Damned Hippie

I'm a goddamn ray of sunshine.


August was the last time I posted here. It has been a while.

In the small hours of a Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I loaded one of my posts onto my little netbook and pushed it across my kitchen table to my dear friend. She scrolled through, laughing, then taking in a sharp breath the way she does when she comes across a thought that strikes her as profound, then breaking down into tears.

“Do you have any idea the gift you have?” she said to me.

I did. I always have. Almost before I knew I was good at anything else, I knew that I could write. That is why I do this: because I’m good at it. No other reason. That’s it- just an ego-building hobby that also happens to develop a skill valuable to employers. The world does not need another blog from another white, first world, college educated mom/feminist/atheist/science nerd/whatever. Therefore, other responsibilities take priority, and the internet chugs along blissfully without me.

In the meantime, a sad, profound thing has happened in my life, making this hobby difficult to resume.

My ex-husband passed away November 10, 2012. He died of a pulmonary embolism. I wanted to use my gift to honour his memory. I wanted to write something that would let people know exactly what kind of person he was and how much he is missed. I wanted to write something that wasn’t all about me.

It turns out that isn’t going to happen. The grief of an ex-spouse of someone who dies, especially so soon after the end of the marriage, is much too complicated and personal for me to work through out in the open.

In the meantime, I need my blog back. Christopher Hitchens once said, “If you can talk, you can write.” I’ve experienced the inverse of this maxim. Face to face conversation often requires quite a bit of mental energy on my part, and I’ve had to actively work on this skill to even have a normal social life. I’ve found that the more I write, which is something that has always come easily for me, the better I become at communicating verbally.

I will say that for all his faults, in many ways, Bryan made me a better person. I miss him, many times to the point of tears. As I write this now, the tears well up. Once in a while, in my dreams, I see him. He always looks so real, and I always hug him, as if physically holding on to him will keep him from going away when I wake up.



Gay Up a Chick Fil-A?

I forget how exactly how I got on Mike Huckabee’s email list.

In any case, I got this piece of spam personal letter yesterday:

Dear Friend,

I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld. The Cathy family, let by Chick Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, are a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story. Starting at age 46 Truett Cathy built Chick Fil-A into a $4 billion a year enterprise with over 1600 stores. At 91, he is still active in the company, but his son Dan runs it day to day as CEO. It’s a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.

The Chick Fil-A company refuses to open on Sundays so that their employees can go to church if they wish. Despite the pressure from malls, airports, and the business world to open on Sundays, they still don’t. They treat customers and employees with respect and dignity.

I ask you to join me in speaking out on Wednesday, August 1 “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.” No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant. This effort is not being launched by the Chick Fil-A company and no one from the company or family is involved in proposing or promoting it.

There’s no need for anyone to be angry or engage in a verbal battle. Simply affirm appreciation for a company run by Christian principles by showing up on Wednesday, August 1 or by participating online – tweeting your support or sending a message on Facebook. No need to make signs, honk horns, or have rallies. Just show up August 1, eat, and/or affirm support for a business that stands for something.

I hope you will use your Twitter account, Facebook page, pulpit, or printed word to share with your friends, family, and followers. Let’s make this viral.

Cut and paste and put your own message or approach to it. Make it your own platform—not mine. Please send to your personal networks of friends and family. Thanks!

To RSVP for Appreciation Day on Facebook click here.

If you do not use Facebook and want to RSVP please go to MikeHuckabee.com here.

In less than 24 hours since we posted about this event on Facebook, over 36,000 people have rsvp’d yes for this event and they have invited 325,000+ more people as well!



Mike Huckabee

You know, if you do something particularly obnoxious, like oh, say, discriminate against employees according to their religion or family status, or, perhaps, throw your money at people trying to obstruct the advance of civil rights, you can’t claim the moral high-ground by refusing to engage with people who are pissed off at you for doing that.

Mike Huck’s call for action is another example of how junk food has evolved into a political statement. I did the same thing when Oreo came out in support in gay marriage– ate and gave away copious amounts of Oreo cookies. I didn’t do that to save poor Nabisco from the mean christian boycotters. Billion dollar companies will not be impacted one bit by politically motivated snacktivism one way or the other. I did it to signal my political alliance.

