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Archive for May, 2009

O What a Beautiful Morning

Posted by Lissa on May 31, 2009

Ahhhh.  There’s nothing like snuggling in a warm bed, made with freshly-washed sheets and blankets, in the quiet, peaceful dark, a warm husband by your side.

Especially at 4:30 AM.

At which hour you have been woken, in that peaceful dark, by the unmistakable “HACK — HAAAAAAUCK — COUGH — HAAAAAAACK – CHLAAAAAAAAAAA- splat” of your cat horking up a hairball.

He looked quite proud of himself, afterwards.

Little stinker.

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Indoor Air Quality Program? SRSLY?

Posted by Lissa on May 29, 2009

Sailorcurt spots a few candidates for Cali budget cuts.

And when I say a few, I mean one hundred six.

And that’s only A through I.

(h/t Robb Allen)

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Free speech, except when it involves guns.

Posted by Lissa on May 29, 2009

Naturally.

PITTSBURGH, May 27, 2009—A student who wants to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has been threatened with disciplinary action for her efforts. Student Christine Brashier has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help after reporting that administrators banned her informational pamphlets, ordered her to destroy all copies of them, and told her that further “academic misconduct” would not be tolerated. [snip]

According to Brashier, the deans told Brashier that passing out her non-commercial pamphlets was prohibited as “solicitation.” They told Brashier that trying to “sell” other students on the idea of the organization was prohibited.

CCAC also told Brashier that the college must pre-approve any distribution of literature to fellow students, and that pamphlets like hers would not be approved, even insisting that Brashier destroy all copies of her pamphlet.

Now, it goes without saying (and yet I shall say it!) that FIRE is an advocacy organization; this story is being told from the viewpoint of the student.  There may be other factors involved that we do not know about.

That being said, the deans’ grounds for complaint are STUPID.

Trying to “sell” someone on the idea of forming a group is “solicitation”?  You have got to be kidding me.  It hasn’t been all that long since I was AT college, you know, and it seems half the point of university is for students to form groups.  (Often they are silly, pointless groups that don’t actually get anything done – obviously any group I ever headed falls into that category – but that’s beside the point.)  Student initiative, student participation, student involvement – any of these ring a bell?  Student activity fairs are devoted entirely to “solicitation,” now?

I swear a retarded rabbit could have come up with a more plausible “reason” to ban Brashier’s fliers.

***

I was thinking about how to explain support of Second Amendment rights to the average person in Boston* this morning, and I came up with the following:

Let’s say I’m in my apartment alone and two or three 6-foot, 220 lb thugs break in with baseball bats in their hands and rape on their minds.**

Hypothetically, I’m unarmed.

Therefore, hypothetically, I am SCREWED.

I will put up a helluva fight, I promise.  I may be only 5’3”, but I’m pretty strong for my size; I can piggy-back 200-lb men or carry ten grocery bags at a time.  While balancing a case of water on my head.  I’m scrappy, and if my physical safety is in danger I will have no qualms about fighting as dirty as possible.

I’m pretty strong for my size.  And that’s the kicker, isn’t it?

Because the fact is, a gun is the ONLY weapon that would give me a fighting chance in that scenario.  It’s the only tool that would allow a small female a chance to defeat three large male opponents.  (Okay, fine, a flamethrower or a chainsaw might work, but let’s be a LITTLE realistic here.)

If you don’t want to own a gun, that is completely FINE.  It’s a huge responsibility and not for everyone.

But why would you deny me the ability to defend myself in that scenario?

Why?

 

*I am assuming that the average person in Boston would not consider “Because it’s in the Constitution” a convincing argument.

**BTW, Mike knows that, if someone ever does break in, his job is to instantly pick up a Yankee Candle jar (we have them all over the apartment) and fastball it directly at the guy’s face.  I’d do it myself, but I have THE WORST throwing arm you’ve ever seen.  Throwing a candle directly at the floor in front of me might slow the goon down a little (to avoid the broken glass), but not much else.

(h/t Hot Air)

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Random pregnancy question

Posted by Lissa on May 28, 2009

Why is it that being pregnant makes your belly button poke out?  Like, visibly-so?  Is that only if you have an outtie?  Or does that happen even if you have an innie?  Does it turn inside-out?

A rather-pregnant co-worker got into the elevator today and it was all I could do to keep from reaching over and poking my finger at the protrusion — after all, it poked at me first.  It was truly like she’d stuffed an over-full beach ball under her shirt and the air spout was jutting out.  Doink!  The thingie was practically waving at me.  But I didn’t poke it back because that would be very bad manners, as well as unprofessional.  Also, I’ve never actually been arrested and I’d like to keep it that way.

