June 15, 2006

Dear DirtCrashr

Recently it has been brought to our attention here at Ilyka Damen that you have expressed some dissatisfaction with the quality, or lack thereof, of our content.

Please be assured that we here at Ilyka Damen are determined to excel in the realm of customer service, and that therefore we are pleased to present you with this check, representing a refund in full of all monies paid by you to date to our company.

Happy DirtCrashing!

--The Management

UPDATE: Heartfelt apologies to DirtCrashr, whom it seems I have misinterpreted completely. It's almost like I'm not very smart or something!

Anyway, DirtCrashr's all right. But if any of the rest of YOU get any bright ideas about asking for a refund . . . [evil glare].

Posted by Ilyka at 05:12 PM | Comments (6)

Language and Hate

Right, those two posts from yesterday! First, Jill's:

Jeff Goldstein is a paste-eating ‘tard. Ann Coulter is an anorexic cunt with an Adam’s apple. Hey Michelle Malkin, me love you long time!

Is this ok on left-wing blogs?

I don’t think so, and neither does Scott.

"Wow," I thought, "Finally." Because this apparent disconnect between what some lefties say they believe about racist, homophobic, misogynist language, and what they do with that kind of language vis-a-vis the, ah, wingnuts, has baffled people on the right for a long time. And Jill addresses that in short order:

Part of [me] hesitates to write this at all, because I think that it’ll just be more fuel for a racist, sexist, homophobic right to say, “See? It’s really the left that’s racist, sexist and homophobic!” But the point is that it’s not a gotcha game of who the real bigots are — there are apparently enough individual bigots to go around.

I've skipped, as you'll notice if you read the whole thing (and you did, right?) the part about the GOP advocating racism, homophobia, etc. as national policy, though not because I disagree with it; on the contrary, it's THE chief thing lately that's making me feel that maybe me 'n' the GOP are not such a good fit, after all.

It's not that I believe all Republicans are inherently racist; I've tried before to be very clear that I don't believe that at all. I do, however, think that presently the right is where most racists, homophobes, and misogynists congregate, where they feel most comfortable. This is, to me, a problem. I don't think the right as a whole has done enough to flush these people out and drive 'em off. I don't think the right overall has been willing to examine some of its underlying beliefs about those who are Other, whether "Other" is women or gays or blacks or Hispanics, and I've tried at times to say that, too, though likely I've still been sadly deficient.

It isn't easy, or fun, or rewarding, to knock your own side. So I have a lot of sympathy for Jill's concerns up above--that she'll just be handing the other side a big club to hit the left over the head with. It's why Chris Rock quit doing that routine he had about black people versus [that word], the infamous one in which he said he wished he could join the KKK, he'd do a driveby from coast to coast--because too many racists seized on that and used it to reinforce their hatred. The last thing you want to do, when you're critiquing your own side, is wind up creating a situation in which the other side gets to shout at you, "See? See? She admits it!" over and over again.

The question I guess this brings up for me is, do progressive liberals have a special obligation to be extra-vigilant in eschewing hate speech? Any more than the rest of us? Morally, no. Practically speaking, however, when your side has billed itself as The Un-Racist, The Un-Hateful, it really helps if, when people look to you for that, that's what they see--and not "Hey Michelle Malkin, me love you long time." Otherwise, you leave them open and receptive to the idea that no, no, it's the left who are really the racists.

(The parallel between this and the subset of Christians who seem amnestic to Paul's pronouncement that the greatest of virtues is love is left as an exercise for the reader.)

One last thing, although what I have to say about it is only tangentially related to Jill's point:

But left-blogs have been known to have their racist, sexist, able-ist and homophobic moments. Case in point: The DKos drama of last year. A recap for those who weren’t around: Kos, the biggest left-wing blog, had a ridiculously sexist ad up on his site. I don’t remember the exact content of it, but it was something like hot young girls in bikinis fighting in whipped cream and then making out. He received some criticism for it, and instead of having a lightbulb moment and saying, “I’m sorry, I honestly hadn’t realized that the ad was sexist, because as a guy I don’t usually have to think about these things. But now that so many of my fellow liberals have pointed it out and taken issue with it, I’ll take it down,” Kos responded with a defensive rant in which he called feminist bloggers “the sanctimonious women’s studies set.”

The thing that killed me about that episode, which indeed I do remember, is that from where I sit, the whole thing could have been avoided if Kos' side had been willing to take a hard, critical look at the guy's character back in, say, April 2004.

Yeah, character. I'm sitting here with my toes crossed (I could hardly type with my fingers crossed, now, could I?) that this does not launch an "OMG what IS it with the wingnuts and the obsession with character, like does Dubya really have any character anyway when he lied us into war after stealing the election and fuck CHARACTER, you hypocrite Repukes wouldn't know about CHARACTER if character were blowing you in the Oval Office" rant in the comments, because that's not my point.

My point is that when a man says something hateful (and I hope we can agree that what Kos had to say about the deaths of the Blackwater contractors in Fallujah was hateful) and people call him on his shit, and his response is to delete what he said and then edit what he said and then move what he said to make it look like he didn't say it in response to what you thought he did and then rationalize what he said and BLAH BLAH BLAH--that all says something about the guy's character, only it doesn't say anything good.

So to my mind, expecting Kos to react to the criticism of those ads in any way other than the way he did was, frankly, a little naive. But that's my only nitpick of Jill's post, and I'm fully aware that it's one that could easily be aimed back at the right--particularly regarding Ann Coulter, who also should have been escorted out of the building the first time she said something hateful, instead of everyone waiting for her to target the Jersey Girls.

It also applies to the subject of Scott Eric Kaufman's post, the post that prompted Jill's. This is more difficult for me to talk about, because I'd like to keep the discussion very, very general here--and that's because, as I've hinted previously, I don't mind admitting that I think the subject of Kaufman's post is suffering from "No, actually, it really isn't funny at all"-level mental illness. I am not mocking, here. I am serious about this. And so I think there's no telling what that guy would do if I got in his crosshairs, and I think I like my job and my relative anonymity, and I think that if you're wondering why I don't speak out more about some of this guy's behavior, well, connect the dots. If you squint at them closely, you'll see that they spell B-E-C-A-U-S-E-I-A-M-C-H-I-C-K-E-N-S-H-I-T. Then again, I'm pretty chickenshit regarding rabid squirrels, too. I'm not sure that's unreasonable.

Here's part of Scott's post that Jill took issue with:

My fellow leftists who read political blogs have never actually had to befriend someone with whom they "shared" damn near tangible differences. They have never had to interact daily with people whose politics they found repulsive. They have never been close to someone they would have given a kidney to and spent whisky-soaked nights debating the fundaments. They live in an echo-chamber which demands ideological conformity at the gate. And you know what? The "intellectual" environment in which they live breeds the stupidity they so regularly evince.

The thing about being in an echo chamber (and do echo chambers exist both left and right? Is Charles Johnson a terrible dresser?) is that the people in the chamber are the worst judges of whether or not they're in the chamber. It is tough to tell people in an echo chamber, "Hey, you're in an echo chamber." People get defensive about that. "I am not! My views and my environment are very diverse." Except when they're not, as a later post at Feministe yesterday by zuzu demonstrates:

Now, I’ve always known that the right wingers are way the hell more organized than the lefties. I’ve assumed that the talking points were coming from somewhere, LGF or Rush or somewhere, and the good little dittoheads, having received their marching orders, were spreading their wingnutty message far and wide.

If you've spent any time at all hanging around wingnut blogs you're going to read that, and you're going to have a difficult time not pissing yourself laughing. Because if you've spent any time at all hanging around wingnut blogs, you know all too well that that's not how it works. You also know that the chief thing to remember about right-wing blogs is that (1) they're blogs, and therefore, by definition, (2) all the authors of these blogs detest each other.

That isn't to say that groupthink never sets in, or that there aren't some issues that unite the right more than they polarize it, but good gravy, YOU try sending some of these jokers out with marching orders. You'd find it easier to herd cats. Hey, wingnuts! Remember how we all agreed completely about Schiavo? Those were some days of wine and togetherness, weren't they?

So if it were me, I wouldn't dismiss Kaufman's echo chamber point just yet. Yeah, it's a little back-patting of him, and it also ignores some, ah, patterns of behavior by his subject that I don't think Kaufman was entirely aware of before those patterns were thoroughly, exhaustively catalogued here. But in the abstract, I think his point stands. If you're regularly throwing around blanket slurs like "moonbat" or "Dhimmicrat" or "wingnut" or "Rethuglican," you might want to listen for the echo.

I feel a little bit like I'm intruding where I don't belong--after all, these are posts by people on the left, about people and practices on the left, and what business is that of mine anyway? I may not be certain whether I stand on the right anymore, but I still think it'd be a stretch to claim I'm on the left. So why'm I saying anything at all about this? Is it the scolding gene acting up again? Am I just a damn busybody*? Who asked me anyhow?

And all I can say is okay, no one asked me. I was just glad to see the subject come up. Not because it proves that Liberals are the Real Racists (it doesn't), and not because it gives "my side" something to gloat over, but because it'd be better if political bloggers on both sides dialed down the hate, whether the hate is blogger-generated or merely thriving in their comments. That's one. For two, I'm glad because it takes some guts to examine your own side the way Jill and Scott did, and I hope they're not thanked for doing so by a bunch of conservadorks trackbacking I-Told-You-So posts to their work. I only wish my admiration and respect were actually worth something, because they've earned it.

UPDATE: This, on the other hand--is this necessary?

FURTHER: Regarding the update above and some other comments from that thread, I just have to say--if Dawn Eden came to my door personally to deliver me a big ol' embroidered scarlet "A," suggested I pin it to my chest, and then stood there reading aloud from a lovingly calligraphed, itemized list of my sins, in front of the neighbors, I STILL wouldn't hypothesize that with a name like "Dawn Eden," she must have been "fighting against being a stripper all of her life"--although if she tried to pin that "A" on me herself, it is true that I might have to go all kung fu on her ass. Well, maybe that's just me.

*Yes, pretty much.

Posted by Ilyka at 01:00 PM | Comments (13)

The Very Last, I Swear, I Promise, Thing I Have to Say About Outing

"Saturday, August 26, 1990, 1:26 a.m." is how it began. But it wasn't Saturday, August 26, 1:26 a.m. It was Sunday. It had been Saturday, earlier, but then it was Sunday. The policewoman who interviewed me got that wrong. At the time, I didn't notice it. I just imprinted her statement on my memory. Saturday, August 26, 1990, 1:26 a.m. Except it was Sunday.

That's what happens in the middle of the night: Dates and times get confused. But at the time, I wasn't thinking about that. I was thinking that it was really horrible that I had to talk to this police officer at all, not right then, not while my boyfriend was being Air-Evac'd to a hospital miles away, and I didn't even get to go with him, I didn't even know if he was alive or dead.

Maybe I'd get to the hospital, and he'd be dead, but he'd have arrived there alive--only, I would have missed it. I would have missed any last words, because I would have been talking to this police officer.

The police officer wanted to know what happened that night. I told her, it had been his night off. I told her, I'd woken him up, even though he'd been sleeping. He'd been on a graveyard schedule. I'd been on an early day shift. We hadn't had a lot of time together, and I'd missed him. It was Saturday night. So I'd woken him up.

"And this was approximately . . . ?"

"Um. 11:30? No, maybe 11:00. I'm not sure--"

"And then what happened?"

Well, then we'd had sex. I really, really, really had not wanted to tell this stranger that. I was twenty years old and still Mormon enough, in heart if not in soul, to be embarrassed about that. But I'd also just really, really, truly told the 911 representative an hour ago that she had to hold on, hold on while I opened the door for the police, because I had to put a robe on first, I was naked, but could she hold on? In case it wasn't the police? In case it was that man come back again? But I had to put a robe on. I was naked.

Somehow I hadn't minded telling a stranger I was stark naked, but that was different. That was an emergency. This was just a terrific waste of my time.

"And then when would you say you heard the knock on the door?"

I don't know. I was half asleep, I don't know, we weren't expecting a knock on the door, I don't know. Later sometime. I don't know. Fuck, but she wants a time. Okay, 12:30?

"And what happened when you heard the knock?"

He answered the door and then I heard shots and I hid in the closet, but only after I counted three of them, only after I was sure it wasn't his younger brother with a cap gun, Just Kidding like kids do.

"How many shots would you say you heard?"

I lost count after six.


I won't go into the rest of it. My now very-ex boyfriend lived; so did I; the dude who shot him went to jail; we were on food stamps and state-subsidized health care for a long while (in case you are wondering, in 1990 dollars it would have cost you about $80,000 to get shot nine times and survive it; please don't do meth, kids!); my now very-ex boyfriend hit me (untreated posttraumatic stress disorder is a motherfucker); I left him; I went back (because he needed me); he hit me some more, I left again; etc. etc. etc., and then I finally, FINALLY left him, and eventually I broke up with him from 1000 miles away via email, THANK YOU, EMAIL, I LOVE YOU SO FUCKING MUCH YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.

The guy who shot him got 28 years, 2/3 mandatory before parole. He could be out by now, for all I know. I know you won't believe this, but do you know what I've done? I've forgotten his last name. I can't even CHECK on this shit.

Me: Hi, I'm kind of peripherally a crime victim, and I need to check if you paroled somebody?

[Five phone transfers later]

Me: Hi, I'm trying to see if you paroled this one prisoner?

Jail Person: Name?

Me: Bill.

Jail Person: LAST name?

Me: Um. Um. It began with a "W," I think. I remember, they read his full name in court when they were sentencing him? And of course they didn't call him "Bill," they called him "William," even though my boyfriend always called him "Bill" and I always thought of him as "Bill." But I remember that his whole name, read together like that, it was very alliterative?

Jail Person: Lady, I have to ask you: Is this important?

Me: Of course it's important!

Jail Person: Lady, stay with me, here: Do you think maybe, if it were really important, you might have remembered this guy's name?

And I don't know what to tell you except, I Had Stress. Lots and lots and lots of stress. And in the having of the stress and the recuperating from the stress and the (mercifully) beginning to forget of the stress, I fucking forgot this guy's name. I am sorry. I have been a bad peripheral crime victim.

Besides, I always thought I would be (1) in Canada (2) with a name change, by now, because that's what I thought at the time was the only thing to do, because my ex and I were the only witnesses, we were the ones who put him there, and while it'd be nice to think this fellow learned a useful trade while in prison, and/or found Jesus--while it'd be nice to think he'll be totally 100% about making a positive contribution to society when he gets out, I am not that much an optimist, and you wouldn't be either, if you'd been where I've been.

Don't get me wrong: I don't fret about this every day or even every week or even, for that matter, every month, but do I worry? Yes, a little. I worry a little. I think it's only natural.

And THAT is why I blog under a pseudonym: Because I don't want this guy Googling me and getting a fucking hit. And fuck all to hell you petty-minded pseudoacademics who actually believe that what some 12-year-olds say about you ONLINE is, in fact, Potentially Damaging to Your Intellectual Reputations--and that, therefore, outing is sometimes JUSTIFIED, because why should someone be able to hide behind a cowardly pseudonym and be able to say mean, mean, awful things about you without suffering any consequences, oh my sweet savior, it is so unfair, that these anonymous cowards never suffer the CONSEQUENCES?

Because you don't have a fucking coddled precious privileged clue what "consequences" are, that's why. Now grow up. Sticks and stones, etc.--if a child on the playground can learn to live with a little name-calling, so can you, you fucking douchebags.

And the next time you dare to invoke "liberty" in defense of your idiotic "Everyone Should Use His Real Name, It's Only Fair" agenda, kindly at least remember that the people who founded this country didn't always promote liberty under their own names because they had this little problem, see, this little problem where they LIKED LIVING.

Now let us never speak of this again. Cripes, but I hate bloggers sometimes. And as much as I love and admire and respect, seriously, 99.9% of you, permit me the indulgence of not leaving comments open for this one. Okay? Okay. I don't need someone giving me the "But I Love Doughnuts" argument on this one.

Posted by Ilyka at 03:48 AM

June 14, 2006


Nag me tomorrow if I haven't barfed up some thoughts on this, which is excellent, and this, which is also excellent, but which pains me nonetheless because, frankly, I have a difficult time drumming up any sympathy for the blogger being discussed in that post.

Still, it's the principle of the thing, and I do support the principle.

I would just like to point out to any left-leaning readers that the blogger under discussion in that second link was the right's thin-skinned freak machine long before he was yours, lefties--and we managed to have just as much fun with him without calling him a paste-eater. It's not difficult; you don't exactly have to reach down deep into your bag of insults to launch some people into angry, angry orbits.

Posted by Ilyka at 11:45 AM | Comments (5)

June 09, 2006

That Blog, That Blog, That Bad Bad Blog

Hmm--the first sentence of this poses a good question.

I was all set to answer it, too--something along the lines of, "Would it help if I specifically invited you not to?"--but then I remembered that I do the same thing myself. And this won't be of much comfort to Zatera, but I finally figured out that most of the blogs I do this with exhibit the same faults I don't like about my own blog.

Anyway, enough of the meta-meta, and on to Zatera's question:

I’d like to know why “pussy” is offensive, but the f-word (which Ilyka and many feminist bloggers use regularly, ew!) isn’t. I think the f-word just as demeaning, if not more–an insult to loving sexual intimacy between a man and a woman.

And there I don't really know what to say, other than that she's probably right. Believe me, I know I throw around that other f-word too much. It's so adaptable, though. It can be a verb or an adjective or a noun or . . . and it's punchy, sometimes. Sometimes you just want to let the reader know that you're through, uh, messing around.

(Whew! That was close.)

Ideally, I'd work on my vocabulary instead of always falling back on that all-purpose vulgarity to express myself. That'd be better, I agree. But this is a subject I've beat into the ground already, so let me ask Zatera a question of my own:

Why is a Christian conservative woman remaining completely unoffended by, even laughing at, a site emblazoned with the silhouette logo of a nekkid woman about to poke herself in the hoo-ha?

Posted by Ilyka at 07:28 PM | Comments (14)

May 30, 2006

When You Poke Wild Animals with Sticks, the Results Aren't Always Predictable

One reason among many why I've largely left off the political blogging: Outing.

Outing's a game played by mental 12-year-olds. It's a game in which they strike back at whoever they're arguing with by either taking action against them offline, or by posting their opponent's personal information.

You don't have to be anonymous online to be outed. You can just have some douchebag email your grad school advisor alerting him to comments you made somewhere, in the hopes of sabotaging your academic pursuits. As far as I'm concerned, that's a form of outing. It's taking the online world off, anyway. It's childish, petty, and destructive.

You can be anonymous and have someone else send an anonymous fax to your employer, causing you to lose your job. Outed!

You can be anonymous and have someone post your real name and other identifying details, details you clearly didn't want released to the public, online. That's outing in the classic sense.

What I don't consider outing:

If you make a lot of noise about having served in the military, and people do some basic toddler-level research and find out you're lying about that, and then they post that information online, information that proves you're full of shit--that's not "outing." It's what you get for telling fibs in the first place. It's what I'd expect to happen to me if I'd titled this blog "Ilyka Damen, M.D." I'd assume that someone would take the few seconds required to determine that there is no licensed physician by that name anywhere in the world. And I'd assume they'd go to town with it--but that'd be only a small part of why I wouldn't do a dumb thing like that. The big part would be, I don't need to make shit up about myself to feel good about who I am or what I have to say.

If you make stupid, boastful, false claims about yourself on the internet, I got no pity for you when you're turned into a laughingstock in public. Because there's a simple solution to that problem: Don't make stupid, boastful, false claims about yourself on the internet, assface. That's not outing, to rip the mask off a liar like that. That's just not taking someone's stupid, boastful, false claims at face value. Caveat emptor goes double or triple on the internet.

And so does, "Mind the crazy." A New York subway has nothing on the internet when it comes to crazies. No one's ever threatened to commit suicide to me on a subway car, but they sure have over the internet. No one's ever threatened to kidnap me offline, but they sure have online. Not everyone online has his or her shit together.

What I'd advise people who've been outed isn't what I'd have advised them even 6 months or a year ago, because I think it's getting worse, or at last increasing in frequency. When outing was rare, a bunch of site owners could pile on the outer and shame him or her into knocking it off (or at least deleting all posts related to it, though as the Treacher link above demonstrates, apologies are seldom forthcoming.). But that doesn't work anymore, and it barely worked to begin with. You can't tell someone, "Hey, we don't do that around here" because now, the outer has 3 or 4 or 10 or 12 other examples of outing "by the other side" to point to, which they always, always do point to, because really, what could be more mature and adult than falling back on that favorite rationale of children everywhere, "They did it first?"

Yeah, to hell with who did it first. Who cares? It doesn't change the real problem, which is that outers are assholes. But some of them are also crazy assholes. So if it happened to me, here's what I'd do anymore:


Well, almost nothing. I would do a few things, I guess:

  • I'd delete all references to the outer from my blog.
  • I'd email any of my friends who were posting about the affair online, and ask them to do likewise. I'd specifically ask them, just to be extra-super-duper-clear, to remove any posts about the incident.
  • And then I'd never say another word publicly about my experience again.
  • If it were bad enough, I'd delete my own blog. That depends, I guess. I'm not sure I'd want to do that, but maybe I wouldn't have any choice.
  • But I'd leave off poking any wild-eyed creatures of the internet with a stick. I wouldn't try to retaliate. It only escalates things. It drives more traffic to the very information you wanted concealed in the first place, too. If that makes me a big coward, fine, I'm a big coward. I can totally live with that, because to my mind none of this shit is worth losing a job or getting hounded by a stalker over. None of it.

    Unfortunately, you're never going to convince some folks of that. They're just going to get more and more obsessed with what someone else said about them on this site or in that forum or who knows where all on the internet. They're going to get more and more bent on revenge, until eventually it's going to occur to them to out their enemies. Some people can only fight dirty. They don't know from fair. They don't know that when someone calls you, for example, "a fucking cunt" who "shouldn't be allowed to breed," it's better to point and laugh at 'em than it is to get upset about it, so upset that you go all nuts from it.

    (Besides, what kind of dumbass says a thing like that? Anyone can see just by reading this page that I'm far too busy aborting babies to ever breed them.)

    But the mentals, no. They're going to sign high-minded online integrity pledges and then violate them five minutes later. Why not?--They HAVE no integrity. They're only frightened, tortured little freaks and frankly, just having to live in their own skulls, day in, day out, is probably punishment enough for 'em.

    The web needs to come with a default home page for everyone that just reads, "DO NOT FEED THE CRAZIES." I swear, you can't be reminded of it often enough.

    UPDATE: I was discussing this with someone last night and I realized: Instead of online integrity pledges, you know what system I'd implement if I cared enough? A Hall of Shame.

    I mean no disrespect to the fellows who came up with the original pledge idea--no, wait. Maybe I do, a little. Because voluntary online integrity pledges are a little like U.N. resolutions: They don't do a damn thing except make the signatories feel extra-virtuous about themselves. This is especially dumb when you consider how little justification there is for feeling virtuous about merely practicing the bargain-basement minimum of online courtesy.

    But pledges don't fix what I think is the problem, which is that if this nonsense keeps up, the only people who are going to be willing and able to blog are going to be the kind of people who are willing and able to route through multiple proxies and take advantage of anonymous domain registration. The kind of people who have the time, the know-how, and the resources to be vigilant in guarding their anonymity.

    Or, they're going to be the kinds of people who don't have to worry about controversial blogging, because their jobs are cool with it. That's a very small subset of people: Free-lance journalists, tenured professors, and the independently wealthy come to mind, and not much more.

    And that, in my view, is really going to suck.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:23 PM | Comments (9)

    May 22, 2006

    Couple Things Real Quick-Like

    First: A thorough analysis of the likely unintended consequences of, and questionable science behind, those CDC guidelines for pre-pregnancy care (briefly touched on here) from TP with Page Numbers. Conservatives and libertarians alike ought to be able to sink their teeth into this post; it's one of those I found difficult to excerpt because the whole thing's a beaut, but here's a bit:

    Just as secondhand smoke (a negligible danger) was blown out of proportion “for the children”, you know that everything on this list will be blown out of proportion, too, so that the CDC can continue to expand its bureaucratic scope. If that leads to loss of freedom, such as private businesses being banned from permitting legal activities such as smoking on their premises, so what? Unintended consequences be damned.

    And (I told you it was difficult to excerpt!):

    US low birth weight deaths are generally a result of medical techniques that save high risk fetuses that would be the subject of spontaneous abortions in other countries, and of course those babies die at an increased rate. Sure, some of those deaths are due to poor prenatal care, but not as many as that paragraph would have you believe. The CDC is using those statistics to increase funding for its prevention programs, which are of equivocal value, (given how poor decision making is what led to a lot of these high risk pregnancies in the first place***) and the AMA and every other do-good, anti-freedom group has just been handed a “for the children” excuse to try to regulate the lives of millions of women. For the feminists who believe that the struggle is about freedom, rather than government empowerment, and for the libertarians who believe the same, these guidelines do not bode well.

    [Emphasis mine.] Now THAT, damnit, is what I am talking about. Don't miss the excellent examples of prior CDC shenanigans he provides, either. Hey, did you know you probably have arthritis?

    Second: I was going to do this up as a little comic until I recalled that, sadly, I cannot draw. It is too bad, because sometimes I think you can get ideas over with comics better than you can with boring old words, but what can I do? I can't draw and I don't have time to hunt for clip-art and I'm not funny enough to pull it off besides. So just imagine it this way:

    Your roommate, or your spouse, or whatever--a friend, anyway--brings over a DVD that he raves to you is the last word in Star Wars parodies. "Do they do the whole series?" you ask, quaking a little at the thought of spending over 12 hours in front of the television. "No, no, of course not," your friend assures you, "they just poke fun at everything Star Wars. Runs about 90 minutes."

    "Okay," you agree.

    So you sit down, and you watch a scene in which two monkeys fling poo at each other.

    "Uh . . ." you begin. "Just wait, it gets better," promises your friend.

    Forty-five minutes later you have watched . . . forty-five minutes of monkeys flinging poo at each other. Your friend has been laughing fit to kill the entire time, pausing only to gasp out praises like "perfect" and "oh man exactly."

    "Dude, is this all there is?" you finally ask. "It's just monkeys flinging poo at each other. How is this a Star Wars parody?"

    "Oh man, you just don't get it, do you?"

    "No," you say, "I recollect no monkeys in Star Wars. Ewoks, sure. But they didn't fling poo at each other."

    "The poo is symbolic," your friend explains. "But I mean, other than that, this is just dead-on. I can't believe you don't get it! Everyone loves this movie."

    Now you're suspicious, because you recall that "everyone" has traditionally liked a whole bunch of things that you don't including, at one dark point in history, Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

    "Have you even seen Star Wars?" you demand of your friend.

    "Oh come on," he says, clearly disgusted with your nonstop fun-spoiling, "Everyone's seen Star Wars."

    "But have you seen Star Wars?"

    "I said 'everyone,' didn't I?"

    "I don't think you've seen Star Wars. This is nothing like Star Wars! This is one endless scene of monkeys throwing poo at each other! No robots! No light sabers! No 'Force'! No Jedis! No space ships! NOTHING!"

    "Okay," your friend admits, "I didn't really see any of the Star Wars movies. But I had this dorm mate in college who was really into the whole thing, and he was kind of a slob, the kind of guy who never flushes the toilet? So to me, this is perfect."

    "And the fact that monkeys and poop have nothing to do with the actual Star Wars series, that doesn't bother you a bit."

    "Geez!" your friend shouts. "Would you lighten up? I can't believe you're getting so bent out of shape over a little comedy!"

    Anyway, that is roughly what it is like to do any feminist blogging: Some buttmunch can always be counted upon to point and laugh and go, "Look at the hysterical poo-flinging monkeys! Ha, ha!'"

    Which is pretty funny, until you look at the posts about the CDC from feminist bloggers and realize that they don't live up to the hype. They fail to deliver on the hysteria front, nor do they incorporate poo or monkeys. What they actually do--and I mean no offense with this remark, because consider the subject a minute--is pretty dull. They start from a news article and respond to that, and research some more and respond to that, and bounce some ideas off each other along the way, and just basically do what all bloggers do, feminist or otherwise.

    Though that's not to say you can't find some, ah, very passionate commentary if you look hard enough, something Mr. Bingley apparently did.

    To Mr. Bingley I can say only this: Dude, you're linking blogs from myspace.com. I should not have to say anything else, but I will: Feministe averages 2,724 hits a day - modest by some standards, but nothing to sneeze at (and easily over 10 times what I manage, I should add. But then, I am very lazy.). Pandagon doesn't publish Sitemeter stats, but does very respectably according to Technorati. Bitch, Ph.D. averages 4,492.

    But no, let's go with what that chick on myspace had to say about it. It's like how when you want to tackle the hot conservative issue of the day you go straight to Free Republic instead of to Instapundit or Captain's Quarters, am I right?

    And now I must leave off to do my chores. A woman's work is never done--at least is isn't around here, primarily because it so seldom gets started in the first place.

    Happy Monday, peeps.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

    May 13, 2006

    Rag Mag

    Jay Pinkerton accidentally* picks up a copy of Men's Health and discovers what women have known for over a century already: Magazine publishers hate everything about you:

    To summarize: absolutely everything I’m doing, from sitting to sleeping to eating to walking to talking, is killing me. Everything I do, say, or think about saying to women is wrong, and one of 25 distinct reasons why I’m statistically less than a man in the bedroom. And depression will kill you.

    In my early 20s I alleviated a little of my own depression by vowing never to read another issue of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Marie Claire, Allure, Self, or any of the other women's rags again.

    For one thing, they're all the same magazine, just dressed up a little different--you've got your sensibly-shod Ladies Home Journal sharing a rack with strappy slingback-wearin' Cosmopolitan. You get recipes for layer cakes in LHJ and recipes for blowing your man's mind with "the best sex he's ever had" in Cosmopolitan. Big difference, right? Besides, none of these style differences is ever allowed to mask the main message: "You are a REPULSIVE EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING, Reader. And you've got cancer."

    I can't even be all "Ha, ha, guys, welcome to the same hateful shit you've been selling women for decades," about this. It's too depressing to me that every month women willingly fork over money to be told how much they suck. It's no sign of progress that men are now considered fair game for this treatment, too.

    Oh, but I can't leave this alone. About sex, Men's Health says:

    Here I learned that of the sex I’m not having enough of, I’m also not taking long enough to finish, statistically. (Most women, according to Men’s Health, would prefer 44 minutes of tender, energetic sex, followed by 60 minutes of cuddling. I hope I speak for any right-thinking man when I say ladies, I appreciate the tip, but that's insane. How much time do you assume we have? I like pizza, but I don't take two hours to eat a slice.)

    AN HOUR, for crying out loud. A solid HOUR of being "cuddled"--tell me that doesn't sound like sheer hell to you. I'm getting claustrophobic just thinking about it. At the risk of sharing too much information with y'all, I've got to say that my upper limit of cuddle time is probably five minutes, and three is preferred. But after five, if you're not thinking "Yes okay that was very nice indeed but that's quite enough lying here all sweaty and icky so how 'bout let's hit the shower RIGHT NOW," then, wow, what's wrong with you? Get out of my bed and never return, Pigpen.

    No, I refuse to accept that any actual woman wrote that nonsense. It sounds more like the sort of thing some pathetic virgin guy would think a woman would say. It just sounds so horribly, awfully wrong.

    *I assume it was an accident, because the only way I could accept Pinkerton reading Men's Health on purpose is if Batman were on the cover.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:19 PM | Comments (10)

    April 19, 2006

    Dear Would-Be Philosopher Kings of the Internet

    This abuse of the concept of logic has got to stop.

    If I encounter one more dude in the Feministe comments passing off his demonstrably biased assumptions as "logic," even as that "logic" is being shown to be "not very logical at all, actually," I am going to lose my mind. Claim logic as the exclusive domain of your sex if you must, guys, but then, please: Acquaint yourselves with what the hell the stuff IS before attempting to use it. Hint: If it leads you to an absurd conclusion like, "You hope this woman's telling the truth; therefore, you hope she was raped!" . . . it's probably not "logic."

    I assert that if you continue to pervert logic in the service of such silliness, this man has more claim to being the intellectual heir of Aristotle than you do. Also (and I add this purely for spite), he is much more wealthy, handsome, and talented than you are, O Aspiring Aristotle of Mom's Basement.

    That's point one.

    Point two: This abuse of the Socratic method has also got to stop. Here is a comment I received today:

    A question, though.... why are you hanging around a mailing list when your default assumption to explain something you don't like includes labelling the people there as racist?

    That was written in response to this portion of my post:

    Someone on a mailing list I'm on recently posted about having been the victim of a crime; but it wasn't a rape, and this person was the right color.

    Number of people who challenged this person: Zero. Because we don't do this with any other crime.

    . . . and that comment would have been quite the Socratic little zinger, I guess, if only it hadn't depended on the three false premises that (1) I had called anyone "racist" or that (2) to do so was my "default assumption" or that (3) I employed this assumption to "explain something [I] don't like."

    That's a fucking boatload of false-premise goodness to cram into one question. But I know why some guys like to employ this method: It's so that when you call them on it, they can go all virtually wide-eyed and innocent and say, "But I was just asking a question."

    Yes! Yes, you were! But here's the thing: When your first-grade teacher told you there was no such thing as a stupid question?--That teacher lied to you. Further, I am not your mommy. I'm not going to be stricken with guilt at having come down on you so harshly for your faux-innocent question. YOUR QUESTION WAS IRREDEEMABLY STUPID, Socrates.

    You are hereby all sentenced to courses in Remedial Philosophy.

    To be taken only after you pass Remedial Reading.

    With a grade of "B" or better.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:34 AM | Comments (7)

    April 15, 2006

    "Only Whores Use Frozen"

    Hey, they can't help it! It's heavily discounted at the Prostitute Grocery Emporium and Co-Op! You'd use frozen too if you could get it that cheap!

    Really, I'm all out of tricks on this one. I just don't know what to say.

    (Via Sadly, No!)

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:26 PM | Comments (16)

    April 13, 2006

    Weakest Link, My Ass

    Girl has guts, is all I have to say. Ain't no Wheel of Fortune up in there. Turns out the whole process is a lot harder than buying a damn vowel.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:30 AM

    Remedial Anatomy

    I have been enjoying Persephone's Box today. But about this, I just . . . I mean, I tried to think what . . . it's like . . . look, I have no idea what to say about this:

    When my oldest daughter was a baby, her dad and I were discussing what to call her genitalia as she's getting changed and as she begins to label her own body parts. I said "vulva" of course, because that's what the whole exterior section is called. He argued "vagina" because that's where she pees from.

    Wait, wait! That'd be one thing in and of itself, but then, I kid you not, the dude tries an appeal to authority:

    Ahh, what? He was vehement in his insistence that all women urinate out of their vaginas. "I've known more women than you have, so I should know." It didn't matter to him that I've been living in a woman's body for my entire life. I eventually brought him a medical textbook to teach him how it all works.

    Sage? You are a much nicer person than I am. Because I would be telling everybody. It would not just be my best party story, oh, no; and of course it goes without saying that I would blog about it. Oh, of course.

    But I would go beyond that. I would literally be telling this to every person I met:

    Waiter: So that's one Mesilla combination plate, red, no beans, and one Alamogordo burrito plate, green, with shredded beef?

    Boyfriend: Yes. Oh, and could we get--

    Me [to waiter]: Hey, did I tell you? He thinks women pee out their vaginas.

    Waiter: Er--is that so?

    Me: I'm not kidding! I had to buy him an anatomy textbook!

    Boyfriend [through clenched teeth]: Thanks for dinner, because YOU'RE BUYING THIS ONE.

    I would spread that story far and wide. It would eventually wind up on Snopes.com. Marked "Status: True."

    Yes. She's definitely a nicer person than I am.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:48 AM | Comments (5)

    April 10, 2006

    Moses and Meryl

    Meryl reviews the Ten Commandments remake, as only Meryl can:

    So, if it was God who parted the Red Sea (and we know it was really the Reed Sea, not the Red Sea, but let’s not go there for now, this is Hollywood), how come Moses went “Argh!” and “Ugh!” when the sea was parting? Because, like, y’know, uh — he didn’t do anything but lift that staff. And come on, nobody is that out of shape.

    Well, I might be that out of shape, if the events of yesterday afternoon are any indication. Even the atheists should be praying that I am never called to lead anyone out of the desert. Or into the desert. Or two blocks down the street, for that matter.

    Read the whole thing and enjoy.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

    April 09, 2006

    It Is Hubris' Birthday Today

    He just turned 21, of course.

    Everyone say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUBRIS!" And then encourage him to make use of the guest login he's been issued here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:10 PM | Comments (8)

    April 06, 2006

    Lotion and Panties

    He's not buying them for his girlfriend, and he's not buying them for himself. For whom, then, is Ryan purchasing lotion and panties? Oh, you'll see.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:45 PM | Comments (5)

    April 05, 2006

    Feminism in the Military

    I'd love to hear Beth's reaction to this excellent post on the subject:

    This came as perplexing to me, both his mention of the females and his response. "Why do you say that?"

    He shook his head, frowning and blowing out another plume of smoke. "Why do you think? How many females we got in our platoon?"

    "Ramos and West. Why?"

    Colton fixed me with a wry look of scorn. He glanced back toward the living room, then turned again to me. He whispered.

    "Look, dude, First doesn't want 'em. All they do is slow us down. Bring our PT scores down, make us fuckin' look bad."

    I took a drag, shrugging him off. "How do you figure? Ramos got like a 290 on her last PT test."

    "Yeah, and she's what? Forty?"

    "Thirty-six," I corrected him. "And she only did 15 fewer push-ups than I did." I exhaled. One of the local wives walked through with dirty silverware. "Don't care who you are, man, at thirty-six? That makes you a stud."

    I have a real weakness for posts that use dialogue effectively. In fact, I think I'm beginning to have a real weakness for the entire blog--it's called The Calm Before the Sand, and you can get to know its author here:

    "Milo Freeman," of course, is a pseudonym; the surname borrows from the name of my paternal great-grandmother, while "Milo" is a pet name from an old girlfriend, from the Greek Milos, or "Soldier." As of yet, I don't feel entirely comfortable posting under my real name, due to concerns about administrative repercussions. So, for the moment at least, Milo Freeman will have to suffice.

    I should begin by divulging some information about myself. I'm a U.S. Army specialist with the Corps of Engineers, just shy of my 23rd birthday. I've been in the Army since early 2004, and have been serving on Active-Duty since July of 2005. I'm currently stationed in central Germany with my wife, and my unit has recently received orders to deploy to Iraq, sometime later this fall.

    If you stop by (and I think you should, because the dude writes beautifully), wish him well.

    (Via comments at Feministe.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

    April 03, 2006

    Culling the Herd

    The man makes an excellent point: I can't plan for shit.

    What I love are the people in the comments arguing with him, though. Oh, yeah, that's gonna work swell.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:21 PM | Comments (4)

    Also Thumbs Up To

    . . . Beth, who's never funnier than when she's on a tear against someone; in this case, Debbie Schlussel. But this is the part, regarding the release of Jill Carroll, that I really have to give a hell-yeah to:

    She’s an American, and the terrorists are the enemy. Those who attack Carroll practically legitimize her being taken hostage. Guess what, Debbie? Islamofascists don’t give a shit if an American is a conservative or liberal, or even if they’re antiwar. We’re AMERICAN, which to them is wrong no matter what. If anyone is acting sympathetic to the terrorists, it’s those who act as though she shouldn’t have been released–or worse, deserved what she got.

    What she said.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:10 AM | Comments (5)

    In the Words of Others

    Two posts that hit me on a personal level about women and faith: Jill of Feministe on God and abortion rights, and Dooce on Mormons, polygamy, and the overall status of women in the Mormon faith.

    I don't have much to add to either, except this tidbit on the Mormon thing: The day my seminary teacher ended an argument with me about whether polygamy would occur in the afterlife by asking me, "If you want to breed chickens, how many roosters do you need?" was, though not the day I actually left that church, the day I knew I one day very, very soon would leave that church. It cemented the whole deal in my mind--or more accurately, the revolting smirk on the face of that man as he asked that question did.

    (You know, I'd still like to kick that guy in the balls. Brother Searle, wherever you are, please know that yea verily, thou art a douchebag.)

    And I did leave that church. For anyone who wonders why, then, I would turn around years later and convert to Catholicism, another religion often accused of assigning second-class citizen status to its women, I can only offer this: Because when you've been taught to compare women to breeding hens, a religion that teaches you to call on them for intercession with the Almighty is actually a mind-blowing upgrade.