So, I wouldn’t really care about Mike Huckabee harvesting emails from bible-thumpers who mistake fast food consumption with relevant political impact, but, I have a dream:

This video caused a micro-controversy over at Ashley Miller’s blog because it could be interpreted as endorsing giving Chick Fil-A business in spite of its unethical business practices and homophobia. The controversy was, in my opinion, resolved quite soundly:

I think I’d be OK if everyone takes to heart the message that it’s OK to eat at Chick-fil-A so long as you go in full drag and perform sex acts with the food.

And how awesome would it be if that happened August 1st? Well, maybe not the sex acts (at least not in public), but homophobic Christians eating side-by-side with drag queens? And more subtle gender benders? And gay couples? And gay allies wearing pro-gay rights t-shirts?

Nobody would have to make signs, or speeches, or openly demonstrate. All we would have to do is show up; be a visible reminder that we exist, that we are members of their community.

I can understand not wanting to give money to oppressive, unethical haters, but, like I said, a multibillion dollar company will not feel the impact of politically motivated consumption, especially in only a single day of sales. Furthermore, I think the political statement would be worth a lot more than the fraction of the proceeds from a cheap chicken sandwich that actually goes to anti-gay charity. How awesome would it be if that fraction was more than offset by participants donating the cost of their meals to charities like PFLAG, GLSEN, or One Iowa?

I know it’s a long-shot, and it’s not my call. I must defer to people who know more about gay-rights activism than I do. If you are one of those people, tell me, is this a good idea?



An Example of the Commodity Model of Sex

This was a comment on a blog post on the best way to deal with pan-handlers:

I don’t blame the few people that yelled at me. I looked like a nice dude that was ready to dish out some coin and when I said no, it was probably something akin to encountering that girl at a bar who chats you up, makes all the moves and then says “no” and walks off. For someone that is homeless and wants money and survives by getting it from well-meaning passersby, meaningful eye contact is the equivalent of grabbing their ass and saying, “Hey, honey. Wanna dance?”

So I won’t do it anymore. I won’t strike up a conversation with them unless I have the intention of giving something more than words.

The analogy is striking. I haven’t had men yell at me or threaten me physically when I’ve rejected their sexual advances, but I have experienced what looked like retribution for a rebuff. I’ve also figured out that most men don’t strike up conversations with me because they find me to be a compelling person to talk to (the exceptions to this are always a pleasant surprise).

Like the guy who won’t converse with panhandlers, I’ve learned to not entertain those conversations with anything more than one-word acknowledgements. I’d add the parallel caveat, “unless I have the intention of giving something more than words,” but, well, see, this is the point of the post. This analogy of comparing chatting up panhandlers without intending to give them money with flirting or conversing with guys without intending to “give” them sex is an example of the commodity model of sex:

We live in a culture where sex is not so much an act as a thing: a substance that can be given, bought, sold, or stolen, that has a value and a supply-and-demand curve. In this “commodity model,” sex is like a ticket; women have it and men try to get it … This model pervades casual conversation about sex: Women “give it up,” men “get some.

Yes Means Yes! page 30, quoted here.

This commenter is actually comparing sex to money. The example couldn’t get any better.

Or could it?

After being yelled at and threatened several times for refusing to give money, I’ve realized that not everyone deserves eye contact and acknowledgment.

Replace “money” with “sex”, and you have your answer as to why many attractive women ignore men who try to strike up conversations with them, or even scare them away with dirty looks. I imagine very few people enjoy being a “snobby bitch”, but it less of a waste of time and often much safer than being a “cock tease”.

Of course, there is (usually) nothing wrong with talking to someone because you are interested in having sex with that person. There is something very wrong with treating sex as a commodity that someone is obligated to give for interacting with you, no matter how sexually charged the interaction.

Stop Peeing on My Leg

A recently passed law in the great State of Mississippi is on hold. It requires abortions performed in a clinic to be performed by a OB-GYN with the privilege to admit patients to a local hospital. A judge has extended a hold on the law because it may possibly place an undue burden on or substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions. That would be a constitutional violation according to the U. S. Supreme Court’s 1972 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.

Nonsense, say state officials:

State officials said the privileges help protect patients by ensuring they have continuity of care if a woman needs to go to the hospital. They also note that while the clinic might have to wait to get hospital privileges, “inconvenience is not ‘irreparable harm.'”

