on the Craigslist.Org website. I would have gone along but I'm again fighting off this cold/flu/crud as it mutates from GI crud to head cold to now where it's burrowed deep into my chest. I wish the damn thing would be over, already. I'll probably be hacking away two months from now as I wait to get my minute of glory in Monarch Stadium.

Anyway, it was revealed Andrea Dworkin died over the weekend. I was not a major fan but I realize that hers was an important Feminist voice. Her writings were manifestations of the pain that was inflicted on her throughout her life. Ayn Rand's whole political philosophy was forged in the personal pain of watching Bolsheviks seize her father's pharmacy. Andrea Dworkin's take on Feminism was forged in two horrible acts of violence perpetrated on her before the age of 20: molestation in a New Jersey movie theatre, and a savage post-arrest "examination" inflicted on her by prison doctors which left her mutilated. It is no surprise that Man's inhumanity to Woman would be the obsession of the rest of Ms. Dworkin's life, much as the atrocities of the Soviet system would be the obsession of the rest of Ms. Rand's life.

She often would find herself in weird alliances...her views about pornography would find her on the same public stage with Religious Right crusaders. And her work was misunderstood, sometimes by those who had taken the time to read her work, but mostly by those who had never read a word of her writings. When Rush Limbaugh would inveigh upon his hated "Feminazis" his visual image was of the unkempt, unruly, loud-mouthed but undeniably brilliant Dworkin.

In more than a few respects, Ms. Dworkin's demonization in the media resembles the demonization of Emma Goldman a century before. Emma Goldman's brilliance threatened the American status quo, to the point where she was packed up and shipped off to Soviet Russia in a cramped steamship with other foreign-born radical leaders. Did any who would condemn her ever once read what she had to say? Unlikely.

Did Andrea Dworkin hate men? Apparently not all: she married her longtime companion John Stoltenburg, and had carried on correspondence and friendship with British Science Fiction/Fantasy author Michael Moorcock. Did she believe all heterosexual sex was rape? No, the quote which was twisted was actually about the fact that many states in the US exempted husbands who perpetrated marital rape from prosecution...a situation that still exists even to this day in some states.

Ms. Dworkin was apparently quite ill for the past few years. This is upsetting, because it's a reminder of the fact that yeah, I'm quite a bit overweight, and I also have had chronic diseases throughout my life. Dying at age 58 is not a natural death. According to many accounts, she had very severe arthritis, which might or might not have been directly caused by being overweight.

In spite of all this, the press that seems to be following the revelation of her death now is surprisingly complimentary. Except for a bit of right-wing baiting on a few "usual suspect" blogs the press has been quite thoughtful. Now that she is no longer a live, loud mouthed radical feminist but a silenced, still, dead icon of the Second Wave of Feminism, she's no longer threatening. It's like how Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave permission for Emma Goldman to be buried in Chicago but ignored her pleas to live her last few days in the America she still loved. A dead icon can't challenge the status-quo, but a live radical can.

I hope that Emma and Ayn have brewed up a nice cup of tea for you in that afterlife of philosophers, and made sure there is a nice plate of rugelach to enjoy with your tea. I'm sure the three of you might have a lot to talk about...and argue about. Ess gezunterheit.

Note at 9:45pm: We have a vehicle again. Clinton-era (1993) Ford Escort LX Wagon. Designed by Mazda, built at Ford de Mexico. 5 speed stick. Zoom-zoom. Fnord.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Life. Don't talk to me about Life.

Apparently someone who was very close to Douglas Adams -- his official biographer, MJ Simpson -- has seen The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and is not happy. At all.

Here's his verdict on the movie, in two flavours (British spelling intended):
Spoiled and long.
Spoiler-free and short.

Here's his list of Funny things from the book/TV show/radio show which weren't in the movie.

This has nothing to do with the inclusion of Mos Def as Ford Prefect. Simpson actually likes Mos Def and his performance in the movie, As Simpson points out:

Although, as noted, Mos Def plays his role quite well, it’s not a role which is really Ford Prefect as we know him.

So don't give me the "racist" crap I got when I voiced my concerns about Mos Def getting a role which should have gone to someone like Danny John-Jules or Craig Charles (The Cat and Lister from Red Dwarf, respectively) if they wanted a Black Ford Prefect. Ford Prefect's character has been quite effectively neutered without any sort of incongruity being added specifically by the casting of Mos Def. Mos Def apparently portrays this character quite well. He's not portraying Ford Prefect. But he's doing a good job of it regardless.

Anyway, a heated conversation about Simpson's review of Hitchhiker's is available on Slashdot. (of course!)

On another topic, I think this bears reprinting.