    I should add that Jill is kicking all kinds of ass lately, as with this post about ugly feminists, which as we know is really all feminists. You know what I like to do sometimes? I like to sit and wonder how feminists can be simultaneously ugly and promiscuous. It's like pondering the sound of one hand clapping for me.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:25 AM | Comments (4)

    April 01, 2006

    I Think It's Called a Vicious Circle

    The only thing funnier than this parody site is the reaction to that parody site, which perfectly justifies the parody, which provokes the outraged response, which further reinforces--okay, I gotta lie down a minute, my head's spinning.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:46 PM | Comments (8)

    March 16, 2006


    Awesome--Meryl finally started doing up a "50 Things About Me" list, after threatening to for, what, forever? Seems like that long to me, anyway. Go enjoy Parts 1, 2, and 3 with, I hope, more to come.

    I really love these pieces--when other people write them. That one I did, feh, that burned me out.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

    March 10, 2006


    "You know what two names mean, on the cover of a book? It means one of the people named can't write."

    If Steve keeps this kind of thing up I'm going to have to add "idolatry" to my lengthy list of sins.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:39 AM | Comments (2)

    March 07, 2006

    Phrase of the Day

    "Pouty dance." Via email from Hubris. I don't know if he came up with it or if it's just out there in circulation and I'm too far under this rock to be hip to it, but I love it and I love Hubris and so I'm crediting him with its origin unless someone speaks up to the contrary. Also, if you only knew the context in which it came up, you would appreciate it even more, I swear, because it is surgically accurate in that context.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:28 PM | Comments (3)

    Had I Not Chainsawed Quite So Many Imaginary People Tonight

    . . . I would have had more time for the blogging, and then I could have written a paragraph or two about this; maybe about how I once pissed off a freshman English professor--oh pardon me; she preferred the title "professor of rhetoric"--by suggesting that it was unfair and stupid to insist science and engineering majors get their recommended semesterly allowance of the hallowed Liberal Arts, without likewise insisting that sociology and literature majors get their recommended semesterly allowance of math and science.

    I believe the sentence that set her off was one in which I questioned the necessity of reading Alice Walker. I don't actually know why I did that, because I don't dislike Alice Walker, but at the time, you did NOT disrespect Alice Walker, oh no you din't, not if you wanted a C or better, and I think we can blame anything I may have said about her on that old imp of the perverse, you know, the one that rules my life unmercifully? I kind of knew you couldn't get away with disrespecting Alice Walker, so I did so.

    Have I told you this story before? I'm getting the feeling that I have. See, maybe it's better I don't have time to write about this. Anyway, social justice and mathematics--why's the peanut butter always got to go into the chocolate and not the other way around, so to speak?

    No, I am not opposed to mathematical literacy, and I wish that folks who are more politically-inclined than I would invoke it more often.

    No, what bothers is this: is anyone familiar with a movement among social studies educators in secondary schools to use math in their courses, or does the movement toward interdisciplinary studies of social justice only go in the other direction? I am aware of none. Why are the educators who are motivated by political issues - and who see numeracy as a means to that end - injecting those issues into the math curriculum, rather than injecting math into social studies classes - which seems more natural to me? If I think that potters would improve their craft by learning some elementary Newtonian mechanics, I’d sooner give impromptu physics lessons at my the pottery studio than drag my physics classmates to the studio.

    Is the overall effect to the high school curriculum, a net reduction of mathematical content?

    Frankly, I think yes, but what do I know? It's my pet theory that mathematics intimidates some people in almost the way that frat boys intimidate the chess club, and therefore the mathematically-fearful will do anything to incapacitate the monster, to diminish its power--but this is a pet theory born of a lifetime of paranoia, not based on any data or anything, and also, keep in mind, I went to reform school and now spend my free time [see post title]. So if I were you I wouldn't think overmuch about that theory (which come to think of it is only a hypothesis besides).

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:09 AM | Comments (1)

    February 10, 2006


  • Rob sees right through those Dove "Real Beauty" ads. I'm hoping anyone with more than a pair of brain cells to rub together does, but you can't beat the way Rob puts it. Quoting a USA Today columnist who notes that the ads "still need to sell women on the idea that they need these products to become even better," he adds:
  • Yeah, that sentiment contributes to the cynical view one might arrive at. Another one might be questions about the messenger, Dove. Aren’t they almost like the firefighter who sets the blaze so they can be the hero who puts it out? Their earlier commercials surely contributed to the image problem depicted in the current campaign. And yet another cynic might wonder how that commercial was made. Were those the only girls who showed up for it? I kind of doubt that so what did Dove tell the other ones? “You’re all beautiful but..............”?

    Remind me that if ever I embark on a career as a con artist, Rob would make a poor mark.

  • Sheila has tentatively agreed to live-blog the figure skating finals (see comments). This is excellent news for me as I have discovered another woman out there who feels the Wrath at Kwan:
  • I love ice skating, but I have one message for the Kwan-ster:


    Sasha Cohen blew you out of the water at the last Olympics, skating with more fire and more courage than you did - and you should be very very frightened of your competition, and stop trying to create some emotional melodrama so that you win as some kind of emotional favorite. I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN.


    I want someone ELSE to compete for the gold medal. It's not yours to win anymore.


    Whatever you do, please, don't argue with me about this one. It's not up for debate. Either you love Michelle Kwan or you NEVER WANT TO SEE HER FACE AGAIN, and I'm in the latter camp.

  • In news that will surprise no one, I continue to enjoy Andrea way more than is proper. Contrasting Islamists with, well, normal people, she writes (note!--I do not pretend to know from no HTML tables; please excuse reformatting):
  • THE WEST: A woman is attacked. She kills her attacker. She is congratulated and celebrated.
    ISLAM: A girl is attacked, but she gets away. In doing so, she ends up killing her attacker. She is condemned to death.
    THE WEST: A woman marries a man her family does not know. On television. That’s it.
    ISLAM: A woman marries a man her family does not know. Her brothers and father track her down and murder her.

    Please see the original; it's got links I've left out for no better reason than pure laziness.

    Oh! A quick note for a certain class of smartass out there: You know, when you make the argument that the Right focuses overmuch on Islam in order to distract from their own failings regarding the treatment of women, and that thus there is no need to pay any attention when someone on the right points out that women have it bad in Islamic societies, because It's a Trap! To Distract from the Wiretapping!--I find that almost as stupid as when guys on the Right tell me I shouldn't worry about the treatment of women anywhere BUT in Islamic countries. I do not like that zero-sum kind of thinking, no no no. Bad is bad, yes, but only a fool would fail to note when one bad is many times worse than another.

  • Some of the best news of my week is that Meryl got a job. Go congratulate her!
  • Finally, for those of you who miss his work as much as I do: I know where you can score some Hubris, if you're interested. Ssshh! Don't tell just anybody. I don't want the cops involved.
  • Posted by Ilyka at 03:59 PM | Comments (4)

    February 01, 2006

    That is the Moment

    Whoa--it certainly is.

    I can't say anything else without getting all goopy, and you know I hate that. So just go.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:29 PM | Comments (1)

    January 31, 2006

    Well, The Pearl IS Boring

    I totally hated that book, but I love this post. I wish I had time to say more than that about it, but there, Sheila's probably already said all I was going to anyway.

    Enjoy. My stupid homework took longer to do today than it usually does and now I've got to go to work, so this is probably all you get for the day. That's a pity. I had this post I wanted to write about the way we're being taught Spanish, and doesn't that sound fascinating? Yeah, you know, maybe it's just as well I'm out of time here.

    UPDATE: While I'm raiding Sheila's site I may as well note that this, also, is fun: Create a word cloud from your weblog.

    I think it probably censored the f-word

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:51 PM | Comments (3)

    January 22, 2006

    Perfect Sunday Reading

    Sheila visits Los Angeles and, Sheila-like, immediately sets to having adventures. Start here for the first part and keep going. I love Sheila's travelogues--having adventures is a knack, a talent, a gift. People either have it or they don't. I don't really have that knack and even if I did, I doubt I could write about my experiences so evocatively.

    She definitely has my sympathy on driving in L.A. I just have to ask: Los Angeles, what is wrong with you? When I was trapped in Culver City for 2-1/2 weeks on a job years ago, I put off renting a car of my own, even though it meant being subject to the schedule and whims of the one guy in our party who had rented one, for over a week. I just couldn't nerve myself to drive there. I've often said that Dallas drivers are (in no particular order) rude, stupid, and way too speedy--but Los Angeles drivers make the Dallas ones look genteel by contrast. L.A. drivers are Dallas drivers turned up to 11. Did I say 11? I meant 11 factorial.

    I was talking with the boyfriend the other night about the one thing I've decided I'd do if I were insanely wealthy: I'd start a publishing house and not care if it lost money (but of course I like to think that it wouldn't), and I'd pay all the talented people I could find on the web to do just what they do already, but in print. I'd pay this guy to write goofy girl-sleuth parodies. I'd pay this woman to write scholarly articles on feminism. I'd pay this woman to write about Israel. And I'd say, "Here, Sheila--here's a million or two--go to the Caucusus. Have adventures. And tell us all about those crazy Armenians when you get back."

    Wouldn't it be fun to have your own publishing company? I think it would be fantastic.

    UPDATE: As is usual for me when I do up a post that singles out some people I read but not ALL the people I read, I have immediately been flattened by guilt. So just assume that you, too, are part of my imaginary publishing company. And you get to write about whatever you want to, whether that's the scourge known as fucking graphing calculators or science fiction and fantasy or moving tales of personal growth or whatever. Okay? You're all in on this deal, I swear. Now to become insanely wealthy!

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:12 PM | Comments (5)

    January 19, 2006

    A Little Bit Louder and a Little Bit Worse

    Second verse, same as the first: Brave man speaks truth to power about all y'all bitches and How Hateful You Are:

    In our enlightenment, let us from here on deny our mealymouthed fellow men the comfortable, safe haven of avoidance. This is the new, confrontational era of The Airing of Grievances. Therefore let us all now stand up, like men (all right, summon the inner Bruce Willis you fantasize having) and say, proudly, "I gotta lotta problems with you people!"

    After years of stifling a genre-wide desire to scream that "Women's issues" really means "Women have issues", some men are leaving the closet (not that closet).

    Via a wicked-delicious email from Beth (feel better, Beth! [Beth has pneumonia, see. Go toast her health or something.]). And no, fellas, I don't know what all that business about an inner Bruce Willis that you're supposed to fantasize about having is, either. Draw your own conclusions there, I guess.

    I'd get all wound up about this, I really would, except I've heard this particular nag so many times it slides right past the ol' eyeballs without touching base in the brain anymore. That's Problem 1.

    Problem 2: Can anyone give me one rational reason why I should care that bitter, pissed-off men of a certain age remain unmarried? Aren't we all supposed to be just a tiny bit pleased about that? Doesn't it mean social Darwinism is, well, working? Of course men like this have trouble finding partners. News flash: Dating is supposed to be difficult for assholes. It's nature's way of saying she's heard just about enough from you, Mr. Crankypants.

    No, I just can't see getting upset about that. I think I'm supposed to be upset because these perpetually indignant men are removing--removing!--themselves from the dating game, Do You Hear That, Ladies? But I can't imagine the universe in which this results in anything more than amused giggles from single women. Something about not letting a door hit your posterior on the way out comes to mind here.

    I'm really starting to think that the whole stereotype of Miss Lonelyhearts sitting around in her sweatpants, munching chocolate and burning through tissues while watching Lifetime movies (did you see that one? With Meredith Baxter-Birney? It was so sad!) and drunk-dialing her girlfriends to ask Why? Why is she still not married? Is there something wrong with her? Is she that terrible? Virginia just got married, and Virginia is 160 pounds if she's an ounce, so how is that fair?--Anyway, that whole modern old maid creature, I think she's a myth. I always have thought so, but just lately I'm thinking she's a myth born out of a little phenomenon called P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N. You just substitute grilled meats for the chocolates and football for the Lifetime movies and beer for the tissues, et voila.

    My point, which I guess I lost several paragraphs ago, if ever I did have it firmly in hand in the first place, is that I don't spend a lot of time on the Mr. Snitches of the world anymore, because seriously, who bloody cares. I'm more interested in the tacit "You go, guy!" moves exhibited by a certain Instapundit. Memo to Totally, Completely, 100% Happily Married Libertarian Men: When you prattle on about how happily espoused you are, but then link all these loser goofballs who aren't, a cynical bitch like myself is apt to remember her mother's admonition: Don't Listen to What People Say--Watch What They Do. And then a cynical bitch like myself tends to conclude that someone is possibly full of shit and oh, how happy she is, I might add, when she learns via more private avenues of communication like IM or email that indeed, some libertarian men who are not Glenn Reynolds, but who also bear their marital bliss before them as a shield against accusations of misogyny, are, in fact, stuffed to the parietal with doo-doo about the happiness content of that marriage. I am not naming names here, but of course you may feel free to speculate who it is. I have a feeling you won't find that difficult to do at all.

    Enough of these numbskulls; let nature take its course. Oh, hey, it already is! Neat!

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:22 PM | Comments (12)

    January 18, 2006

    If a Body Meet a Body Filling up on Pie

    Helen has a light-bulb moment with body dysmorphia. Great stuff:

    I feel best about myself if I am skipping meals, I buy clothes so large that I am drowning in them. The comments from my boss and additional comments made by a neighbor haunt me.

    But fuck them.

    I'm not perfect. I'm not gorgeous or a size 4. I'd like to lose some weight and I hope to make that happen. But I need to stop beating myself up that I am less than I should be simply because I am not 100% proud of my body.

    This is a subject I understand intellectually, but not at all intuitively; body dysmorphia is something I just haven't got. Some of the reasons I think I escaped it have to do with my psychological makeup; I don't know if you've noticed, but I've got a thin steel wire of "fuck them" laced through my bones, and that's always been how I've reacted to other people putting expectations of any sort on me--often to my detriment ("They say booze is bad for you? Fuck them"), though in the case of body image I think that attitude is mostly a good thing.

    Other factors were external. I first read about anorexia nervosa and bulimia in 1981, in this book. I was horrified and mystified; that anyone would choose what seemed to me to be a particularly slow and gruesome method of suicide was not something I could get my head around. Besides, I couldn't then (and cannot now) conceive of food being gross, disgusting, or repulsive. Food wasn't that at all. Food was Sunday dinner pot roasts and hot buttered rolls. Food was Ziplocked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bags of chips and pretzels, and coolers of sodas ferried by my grandparents to La Guardia or JFK to pick up my brother and I, so we'd have something to eat on the 2-hour drive back. Food was . . . food was awesome! Food was fabulous! How could anyone hate food? What did food ever do to them?

    But this was 1981. There were no "pro-ana" sites on the web (what web?). There were no girls in my junior high classes frantically dieting off their baby fat. Actresses in the 1970s hadn't been suffering from the gymorexia they all sport now. Some of them were damn skinny, don't get me wrong. But it was a natural, I-just-happen-to-be-a-beanpole-genetically sort of skinny, for the most part; or it was the result of cocaine abuse, and viewed with disgust. So "disgust" was about my reaction to anorexia nervosa. Dieting away your menstrual period?--All together now: Ewwww.

    The early 80s were also the heyday of Paulina Porizkova. I first read an interview with her in a People magazine. The interview was conducted in a restaurant; Paulina asked the waiter to bring her the most fattening thing on the menu. She then scarfed down a slice of cheesecake as she explained that modeling was a stupid, boring, but lucrative career, and that she did nothing--no yoga, no aerobics, certainly no dieting--to look the way she did. She was just a happy genetic accident. Or, she speculated, maybe she burned calories through all her "nervous energy."

    Modeling needs more Porizkovas. I'd been an avid ooher-and-aaher over fashion models until that interview. I knew the names of the leading fashion models of each decade going back to the 1940s--but that interview was the end of it for me. Deep down, I knew Paulina was telling the truth: Models were freaks of nature. They did nothing to earn their fame except be born lucky, and grow up without suffering disfiguring accidents. It was like looking up to lottery winners, except even more stupid than that, because while I could buy a winning ticket tomorrow, theoretically, and be elevated to lottery-winner status, there was nothing I could do to make myself 5'11", 115 pounds, and unbelievably gorgeous.

    I am writing this on the slim (ha!) chance that some young woman wondering whether the pressure to be thin is getting worse or better finds it, because as far as I'm concerned it is getting worse. Young women have it much worse than my generation did, and that is partly the fault of the women before them.

    Yes, I said women. You know how much I love to blame the patriarchy for things, and I do blame the patriarchy here, I do. But I've also got to give us all thumps on the head for not pushing back more against the destructive cultural tide at work in body dysmorphia.

    In the mid-80s, anorexia was seen, rightly, as a horror--now it's celebrated, and women are among the most fervent celebrants. Who reads web pages like this? Who makes up most of this woman's audience? Who buys magazines with this woman on the cover? That ain't men, ladies. That's US. We need to take some ownership here.

    And I'll go out on a real bitchy limb here for a minute and say something that's been on my mind for some time now: I'm a little disappointed in the younger generation of feminists. You're like feminism-lite. You're . . . wimpy. You've brought so much extraneous crap into the mix--you're so worried about classism and ageism and racism and making sure every little i is dotted and every little t is crossed--and you are SO thoroughly wedded to one political party that you alienate women who might otherwise be sympathetic to feminism; thus the basic things, the very fundamental things like, "Maybe it's sick and wrong that our society encourages women to starve themselves," get buried, lost, deferred.

    You have way too little "fuck them" in your bones. You worry too much about what antifeminists think of you. You worry too much about what you look like and whether you're popular. You worry too much about trying to educate. You're so busy trying to educate that you have no fight. You write articles about beauty products that are bullshit AND THEN YOU BUY THOSE VERY PRODUCTS. I am not blaming men for that. I am not blaming patriarchy for that. That was you reaching into your purse and paying perfectly good money for perfectly worthless crap. No one, no system, made you do that.

    At the risk of being labeled anti-intellectual, let me propose something. Let me propose that body dysmorphia is not rocket science. Let me propose that there is one very simple solution, not to each individual case of body dysmorphia, no, but to society's tacit encouragement of the phenomenon as a whole--and that is to say without reservation or exception, "Fuck them," and mean it from the bottom of your hearts and your wallets.

    There is no end of difficult, complex problems in the world--famine, pestilence, disease, war, crime, corruption, and oppression being just a few of them. But by cracky, teaching our daughters and sisters and friends how to flip the finger to skeletal celebrities and the people who encourage us to emulate them is not one of those problems.

    All you've got to do is be willing to do it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:51 PM | Comments (6)

    January 11, 2006

    Thank You!

    Remind me, next time I'm in one of those black periods during which I have no faith in humanity at all, that I have the best commenters in the world.

    I'll follow that post up, but it may be awhile. Today is The Day, The Day I Swore to Myself I Would Register for School (and no, I can't just do it online. Believe me, I did check.). The damn semester starts next week, so no more screwing around. It is also the last week of the pay period, work-wise. Lots going on around here, little of it any actual fun.

    If I get a chance I'll also tell you about the time when I was 15 and Very Concerned About Our Planet; Also, Cruelty to Animals, Not to Mention Heart Disease, and tried to become a vegetarian, only to be sabotaged at every turn by my father, the meat-eating maniac and something of a wizard with the grill. The short version is that I learned I do not really like most meat and could live happily never touching chicken, pork, or hamburger again. Steak, however . . . a medium-rare New York strip or filet mignon, oh, those are hard things to give up once you've acquired a taste for them.

    Luckily I'm not in much position to afford these treats very often anymore, and so there's probably nothing really stopping me from committing to vegetarianism other than (1) laziness and (2) this low-carb diet I'm on (which I don't want to hear a word against, incidentally, because this method of eating worked for me for eight straight years previously, is working for me again now, and my goodness, but I'm tired of being voluptuous in places I shouldn't be. So please, no lectures on that front, my kidney function is fine, and I swear I am not living on bunless burgers, in fact actually most of my protein is coming from eggs and cheese so I am within striking distance of being lacto-ovo; there, are you happy?).

    Anyway--good stuff from all of you, thank you very much again, and more later if I am not spun into an anxiety attack by dealing with this school business; even more later if I am spun into an anxiety attack but choose to cope with it through the power of booze (but in that case I don't promise anything I write will make sense).

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:29 AM | Comments (4)

    January 09, 2006

    What I've Been Doing Instead of Updating This Blog

    Mostly getting lost in Tim Blair's quotes of 2005. Australian lefties are so much farther around the bend than American ones. I can't get enough of it--the Cretan guy, Margo Kingston, Media Watch--it's like a three-ring circus of dumbness and duplicity down there.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:39 PM | Comments (2)

    January 04, 2006

    God Wants You to Shop at Nordstrom's

    And Brooks Brothers. Well, that's what I'm getting out of this extremely stupid article.

    I'm not against some of the man's points about redneck culture not being very cultured at all, but here is a short list of what I am against:

    1. This insistence on declaring a subset of conservatism and applying a cutesy name to it, like, say, "Metrocon:"

    See also: Crunchy Cons.

    Do you notice how the proponents of these subsets are always really vain guys who want to place themselves into these subsets because they think they're better than plain old regular conservatives? "Unlike those ordinary conservatives, I buy my arugula from the farmer's market." "Unlike those ordinary conservatives, I do not wear Old Spice."

    No one ever says, "Yeah, I like to think of myself as a Dumbhick Conservative," or "I'm really more of a JerkyCon, myself."

    The subset always flatters the guy who identifies it. It's pure vanity.

    2. The author's complaint that there used to be more metrocons, back in the good old days:

    There's William F. Buckley, the pluperfect conservative metrosexual. Buckley, whose National Review turned 50 last year, is the picture of style, erudition, dignity, and grooming. He's more Polo than Gillette, goes to the symphony, and would look lost at a rodeo. Buckley is representative of the older conservative order, people like Jeane Kirkpatrick, Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol who can speak about Beethoven and Brahms more than Alan Jackson and Jeff Foxworthy. They read the New Criterion -- a kind of Bible of the metrocon -- and buy Christmas presents at Brooks Brothers instead of Wal-Mart. There hasn't really come up a younger generation of metrocons to take over.

    I would argue that what made Buckley vital to the conservative movement had nothing to do with any of this, and at some point his "style, erudition, [and] dignity" actually risked doing the growth of that movement some harm. Americans are, as the author notes himself, passionately anti-snob, and they can't stand to feel talked down to, and I will admit right now that for years I didn't have the slightest use for anything William F. Buckley wrote or said because he was nothing but an obscenely wealthy, pompous old goat to me, and that was sufficient to make his ideas unworthy of my consideration.

    I would further argue that two guys whose personas appear more approachable--even though they are both well-educated, well-mannered, and well-groomed--have done as much to boost the conservative movement in recent years as stuffy ol' WFB. And they didn't do it with the Word of the Day; they did it with humor and an I'm-just-a-regular-guy demeanor.

    3. The obsession with the material:

    If there is one message I would like to club through the heads of this so-called younger generation--actually now in its 30s and 40s--that the author identifies himself with, it is this:

    "YOUR STUFF" does not equal "YOU."

    Your Brooks Brothers suits do not add to your worth as a person. Your organic vegetables do not add to your worth as a person. Your Blackberry does not add to your worth as a person. Your expensive cologne does not add to your worth as a person.

    It is all just stuff. You will take exactly none of it with you and p.s., Mr. Judge, as you both profess yourself a Christian and consider your purchase of a bottle of Truefitt and Hill a necessary part of your spiritual growth, I thought I might remind you that Jesus made it very clear once how he felt about that sort of thing.

    Also, I have searched my Biblical index and I cannot find reference to Nordstrom's anywhere. Not even in the Apocrypha.

    No. I am not giving this guy a cookie for his stunningly brilliant observation that rednecks are annoying. I might have, but he couldn't stop there, could he? No, he had to go on and on about how buying fabulous things and going fabulous places and appreciating fabulous art made him spiritually a better person.

    And then, on top of that, he had to come up with that moronic label. I swear everyone's David Brooks anymore. It makes me tired.

    (Via Ace of Spades.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:28 AM | Comments (4)

    January 03, 2006

    The End of the Argument

    Never tell me again that women bloggers who post pictures of themselves don't risk more personally-directed nastiness on the internet:

    Like Lauren, Jill, Trish, Amanda, and other feminist bloggers, I've been attacked by "trolls" who've said some fairly nasty things about me. But though I have close to a hundred pictures of me in my photo albums, none of my critics ever go after my weight or my looks. None of the MRAs have called me "ugly" or "fat" or anything similar. A year ago, this picture elicited ridicule -- but not scorn for my body. This silence about my appearance is not a compliment to me as an individual, but rather a function of male privilege.

    The emphasis is in the original.

    Oh, hey, I just thought of another thing I don't want to hear: A woman whose own picture has never been targeted like this, exclaiming happily that her fortunate state must mean such vileness is the exception, not the rule, and isn't the internet a lovely, happy place, and aren't conservative men such wonderful gentlemen?

    That woman needs to take a minute to consider that maybe she just got lucky. And then she might try a little experiment: Try posting something controversial, try posting something that goes against the conventional wisdom, and see how long that exception privilege endures.

    My guess is it won't be very long at all.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:37 PM | Comments (26)

    January 02, 2006

    Sadly No Relation to Chris Makepeace

    I really do not have the words for what you are about to see when you click this.

    MrSpkr does, though.

    I think, so far, my favorite part is the title attribute of that page:

    "World Peace is one Word - WorldPeace Peace Page - Peace Now." So! Do you suppose they like peace?

    I honestly can't read that without (1) noting that no, it isn't, it's two words, I'm sorry, I didn't make it that way, and (2) wanting to burst into a few rounds of peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, which by the way the owner of this page should stop smoking immediately. I don't mean to harsh his mellow, but this is just embarrassing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:27 PM | Comments (1)

    January 01, 2006

    Too Bad I'm Not Famous

    'Cause I feel half dead already, and I could have made a decent Dead Pool candidate.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

    December 31, 2005

    It's the Little Things That Set Me Off

    The backstory: Some Townhall columnist wrote a piece mocking political blogs by observing that:

    Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.

    Obsessive-compulsive? I don't know where she's getting that. It isn't as though I ever had a furious little fellow link the same blog post of mine every day for a week, just to emphasize how much he disagreed with it.

    Anyway, Q & O says she's kind of right, kind of wrong--something about a broad brush and not all blogs being political, blah blah, and hey, what about all those other blogs that make up the 14,000,000 estimated blogs out there:

    If, as comScore Media Metrix reports in their August 2005 study, the blogosphere is broken into 7 nonexclusive blog groups (political, hipster lifestyle, tech, blogs authored by women, media, personal and business are the categories in order of descending popularity) then the portion of blogs which give Parker heartburn are very small indeed.

    Who are these comScore Media Metrices, and how do I hit them? I never realized my sex autocategorized me into a group that could be listed with "political, hipster lifestyle, tech . . . ." in, apparently, all seriousness. You can go into market research now even if you failed beginning Sesame Street, I guess, because one of these things is definitely not like the others.

    I suppose their asses are partially covered by the "nonexclusive" modifier, i.e., a weblog could be dedicated to the hipster lifestyle (is this really a sizeable genre? Please kill me) and authored by a woman; but a weblog could also be a chronicle of tech industry trends and authored by a man, yet I am not seeing "blogs authored by men" listed in comScore's seven nonexclusive blog groups.

    And why would it be? Blogs authored by men are the default, the norm, right? Any deviation from the norm must necessarily be noted and labeled appropriately.

    So you can be famous and on teevee like Ariana Huffington and Michelle Malkin--two examples of "blogs authored by women" that comScore provides--but, having been found guilty of the offense of vagina possession, it's into the women-authored category they both go--together. Hope you like sharing a cell, girls. Next time, try to pee standing up.

    I wonder if what we're going to see in the next few years is a clash between women who enjoy this distinction because it means they get to have fabulous conferences about it, and women like me who'd rather we just dispensed with the distinction entirely. So you got a pussy! And you write a blog. How very wonderful for you. I really do not know how you do it, what with all that menstruation to get done every month.

    You can go share a category with this, this, and this. They all have so much in common--like, you know, girl parts and stuff.

    And that trumps everything. It's what you get for deviating from the norm.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:43 PM | Comments (7)

    December 30, 2005

    Happy New Year, Let's Get Wasted

    I don't mean to be a huge fun-killer, but I thought maybe some of you might be interested in some of the recent discussions on addicts and addiction over at Hog on Ice.

    How Addicts Spread Joy at Christmas

    Book Report

    ManCamp Again Already (Did I really just type "ManCamp" on my weblog? Shit, I think I did.)

    The Smoker is Still King

    Keep in mind: Some of these posts don't get around to the addiction stuff until after the important stuff, like food, has been reported on. If you think I'm being sarcastic about the food being important, you probably only just found this blog today. I am not being sarcastic. Food is very important.

    You might like these posts. I should emphasize "might." Chances are, if you are or were an addict, you're not going to enjoy them so much. That's because they're written by and for people who've had to put up with addicts and, well, those people aren't always too sympathetic to the struggles of the addicted.

    Is that because they're hardhearted judgmental assholes? Sometimes it is; most of the time, it isn't. Most of the time, it's because they've had their sympathy exhausted by all the crap that goes with having an addict in your life--the late-night phone calls from jails and hospitals, the stealing, the lying, the lending-and-borrowing-and-getting-stiffed . . . having an addict around is like trying to live your life in the middle of a blender set permanently to "Whip." Good luck getting your bearings in that environment.

    "But the addict didn't do all those bad things! His disease did them." Fine, I don't disagree; but what do you see when you look at an addict? What do your eyes tell your brain? What impression registers?

    Here's what you don't see: You don't see a big black curtain labeled "opiate addiction." You don't see bilious gas forming the word "alcholism." You see a person. If the person you see does not want to get well--and can we be honest? Some addicts DON'T want to get well--it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between the disease and its victim.

    Your eyes don't see a disease. Your eyes see a person. When you bail someone out of jail for posession, you don't see it as bailing out a disease, even though, in a way, that's just what you're doing. You see it as bailing out a human being--a human being who woke you from a sound sleep, agitated you beyond belief, and cost you money to boot.

    That is a damn difficult thing to get past and forgive, especially when it happens over and over again. And bad behavior by persons in the grip of addiction is definitely something that happens over and over again, as many times as they can get away with it, until they've sucked you dry and have to find someone fresh to leech off of.

    So these aren't posts designed to make the addicted feel better. I'm sorry--no, wait. I'm not sorry. Drug addicts already have a wealth of resources available to make them feel better, to help get them well. Yet I can't tell you how many times I've transcribed reports on addicts who flat-out tell the doctor that no, they're fine, thanks, not really interested in pursuing rehabilitation at this time.

    The doctor shoves a bunch of pamphlets and brochures into the addict's hands anyway, because he has to. It's his job.

    But it's not MY job. My job is to be happy and productive in spite of addicts, alcoholics, and other troubled, dependent people. My job is not to get down in the muck with them, because that accomplishes nothing and helps no one--including, and perhaps especially, the addict.

    New Year's Eve can be a time of pain and anguish for people with addicted loved ones. Instead of a time to tip back a glass or two of champagne and enjoy the company of friends and family, it's a time to eye the telephone warily: Please don't ring, please don't be my sister/cousin/father-in-law calling from the emergency room/jail/the dealer's. It's a time to jump at every knock on the door: Oh no, please don't be Barney/Thelma/Pedro/Ana, quick, hide the booze, hide the silver, hide my purse, hide my wallet, hide ME.

    It's people tormented by the addicted who might enjoy these posts. And you know something? You should enjoy them.

    You're not the problem. You deserve a happy New Year and a happy life.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

    December 29, 2005

    Ith the Ambitious

    As predicted, everyone hates me for the "seven things" thing:

    HUGE DISCLAIMER: I never do these tag things. Ever ever! The only reason I’m doing it is because Ilyka started blogging again, which made me very happy, which made me think she needed the positive reinforcement of playing along with her evil twistedness -- just this once.

    I'm sorry! I'll never do this to anybody again, not least because it's turning this site into a damn LiveJournal.

    Ith is of a creative temperament, and it shows:

    Seven Things To Do Before I Die
    1: Attend a Viennese Ball, maybe even in Vienna, complete with fancy dress. Escort optional, since I’m a realist and not totally in a fantasy world here.

    Hey, never say die! Anyway, that's definitely not an item I'm seeing pop up on every third list. A Viennese ball? That would sound so pretty to me if only I didn't have two left feet. (I forgot to include "dance" on my seven things I cannot do.)

    I also liked:

    Seven Things I Cannot Do
    1: Knit (I can crochet)
    2: Play a musical instrument.
    3: Stop a Nuclear Reactor from melting down.

    . . . because it's important to know your limitations in life. Anyway, more whimsy here. Enjoy.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

    December 28, 2005

    Best 'Seven Things' Thing

    Meryl indulges in a little creative counting, and a truckload of attitude:

    Seven Things To Do Before I Die
    1. Find Ilyka and smack her upside the head for tagging me with this particular meme
    2. Visit Israel during Christmas season (so I can be in a place that mostly ignores it; I will be nowhere near Bethlehem on that trip)
    3. Visit Israel during Passover
    Screw it, I’m tired of this.

    Eh, it was worth my getting knocked upside the head. Maybe it'll bash some sense into me.

    But probably not.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:28 PM | Comments (4)

    Tech Jocks

    I like geeks. I like coders. I like engineers. I like technical writers. I even like testers, and come on, nobody likes testers.

    But I hate tech jocks.

    Tech jocks aren't very bright. In days of yore they'd have been middle managers at Radio Shack. Or Sears. Or Braniff. Or Chrysler.

    But then someone, somewhere, gave them idea to go into "the IT industry."

    Now we all suffer. Sweet merciful heaven, how we suffer.

    It is left as an exercise for the reader to guess some of the ways in which this page depresses me to the bone. Go on, guess. I would list them myself, but every time I look at the page title--not even the page itself, you understand; the page title, currently taunting me from another Firefox tab--I lose all will to live.

    I'm going to try to go back to school this spring. I'll get a degree in CS, simply because that's what I'm closest to having a degree in.

    But I don't think I'll ever work in software development again. Who would? Oh, right: Guys who believe that all you need to know is "time is money." Guys who write statements like "Energy and Attitude it [sic] the key to Success." And MEAN them.

    You know what the problem is? Geeks can't beat anybody up. If they could, they'd have weeded these bozos out of "The .COM Market!!!!" twenty years ago, back when it might have done some good.

    Now we all suffer.

    (Sort-of-inside-joke note to Hubris: Did you notice he's even doing gun fingas? Except not in a cool way. Holy banality, please kill me this instant.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:58 AM | Comments (10)

    December 27, 2005

    I Have a Confession to Make

    Sometimes my brothers and sisters in Christ annoy me.

    A lot.

    I knew I'd have occasion at some point to lift this picture from Zendo Deb. I just didn't think it'd be this soon.

    Here's a big favor I think we could all do for the Lord: Quit arguing that Intelligent Design is science.

    It isn't.

    You can't convince people it is. Because it isn't.

    And, bonus, it bolsters the working theory some people have that Christians are irretrievably stupid. This does not seem to me much of a strategy for doing our part to help Him gather a people unto Himself from nation to nation, you know?

    The funny thing is, I think people who agitate to have Intelligent Design taught alongside evolution think they're doing just that--helping to spread the Word. I have the same reaction to this as I do to people who think we should tax the daylights out of everybody in order to aid the poor:

    What are YOU doing to help the poor? No--I mean you personally?

    Me, I'm not doing as much as I need to. But I'm also not out there arguing that the government should be able to take more of your money, in order to provide all that aid I'm not giving myself. I may be sinful, but by gum, at least I'm consistent, and I'm not compounding my sin by stealing from you to cover for it.

    That's why I don't like people trying to shove ID into science curricula. It's a cop-out. It's a dodge to relieve oneself of the burden of setting a good Christian example, by attempting to institutionalize the conversion process.

    And if you're worried that learning about evolution might lead someone away from God, I'd like to know what kind of faith that person had to begin with, if it's shaken so easily.

    I think sometimes people forget that faith is not supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be hard. I have days I look longingly at my copy of Why I Am Not a Christian and think, "Oh Bertrand, Bertrand, why ever did I forsake thee?" Then I remember that Russell was a miserable, cranky old socialist, and I'm okay again.

    I guess I'm more philosophically aligned on this issue with a commenter at Ace's named Michael:

    Despite the efforts of Augustine, C.S. Lewis, and others I suppose, I don't think anyone has accepted Christianity on the basis of a rational "argument" in the classical sense.

    Typically, atheists want to "debate" religion, as if the outcome depends on who has the best rational "argument." Their (rather naive) assumption is that left-brain-dominant linear thinking is the only way of "knowing" the truth, because that is all they know.

    Unfortunately, many stupid Christians attempt to engage them at this level. It doesn't work.

    Right. And if God could be reasoned into easily-verified existence, who'd need faith?

    Anyway, people for whom this subject is something of a passion (no pun intended, I swear) may enjoy the discussion here. Be warned: Lively, but long.

    UPDATE: I neglected to mention that my husband* totally kicks ass in that thread. I insist he put his feet up and allow me to fetch him a tasty beverage this minute. That's his only flaw, you know: He's so driven, he sometimes works too hard.

    *You remember the wedding, of course.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:43 PM | Comments (6)

    He Figured He Was a Grown Man

    So says the mother of one of the teenaged suspects in the murder of reservist Paul Berkley, explaining that she'd never approved of her young son's affair with Paul's wife, Monique:

    Christine Canty told the newspaper that she had been bickering with her son about his affair with Monique Berkley for the better part of a year.

    “She didn’t sit right with me from the moment I met her,” she told the paper. “It bothered me because she was older, and I wondered why she was hanging out with my son. He figured he was a grown man and could do what he wanted.”

    . . .

    This year, Andrew Canty told his mother that he and Monique Berkley had begun a sexual relationship, Christine Canty told The News & Observer. He allegedly moved in with her in April, a few months after her husband shipped out.

    Andrew Canty's age is reported as 18 currently, though I don't know if he was a minor when he began this affair or not. If he was, I can think of a number of things mom could have done to call a halt to this, including calling Child Protective Services and notifying Paul Berkley of his wife's infidelity.

    You'd think a man might deserve to know if his wife's moving a little underage booty into his home while he's away, wouldn't you? But no, let's leave these decisions up to a mere boy who figured he was a grown man. Ain't none of our business anyhow.

    (Via Little Miss Attila.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:24 PM | Comments (1)

    December 24, 2005

    The Dickens You Say

    A Christmas Carol

    Just click it. And then go tell a certain naysayer what you think of his assessment that "Cracked was for pussies."

    Then again, don't. Why ruin a perfectly pleasant day? To hell with that pussy.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:52 PM | Comments (4)

    This is Why, if I Ever Marry, I Will Elope

    Was reading The Food Whore today and this phrase jumped out at me: "Money dance."

    Money dance?! But yes, apparently:

    The "money dance" originated as a custom in Poland, and is a popular tradition found celebrated in the weddings of today. It takes place sometime after the first dance and is usually announced by the DJ. It is customary for the best man to begin dancing with the bride, pinning money onto her gown or putting it into a satin bag carried by the bride, especially for the money dance. A newer rendition of this money dance includes bridesmaids and other ladies dancing with the groom, pinning money on his lapel.

    Okay, a little tacky, but what do you expect? They're Polacks (man, please nobody get on my ass about that, I am only kidding, I LOVE YOU, POLAND!).

    However, another site describes the vulgar turn this custom has taken over here:

    We're aware of an Italian wedding where the newlyweds walked away with a clean $1,200. While you lick your chops after hearing this, be advi$ed that we are not trying to influence your decision on whether or not to have a Money Dance at your wedding reception. We'll just give you $ome background information on it to help you make another of your deci$ions.

    Some couples hesitate because they feel like it isn't done very often. Get real!! We estimate that the Money Dance is done at well over half of all the wedding receptions around here, running the gamut from the ones held in the modest KC halls, through the large reception halls, and all the way to those in hotel and country-club ballrooms.

    You say some of your guests might be offended? Who? Grumpy old Uncle Louie and tight-as-a-shrimp's-tail Aunt Bess, who is so cheap she flips the paperboy for double or nothing? Get with it . . . all of your guests have seen the Money Dance at so many wedding receptions that now it's just part of the landscape, like the popcorn machine in the lobby at the movies.

    In other words, as usual, no one stood up and screamed, "Are you fucking kidding me?" the first time a happy couple pulled this con, so now we're all desensitized to it, and that's a good enough reason to beg away, bride and groom!


    And imagine--grumpy old Uncle Louie, spending his pension money on a tux and on a gift for your bridely ass, not wanting to pony up just to dance with you. That cheap bastard! Get with it, grumpy old Uncle Louie!