It’s just an inconvenience for  Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in Mississippi. All they have to do is put in a request at the local hospital . . . Read the rest of this entry »

I Have a New Friend.

IT’S MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All mine. Ellen Lundgren crocheted it just for the highest bidder, who happens to be me. Jealous? Get your own friend.

SSA Week is crazy close to its goal. They’ve got one more day to raise the last $17,000 of their $100,000. Go donate.

Need a reason? Here you go.

Update: I forgot to mention, your donation is getting matched up to $250,000. That’s an instant 100% return value on your investment. Go chip in, even if it’s $5.

The Guys You Don’t Want to Talk About

Dear JT and other assorted nice guys¹ and Nice Guys™

Thank you for your concern about whether your behavior makes women¹ in the secular movement uncomfortable. Here is my solicited advice: don’t be one of the bad guys. You know, the ones you don’t want to talk about.

In order to determine if you are one of the bad guys, ask yourself this question:

Do you use manipulation, deception, social pressure, intimidation, isolation, intoxication, high through-put² solicitation, lewdness, or persistence as strategies to gain intimacy with women?

YesYou are one of the bad guys. You are The Problem. Stay home. We do not want you in our movement, not on the local, regional, national, or international level. Do not darken our podiums, seats, or elevators until you improve yourself as a human being.

Only when I drink→Do not drink at our events.

Only on this one girl I like→That is still a yes. That is horrible. If this is how you treat people you like, how do you treat people you aren’t fond of? Stay home.

No→Congratulations. You are not one of the bad guys. You are not likely at all to gain the reputation of a skeeze. Not being The Problem is a necessary, but not sufficient, part of being part of the solution. You may still unintentionally contribute to the problem. You may occasionally make women uncomfortable or reinforce cultural assumptions and norms that allow the bad guys to operate without deterrence.

I appreciate your eagerness to overcome your possible unintentional contributions to the problem and become part of the solution. In order to advance this discussion to concrete steps you guys can take in order to do that, we first have to address an issue in how this discussion is framed. Read the rest of this entry »

Not So Great Expectations

This is making the rounds in my Facebook universe:

I know that this is supposed to be funny. Here- I’ll even put in a bunch of laughy emoticons to prove it: Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Get Our Facts Straight

In October, 1996, his wife Karen had a second trimester abortion.  They don’t like to describe it that way.

-Ellen Shaffer, Our Silver Blog

They don’t like to describe it that way becauseit wasn’t that way. The Santorums did not have a second trimester abortion. In fact, they went to foolhardy, heroic lengths to try to save the life of the fetus. Karen went under the knife to attempt to clear the urinary tract of the fetus. The operation resulted in a life-threatening infection that caused her to go into labor. The doctors recommended drugs to induce heavier contractions to speed along the delivery. She refused. Karen requested drugs to make the labor stop. The doctors refused. Their son died two hours after it was born.

That is not an abortion. That is a spontaneous live birth. Read the rest of this entry »

A Caucus We Will Go! or, Never Toss a Santorum Salad

The Story County Democratic Caucus expected less than 700 attendees. 849 of us showed up. Outstanding. We may have broken fire codes =D

As for the Republicans, they got Santorum surging up from behind.

We also got Santorum Salad in the county next door. It is a frothy mixture of mayonnaise and chicken pieces. Pizza Ranch has graced us with this manna for the Glory of God.

Oh, Iowa.

It Gets Better, or, Why You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Care About Mental Health

I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy.

JT Eberhard spoke at Skepticon IV about mental illness: what it is like to live with mental illness, myths about mental illness and its treatment, and how those myths and the stigma of mental illness hurt, even kill people.

The groundswell was swift and immediate. The Empress of the Dorks herself had to stand in line to give JT a hug. Within the line, hugs and tears broke out like glitter at a gay pride parade.

On his blog, he put out a call:

If you’re a blogger who lives with a mental disorder, write about it. If you don’t, learn something new about mental illnesses and write a post about what you learned or dispel a myth or share how knowing someone with a mental illness has affected your life and ways you’ve learned to help.

That was nearly three weeks ago. It has taken me this long to figure out what I need to say. Read the rest of this entry »