Want a job? Vote Democrat in 2008!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

So nice to forget our troubles for a while and get together with friends. Chad Page came down from Santa Barbara and Deref, a guy I only knew from Cyberspace, came over from Australia(!!!) to hang out for a few hours. We hit Hollywood and Highland and CityWalk...yeah, they're both touristy places but Deref is a tourist and wanted to see a bit of the Legend for itself.

If we had more time together and we weren't fucking immobile with a car with a front end tweaked so badly the car can't be driven we perhaps could have shown Deref more of "the real Hollywood"...places like the cottages Walt Disney built for his animators in Silverlake, the Hollywood Museum built into the barn that was Cecil B. DeMille's first studio building, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, etc. etc.

However, Hollywood and Highland was a place I had never been and I was glad to get a look at it. While it's kind of hard to have much fun there without spending gobs of money, we managed. And it was actually sort of upsetting to see how much money one can spend in Hollywood. $15 to take a tour of the Kodak Theatre??? No freakin' way!

Anyway, after scanning the listings at Craigslist.Org it looks like there actually are some possibilities out there that won't be too expensive. What we're looking for is a small station wagon. A minivan would be cool but it would not fit in our parking space, and would probably be more gas hungry than a small Toyota or Honda or Nissan station wagon that is basically an elongated econo-box. We are open to Korean or American makes along these lines, and would actually prefer a Volvo station wagon if we could find one in our price range. That would be somewhere floating around (let's get mathematical here) $2000>$1000>X . As in we can't afford something above $2000, $1000 would be the median, and we'd prefer something below a Grand, thankyouverymuch.

We'd like something that will also get better than 20MPG on the freeways. The now-broken Chibi Caru (Chevy/Toyota/NUMMI '86 Nova) got something like 30MPG on the freeway and 25MPG in stop-and-go traffic, and that remained consistent throughout the time we had it. Actually maybe we should look at Corolla Hatchbacks. The Nova was actually a Toyota Corolla in all but badge, and it was so good maybe it's what we should be zeroing in on.

Anyone reading this blog, living in LA, or even better in the Valley, with something meeting our requirements should drop a line to me via the email address you see on the right hand links. Yes, it does work.

Oh yeah, and we'll be checking to see if your car recently passed smog. Thank you, CA Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair for putting up your smog test history on the web. This is something that we didn't have in 1999 when we got the Nova. There's also Carfax, which did exist back then, and proved that the guy we got the Nova from wasn't kidding when he said he was the first, last and only owner of the Chibi Caru. It's good that there's so much independent info for checking cars now. It's a little less of a crapshoot.

Friday, April 08, 2005

You absolutely, positively, have to read this. It looks like it finally got too weird for Hunter S. Thompson. And Jeff Gannon aka Jeff Guckert might be right in the middle of it.

If this is true, it's a big disappointment for me, because HST was a hero to me back in my Journalism major days at LAVC and West LA College. Actually disappointment is an understatement.

(Warning: this link might not be a permalink. I will be looking for a permalink to the info.)

Update 10:09... Permalink to about half of the story. Use the top link to get the rest of it for now.

Update 10:33...It gets Michael Jackson and the deaths of Kurt Cobain, Elliot Smith and Gary Webb are being drawn into a very bizarre picture which also involves Thompson and perhaps Gannon/Guckert. We are definitely through the looking glass now. This might be very wrong and just conspiracy theory gobbledygook, or there could be something to this. Uh oh...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

It was all going along so well...then WHAM!

Today is the day that I got my President's List Honor at LA Valley College. I got to march across the stage and get a little gold-and-green enamel pin from LAVC President Tyree Wieder...a dress rehearsal for Commencement 2005 on June 7th.

However, Richie couldn't make it, because our car had a little rendezvous with a speeding car driven by a woman with no insurance and no driver's license. Swell. The driver's side front wheel is basically folded down at an unnatural angle under the car, and the front end has been moved about 6 inches to the right.

The car is probably totaled. Richie's going to see if a local body shop will tow it over to the shop for an estimate.

It might be a blessing in disguise...I wasn't sure if the car would be smoggable this time. Now it's not only unsmoggable, it's undrivable. [sigh]

From the "Shock The Monkey" department...

In Biology 3, we have started covering Evolution...something that in certain Red States is extremely controversial and tends to be not even mentioned in their High Schools. Even here in California I understand that it is sort of soft-pedaled in materials geared to K-12. But in a Collegiate Bio course, it is presented in a fairly straightforward way, and is presented as factual, without equivocation. During my "Messianic Jewish" phase, I wouldn't buy any of this, and would probably have made a ruckus about "discrimination against my religion" if I took this course back then. It's not surprising that I avoided this course 20 some-odd years ago.