    Personally, I'm feeling a wave of affection for grumpy old Uncle Louie just now. C'mere, Louie. I'll buy you a beer. We can talk about how everything's gone to hell since the Korean War.

    What in blazes is wrong with this country? You know who gets paid money to dance with you?--A STRIPPER. That's what you want everyone to be reminded of on your wedding day?

    "Look how beautiful she is, Henry. Why, she just glides across the floor--oh, she's turning around! She's rubbing his crotch with her ass! That ought to be worth another twenty, at least. Well, she and Bob should have next month's mortgage payment before too long, way things are going."

    Money dance. A money dance. Because you didn't aggravate the piss out of everyone already by making them get dressed up in uncomfortable clothes to sit through your epic-length vows that you wrote yourself to make them more "personally meaningful." Money dance.

    But there's a silver lining to this money dance custom: Sometimes it doesn't come off quite as planned.

    Thank goodness.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:53 PM | Comments (2)

    December 23, 2005

    Not to be Missed

    I am forever recommending Kesher Talk to people--just did so in an email this week, in fact--but here I have occasion to do so again: Judith Weiss' Munich Massacre series, or, everything you thought you knew about the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games, plus a wealth of things you probably didn't.

    I'm an ignorant moron about most things, especially about historical events (I was all of three in 1972), and by now I'm pretty used to feeling stupid. That many years, that much dumbness--I've reached a comfort zone with it. But even my protective layers of sweet, cushioning ignorance weren't enough to spare me the embarrassment of realizing how much I'd simply never known about this. To take just one mortifying example: I honestly didn't know the International Olympic Committee has never done anything to acknowledge or memorialize the slain athletes.

    Nothing. Eleven athletes murdered at an event meant to bring the world together peacefully--and nothing.

    There's a wealth of material available online about Munich now, thanks to Judith and all the other bloggers who participated in her 2002 blogburst on the subject. You can start at the homepage, and read as much or as little as you're able. You'll learn things, things you wouldn't learn from Steven Spielberg. Much of it is frankly heartbreaking.

    Highly recommended.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

    December 17, 2005

    I'm Like to Kill

    Hands up: Who has a relative who has, this year or in years past, done his or her level best to ruin this so-called Season of Joy?

    Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

    CLARIFICATION: As much as I'd like to describe the specific incident that prompted me to post this, I cannot. But let's just say this goes way, way, way beyond a touch of Scroogeness. I not only don't mind a touch of Scroogeness, I indulge in it often myself.

    No, this is more like one of those moments when you think to yourself, "Okay, I'm a little dumb sometimes. Of course I am. I'm not perfect. But am I as dumb as this person, this person to whom I'm ostensibly related by blood? In fact, has anyone ever verified this? How do I know we're really related? Someone should run a DNA test--right after I run her dumb bitch ass over with a truck."

    This is way beyond mere Christmas carol fatigue. Way beyond.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:55 AM | Comments (6)

    September 15, 2005

    I Get Emails

    For some time after I wrote this, I got emails. I do not want to quote any of them directly here, as I have not obtained permission from their authors to do so; besides, they could all be fairly paraphrased as below:

    Thank you for writing that. I have been weblogging since [date]. I take the time to make sure what I have to say is clear, concise, sourced, and researched. I don't mean to sound boastful, but I think I can honestly say that the work I do is as good or better than that of some of the male bloggers out there.

    It really makes me mad when some guy like [male blogger] says either that there aren't any women bloggers, or that the women bloggers out there aren't any good. There are many of us who are highly readable, but these guys will not give us links. They're too busy reading each other even to notice we're here.

    Anyway, just wanted to say 'thanks.' I'm glad it's not just me who has noticed what sexist jerks they are.

    No, I would think, it's not just you.

    But for some reason, it is "just me" who will say it in public.

    Some of you aren't going to like this; but then, I think some of you need to toughen up and face a few unpleasant facts. Starting with this one:

    You know what I like best about Ms. Lauren and Jill?

    They don't send me emails.

    Lauren and Jill don't send me emails because they don't have to send me emails. On their side of the aisle, something very basic, very simple, and very just is widely understood to be inarguable:

    Sexism is wrong.


    This is the part where some eager beaver clicks the "Comments" link in a frenzy to tell me that a commenter at feministe called Michelle Malkin that word! BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!

    You know what the difference between that guy and Jeff is?

    That guy acknowledged it was wrong. Publicly.

    Whereas Jeff never will.

    Jeff will never apologize because that's not what real men do.

    What real men do is call women bimbos in a purely ironic sense in order to highlight the hypocrisy.

    Let's try that ourselves:

    Adam Sandler comments on remarks by Protein Wisdom's "Jeff" arguing that, because someone at feministe called Michelle Malkin a cunt (which had nothing to do with the post's author, who had not done so herself) on a supposedly feminist weblog, his calling the author a "bimbo" is not worthy of response by angry, humorless feminists:

    "Gee! And I thought I was an unfunny Jew."

    Yep. I can hear the laughter all the way from here.

    Sexism is wrong. Anti-semitism is wrong. Racism is wrong. That's why it's such a good thing none of them exist anymore.

    The real problem in America today is identity politics.

    I agree with most of Jeff's arguments about identity politics, actually. It's partly what got me arguing with Amanda Marcotte (and later Lauren--yes that Lauren) here and here. Somehow I managed to get through it without calling anyone a bimbo or a cunt. Didn't even need a thesaurus.

    I think that might be because I stuck to attacking the arguments. Which is just what Jeff advocated with regard to Cindy Sheehan:

    The left’s attempt to turn Sheehan into a martyr should not—NOT—be met with anything less than a barrage of accurate counterfactuals, including the constant publication and dissemination of her writings, speeches, etc., as well as a dispassionate and straightforward analysis of her attendants, handlers, and the rhetorical strategies they have adopted to push her narrative.
    So it's jarring to read the same man reject "a barrage of counterfactuals" in favor of a recurring joke that was never that funny to begin with.

    I suppose one argument against breaking out the "counterfactuals" against Jill might run like this:

    "Look, if she honestly doesn't understand why the events of September 11 were acts of war, not acts of terrorism, then obviously the two sides aren't even speaking the same language anymore, and there's just no point even debating the issue."

    That's why people maintain political weblogs, that's why they all read each other's weblogs, and that's why they link to posts they find there: So they can not even debate stuff.

    Glad that's been cleared up.

    I am not going to get any emails on this post, unless I get one kicking me out of the Cotillion. I don't think that I will, but I could be wrong. Beth is pretty tolerant, pretty laissez-faire. You have to be, to keep a group of that many women from killing each other. Anyway, she knew I was a man-hating freak with an axe to grind when she signed me up.

    I am not going to get any emails on this post because what I have learned is this:

  • Most women on the right agree that sexism continues to be a problem, but

  • No two women on the right can agree that sexism continues to be a problem at the same time.

    Sexism continues to be a problem, in the minds of some women, only when sexism happens to them. Until then, no es problema.

    When it is a problem? That's when I get emails.

    Well, pardon the language but fuck that shit. Where's my cape? Where's my boots? Where's my mask? Where's my superpower? Who told you to call me?

    You know what you can do the next time a man on the internet disregards what you said in favor of attacking you for who you are?

    You can go back through your archives, read every word you ever wrote about how feminism has ruined America, and choke on each and every one.

    And before any of you shake any fingers of outrage at me and ask how I can defend those lefty bitches! When they called Michelle Malkin that word!, you can recall that when I say sexism is wrong, I say it no matter which direction it's coming from.

    Which is a polite way of saying I've been a lot more logically consistent than some of you have been.

    You might be asking yourself something like this:

    "I don't get it. Why're you dragging conservative women into this? What did they do in any of this? They didn't do anything!"

    Thank you for making my point.

    Sexism is wrong. I've run out of clever ways to say it. Luckily I don't need to find new ones. Jeff's searched his heart; his conscience is clear that he wasn't demeaning women with his post.

    We should conduct criminal investigations this way. We'll just ask the accused if he's searched his heart and whether his conscience is clear. The best part?

    No more jury duty!

    This was really just a long preamble to saying that I'm quitting this blog.

    I'm getting a sex change. Not in real life, but in internet life. I intend to come back as a man.

    I'm not worried about whether I can pull it off. I'm pretty sure I can. Perhaps it won't work and I'll wind up unmasked, exposed--a Libertarian Girl in reverse (but, dear God, I do hope with better writing, and definitely with better ideas).

    I don't care. It will be nice to have a some time, however much time that works out being, to see what it's like to just not deal with the bullshit. To see what it's like when the worst you're ever called is a "fucking idiot" instead of a "fat disgruntled chick" or a "self-loathing skank." To see what it's like when someone says "great post" instead of "can I be your stalker?" To see what it's like when someone visits to see what you wrote, not to see whether you've put up a picture on the "About" page yet.

    It will be so nice to just not deal with the laugh-out-loud hilarity of bimbo jokes. As a man, I'll be able to ignore all that. Even if I don't ignore all that, my objections will be far more likely to be met with "I disagree, but I respect your opinion" than "I can pretty much guarantee these ladies / girls / women / wymyn / people don’t want to goad me into a debate on feminism and identity politics."

    No more bullshit. No more crying and complaining from women who whip out that word with a quickness at each other, but then can't figure out why suddenly some guy's treating them like a 10-cent whore.

    "All . . . all I did was p-p-post a p-p-picture! Why's everyone leering? Why won't they read what I wrote? Oh, this never happens to Instapundit! Oh, why? Why is that jerk so . . . so hateful?"

    Because he watched you, dumbass. YOU. He watched that pronoun beginning with "y," ending in "u," and containing one "o" in the middle. He watched you do it, so he figured he could.

    "She won't mind. She's no . . . feminist."

    You all have fun not being feminists. I'm off to get me a virtual dick.

    I intend to swing that fucker like you wouldn't believe.

    ELSEWHERE: Hubris.

    ALSO: Cassandra, Meryl, Judith, Sadie, and Jeff "How Can I Work My Injured Psyche Into This News Story?" Goldstein. Cassandra may be amused to learn that her post title gets truncated to "time_for_an_ass" on the ol' Sitemeter (and then again she may not, 'cause we're all humorless harpies in these parts). Meryl left third-degree burns on . . . somebody. Judith is probably the closest you'll get to "fair and balanced" in this whole (as she puts it) kerfluffle (I love that word. It's fun to say. Try it!). And Sadie said way too many nice things about me. I am embarrassed.

    As for Jeff, perhaps some bad poetry will cheer him:

    Western Civ slides headlong into dhimmitude
    Down its slippery slopes, we bump and we groove
    Singing those Allah-in-the-ice-cream-cone blues
    As we slide down the hillside to dhimmitude

    It begins with a simple request for respect
    (That we keep getting told we just haven't earned yet)
    "Quit bitching and moaning! You're getting upset!
    You hysterical womyn! All ugly, I'll bet!

    "Besides, after all, who started it first?
    'Bimbo' or 'cunt'--now which one is worse?

    "Identity politics will ruin this land
    Suck it dry of all freedoms--I must make my stand
    'Gainst bitches and bimbos who'd scatter like sand
    All that I hold dear, all that makes me--a MAN."

    So know this, amigas, if you dare to complain
    There's a very good chance you'll drive some guy insane
    To the point that jihadists and
    you, he will claim
    Are so few steps removed that they're almost the same.

    Down, down the hillside to dhimmitude
    And it's
    your fault for saying folks shouldn't be rude
    Here is your burqa, your prayer mat. Don't brood!--
    It's just what you asked for, you man-hating prude.

    Have a great week, everybody.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:12 AM | TrackBack
  • September 13, 2005

    Hack Work

    One of those things that irritates me, and I'm wondering if I'm in the minority or the majority about it:

    Does it bother you when a blogger quotes several--more than 4, let's say--paragraphs from a major media source like the New York Times, and caps it off with only a sentence or two of his own above and below the excerpt?

    I understand not having faith that your readers will indeed "read the whole thing" as you've asked them to, and I somewhat understand not wanting them to leave your site to go read that awful awful mainstream media THAT WE DON'T NEED ANYMORE, because BLOGGING IS CITIZEN JOURNALISM. (Obviously I don't agree with that last point; all I'm saying is that I understand some webloggers feel this way.)

    Hate the mainstream media all you like; it's still poor form to quote more than 4-5 paragraphs of someone else's material, and even quoting that much is pushing it--though there are exceptions, and we'll get to one in a second here.

    What's really objectionable is quoting more than 4-5 paragraphs from a mainstream media outlet and then not even having the wit to add any of your own thinking to it. In a less charitable mood than I'm in today (it is beautiful out today! Just thought I'd mention that), I'd call it thinly-disguised plagiarism--which I rank well below outright, I'm-not-even-trying-to-hide-it plagiarism.

    But so no one gets the wrong idea, let me give you an example of what I'm not talking about: Quoting from other sources extensively when those sources are used as support for a point you're trying to make--a point you develop and explore thoroughly, a point which is, uh, the point of the post in the first place. I'm all for that. When the quoted material plays a supporting role in a post that could stand on its own (and would, in the hands of a weblogger less meticulous about providing evidence for his or her assertions), it's appropriate.

    It also has the effect of making me more likely to indeed "read the whole thing," because now the weblogger has shown me he's genuinely interested in the material. If it's got him thinking, I reason, it might get me thinking.

    So I'm not talking about just extensive quoting; it can have its place. I'm talking about extensive quoting to which you add no thought of your own. No thought besides "that was a good article," I mean.

    The most annoying habit is webloggers linking to other webloggers' posts that are literally nothing but half a New York Times article framed by one sentence of introduction and one sentence in conclusion. That's revolting. I get annoyed when I click a link someone's provided, only to see that I must now either (1) click a link to the New York Times and read the whole thing, or (2) content myself with the 1/2 to 2/3 of the article "helpfully" reprinted by the weblogger in his excerpt.

    Look: If you know another weblogger has put up one of these half-assed, read-the-whole-thing-(but-here's-2/3-of-it-in-case-you-don't) posts, why on earth would you link that? Why reward poor effort? Do you get a secret thrill out of linking another weblogger (a true independent! A real maverick! Someone not answerable to The Man!) over those nassssty journalists?

    Then grow up. Next time, bypass his lazy ass and go right to the source. Give credit where credit is due. Otherwise you're just jerking your readers around, showing them no respect. Isn't that part of what earned professional journalism a poor reputation in the first place?

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:32 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

    Feel the Beat From the Tamborine

    Cotillion time! This week presented by:


    Portia Rediscovered (who's responsible for the ABBA reference in the title)

    TFS Magnum

    Townhall C-Log

    What exactly was ABBA talking about with that tamborine line in "Dancing Queen," anyhow? "Feel the beat from the tamborine?" Don't you normally hit a tamborine on the off beat? I know nothing about music and I'm not sure, on reflection, that I want to set off a discussion about the Abba catalog, as some of you will doubtless say mean things about it. You will be correct in your assessment, and I will go on liking all their dumb songs anyway. That's just the way it is.

    Click any of the links to this week's hostesses or just stuff yourself here. Enjoy!

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:20 PM

    September 10, 2005

    Fearless Overachiever Alert


    Go keep him company. I gotta work.

    UPDATE: Not that this is helping with the work thing. Seriously, you can kind of just sit there and keep hitting "refresh."

    Also, a plan to heal the political divide in these so-called United States appears to have been proposed. Who said liquor never solved anything?

    UPDATE II: And I think at last I understand what you "disco sucks" people were on about--see Lauren's link in comment #16. Oy.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 09, 2005

    The Marvelous, Magical Reappearance of the Post That Went Missing

    It's like this:

    I get real pissy when someone argues with me by claiming I wrote things I didn't actually write. I'm willing to defend what I write. I'm not willing to get into a pissing match of the form "You said that!" "I did not say that, I said this." "Yes you did say that!" "Where?" "Right here." "That's not what it says here." "Yes it is!"

    That's some tedious business right there. No thank you. I'll pass.

    I also get real pissy when I try to do something collaborative or cooperative and someone reacts to it with chest-thumping machismo.

    "PUSSY! You folded, folded 'cause you're a pussy! I was right and you were wrong!"

    No, you're a macho asshole and I'm sick of your dumb shit.

    But that's no reason this shouldn't be up for the rest of you to read. So--again thanks to Ms. Lauren, who saved it--here it is.

    I realize plenty of bloggers generate over 60 comments per post on most of their posts, every day, seven days a week, but I'm not accustomed to that action. I'm not even certain I like it, as after about comment 30 the ADD kicks in and I can no longer follow what anyone's talking about.

    What were you all talking about?

    Right--the subject that's perceived as carrying too much weight on the left and too little weight on the right: Race relations. "Those leftist race-baiters play the race card at every opportunity, even when it makes no sense," grouse the conservatives. "Those wingnuts keep trying to sweep the racists in their midst under the rug, but it won't work this time!" holler the progressives. We talk too much about race! We don't talk enough about race! Shut up! Say something!

    So the subject that everyone is dying to talk about it or is thoroughly sick of talking about, depending, generated the most comments ever here. You're all lucky I don't declare it Race Relations Week. It's only my terrific laziness that keeps me from becoming a repulsive, opportunistic blog whore.

    In the course of talking about what no one wanted to talk about, Ms. Lauren offered to share her personal experiences with racism, partly as explanation, I think, for some of the views she expressed in the comments.

    And I jumped on that offer, you better believe. I never write a blog entry that someone else could largely write for me. I hit paydirt, too. I got three articles for the price of one (which is no price, which is the best part of the whole scam right there, but you know what I mean.).

    Let me head off one criticism at the outset:

    Yes, these are her personal experiences, so could the smartass who jumped out of his seat to object to the inttroduction of "anecdotal evidence" please sit down? Thank you. For one thing, if you ever skimmed the blogroll you'd note that the ratio of personal blogs to political ones is fairly even; obviously, your hostess doesn't get the heebies when people get personal.

    For another thing, personal experience (are you sitting down for this?) shapes people, offering a much better explanation for why one person sees race issues where another does not than "because that lying bastard, Jesse Jackson, didn't waste a minute playing the race card," or "because they're all mooooooooooon-bats."

    In that spirit, here are Ms. Lauren's three posts:

    Life in a Red State, As I Know It

    Ms. Lauren currently attends Purdue University in Indiana. Her experiences living there are recounted in response to a particularly poor David Brooks column, in which Mr. Stereotype asks, "why is it that people who are completely closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they are?" This is her answer.

    Rick Santorum and Pitting the Working Mothers Against the "Non-Losers"

    This post has nothing to do with race, something to do with class, and everything to do with feminism (and to any of you who may have just vomited at the reappearance of the f-word in this blog: Go get a bucket and clean that up. Now.). It's included also because it demonstrates the kinds of debates that play out in the letters to the editor section of Ms. Lauren's local paper, and how that political climate has affected her view of conservatism.

    Whiteness As I Know It

    This, I'll let the excerpt speak for itself:

    suddenly, the topics strayed from the literary readings and began to focus on the class’s personal experiences of race and racism. the n-word began getting thrown around with surprising freedom (the students maintained that it pertained to the discussion although it made many of us uncomfortable) and one day, a student admitted to having lots of friends in the KKK. “in fact,” he declared one day, “my boy scout troop used to camp on KKK camping ground every year. they were really nice people.” he then added that he did not consider himself racist.
    [Emphasis mine.] Because of my age and my own "personal experiences" growing up, the Klan always seemed like a purely historical entity to me--they don't really matter anymore, right? Their numbers have dwindled to the point of irrelevancy, right? No one's actually in the thing besides a bunch of old racists left over from the dark ages, right?

    Maybe wrong.

    Final thing here--if you visit feministe, please be respectful and not, you know, a raging wingnut asshole. Sometimes it's terrific fun to be a raging wingnut asshole--I know, I know, believe me--but there are plenty other places to do that on the internet, besides the one I'm sending you to because I think what she writes is worth reading. It'd be like if I said, "Go see so-and-so about a car, I think you'll like the model he's driving" and you went over there and pissed on the tires. Why do a thing like that?

    Act at least housebroken, is all I'm saying. I think you'll find she can handle disagreement with equanimity.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:19 PM | Comments (12)

    I Don't Know, You Title It

    I'm not really getting this post by Jane Galt, probably because I'm not buying at least half the assertions she makes. The poor are areligious?

    The poor were less likely to have cars, or know people with access to cars. They are less likely to be connected with churches or other social organisations that could have functioned to make sure they got out.
    The whole post is like that--one assertion that has me nodding my head ("less likely to have cars") followed immediately by one that has me scratching it ("less likely to be connected with churches"). Jane wrote this once, so she can't be entirely ignorant of life in the cheap seats. Well, maybe it's different in New York, or maybe she knows something I don't, but in general, it has not been my experience that the poor are "less likely to be connected with churches."

    And then there's this harping on education:

    The poor do not listen to news as frequently, or as intently, as the middle class, meaning that they had a much hazier idea of what was going on, even if they had had the education to understand what a Class Five hurricane was.
    Pardon me, but how much education does one need to "understand" what a Class Five hurricane is? I'm not even sure how much native intelligence you need--all you're asking anyone to grasp is that Class Five is very big and very bad. I can't figure out how to get out of Dodge without my Master's now, is that it? No, I am not buying this one--obviously education isn't all that if someone who actually has some is claiming it's required in order to get your head around "Class Five hurricane."

    As for this:

    The poor are vastly less responsive to public education efforts than the middle class (I've seen few good theories as to why). This meant that they didn't take evacuation warnings seriously.
    I have a theory as to why: Maybe because they resent being condescended to by the people providing public education. Maybe the people in charge of providing that public education are exhibiting some of the same attitude I'm finding in . . . this post. Maybe they lose sleep nights over whether someone with a GED can comprehend a hurricane severity scale that goes from 1 to 5.

    "Harold, I'm worried. These people have so little education!"

    UPDATE: One of those she-said-it-better-than-I-did moments. From the comments, Moebius Stripper on that whole they-won't-respond-to-public-education thang:

    The statements that the poor don't listen to the news frequently, and that they're less responsive to public education efforts, were the ones that blew my mind the most. This might have something to do with the fact that the bulk of my exposure to The Poor has been with impoverished immigrants and refugees, and I've never met a group of people who took better advantage of public education efforts of all flavours. In particular, I'm acquainted with a mother and daughter who moved to Canada less than three years ago, and didn't speak a word of English at the time. They live in a bachelor apartment, and sleep on a double mattress - in other words, these folks are not rich. And they have the radio on constantly, and all of the librarians knew them by name because they're at the library several times a week. Because, well, listening to the news and borrowing books from the library are ways to educate oneself for free. But if there were a major earthquake in our neck of the woods, I don't know if they'd be able to get out of town. They don't have cars, and although they have close ties to their community, most of the members of that community are carless immigrants too.
    And while education might eventually relieve some of those circumstances--obviously the immigrant families haunting the library believe it will--it's not going to be the kind of education you can provide in a two-minute public service announcement.

    I think in that earlier racism thread I said something about wanting to identify concrete causes before dealing with abstract ones. That's just my nature, but this backs me up on it, because "The poor are vastly less responsive to public education efforts" is just the sort of sentence that results when you weight the abstract more heavily than the concrete; in this case, the assumed relative knowledge and comprehension of an economic class before the more practical issue of lack of transportation.

    Whether having high school diplomas instead of GEDs might have helped people achieve higher incomes, enabling them to own cars, is not really something I consider important in this context, in the immediate aftermath when folks are trying to pin down what all went wrong. "The poor won't listen to us" strikes me as something of a copout here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:56 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

    If You've Come for the Hate-a-thon You're in the Wrong Place, Baby

    Permit me to direct you to the right one.

    A few weeks ago, I think, Judith Weiss linked something-or-other of Andrea's and remarked:

    (I don’t mean to slight the lovely Ilyka, but I think she’d agree that neither of us is worthy of the Great Andrea and Meryl.)
    And I would agree. I do agree. I didn't leave a comment to that effect only because I happen to have this little thing called an ego, and saying "I agree! By comparison, I suck!" was asking a bit much of it. But is Judith right? Yes. She's right.

    For some reason I always get stuck explaining this. I get some variant of the question, "How can you like her when she's such a bitch?" The too-easy, too-simple answer (but nonetheless the one that leaps to mind reflexively) is, "Because she's such a bitch."

    A better one might be, at least partially, this: Because I'm a slut for writing ability. I roll right over for the deft turn of phrase and good simile makes me shiver. I know people who are trying to flex those muscles in their writing--me for one--and watching that process occur is like watching me on the treadmill: sad, sad, sad. They reach too far or they try too hard, and they wind up collapsed in a heap on the floor, three feet from a dead cockroach, gasping for an inhaler.

    I like to think Andrea went through some such early period herself--it helps me maintain delusions of competence--but my point is, she's not in it now, and it shows:

    Anyway, the use of the tears ‘n’ slop soundtrack [on cable news channels] is especially annoying in this context, because there exists a much more apropos musical genre which is readily available at any cd store. But except for a few broadcasts here and there of displaced NOLA jazz musicians playing on Larry King Live and the like it’s as if Mississippi Delta blues, jazz, and zydeco never existed. What do you people think all those sad songs were written about, stuff people made up? Also, it might give a little dignity to the plight of the survivors, and remind people of the good things about New Orleans. There’s a reason that despite the massive corruption, graft, poverty, and general crappiness that ran through the city like mold through bleu cheese there was also quite a bit of that “culture” Our Liberal Betters are always blatting about. But instead we get the theme to “Oprah.”
    And now you know why I don't see the point of paying for cable. It's bad enough I pay $45 a month for DSL, but at least with the internet, if something annoys me, it's my own damn fault for clicking on it. If cable news annoys me, what choice have I got? Every other channel is going to be just as annoying. People who make distinctions between FOX and CNN amaze me. They both suck; it's just that one works the tongue against the right side of the head and the other works it against the left. But the ways in which they are similarly crappy outnumber the ways in which they are differently so. The only time I see cable news is when I'm in the workout room, and then I have to endure the sighs and harrumphs from the kids in there with me who are mad that they're missing MADE. It's easier to just tune it to HGTV and really piss them off.

    Anyway: Andrea's is where you want to go for true, authentic, homestyle right-wing hate. Of course, she'll delete anything offensive you say to her, and ban you from viewing the site at all if you annoy her excessively. But in that sense, it should feel just like home.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:32 AM

    September 08, 2005

    Oh, I Don't Think So

    Wouldn't you much rather read something you already agree with? Something that supports you, something that enforces your existing beliefs, something . . . soothing? Of course you would. Of course you would. Sshh, sshh . . . go back to sleep. That's a good baby.

    UPDATE: Still feeling optimistic? Then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:52 PM

    September 07, 2005

    Countdown to the Opening Bars of "I Hate This Country, Americans Are Just a Bunch of Jesusfreak SHEEPLE"

    Begins now.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Now That's Good News

    Hallelujah, Rob and his family are doing okay.

    Sounds like they have some very good friends and neighbors down there, too. Excellent.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 06, 2005


    This week it's about celebrating the heroes ("great and small," as Merri puts it) in the face of disaster. Annika. Merri. Right Girl. Stacy. All great stuff, with all the class and flair you've come to expect from these women.

    Check it out here, here, and here if you prefer. Just--check it out.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Possibly of Interest to the Medically Oriented

    . . . though hopefully of interest to everyone following the tragedy in Louisiana: Kellipundit shares her battle to get medications to patients in need:

    Yesterday I spent about 5 hours in the triage room at a local shelter. I was at an unrelated hospital function and the CEO walks in and tells a group of us (me, a pharmacist, and the rest Docs) that 400 'patients' had just been dropped off at a local shelter. We all boarded ambulances and went out there. Words can not describe what I walked into.
    Read it. Read it. I'm afraid this is another episode that doesn't speak well of the American Red Cross. Told by a major pharmaceutical company that vouchers from the Red Cross would suffice in lieu of copayment for medications, Kellipundit promptly contacts the Red Cross regional office:
    Okay, so then I'm off to talk with the Red Cross to ask where these magical vouchers could be located.

    Regional director American Red Cross: "We're still working on that, but our national office has to approve it."

    What the hell??


    Snagged from this week's Cotillion. I'll put up the usual notice about that, but I admit it--I wanted to single this one out. People are running out of insulin, out of asthma medication--but the national office has to approve vouchers.

    You see why I'm for more power in the hands of those who are on-scene, local, and could actually do some good wielding it?--You see why I'm not in favor of centralizing it all? This is why. Don't kid yourself that this is unique to the Red Cross--when all the power's held by those far from the scene, you can't grab 'em by the lapels and shake 'em into action.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:08 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    September 05, 2005

    Racists, Racists Everywhere

    They've completely infected the right. COMPLETELY. Their poison is seeping into the discourse of mainstream conservatism. Hey, I didn't say it--this guy did:

    Like something that came crawling out of the flooded cellars, the ugly side of right-wing extremism has surfaced in the wake of the disaster in New Orleans -- and, as usual, it's beginning to seep into the discourse from mainstream conservatism too.
    As evidence, the author provides links and excerpts to and from the following:

  • David Duke. We know how beloved this man is on our side, hey, righties? We know how lovingly he's been quoted and linked to by Instapundit, Captain's Quarters, Little Green Footballs--and that regular column he has at National Review, why, I read it every week. Haven't missed a one. This man is deity among mainstream conservatives.

  • American Renaissance. What do you mean, "I've never heard of American Renaissance?" Why of course you have! It's linked everywhere and sourced continually. You've just . . . forgotten. Yes, that's it.

  • George Neumayr of the American Spectator. Well, now we're getting somewhere--I'm at least passingly familiar with American Spectator. Unfortunately, I'm having difficulty seeing the tidal wave of race hatred I'm told I'll find in this column. Is it where he says--

    Conservative black leaders have been mau-maued into silence whenever they tell the truth about this barbarism and call for dramatic reform. But they are the ones who must lead the city now, and the phonies at organizations like the NAACP who despite all their rhetoric haven't done a thing to help the black underclass should step aside. Hurricane Katrina has made vivid the civilizational collapse they have long tried to conceal.
    . . . ? I'm guessing it is. I guess now calling for more authority for black leaders makes you a racist--provided those leaders are conservative. Besides, he knocked the NAACP, and we all know having a beef with the NAACP makes you a racist automatically.

  • Some article by some Jamaican guy--look, I'm running out of patience already. He's not a "conservative," let alone a mainstream one. And if you ask me, he's a Jamaican like "John Adams of Los Angeles" was a U.S. citizen. Not buying it. If he really is a Jamaican--

    Desperation? Yeah, right. I am beginning to believe that black people, no matter where in the world they are, are cursed with a genetic predisposition to steal, murder, and create mayhem.
    --may he burn in Hell for eternity for such a disgusting, despicable statement (actually, may he burn whatever his background). Anyway, ech, let's continue.

  • A commenter named "Jeeves."

    Let me repeat that, because I suspect some folks out there are getting a little desensitized to the insanity, not that I blame them--but:

    A blog commenter. Named "Jeeves." Is cited. As evidence. That racism is seeping into mainstream conservatism.

    A dude on the internet.

    Yeah, I'm familiar with ol' Jeeves. He's a racist. He came to my old blog after I'd linked a post by Solotude. He gave me some hassle, I told him to fuck off, end of story.

    He's a mainstream conservative like every denizen of Democratic Underground is a mainstream liberal. Do you want us to start beating that drum again, lefties? I seem to recall many of you were embarrassed, angry, and resentful about being lumped in with some of the crazy to be found on that forum--as well you ought to have been. Just as I'm embarrassed, angry, and resentful that some racist dickhead who hasn't so much as a weblog of his own is now being held up as an example of "mainstream conservatism."

    Except for one thing: I'm not embarrassed; I'm furious. I don't have anything to be embarrassed about. I am not a racist, and this man does not represent me, my views, or "my side." And you on the left who have tried to put him there--you're like preschoolers trying to stuff the square block into the triangular hole, and that's the charitable view of it--that you're just that ignorant.

    The uncharitable view of it is that you are malicious liars.

    Anyhow, no link for Jeeves because, having dealt with him before, I am loathe to deal with him again. It's very tedious dealing with racists--tedious and ugly. I prefer, when possible, simply depriving them of a forum in which to spread their hate.

    Besides, I'm afraid we're not done yet. Continuing:

  • A commenter named "Mark J." at Jane Galt's site. Have I already dealt with the idiocy of holding up every deranged hatemonger on the internet as a "mainstream conservative?" I would ask why Orcinus overlooked the other 91 commenters who weren't racists a la Mark J., except that I know perfectly well why he overlooked them, and you do too: Because it didn't shore up his point. "Make the data fit"--that's the modus operandi here.

    Having begun by promising his readers they'd see racism "beginning to seep into the discourse from mainstream conservatism too," Orcinus now--after six examples--moves the goalposts:

    Meanwhile, the same meme is spreading to mainstream conservatives
    Oh now wait, WAIT. So those weren't mainstream conservatives up above? Fine, then. Let's see how the mainstream's really represented:

  • Free Republic--also much-beloved on the right, very mainstream. Saying "Free Republic" to most conservatives leads to a heavy sigh much as you'd hear coming from the mother of a fractious four year-old if you greeted her with, "Your son, Brandon . . . ." It's not that mom doesn't like Brandon; it's just that he causes so much trouble sometimes. So it is with Free Republic, generally--they get a thumbs-up when they're exposing fake memos and a thumbs down, oh, say, once a week or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less--but pretty regularly.

    Anyway, apparently the problem with Free Republic is that some of the posters there are decrying "gangsta culture."


    So look: Just slap my fanny and call me a racist, then, because I don't like "gangsta culture." I don't believe anyone who likes African-Americans and prefers them, you know, alive, can honestly claim to like "gangsta culture." Gangsta culture might annoy some white folks, but it primarily kills black men. And promoting that's not racist?

    Anyone who says, "Oh, there is no such thing--that's a media invention" is a privileged asshole who's been luckier than he or she knows. Much luckier. Gangstas ruin everything. They rob, they beat people up, they kill each other and too often take the innocent with them, they bring down the neighborhood--ganstas suck. There are entire reggae albums dedicated to saying exactly that, but those artists, naturally, are not racist. Black people can't be racist--except when they can. Except when they're conservative.

  • And then some guy named Clayton Cramer used the adjective "savagery" to describe some of the bad behavior, and you know that whenever anyone calls something "savage," it's really just white-people code for "too black." Which is why this guy should have his column renamed--because it's racist.

    And I know you're as tired of this refrain as I am but no, actually, I had never heard of Mr. Cramer before today. Had you?

    'Cause that's the end of Orcinus's examples of mainstream conservatives who are racist.

    That's it.

    The very helpful Orcinus I found via a very helpful link from the very helpful Ms. Lauren of feministe in the comments at the very helpful Pandagon post linked here previously.

    Ms. Lauren cites Orcinus' post as evidence of "patent racism," which it is, as is the other link she provides (another site I've never heard of, incidentally. I'm really falling behind in Rightwing Racism 101 this semester!).

    What it is not is evidence that racism is practiced and promoted by mainstream conservatives.

    What it is not is evidence that racism is behind every complaint against looting. (And, as Jeff Goldstein pointed out in those same comments, how racist it is to ascribe African-American heritage to all looters in the first place, as though not one Caucasian stole anything.)

    What it is not is a reason to lay "the blame on [sic] the feet of every stupid asshole who complained about looting," if Jabbar Gibson is prosecuted for "stealing" a New Orleans city bus. Which, incidentally--I can't find a thing anywhere saying he will be.

    It is evidence that racism exists, and that some of those racists lean right.

    Just like when I link to pieces that espouse hatred of the United States, I can't help but notice many of them lean left.

    Do you like being lumped in with that crowd?

    Neither do I like being lumped in with racists.

    And I get especially angry when I see things like this that demonstrate unquestionably the willingness of right-leaning webloggers and their audiences to put their wallets where their virtual mouths are for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    To put it another way: The leading webloggers for raising donations as of this writing are Instapundit, Hugh Hewitt, and Michelle Malkin.

    Are they suddenly not mainstream conservatives anymore? If they aren't, I'll have to remind you of that the next time you're designing spoof web sites of them.

    "Eh, it ain't worth the time. Let it go. It's not like she's a mainstream conservative or anything."

    Do you believe their readers are completely ignorant of the demographics of New Orleans?

    Do you believe racists freely give money to suffering people, despite knowing that many of them are African-Americans?

    Do you believe racists freely give over $450,000 to suffering people, despite knowing that many of them are African-Americans? Because that's how much has been donated via those top three weblogs alone.

    What do you believe about conservatives, exactly?

    And how often do those beliefs coincide with reality?

    They aren't on the same page with it presently, I can tell you that--anymore than Atrios, Daily Kos, or Oliver Willis appear anywhere on that leader board.

    I do hope their absence is nothing to do with racism.

    UPDATE: A commenter points out that liberal webloggers have their own fundraisers going and are thus not represented at NZ Bear's. I wondered about that when I wrote this and should have checked before saying anything. Anyway, one such effort is here for those of you of a mind to donate.

    (As to the rest of the comment, said commenter is cordially invited to perform upon him- or herself a lobotomy with a rusted railroad spike. I mean, if you're not gonna use the material anyway . . . .)

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, either there's a two-comment maximum in effect for the right-leaning over at Pandagon, or someone objected to me responding to a guy whose idea of a pointed zinger was "I'll bet you shop off the rack at Wal-mart," I don't know which. There was, however, a comment I really did want to respond to, in which Tacitus is held up to me as an example of a guy who "gets it." Tacitus writes in part:

    . . . it must be stated forthrightly that [racism] is an enduring problem of the modern right. But it is not inherent to conservatism, nor even necessary to that movement.
    And I agree--which you happy Pandagoners would learn if you, say, read the discussion in the comments below.

    (Incidentally, at this blog I have deleted precisely two comments in as many years, and both were from people who know me offline and referenced information I considered too personal to be shared online. So don't be shy! You aren't going into a moderation queue and unless you really overreach yourself, you aren't getting deleted. Some of us can take a little back-and-forth on these here internets.)

    Where was I?--Yes, racism on the right. Well, some of that ground I've also covered here as well, though because it's so long I'll just excerpt the relevant bit, where I talk about an unhappy experience posting on the FOX News message boards during the unraveling of the 2000 election:

    My friends and I reasoned that, well, maybe this was inevitable--now that it was all over, everyone who had better things to do than fret over the gay agenda was off doing those better things. This was probably just the fringe element, the nutters who eventually take over any public forum. Most Republicans, we said, weren't like this.

    Some white supremacists had started posting openly, too, but, geez, they weren't the backbone of the party either. Couldn't be! Right? Right? It was the Dixiecrats who'd catered to and stoked the racists in their midst. The Democratic Party, not the Republican one. Gee, everybody knew that.

    Most Republicans weren't gay-bashers. Most Republicans weren't racists. But the ones who were, shouted the loudest. Eventually, no one else could be heard.

    So if you've come here to educate me that there are racists on the right, rest thy weary fingers a spell, kid, because I know there are racists on the right--and it's telling that so few are interested in determining why that is or what can be done about it; but then, it's as politically useful for the left that the right has a few racists as it is for the right that the left has a few America-haters.

    That racism exists and tends to gravitate rightward, however, was not the cudgel I took up in this post. The point of this post was to dispute that racism had seeped into the discourse of mainstream conservatism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in general; and that racism had seeped into the discourse of mainstream conservatism based on the examples provided by Orcinus, in specific.

    And to that end, I do continue to think I've done a far better job shoring up my points than Amanda has done shoring up hers. And I've done it without deleting comments or relying on ad hominem--which, yes, her response is. It is not argument to repeat "if you believe [x], you're as delusional as Ilyka Damen." I'm sorry; I didn't make that rule. Talk to the people centuries dead who did.

    Enjoy your stay. Oh!--and yes: I do shop off the rack at Wal-mart. I have to. And really, I can't tell you how tickled pink I am that this disgusts former supporters of the man who sees two Americas. Y'all just go right on ahead and keep that rhetoric coming . . . and if you could step it up some starting about, oh, 2007?--Gracias!

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:44 PM | Comments (70) | TrackBack
  • And Now, Comic Relief

    "Cool layout!" cried the commenter. "Are you using a custom template?"

    From the first comment on a post about . . . comment spam. You can see where this is going, can't you?

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 04, 2005

    Sillier and Sillier

    How bad is it down in the gulf?--Bad enough that I just received this from a supervisor at work:

    "We are receiving reports of an influx of hurricane victims at [healthcare facility]."

    Here's the location of [healthcare facility].

    So if you're anything like me, you probably read that and thought, "Wow, this is really serious! We'd better all sit down and patiently explain to Republicans how it's their fault for being racist."

    I mean, right?