This very interesting discussion is brought to you by my recent discovery that people were taking bets at my wedding on how quickly I’d start popping out mini-Lissa’s and mini-Mikes. 

(Note to Jenny — it’s not gonna be Q3 next year.  Sorry, but it’s just not.  That would mean that Mike and I were knockin’ boots around Christmastime.  You *do* remember how psychotic and stressed and tearful I get that time of year, right?)

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A Japo story

Posted by Lissa on May 27, 2009

It just so happens that my grandmother is The Coolest Lady On Earth.

She’s 94 years old now, so her hearing and her vision are fading.  Her English is and has always been broken.  That being said, the woman misses NOTHING; I wish I had half her memory or a quarter of her smarts.

Japo has been around the block a few times, too.  She lived through the Japanese invasion of the 1930s, hiding in the caves of Kweilin and living off scraps of food.  She moved to Jamaica, raised a family and helped run a small grocery store despite ethnic tensions in the area.

It was during these days as a shopkeeper that she told one of the only two lies of her life.

We sat around the food court of a large mall in Toronto while she told us the story.

You see, there had been a robbery of the shoe store across the street, and the police knew that Japo was a witness.  They told her she had to come testify and identify the robber in court.

Only problem was, the robber’s buddies had already come to the store and explained to Japo in no uncertain terms that if she identified the man, they would burn down her shop. 

“So,” she related in her loud voice, “I prayed to God to know what to do.  And then I prayed to God to forgive what I do.” 

She went to court, and she got up on the witness stand.  And when the judge pointed to the man on trial and asked if Japo could identify him, she waved her hands and shrugged.

“I tell him, ‘I don’t know!  All you black people look the same to me!’ ” she told us triumphantly.*  And very loudly.

Eyes widening in horror, open-mouthed, my sister, my brothers and I looked over to the next table where several pigmentally-gifted young men were sitting.

And lord bless ‘em, they looked over, saw that the speaker was a tiny ancient Asian woman, laughed, and minded it not a bit.

Love you, Japo.

*My mom explained later – black folks in that area of Jamaica sometimes complained that all Asians looked the same.  Japo was smart enough to lie in such a way that the audience would believe it — just as all Asian people looked the same to blacks, all black folks looked the same to Asians.  Really, judge.  In the process, she saved her shop and her family.  That is one tough, wise lady.

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Caribbean Diary – Aruba

Posted by Lissa on May 22, 2009

(UPDATE:  Yeah, no time for other posts.  Have a great weekend y’all — I’ll be back on Wednesday!)

Good morning all! If you’d told me a year ago that, given the opportunity to sleep in on a Friday, I could only stay in bed till EIGHT-THIRTY, I don’t know whether I would have laughed or cried. But seeing as how I’ve had my breakfast, and my coffee, and I’m not leaving for Canada for another handful of hours, I figured I’d start publishing photos of the honeymoon. (I’ll see if I can forward-date a few posts, too; I wouldn’t want the five of you who diligently read my blog to get bored!)

Aruba is not nearly the lush, tropical place I thought it would be.  In fact, it’s kind of a desert island; the most vibrant vegetation we saw were cacti:

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We took a van (air-conditioned!  Thank you God!) to Rancho Notorious.  The name sounds bad, but it was actually a nice place.  (We confirmed this later with one of the other guests who lived in Aruba; she told me that whenever she had guests or clients who wanted to go horseback riding she brought them to Rancho Notorious, as it was the only place that really treated its horses well.  Whew!)

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Notorious couple, we . . .

I didn’t actually enjoy the first part of our ride, as they’d given me the saddle with the shortest stirrups (naturally!) and the buckle kept digging into my bare leg.  Nevertheless, walking the horses through cacti and across roads gave way to walking them along the beach, and there you’d have to be soulless not to find it beautiful:

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Pretty horsies!  Once we reached the beach we all dismounted for a water break.  We climbed on the rocks and looked at purply-red crabs and I swear if I’d been wearing a bathing suit under my clothes I’d have stripped down and dived in.  (Okay, jumped in.  One never dives headfirst into strange waters.)

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They adjusted my buckles before we started up again, so I enjoyed the second half of the ride MUCH more than the first!  I was seriously sad to reach the Ranch.

How many horses' asses do you count?  On second thought, don't answer that!