Interestingly enough, there is a discussion of this issue on DailyKOS, and the remainder of this post is a reprint of stuff I posted there.

The only religion that has a problem with Evolution is Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity.

Catholic Christianity, mainstream Judaism and mainstream Islam all believe that the process of Evolution could have been the process that their God used to create the Universe. Most have an idea, from one extent to another, that the human soul was a special creation of their God. However, this does not preclude the evolutionary process as applying to the creation of physical life on Earth.

Of course, there are fanatics and literalists in all three of these religions. Some ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups tend to agree with Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity about Genesis requiring a literal reading. Also, the ultra-strict anti-Vatican II neo-Catholic sects, inclusive of the one Mel Gibson and his father belong to, take a similar view. Nobody's asked Osama bin Laden about his views on Evolution, but I would think that he or people with similar ultra-Puritan views on Islam might be more likely to say that the Quran should be read literally in regards to what it says about the origins of life.

Mainstream Protestant denominations have pretty much made their peace with Evolution, in a similar process to mainstream Judaism, Catholicism and Islam. In the views of all of these mainstream religions, if their God created Life, The Universe and Everything in a single week or in a process taking billions of years, it's OK. Buddhism and Hinduism actually speaks of processes which could be interpreted as Evolutionary in their scripture, so they have no problems with it either.

The main difference between Protestantism in the United States and Protestantism everywhere else in the world is that the Fundamentalist, Evangelical wing of Protestantism is dominant, particularly in the part of the US we like to refer to as "The Red States." This is why Creationism and Evolution continue to be a big issue here, where it's largely settled everywhere else.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Holy cow! San Fran gave Ah-nuld a reception he won't forget!!! W00t!

Now who's the Girly Man, huh??? Certainly not the cops and firefighters and teachers and nurses who gave you well deserved what-for!!!!

Seriously, the iron is red hot, it's time for someone to get out the mallet. I don't know if Angelides or Lockyear have The Right Stuff to do it, but since it really looks like my dream of Barbara Boxer taking out The Terminator is not going to happen then one of these guys better get ready to take him on. I mean, really...he's not THAT intimidating...

before and after...he's not so tough now!

Anyway, here's some coverage of tonight's proceedings. Too bad LA media didn't jump on this...I had to consult the blogosphere to find out about this event being so huge.

New York Times/AP



An update at 8:32AM: The stupid KTLA Morning News had information on this event. I haven't checked the other shows but I kind of suspect Fox Channel 11 would not have anything, and the rest of the news shows are not local but national and would probably not be likely to care about this story. The Daily News and the Los Angeles Times are quite silent as well.

Is the entire Mainstream Media beholden to the fricking GOVERNATOR????? Holy Mother of Goddess what is going on here???????

If this continues, we'll have four more years of Ah-nold's stealth campaign for the Chamber Of Commerce Right. At least the fscker isn't carrying water for the Theocrats, but it's almost the same diff because there is a fair amount of overlap between their agendas. Left-wing media my ass.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Wow...that was close.

I'm blogging from LA Valley College...this bandwidth is pretty cool. They firewall everything but HTTP and HTTPS, but at least under MacOS X I can use AIM Express if I wanted to chat.

Anyway, I almost screwed up on an important obligation. This semester I'm in the LAVC honors society, and I had a banner made up for them. However, I almost lost the damn thing. Luckily all I did was leave it at the cafeteria's cashier station, and the guy was good enough to hang onto it until I got back. Not only did I almost screw up the "mission," I was also almost out $35. Talk about a "dumbass tax."

Anyway, that's over and I safely have the item at hand.

Heh, I'm totally glad I'm on the iBook. People with laptops here in the cafeteria tend to congregate around power outlets, so you tend to hear everything going on. Someone's got spyware, apparently, and a friend is trying to delete it. If I was on the ThinkPad I'd be running Linux so the same would apply.

Windows really is ugly. I want to migrate everything I can off of it. Theoretically if I kept MacOS X on here I could run SPSS for MacOS X and MS Office for MacOS X and be 100% compliant with what Woodbury wants on my computer. The graphic design majors in particular are allowed the option of a Mac instead of a PC so I could probably finagle using this machine as my school computer. However, it would take upgrades, and like I mentioned earlier upgrading this machine is more costly than most iBooks because the clamshell is so hard to field strip and reassemble.

The SPSS people say that there will be a client for Linux...eventually. Until then, I'm stuck with a Windows partition on the ThinkPad. I could conceivably install Win4Lin and Windows98, but since you would have to run Windows98 on top of Linux it would probably be taxing for my poor ThinkPad with its 228MB RAM and 400MHz PII.