    For sheer silliness it's hard to beat this back-and-forth between Ace of Spades and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon. Ace sez Amanda accuses conservatives of wanting to tar and feather the man who helped evacuate people with a stolen bus--which obviously, we don't. I first read about Stolen Bus Hero here, and I detect an admiring tone from that particular conservative; how 'bout you?

    Anyway, Ace gets a little angry:

    This little cocksucker claims that we evil racist conservatives are angry because a kid "stole" an abandoned bus and used it to evacuate people.

    Who the hell made such a charge? No one, that's who. From the beginning of this mess, conservatives have been pretty solid on the distinction between survival-driven "borrowing" and true looting.

    No one is going to bring charges against this kid, asshole. No one is going to call for charges against this kid. You call him a hero. Guess what, idiot? Everyone fucking agrees with you.

    Which, as nearly as I can tell, everyone does.

    That said, I am not seeing where Amanda accuses the right of being against the young hero. She does clumsily try to tie it together with the early looters/finders distinction:

    That's not stealing and that's not looting. This is beyond ridiculous. That's heroism. If this kid gets arrested for being a fucking hero and single-handedly saving 100 people, then I am laying the blame on the feet of every stupid asshole who complained about looting.
    And this being America, Amanda's welcome to do that--but dear sweet heavens above, do not let this woman anywhere near a courtroom, ever. Because in no dimension does "boneheaded officials wanna arrest him" result as effect from the cause of "you know, I thought that guy with the 10 pairs of jeans on his shoulder was a little out of order," or "Could we maybe try not shooting at the rescue helicopters?" or any of the dozens of sane, reasonable objections to actual bad behavior, in New Orleans particularly, that I have read this last week.

    Boneheaded officials wanna arrest him because that's bureaucracy, baby. That's government--something progressives generally clamor for more of. Well, you've got it; now do something with it. Write or call the city of New Orleans and tell 'em to quit being boneheaded if you don't like it. Or call the ACLU. Ask your readers--I hear Pandagon has a few--if they know any lawyers in the area who'd jump at the chance to make a national name for themselves for the low, low cost of a little pro bono work--I suspect you'll be flooded, ha ha, with responses to that one.

    For the last time: You have a participatory form of government. PARTICIPATE. Or:

    When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.
    But then, the woman who wrote that was not a progressive, so we can ignore her.

    Of course, if a dead Russian immigrant says people gotta take a little repsonsibility, she's just a nut who never got over that whole Soviet Union thing. If a black woman says people gotta take a little responsibility, she's a self-loathing racist:

    Back when I was growing up, real men took charge and made decisions. They protected women and children--especially their own children--and got them out of harm’s way; out of the way of things like hurricanes, especially when they had days of advance warning. And if they made the wrong decision, they tried to make things right and/or took the consequences. Like young Jabbar Gibson. [Oh, hey, didn't we tar and feather that boy yet?--ed.]

    They didn’t expect someone else to be the protector—be the man—and then whine about how the substitute man wasn’t being the substitute man fast enough.

    No one should wonder that gangs of thieves, terrorists, rapists and murderers plagued the refugees. Such are the rotten fruit of fatherless societies--societies with a dearth of real men.

    The response from various commenters then proceeds to blow your mind, and not in the fun way:

  • You fucking right wing dirtball. What a disgusting piece of shit the average Republican is, and you're no exception. Fuck you.

  • So, would you cringe if Jews in concentration camps didn't stand up for themselves? Do you think a leader should have arisen at Auschwitz to combat the Nazis? Was there something defective in their society that let them be persecuted by the Germans?

  • Here we go again with "blame the victim" and the thinly veiled racism.
  • And so on and so forth.

    What Baldilocks is describing--the scenes of men complaining that no one will help them, the mothers clearly without fathers--is applicable specifically to the people of New Orleans, many of whom are black.

    But what she's describing generally is the inevitable consequence of decades of rewarding dependence and passivity while punishing independence and action.

    That's what states do (and by "states," I do not mean specifically these united ones but governments in general), the more power you give them. It is difficult for states to manage large numbers of people; it is impossible for them to manage large numbers of people who are independent, self-motivated, and active. When you clamor for states to exhibit more of those qualities themselves--be more active on our behalf! Do more without having to be told! Decide what's best without all that dithering and filibustering!--you necessarily decrease those qualities in the populace. So help me, I didn't make that rule. It just is.

    Be more active on our behalf! means you empower government to decide what "your behalf" is.

    Do more without having to be told! means you empower government to take action without first seeking your input.

    Decide what's best without all that dithering and filibustering! means you empower government to ignore opposing viewpoints and conflicting data.

    This is what you wanted. This is what you get. It's not racist for Baldilocks to report what the news is showing her and react to it. It is racist to take any minority group and declare it a ward of the state, sentence it to permanent childhood, deny it independence.

    Which, when you apologize for behavior in one group that you wouldn't tolerate from a member of your own group--when you make the "they cain't help it, the poor oppressed Negroes" argument--is what you're doing.

    So enough already. GIVE. Pitch in and do what you can.

    Be grownups.

    A VERY NONGROWNUP UPDATE: It's remarked upon in the comments at Pandagon that Ace didn't leave a trackback.

    Yeah, you know, funny thing 'bout that: I recently turned off trackback autodiscovery, so I have to enter trackback links manually. On purpose.

    And there's only one trackback link in this post that doesn't want to go through. Which one could it be?

    Good thing Pandagon doesn't have a reputation for similar prior incidents, or folks might get to wondering just exactly whose dissent is being crushed by whom.

    MORE GROWNUPPER UPDATE: Then again, maybe the Red Cross shouldn't be your pick for charitable giving:

    There were several busses full of survivors from Louisiana brought to Georgia Tech tonight. As the first bus load arrived, there was an owner from a local restaurant there with enough hot meals for everyone. He was turned away and told that the Red Cross had enough rations, and he'd be better off selling the meals and sending the cash instead. This was told to others as they brought truckloads of diapers, clothes, toiletries, blankets, compassion, understanding and love. Those that offered to open their homes to them were told to put their names on a list until they could screen the people to see who could be trusted with other people.
    Read the whole thing. Thanks to Diamond Dave, guestposting at Snooze Button Dreams.
    Posted by Ilyka at 05:30 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    September 03, 2005

    For Jim

    . . . who's a little teed off at his fellow Atlanteans for driving up gasoline prices: Jane Galt suggests thanking them:

    But it hurts! I hear you moan. "What about my Labor Day driving?" Let me translate. What you're really saying when you say "I don't want to pay more for gas" is "I don't want to either use less gas, or use less of anything else". But as a society, we have to use less gas. You, or someone else, is going to have to consume less of the stuff, because we have less than we used to. If you don't want to be one of the people using less gas, then you have to be one of the people using less of everything else. Thus will the market pretty efficiently strip out driving by those who value it least.

    Or to put it another way, "Yes, of course it hurts. If it didn't hurt, no one would stop driving."

    If you do not read it all, please, at least read the next paragraph, which explains why that's not such a bad thing.

    (I'm just needling Jim. I know he's pro free market. Pro free market, anti dumb-animal panic buying.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2005

    And Remember, Keep it Clean

    Else you'll be spoken to.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:20 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    August 27, 2005

    Cotillion is Fun Times

    You know what the worst part is?

    She didn't make any of this up.

    Well, looks like none of us are ever running for President now.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 26, 2005

    Revisited: Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should

    That was my argument here when the whole Cindy Sheehan publicity machine cranked up. Now Rightwingsparkle says as much to the opposition:

    MoveAmericaForward.org is an organization that is countering Cindy Sheehan's protest movement. I saw an ad on TV today asking for people to join them in a caravan to Crawford Texas this weekend. The ad included a mother who had also lost a son in Iraq.

    . . .

    This will just be painful and not necessary. We all know that there are two sides to this issue. We all know what those sides believe. It is really necessary to make a spectacle out of grief????

    Her answer to that is my answer to that. The Sparkly One has it exactly right here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Experiments in Parapsychology

    Check it out, y'all: I've been up to a little something lately that's yielded the most fascinating results. I've just got to share:

    I've been studying with a medium lately, and he (yes, mediums can be male, silly) has taught me to channel the spirits of those who have passed on to the other side.

    It's mind-blowing. Seriously. You can't even imagine how cool.

    At first, I couldn't remember the results of my channeling sessions. I'd come out of the trance and have to ask my medium, Chaucer (what? That's his name!), whether anything had happened. And then Chaucer would relate the results of my session.

    "You talked to Nefertiti, girl. It was amazing. She said I should go with the granite countertops when I remodel the kitchen this fall. Oh!--and she said that turquoise blouse you bought last month needs to go and she means like immediately. 'Burn it.' Those were her exact words, girl."

    But as time has passed I've got better and better at this whole channeling thing, to the point where I don't need Chaucer to summarize the results afterward. I'm actually remembering it on my own now! Which is great, because I was starting to wonder what the odds were that every famous dead person I channeled would have an opinion on Chaucer's upcoming kitchen remodel.

    Anyway, here's what it all boils down to: All your dead relatives and like every dead president, prime minister, king, queen, etc.--they all want you to vote Republican in 2008.

    They say it's very important. "Vote the straight Republican ticket"--those were Winston Churchill's exact words. Your grandmother's, too.

    What? Why are you all scowling like that? What's offensive about this?

    What's so offensive about speaking for the dead?

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    "Karl Rove Exposing State Secrets This is Not"

    An old topic, but an "evergreen" one: Common Sense Runs Wild notes that the weblog-related firings will continue until morale improves.

    You see why I stick with the silly name? See?

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well

    Conversely, anything worth screwing up is worth screwing up spectacularly.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Dead Kid Quota

    Did you know there is one? It's true! Can't have an opinion 'bout the war unless you've met your dead kid quota.

    It's like Chris Rock's bit about white girls:

    Got to get a white girl. You're not a successful black man without a white girl. They won't even let you buy a mansion without a white girl.

    BLACK MAN: Here's your million dollars.
    REAL ESTATE AGENT: Where's your white girl? We have zoning restrictions.

    The antiwar have zoning restrictions, too--only theirs are not (intentional) comedy. Reasoned Audacity takes a peek into the quota-ruled world of Salon's Robert Crook:

    it becomes clear that what's really bothering Robert is that some of those "morons" Americans who support both the President and the war have had a front row seat for the "mess in Iraq," and have come away with a pretty different account. Robert is not too happy that many (most?) in the American military do support the war, specifically, military mom, Tammy Pruett:

    "Of course, Tammy Pruett isn't really the Anti-Cindy because none of her immediate family members have been killed in Iraq."

    Don't kid yourself that Crook quits there, either--read the whole thing.

    Where's your dead kid? We have zoning restrictions.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:45 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 24, 2005

    How It's Done

    You people who like to retire from blogging, then come back; retire from blogging, then come back; retire from blogging, then brag about how it's like you've earned a "blogger pension"--okay, not that guy. But the rest of you in love with the idea of weblogging retirement (and hey, we've all been there at least once)?

    This is how to announce your comeback:

    I’ve decided to come out of retirement. My loathing of the masses in general is fairly unhealthy and needs an outlet. I’ve also noticed a lack of quality blogging lately. What’s happened to the scorn and disgust in the blogosphere? Wherever I look I see cats and quizzes. And that’s not fucking good enough. Where’s the humiliation? The honesty? The name calling?
    That's exactly what I ask myself every single day.

    I never really read this dude before. Will I read him now? Let's ask him:

    Welcome me the fuck back.
    All right, then! Welcome back.

    (Via Snoozebutton Dreams. Man needs to come out of retirement himself is what I say. Oh, wait, he just did!)

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 23, 2005

    You Can Only Throw So Many Tantrums Before I Tune You Out

    Was going to leave this as a comment at Andrea's, on this post, but I think instead I'll say it here, if only to distract us from the fascinating subject of celebrity genitalia.

    Amy Wellborn writes:

    What interests me (well, one of the things that interests me) is the collapse of political debate that's so often reflected in these discussions. On conservative blogs and boards, criticism of the President is tantamount to High Treason (unless it's Michelle Malkin going after him for his stance on immigration reform. She gets a pass for some reason). And then discussion between the "sides?" Forget it.
    I understand where Amy's coming from about the breakdown in civil discourse. At the same time, though, I'm puzzled why every blogger I see wringing hands over this neglects to mention who turned up the furnace full blast to begin with, starting all the way back at Afghanistan.

    Of course, since Afghanistan did play more like the ideal war movie Andrea describes so perfectly in her post, everyone has since had complete amnesia about it--and now you can't find anyone who will admit opposing it, even though many on the left did at the time. Have I mentioned my cousin . . . ? Note the date: September 24, 2001. There's another one out there I'm too lazy to hunt up from an organized protest held at Oberlin (the Guardian does love talking to my cousin--or he's just an expert at positioning himself in front of a microphone, I don't know which) on October 11 that same year.

    Nope, my cousin didn't waste a minute agitating for peace. Neither did the socialists who organized the October 11 event.

    Of course, every time someone on the right suggested the antiwar crowd disengage itself from radical leftist organizations, that person was met with the rebuttal that just because you share a sandbox with shady characters doesn't mean you are a shady character yourself. This came as quite a shock to any Republican who'd ever been hit with the "racist" tag, and that's most of them. Oh!--Or are we saying no one on the left would care if conservative leaders let a bunch of neo-Nazis organize a pro-war rally? Because bullshit.

    But back to mourning civil discourse: I used to cry over the inability of either side to really "debate issues" myself, but lately it seems I'm on my last box of sympathy tissues. It's been a gradual process, one I think plenty of others have gone through during the last four years as well. Some burned out quick, some burned out slow, and some are still going strong. It varies from person to person, but the trend is ever downward.

    What the left can't or won't learn in this country is that seething, full-throttle anger is subject to the law of diminishing returns--it gets less and less attention paid to it as it's used more and more often. Thus I find I have no more sympathy for either the antiwar left nor the can't-we-all-just-get-along? right, even though I've previously counted myself among that last group.

    No more. If the antiwarriors had wanted their message discussed and debated with respect and civility, they should have turned the volume down from 11 literally years ago. They shouldn't have shot their wads in an orgy of Bush Derangement Syndrome--the stolen election! the impending theocracy! the torpedoing of the economy! ANWAR! KYOTO! the brutal Afghan winter! the crushing of dissent! Tell me one thing: Is crushed dissent always this loud?

    Oh, and let's not forget the best one of all: Soccer games from 20-odd years ago! Very very very VERY VERY SUPER-IMPORTANT! ALERT THE COUNTRY! THE COUNTRY MUST KNOW!!!

    And you wonder why no one's listening now?--It's because we can't; we've gone deaf from all the screaming and intolerant from all the silliness. It's going to take years of kinder, gentler, and (dear-please-God) smarter Democrats--none of whom seem to be forthcoming (or, well, even in existence) at the moment--before I'll listen to anything from that party.

    You've blown it. You've taken a legitimate opposition party with an inspiring heritage of standing up for the oppressed and you've turned it into the party of toddlers. You're in time out. And as far as I'm concerned, you can stay there until you're 45, or until your leadership has the sense to take deranged frothmasters like Oliver Willis and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga off the payroll, whichever comes first. Right now I'm forced to bet it's the former.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    August 20, 2005

    Pimp It

    You know how some people with weblogs get very protective about their trackbacks and guard them like Fort Knox, i.e., "Why did you send me a trackback when you only mentioned my brilliant post in passing, then spent the rest of your post serenading your cat?" You know the kind of kvetching I'm talking about, 'fess up. Those of us who were not born perfect--we've all sent what I'll just call The Ill-Advised Trackback* before, usually receiving the How Dare You Track Me Back email in reply.

    Anyway, Janette does not have that problem. She's declared an open trackback day.

    So drop her a link. Especially some of y'all, you know who you are, who I think are underappreciated. Pull yourself up by them bootstraps now, come on.

    *Especially if you're me and you've never quite figured out how to turn off trackback autodiscovery.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    August 17, 2005

    "All of the Answers So Far Have Been Lies"

    I hope it's all right to lift this from the comments to this post at Protein Wisdom--worth reading in its own right--because it encapsulates perfectly the antiwar talking points:

    Seriously, then, all rhetorical force aside, what are the answers? I have searched and searched, spent literally hours on the media and reading blogs, and I can honestly say that (1) I do not know why we invaded Iraq (all of the answers so far have been lies), (2) I do not know how anyone can justify the fact that George Bush’s daughters are not volunteering to join the armed services and do their duty in this “noble” cause, and (3) I can plainly understand the arguments for staying in Iraq until some kind of order can be reimposed on that sad country, but believe that there are rational and persuasive arguments to the contrary. Given the history of this fiasco, I believe that, in questions of judgement, those who oppposed this pathetically misbegotten war should be given the benefit of the doubt. The other side’s judgement has already been shown to be laughably poor.
    The remainder of that comment is a kicker, too--Visualize World Atonement!--but I'm more interested in the thought process, such as it is, demonstrated above.

    The commenter begins by begging the question:

    I do not know why we invaded Iraq (all of the answers so far have been lies)

    You don't search for answers with the conclusion that "they're all lies" foremost in your mind--not that this commenter would admit openly to doing such. No, no, he or she is an honest truth-seeker who just can't help it that this is the lyingest president EVER.

    What, exactly, were the "lies?" I can name a few of them:

    1. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

    Well, our intelligence services thought so. The British intelligence services thought so. The U.N. inspections teams thought so. The Clinton Administration--everyone bow your heads and make the Sign of the Cigar, now--thought so.

    It's speculated that Saddam Hussein himself thought so, being apparently unaware that asking your scientists how it's going down at the lab when you've earned a reputation as a guy who doesn't take bad news well is unlikely to generate honest answers.

    And then there's the possibility that Saddam knew damn well he didn't have any weapons of mass destruction and was, you know, just kidding.

    In short: There are multiple alternatives to the conclusion that the Bush Administration deliberately misled the American people about the justification for war in Iraq, each more plausible than positing a massive--and it would have to be massive, involving multiple agencies throughout multiple countries--coverup.

    2. Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda!

    Whether there was any collaboration between the two had been questioned even back during the Clinton Administration. Because our commenter is so fearlessly seeking answers, he or she will, of course, have noted these remarks by Clinton's ambassador to the U.N., speaking in 1998:

    Ambassador Bill Richardson, at the time U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, echoed those sentiments in an appearance on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," on August 30, 1998. He called the targeting "one of the finest hours of our intelligence people."

    "We know for a fact, physical evidence, soil samples of VX precursor--chemical precursor at the site," said Richardson. "Secondly, Wolf, direct evidence of ties between Osama bin Laden and the Military Industrial Corporation--the al Shifa factory was part of that. This is an operation--a collection of buildings that does a lot of this dirty munitions stuff. And, thirdly, there is no evidence that this precursor has a commercial application. So, you combine that with Sudan support for terrorism, their connections with Iraq on VX, and you combine that, also, with the chemical precursor issue, and Sudan's leadership support for Osama bin Laden, and you've got a pretty clear cut case."

    Of course, two wrongs don't make a right, so observing that prior administrations thought a link possible doesn't absolve this administration of wrongdoing--if they knew a link was nonexistent but claimed one regardless; in other words, if they deliberately misled the populace about the issue. The Memory Hole thinks they did just that:

    What they unambiguously admitted is that there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden/al Qaeda. You may recall that bin Laden and al Qaeda are officially blamed for hatching, plotting, and carrying out the 9/11 attacks. That's who the British reporter was referring to. Now the President and Prime Minister have said there is no link between them and the government of Iraq. Could it be any simpler?
    And that's a wrap, right? But here's what the reporter asked:
    Q One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?

    THE PRESIDENT: I can't make that claim.

    THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question.

    I have cut it off just where The Memory Hole did; apparently those earnest seekers after truth would prefer you not read the Prime Minister's response in its entirety. Blair continues:

    The one thing I would say, however, is I've absolutely no doubt at all that unless we deal with both of these threats, they will come together in a deadly form. Because, you know, what do we know after September the 11th? We know that these terrorists networks would use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction. And we know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the most deadly weaponry they can. And that's why it's important to deal with these issues together.
    Again: Note the reporter's question--

    Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?

    You find me a world leader who'd claim such a thing without notarized correspondence between Atta and Hussein right there in his hot little hands, and I'll show you your liar. It isn't Bush.

    It's a crazy question. Must we assume that there needs to be a direct link between the September 11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein before we consider any action against Hussein Iraq? Or can we consider Mr. Blair's argument? No, we cannot. He's President Bush's lapdog only, don't you know.

    Here's how I understand the rationale being put forward by Mr. Blair in this press conference, GOD FORGIVE ME FOR LYING:

    Al Qaeda attacks, but doesn't produce the means to attack themselves. They're the actors. They didn't blow up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with their own weapons; they used existing technology to their own wicked purposes. That's their modus operandi.

    With a group like that loose in the world--one that attacks using material produced by others--it is reasonable to try to thwart their plans by limiting the activity of hostile producers; that is, entities which create the materials and are also antagonistic towards Al Qaeda's favored targets.

    Saddam Hussein fit that bill.

    That's one reason I think we invaded Iraq. There are other theories, of course. Here's the difference: I don't read those other theories and pronounce them "ALL LIES."

    Enough! Moving on, our intrepid commenter says:

    I do not know how anyone can justify the fact that George Bush’s daughters are not volunteering to join the armed services and do their duty in this “noble” cause

    Yes, it's that perennial favorite, the chickenhawk argument--illegitimate offspring of the ad hominem tu quoque and the false dilemma.

    And no, I don't know how this commenter can justify the fact that he or she is not volunteering to move to France and do his or her duty to pacifism in the noble antiwar efforts. Do you?

    I can plainly understand the arguments for staying in Iraq until some kind of order can be reimposed on that sad country, but believe that there are rational and persuasive arguments to the contrary.

    Then make them!


    Given the history of this fiasco,

    It is taken as given that the intervention in Iraq is a "fiasco."

    Tell it to Mohammed, addressing Cindy Sheehan:

    Ma'am, we asked for your nation's help and we asked you to stand with us in our war and your nation's act was (and still is) an act of ultimate courage and unmatched sense of humanity.

    Our request is justified, death was our daily bread and a million Iraqi mothers were expecting death to knock on their doors at any second to claim someone from their families.

    Your face doesn't look strange to me at all; I see it everyday on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours.

    Our fellow country men and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs while those who were lucky enough ran away to live like strangers and the Iraqi mother was left to grieve one son buried in an unfound grave and another one living far away who she might not get to see again.

    We did nothing to deserve all that suffering, well except for a dream we had; a dream of living like normal people do.

    Or tell it to countless others. Even when they are down:

    I lost nearly all the optimism I had regarding the future of Iraq, it's now a battle zone, everybody wants to try his arms or see the 'paradise' comes to Iraq with a welcome on the borders and a push behind the borders.
    They are not out:
    I see everybody is dying ..losing friends..losing hope..and I would lose myself if I stayed there.. We want to live… We want to build our lives.. We want to build a future to our children.. Will they leave us do that? And will others really help us?
    Incidentally, "Will they leave us to do that?" isn't a question directed at the evil babykilling coalition forces. It's directed at fundamentalist Muslims:
    One might say that those fundamentalists do not represent Islam and they are only a small group..blah..blah..blah..

    So why there are a lot of their silent supporters in many Islamic and Arabic countries and others who feel proud of OBL and Zarqawi..I watched religious men and political analysts on the TV who stand side by side with those terrorists and give them the right to do whatever they do.

    Hey..Muslims: Sunnis…Salafis..Wahhabis…etc..from those who keep a beard full of ……… just wake up..you are destroying us and destroying yourselves, stop inspiring morale among your brainwashed guys to kill.. we are human beings..do you know what is the meaning of human beings? I doubt it.

    Or just read Riverbend, The Only Iraqi Blogger Ever to Tell the Truth, Ever EVER.

    Back to the truthseeker:

    I believe that, in questions of judgement, those who oppposed this pathetically misbegotten war should be given the benefit of the doubt.

    This is of course contingent on accepting the commenter's premise that the war is a "fiasco." Because it so evidently is a fiasco, runneth the argument like so much diarrhea, those who opposed it should be given "the benefit of the doubt."


    Do you mean . . . are you asking for . . . a pass?

    Do you know where this kind of thinking begins? School:

    I know I got all the answers wrong, but I worked all the problems and I showed all my work and this test was really hard/I was out sick/my grandfather died/your pantsuit had chalk smears and scared me . . . so can't I get at least a B?

    You go looking for answers, having previously made up your mind to believe not one of them. Now you want the benefit of the doubt.

    You know something, I'm done trying to construct any arguments; I can't handle that level of arrogance.

    So go fuck yourself.

    UPDATE: Or maybe Jeff's commenter is right. After all, I did just get a hit from this location.

    That totally proves Bush lied.

    UPDATE II: And remember: Having the right party affiliation means never having to say you're full of shit, as Cassandra's finding out.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:20 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack


    Quick-and-dirty links:

  • Ooh, busted.

  • (Cost + benefit) - benefit = some meaningless number.

  • "He's black, but he is one hard worker."

  • Surgery is for pussies.

  • And also for Eazy-E fans.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
  • August 15, 2005

    Well I'm Wondering, Should We Kill Him?*

    Too much talent in one carbon-based life form: Now Hubris is cartooning. Brilliantly.

    DAMN him.


    Posted by Ilyka at 05:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 29, 2005

    Freaking the Norms

    Here's a thought: If "freaking out" the "normal people" is really your "whole intent," how 'bout coming up with something that doesn't have an expiration date ending in "1972" stamped on it?

    Creativity is dead.

    Here, have a vocabulary word:

    Main Entry: de·sen·si·tize
    Pronunciation: (")dE-'sen(t)-s&-"tIz
    Function: transitive verb
    1 : to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent
    2 : to make emotionally insensitive or callous; specifically : to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it
    Now let me use it in a sentence:

    I grew up in the 70s, so I'm pretty desensitized to floppy titties on parade by now.

    Here are some things you could do instead that would definitely "freak out" the "normal people":

  • Bathe
  • That money you had saved up for the sex change? Invest it in petrochemical companies instead.
  • There are these things? Called jobs?
  • Exercise. Dancing the Spiral Dance every Esbat does not count.
  • Vote Republican

    That last one would really blow my mind. You could consider me freaked for life.

    But me and the other normals, we are just a teensy bit bored with the boobage.

    CREDIT UPDATE: Whoops, almost left that off--via Maladjusted.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:01 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
  • Well I Mean Obviously, HELLO

    "I was in band! I played the phallic TRUMPET! Surely that means I want to ride the SKIN TRUMPET!"

    You all just . . . just go read that. I've got to quit shaking with laughter long enough to get back to work.

    (Thanks for costing me money by tempting me into goofing off, Jim. Hey, why don't you just link another of those penguin games while you're about your deviltry, huh?)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    At Long Last

    "Also, I wanted to tell you that my son has peed on me nine times since Monday."

    I have been in such suspense over this, you have no idea--but all's well that ends well. And I don't think I've ever been so happy for another human being--sorry, human beings!--I'm not personally acquainted with. It feels weird, but in a good way.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:37 AM | Comments (3)

    Links Out

    My goodness, but you people have been productive lately.

  • Jim calls it a rant, but I think his anecdotes about his personal experiences working in union shops, and the lessons he learned about what unions can (will) or cannot (will not) do for American workers can't be dismissed as mere ranting. This is, frankly, sad--because unions used to serve some good purpose, and there have been times I've wished clerical workers had one. But ultimately there's no real worker protection--just discount tickets to local theme parks. Ugh.

  • Susan B. has a troll in the comments here. Now I admit, he isn't likely to dislodge Calli from the very top of the Troll Hall of Fame--blaming a woman's blogging about politics, aka "things that barely affect [her]," for her husband's recent death, is quite a showstopper; but castigating a woman for shooting a poisonous snake that was threatening her sister is also pretty low. Definitely a contender.

  • Judith Weiss wants contributions for a blogburst. Excerpt: "The theme will be the relation of Tisha B'Av to the destruction of Temple Mount archeological relics under the authorization of the Muslim authority in charge of the Mount, and the relationship of those topics to the ongoing propaganda attempts to erase Jewish history." I would be so in over my head on this one, I don't even dare try--years of Mormon, ah, doctrine, koff koff hack, have left me pretty theologically retarded, and I'm not up to speed on the Temple Mount destruction (but I am perusing the links at KT, and you should, too). If you want to help out, though, let Judith know.

  • Janette calls dibs on nominating Condoleezza Rice as an "iconic woman." Meaning no, I mean zero, offense to Janette, but not me--I find her recent diplomatic efforts very embarrassing.

  • The end of Solotude? Nooooooooooooo!

  • On the other hand, I think Kate's back in the game. Those hiatuses can grow on you, but in her case I'd rather they didn't.

  • Lastly and very definitely not leastly, Margi has a question: "Do you think of “blogging” as a new revolution in news gathering or just a new way to write a diary? Or something else altogether or something in between?" I gave my answer; now it's your turn.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
  • Tancredo

    I haven't opened my virtual mouth on this one because the one time I even thought about doing it, I just squandered the opportunity and instead used it to call Hugh Hewitt a meathead. I am full of style and grace--or rather, I should never be let out in public; no, not even via the internet.

    Baldilocks, however, has been all over it--now even with a little something cheering.

    So that's where you oughtta be if you haven't been following reactions there already. And remember: It isn't nice to call people meatheads without seeing the CT scans first.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:35 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    July 28, 2005

    Great Moments in Fantasy Role-Playing, I Mean Lit-er-ah-CHOOR

    Oh, but it's cute when you do it to AmeriKKKa:

    If a kid wrote a passage of skinhead literature, he'd be sent to the shrink, possibly kicked out of school, and his parents would be getting a call from social services. Same goes for any social outcast that gave the slightest indication of violent fantasies, much less actually turning in a paper full of them. A kid who wrote a paper role-playing as a soldier in the desert blowing away every Muslim in his path certainly wouldn't be given an award. The passage "I hate the Iraqi People" wouldn't be allowed to stand.
    But we do, right? Hate the Iraqi people, I mean. That's why we stuffed 400,000 of them into mass graves and all. I mean we did that, even if "we" didn't "actually" do that, because, see, we used to support Saddam Hussein so it's like we did it. We did it before we didn't do it. Also, oil. And Gitmo. And Abu Ghraib. And see here: The only reason we haven't matched "our" previous 400,000 body count in those two places is because . . . I mean, we're working on it? Look, Saddam's gonna be a tough act to follow. We should put him back in charge, actually, so Iraq can be a sovereign nation again. Anyway, we deserve it, all of it, just for living in a filthy police state run by BushCo.

    But you knew all that already, right?

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 27, 2005

    Clasificando el Correo Loco

    "I wouldn't trust Ricky Martin to properly sort my fucking mail, let alone take on the role of Arab ambassador in mercurially complex social polemics on a world stage."

    And alas, another celebrity suffers the delusions of competence. Will it never end?

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 20, 2005

    What Did I Win?

    Silent Running today reminds me of Chris Rock checking the mailbox for his O.J. prize*.

    Everybody "Hey look at all them black people too happy talkin’ about 'Look what we won! We won, we won!" Hey - what we won? I ain’t get nothin’ yet! Every day Nat X look in his mailbox – nothin’ in there. Where my O.J. prize?
    I know what some of you are thinking: Oh, lighten up. The boys, they like a little cheesecake now and then. What's your man-hatin' problem anyway, bitch?

    Nothing. I'm just asking:

    What'd I win?

    See, if the title of the post was "When the West Wins, Some of Us Get Boners," I wouldn't have this problem. I'd be fine with that. But that's not the title. The title is, "When the West Wins, We ALL Win!"

    You see?

    I'd just like to know what I've won before I run check the mailbox. Don't want to get my hopes up too much in case it turns out to be strictly Crackerjack.

    *Go on, say it:

    "But Ilyka, everything reminds you of something Chris Rock once said."

    Well, yes. Pretty much.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:35 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 19, 2005

    Cotillion and Coffee

    Some things were just meant to go together. Take your next cup with any of these witty women:

    Annika's Journal, where a medieval theme rules the day.

    Dr. Sanity, who bids you hop aboard the carousel.

    My Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, where coffee is being served in the library.

    Girl on the Right, who has stars in her eyes this week.

    As usual, the shebang is also available in its entirety at The Cotillion hub site.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Philosophy Is a Glob of K-Y on a Glove Religion

    Or so it seems to be for this poor bastard, anyway.

    Well, folks, there it is. Three rectal exams into my third year, and I have already proven that the Mind cannot be separated from the Body. Give me two more days to discover the cure for the common cold, and in one week I'm sure I'll have explained why I can't find a nice, good-looking, single Jewish girl. That is, if I have time to spare when I'm not washing my hands excessively.
    This is not a new blog, but it is a new blog to me, and thus I am pleased to announce that I love it like crazy. The next time I don't know what to do with myself I am going to go get lost in its archives--which, thank goodness, go all the way back to 2003. Yes! If this were like only his fourth post or something I'd be stuck spending the next few days waiting breathlessly for updates, but no, there are actual archives to wander about. Awesome. Terrific. Marvelous.

    Though, ah, hopefully they aren't all about rectal exams.

    I didn't even quote you anywhere near the funniest part of that post. You will want to read the whole thing--just maybe not over lunch.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 12, 2005

    If It's Tuesday

    It must be Cotillion time. This week's hostesses:

    Feisty Repartee

    Sissy Willis

    Villainous Company

    Pay 'em all a visit--they're worth your time, and not just for this week's efforts. You greedy types, however, may just want to read the whole thing here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 08, 2005

    The Price of Scare Quotes

    Meanwhile, Meryl is angry. I was merely going to leave her a comment about her post, but then Haloscan flubbed up and wouldn't let me, or maybe I offended it somehow (no, I swear I did not call Haloscan a skank but, oh, aren't you just some funny, funny people for suggesting it) . . . and then I thought, I really oughtta just link it.

    Because she's right:

    I feel terribly for our British friends. But I maintain that Al Qaeda has been directly influenced by the world's refusal to call palestinian terrorism what it is: Terrorism. Bombings in Israel have been shown to work, especially in the area of public relations. Yasser Arafat, mass murderer of Jews, was fêted the world over and actually won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Europeans are secretly (openly, now) dealing with Hamas. They refuse to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

    As long as the world allows certain groups to use terror as a weapon and go unpunished for it, any group that wishes to do the same will continue to do so.

    Until the world recognizes all terror for what it is—and that includes terrorism in Iraq, and especially terrorism in Israel—the terror groups will keep bombing civilians.

    Let's stop ignoring the T-word, and call a terrorist a terrorist, and a terror attack a terror attack—no matter where it occurs.

    This is what the current favorite terror euphemisms--"insurgent," "militant," "activist"--do: They help us devalue suffering. They make it bearable. They make it "okay." They turn blood and body parts and missing fathers, mothers, and children into "just another" bombing. Just another day in Israel. Just another day overseas. Just another day in "that part" of the world. What? Oh, it's okay, dear, it's nothing, just another explosion, yeah, Israel or somewhere--I don't know, you ask me, that whole part of the world's a mess anyhow.

    It is not okay. Remember that the next time the news crawl mentions a deadly attack by Hamas militants. Remember how you felt when.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:00 PM | Comments (3)

    July 05, 2005

    Get Your Shoes On

    --you're going to the Cotillion, honey. Dance in the main ballroom

    This Week's Cotillion

    . . . or with any of these charming hostesses:

    The Anchoress Online

    Little Miss Attila

    Reasoned Audacity

    Steal the Bandwagon

    For those of you not quite clear on how it works: With over 45 members of the Cotillion, now, the selected posts for the week are divvied up among 4-5 Cotillion hostesses; that is, if you visit The Anchoress you'll be reading different selections than if you visit Steal the Bandwagon.

    In theory, all Cotillion "dances," or collections of posts, wind up at the hub site, though I'm only seeing two hostesses who have cross-posted their efforts there as of this writing. (Ahem.)

    Your best bet, then, is to just waltz around and enjoy the company.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 03, 2005


    An American Housewife unexpectedly lost her husband this last week.

    Please do what you can. As Beth says,

    Obviously, money won’t bring back her husband, but maybe we can give her one less thing to worry about.
    Carol, I am so sorry. I don't know you well but I have recently been enjoying your weblog immensely, and . . . I just can't imagine how painful this is. Please know that people are thinking of and praying for you.
    Posted by Ilyka at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 02, 2005

    Why I Am Not a Radical

    Basically, because I read about something like this and my most radical thought is, "Or, we could use the day to celebrate the historic founding of a country that will one day, 229 years hence, permit a bunch of fun-killers to co-opt it for their own moronic purposes without putting them in jail or stoning them to death or anything."

    Well, one woman's fun is another woman's poison. Remember, though, the next time you want to mock ol' Red-State Bubba, with his pickup and his 30-pack of Budweiser, for using the Fourth to blow off his right thumb with illegal fireworks, that we have our idiots, and you have yours. You go right on ahead and keep yours.

    (Via Maladjusted.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:20 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Immigration: Screw You for Trying to Do It Right

    You have a better one-line description of current immigration law? Because after reading this, I don't:

    I have done my research, contacted several immigration attorneys and got the same answer. For my aunt to stay, she will have to immediately go back to Korea and then wait for a minimum of 10 years (as long as 12) while she is processed. She's 61 now. To wait that long will mean she will be unable to enjoy what our country has to offer, she will be unable to see her young nephew grow. I have to tell you, March was the first time in 23 years that my mom and aunt had seen one another. I had never, ever met her. It was 30 years since my dad had seen her last. To wait another 10 years would be torture. She is independent. Would not get social security as she never worked here, and would not be dependent upon the resources of the state. She simply wants to spend her later years with her sister.

    . . .

    The failure of immigration in the country is that for those wanting to come to America legally, the process is so time consuming and difficult that it makes it an impossibiity. . . . Meanwhile, we are overrun with illegal immigrants that our country chooses to largely ignore because afterall "undocumented individuals have rights too" WTF? They get to trample my rights as a citizen because they are minorities. I got news for ya! I have been a minority all my life. I have never asked for a handout, never asked for a break, never asked for a group right that I wasn't already entitled to under the Constitution. What I ask for is fairness. The system is not fair.

    No. It isn't. And when you look at what it takes to get here legally, it's not hard to figure why so many don't bother with the formalities. I'd be swimming the Rio Grande myself if I were stuck in Mexico with little work and less pay. I'm not kidding. I might blame the current system we got, but I'm not blaming the people who'd rather try to beat it than starve.

    When the system grants amnesty to those who provide cheap labor, but penalizes a 61 year-old woman and her family for wanting to dot all the i's and cross all the t's--for wanting to do it right--something's backwards.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 01, 2005

    Hot Town, Summer in the City

    I'm now indebted to Erica for pointing me to this Ask Metafilter page about cheap options for cooling an apartment in the summer.

    From the sounds of it, the person asking is living in an older building in maybe New York or Chicago, so the poor guy's dealing with a different kind of heat than I am. On the other hand, it has been 100 degrees or more here for the last week. That qualifies as pretty damn hot, even if it isn't as muggy as a bathouse full of fat gay men, to leech an apt simile off of Andrea. Weaning myself off my fanatic air conditioning dependence might be a good idea at least in the evenings here, though, when it cools off pretty nicely (hooray for elevation!).

    That reminds me, Dr. Alice asked me how I was liking Las Cruces (some others have asked it as well; it's as if you care or something). I haven't posted about it because what I do here mostly is launch whiny tirades, and when it comes to my new habitat, I got no complaints, see? So New Mexico-wise, there's nothing to launch a whiny tirade about. I could gripe about the speed limit for the entire state*, barring the interstates, appearing to have been set at 35 miles per hour, but you know something? This is a little town, with little traffic, and it turns out that if I don't have to fight 700 pissy Dallasites to get where I'm going, doing 35 miles an hour isn't a bit rough at all, even if back in Dallas they shoot people for driving that slow, or at least accuse them of being from Arkansas.

    So basically it's beautiful here and I love it. Really.

    Foodwise (oh, you knew that was coming) I have become hooked on this and one of these weekends I mean to see about whipping up a batch. I'm a fan neither of stews nor of chili, but this stuff is heaven in a bowl.

    *The boyfriend and I visited Albuquerque once--he's from there originally--and it was that way there, too. Ditto Santa Fe. So I'm guessing it's like that in most NM cities, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:28 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    June 30, 2005

    Hot Girl-on-Girl Sleuth Action!