How many horses' asses do you count? On second thought, don't answer that!

There’s not all that much to the downtown tourist-y section of Aruba.  (With the exception of the gem merchants — NO I DO NOT want to buy diamonds, thank you, please leave us alone.)

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Of course, we never strayed too far from civilization:

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We had lunch in an absolutely lovely Brazilian tapas bar.  However, we did run up against that not-uncommon warning in island communities:

BLECH.  (In four different languages.)

BLECH. (In four different languages.)

We stopped at a store to buy a few toiletries and saw the following interesting sign:

I do not think it means what you think it means.  But if it does -- thanks for the warning!

I do not think it means what you think it means. But if it does -- thanks for the warning!

Still on the theme of “Um, is that the impression you meant to give?  Really?” — you’ll be sad to see that the Arubans are really falling behind on their goals for this year:

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Just before re-boarding the ship we stopped at a little shop to buy Cuban cigars.  No offense to the artist, but the only reason I’d buy this would be if I wanted nightmares:

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Right next to it, the shop had a display that would soothe the dreams for some of you, and for others would only worsen the nightmares:

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Riiiiiiiight.

We had a dreadful accident right before sleep that night.  I was admiring the towel-rabbit our kindly stateroom attendant left us . . .

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. . . but then I sat down next to him and his head fell off.

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AAAAUUUGGGHHH!  DON’T BOIL THE BUNNY!!!!

Off to shower and Wal-Mart and other errands, folks . . . If I’ve time I’ll add another post before I take off for Canada, but I can’t promise!

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Busted plot to blow up synagogues

Posted by Lissa on May 21, 2009

Oh, yes, we all know that the real threat to world peace is Israel.  And those damn Jooooooos.  That’s why it makes sense to blow up their synagogues.  NOT.

 The FBI and NYPD busted a four-man homegrown terror cell Wednesday night that was plotting to blow up two Bronx synagogues while simultaneously shooting a plane out of the sky, sources told the Daily News.

The idea was to create a “fireball that would make the country gasp,” one law enforcement said.

Little did they know the plastic explosives packed into their car bombs and the plane-downing Stinger missile in their backseat were all phony – supplied by undercover agents posing as Pakistani militants linked to Al Qaeda. [snip]

The suspects – three U.S.-born citizens and one Haitian immigrant – at least three of whom were said to be jailhouse converts to Islam, were angry about the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan, sources told The News.

“They wanted to make a statement,” a law enforcement source said. “They were filled with rage and wanted to take it out on what they considered the source of all problems in America – the Jews.”

You know, if there really WERE some evil secret cabal of nefarious soulless monstrous power-brokers who ran the world, you’d think they’d do a better job of protecting themselves.  If they’re smart enough to secretly run the world, one would hope they’re smart enough to secure a patsy.

Now, as we all know, “Muslim” does NOT equal “terrorist.”  Not even CLOSE.  I think the emphasis that is often put on that statement is well deserved and worthy of repeating as loudly and as often as necessary. 

But here’s my real beef.  While of course only a tiny, tiny fraction of Muslims are jerks looking to blow sh*t up – it’s kind of undeniable that a rather large fraction of the jerks looking to blow sh*t up are Muslim.  Sucks, but there it is.

So why is it that, in today’s culture, religious bad guys are always portrayed as Christian?

If you want to de-emphasize the connection between Islam and terrorism, fine – I understand that.  I have friends who happen to be Muslim and I’d bristle indignantly if anyone implied they were bad people or disloyal Americans.

But why then turn around and play up a NONEXISTENT connection between Christianity and intimidation, or oppression? 

That was my largest problem with V for Vendetta.  I think Natalie Portman’s a great actress – did you see León the Professional? – and I thought Hugo Weaving did an AMAZING job.  That being said . . . I hated the utter UNFAIRNESS of the movie.  (slight spoiler alert!!)

There is a set of religious rules in which it is permissible to rape women as punishment.  There is a set of religious rules in which it is a crime to own a holy book from a different religion.

THAT RELIGION IS NOT CHRISTIANITY.  IT’S CALLED SHARIAH.

It’s one thing to shy away from the worst things done in the name of Islam.  Call it political correctness, call it tolerance, call it a simple justice not to impugn millions of good people for what a bad fraction do – fine. 

But to turn around and take the worst things done in the name of a religion – to take those horrors and credit them to a DIFFERENT religion (Christianity) while AT THE SAME TIME making Islam out to be the innocent victim under the vicious regime of Christian fascist overlords – it’s an obscenity.