Maybe I could convince my family to pay for upgrading this thing and I can keep it on X...upgrading to Panther would be a must because Jagwire is slower than Panther. A bigger hard drive would be nice, but kicking the RAM up to the system maximum 288MB would be sufficient to get things happening.

Another minor annoyance...I don't like the touchpad. My fingers seem to have the right amount of conductivity to make the cursor jump around like a fish out of water when I'm trying to control it. I wish there was something like the Logitech Marble Mouse, only a bit more compact. I might want to lug around a Marble Mouse anyway. However, that would mean also lugging around a USB hub, and maybe even a few other things like a power strip because it's always best to use a powered hub instead of a bus powered hub when you're on a lappie. Meh, I'll get used to the touchpad like I got used to the TrackPoint on my ThinkPad.

Anyway, this is nice as it is. It's a little slow, but it gets the job done. And it's comfortable, which is most important of all. Viva Navi.

Note from home at 6:30pm: Navi has a 3GB hard drive, not a 6GB hard drive. This is a big difference. I really do need to upgrade this machine. I'm going to have to get more quotes and maybe find someplace that is not as allergic to Clamshell iBooks. :P

Monday, April 04, 2005

Quick update from yesterday's post:

Looks like I'm going to go the "change the OS not upgrade the computer" route on the iBook. Richie totally hit the roof when he overheard me talking about the necessary upgrades. Also the labor costs to upgrade a Clamshell iBook are formidable to say the least. Mac hardware geeks do not like working on Clamshell iBooks.

So here's my plan:
Debian PPC
xfce graphical user environment
Libs for both KDE and Gnome, although xfce uses GTK+ already
Best-of-breed apps in a tight, lightweight install.

My available resources on this machine:
4MB Rage64 Mobility video (no 3D for you)
Battery with unknown amount of life in it
CD-ROM Drive
1 USB port
Built-in 10/100 eth0
Built-in AirPort (Wavelan IEEE, Orinoco type 802.11b) eth1
Built in v90 modem (although I never use modem anymore it seems)

If I can come up with a working loadout I might create a custom installer for it, because it could come in handy on old iMacs and old iBooks.

I'd better get to bed...I still am getting over this nameless evil crud.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The orphan brood has been increased by another foundling. I had to get rid of my PowerBook Wallstreet last year, but now I have a new addition: a clamshell iBook. It used to belong to my aunt Karen. However, it's going to need some serious upgrading. Right now it is running Mac OS X 10.2 and only has 160MB of RAM and a 6GB hard drive. What it needs is a 30GB hard drive, which I have, plus a 512MB DIMM to replace the 128MB one currently inside. It also needs at least Panther if not Tiger. It can also use a new battery.

I can't afford this. I really can't afford this. However, it is looking pretty unlikely that I will be celebrating my graduation with a new Mac mini, so maybe I can convince some family members to give this machine a boost. I think I want to run MacOS X on this machine and also Trent (my Blue and White G3 tower) too. I can run this machine as a wireless access point if I stick with MacOS X. This machine has an AirPort card in it! Those are hard to get now.

Anyway...I'm glad it's here and I'm glad my aunt gave it to me. Great machine. A true classic. W00t.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pax vobiscum, old man...

I am definitely of two minds when it comes to thinking about Pope John Paul II. Yeah, he's gone now, finally. The last of the many death watches the US has seemed to be on is mercifully over.

1.) The end of the Warsaw Pact definitely was helped along by John Paul II. For that, I suppose, he has assured himself of a place in history.

2.) John Paul II was the first pope to pray at the Wailing Wall as a symbol of solidarity with the Jewish People, although he stopped short of apologizing for the Vatican's damnable silence during the Holocaust. I guess you can give him half a point there.

3.) John Paul II was a consistent voice against war. In his entire papacy, there was no war that was fought that met his standards for a "just war." I'm sure he went to his grave upset that the Iraq War and the genocides in Sudan were still going on.

and yet...

4.) John Paul II's stands on women's rights and on contraception were abominable, and in his long reign he appointed enough traditionalists to high places in the Vatican hierarchy to insure the Catholic Church's troglodytic stance continues for a long time to come.

5.) John Paul II stood foursquare against married priests. When you cut off something as basic as sex to those wishing to be priests, it should come as no surprise that the sexual urge resurfaces in stuff like the molestation of children. The Catholic Church only mandated celibacy for its priesthood to prevent the hierarchy from deeding Church property to their sons.