    The battle between tomboy Trixie Belden and titian-haired Nancy Drew is ON:

    Why would the great Nancy Drew come to Sleepyside to work on a mystery? Oh, I suppose the location of a mystery wouldn't much matter to the daughter of a former prosecutor who is now flush with income from his world-renowned private practice. I often have to work within a pretty tight radius, unless Honey Wheeler's father tosses me a trip as a crumb in return for hauling around his emotional cripple of a daughter. In contrast, I'm sure your father was happy to send along your pals Bess and George, along with a generous per diem to cover the food needed to enable Bess's grotesque eating disorder.
    Nancy ain't trying to hear that, see?
    Trixie, as I read your letter (which fairly reeked of your Crabapple Farm upbringing, if you don't mind my saying so) with cool detachment this morning, I couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy. It seems like you have a lot of issues--hardly surprising for a girl with only $59.72 in her "college fund" (does your father really work at a bank? Just curious).
    Will George Fayne settle it all with a mud-wrestling match between the two? If she doesn't, I'm sure it won't be for lack of trying.
    Posted by Ilyka at 08:27 PM | Comments (8)

    I'm Talking to YOU

    But I'll put it here just in case it ever comes up again with anyone else, which I hope fervently it does not, because believe it or not I do not enjoy being an asshole:

    If I am on a mailing list for Thing A, and you send me an email about Thing B, and Thing A and Thing B are wholly unrelated, yet you use Thing A to retrieve my email address in order to email me about Thing B, and you're already aware--or should be--that I am against your stance on Thing B with every fiber of my being, but you click "Send" anyway, you are forever after one foul, corn-speckled shitstain of a human being in these parts.

    It's called spam. I don't want any.

    Meryl Yourish has often expressed a wish for anti-Semites to just die already. I'm on board with that.

    I'm also on board with this wish: Wifebeaters and your apologists?--Die.

    It isn't nice of me. It certainly isn't Christian of me. But if I have to argue with the Lord Himself about it, it also isn't going to change. Ever. Accept it, or get lost.

    But first, have some email. Because one good turn deserves another.

    (For the pathologically curious, the full text of the email is below the fold. I have added emphasis where I felt it appropriate. Hmm, appropriate: Now what does that word remind me of? Oh, right: How appropriate it isn't to send unsolicited email.)

    Return-path: TWSchuett@peoplepc.com
    Envelope-to: ilyka@ilyka.mu.nu
    Delivery-date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 17:49:30 -0500
    From: TWSchuett@peoplepc.com
    To: ilyka@ilyka.mu.nu
    Subject: Children and the elderly at risk from VAWA 2005
    Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 15:21:32 -0700

    I am a blogger, an activist for unserved victims of domestic violence since 1999, and someone with 20 years’ experience working in, around, and with social services and private charities. I know how these programs work, and what makes for good and bad programs.

    Without doubt, the 4000+ agencies and services funded and supported by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, are among the worst programs I have seen. They do not serve their communities with any practical service, and they mislead the general public as to the need for and workings of their programs. These agencies are in a constant state of crisis, due to poor financial and other management, and often have adversarial relationships with other community services and law enforcement.

    While it is generally believed these programs provide services for all women suffering abuse, in fact the women accepted in these programs are chosen by arbitrary rules which exclude many seeking help. Women who have jobs, women with male children over the age of 12, and women who wish to address their problem while remaining in their marriage are among those who are denied services, as are abusive women, who are generally claimed not to exist in significant enough numbers to consider.

    Despite the fact of this severely limited client base, shelters are always at or near capacity due to the fact that these programs define domestic violence in such broad terms as to cover nearly every kind of negative exchange between couples. Staff and volunteers are trained to encourage women from the initial contact to believe they are in a serious, dangerous situation which can only be helped by the shelter. Often shelter personnel will coerce and threaten women looking for assistance if they appear hesitant.

    Those women who accept aid are presented with a “solution” that requires divorce, and immediate application for various welfare programs. Clients and their children are indoctrinated with feminist ideology, which places blame for the problem entirely on patriarchal men, and presumes women are always victims in need of outside guidance.

    While it should be obvious this approach cannot address the many facets of the actual problem, any other way of addressing the problem has been rejected by these agencies, who actively prevent research and development, as well as any suggestion of relaxing their rigid standards of who is “deserving.” Domestic violence services are unique among the variety of agencies serving the community in that they have made no effort to change their approach in thirty years.

    VAWA has exacerbated this problem of stagnation, and 10 years out, there is no evidence that women in actual situations of domestic abuse are any better off than before. So-called “batterer treatment “ programs, which are also based on feminist ideology and funded by VAWA, have also been shown to be of dubious value. VAWA sponsored programs are not expected to comply with the same standards of accountability and transparency as applied to other agencies, which makes actual analysis difficult, but the simple fact of these programs being mandated by the government at all is telling.

    Healthy, successful social programs do not require federal assistance, as they are willingly supported by the communities they serve.

    VAWA is due to be reauthorized, and legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress to that end. VAWA 2005 expands the scope and reach of these agencies into the areas of elder and child abuse, which could have disastrous implications for existing programs. Agencies which serve children and the elderly have historically been free of the gender bias and political agenda which characterize the women’s shelters and batterer programs. Applying feminist ideology to these programs could put many children and elderly people at risk, considering the known performance of past and current VAWA programs.

    It is unknown at this time how VAWA’s advocates would expect to implement their agenda in their new arena, but the prospect is frightening.

    The feminist political machine is working overtime to push their legislation through Congress. Already, the Senate has stacked its July 19 hearings with pro-VAWA supporters, who no doubt will provide the Judiciary Committee with the same unsupportable advocacy research, and the blame-and-shame techniques they use on the general public.

    The politically-connected groups you’d expect to be right out front, fighting this threat, are demoralized. The previous VAWAs in 1994 and 2000 sailed through without a hitch, and they expect more of the same this time.

    This time there is far more at stake.

    We cannot allow our elders and children to become part of the social engineering experiment that has been sanctioned for the past ten years, with adult women and men as the guinea pigs. This is not the same old VAWA that was easy enough to ignore as long as you didn’t know anyone directly affected.

    It is time for the bloggers to speak out, and create a mass of public opinion that cannot be ignored or explained away. We are not afraid of the feminists, because we know how few of them there are. We know their only concern is in keeping the funding, and their jobs, because they are unemployable anywhere else. We know there are honest, concerned legislators that are only waiting for permission to send these ugly, divisive, programs back to the private sector where they belong, and can die a natural death without the artificial support of your tax dollars.

    To track the current status of VAWA, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ and enter the bill number.

    -- Senate bill: S. 1197
    -- House of Representatives bill: H.R. 2876

    Trudy W. Schuett

    P.O. Box 1252

    Yuma AZ 85366

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:56 AM | Comments (4)

    June 29, 2005

    Gag Reflex, Triggered

    Say, someone call me if ever Danny Ainge goes spastic on Oprah, or his wife gets an official church handler to mind her manners for her, or Danny's accountant starts muttering something about "dead agenting" that guy at the IRS, or Dan and the missus lock one of the kids in a hotel room for weeks. I would like to know about any of that.

    Ditto Steve Young.

    Yeah, no reason.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:23 PM | Comments (11)

    I'm Sorry

    That's all. Just . . . very, very sorry. Because it sucks.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:12 PM

    So What Does Smurfette's Pap Smear Look Like?

    Answer me that, Dr. Tom Cruise. Hmm?

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:01 AM | Comments (1)

    June 28, 2005

    Party On, Prigs!

    Oh would you relax; I am kidding. I just really wanted to use that for the title to this, my humble little reminder that it's Cotillion time again. You may enter the dance via the main ballroom--


    Or rest your poor feet a moment on a brocade footstool in one of these cozy, elegant salons--

    Maxed-out Mama

    Not a Desperate Housewife


    Knowledge is Power (er, eventually. Technical difficulties over there at present.)

    The more this goes on the more I enjoy the multiple-hosts thing. I like to see what each woman does with it. Creativity abounds.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:02 PM | Comments (6)

    Wanna See Something?

    Okay, but it's not going to be Peruvian folk art.


    (That "wanna see something?" has been bugging me--it was reminding me of something, but I couldn't think what--and I just now figured it out: It's almost, but not quite, what the redhaired girl begins every "It's a Fact!" short with on the old Kids in the Hall: "Wanna know something?" Now I'm wondering if maybe the "Fact" sketches would have been funnier if one of the troupe had just shouted "Wanna see something?" and then run up to the camera to . . . show you some folk art.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)

    Ones Who Do

    I learned back in the 80s, when "perfect hair" meant mucking around for two hours or more with hot oil treatments, mousse, gel, blowdryers, curling irons, and hairspray, that I was not cut out to be a girly-girl. It's a lot of work, it's really boring to stand there and do it; it's time you could be spending taking a walk or going for a swim; and at the end of it all, what have you got? You ask a guy if he likes your hair, and he says what now?

    Come on, all together. I know you know this one:

    "It looks fine."

    "Fine" is underwhelming payoff for two hours of work if you ask me.

    Sure, your girlfriends might notice, but so what? And you never know when one of them is going to be contrary and get a little too honest with you about it:

    "Do you think this looks all right--what I did with my hair?"

    "Um. Um, it's okay . . . ."

    "No, you hate it, I can tell. What's wrong with it? Is it the bangs?"

    "No no no, I don't hate it. It's just . . . I dunno, I think I kind of liked it better the way you did it yesterday."

    "You mean with the scrunchie and the--"

    "Did I say yesterday? I meant last Tuesday."

    Good luck recreating whatever the heck it was you did with your hair last Tuesday. And again: For what?

    Although if you take great pains with your appearance you'll notice. You might even get a kick out of it, a little mood-booster from knowing you look extra good. Which is great, except for one thing: Tomorrow, you'll just have to get up and do it all over again.

    I'm not a girly-girl or a ladies-lady. But I think I might, just might, qualify as this kind of woman:

    With the rare exception of those women who are goddess perfect and still manage to handle a career, home and family, I think most women fall into the same category as I do. We are simply the ones who do. We do the best we can to make sure the people we love are well taken care of, regardless of what that entails.

    Whether we are married or otherwise have men in our lives, if the water heater goes out, the hamster escapes and gets trapped in a wall or some other day ruining calamity strikes, we are the kind of women who just deal with it rather than have a huge melt-down and call you guys in sobbing hysterics.

    Not, you know, that there's anything wrong with sobbing hysterics, um, on occasion. I mean, that's what my friends tell me. I never have that problem, myself.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:38 AM | Comments (2)

    June 27, 2005

    Suspended Between Nausea and Disgust

    Oh, this is special, so special: Another Great Moment in Blogging that I missed while moving.

    Tell me why I craved an internet connection so badly while I was without one, because right now I swear I can't remember.

    You know, you don't get exclusive rights to the "feminist" label (and all the abuse that comes with it--because let's face it, that's the real perk of it right there), and you don't get to gloat about how yours is the only side that really values women's issues, and you don't get to pat yourselves on the back for blazing the trail for women everywhere (of all nations! Colors! Creeds! Religions! Classes! Backgrounds!), if your reaction to a group of female conservative bloggers getting together to try to move on up this here blog ladder is to regress to eighth-grade bitchiness:

    Embrace your prig-hood, ladies. You aren't getting bonus points and spared from being called prigs by me because you express affection for a culture that's long past and no threat to you now.
    Embrace your insularity, Amanda.
    Bring me the head of whoever said this citizen journaliatizement thing was good.
    Word to that! Only progressive women ought to speak their minds, because they're the only women who have minds to speak. The rest of us just have to recite whatever Karl Rove tells us to. And he uses such big words, too! Mean Mr. Rove, mean!

    Oh, but he's so cute though.

    Leave silly surveys all over the place, m'dears, but y'all never have the story about 3 friends, a chandelier, the local fire department and a couple bottles of Jose Cuervo to gloat over.
    Wait, this was directed at Darleen, and as some of you know I'm not always fond of Darleen, so . . .

    . . . no, you know something? Whether I like Darleen or agree with what she has to say doesn't enter into it, because as a matter of fact, it's still a dumb, petty, bitchy thing to say. I have a better sex life than you. Ooh, and I'll bet you got breasts sooner and kissed boys before I did and made the cheerleading squad, too. Wanna medal?

    I don't care about that shit. Can you write? Can you make me think? Can you make me doubt what I'm sure I know, reexamine questions I've already answered, consider things in a way I hadn't before? Can you make me think? Or do you just really excel at being juvenile? Because I know how to find LiveJournal already.

    Not that I enjoy being bitchy or anything, but I took a look at her oh so risque page and, honestly, would you fuck either of these people?
    Pardon me, but obviously you do enjoy being bitchy. Oh, I know: Darleen asked for it by linking her photos and her weblog in the first place. (You progressive women, y'all love the "she asked for it" argument, am I right?)

    On the other hand, Amanda, you did just exhort an entire group of women, most of whom you don't read and don't know, to "embrace their prig-hood." On the basis of . . . I don't know. Old stereotypes of repressed, religious Republicans mixed with just enough actual examples to pass off as gospel, I guess.

    Yes, some conservative women don't see anything to "gloat" about when it comes to sexual promiscuity. Yes, some conservative women like pearls and pumps. Yes, some conservative women do have copies of The Surrendered Wife at home. Yes, some conservative women have the awfully annoying habit of simultaneously reaping the rewards of feminism while denigrating the progressive women who blazed that trail for them in the first damn place. I'll back you up on that last particularly.

    And some liberal women do have overgrown armpit hair and do wear no shoes but Birkenstocks and do smell horrid from bathing in environmentally-friendly "natural" products that don't contain any actual "soap" and do view men with suspicion and mistrust, if not actual loathing . . . but it wouldn't be very helpful of me to harp continually on that stereotype, so guess what? I don't.

    Oh, I forgot: We're all about feminism until it threatens to include women who don't think like we do, vote like we do, fuck like we do (this is apparently the most important factor when judging women, and I'm right happy I've got women on the left to tell me that)--so to hell with being helpful.

    remember those girls in high school who explained those horrid monkey-bites on their necks by saying they were really curling iron burns? Just saying ...
    Finally, someone makes an actual high school reference in a thread that was flashing me back to high school anyhow.

    Curling irons. Ai.

    Then we have the who's-the-biggest-prig contest between Amanda and Darleen. You know--the important shit that women blog about when they're not being oppressed by The Man:

    Still, it's the sort of cat-fighting we don't have enough of in the blogosphere, or at least that's what I hear. And maybe it's enough to scare away any other Cotillion members who want to go toe-to-toe with the Panda-bloggers and crew.
    I think this is the part where I'm supposed to be all, "Bitch, bring it," but . . . no. I went to high school once, had enough of it that time, and never was much of a fighter even then, either.

    It's just depressing, is what it is. This is going "toe-to-toe"--this fucking catfight? Really? You couldn't pick out a post that covered an actual idea or event or issue--no, you had to fling shit at a fanciful introduction to a damn link roundup, because it's totally outside your ken that a woman could vote Republican and have ever smoked a doobie, flashed some skin, listened to jazz, or taken a drink.

    Don't kid yourself, Amanda. That isn't "toe-to-toe." It's just plain being a bitch. Which, great, but then cop to that instead of thumping your chest and declaring yourself too intimidating to those weak-kneed conservative cheerleaders..

    Now, let me take a moment to reprogram myself to be in harmony with the rest of the world. Let me recite the mantra:

    The Democratic Party is the enlightened party, the party of the open-minded and the intellectually curious, the party of the inclusive not the exclusive, the party of the egalitarian not the elite, the party of the underdog not the overlord, the party of . . .

    . . . oh yes indeed you are, my widdle snookums! You are all those things and I am so proud of you!

    You go right on telling yourselves that. You go right on wondering why women won't vote "in support of their own issues" and wondering why they are so "self-hating" and such "willing participants" in a "fundamentally patriarchal, misogynistic system" and blah-diddy-blah-blah-blah, and please, don't even consider listening to one of us if we should dare depart from our Rovian scripts long enough to suggest, however timidly, that maybe it's actually easier for us to shrug off a Republican guy begging us to "post more photos so I can link you once in awhile," than it is for us to shrug off an entire bitchfest led by the women who claim they're only trying to help us.

    You can shove that help right up your asses. You're no sisters of mine.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:54 AM | Comments (23)

    June 25, 2005

    Feed the World II

    But this time, do it right. Do it with heart. Do it with Bono's Third World Products.

    That's why, in times of strife, when the developed nations of the world turn a blind eye to your hardships, let one word ring clarion like a bullet in the blue sky: BONO.
    Act now, Third-Worlders--take advantage of these savings today.
    Posted by Ilyka at 11:05 PM | Comments (3)

    Maybe Now I Will Watch That Movie All the Way Through

    Raising Arizona: Okay, no, probably not. I'll just enjoy the version below "with Glen as the government and H.I. as the typical American citizen:"

    you know you have to click the pretty picture, right?

    I think I mentioned it once, but I ain't too fond of that movie. Dang if it don't fit the Kelo decision like lubed condom on a horny sailor, though, I tell you what.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:09 AM | Comments (5)

    June 22, 2005

    It Is the Herpes

    The hand herpes only! Is no from sex!

    I love this visit-to-the-doctor anecdote. Helen compares her MD to the bumblebee-suit-wearing Hispanic on The Simpsons, but all I could think of was Dr. Nick Rivera.

    "Hi, everybody!"

    "Hi, Dr. Nick!"

    I hope she's in better hands than that.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:27 PM | Comments (4)

    The Rabbi Versus the Pope

    Meryl, I think, will like this one--a joke about Jews vs. Catholics from Outside the Blogway. (Read the blog title carefully, Meryl--this is not that other, crappy blog with the similar name. You know, the one authored by Mr. Monotony?)

    Found this via MaxedOutMama. That reminds me: I mayn't have the most traffic going to share with people, but if you want a link from me regardless?--Telling me something like this--

    You are the funniest person I have read in a long, long time.
    --would not exactly hurt your chances, okay? Flattery gets you everywhere around here.

    (Of course, I did lift the "Engrish" meme from Jim, so technically, I suppose he's the funniest. No, the hell with that--he'll have to fight me for the title.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:34 AM | Comments (3)

    June 21, 2005

    Get Your Lazy Bum off the Treadmill and Run, Punk

    That's who's on THE LIST today: The punk kid who was sitting on one of the treadmills in the workout room so he could watch Nebraska play Arizona State in the college world series. Look, when even I can bother getting my fat rear up on the other treadmill to try to slim down, I sort of lose any sympathy I might otherwise have for your no-cable-affordin', too-cheap-to-go-to-a-damn-sports-bar, lazy ass.

    I never say anything to these people, but then I'm always left wishing I had.

    I'm also left seething at those self-help books, you know the ones, where they tell you just not to let stuff like that bother you--oh, excuse me: not to let stuff like that "sidetrack you from your goal of attaining inner peace." I've decided books like that are written by people who want the jerks of the world to conquer and have free reign. Maybe human beings weren't meant to maintain inner peace 24/7. Maybe sometimes we're supposed to fight back a little.

    Don't even get me started on how funny I find the phrase, "college world series." Crikey, I didn't even know they had one. My dad's a big Yankees fan so I'm marginally one myself out of respect for him, but that's the extent to which I pay any attention to baseball. It'll be a cold day in hell before I can bring myself to care about college baseball.

    But there's always a bright side: This guy was a Nebraska fan.

    ASU beat them in extra innings.

    Suck on that, ya lazy punk kid.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:47 PM | Comments (4)

    June 19, 2005

    Careful with that F-word


    “Religious fascism.”

    One of the mantras you hear invoked from time to time is “words mean something.” But they obviously don’t. When intelligent men can make such a specious observation you realize that “fascism” has ceased to mean anything at all, and exists now as an all-purpose slur, a tar-soaked brush to slap on anything you don’t like.

    echoing Orwell,

    The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable."
    The Orwell is more concise, but then, he was kind of a fiend for brevity like that. Anyway, I like the "tar-soaked brush" bit in the Lileks version.

    Nothing ever really changes. Nothing.

    Something about the best writing telling you what you already know comes to mind here, too. (Yes, yes, I know in the original quote the subject is "books," not "writing," but--look, just go bury your head in Canterbury Tales until you calm down a little, you sorry lit geek. I am trying to paraphrase here; do you mind?)

    It's a little depressing if you think about it--50, no, 60 years later, and "fascist" still means "something not desirable" to more people than not.

    I don't know how you fix that, either, except maybe by laughing loud and long at every frenzied hyperbolist who tries to fling the "fascist" label at you with his, uh, tar-soaked brush.

    Works for me, anyway.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:03 AM | Comments (5)

    June 18, 2005

    Things I Missed While Away

    Besides Margi coming up preggers . . . an awful lot.

    First of all, the continued rise of the Cotillion. I'm indebted to Beth, Jody, Janette, the American Housewife (and how much do I love that blog design? Ooh!), and Denita TwoDragons for totally covering for me during the move and linking my dumb stuff even though I wasn't available to submit it. It is not every woman who will do that for you, but then, these women, they are not every woman. Their milkshakes, they are better than yours. (And now they're all coming to kill me for saying that.)

    Second of all, the Michael Jackson verdict. Well, I didn't really miss it, because I heard it on the radio (HOT 103!), but I missed whatever discussion there was on the internet about it, and THANK HEAVENS FOR THAT, and may I just echo Dr. Alice here?

    Hopefully I'll never have to hear anything about this guy again.

    Oh but that reminds me . . . can I interrupt this for a short Hot 103 story?

    Hot 103 is this sort of hip-hop station and they take a lot of requests, and they tend to get a goodly number of teenage girl callers, and the teenage girl callers, they get a little nervous about being On The Radio. (They should call Michael Savage some time; that'd cure 'em. Did I ever tell you about the time I called Michael Savage? No? Well, that has to wait; this is the Hot 103 call-in story, not the I-can't-believe-Ilyka-called-Michael-Savage story--although come to think of it, I can't really believe it either.)

    Anyway. So the boyfriend and I are in the car listening shortly after I get here one night (and the poor boyfriend, he neither hips nor hops, but he was a good sport about the Hot 103; also, it IS my car) and the first request call of the hour, the DJ asks for the girl's name, you know how they do.

    "What's your name, baby?"

    And the girl goes "Uhhhhh . . ." but for like twenty seconds, which is a long, long time on the radio. And finally she comes up with it: "Chrissy!"

    I got a bad feeling Chrissy struggles on those exams where you get extra credit just for writing your name in the upper right-hand corner, you know?

    So a couple calls later, different girl, this one knows her name even, and the DJ does the standard thing before ending the call: "What station keeps you rockin'?"

    And this girl, sounding completely terrified, cries, "What?!?"

    I mean, it was an appropriate response if, say, the DJ had just said, "You know, your mom died today." It was not an appropriate response to "What station keeps you rockin'?"

    Okay, maybe you had to hear it, but the boyfriend and I riffed on that one for hours:

    "Station? I'm calling to order a pizza!"

    "What?! Rocks? In my radio? Where?!?"

    In fact we're still running with this, sadly. Today I called him and I had him on the speaker phone, so he didn't quite hear me when he picked up and I panicked, thinking he wouldn't hear me at all and would hang up, so I quickly snatched up the handset and shouted, "What?!?"

    It turns out to be a really good all-purpose expression, is all I'm saying. He knew it was me right away.

    Finally, the third thing I missed was the Terri Schiavo autopsy.

    No, you shriek, talk about something else something else anything else la la la la la I can't hear you!

    Of course you can't hear me, dummy--I don't audioblog. Hello! I would never inflict that on you. You have my solemn promise. And I'm sorry I called you "dummy." It just slipped out and I didn't mean it, I swear.

    I like this excerpt from a post (found at Judith's) from Right Wing Nut House. Disclaimer: This author strikes me as neither particularly wingy, nor nutty:

    . . . I hope we’ve all learned some valuable lessons. I hope we’ve learned how easy it is for this kind of ethical debate to be hijacked by those on both sides of the issue with personal agendas. I hope we’ve learned that if we’re ever going to come to a consensus that we must somehow learn to talk to each other rather than past each other. And I hope we’ve learned that whatever side of this issue you came down on, the person on the other side was not wearing horns and sprouting a tail or trying to enslave all humanity in some kind of theocratic nightmare of a world that would take away your access to internet porn or ban your Girls Gone Wild videos.
    Let me do what I do best and take a minute to make this all about ME, because, hey, that's what "my side" was so frequently accused of doing anyway.

    The tough thing about the Schiavo case for me was realizing that a fair number of my internet friends were taking pains to be tactful with me despite disagreeing with me about it.

    Let me be clear: It's not that they disagreed; that isn't what bothered me. I can handle the disagreement. The painful part was realizing that there were people who disagreed with me who were biting their tongues about it.

    And in fairness, I did my share of tongue-biting myself (well, not here. But most of the time). If I were a greener, more hotheaded young blogger, oh, the delinkings that would have ensued! It was damn hard not to get passionate about the whole thing. Yet knowing that it was just as hard for the people on the opposite side to stay calm didn't seem to help me one bit.

    And it still doesn't, if you want to know, because I still think you were horribly, horribly wrong. I think this--

    we must somehow learn to talk to each other rather than past each other
    --was the first notion to go flying out the window.

    See, we don't agree on the problem; thus we're bound to disagree on the solution. That's how "talking past each other" starts. You don't have to be Dr. Phil to figure that out, and in fact it helps if you aren't.

    I don't think this was a right-to-die case. That makes it basically impossible for me to discuss it with someone who does think this was a right-to-die case.

    What I'm left with is one thing: My country said it was a-ok to let a woman take thirteen days to die of dehydration and starvation, and here's what they asked from her as far as proof of her consent:


    I can't get anything in this life without signing something. Here, you try it. Go try to make a major purchase, register for a junior college class, renew a driver's license, file a change of address form, without anything in writing. I have to sign shit just to get a doctor to give me a fucking physical.

    "Yes okay you have my consent to take my blood pressure and my temperature and do whatever other shit you doctors want to do, yes okay, that is why I scheduled this appointment with you IN THE FIRST PLACE." I have to sign that stupid form before I can even get behind the Magic Doctor's Office Door, the one you can only go in but can never come out because they gotta route you past the billing clerk and you need a different door for that.

    I can't get anything without putting it in writing, and you can't either.

    But your husband who's been married to you for less time than Tom Cruise was married to Nicole Kidman, that guy, he can take a couple of relatives with him to court, overrule the man and woman who gave you life in the first place by saying "It's what she would have wanted"--and dibbity-dibbity-dibbituh-that's all, folks.

    No. I don't get that. I'm not going to get that. It is not in me to get that.

    I've made my peace with the fact that some people think I'm completely off base on this, but it's conditional on the fact that I now think those same people are also completely off base on this, and, well, that's a bummer.

    Then again, I'm neither hungry nor thirsty right now. That's one for the plus column.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:53 AM | Comments (6)

    June 17, 2005

    What in the Damn

    I take a couple weeks off to move and, of course, to drum my fingers impatiently on the counter over and over again as I navigate the Qwest menu to find out why it takes them THAT long to hook me up with a little hot DSL action (note: this question was never answered to my satisfaction, but then, it's all water under the bridge now). But as I was saying, here I go thinking that I can leave you people alone for a wee time and what happens? I find out Margi's gone and got herself knocked up like some kind of teenager or something. What is UP with that? You kids, can you ever just behave for one minute?

    Congratulations, Margi and husband. I wish you all the love and luck in the world.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:38 PM | Comments (3)

    June 01, 2005

    Onward, Upward

    As I said in the comments, everyone should write this well when they're wondering whether it's time to throw in the towel:

    It’s my belief that God put us—all of us—here for a reason and, for most of us, it isn’t just to hole ourselves up in prayer and contemplation and wait for the end times. Some of us have to get down in the mud and rassle with the hogs, when necessary. . . . Throwing up one’s hands is exactly what it sounds like: running from a fight.
    Thankfully, I don't think she's going to do that.

    (And now back to the moving chores. The next one of you to write something that knocks my socks off and compels me to link it has to get over here and help me haul these old clothes off to Goodwill. Honestly, you people.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:53 PM | Comments (3)

    May 31, 2005

    At Normandy

    Helen's holiday weekend was spent in Normandy, where she took some amazing, poignant photographs. You can check them out and read her feelings about being there right here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:52 PM | Comments (1)

    They Let Me in on a Loophole

    I mean, that's the only way to figure my inclusion in the debut of the Cotillion Ball. Well, that, or I bribed the doorman.

    Confession time: I had to look up "cotillion." It's one of those words I thought I knew in context, or at least knew well enough to gloss over it on my merry way to the next sentence when I'd come across it in my reading . . . but I didn't actually know what in tarnation a "cotillion" was.

    I am disappointed (but not entirely surprised) to learn that its origin is French:

    Main Entry: co·til·lion Pronunciation: kO-'til-y&n, k&- Variant(s): also co·til·lon /kO-'til-y&n, k&-, ko-tE-(y)On/ Function: noun Etymology: French cotillon, literally, petticoat, from Old French, from cote coat
    1 : a ballroom dance for couples that resembles the quadrille
    2 : an elaborate dance with frequent changing of partners carried out under the leadership of one couple at formal balls
    3 : a formal ball
    Just for the record, Ilyka has never attended a formal ball in her life, what with her not even making it to high school prom and all. Turns out boys are more likely to ask the girls who don't turn beet-red, stutter, hyperventilate, and then flee down the hallway when a guy speaks to them. Who knew?

    But hey, better late than never.

    I sure can't complain about the company: Definitely a cut above what I'm used to. Check it out:

    (Thanks to Beth, Jody, and Janette for putting it all together, and for looking the other way as I slipped past the bouncers.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:26 AM | Comments (7)

    May 15, 2005


    Yup, me too:

    My Gmail account is being swamped by hundreds of German spam mails today – literally hundreds of them, un-filtered in my inbox.
    Even my job's reporting getting them, which means I get 30 emails from supervisors a day begging employees not to open 'em, not to read 'em, and for pity's sake not to call the help desk about 'em. On the home front, I'm getting them sent not to my public email address, but to the one I guard like Fort Knox. Years of vigilance down the drain like so much spoilt sauerbraten.

    It's irksome, having to delete them all. Look, German rightwingers: I don't care. You've got pet issues you want to ramble about?

    Get a weblog.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:14 PM | Comments (5)

    May 13, 2005

    'Cause He Believes in Me

    Oh, Patrick--

    But I believe in love.
    I believe in tariffs.
    I believe in magic.
    And I believe in you
    I believe in you too, Mr. Buchanan! I believe in all kinds of things you'd feel at home with: Cockroaches, mildewed tile grout, Phthirus pubis, flat tires, basement floods, colonoscopies, Ashlee Simpson . . . all the myriad delights and fancies of life we could happily do without.


    Oh neat, lists. Here's what Helen wants from the world. Here's Jim's version. I'd list my own, but I don't have a week to give over to it. For now I'll just second this request of Helen's:

    Destiny's Child. You know what I'm talking about. Make them fuck right off and never destroy the radio airwaves again. And while you're at it, take Girls Aloud with you. They're whipping me.
    Embarrassing question time: Am I the only one who hears "Lose My Breath" as "Lose My Breast?" Is that just me?
    Baby boy, make me lose my breast
    Bring the noise, make me lose my breast
    Hit me hard, make me lose my (Hah Hah)
    It kind of sounds like she's begging for a horrible breastfeeding accident that way. I don't think I could do transcription for Destiny's Child, is all I'm saying.


    One of my boyfriend's cats died yesterday. I was going to mention that but then I realized technically, that's catblogging. So forget I mentioned it. And for pity's sake don't try to say anything kind about it.


    To get our minds off dead animals we watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. At some point the who-cares-what-his-character-name-is, we-all-know-it's-Charlie-Kaufman guy said something to his girl Clementine about ceaseless trap-flapping not necessarily equaling intimacy, sharing, bonding, something like that.

    At that, the boyfriend pointed to the screen and said, "See? See? Listen to the man."

    "Don't compare me to that crazy drunk slut," I shot back. "I would never do half the dumb shit she does. Walking on frozen rivers, breaking into empty beach houses, dyeing my hair Day-Glo colors--"

    "I wasn't comparing you to her," the boyfriend interrupted, "I was just saying you need to give us quiet types a break once in awhile."

    "Though now that you mention it," he added, "You are sort of like all her worst traits, without any of the fun ones."

    So now I have to bury a boyfriend AND a cat.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:10 PM | Comments (5)

    May 02, 2005

    This Blogroll Does Not Go to 11

    Oh, look, Laurence Simon is hurting feelings again by noting that some blogs are more valuable to him than others. Imagine that. Clearly someone didn't get the memo that We Are All Special, Each and Every One of Us, In Our Own Unique Ways And in Exactly Equal Measure.

    Balls to that.

    I'll play too. If I could only read 10 blogs, those blogs would be:

    10. Ace of Spades
    9. Hubris
    8. Kesher Talk
    7. Chez Miscarriage
    6. Everyday Stranger
    5. Meryl Yourish
    4. Jay Pinkerton
    3. Andrea Harris
    2. Tim Blair
    1. A Small Victory

    Let the delinking begin! I was going to turn comments off to prevent anyone getting all eighth grade on me about this, but luckily then I remembered that those of you who comment regularly are in at least the ninth grade, not the eighth, which means that instead of rumbling by the bike racks we can handle this maturely, behind the bleachers, like real freshmen.

    There's no crying in baseball. Shouldn't be any in blogging, either.

    UPDATE: I have an idea: I will add a top 10 list to this, because the facetious "top 10 lists," they are the latest and greatest thing! Ever!

    Top 10 Activities Laurence Simon Is Currently Enjoying Rather Than Crying Over My Failure To Include His Blog On My List of Ten, Even Though I Was Not Above Bumming This Meme From Him:

    10. Finding new ways to love bingo.
    9. Gardening.
    8. Putting the things harvested from the garden onto the grill.
    7. Grilling.
    6. Eating.
    5. Photographing cats.
    4. Playing with cats.
    3. Hating on the Palestinian Authority and other Jew-hating terrorist scum.
    2. Enjoying the love of a good woman.

    And the number one thing Laurence Simon is probably doing instead of whining that he's not on my 10-blog list:

    1. Reading better weblogs than this one.

    Number one is a terrific idea, come to think of it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:53 AM | Comments (14)

    May 01, 2005

    Least-Loved Pope Stories

    Andrea Harris, the Pope, Some Guy, and 22 questions that are stunning in their stupidity. We are talking skull-pummelingly, D-U-M dumb, like Rocky V dumb. Like I need to go watch a couple of Steven Seagal movies back to back just to regain some semblance of intellect.

    Really, though, you have to love Andrea for wading beyond the first page of a site that actually contains this blurb about its author:

    Matthew Fox might well be the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging religious-spiritual teacher in America.
    See, I would have seized up and started croaking inarticulately something about the virtue of humility right there, before I could read any further. In fact, I haven't read any further; I've got this stomach bug and I've thrown up enough times already today, thank you.

    Anyway, go read the Andrea. Even if you think Pope Benedict XVI is a Nazi--no, especially if you think Pope Benedict XVI is a Nazi. Oops; there I go with my scoldy theocratic commanding again. Must work on that.

    UPDATE: The boyfriend pointed out--because he's touchy about things like this, on account of his being descended from the dirty Huns himself, don't you know--that here it is playoffs time, and to date we have not heard one word from Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki denouncing Hitler. NOT ONE WORD. Doesn't he have a special responsibility as a celebrity to do this? Doesn't he want to use his influence for good rather than evil?

    This is an outrage. It is the responsibility of Germans everywhere to denounce Hitler on a daily basis; how else can the rest of us be assured that they're not up to more fascist deviltry? I'm thinking a UN resolution calling for all of them to tattoo "HITLER WAS BAD" on their foreheads in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Mandarin. About 8-pt type ought to do it, I think. Not sure about the Mandarin. But honestly, I just don't know how else we can be expected to rest easy in our beds while those Krauts are permitted to go about their days not denouncing Hitler continually.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:10 AM | Comments (2)

    April 19, 2005


    Oh, those ornery papists.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:19 AM | Comments (3)

    April 16, 2005

    The A-Word

    Abortion: It raises the hackles of people on all sides of the debate. For that reason I do not discuss it on my site, beyond noting occasionally that I am pro-choice.

    I've probably participated in, or been witness to, as many ugly arguments on the subject as you have. It was a facet of the Terri Schiavo debate that I deliberately avoided: One, I did not and do not think the two issues are directly related. Two, I thought tensions ran high enough just on the specific case of Schiavo's fate alone without bringing abortion into it, and yes, of course I'm including my own cute brand of tension and hysteria in that.

    There is a woman out there who does have the courage to discuss the A-word, as she recently did before the Texas State Legislature, in a graceful and heartfelt way that I do not. Her name is Julia, and this is her story.

    Read it--whatever side you're on.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:05 PM | Comments (5)

    April 14, 2005

    That's What I Forgot to Buy


    On another note, Harp Lager is Guinness for pussies. Excellent beer, actually, good for nights you feel like an Irish but don't feel like drinking something you have to chew first. Just don't drink it in public, or else people like me will make fun of you for not having the balls to buy a real beer.
    Complain at me all you want--I don't like Harp. I don't like fruity-tasting beer and no, I'm not making a cheap gay joke with "fruity-tasting," but . . . never mind. It's just not a favorite, and if I have to surrender my Irish card for saying so, fine.

    On the other hand . . . this is probably girly beer in the Geek Empire universe, too, but I love it. If a can of good ale knocked up a can of cream soda and they had babies together, this is what you would get, except I think it tastes better than what you probably think it tastes like from my poor description.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:37 AM | Comments (4)

    April 10, 2005

    Like That Five in Your Pocket Was Going to Virtuous Purposes Anyway

    Do me a favor (oh, don't you love posts that begin with that one?): Help Andrea Harris out, especially if you have lousy vision coverage and know the pain of forking out massive sums for corrective lenses.

    Now I can't prove this, but I have a feeling that some of you do not appreciate Andrea the way you ought to appreciate Andrea. See, Andrea will have a link from me eternally because Andrea writes things like this:

    France is spreading some of that liberty, equality, and fraternity they are always talking about. Well, the fraternity of the dead, the equality of the grave, and liberty from this vale of tears we call life, that is.

    Here’s the thing. All my life I’ve had the free, open, mature, intellectually superior, high-cultured, democratic wonder that is France pushed at me by Francophiles* (a fancy word that means “kissers of Gallic ass") in both my own life and from Our Betters in the Media. It’s mostly a load of bull. The French are mean, authoritarian motherfuckers and always have been.

    And this:

    I have figured out a way to make watching tv news/talk shows (they are hardly distinguishable from one another these days) bearable: drink. Because that way I was able to endure ten whole minutes of the Dennis Miller show just now. Dennis isn’t the problem – he’s fine, though he looks kind of like Alvin the Chipmunk – but Nick Gillespie is one of his guests. (The others are some plump fellow with a truly pathetic beard-effort that looks like he told his stylist to make him look “just like my idol, Dennis Miller,” and some chick with one bony shoulder poking pathetically out of her sweater in such a way that

    (Pause while I play with my cat)

    it looks as if she was mugged on the way to the studio and is too stoned on crack to give a shit.

    Oh, and who could forget this?

    The scenario goes like this:

    Male blogger with lots of ad links and hit counts on his site wakes up one day forgetting how to use a search engine and posts something like "Where are all the women bloggers and by that I mean the ones that write about my favorite subjects (politics and the insert football team name and site visitor statistics and how I rank on Ecoshizzle)? Since I am congenitally unable to look these blogs up myself I will conclude that the stereotype that I ingested from my many years watching movies by liberal, progressive Hollywood -- that women are too busy being sweet, nurturing, over-emotional, and crazy with the menstrual psychosis and the need to have sex with ugly men like Woody Allen to be able to handle scary mens' opinions -- is the reason."

    Ten thousand female bloggers: "Die you stupid shithead die. But first, here are the goddamn links for the nine-millionth time."

    Male blogger plus commenters: "You women are always acting like victims! Stupid feminazis!"

    Even when Andrea goes off the deep end, she does it in a spectacular way that you only wish you could manage:

    Okay. Personal. You want personal? HERE'S PERSONAL.

    Gee, looks like all the "Oh noes, Allah quit blogging! Come back Allah you totally rock!" has gone to your fucking head. YOU brought up a totally unrelated subject ("Gee, what if General Mattis had insulted Iraqis who voted instead of remarked that it was fun to kill the terrorists who were trying to keep them from voting?" which has nothing, nada, rien, niente, NOTHING to do with the subject, and certainly nothing to do with the YES BULLSHIT "hearts and minds campaign" because for one thing, the vote was for IRAQ, not us, you don't tell a dying man who refuses medicine that will cure him that it's your fault because the shot wasn't going to be administered by an attractive nurse). YOU brought up the straw man. YOU did it. NOT me. YOU did it. Not me. YOU DID IT. NOT ME. YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT. NOT ME. DON'T YOU FUCKING TRY TO BULLSHIT ME.