So.  Unfair.

(h/t Ace)

UPDATE: Firearms & Freedom linked.  Thanks!

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Public service announcement

Posted by Lissa on May 20, 2009

In these trying times, it is wise to take a few basic common-sense precautions when traveling on the subway.

For example, it is prudent to always carry a pack of tissues.  Should you suddenly be overcome with sniffling, or sneezing, you will be able to tidy yourself neatly and quickly.

It is also wise to carry a small package of Sani-wipes or alcohol wipes with you at all times.  They are very handy if, for example, you wish to eat something but have not recently washed your hands.  They are likewise useful if you wish to cleanse your hands but there is no soap in the bathroom. 

Finally, if you have forgotten to carry tissues, Sani-wipes can be useful to clean yourself in the event that YOU HAVE SNIFFLED AND SNORKLED FOR THE LAST FIVE MINUTES AND I FINALLY LOST CONTROL OF MY STOMACH AND THREW UP ALL OVER YOU.

Thankfully, she was not sitting directly next to me, but rather a few seats down.  That way, the sounds that she was making – rather similar to a hippopotamus at feeding time, mixed with a healthy dose of a toilet coming unplugged – were not QUITE as loud as they could have been.  Still, I’ve lost all desire for breakfast.  *hurl*

P.S.  Yes, I did have tissues.  No, I did not offer her one; she looked, er, uninviting in the extreme.  Hearing someone snork and sniff for five minutes is preferable to getting in an altercation, which seemed the likely outcome judging from her appearance.

P.P.S.  CrankyProf wrote recently that “Before I was a mom, I had never been peed on, pooped on, snotted on or urped on — all in the same day.”  I have noticed that small children seem to excrete bodily fluids from various orifices at regular intervals; does this somehow become less gross when they are your own children?  Does the goo that they spew magically become less disgusting?  Inquiring minds – and future parents – want to know!!

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A LOLcatz Love Story

Posted by Lissa on May 18, 2009

Of course I’m posting this.  OF.  COURSE.

Swiped from Educated & Poor!

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Kitten-drunk

Posted by Lissa on May 18, 2009

Meet Buster:

 Buster-the-kitten

At least, we think his name is Buster.  He seems like a Buster.

No, he’s not ours; Rajah is an only cat and likes it that way. It was a friend of ours, L, who picked up a cute fuzzy darling little kitten-companion.

I helped L pick him up from the shelter this past weekend.  Please note that I helped him pick UP the kitten but did not help him pick OUT the kitten – that was all L and I made sure to keep any preferences to myself!

Anyway, we hadn’t thought we could pick out a kitten and take him home in the same day, so we weren’t prepared.  We had to leave the adorable bundle of fur at the shelter and run to the pet store to pick up food and a cat carrier. 

So we’re bombing up and down the aisles picking out two different kinds of wet food and two different kinds of dry food (one type being what he was fed at the shelter, and the other being the kitten chow Jenny and I have always used to raise our furballs) and I’m bouncing up and down at the register impatient to pay and get to L’s house to kitten-proof it and back to the shelter to gobble down – er, adopt – Buster and Mike realizes we forgot to buy a nail clipper.  So I go dashing up the aisle to snag two nail clippers (ours are pretty rusty and need to go play in the garbage chute) and run back to the front of the store and the menfolk point out that I forgot to get a carrier.  Dammit!  So I go flying back up a different aisle, stub the bottom of my Croc Malindis and do a full-on layout in the aisle.

I’m talking serious spillage here, folks.  I bruised my hand and my hip and my sunglasses went flying off my head and landed about six feet away; I basically pretended I was on a slip-and-slide, without the slipping part; I sort of skidded.  Ouch. 

And the worst part?  Mike had his back turned so he didn’t see it!

Oh well, nothing broken, no harm done; I popped up like the Energizer bunny and kept running – more carefully, mind you.  We set up food and water and litter and brought the kitten home and taunted him with mice and laser pointers and sneaker shoelaces and cuddled him and generally went Awwww!  But after an hour it became obvious that Mike and I had a lot to do and needed to go home and do it.  Also, I hadn’t yet eaten that day and my stomach was threatening to chew a hole through my abdomen and go secure comestibles by itself.

Of course, by the time we got home I was so starving that I nuked a hot dog and bit into it and burnt the CRAP out of my mouth.  That’ll teach me to eat junk food!

Happy kitten-ing, L!

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