6.) In suppressing Liberation Theology, John Paul II tacitly gave his approval to hundreds of years of colonialism, economic oppression and political repression in the Third World. Apparently towards the end of his life he reversed himself about one particular exponent of Liberation Theology, Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Archbishop Romero is now on the fast track to sainthood...I suspect that the Catholic Church need look no further than the Salvadoreno community of Los Angeles to find miracles that have taken place in his name.

7.) "Homosexuals are evil"...WTF is up with that? That is something John Paul II said recently. To write off 10% of the human family as evil is...well...evil, IMHO.

So yeah, I'm totally conflicted about him. I'm not going to dance on his grave, mind you, but I'm not going to blindly sing Hosannas to his memory. I'm not a Catholic, I'm not even a Christian, I'm a thelemite and Neo-Pagan and that's where my spirituality is at. I was born Jewish and raised more-or-less secular. Celebrate the good that Pope John Paul II did, but don't forget the regressive aspects of Catholic dogma, especially since he had a hand in strengthening many of them.

No foolin' mail really is down, as is most of my web space.

Apparently the main hard drive on the web server that hosts my web space ( and email ( as well as my husband's site ( aliased to had to be replaced, and the job is taking longer and is hairier than my hosts at believed it would be.

As a result, you will see "broken file" icons replacing some of the graphics on my blog here, the vast majority of which is hosted by Google/Blogger/Blogspot. Oh well, such is life.

To VizaWeb's credit, they have been 100% candid about what has been going on. I have received two "progress report" emails and a link to a static site which is updated on a regular basis with the progress of the repair. I didn't get this kind of transparency from my old host, HostingMatters. When HM would be down, you'd have to chase the information down on their status server and perhaps even on outside sites that deal with consumer reports for hosting companies.

Although this outage indeed annoys, at least I'm not being given the Mushroom Treatment by VizaWeb. So long as they remain this open and transparent, I will continue to recommend them.

Note: service was completely restored at about 5pm.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Why isn't this guy being visited by the Secret Service??

Apparently Hal Turner is back, and I don't think the stories on his site are any sort of April Fool's Joke.

Story 1: he calls the Mexican army "filthy, brown-skinned aub-huiman-mongreals [sic]" because they have the audacity to protect their nationals against the Minuteman Project vigilantes.

Story 2: anti-Semitic screed blaming Israel for 9/11.

Story 3: He manages to put a White Supremicist slant on the immanent death of Pope John Paul II, citing a rumor that the next Pontiff could be Black or "Latin." To quote this horrible bastard: "Non-Whites can never be Pope because they are not of God's Chosen; Jews have been trying to steal the title of "God's Chosen" for centuries, but those of us who understand the Bible know that only whites constitute God's Chosen."

I will stop here, but I want to mention a couple of choice nuggets "below the fold" on his page:

Item: Regarding the judges that ruled on the Schiavo case -- "TIME TO START ASSASSINATING JUDGES?....If neither Congress nor State Legislatures will impeach them for their bad behavior on the Bench, then it falls to us, The People to to perform the necessary dirty work. I would volunteer!!"

Item: "IRAN NUKES BY JUNE! Mullahs To Have "The Bomb" By Summer I earnestly hope the first place Iran nukes is Tel Aviv Israel, and the second place they nuke is Washington, DC. Both cities are infested with such despicable human garbage (a.k.a. politicians) that only a nuke can cleanse the filth."

This man is nucking futz and is openly calling for assassination of undocumented aliens, Federal judges and the nuclear destruction of Washington, DC and Tel Aviv, Israel. OK, the latter is something he doesn't have much control over, but the kind of nuts who listen to his radio show and hang on his every misspelled written word are the kind of people who might get out a gun and shoot a judge.

Who the Secret Service are visiting instead of this ravening menace: a guy who's trying to get together a Progressive television news channel and a Democratic think tank. Good lord!

Oh yeah, nobody's fooling down in Tombstone, AZ, either. The only comforting thing about the Minuteman Project is that their numbers are in the handfuls instead of the thousands. Hopefully the low turnout will convince these people not to go on their fool's errand at the border. But I doubt it. I think these guys want to "kill them some mex'ins" and won't give up until blood spills at the border.

If anything has killed irony, it's been the George W. Bush Administration, not 9/11. This has been a totally levity-less, humorless April Fool's Day. Part of it has to do with the Pope Death Watch, (I'm not Catholic but he's earned his place in history as one of the people most responsible for the collapse of the Warsaw Pact) part of it has to do with the Terri Schiavo circus folding its tent only the day before, but part of it has to do with the feeling that the lunatics are indeed running the asylum. Welcome to Planet Baka. Enjoy your stay.