    Come on, you are ALL mild-mannered Clark Kents next to that. Now give the woman some money. You people who email me wondering where my Paypal button is?--You take that little tchotchke you were going to buy me and give it to Andrea Harris. Trust me, you'll get more out of it than you would by giving it to Citibank me.

    (And yes, I put my money where my [virtual] mouth is, because unlike some breathtakingly misguided bloggers out there, I'm fairly certain Andrea won't REFUND it to me with a terse note explaining that she can't, in good conscience, accept a donation from such a lowly wage-slave as I. Yeah, buddy, you know who you are, and the only other thing I have to say about it is that even the poor have pride. You could maybe let them retain a little, considering they haven't much else. Jerk.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:05 AM | Comments (7)

    March 24, 2005


    The word of the day is compromise. This nation was founded on it, blah blah blah . . . compromise!

    Schiavo acknowledges that some might find the test to be excessive. "Hey, I know it's a lot of food. It's still a lot cheaper than an MRI. If I can't finish it all, I'll box up the rest to take it home for my girlfriend."
    Posted by Ilyka at 04:10 PM | Comments (6)

    March 19, 2005

    Everyone Hates Sitemeter

    And Technorati. And The System That Shall Be Neither Named nor Linked Here. Yes, yes, but sometimes it pays to check one or the other of them anyway, just to see who's linking you.

    I have no idea why this writer is linking me, for example, but I also do not care because I am in love:

    Yes, if there’s one field that has evolved beyond recognition in the past quarter-century, it’s introductory calculus. Why, back when I was a tot, the area of a rectangle was length plus width, the derivative of sin x was 5, and we only had whole numbers, so whenever we needed to compute the area of a circle we had to use pi=3, AND YOU NEVER HEARD US COMPLAIN.
    You want more? I want more. Let's have more!
    According to one of my precalculus students, a girl apparently unacquainted with the notion of the self-fulfilling prophecy, I “derive pleasure from seeing [my] students fail.” This, I am told, is a consequence of my gross narcissism, which leads me to show off in front of the class and on tests by demonstrating what a mathematical genius I am, instead of giving tests that everyone (even the students who don’t always come to class or do their homework) can do.
    I think the author's a woman, but I'm not sure--anyway stuff this good could be written by a hermaphrodite for all I care. It's hysterical. Now go enjoy Tall, Dark, and Mysterious. It's lovely.
    Posted by Ilyka at 12:18 AM | Comments (5)

    March 17, 2005


    I don't think my limerick skills are up to this task, so I'll post my mediocrity here instead:

    My grandmother mourned Bobby Sands,
    And supported most Sinn Fein demands,
    Well, I'm Irish too,
    And I say "Fuck you,"
    To murdering IRA bands.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day, and a big virtual toast to the McCartney sisters.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:39 PM | Comments (7)

    Women, Work

    Helen has a post up about the difficulties she's encountered working with women. It's all good stuff, naturally. One learns to expect that with Helen.

    While I suspect this tale may have been slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect:

    I stormed into Sherie’s office. “Do you know what’s being said about me? Do you know what Debra is perpetrating? She’s telling everyone I have a sexually transmitted disease!”

    Sherie looked at me, one hand deep in a economy size bag of Lay’s. “Well, as far as I’m concerned, you deserve it. You’re young, thin, pretty and smart. You had it coming.”

    . . . I can't say I haven't had similar experiences. And at the risk of playing into all those Stereotypes Perpetuated by the Man, I have to say that, in general, this is how I've been able to work effectively with women:

  • When the office is virtually all-female. Throw one good-looking man into the room, though, and it's all over. "See how she just throws herself at him. Ugh. She is such a conniving little whore." "You know she wore that blouse on purpose. He can see everything." "Funny how Carla used to be happy in slacks, but now that she's working with him a lot it's nothing but miniskirts." And so on.

  • When I'm overweight and/or downplaying my looks. Being overweight, or at least concerned about one's weight and image, is a passport to female bonding in many offices. Only the most diplomatic and tactful of the thin may enter, and then usually by complaining that they just can't gain weight no matter what they do, and they're so tired of "not having any curves," etc. Being thin because you "have a high metabolism" or "inherited the skinny genes" is just barely acceptable. Throw one thin woman into the room who says, "Hey, I'm thin because I work out and watch what I eat," though, and it's all over. "It's like she thinks she's better than us." "Too bad all that working out doesn't make her any nicer." "Just wait 'til the kids come; then we'll see how thin little Miss Pilates is." And so on.

  • When I can't see the women I'm working with, and they can't see me. As a (sigh) home-based medical transcriptionist, I interact with women almost exclusively five days a week--via email. We are all largely a supportive, encouraging group, offering help and tips to each other when asked, gladly sharing in a little complaining now and then about various difficult physician dictators. We're mostly a happy bunch. Throw one woman into the (virtual) room who's a little too confident, a little too assertive, though, and it's all over. "She has 20 years' experience? With what, a chiropractor's office? I think I know more about cardiology than she does, thank you." "Well, I could have been a CMT myself, but even if I were, I wouldn't brag about it." "She's just so arrogant about everything." And so on.

    I want to stress that these are just my subjective observations.

    And I have no idea why it happens. And, guys? I probably don't want to hear your theories about why it happens--particularly not if it's another tired-ass recitation of The Influence of Evolution in Encouraging Women to Compete with Each Other to Land the Best Mate. Fool, please. I'm not ruling out that there's some influence from exactly those origins; I'm just saying it's not sufficient on its own to explain all the bitchiness.

    I even bought a book recently, Catfight, to see if I could get some clues about this. I haven't finished it yet. This is probably because about every fifth page I end up shrieking, "Oh bullshit!" and chucking it across the room. I'm bad that way when a book really pisses me off. If you want to take that as further proof of the existence of the Hysterical Female archetype, be my guest--but I really think it's just me. I'm a book-thrower. This is who I am and what I do.

    I'll tell you, too--in the end I don't really care why this happens. I care about managing my own behavior and learning not to be part of the problem so that, yes, I can be part of the solution. I know it sounds hokey, but I don't have any better ideas.

    What I do have are all the same catty instincts I often see come out when women get together. I do fight down a knee-jerk reaction to loathe perky, teeny, slender blonde women. I do fight down a knee-jerk reaction to loathe women who flirt openly in business environments. I do fight down a knee-jerk reaction to resent women in authority.

    But I think those instincts are worth fighting. In fact, I know they are. I've come a long way from being a teenage misogynist. I've come a long way from having conversations like this with my mother:

    "Haven't you any girl friends to talk to, Francie?"

    "No. I hate women."

    "That's not natural. It would do you good to talk things over with girls your own age."

    "Have you any women friends, Mama?"

    "No, I hate women," said Katie.

    And if anyone has any suggestions for further reading on this topic (something besides Catfight! Please! The boyfriend is tired of ducking!), I'd sure love to have 'em.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:31 PM | Comments (8)
  • March 02, 2005


    It's hustle-up-the-rent time here at Ilyka Damen, so I got nothin' except for a handful of goodies snagged from elsewhere:

    First, via Absinthe & Cookies, it's Kathy of the Cake Eater Chronicles on that old double standard:

    . . . I'm going to play the part of the devil's advocate here and say that the reason most women do not want to partake in casual sex is because some just don't like how they feel about the whole business in the harsh, cold, raccoon-eyed, light of day.

    It's one thing to be Carrie Bradshaw at night. It's entirely another to be Carrie Bradshaw the morning after.

    Those last two sentences sum up some of my icky morning-after feelings oh, too well.

    I think this may be one of those things old Glenn Reynolds would link with the line "cats and dogs living together," or something: Trish Wilson and The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler discover common ground:

    What was amazing was that we agreed on something. The people over there discovered right-wing fathers' rights nutball Robert Lindsay Cheney, and they weren't impressed. I've known about Cheney for about ten years.

    This post, "I Don't Hate The Jews, I Hate Everyone," on Cheney's blog caught their attention. I see the guy is still a raving lunatic even ten years after I learned about him. I couldn't make heads nor tails of his ranting, which was always par for the course for him.

    (Note: Cheney's post is linked in Trish's; me, I prefer not to do so--but see, that's all the more reason why you should click to go read the whole thing.) The raving moonbats, they are the real uniters-not-dividers in this country, I swear--because most of us, most of the time, can agree on what "crazy" looks like.

    Finally, everything at Kesher Talk is good as usual, but I'll single out just a couple recent entries. First, a great post on who constitutes the new "silent majority":

    The New Silent Majority. Vodkapundit has another anecdote from a liberal hawk friend in the closet, and asks, "Could folks like us be the new Silent Majority?"

    Yes. Yes. And yes. I formed an entire social circle in NYC out of people who are hawkish neo-con liberals, who have to be in the closet around their lefty friends (which is 75% of Manhattan, especially in the arts and social services, like most of these people). We have a listserv, and go to events, and socialize together and everything. A lot of us met through campaigning for Bush. Others met through LGF comment threads. There are 50 people on this list.

    And this one that Judith kindly sent me a link to earlier in the week that features the lyrics to a Dar Williams song called "When I Was a Boy:"

    I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike,
    Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw.
    My neighbor come outside to say, "Get your shirt,"
    I said "No way, it's the last time, I'm not breaking any law."
    And now I'm in a clothing store,
    and the sign says less is more,
    More that's tight means more to see,
    more for them, not more for me.
    That can't help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat
    I never felt I was a boy per se as a child, but you know something?--I totally did the topless thing. I got away with it twice: Once by wheedling a kindly uncle and the second time by irritating the living daylights out of my babysitter (it was Sacramento in the summertime, meaning 100 degrees and miserable out). The second time ended it; my brother, the babysitter and I were walking down the street when a neighbor gave me a look of horror that sent a current of shame coursing through me. I'd been all right with not having a shirt on--hey, I was seven only--up until then.

    So there you go. I think I'll go try the topless thing on the corner now and see if that doesn't help scare up the rent. What? Why are you people always looking at me like that?

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:00 PM | Comments (2)

    March 01, 2005

    By Way of Illustration

    This is how not to make fun of one of right-wing blogging's sacred cows: Shriek repeatedly that they suck. Of course they suck. A group blog led by a middle-aged clench-cheeked WASP with anger management issues, who adopts a nom de pixel that reeks of repressed homoeroticism--that blog would need divine intervention not to suck. MFYA, I am 100% with you on the sucking, but I need a bit more than that. You've got to find some way to note the suck with a little more flair and a lot more funny.

    (You watch--whoever's running MFYA will turn out to be someone I "know" in some other blogging incarnation and they will just hate me for saying that. Though, actually, that's okay with me--just so long as they hate me in a way that's hysterical. I mean I want people literally falling out of chairs and rolling in the aisles and telling me I've been pwned. And seriously, I am hoping they'll hit their stride soon, because as a concept, this sort of blog was overdue.)

    This, now, is how you step up and bring it to the chronically uptight.

    Learn from the great ones, MFYA. May the force be with you.

    UPDATE: But what if you really do take issue with the juju berries? Well, then you calmly make your case (with footnotes), instead of blubbering about "the left's march through our institutions," as though Hollywood had been solidly Republican before last night.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:00 AM | Comments (3)

    February 28, 2005

    And Now for Something Completely Different


    Posted by Ilyka at 03:02 PM | Comments (4)

    February 23, 2005

    No Immunity

    Yeah, this affair explains as well as anything why I'm not into "blogger triumphalism:"

    As much as anyone I want to expose biased and or poor reporting from the MSM, particularly the NY Times, because of their fundamental impact on reportage as a whole. But it can not be done with the conservative blogging community's own brand of bad reporting and unfounded smear. That is counter-productive, as well as dangerous.
    Pride goeth before a fall, and all that. Turns out some bloggers are already well-known for being even more arrogant, insulting, and churlish than their professional media counterparts when the facts don't do what they want them to.

    I am, naturally, shocked.

    (Found by way of Fistful of Fortnights.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:49 AM | Comments (2)

    February 17, 2005

    No Love for Judith Warner?

    [NOTE/UPDATE: I've revised the link to A Small Victory now that Michele's posted a finished version of the post Lileks sucked from her brain. It looks to me like Lileks got the short end of the bendy straw on this one, because the new post is damn good.

    I've also included a link to another post on Warner, at Geek Empire, that notes the perfectionist mother phenomenon is limited to mothers of means. You can't obsess over craft projects if you're struggling just to buy diapers.]

    Let's all hear it for Judith Warner!


    What I find so depressing about Warner's book is the fact that she seems to be a well-intentioned, passionate advocate for women. She obviously cares about her subject matter deeply. She wants things to change. She even outlines a manifesto of sorts, a call to action regarding more family-friendly workplace policies. But that's precisely what Sylvia Ann Hewlett did in her atrocious book Creating a Life - right after she pummeled infertile women for being too psychologically immature to commit to marriage and childrearing in a timely fashion. I'm not exactly mollified by a List of Really Good Ideas, not when it's appended to yet another screed outlining Exactly What's Wrong With Mothers Today.
    I was finding new motherhood stressful not because being a mother made it so, but because dealing with the other mothers made it so. I could never be sure if what I was doing was right. My values were constantly called into question. My skills were tested. I spent half my time with other mothers defending myself and my parenting choices. When another mother would come to my rescue, two more would pop out of the woodwork to enter the fray.


    Listen, I go to community college. One of the girls in a class with me this past semester is a recovering junkie with two kids, dirt-poor while trying to hold down a full time job, go to school so she can better herself and her future, while still parenting and providing for her kids. The father? Are you kidding me? I think her parents helped her out some, and of course she got (deserved) government assistance, but still, that's a challenge greater than most anyone living in this country today has to face, and it is far from an uncommon situation.

    . . .

    While you're whining to your professional-journalist $100k/yr pillow buddy about how freaking hard you have it, people all over the country are burning the midnight oil trying to fix their lives, pushing themselves to and beyond the limit daily to feed their kids and work their job and maybe make something of their future. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it's possible that there are worse things in life than getting the wrong shade of fucking TABLET PAPER!?!

    Well, I haven't any love for her myself--but I'm not a parent, so that's all I'm going to say about it. Those of you who do parent, or plan to, have at it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:13 PM | Comments (6)

    Blah Blah Wal-mart Blah Blah Evil

    Ech. I'm just not feeling it on the latest Fiction Bitch piece. I think she gave the guy too much of a pass. I needed more ruthless whip-cracking on this one. Instead, the author gets all this out without a single markup:

    The summer before I packed my life up into a few cardboard boxes and embarked on the four-year epic adventure to college, I got a job running a fireworks stand through a family friend. The hour-long drive to and from home across the murky Louisiana swamps every day didn't thrill me, but it was the best job offer I had at the time. My only other option was cleaning up the summertime-sizzling parking lot at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter for slave wages. But, as my eternally-wise father used to say, "Never let an opportunity to push grocery carts and pick up three day old, sun-scorched trash go by unexplored."
    Maybe I'm just cranky, but I'd have red-penned half of that. "Packed my life up into a few cardboard boxes and embarked on the four-year epic adventure to college"--I'm seeing six kinds of red off that clause alone. Just say "before I left for college," dude. First of all, you're ostensibly 17-18 when you leave for college; I don't expect your life to consume more than "a few cardboard boxes" by that point. It fails in any ironic sense, nor does it add to the setting. "The four-year epic adventure to college"--please. It's not nice to make readers barf, it really isn't. And if you meant it archly ("ho-ho! It's funny because college isn't really an epic adventure!"), why, that's even worse.

    And she let "my eternally-wise father" (as opposed to "temporarily wise?") get by, and then let said father get by with the most cornpone yuk-yukker ever. Oh, this is just all so wrong.

    But, you know, who can resist hearing one more time about the super-evil that is Wal-mart? So the story has that going for it: It definitely helps stave off the dearth of criticism about evil, wicked, soul-sucking, corporate-overlord-operated Wal-mart that's been so lacking lately. Best of all, it's written from the fresh-faced perspective of a smartass kid who's just not meant for such indignities as working for $5.25 an hour sans benefits. His destiny compels him ever onward and upward.

    I seriously want to make him clean up a parking lot now.

    I need something to get the taste out--oh, here. I've been meaning to link this for over a week. It's a bit about how the stock market punished Costco for treating its customers and its employees decently, instead of going all out to bring home the bacon for the shareholders:

    If you are making 20 million a year as a CEO, the last thing you can personally want is to see companies that pay their workers well and the CEOs less beat you in the marketplace... because if for a moment America thought that recipe could succeed, it might change to it over night . . . .
    I don't know about overnight. The only thing I ever saw happen truly overnight in business was Fed-Ex. But I'm a cynic. Anyway, good, positive discussion on that one . . . probably because no one starts love-humping Costco and reaming Wal-mart in that rote, predictable fashion of which I am so fond.

    (Incidentally, a big "eff you" to Hubris for not telling me had a whole 'nother blog. It's a group operation I guess; the post above is authored by "pyrrho." But could the man ever mention it or anything? Pimp it a little? Honestly.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:11 AM | Comments (6)

    February 16, 2005

    I Got Your Extra-Strength Midol Right Here

    At some point in Travels, Michael Crichton ponders--a little too wistfully, if you ask me, though I say that as someone who adores the man--whether maybe men have hormonal fluctuations similar to menstrual periods that science just hasn't discovered yet.

    I swear I'm starting to wonder about that. First we have the Comic Book Guy incarnate and his superintelligent theories of why beautiful women have it so good in life; now, the Bionic Dick is throwing up all over Dizzy Girl.

    Over what? Over a movie.

    No, seriously; this, apparently, is what gave offense:

    Want to know how good "The Notebook" is? It's the end of the movie and Jason just got up from the couch suddenly and practically ran into the bathroom crying his eyes out and sobbing. Holy...shit. My husband...the cop...the big strapping fella...the guy who NEVER cries...is in the bathroom at this very moment crying like a little girl. THAT'S how good this movie is.

    . . .

    Jason just walked into the living room telling me to never bring another movie like that into the house. He denies crying and has ordered me not to blog about it. Hehe. Too late. The world now knows that my hubby is a big ole softy!

    You know, Robbie, if your masculinity's threatened by this post, maybe it's because you're not all that secure with it in the first place. You say you're a man? Then take it like a man, you shrimpy old buzzard. Real men don't trot out vile language and cruel insults over trivial posts like this--and no, I don't care WHAT your mama told you. Did it never cross your mind that maybe your mama tells you how wonderful your wrinkled cracker ass is because that's a mama's job?

    I hope Dizzy Girl's "big strapping fella" whups your ass good. It's so overdue.

    Oh, would that you jackasses would just retire to the couch with a heating pad, a box of chocolates, and the remote, like we do. For all we're supposedly such bitches 'round about that time, you'll notice we usually find better things to do with our time than bring the hate against strangers for no better reason than to see what will happen.

    Well, here's what happened: You proved you're a pathetic asshole. That's what happened. Congratulations.

    What's that little saying you're so fond of? "If it was easy, any asshole could do it?"

    Yeah, that's the one.

    Well, there ain't nothing easier than the cheap shot you take against a woman who did you no wrong.

    Not too much lower than that, either.

    UPDATE: Always read the whole thing, even if you're pretty certain you're going to be made sick by it. As Allah notes in the comments below, the "vile language and cruel insults" come from Acidman's commenters, not from the man himself. I stand corrected on that point, and I apologize for getting it wrong in the first place by jumping to conclusions.

    I'd rein that kind of commentary in nonetheless if it happened here, just personally. But I guess if you want to run your site like a monkey cage, complete with shit flung all over the walls, that's your business.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:45 AM | Comments (8)

    February 15, 2005

    I'm a Loser, She's a Loser, Wouldn't You Like to Be a Loser Too?

    I agree with Ryan: It's not nearly up to par with the Plain Layne unmasking.

    The short version: Apparently, there once was a libertarian guy who pretended to be a hot chick in order to score hits and traffic. You can file this under "Reasons Libertarian Men Are Notoriously Under-Laid:" It's the immaturity, stupid. Anyway, here's what he learned from the experiment:

    It’s funny how there have been some posts in the blogosphere saying that the political blogosphere was a boys club that discriminated against women, as evidenced by how few politics bloggers were women. Boy were they completely off the mark. It’s ten times easier for a woman’s blog to become popular.

    This effect no doubt carries over into the real world. Whenever I see an attractive woman with a successful career, I’ll remember the experience of this blog and assume that she didn’t really get there on merit, just her looks.

    Yes, that's right: Unemployed guy living with mom and pop poses as hot chick and concludes that good-looking women don't "really get there on merit." He would know this, of course, because he has actually been a good-looking woman trying to get ahead. Wait, no he hasn't. He's just pretended to be one and, icing on the cake, apparently wasn't even very bright about it.

    Isn't that fantastic? Some joker of a man puts up a photo of a mail-order bride, and competent, successful, good-looking women get judged for it. I'm so happy I could spit.

    Libertarian Loser Guy is also an expert on many other things he is not, like Jews and "the real reason" they're all liberal. Judith, Meryl, I'm thinking you'll get a particular kick out of this one.

    It's amazing, just amazing, what you can learn living at home with your parents and hanging out solely with like-minded cranks. Good show, man.

    Now about that hair: Michael Bolton called, and he'd like it back.

    UPDATE: I'm pretty sure I know at least one attractive woman who'd take issue with LLG's statement that "it's ten times easier for a woman's blog to become popular," but she's tied up with pet problems at the moment. All you kitty-cat fans out there, if Ms. Lauren sets up a donation button for assistance with this, please be cool and help her out. Do it for Pablo.

    WAIT, IT GETS BETTER: Ladies and gentleman, prepare to screen capture:

    People have told me I should just go on with the blog and pretend that nothing happened.

    That seems like pretty good advice. There will be pleny of new gullible people to replace the old gullible people. And no one will have any new incentive to “out” me because I’ve already been outed.

    So this is what will happen. In twenty-four hours, I will post a new girl picture and delete all posts, comments, and trackbacks relating to Libertarian Girl not being a girl.

    Yeah, I know, he chickens out after noting the Instalanche he received today, but honestly, this is the best example I've seen of too-dumb-to-quit in ages.

    Maybe he'll top the pomposity of Odin Soli yet.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:48 PM | Comments (16)

    February 10, 2005

    Well, It IS Only One Word

    "Mainstream," I mean--as the author of a piece both defending and critiquing the news media points out, "MSM" is a poor choice of acronym when you mean to say "mainstream media." Three cheers for that; I don't feel so alone anymore, knowing I'm not the only one who thinks it's stupid.

    As for the rest, I'm still reading it. Keep in mind before you comment that I think some of the best bloggers are also journalists and, more importantly, one of my best friends works in the field.

    If I finish the article and still feel like talking about it, I ask only that you all pray I manage something more intelligent than, say, 75% of Michael J. Totten's commenters here did. Tell me, how does Totten not have a drinking problem? If I had that much sheer dumbness pouring into my comments on a daily basis, I'd be on heroin by now. And yeah, that's a roundabout way of saying I love you, my readers; all three of you (although two of you are on probation).

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:41 AM | Comments (9)

    February 09, 2005

    Between Mercy and Blood Lust

    It's a fine line, as the ensuing discussion over this post indicates.

    The story in question reminds me of the time several years ago now that my father and I were watching some television news magazine piece about--wait, here it is: the Marines caught participating in the controversial ritual of "pinning."

    We had a debate about it. I thought the practice was sadistic and counterproductive; I didn't see how Marines torturing other Marines was conducive to building unit cohesion, to name just one of my objections.

    My father's argument (which he would not retreat from no matter how I came at him, my father being what you might call "obstinate," or "Irish") was brief and simple. It went something like: "The Marines are the best soldiers we've got, and I don't care how they got that way. Whatever they're doing, obviously it works. I don't have to agree with it, I don't have to like it, but I'm sure as hell not going to tell them to change anything."

    I still don't think he was right, but I think what I can appreciate is that effective soldiers aren't trained to make nice. They're not diplomats. You wouldn't send an ambassador onto a battlefield anymore than you'd send a drill sergeant to Camp David.

    Expecting soldiers not to exercise undue force, expecting them not to torture their captives, expecting them not to go overboard--that's all right and just; but expecting them to have the same efficacy at the war for hearts and minds as they do for the war they're trained to fight seems dumb to me. Let them do what they do best, which, when you strip the sugarcoating from it, is kill people. Pardon me if I prefer to look the other way when the more honest of them admit to sometimes enjoying their jobs.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:01 AM | Comments (11)

    February 02, 2005

    Lawyers + Blogs = What's on TV?

    The resemblance between the Ecosystem Top 10 and my personal "Ten Blogs I Try Very Hard Not to Read Because I'm So Awfully Awfully Sorry Whenever I Do" list grows daily. It is as though the Ecosystem were reading my mind only to disagree with its contents completely. Please: Share the stupidity and marvel at a recent example of something I desperately needed never to read:

    This should be fun, but, frankly, I'm getting tired of investing my time in responding to baseless libels by the Star Tribune.
    THEN DON'T, retard.

    See how simple that was?

    Nothing says "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" like a bunch of blogging bozos crying to the world because that mean girl over there called them names. It's just a little bit reminiscent of deranged Texan talking heads spluttering about being smeared by the well-funded right-wing blogging machine--except that watching the Texan have a meltdown is waaaaayyy more entertaining, not to mention more educational. You learn a new folksy expression every time!

    Remember when you all busted Dan Rather and CBS for passing off a Microsoft Word document as a typewritten 1970s-era document? Remember how you were all, "In your FACE, CBS!" and "Suck it, Gunga Dan!" . . . ? Remember how you were all like convinced that Big Media was the Berlin wall and you were the happy little Germans with picks and hammers? Remember that? Yes. Well. Did you think you earned the media's undying love and respect with that behavior, or what? Because you seem to be communicating now from some universe where the more scorn you heap on a group of people, the more they love you, and that universe and this one do not coincide.

    If Big Bad Evil Liberal Media is pissed off at you, boys, consider it a compliment on a job well done. Then, grow a pair and SHUT UP. Most of us always suspected the legal profession drew its members from those kids in school who never could stop narcing out their classmates, no matter how many times their heads were shoved in the toilet . . . but some of you are proving it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:36 PM | Comments (4)

    January 22, 2005

    Being on a Topic Not Generally Mentioned Here


    First of all, congratulations to the Esmays, Dean and Rosemary, on the safe and happy arrival of Rosemary's Baby. (I couldn't resist the idiotic joke, but, oh, all right; I suppose Dean had a hand in it too. Well, not a hand, exactly . . . .) I'll be first to tell you I'm not generally an ooher-and-aaher over babies, but this is indeed an adorable baby. Believe it!

    I have been reading more than I usually do about babies and pregnancies since I found the infertility blogs. (One is linked at left.) I've thought about writing about some of the things I have learned by doing so, but I have any number of reasons that always crop up and change my mind before I do--first among them being, I don't want to link to an infertility blog and have some spoilin'-for-a-fight blogger find it and, fingers trembling in anticipation, rush off to type a manifesto about how women who don't learn to "just accept" their infertility are Thwarting God's Will.

    No, no thank you.

    I'll just say I don't look at pregnancy and childbirth the same way anymore. People who describe babies as Little Miracles used to give me, I admit it, a real pain in the tushie. "Anyone," I would think dismissively (where obviously "anyone" meant "any woman"), "can pop out a baby. Watch Jerry Springer sometime and prepare to be appalled at how easy it is."

    But they kind of are little miracles, really. And the things a woman's body can withstand when she is determined and able to bring one into the world are simultaneously horrific and amazing.

    So with a much deeper and more heartfelt appreciation for the whole mysterious process than I once had, I'll just say again: Congratulations, Esmays. Nice one.

    (And thank goodness I type accounts of caesarean sections often enough not to be grossed out by this!)

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:56 PM | Comments (3)

    January 21, 2005

    Other Remarks on the Thread That Would Not Die That I Never Got to Because I Was Too Busy Arguing with That Dickhead Muslim Deity

    Regarding this post, of course.

  • I cannot be the only one who thinks "Purple Fury" would make a really good male porn star name. At least use it in erotica somehow:

    He pounded her repeatedly with his throbbing, purple fury, until her moans of ecstasy reached a frequency only dogs could hear.
  • The guy who said "the secret is finding a mate who enjoys cunnilingus" might as well have said the secret is finding a mate WHO IS BREATHING. That guy will never spend Saturday night going, "SNL . . . or MadTV? SNL . . . or MadTV?"

  • LabRat brought up an evolutionary theory--because you can't have these discussions without evolutionary theories; don't you people know anything?--that points out that, if you're talkin' evolution and the drive to create a diverse population to ensure the species survives . . . it's actually in the interests of both sexes to cheat (without being caught, of course). (Helen, I think you sent me a link to a study on this very thing long ago, am I right?) Anyway, I await the day when the dozens of Republican men who have told me "all women want x and are y and do z, because evolution," will march on Washington, demanding a constitutional amendment to abolish monogamy. Because evolution!

  • Michele didn't appreciate the commenters who said, "Oh, super-thin is in because gay fashion designers want women to look more like boys," but you know who first floated that theory to me? Right: A gay man. I don't think it's "gay-bashing" to point out that gay males tend to have different physical criteria than straight ones when it comes to beauty. When's the last time you met a straight man obsessed with Judy Garland?

  • If I hear one more man exclaiming gleefully to his brethren that his marriage improved the minute, the very minute, he accepted that women are irrational fluffy creatures who need to be placed on pedestals, to be taken down only long enough to "coddle them and protect them from the dragons that are out there," I will fwow up. Dude, don't punish the rest of us because you married a ditz. And I should say that really it's that I would fwow up, were I not certain in my bones that it's actually the same one guy who can't seem to make this point often enough under his own name, and so has to go making up alter egos to convince others he has a "movement." Anyway, it's pretty giggle-inducing the way one guy will finally figure out how to get out of the shithouse at home, then run around excitedly sharing the news with other men, as though women were all one lock to which he'd just found the key. "And I turned the corner and it was right there, the master key, lying right there on the floor of our 'NO GIRLZ ALOWED' treehouse the whole time!" Not that guys like this ever ask my advice, but here's some anyway: Don't get divorced.

  • On the post overall: I'm still pretty stunned that a woman can ask, "Hey, isn't having the sternum and rib cage be the most protruding part of a woman's chest a little sick and wrong?" and a goodly percentage of men will hear that question as, "Do I look fat in these jeans to you?" Those are completely different questions.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:08 AM | Comments (25)
  • December 15, 2004

    All the World Owes Me Some Tail

    Michele touches on just one reason I don't read weblogs like Hog on Ice: It's the generalizing, stupid.

    The only thing I could add is that sometimes I think there were mamas out there who did their jobs a little too well when it came to filling a boy's head with self-esteem. I think about going back in time and having a little talking-to with them:

    Me: Mrs. H?

    Mrs. H: Yes, dear?

    Me: I wanted to talk to you about little Stevie.

    Mrs. H: Oh, I do hope he hasn't been in any trouble--

    Me: No, no. Well, not really. Not yet. It's just, I gather you've spent a lot of hours taking really good care of him--

    Mrs. H: Why, thank you. I try my best--

    Me: --and that's great, really, but see, he's got hold of this idea that he's the most precious amazing wonderful awesome adorable little guy--

    Mrs. H: Isn't he, though?

    Me: Well, with all due respect, Mrs. H, he is to you. The problem is what happens when he grows up.

    Mrs. H: When little Stevie becomes a man, at least I'll know I did my level best to teach him self-esteem.

    Me: Self-esteem, yeah--see, that's what I'm here to talk about. There's . . . there's self-esteem that comes from good works and good character development, and then there's . . . listen, Mrs. H., I have to level with you: You may be giving little Stevie some unrealistic expectations about the world of adulthood.

    Mrs. H: Unrealistic?

    Me: Apparently little Stevie grows up so assured of his innate wonderfulness that he, ah, he can't . . . he can't understand why women aren't lining up to show him the love, if you know what I mean.

    Mrs. H: They aren't?

    Me: Apparently not, Mrs. H. I'm sorry.

    Mrs. H: Why, my poor baby!

    Me: Mrs. H, I feel for you, I do, but frankly, that poor baby of yours grows up to be a bitter old asshole.

    Life isn't fair. Love is even less so. You can either work with what you've got or blame what you don't got on 50-odd percent of the world's population.

    Which is more practical?

    UPDATE 12/15/2004: This excerpt from an email today from the boyfriend is too good not to share:

    Actually, the only reason I was reading the comments was because I saw that Michelle [with ONE 'l', honey!--ed.] had shut them down. So, obviously, I was curious as to why. And what do I see, the second to last post is my girlfriend saying "I'll let the site owner be the judge of that." And I think, that's my girl, getting too rowdy and closing the bar early.
    I am not sentimental and I do not watch the Lifetime channel and I do not "aww" at much, but I totally "aww'd" at that. And people wonder why I stick to him like Press 'n Seal.
    Posted by Ilyka at 12:31 AM | Comments (6)

    December 09, 2004

    Because I Want ON This Taking-the-Weblog-Awards-Seriously Train, That's Why*

    House rules, effective immediately:

    I find out any of you goofs voted for any blog making any reference within its title to the word "pajamas"--and this includes the British-spelling variant "pyjamas" and such nonwords as "pajamasphere"--and you're off the site, okay? Do the right thing and confess it here and now so I can ban you forever. I mean it: This definitely goes on your permanent record.

    It took me a year or two to tire of "blogosphere" and perhaps half a year to start wincing at "hat tip," but what has been done to a word once devotedly wed to an innocent and comfy article of clothing, by a bunch of uninspired duckspeaking drool-spoolers, in less than three months, is unbearable.

    See also: brownshirts. So: Al Gore makes one of his typically weak-brewed, wholly unintentional ha-ha's, and your first thought is to work it into your blog title? For real? You know there are Livejournalers out there who have more dignity than that?

    (Sure, my blog has a very stupid title, but it's a very stupid title that I didn't have to read Instapowerjournal-or-whatever-lawyer-is-King-Blog-this-week to come up with.)

    So . . . just . . . please. Enough. No more clothing, at least, because at this point anything could send me over the edge; were Lileks to renew his unsuccessful bid to get "spats nod" into popular use, I could actually snap.

    *Not really; just trying to see if I could exceed the level of hysteria exhibited by some of the other participants. I don't think I succeeded . . . it needs just a few more italics, maybe even more bold.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:17 AM | Comments (8)

    December 06, 2004

    Fine, Fine, We Can Talk About It A Little

    You know, that thing? That thing I said we weren't going to talk about? I think readers should vote Yourish in it. She makes the offer one can't refuse:

    My fellow bloggers: Endorse me to your readers, and get your blog linked in the right-hand column. Right there.
    I am with Rob about not taking blogs, and blog contests, too seriously; what I like about Meryl is that she has the knack of taking things seriously in a completely unserious way. Or do I have that backwards?

    Oh, and there's also the part where I am an unregenerate link whore.

    In any case, you have to love this zinger aimed at the competition:

    Patterico thinks he's got the upper hand. He's putting out vicious lies, like saying that Michael Totten is a cross-dresser. Of course that isn't true. Michael Totten is simply a terrible dresser.
    So vote Yourish. Travel photos are nice and all, but they'll never rival pictures of Gracie and Tig.
    Posted by Ilyka at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

    This Here Internet

    Things I've been enjoying on it lately:

  • "How do you expect to run a successful business if you aren't willing to work for people?"

  • 'Tis the season: Just when you think you've seen every variation of Advent calendars, along comes Dr. Scott and his Comic Book Cover Advent Calendar.

  • More Advent calendar fun: Michele brings you the 24 Days of Xanax.

  • Make sure you always get your news from REAL journalists, like the ones at the BBC.

  • Photos from Libya.

  • The terrifying, miraculous saga of the arrival of Batman: "Being prepped for emerg. C-Sec - severe HELLP. Pls tell Internet." Start at that post and scroll up, or follow it from the beginning at A Little Pregnant.

  • And then there's that other Batman, of course.

  • Mirlitons, Microsoft, Movies. I don't know if Rob was actually trying for alliteration within the post, but it's cool how it worked out that way.

  • A blogiversary. Happy Blogiversary, Firas.

  • I do not know why there is still The Onion when there is the far funnier Hubris to enjoy instead.

  • A book quiz with 64 possible outcomes: "It's better than a Choose Your Own Adventure book!" Muchas gracias a la Queen of 70s Schlock Music.

  • ". . . the fraternity of the dead, the equality of the grave, and liberty from this vale of tears we call life." Even if I didn't love this post--and I do, bunches--I would have to link it anyway, because if "priapic expatriate writers" doesn't nail (pun intended, ho ho) Henry Miller and his set, I don't know what phrase does.

  • And when things finally do break down the way Simon says, how long before the first I'm-too-clever-for-my-shirt pundit dubs it "Chinanomics?" No, don't answer that. It was rhetorical.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:28 AM | Comments (4)
  • December 05, 2004


    We're not talking about it. You know, that thing? We're not talking about it and I'm not telling you who I vote for in it and as for my fury over the refusal of the Ecosystem to recognize a nine-month-old URL change, we are definitely not talking about that. At all. Don't email me, don't ask. Most of all, never underestimate my ability to ignore things I don't feel like paying attention to, because when it comes to that ability I'm telling you, I got the power.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:40 PM | Comments (2)

    December 02, 2004

    Theme Music!

    If you have a weblog you must have theme music. Obviously.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:21 PM | Comments (4)

    November 30, 2004

    I Feel It Imperative To Elucidate My Position

    . . . on the most important issue of our times:

    COLORED. You use COLORED lights, okay? C-O-L-O-R-E-D. Listen to Michele. Michele is right about this.

    White lights are for yuppies.

    White lights scream, "I was at Neiman's last Thursday and they had the most di-vine-ly elegant displays up for Winter Holidays . . . ."

    White lights say, "As a celebration of our country's rich tapestry of varying religious and ethnic origins I shall put up lights that reflect no one particular tradition or heritage, but that rather embrace and include and pay homage to all of them: White, the only color that holds within itself all other colors."

    White lights say, "Why yes, thank you; in fact I am one of those people who shops at Crate & Barrel and buys all that 'distressed' shit posing as actual furniture there."

    Oh, yuppies, yuppies dear, please do shove all that nonsense straight up your rectums. Think of it as a distressed high colonic! You could be first on your block to have one. Precious, isn't it?

    No, I don't like the white lights too well. Alas, I live in Dallas, Poseur Capital of the Americas. Easily a third of the population in Dallas is white trash trying desperately to convince everyone that they ARE NOT EITHER white trash. They do this by making fun of their small-town relatives and how cuhnnn-tree they are. (I am sorry that looks like a bad word when it's typed out phonetically like that, but that's how it's pronounced around here.) So you have a lot of people shunning multicolored lights for fear of looking white trash, and then they open their mouths and WHOA!--All the Neiman Marcus catalogs in the world can't hide those roots, honey. You can take the girl out of the trailer . . . .

    Hate the white lights. Hate 'em. What are white lights but a bunch of little teeny light bulbs? Ordinary, colorless, soulless light bulbs, no more joyous or celebratory than the 60-watt sitting in the lamp on my desk right now?

    Don't bother putting them up at all. Really, just don't. I'd rather you put up a tacky dancing Santa than those tasteful, restrained, less-is-more, austere-to-the-point-of-ennui white lights.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:52 AM | Comments (11)

    November 18, 2004

    Dear Webmaster-AT-Kochseite-DOT-De

    Sir, I would say "You are a bastard," except that I have actually said that to a lot of men at a lot of times and, usually, meant it as a compliment. A bastard is, if nothing else, a worthy opponent. Tricky and lowdown, maybe, but worthy . . . however illegitimate in origin.

    You, however, are merely a spammer. As such, you must die.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

    November 17, 2004

    Smooth Move

    Now, see, basically, this is how it works around here: About once a month, I suffer through a week of insomnia. I'm too manic to sleep. I have to do something with my time, and there being little than can be done in the wee hours of the morning that won't result in angry neighbors pounding on my door, I usually end up writing dumb stuff here. Lots of it. Enormous rambling posts that usually hinge on piss-poor analogies and misuse of metaphors.

    If you're thinking, "Once a month . . . hmm . . . what happens to women once a month?" then yes, Sherlock, you're right: I get insomnia the week before my period. A gold star for you, bright boy.

    I'm bringing this all up because I also suffer from the compulsion to share WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION with you people. And also because I'm thinking you could all use a good tampon story? Come on, who doesn't love a good tampon story?

    Ooh, no, wrong answer. The answer I was looking for there was yes, Ilyka, how did you know? We were just dying for a good tampon story!

    Which you will find here. You will read it, and you will love it, and that is all.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:14 PM | Comments (4)

    November 13, 2004

    With Friends Like These . . .

    . . . the working man needs no enemies.

    Look, I have GOT to cut back on my opinion-reading. Seriously. Someone stop me before I hurt myself retching. Where's that Sims 2 CD? What krep like this does to the blood pressure . . . really, I might as well go back to watching Katie Couric:

    No working man or woman is my enemy. Their struggle, their endurance, is to be respected. They may be foolish and desperate enough to follow people who lie to them, but they've got too much self-respect to follow people who look down on them. They're terrified. They're unequipped for the complexities and paradoxes of the 21st century and they know it, and they resent like hell all those who accept leaving them behind as the price of entering the 21st century.
    Oh dear heaven above would you please shut UP because what you are doing to your esophagus by shoving that ENORMOUS FOOT straight down it is unconscioniable.

    There. Was that melodramatic enough? I could add some bold to it if you want.

    But talk about missing the boat!

    "Progressives, listen to me: We have got to quit condescending to these foolish, terrifed proles. Seriously. It's just not working out quiiiiite as well as we thought it would. The good news is, we still don't have to listen to anything they actually say. We just have to show them the light and refrain from saying out loud, in their company, to their faces, how much we pity their ignorance."

    Oh. Shut. UP.

    And progressives think evangelicals cornered the market on proselytizing? What exactly is this, if not a variation on the practice of witnessing? I could go into a Christian chat room right now and find you a dozen examples of Christians admonishing each other not to tell the heathen to their faces that they're, you know, HEATHEN. Bound for hell and suchlike.

    But not one of them will suggest they quit thinking of the heathen as heathen. No one will be saying, "Let's try thinking of them as human beings just like you and I, instead." No, it's okay to think of them as heathen, because it's self-evident that they are so. Just don't let them know you think that. And for mercy's sake don't do anything gauche like say it.

    This is like, "Now, dear, please, stop calling the help 'wetbacks.' You know they prefer 'spics' these days."

    Shut UP!

    No. No, on second thought, keep right on talking. At this rate the Republicans can run an actual chimpanzee four years from now, versus some guy who merely looks a little like one, and win in a total landslide.

    Yeah. Yeah, keep talkin'. That's the ticket.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:45 AM | Comments (4)

    November 12, 2004

    The Easiest Post in the World

    Let me help those of you just starting out, you new bloggers. Here's a template to help you write the easiest post in the world:

    [AUTHOR] at [SOURCE] says [link][PROVOCATIVE DESCRIPTION][/link]:

    [blockquote][TWO TO EIGHT PARAGRAPHS FROM AUTHOR AT SOURCE][/blockquote]


    There you go! Here's an example:

    David Ignatius at the Washington Post says the CIA is to blame for Arafat's years of terror:

    One of the more improbable chapters in the life of Yasser Arafat was his wink-and-nod understanding with the CIA. In secret, Arafat for the past 30 years allowed his top intelligence officers to maintain regular contact with the agency -- even as he publicly continued his defiant and ultimately fruitless quest for a Palestinian state.

    The intelligence liaison was one of Arafat's many straddles -- a way of playing all possible sides of the game. In the early 1970s, when the covert relationship with the United States began, he was simultaneously in contact with the CIA and the KGB, with the radical Egyptians and the conservative Saudis. All these secret machinations didn't get Arafat much in the end, and maybe that's the real point: The things that matter most in the modern world are overt actions, not covert ones.

    I stumbled across the U.S.-PLO contacts more than 20 years ago, when I was covering the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal, and published an exposé in 1983. With Arafat's passing, perhaps it's a good time to look back at his secret history.

    America's dalliance with Arafat began in late 1969, when the CIA first spotted a promising potential recruit in his Fatah organization named Ali Hassan Salameh, known as Abu Hassan. A CIA case officer in Beirut, Robert Ames, made contact through a Lebanese intermediary, and there was a brief exchange of information. I'm told that it was blessed from the beginning by Arafat, who wanted to open a channel to the Americans.

    Wow, that Ignatiius sure is a conspiracy nut, huh?

    See? Easy as fill-in-the-blanks. You're welcome.

    Of course, I did quote WAY TOO MUCH of the original article, far more than is acceptable in terms of Fair Use, but in fact, that was deliberate. Too many bloggers have figured out that if you quote at least half the piece in your post, your readers won't click to read it for themselves. Net result? They stay on YOUR site. Reading what YOU have to say. Fair use?--Screw fair use; you're who's important around here!

    If you follow the template religiously, you ought to be able to generate 20-30 posts a day easily. More, if you don't take time out for mundane things like going to work.

    Be sure to write at least one original post a week to balance all this out, though. Here's your template for it:


    Wow! That was even easier than the first template!

    Of course, if you follow my simple instructions, I'll probably think you're a useless hack, and I won't read you. But who cares what I think anyway? For every reader like me who mutters "hack" under her breath, you should be able to attract 100 others who nod their heads like bobblehead dolls in an earthquake. And that means traffic!

    (DISCLAIMERS: This post not inspired by any one particular blogger; it's more a generalized phenomenon that I'm seeing several places. This post is not an attempt to call someone out or hurt someone's feelings, unless that someone deserves it. If your initial reaction to this post is to get defensive and leave me a comment to say, "Hey, I do not either do that," I'm probably not talking about you. If your initial reaction to this post is, "Who cares what that dumb bitch has to say about it? Not like she gets any traffic," then I'm probably talking about you, and we should just agree to loathe each other for eternity. If your initial reaction to this post is, "Who CARES," or "No, not another post about blogging!" then fella, I want to party with you. Finally, this post partly inspired by the latest poll at Jim Treacher's--see the sidebar on the right, the one with all the ads in it, all the ads you should click at least once to make Jim happy.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:40 PM | Comments (2)

    November 10, 2004


    Yeah, come on, you've all read it, just admit it:

    Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? . . . Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?
    So . . . wait: There are monuments in Wisconsin?
    Posted by Ilyka at 07:27 PM | Comments (4)

    In the Future, All Elections Will Be 2000

    I remember reading months back a post by Ace claiming that Michael Totten, being in the liberal hawk camp and thus something of an "independent" voter, was somehow asserting his superiority over those who stand firmly with one party:

    He's finally gotten around to congratulating himself as being wise, intelligent, and brave for not being a member of the Republican Party.

    It's about time that some liberal-leaning independent somewhere had the balls to acknowledge his own intellectual and moral superiority.

    It goes on in that vein. The piece by Totten that set it off is here. I suspect the superiority complex accusation was inspired primarily by this portion of Totten's post:

    Political parties are cruel to people who think. The more partisan members are bigots. They hate people in the other political party, and they hate you if you don't follow orders.
    You can twist out of that passage that Totten is saying political parties cater to the stupid and the bigoted, but only just. It's a supposition you have to start the paragraph looking for, and it's not what I get out of it.

    What I get out of it is this: It isn't that it's better to be an independent; it's that it's harder. If, as Woody Allen once joked, bisexuals automatically increase their chances of having a date for the night, then independents automatically increase their chances of rejection. The chances of getting blasted go up because now you're eligible to get it from either side.

    During the 2000 election debacle, I was an active participant on the now-defunct FOX News message boards. I was in that group of voters, some of whom had voted for Gore, others of whom had voted for Bush, who felt that certain elements of the recount were getting out of hand.

    We weren't, as noted, all necessarily pro-Bush, but we were all very tired of phrases like, "voter intent." We were tired of this dragging on so long. We were tired of hearing that every vote must count while the only votes being counted seemed to be in traditionally Democratic counties.

    We were convinced that the whole country had gone crazy. There was something posted at least once a week noting that Texas retains the right to secede from the U.S. (This is, by the way, why I'm not losing my head over the blue-state secession talk. Been there, done it.) Would any of this ever be resolved?

    Because on this issue we were (reluctantly, in some cases) on the side of Bush, the staunch Republicans were pretty nice to us. I had some great discussions with most of them, and when we'd hit a rough patch, something we disagreed on, they'd continue explaining their positions to me with the same courtesy and calmness with which they'd begun the discussion. Eventually we'd either reach a point of agreement, or agree to disagree. Insofar as this fleeting issue was concerned--who should be the next President--we were all on the same team, and that set the tone for most discussions.

    The people who showed up saying, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I voted for Gore and yet, I don't like what he's doing. I don't actually want him to be president anymore. I thought Republicans were so sleazy before this but now it's the people in my own party I can't talk to"--oh, they were given the red carpet treatment. You poor thing, they were told. You've probably heard all about how intolerant Republicans are, but just look at the irony! We're not all meanspirited hatemongerers, dear. You'll see. You'll have a much nicer time with us. We will never reject you. We're a big tent. We can make room for you to squeeze in. Come sit by us, dear.

    Then it was over. Bush was president. People who'd only been participating to follow the daily news developments in the election wrote their farewell posts, thanked everyone for an interesting time, and left.

    And they weren't gone two minutes before it started: The avalanche of threads to discuss what to do now. Now that we've won, it's time to push hard for what we, the party faithful, really want to see done around here.

    You want to guess what the most popular topic was?

    It wasn't Social Security privatization. It wasn't school vouchers. It wasn't Medicare. It wasn't anything to do with foreign policy (oh, for the return of those days). It wasn't about anything that I, at least, could recall being among Bush's campaign promises. No, the number one topic could best be summarized as, "Now it's time to start rescuing our country from The Gay Agenda."

    I had a couple email exchanges with some friends I'd made on the boards. They went like this:

    To: bluecat99
    From: ilyka
    Subject: WTF?

    What's with all the gay-bashing all of a sudden on the boards?

    To: ilyka
    From: bluecat99
    Subject: Re: WTF?

    You're asking me?

    The very same people who'd assured us for the last two months that "The Republican Party caters to homophobes" was only a vicious smear tactic by the liberal media, now didn't want to talk about a damn thing except The Gay Agenda.

    These had been sane, reasonable people, in my estimation. I couldn't believe that had changed. Because either it had changed or I had been duped, and who wants to admit they've been duped?

    It was just as hard to believe they had changed, but that's what it looked like. The same people who'd politely explained to me that they were against boycotting the Boy Scouts simply because they thought a private organization, nongovernmentally funded, should be able to make whatever rules it pleased--who had couched all discussion in terms of the private versus the public, in terms of being against overlegislation, against government interference, and pro free market--these same people were now gleefully posting things like, "First the Boy Scouts--next, OUR SCHOOLS! I'm sick of these fags trying to force their 'lifestyle' on our kids!"

    I didn't want to barge in and say, "Wow, you people disgust me." I thought that would be inflammatory. These people hadn't been inflammatory to me, or even to most other board participants. I thought of how nice they'd been to people who'd had the patience to discuss things with them politely, reasonably, even when no agreement was possible. They had given me a chance. I would give them a chance.

    So I suggested that maybe, of all the issues out there, fighting the gay agenda was the least important of them. Hey, how 'bout that Social Security privatization, huh?

    The response was essentially, "You're still here? Oh, yah, you, the fag-lover. Listen, thanks for all your help before. Now go hang out with all your FAG FRIENDS. We're in charge now." Thanks for helping us fight the good fight. You're dismissed.

    Well, that was that. I was spending too much time with these discussions anyway. I had work to do and I was feeling guilty for having neglected it. My friends and I reasoned that, well, maybe this was inevitable--now that it was all over, everyone who had better things to do than fret over the gay agenda was off doing those better things. This was probably just the fringe element, the nutters who eventually take over any public forum. Most Republicans, we said, weren't like this.

    Some white supremacists had started posting openly, too, but, geez, they weren't the backbone of the party either. Couldn't be! Right? Right? It was the Dixiecrats who'd catered to and stoked the racists in their midst. The Democratic Party, not the Republican one. Gee, everybody knew that.

    Most Republicans weren't gay-bashers. Most Republicans weren't racists. But the ones who were, shouted the loudest. Eventually, no one else could be heard.

    I suppose my point is that while I don't feel "the middle," however you define it, is superior to one end of the spectrum or the other, it is, if there is to be any unity, more necessary in times of heated disagreement. Oh, don't roll your eyes at me! Face it: The odds that the leftiest of the left and the rightiest of the right will dance together voluntarily are nil. I don't expect them to, I don't even want to see it; that's going to be some ugly dancing. And someone's going to have to hold the gun to their heads to force it to happen. No. No thanks.

    These problems will not be solved at the ends of the political divide. They will be solved in the middle, by people who are sick of taking bullets from both directions. Take the Ashcroft thing: Is anyone happy about the Ashcroft thing on the left? (Okay, Willis is. Good for him.) I'd have thought Ashcroft's resignation would be like getting an early Christmas present, but no. The distrust and suspicion are so ingrained that the predominant reaction is, "Well, so what. Well, Bush will probably just choose someone worse now. Well, we shouldn't forget that he still sucked."

    And on the other side, it's the sin of omission: "He wasn't that bad. He didn't invade that much privacy." I realize Simon's talking primarily about the Patriot Act, but I'm thinking of other issues, like the bit where he subpoenaed the medical records of women who'd had late abortions. That matters far more to me than whether or not he covered up the breasts on a statue.

    That news wasn't widely discussed because--because why? Because it never stood a chance of making it through all the noise about the Patriot Act and statue boobies. Lots more fun to scream, scream, scream about the Patriot Act.

    Apparently, I live in a country that's gone whole-hog Jerry Springer, and not just in Jesusland, where your average snob might expect that to occur. No, it's everywhere. Saying this or that side has been the better, the more civil, the less hateful--even if it were provably true, it'd still be a pointless assertion. Try this: Make yourself watch some Springer some time. Now, do your level best to care which half of which transgendered incestuous couple makes better arguments. You'll want to do this quick, before they start taking their clothes off.

    Move to the middle, damnit. I'm not saying you have to compromise your positions, but you do have to quit treating us like cattle, herding us your direction by pointing your finger at the other side and saying, "See? See how insane they are? You wanna end up over there, with all the crazy people?" And then, when we start to trot over, the other side starts up: "You're standing over there, with all the bigots?" And we think, shoot, I didn't mean to give that impression. I'd better head back more towards--"Hey! Quit hanging with the crazy people!" Whoops, I guess I better--

    Enough! I will stand with your side when I think your side is right, but if you come near my behind with that branding iron again you're going to get kicked in the teeth. When I say, "move to the middle," I don't mean "think exactly the way I do." I mean, quit behaving like this:

    . . . now I'm suddenly a target not just for the left, but for the right. I'm being told I must fight the good fight, rethink my stance on gay issues, abortion, the definition of family and religion. I'm seeing the first hints of alienation. They got my war on terror vote. I was part of them for this whole election cycle, working side by side to get Bush elected. And now that the election is over, I've been given a put up or shut up demand. Bad enough to get the bullets from the opposing party, I'm now being eased out the door of my own.
    You don't have to agree with the middle; as I learned here, "the middle" means different things to different people, and trying to build a platform around "the middle" might well be impossible. But you'll damn well quit alienating the middle if you're truly serious about achieving your goals. You'll quit calling for purges of the unbelievers and settle for being glad you've got a few of us to shore up your ranks.

    You'll do this, or we'll leave.

    We don't think we're "better" for being mushy middles. We just think we take double the grief for it.

    And after four years of taking it, we are all grieved out.

    UPDATE 11/12/2004: "I voted for Bush for two things: lower taxes and dead terrorists." Si, si. And since it's Veteran's Day and the author is in fact a veteran, one other thing: Thank you. Thank you for everything you did.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:46 PM | Comments (17)

    November 09, 2004


    Not to give anyone a gross visual or anything, but I am loving the Screaming Memes blog so violently I shudder with it. This is a sort of sequel to the Iraq War Was Wrong blog, and it'd qualify as inspired parody if only it weren't consistently out-crazied by some of the commenters at ol' Daily Kos. Still, much love for trying, Memester:

    They say only the old and the vary young can get the [flu] vaccine, why?

    Well of course old people voted for Bush, and the young can still be brainwashed! Then they can spred this Government Flu to us, the thinking
    inteligencia, just because we don't don't support a chimp!!

    . . .

    We are in big trouble here. I hope the American people don't take to long to figure this out. We may need help from our freinds in Europe, maybe France, they get it, maybe they can talk some sence into our leaders, maybe help us inpeach Bush. We're going to need help....

    Help and a whole lotta tinfoil. Red alert--shields up! (That last via Pixy.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:30 PM | Comments (3)

    The Progress Report

    Dave Schuler did a nice job with this week's Carnival of the Liberated, a compendium of posts from Iraqi and Kurdish bloggers. If your initial reaction to the carnival's title is to dismiss it reflexively as "propaganda," be advised that it also includes posts by Iraqis who take issue with some of the U.S.'s actions in that region. In other words, it's a comprehensive sampling rather than a gaggle of pro-U.S. cheerleaders. Broaden your horizons a little, and check it out.

    I've been remiss both in reading things like this and in linking them, but I'm trying to do better. The presence of these bloggers on the web always strikes me as something of, I don't mean to be hokey here but--a miracle. That I can sail right past the press and go straight to what this or that Iraqi citizen has to say about how things are going in his neck of the woods is amazing.

    It's fun to imagine what might have been different if, say, Romanians had written blogs in the wake of their revolution. I'm thinking of passages like this from Balkan Ghosts:

    Masticating loudly, he began lecturing me in an almost operatic fashion, thrusting his jaw out like Mussolini. Mircea translated.

    "It is all the fault of Roosevelt. Everything here," waving his hand. "He sold Romania out at Yalta. Otherwise Romania would be like France today.

    "What he says is true," Mircea added, suddenly a bit angry. "Because of Roosevelt, that God-damn cripple, we suffered for forty-five years."

    "Roosevelt was near death's door at Yalta; he died a few weeks later," I started to explain. "The agreement he negotiated with Stalin called for free elections in Eastern Europe. It wasn't his fault that the Red Army's presence in these countries made the agreement unenforceable. Blame Stalin, blame Hitler for beginning the war in the first place. But don't blame Roosevelt."

    "Roosevelt, he was the traitor," the man in suspenders said, practically spitting at me.

    "And now we are being sold out again," said Mircea. "This Bush, we don't trust him. Only Reagan was good for us."

    At the mention of "Reagan," everyone around the wooden table--the mayor's wife, the man in suspenders, Mircea, Ioanna--all stopped eating and nodded their heads in a sort of approving benediction. . . .

    "The 'evil empire,' I remember hearing Reagan's speech on the VOA Romanian broadcast," Mircea said. . . . "He was the only one of your presidents to speak the truth. But this Bush, ah, just another Roosevelt. You watch, Romania will be sold out again. We always are."

    Now that would have made for a fascinating cross-blog conversation, whatever your beliefs about the subject.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:46 PM | Comments (1)

    Continuing the Python Theme

    Maybe I'll just declare it Monty Python week around here until everyone agrees to settle down. This is irresistible:


    EXPECTANT MEDIA: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.

    WORLD: Yes he is.


    EXPECTANT MEDIA: He isn't.

    WORLD: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.

    I pretty much operate on the assumption that of course you get the reference because of course you memorized all your Monty Python sketches years ago, in much the way that one used to assume that of course people knew their Latin--anyway, if that isn't the case, the source is here.

    Something about the whole Yasser thing must jibe naturally with Python sketches; here's Dr. DNA assuring the world that Arafat's just pining for the fjords.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

    November 08, 2004

    I've Got This Great Idea for a Monday

    I know! Let's play a fun game where the entire right end of the blogiverse gets all bent out of shape about something a guy who's been industrial-strength crazy for months now wrote about evangelicals.

    I might as well make myself plain here, before I forget my manners and tell a particular commenter who's been aggravating the bejesus (whoops!) out of me to get in line behind Angela: I'm a Catholic who was raised Mormon. Do you know what that means? That means born-agains give me a monstrous pain in the ass. Years of being "witnessed to" by them, of being told you're not a "real" Christian, will do that to a person.

    I know that I should be tolerant of these people, but without a divine intervention that tolerance ain't materializing in me anytime soon. Rosaries only get you so far. And the tolerance ain't happening for the purely secular reason that I don't like suggestive selling, which is precisely the activity evangelicals feel "called" to do. As I said to this woman once in an email, if I had wanted a side of Jesus with that, I'd have ordered Him.

    And actually, I'm not even sure it's the witnessing I mind as much as the inevitable moaning and wailing and loud-ass lamentation about how persecuted Christians are when a cranky old bitch like myself points them to the "no soliciting" sign. Or when someone says, you know, maybe the 10 Commandments don't need to be in the courthouse. Or you know, maybe creationism doesn't have any place in the classroom. Or you know, maybe Florence King had a point about the pledge sounding better without the God stuff in it. Or when anyone says anything against them, why, EVER.

    It's an awfully thin-skinned version of Christianity in my book. You know, the guy Christians claim to follow put up with a good deal worse than playground-grade insults from Bob Herbert and Derango-Man. So suck it up. Let's have a little stiff upper lip about the faith, or is that too Anglican a concept? Maybe a quiz would help clarify my point a little:

    Christians were last free from persecution:

    (a) . . . in Jesus' day
    (b) . . . during the 12th century
    (c) . . . during the Reformation
    (d) . . .

    People don't like it when you force your beliefs on them. They don't like it when you get in their faces and try to save them--yes, even when you say "please" and "thank you" while you're doing it.

    And they get nervous when they hear rumors that the President believes he's been called by God, because . . . because you're supposed to get nervous about that. Because what if, and I know it's a radical concept, but what if you're an American citizen who's NOT among the chosen and maybe even, GASP, doesn't ever want to be?

    Is Layne overreacting? Shit, people, do fish swim? The overreacting is sort of his schtick anymore, I don't know if you noticed. But it's not the left I'm finding nearly as obnoxious on this score as it is the defensive, whining, we-don't-want-to-convert-you-we-just-want-to-CONVERT-you faux Christians on the right.

    Sorry, but you people will definitely not be admitted into the confederacy of fun. You can stand just outside the gates and witness to each other instead.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:14 PM | Comments (1)

    November 07, 2004

    Thread Collection

    A short list of open threads, necessarily incomplete. There are too many to keep up with, but here a few focusing mainly on the election aftermath:

  • Open thread to define liberal morals, culture of life, and values. If your first response to that is, "liberals have morals?" I'm going to disrespectfully request that you go do that thing you do with the Jergen's and the front cover of Treason instead because hey, what's one more time at this point? Otherwise, enjoy.

  • Open thread on all things election-related here as well, which Ace periodically bumps to the top to encourage participation. This one leans the other direction from the thread above; may contain gloating.

  • A certifiably Evil open thread that asks readers what the Democrats need to do to win the next one.

  • This didn't start out as an open thread, but it's generated some quality discussion nonetheless. I'm also pathetically hopeful my response to this will catapult "Angela? Go f--- yourself" to a national catchphrase, eventually rivaling that Big Lebowski quote in popularity. What? I can dream, can't I?

  • Finally, a no-topic-required open thread because, let's face it, at some point you're bound to reach a saturation point on the election. This one's just tawk, no big whoop. Oh, and here's who I should have voted for, but I didn't even know she was running. You see what happens when you don't make a conscious effort to stay informed?

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)
  • Blackie Lawless, Gorditas, MATCHBOX 20 (The Truth is Out There)

    Via Pixy Misa, it's . . . look, just read it:

    DAN RATHER: I did my best. I'm a Texas newsman, Mr. Trump, and I go to where the story is, no matter who might be angry about. Not the White House, not political partisans on the Internet--

    TRUMP: Dan, I've gotta be honest. Those were some really bad forgeries. They were ridiculous.

    RATHER: We put them through the most intense fact-checking possible--

    TRUMP: Dan, one of them was scribbled on the front of a Taco Bell tray-liner. It said that George Bush was to be suspended for flying for failing to complete a required gordita. And it gave the name of his Air National Guard unit as "Extra Spicy." I've seen better work, Dan.

    The Riptide leitmotif is really the glue that holds everything together here . . . and if that makes no sense to you, it's because you didn't follow instructions to go read the whole thing.

    Pixy's blog is nearly overloaded with good bits lately; I think he should start crediting some of the entries to mysterious guest bloggers before anyone starts getting the idea he's actually good at this. Think about it: Hangar 18, Matchbox 20--coincidence? I don't think so. I may not be sure exactly what the connection is between the two, but I know something fishy is going on with each. You will not keep the truth from me. It is out there, and I will find it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

    November 06, 2004

    I Don't Think You Really Want My Vote

    In some ways lately--oh, to hell with it. I can't stand to listen to myself whine anymore. I'm going to say this once. I'm going to try to keep it short although as we all know by now, that is not my forte. I'm going to say it as carefully as I possibly can:

    The Democratic Party has two choices, and only two, in the wake of their defeat this year: They can ask what's wrong with them, or they can ask what's wrong with the people who didn't vote for them.

    I lost a job once. I had two choices, and only two, then: I could ask what had been wrong with my performance, or I could ask what had been wrong with my employer.

    There was, and is, no Door #3. I'm sorry. It would be nice if there were.

    It is not indulging in rhetorical "tricks" to note that choosing Door #2, ask what's wrong with the people who rejected you, is both the strategy most likely to make you feel better and the strategy least likely to actually get you better. Believe me, I spent innumerable hours choosing Door #2 and it never, ever got me new employment.

    I sure did feel better about myself, though! Those bastards, those assholes, those dimwits, there were so many ways, countless ways, in which they were so clearly, stunningly wrong for letting me go! And if they were so clearly, stunningly wrong then obviously, I was clearly and stunningly right! I'm better off without them! The way they tried to drag me down with them, to sabotage me, why, it's just--oh, look, it's the unemployment check finally come! Oh happy day! Oh, I'm so--wow, unemployment really doesn't pay for shit anymore, does it?

    I'm sorry, but I'm touchy about this rhetorical tricks deal, and I got it in a comment thread recently, and . . . and I'm not seeing the trickery, rhetorical or otherwise; I'm seeing it as bleeding obvious. You want to complain to me for being patronizing by pointing it out, now yes, that complaint you got some ground for. I will totally cop to being patronizing.

    The joke in all this is that the Democrats don't even need to choose Door #1. They don't need to ask themselves what's wrong with them. They have people volunteering to tell them in droves:

    Lastly, and I hope this doesn't hurt anyone feelings, because my objective is to make you think, not emote: I don't think you really want my vote. I actively sought out your perspective. I tuned in regularly, for months, to your biggest media project, your serious effort to get your message out: Air America Radio. I listened all day on Good Friday as host after host mocked people like me for believing in Jesus's life, death, and resurrection. I listened as Janeane Garofalo, who was one of my favorite comedians for years, expressed hatred and disgust for Bush voters so vile that I ended my live stream feeling assaulted, as if I'd been vomited on. I listened the night that Mike Malloy told a young Republican to hang up the phone and go open a vein.
    This is usually the point at which someone snarls at me that oh, who cares, she's obviously not a real true-believing Democrat anyway, we were never gonna get her vote so to hell with her, and screw that Michael Totten fellow too, that poseur, that faker, because I know what side he's REALLY on! You charlatans and shills don't fool ME, hear? Incidentally, have I told you lately that BUSH VOTERS ARE STUPID?

    Yeah, you have, thanks. And yeah, I hear you. I can totally understand why you don't want the vote of this person. I mean, just look at her, it's disgraceful:

    I have gay friends who are closeted and gay friends who couldn't be more open if they had QUEER tattooed across their foreheads, and I think they should be allowed to get married if they want to. I read The Onion, Dilbert, Dan Savage's sex advice, Salon.com, and quite a few blogs. The local librarians know me on sight. I waited in line until midnight when the fifth Harry Potter book came out. I can't wait to see the new Chucky movie. I will probably shack up before I get married, but I won't be proud of it. I wouldn't buy an SUV, even if I could pay cash for one. I recycle. I shop at Wal-mart, but I feel guilty about it, and if they unionized, I would never cross the picket line. I think FOX News is about as fair and balanced as a seesaw with a gorilla on one end.
    Enough sarcasm: Either you get people like this back on board or it's gonna be "meet Fred Peete, professional loser" four years from now.

    And if that happens, then by that time, people like me will have lost all patience with the notion of common ground. "Common ground" will be the punchline to every joke ever told by then. People like me will be laughing 'til the tears run down our faces. We'll all be drunk as lords, even the Baptists, and yea verily that party shall know NO end, because every time someone gets in danger of sobering up, one of the others will say, LOSERS! and the gleeful hysterics will explode throughout the room all over again.

    UPDATE: I forgot to credit the link above. It's via Instapundit. Which means IT'S ALL REPUBLICAN LIIIIIIIES, of course.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:20 PM | Comments (4)

    Shorter Unsolicited Advice

    Why'd I write all that crap anyhow? Look how easy it is to trim the verbiage:

    Righties, people don't like it when you call them traitors, moonbats, and appeasers--unless it's demonstrably true that they are, in which case, who cares what they think. (See: Rall, Ted.)

    Lefties, people don't like it when you call them stupid, bigoted, and homophobic--unless it's demonstrably true that they are, in which case, who cares what they think. (See: Duke, David.)

    There. Was that so hard? Good night. I ought to edit myself more often.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:34 AM | Comments (3)

    November 05, 2004

    I Had a Very Bad Spanish Teacher

    A-ha! I knew it all along, probably before he told me my family was Portuguese, but a woman at Cal Tech has proved it beyond doubt, because I was never taught this distinction (from the comments here):

    . . . comprender indicates understanding something you've learned or something you've been told, where as entender is somehow more innate, like conceptual understanding, so Comprende is much more correct contextually than Entiende.
    Not related in any way, beyond my wanting to give her a link, but I had a boss once who used the expression that forms her blog title constantly, usually in reference to DCOM arcana. Very annoying guy. Not to imply that CalTechGirl's blog is annoying, though. I only meant--oh, forget it.
    Posted by Ilyka at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)

    Ritorna Me

    Yeah, YOU. So people are pedantic nitpickers. So people fill up your inbox with trivialities and bitchery. Yes, and? You want a pass on that? Nobody gets a pass on that. There's Jane's Law, and then there's my law, which is shorter:

    People are assholes.

    Tidy, isn't it? Now quit seeking special dispensation from it and write some shit--besides about anime. I love you, you engineers, but God could grant me immortality and it would not be long enough to figure out the appeal of anime to you people. And if someone could explain to me that guy in freshman CS who used his heaps of brains to read all the Star Wars novels, that would be nice, too.

    So color me clueless on the anime score. Oh--oh--clueless--what does that remind me of? Yes, I believe it is part of the name of what used to be an invaluable blog that I was often lazy about reading. But like the guy who made the art gallery comparison, I loved my five percent. And I would like it back. Which is a lot to ask, yes, and cheeky of me, I know, but desperation will do that to a girl. Also, you saved me from having to rely on primary sources, while at the same time encouraging me to seek out a few that I would otherwise have dismissed as "boring," and did I mention the laziness?--Because I wasn't kidding about that.


    Posted by Ilyka at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)

    Energized Versus Expanded

    I have a feeling it will be a long time before the dust settles on this debate: Did Bush win by energizing his base, or by expanding it? Jesse Taylor drew some fire for asserting the former:

    Incidentally, I really do believe Bush's win is based on getting out the homophobic votes for the same-sex marriage amendments across the nation. I get the feeling he won't get denounced for relying on homophobes to get him into the White House.
    I'm willing to skirt the edges of fair use to include his later clarification because, well, people can be dumb, and clarifications are an attempt to head that dumbness off at the pass, and I am all for that action:
    For the blindingly stupid - no, not everyone who voted against same-sex marriage was a homophobe. But every homophobe voted against same-sex marriage, and the vast majority of them supported Bush and were energized because of these issues.
    Considering the Bush campaign made a point of trumpeting that it had successfully "energized the base," and that the largest block of voters in CNN's exit poll cited "moral issues" as their main concern, I didn't think at the time that this was an entirely unfair supposition. After all, 80% of that largest block had voted for Bush.

    But then you look at the largest block using, God help us, the raw data, and find it depends how you categorize and tabulate the "largest single block:"

    In the first place, "largest single block" turns out to mean 22%, meaning 78% of voters -- including two-thirds of Bush voters -- named some other issue. Second, the pollsters only managed to elevated [sic] "moral values" to number one by dividing up the other issues into subcategories. Thus "Iraq" and "Terrorism" are treated as separate issues, though grouped together as, say, "national security" they would have claimed the top spot, with 34% of the total. Likewise "taxes" and "economy" were named by a combined 25% of voters. Had "moral values" been split into "abortion" and "gay marriage," the spin would have been rather different.
    I can see separating "Iraq" from "terrorism;" while it's commonly believed on the right that the two are indirectly related (I'm in that camp myself), it is not a belief shared by all. What I don't see is the sense in separating "taxes" and "economy." Adjusting the tax rate and steering the appropriation of tax revenue are the primary means by which a president influences the economy (other tinkering such as raising or lowering the prime rate being left to the Federal Reserve). Separating the two into distinct categories, however, makes them specific and exclusive. Either taxes or the economy is your issue; you can't pick both.

    By contrast, "moral issues" is vague--and as such it was guaranteed to garner the lion's share of respondents.

    Look, I freely admit that I failed statistics, but even I can figure this out, and without math. If I ask you whether you prefer fame to riches, you can probably give me a clear answer after only a moment or two. But if I ask you to choose either (1) being hounded by autograph seekers, or (2) having your photograph on the cover of TIME magazine, or (3) receiving "riches," you're probably going to say "riches." (Though if you're shrewd, you'll first ask me to name a figure and currency, thereby narrowing the general category to a specific one, which puts all the choices at more or less equal weight again. Hey, what if I'm talking about riches in pesos?).

    If you put specific categories against general ones, general ones usually win. Do you like food, or anchovies?

    And while I'm freely admitting that I'm lousy with math, let me also freely admit that my vested interest here is that I don't want Jesse's assertion to prove true. I don't like knowing that I voted for the same guy as John Derbyshire. (You thought I was going to link him? Really? That's so cute.)

    But the other thing is . . . the other thing is the old head-in-the-bubble phenomenon. You know, where you read a lot of like-minded people and conclude, often wrongly, that everyone's like you?

    Well, I read a lot of liberals-turned-Bush-voters; thus, it's tempting for me to assume that what made Bush's win possible was their participation, and the participation of others like-minded, at the polls. I'm aware of the caveats--that blog authors are not necessarily representative of the nation as a whole; that blog authors who fit that category of first-time Bush voters may make up only a small fraction of all blog authors--but it doesn't prevent me from thinking that if a fraction exists in the blogosphere, maybe it exists "out there" as well. A further look at the data may bear me out on this (note--emphasis added):

    About 45% of Bush's vote -- nearly half -- came from self-identified "moderates" or "liberals." (How do I get that figure? Jump about a fifth of the way down the page, where it breaks down the vote "by ideology." Liberals made up 21% of all voters, and Bush got 13% of their votes. Multiplying the two, that means 2.7% of voters were "liberals for Bush." Doing the same for moderates (45% of all voters, 45% of whom voted Bush) yields 20.3%: the number of moderate Bush voters. Adding these two tells us 23% of all voters were liberal or moderate Bushies. Those 23% represented 45% of all Bush voters, given these were 51% of the total vote.)
    You can call it spinning the data, but in general, I find it safer to trust conclusions based on number-crunching than conclusions extrapolated from one-sentence soundbites, the general innumeracy of the press being, alas, a well-documented phenomenon. And yeah, I'd like to buy it also because it fits with what I see online.

    For now, I'll just wait for someone to trackback Coyne's analysis with a post titled "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." That much, at least, is inevitable.

    (Found via one of those liberal Bush voters. Naturally. And I'll second his urging that you read the whole thing before drawing your conclusions.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:28 AM | Comments (1)

    Cried With His Pastor?!

    Solo (I nearly typed S-Train; it's going to take me awhile to adapt, sorry) tells the left end of the blogosphere to get up, stand up. The sense of despondency in some corners was starting to depress me, if you want to know the truth, but then luckily I remembered this:

    Announcer: Fred Peete has returned to his position as Chairman of the Red Cross. But when a tornado hits your home, do you want to rely on a loser like Fred Peete for food and shelter? Mack North thinks not.

    Mack North: After he lost the election, I heard he cried with his pastor. [ laughs ] Cried with his pastor?! Meet Fred Peete, professional loser. Hey, you ate it. Now, eat me!

    Don't give the Mack Norths of the right the satisfaction, guys. Quit crying with your pastor.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)

    November 03, 2004

    Unsolicited Advice

    It's not for the touchy, this one. May also contain unhealthy levels of sanctimony. You've been warned and you agree to proceed at your own risk.


    First, to the many fine bloggers on the right:

    If it's good to be gracious in defeat, it is even better to be gracious in victory. You could start (and many of you have) by acknowledging the should-be-obvious fact that not every human being who voted for Kerry--

    --hates America
    --fails to recognize the seriousness of the terror threat facing this country
    --is a Stalinist
    --is deranged
    --is amoral
    --has no shame/ethics/honor
    --wants Osama or other terrorists to teach the U.S. a lesson
    --wrote in "Saddam Hussein" for Vice President
    --insert other "I've Heard This Crap Way Too Often" denigration here

    I know some of you can't help but go looking at sites like Daily Kos, quoting lunacy like this, and saying, "See? There you go. That's just how they are," while occasionally covering your ass with, "Oh! I know that's not how they all are, but it's how a lot of them are."

    News flash: It's known left and right that there are crazies out there and that the fringes on the left attract a good many of them, not that the right has been without its share.

    And it's fair to point out when the mainstream left is downplaying, sheltering, or coddling the lunatic left.

    Still, it's the difference between going up to someone at a crowded gathering to whisper, "Pardon me; I just wanted to let you know you've got some lettuce on your teeth," and shouting to the rooftops, "WHOOOOO-EEE! Y'all see that guy right there with PARTIALLY-CHEWED FOOD IN HIS TEETH? That is NASTY!"

    My father has an expression he's fond of: "You don't have to tell someone when they've dropped the ball." That person knows already. In cases where that person might not know there's a problem, the pardon-me-I-couldn't-help-noticing approach might, just might, be less likely to provoke an angry, defensive reaction.

    Then maybe we could quit indulging in the faulty circular reasoning that takes those angry, defensive reactions and says, "See? That's just how they are on the left."

    I've seen left-leaning folks try to engage right-leaning commenters, with the left-leaner usually opening with a polite query, only to get blasted out of the water with charges that he's Obviously Brainwashed by the Liberal Media or Clearly Just Trolling or Probably a Third-Generation Communist, too many times to count. If I get some time this weekend, some blogs are coming off the roll on the left precisely because of that phenomenon. It's not the so-called "lefty trolls" I object to; it's the right-leaning asshole commenters who attack them and the right-leaning site owners who let them.

    I'm done; I can't read those sorts of threads anymore. If you make the case in your post that, say, a free Iraq is in America's national interest, and some guy wants to know why, then, there was so much emphasis in the pre-war argument placed on finding weapons of mass destruction . . . you know, do we always have to shoot that guy?!? Is that necessary? He's just asking the question, and it's a valid question.

    Now if a few people answer him politely, and he then pulls the bait-and-switch, and nothing ever, ever satisfies him, and things start getting ugly . . . okay, now maybe you have a troll. There are certainly too many commenters who don't realize that a personally-owned web site is not Metafilter, not Slashdot--not a public forum for his rhetorical fun and games. I get that.

    What I'm saying is I'd like to see less of the automatic knee-jerk pile-on when a commenter shows up on a right-leaning blog who maybe wasn't convinced by the elegant prose of the post, and has a few questions he'd like to ask. Of course, I'd like "an ice cream pony that shat twenties," too, so I'm not holding my breath.

    Ultimately, if 49% of the electorate voted for Kerry, the only thing you can surely conclude is that 49% of the electorate preferred Kerry to Bush. Period. All else is speculation.

    The gracious thing to do would be to consider what, if anything, Bush could have done to make that number 44%, 40%, 39%; to wonder, was there a case not made? Was there an argument or a message that failed to get out? Is there a misconception we left uncorrected? And frankly: Do we have a few Michael Moores of our own we could kick once in awhile? Because nothing's more hypocritical than demanding the left denounce this, that, or the other guy while you're still linking material by someone who wishes McVeigh had hit the New York Times building.

    Or you can kick up your heels and shriek, "Fuck you, lefties, you lunatic America-haters! We won! Choke on it!" WHICH IS FINE (and if it's done tongue-in-cheek I might even enjoy it), but if you're stating that in all seriousness, if you're actually being earnest about it, don't ever expect me to have sympathy for you when you cry about The Viciousness of the Left again. Okay? Okay. Let he who is without sin, etc.


    And speaking of sin, which reminds me of religion, a note to the many fine lefty bloggers:

    It's the condescension I can't take, okay? It's the condescension that makes me click off. I don't shriek in your comment threads; I don't write you angry emails; but I do click off--and any arguments you've made to that point go right out the window.

    Knock it off with the condescension--about flyover country, about "stupid Americans," about religious people, about the right-wing "propaganda machine," about ignorant backwoods folk brainwashed by the "language of fear"--all of that. IT'S INSULTING. I can't believe I even have to point that out.

    Kill the condescension, and then ask yourselves exactly what I suggested those on the right ask themselves: Where'd we lose 'em? Where'd those 51% of American voters go? What could we have done differently?

    I like a lot of you. I read a lot of you. On many issues, I even agree with you. But the condescension! It's how I get things like a friend defending me to a left-leaning guy with the rationale that I must be a victim of "sparkly propaganda"--and she meant well, that's the kicker there. I don't even get to be mad about it 'cause the heart was in the right place . . . though the sting of it lingers. And I get things like this (emphasis added):

    It's clear that the Bush campaign used paid and unpaid media to their advantage in their ability to label Kerry, and effectively made this election one of style over substance for many.
    You know, what unpaid media are we talking about here, exactly? Because I really, really hope it isn't blogs. Rent's due today, and my check from Karl Rove still isn't here. That bastard!

    I can wholly appreciate the urge to believe it was "style over substance;" it's also known as sticking your head in the sand or, What Republicans Did During the Clinton Years. You remember: He was only a popular President because he was Slick Willie. Because he seduced people. Because he had charm, because he lied, because he had no morals, because the liberal media bronzed his baby shoes and tacked his fingerpainting on the wall for an adoring American public to collectively "awww" over . . . .

    These are all just excuses for why your candidate didn't get in. Often there's even some truth to them, but they're still excuses; and by their condescending nature, they necessarily insult the very people you're trying to excuse. Which this election, I dunno if you noticed, is only HALF THE COUNTRY.

    I'm not saying 50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong, because God knows 50 million Britney Spears fans could be, and were. Obviously people can suffer an attack of mass stupidity. There's no lack of evidence for that.

    But you do live in a country where--despite Karl Rove, Rupert Murdoch, Ralph Reed, and whoever else is on the shit list this week--most people have access to hundreds of information sources; the literacy rate is quite good; education, however poorly provided to some, is still free for all--you don't live in a country where it's likely that half the population suddenly came down with the stupids. Or rather: It is more likely that half the population heard the message and either could not (due to fundamental disagreements) or would not (due to poor message delivery) be convinced by it. That is far more likely than that half the population was brainwashed by "the language of sin, evil, and American providence." See also: the principle of parsimony.

    The primary attribute of the left that I honestly don't get is this idea that the left is synonymous with progress and that progress is always good. The "enemies of progress" you can then split into two camps; they're either misguided or malicious, with the latter driving on the former.

    Progress is not always good; I know people who are making good progress at ruining their livers. I'm making terrific progress in my quest to die owing money to absolutely everybody on the planet. Despite the existence of the word "regress" in English, in common usage we describe every day the progression of bad things. No one wants to hear that his cancer is "progressive."

    If you tell me you're for a progressive future, I'm naturally going to want to know what that future looks like. And if one of your progressive ideas happens to be one I don't want in my future, yet you're not willing to do without it, well, then, I'm going to have to agree to disagree with you, and au revoir, have a nice day.

    That does not mean I am stupid, bigoted, fundamentalist, or reactionary. It means we do not agree about the value, nature, direction, and shape of progress.


    That's all really. It's just a wish list. I wish I'd never hear about feminazis on the right again, never hear about fundamentalists on the left again. Not because I want us to all sit around singing folk songs about peace and love, but because the last four years have been exhausting. I'm exhausted, is all, and I hope the next four aren't so wearing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:50 PM | Comments (12)

    November 02, 2004

    If You've Ever Been Unemployed

    . . . but you have some money now, please consider helping Jim Peacock out a little. He's a good person and he deserves it.

    Jim, if I had it you'd have it. I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of paying the utility company the $300+ I owe them, or paying the rent, and not quite having enough to do either. But you fine people, my beloved half-dozen readers?--Go help the man out. Do it for the karma points.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:21 PM | Comments (2)


    Did I not tell you all Jim Treacher was that good?--Indeed I did. There were others before me to spread the word, of course; but I did tell you. You can't say now that you didn't know.

    Well, except whoever's calling himself MartiniPundit. That guy didn't know and still doesn't know. In fact, I got two questions for that guy:

    (1) Do you feel no shame at all that years before your excursion into the heart of the internet, there was already a guy calling himself VodkaPundit and using a martini glass as his logo?

    (2) Are you stoned? Or just stupid?

    Now who's going to buy me a digital camera so I can participate in this? Oh, right; no PayPal button. And if I had one, it'd be in existence solely so y'all could help me pay the rent. Also, I figure you'd expect me to update more regularly. And then there's the bit where I figure if my boyfriend's banned me from sending money to Treacher, he'd certainly ban me sending photos. So. Nevvvvv-er mind.

    But all the rest of you hotties out there?--Do your patriotic duty and send the man a pic. Your nation calls you!

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:56 AM | Comments (3)

    October 15, 2004

    The Anti-Blog

    If I resume posting regularly that's what this is going to become, I think: The Anti-Blog. I know you all think I've been doing nothing but playing Sims 2 lately and, well, you're partly right. There have also been some intervening problems of a personal nature, including but not limited to my boyfriend having a seizure on my living room floor last weekend, but I'm not going to get too into that because that's more his business than yours or mine.

    All I can say is I now owe every movie "heroine" an apology. You know how in films the female lead will just stand there and scream when the bad guy attacks/the house catches fire/insert-peril-here? And you know how you roll your eyes and go, "Cripes, lady, snap out of it, you've got to get out of there/whack the bad guy over the head with that lamp/insert-saving-action-here, quit being so hysterical?" Well, I've typed accounts of seizures a hundred times if I've typed them once; I know what to do if someone has one; and I still freaked the hell right out. I'm lucky--he's lucky--I remembered to call 911.

    But the other thing (and I'm sure this is going to irk some people, and I'm equally sure I don't care) is that lately when I go to read blogs I come away disgusted, disappointed, or both. I don't like saying that because my view is, if you don't like what you read, write something better yourself on your own dumb blog and, well, I haven't been too good about doing that. So I'm living in the glass house chucking the biggest rocks I can find; okay, gotcha. I'm clear on that. All I can say is I agreed heartily with this assessment, but it's more than that; and just personally, if I had written that, I wouldn't turn around a week or two later and participate in a "blogging symposium" that devolves into lusty--excuse me; I meant boring--talk of BlogAd revenue with the guy who accused me of having "fear and contempt" for this bold new paradigm, er, for blogging. But that's just me.

    It's not fear and contempt, at least not for me. It's that bloggers are . . . uh, anyone remember what happens in the last chapter of Animal Farm? Yeah, it's like that. It's getting harder to tell the difference.

    Is Bush losing ground or something? Is that what made you all get so unbelievably stupid over this Cheney's daughter thing? I'm reading Lileks today and he's about to blow a gasket over it. And I think of him as the sane, professoinal blogger, unlike you yobbos and me too. Lileks! Did it ever occur to you that the reason so many conservapundits are interpreting Kerry's remark as a slam on Mary Cheney is because--stay with me a moment--to many Republicans, observing that someone's daughter is lesbian is considered an embarrassment to the parents?

    See, I think you guys are projecting. A-gain. There's nothing weird, creepy, or rude about noting that an adult is gay, if that person is out about it. There IS something weird, creepy, and rude about taking four years to acknowledge that your daughter is gay. You guys are the ones who are weird, creepy, and rude. You guys are the ones who decided, once Bush's post-9/11 approval rating gave you the stones to go for it, that a Federal Marriage Amendment was the single most important domestic issue facing the country. You guys brought this into it. And then you were all shocked to realize that as a result, guys like Andrew Sullivan might actually become offended and withdraw support for the president--but that didn't ttrouble social conservatives for long, did it? No, they just started clucking their tongues and saying, "It sure is a shame Andrew can't see past his own selfish desire to enjoy the same rights we do long enough to care about the War on Terror."

    But who started it, amigos y amigas? Who got us to that point? That wasn't the Democrats. The last I checked, the Democrats were not proposing a Constitutional amendment to restrict anyone's freedom. That would be the Republicans--you know, the party of limited government.

    If Bush loses this election, he will have deserved it. Here's what I got out of the last debate, here's what I remember George giving me as the chief reason why I should vote for him, why I should love his domestic policy: No Child Left Behind. I have no idea what this act does, but I do know it was apparently important enough that he gave it as the answer to seemingly every single question.

    Right now what Bush has going for him is that he perceives global terrorism as something more than a nuisance. If he wins, it will be because on international policy, it's hard to be less coherent than John Kerry. That doesn't mean I've got the warm fuzzies for Bush. And don't bother coming here if you think that's what you're gonna get. And if you want to interpret that as my having become a shill for Kerry? Sweet dreams, muchacho, and pray reality doesn't intrude on any of them. Because I have just one question: Where would the Bush campaign be right now if the Democrats had actually nominated a guy who was any good at this game?

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:34 PM | Comments (11)

    September 16, 2004

    Not Entirely Unanimous

    A quick reader survey at Powerline (via Absinthe & Cookies) demonstrates one respect in which renewed attention to Bush's guard service may have produced an unexpected benefit for the president:

    Mrs. Rocket generally agrees with me on poltical issues, but sometimes for unexpected reasons. One opionion she has expressed that never would have occurred to me, is that the National Guard flap helps President Bush because they keep showing him in his National Guard uniform. I thought that was an eccentric view, but reader Shirley Camp agrees:

    I don't know if anyone has ever pointed this out to you, but I think every time Bush is shown in his Natl Guard Uniform, is a plus for him because he looks so cute in it. His image is very appealing to women. I think this helps him instead of hurting him. What do you think? Maybe others can opine.

    All I can say, Shirley, is that you're not alone. Maybe other readers will weigh in.

    Other readers did, with this result:

    We ask, our readers respond! And so far the response is unanimous. Every woman who has emailed us agrees that the photos of W. in his National Guard uniform are a plus.
    (Emphasis mine.) Well, I was one of those readers who responded, and I'm afraid I was among the dissenters on this one.

    Before I go any further, please note: By no means am I faulting Hindrocket for not including my response. I suspect I sent it after he'd already been flooded with replies on this issue, number one; number two, can you even imagine how much email these guys must be getting lately? As Kelly Bundy once said, "The mind wobbles."

    But, in the "sisters are doin' it for themselves" tradition of which I'm so fond, I think I'll nonetheless present what I wrote to Hindrocket here:

    Greetings, Mr. Hinderaker. You recently excerpted a comment by a female reader opining in part:

    I think every time Bush is shown in his Natl Guard Uniform, is a plus for him because he looks so cute in it. His image is very appealing to women. I think this helps him instead of hurting him.

    Having enjoyed your recent coverage of the forged documents scandal, I am in no position to disparage your readers, nor do I wish to; but my own opinion is quite different from Shirley's.

    I do not vote for my leaders based on appearances. I vote for my leaders based on my perception of their leadership ability and character, first, and their positions on the issues, second.

    One of the most grating attributes of the modern Democratic party, to me, is their assumption that they have the women's vote "sewn up" for such trivial non-reasons as, "John Edwards is young, fresh-faced, and handsome." Yes, and so was Dan Quayle--and even though I've voted Republican in more elections than not, I always thought Dan's looks were overshadowed by certain, ah, deficits in the intelligence department.

    I wrote on my own site today several criticisms of statements made by Maureen Dowd in a so-called "women's forum" hosted by the New York Times. (I realize that was shooting fish in a barrel; we all know there's no limit to the idiocy of MoDo.) She said:

    In New Hampshire, Kerry fans had a bumper sticker that said, "Dated Dean, Married Kerry," playing off the idea that while Howard Dean might be exciting, with all his anti-war, sweet-nothing rants, John Kerry was more solid husband, or presidential, material.

    While I went for the smart remark in response to that particular bit of bimbosity, I find something I said in response to another "MoDo moment" of hers applies equally well here:

    I will note that it would absolutely never occur to Maureen how belittling, condescending, and demeaning it is to suggest that the only thing women voters are after is a guy who "conveys strength." Holy cow, if a right-leaning male blogger said something this stupid I'd roast him alive. Figuratively, I mean.

    I don't think it does any harm to note that George Bush, in younger days, looked remarkably handsome in his guard uniform (frankly, I think he looks pretty good even now)--but if he were advocating the terrorist-appeasing policies of John Kerry, I would not vote for him even if he were People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

    Opinions vary, of course, and Shirley is certainly entitled to hers. But I think the right does a disservice to its many fine women when it echoes the mistakes of the left, and I am always leery of the suggestion that my vote can be swayed by how "cute" a candidate is. I consider voting both a right and a responsibility, and I do not intend to ignore the "responsibility" half of it. That means looking at something else besides a man's countenance; his record in office, for example.

    I am hopeful other women voters this year will feel similarly.

    And as Dennis Miller used to end his rants, "Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:33 PM | Comments (8)

    Well, That's Torn It

    Jesus, Mr. Rather, you made Andrea Harris bust out the ALL-CAPS.

    For like paragraphs.

    Here's the wind-up:

    Oh – but before I go any further, let me just mention what this alleged “blockbuster revelation” of some evil misdeed perpetrated by Dubya CBS is all putting its existence as a destination for the nation’s remote controls on the line for: George W. Bush missed a physical while in the Texas Air National Guard. That’s it.
    You go read the rest for the pitch.
    Posted by Ilyka at 04:47 AM | Comments (0)

    September 15, 2004

    "All Vision is Mine"

    I swear, there are too many days anymore when I would be downright pleased to have the world erupt into fiery chaos and mayhem if only it encouraged Treacher to post more.

    In a stunning reversal yesterday, embattled CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather renounced his claim to the throne of the Space Unicorns, instead declaring himself to be the Bonnukarr, culmination of human evolution, sent back in time from the 857th Century by the warrior-god Kobaltine IV to prepare mankind for the coming Insect Wars.
    See?--This is why you don't want me in charge of the world: Because eventually there wouldn't be one. I would sell all of humanity straight down the river for bits like this:

    Don't click if you're offended by cussing, okay?

    And then where would you all be, hmm? Not so worried about that late mortgage payment anymore, are you?

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

    Please Shut Up Before You Say Something Else Stupid

    I knew, eventually, the whole memo thing would devolve into one giant backslapping session, followed by extensive bloated analysis of What This All Means. The backslapping, I can take. Much of it is deserved (for example: I don't think anyone's going to tell Bill of In DC Journal that blogs "don't do any investigative reporting" ever again.) But couldn't we have skipped the What It All Means part? That would be the part that Old Media has been tacking onto stories as they wind down and lose steam for decades now. It sucks when they do it, and it sucks when bloggers do it.

    Then again, I don't really consider Hugh Hewitt a blogger; I consider him a guy with a radio show who, because of his position in the Old Media, was able to proclaim one day, "I Have a Blog!" and immediately be welcomed with open arms to the New Media, kind of like every blogger Nick Denton's foisted on the unsuspecting online public. And just like the GawkFleshWankette crowd, the man got into this having nearly no idea what he was talking about:

    Sure, a few hundred blogs seem to own a large share of the traffic, as N.Z.Bear's rankings by traffic shows. But there are tens of thousands of blogs each racking up unique visitors. If those blogs in the tail pick up a meme --say, "Dan Rather is a doddering fool and CBS is covering up for him"-- its spread across the universe of people using the web for information gathering is huge and almost instantaneous. And irreversible because a friend or colleague of Rick is much more likely to believe his analysis because he knows and trusts Rick than it is some knucklehead from CBS who is attempting to dismiss Rick as a pajama-wearing loon.
    Yes, that's right: Everyone with a shitty Technorati (and never even mind the Ecosystem; it refuses to update my URL and so only ranks the old journalspace blog, making me look like the least-read weblogger out there, which is only somewhat true), all we "bloggers in the tail" are read primarily by our friends and family.

    Oh please; this is to upchuck. Look, I can't pay my family to read this blog, and as for my friends, if I want to keep them I have to make damn sure they don't even know this blog exists, because yes, they're that kind of left, the kind that only tolerates you so long as it can assume you're voting for Kerry.

    I run anywhere between 100-200 unique visitors per day (currently Sitemeter's reporting an average of 165), depending on how frequently I update and, yes, whether the updates are crap or not. And for the most part, I have no idea who those visitors are. Some of them are sent by generous higher-traffic bloggers, but not all. Anywhere between--I'm estimating here--25-40% of them show up with no referrer information at all. Either they found me once long ago through the same generous linkage described above and liked it enough to keep coming back, or they . . . look, I have no idea how they got here. I have no idea what posts they like and what posts they hate. I have no idea, period. I just know they're not my damn "colleagues." They have no reason to trust me beyond what I can document and support.

    Please, please, PLEASE can we stop fawning over these halfwits who get into blogging because it's the "done thing" all of a sudden. Please. Let someone who actually HAS a small blog tell me about the potential influence of smaller blogs. Don't let me read it from some dork who had to have it explained to him by the founder of Technorati. Please, don't make me have an aneurysm over this.

    Make your minds up, bloggers: Either Old Media needs a whopping dose of humility before you could ever find it attractive again, or Old Media is only hateable right up until the moment it condescends to play with you in your sandbox. Do you know what this is like? This is like when the goth kids in school all sneer at the football team right up until the moment the captain asks out Lady Ophelia Darkenmore of Ravenwood. Then it's all, "Pray tell, Lady Darkenmore, what attire thou shalt don for thy evening promenade with Sir Jocky?" Christ.

    I GUESS I'M TRYING TO CLOSE THE BARN DOOR AFTER THE HORSES ARE LONG GONE UPDATE: I forgot even to mention this imbecilic idea. Yes, let's have Congress investigate CBS. I'm sure that won't lead to any cries of censorship or anything; it's not like there's anything in the Constitution that prohibits the government from doing such things, right? Right? Who let this guy on the internet?!?


    Posted by Ilyka at 12:36 AM | Comments (2)

    September 14, 2004

    Two Links, Scarcely Related

    This is an EX-memo: Dan Rather gets Pythoned. Inevitable, really.

    You know, I was thinking about it, and no one's really won anything on this deal, have they? Except, possibly, Bush. Complaints that forged documents distract from the "real" story about Bush's guard service are legitimate, sure--but only if you think Bush's guard service is the story in the first place.

    It isn't for me, anymore than Kerry's Vietnam service was. Could we get back to issues, maybe?

    I no longer give a shit about your Vietnam-era exploits. It doesn't matter to me if you were once a drunk-driving, cocaine-tooting mama's boy or if you were an effete BMOC. I worked my way through San Diego State, so your Ivy League, skull-and-crossbones homoerotic initiation service and secret handshake means little to me.
    I just know someone's itching to type at me that Kerry made Vietnam the issue in the first place, what with that "reporting for duty" line, etc., but you know, I don't care. It all starts to sound like children screaming "but he STARTED it!" after awhile.

    Roxanne's issues don't have to tally exactly with my own for me to recognize that at least she has issues, that we all do, and that focusing on what either candidate did or didn't do thirty-odd years ago doesn't begin to answer the primary question for which each candidate should be, by now, easily able to articulate an answer:

    What will you do with the presidency?

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:53 PM | Comments (3)

    September 12, 2004

    Remember Your Allies

    A legitimate, somewhat poignant complaint from Simon about blog coverage of the Jakarta bombing:

    Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit is the central blog of blogs, the divine linker. Like major media, his is the first amongst equals and thus usually the one who determines the agenda of the blogosphere in terms of politics. He has earned that position through respect, constant good work and interesting linkage. So it comes as a major disappointment that there is not a single mention of the Jakarta bombings on his site. Others such as Michele and the Command Post team did report on it but the major central clearing house of the blogosphere ignored it, as did many others.

    . . .

    Despite its unilateralists tendencies, America isn't alone. Just as that means receiving support from allies, it also means reciprocating. And support isn't always in the form of money, military might or men. Sometimes it's as simple as a link on a blog.

    This is why I think it's a shame in many ways that so many bloggers have made Instapundit the "major central clearing house" of information. In fact, I'll bet Glenn himself finds that a pity; after all, he's just one guy. Expecting him to get it right every time with no missteps is like giving him a cape and tights and painting a big "I" on his chest.

    That aside, if you're a blogger, do take a moment to show Simon that America remembers and honors her allies. Not to quote old Quaker Oats commercials or anything, but it's the right thing to do--and kudos to Command Post for recognizing that.

    (Besides: We could all stand to take a couple minutes off from the typesetting discussions, right? Please tell me we could stand to do that.)

    I should add that in the same post, Simon has as fine a roundup on Jakarta and its aftermath as one is likely to find out there. I think you could get caught up on what's happening in an hour or two.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:06 PM | Comments (4)

    September 11, 2004

    And Now, a 100%-Forged-Documents-Free Post

    A young Estonian gentleman wants to know if it's always been this bad:

    This is the first American presidential election I've really observed and I've got a question: has one side always been this unbelievably incompetent, stupid and self-destructive?
    I think it's a question worth answering even if you don't agree that one side has been "incompetent, stupid and self-destructive" (and you'd have an even more interesting answer if you disagreed about which side it is that has been so).

    So sally forth and tell the man what you think. And if you're a weblogger with more traffic than I've got--if you're nearly every other weblogger out there, in other words--by all means, give the guy a link and your answer, because the internet is never so interesting as it is when it generates cross-continent conversation.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Lay it on the Line

    Hey, dude at Daily Kos who's having a jolly time "debunking" the claims of the "wingnuts": Put up or shut up. No, really: There's money in it for ya.

    Act fast, succeed in your quest, and you could donate it all to the Kerry Campaign! Now wouldn't that be something?

    ($10,000 reward offer--told you there was money in it--via Instapundit. Listen, if I thought there was a ghost of a chance of this succeeding, I'd be out canvassing antique shops myself right now.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:10 AM | Comments (2)

    Never Mind the Kerning

    This is what happens when you wake up late and start slow: A large chunk of what you write is obsolete by the time it's posted. In DC Journal is now stating unequivocally that the suspect documents were not kerned. (I first note the statement here, but scroll down; I have a feeling there's plenty more.)

    My bad, people. My bad.

    Then again, it isn't as though there aren't 20 more indicators the documents were forged, now, is it?

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

    September 08, 2004

    Keep Hate Alive

    You know, there's a time to remember your history, and there's a time to just let the past go.

    Time to remember: When someone suggests a bad idea that's failed repeatedly in practice before. That's when it's helpful to note that said idea has failed repeatedly in practice before, and, ah, not to be rude, but is there by chance anything substantially different about it that won't guarantee the same failures this time?

    Time to forget: When everything around you gets tangled up in a no-win grudge match.

    Gradually being lost in an orgy of multiculturalism in the U.S. is the acknowledgement that many people came to this country specifically to forget the no-win grudge matches; they were even willing to surrender some culture to do it. What this province did to that one in 14-what-the-hell-ever, versus what that country did to oppress this one in 16-ought-who-knows, versus . . . enough, said those lucky enough to get on the boat. Just enough. Leave all that Serb-versus-Croat, English-versus-Irish, this tribe versus that tribe stuff in the old country. Forget it.

    It's instructive to remind yourself what happens if you don't let go once in awhile:

    I had an 'interesting' exchange with an acquaintance of mine. He was saying something along the lines of "what the fuck are you people grieving for, they were goddamn russians". When I inquired whether he was actually insane, or just pretending to be, he replied: "did they grieve for us when Estonians were loaded on to cattle cars?"
    Please, do not miss the priceless response to that query.
    Posted by Ilyka at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

    Chicks for Bush

    Oh, get your mind out of the gutter already. She's talking about the president.

    Hey, as long as I don't have to pass the Gender Genie--and as long as we don't leave the selection criteria up to this guy--I'm in.

    I resisted slapping a "this is a Blog for Bush" kind of label on this blog for a long time. Let's face it: I just don't love him like some of y'all love him. (We could start with things like this on the "turn-offs" list, for one.) But you have to choose your sides at some point, and frankly, this simply wasn't that tricky a choice for me.

    Democrats nominated a tantrum-throwing, it's-MY-turn-to-be-president, elitist-pretending-he's-a-populist joker in 2000, and they did it again this year, too. It's like they never learn . . . well, just keep right on doing that, guys, because why on earth would you ever want a social liberal to, you know, vote for you? That's crazy talk!

    Anyway. Check out the Irish Lass's proposal and maybe suggest some candidates for membership. The more, the merrier. There's plenty of room for more chicks in that--okay, okay, I'll stop, I know I have all the maturity of Beavis & Butthead, you don't have to be always reminding me like that . . . .

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:39 AM | Comments (0)

    September 07, 2004

    Poem for Beslan

    Gerald Vanderleun's "Child Care:"

    Children are easy.
    One gun will rule dozens.
    Shoot one, the rest will obey.
    What are you doing here?--Go read the whole thing.
    Posted by Ilyka at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

    September 05, 2004

    Sunday Blasphemy

    I'm not kidding; don't click unless you want to go straight to Hell.

    Laughing all the way:

    Everything Malachi puts in our mouths is total character assassination. God enters the chat with "I have loved you," which seems nice of Him and a strong conversational opener. According to Malachi, you respond by getting all up in God's face, asking: "How have you loved us?"

    You honestly want to slap Malachi for misrepresenting you so horribly. If I'd been given an audience with God, I'd like to think I'd make some small talk first before I lubed up any fastballs. "You look absolutely exhausted," I might say, or "That glowing robe has a really slimming effect on you." I doubt my first words to the Lord would be "I know you used to do shit for me, but what have you done for me lately?", is my point. It's God, fuckstick. He just told you He loves you a whole bunch. At least wait till the poor bastard sits down before you start cross-examining Him like Matlock.

    Would you sell your soul for a laugh? Choose wisely.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

    September 04, 2004

    Have Dignity

    I swear, some people seem to be born just not having any:

    Yesterday, I was parusing a link I read just about every day--a friend of mine--and she'd linked to an entry someone wrote wherein that poster just blatantly put out there that he wanks off in the shower to this friend, and another friend of mine as well. (And I'm not talking blog-friends here--I'm talking, personal connections on an offline level.) This entry was also very close to another entry wherein the poster mentioned his wife and infant son. It was creepy, in my opinion. I asked a few mates if I was over-thinking and was told unanimously that no, I wasn't, and that yes, it is creepy. So I commented saying so. The poster replied in his own comments that "That's what they get for putting their photos on their blogs."

    Ex-fucking-scuse me?! That's what they get?! That phrase, to me, took him from creepy to predatory in the click of a mouse. It immediately reminded me of the common misconception that women make themselves targets for rape by doing various scandelous activities such as wearing lipstick or some sort of clothing that shows more skin than a full body cast would. You know, she wore a short skirt and she got raped. That's what she gets!

    And you know what you get for having the that's-what-she-gets attitude around here? That gets your other blog--the one in which you attempt to play a normal person--delinked, baby. Deeeeee-linked.

    See, I wholly second this emotion:

    . . . it's probably relatively standard that people use masturbatory fodder. Hey--fine. Have at! If you want to think about the Queen of England while you go for it, that's your choice. But telling HRH the Queen of England this would probably not be received well. I've had someone tell me that I'm their masturbatory fodder. It grossed me out. Wank all you want. Leave me out of it. If that means you think of me and just don't tell me, I'm perfectly okay with that. I do not need to know. ...But putting it up on the internet--taking it that one step further? There are lines here, people. Lines of social norms and human decency. While society gets a lot of things pretty screwed up, I'd have to say that respecting these sorts of boundaries should be standard. Even if I was a fan of Brad Pitt (he's alright but he doesn't do it for me), I would never tell the guy over coffee that his face is synonymous with my favourite vibrator. I'm sure he doesn't want to hear it. And it's just... icky.
    It's just icky. Exactly; but I guess the whole reason we have a word for "obvious" in English is to point out when something should be, but apparently isn't. Anyway: Have some dignity, as the cartoon cat says. It ain't actually all that hard to do, believe it or not.

    UPDATE: Or, I suppose you could just delete the other, faintly-less-creepy blog, too. I don't know that this was exactly necessary, but whatever.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:21 PM | Comments (4)

    Les Terriers Sont Mes Types Favourites

    Terriers are my very favorite breed
    They're cute and cuddly, easy dogs to feed
    They'll bring you up whenever you are down
    Terriers average 20 pounds
    When I walk around in this terrier town
    One thing that makes me down
    Is when people put bandanas on their dogs
    . . . Or worse.

    Thanks, Lachlan.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:59 PM | Comments (1)

    The Fictional Layne Was Not Nearly This Crazy*

    It is the flaming wreck from which I cannot turn away. Yes, it's more Layne madness:

    Bush supporters treated the news of Clinton's illness with the usual class, and as usual, Bush did nothing to suggest this was repulsive behavior.
    You know Layne's descended to a whole new kind of sloppy when Oliver Willis--Oliver Willis, as partisan a man as you're likely to find on the internet; the Oliver Willis who claimed today that "The invasion of Afghanistan had as much universal support as any move by a government can have in the modern era," when a cursory check of news and weblog archives from October-November 2001 can easily disprove that notion (hell, I have a cousin quoted in the Guardian while attending a--guess what?--antiwar protest at Oberlin from about that time, not to mention I just dug up a bunch of crap on this yesterday; here's a favorite from that time)--

    --anyway, you know it's bad when that Oliver Willis can fairly observe that the booing may not have occurred as originally reported (this Seattle Post-Intelligencer article certainly suggests it didn't), but Layne . . . look, what is Layne doing, exactly? He's certainly not acting much like the guy who said, "It's 2001, and we can fact-check your ass." That guy would've noticed that messages of support and well-wishes for Clinton, from righties, are all over his friend's blog, and maybe considered for a second the likelihood of the initial booing report. That guy might have done a little, uh, fact-checking.

    I really try not to do that thing some bloggers do where they sort of adopt a pet from the other side of politics and poke it with sticks repeatedly. So before it gets to that level, I should just quit reading the guy . . . but damn. A change of opinion I can handle. A change of viewpoint I can handle. A change in the quality of work from better to worse, from cogent to crazy--no, not so much.

    UPDATE 09/04/2004: See? It's not that hard to check around.

    *Title reference. And mind you, that blog was pretty crazy.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:20 AM | Comments (2)

    September 02, 2004

    Hold Me, Mommy, I'm Scared

    Lately I've picked up, in the course of my blog-reading, a pretty nonsensical, faintly vulgar, and probably blasphemous little expression that the boyfriend has been begging me to delete from my vocabulary. I'm terrible like that: A phrase will often lodge itself in some part of my brain that finds it fun to say, even if the rest of me thinks it's a damned stupid and/or offensive thing to say; then I go through a phase where I can't stop saying it for awhile.

    Thanks to Andrea Harris, I've just had occasion to utter it again. I couldn't help it. It fairly exploded from my mouth and I'm certain it came direct from the brain stem.

    See, it seems the only thing we have to fear--we who cherish freedom of expression, right?--is Zell Miller making a speech at the Republican convention. Somewhere in his notes I suspect Welch has a list:

    Top Ten Things Less Scary Than Zell Miller

    10. Cockroaches. Cockroaches in your ears.
    9. Impalement.
    8. Hook on car door handle after late-night back seat makeout session in deserted park.
    7. A Nightmare on Elm Street.
    6. Demonic possession.
    5. The Gulag Archipelago.
    4. Zombies.
    3. Jenna and Barbara.
    2. Global thermonuclear war.

    . . . and the number one thing less scary than Zell Miller . . .


    So forgive my extremely limited vocabulary while I revert to an old castoff vulgar expression I was once in love with but I mean, what the fucking fuck? Look, it clears my head to say it, all right. And the more I re-read the post and the comments the more I'm convinced it deserves no better response anyway.

    (Aside: When I quoted Ken Layne's recent lament that weblogs have become "lame copies of the shrill, humorless and worthless American Monopoly Daily Op-Ed Column Left / Column Right pages," I had no idea he meant his own blog. Where do you even start with this? "Jeb calls it for his brother?" I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Jeb Bush could have hung himself--preferably after shouting, "Recusal? Recusal's fer sissies!" or something similarly horrifying to the Oh-my-Gawd-did-he-just-say-something-redneck? crowd--the moment the Florida problem became apparent, and some folks would still chant the mantra that Jeb gave his brother the presidency . . . as what, a housewarming gift? Again, what the fucking fuck? If you want to talk about how Katherine Harris, as a chief participant in W's Florida campaign, should have recused herself immediately, okay, fine, I'm with you on that. I can see the reasoning. But that's not nearly as fun to say as "Looks like Jeb done give th' presidency to his brother," I guess.)

    Welch begins with some preemptive ass-covering, noting that he's tired and, besides, if he really went on about everything that freaks him about Zell Miller, it'd be a feature-length article. (Have I ever told you how much I love whining journalists? Remind me to tell you sometime. They are very near and dear to my humble lil' heart. Him works so hard, him does.) Welch's principal objections:

    So, let's start off with an easy one:

    President Roosevelt, in his speech that summer [of 1940], told America "all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger."

    Can you see how this sentiment, intended as a useful comparison to our current times, might give a libertarian-leaning fellow some pause?

    Indeed I can--indeed, I think even a schmuck like FDR could, which I think is why the sentence contains the caveat "in a sense." As in, don't take it literally? Yeah, but what do I know from reading comprehension. Moving right along:

    I want the government to take important steps protecting us from terrorism, even going to war if absolutely necessary, but I won't have my private plans, let alone all private lives overridden in that cause's name.
    Do not you dare fuck with Matt Welch's private plans, government, you hear me? Matt Welch's private plans are very important. Matt Welch's private plans are way more important than your petty concerns about "terrorists" trying to "kill people," or "whatever."

    I know my private life is pretty all-fired important. Yours probably is too. Thus we should all keep sticking it to The Man and not let him, I don't know, make us take our shoes off in airport security lines or whatever it is The Man likes to do to keep oppressing We The People . . . I'm not exactly clear on that part on account of not feeling particularly oppressed lately. Anyway:

    When the government "ovverrides" us in the name of war, then the terrorists truly have etc.
    The terrorists should also truly surrender control of Welch's "v" key.
    Also, I might add, this is neither required nor remotely effective, and the fact that the party of limited government (snicker) finds such twaddle appealing -- and has in fact used similar justifications for any number foolish power-grabs, from expanding government secrecy to placing detainees in legal limbo, is both scary and topical.
    So we've got a Democrat quoting another Democrat, and that leads to the inescapable conclusion that Republicans are the chief party of government power-grabs. No amount of insomnia can explain this paragraph.

    More Welch-quoting-Zell, now:

    there is no better example of someone repealing their "private plans" than this good man [Wendell Wilkie; Republican nominee in 1940]. He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime draft.

    First of all, there have been plenty of greater sacrifices made in history than a presidential candidate agreeing with the incumbent about some issue. Pat Tillman strikes me as having sacrificed a good deal more -- for instance, his multi-million-dollar football career, and his life -- than losing a political campaign he was likely to lose anyway (though, for old hacks like Miller, it's not surprising that losing an election is somehow worse than death).

    Okay: "No better example" is an unfortunate choice of words if the point of Miller's speech was to rank and quantify sacrifices made in times of war.

    If, however--now stay with me here--if the point of Miller's speech was rather to remind people how, in days gone by, partisanship could be temporarily laid aside in favor of demonstrating a little unity in the face of a common threat . . . you see how that works? It's called demonstrating verbal comprehension at an adult level, versus nitpicking modifying phrases like "no better example." This is better known colloquially as "getting the point."

    Well, we soldier on, with apologies for using scary, militaristic words like "soldier," of course. Grab your binky if you're feeling terrified:

    More importantly, this is a friendly contemporary reference to a war draft, which is an idea I hope never regains one inch of traction in this country. If, as the Republicans have been saying all week, the WoT is just like WWII and the Cold War, why, after all, shouldn't we be applying the same policies? I'll answer: Because I don't want the government forcing its citizens to kill strangers, period. Again, this is also a lousy way to win wars.
    "Lousy" is right. I mean heh-indeed-exactly.

    But you know, I'm not sure I'm in favor of bringing back the draft either--nor (again) is that the point. The point is that people used to cross that partisan divide and now they don't much anymore (and oh yes, we can point fingers at the Republican side of the aisle for this problem too, but again: Not the point. Hey, did you notice it was called the Republican convention?) and Zell wishes they would. Okay? That's the point. If you want to read the resurrection of the draft into that you go right on ahead but then, you know something?--It's no wonder you can't sleep.

    Which reminds me: One of the reasons I periodically have to quit reading the news and the weblogs and anything remotely political, really, is there's so much projection going on, by both sides, and it drives me crazy. Though they're underrepresented on the blogroll (that thing's grown way too big for my tastes; could some of you maybe take up other, nonwriting hobbies?), I do read a fair number of left-leaning blogs, and I don't mean Michael Totten.

    One of the ideas I come across all the time on that side--and in the mainstream media--is that Republicans speak the language of fear. Republicans want you to vote for Bush out of fear, they're trying to make you afraid, they're trying to terrorize you . . . .

    . . . I mean, can you see, then, how some lefties jump from this framing-everything-in-the-context-of-fear idea straight to "Bush is the real terrorist?" It's not that great a leap, really. The it'd-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-damn-sad part is, no one I know on the right is terrified, and I don't use terms like "all" or "no one" lightly. I literally do not know one single (pick yer adjective) conservative, Republican, or hell, I don't even know any left-leaning hawks who are terrified. Let's dig up the old Lileks quote on this one:

    The words TERROR ALERT: HIGH on the TV crawl annoy me, because I’m not terrorized. I’m wary and pissed off, but I’m not terrorized.
    Exactly. If Bush is playing the fear card, it isn't working very well. Thus my conclusion that when some on the left speak of Bush creating a climate of fear in the U.S., they're really articulating a warped projection of their own fears of a Bushitler police state.

    But maybe that quote isn't relevant. After all, it's from long ago, from back in the days when Welch wasn't seeing nightmare visions of the man his buddy Layne called "that nigger-hating piece of crap"* under every bed, around every corner, through every window OH MUMMY MUMMY MAKE THE BAD MANS GO AWAAAAAY . . . .

    Where were we? Right. Welch on Miller's assertion that "our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief":

    More importantly, his embarrassing hyperbolizing of what the other mainstream presidential candidate has done -- has he really torn apart this nation? -- has the consequence and direct intended effect of shutting down criticism of the Commander in Chief. Again, not something to be welcomed, and again, something that is directly deleterious to the War on Terror.
    Here's the deal: I don't think Kerry's torn apart the nation. He'd have to have much bigger hands for one, hardy-har-har. But look, I try to spend time, occasionally, in reality-land, where I sometimes stumble across all kinds of ugly that I can't ignore, like:
    The Portland, Ore., chapter of Indymedia.org posted the news of Tillman's death accompanied by this headline: "Dumb Jock Killed in Afghanistan." Some who posted comments suggested alternate titles for the piece, like "Privileged Millionaire, Blinded by Nationalist Mythology, Pisses Away the Good Life," "Cottled Sports Star Allows Nationalism to Foster Jingoistic Irresponsibility Resulting in His Death," and "Capitalist Chooses to Kill Innocents Instead of Cashing Check."

    . . .

    In 2002, the left-leaning Ford Foundation gave Indymedia $50,000. The Tides Foundation has donated $376,000 to Indymedia, according to Frontpagemag.com. Two of the biggest donors to the Tides Foundation? George Soros, who has given over $15 million to Democratic causes during this election cycle, and Teresa Heinz Kerry. Ralph Nader is one of Indymedia's biggest supporters; his group, Public Citizen, is listed as on Indymedia.org as an "ally."

    Indymedia is no small-potatoes venture. Aside from its Web sites based in 50 major American markets, it also has Web sites located in five chapters in Africa, 13 in Canada, 39 in Europe, 15 in Latin America, eight in Asia, and nine in Oceania.

    The Indymedia list of allies is impressive as well. It lists groups like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Adbusters, ZNet, the Institute for Public Accuracy, and Corporate Watch.

    I know what you're gonna say: "Indymedia isn't the mainstream media!" Well, for a group that isn't "the mainstream media," they certainly do have their share of mainstream supporters with fat bank accounts. I mean, the Ford Foundation?

    An argument of some duration that was never really resolved erupted once between myself and a family member. I said Democrat criticisms of the war would gain more traction with me if they'd tone down the hateful rhetoric; he said bitching about the hateful rhetoric was merely a Republican tactic used to stifle debate, to shut down all criticism of the war. The hate, he said, was a change of subject.

    I could not ultimately convince him that I was not consciously employing a tactic. I could not ultimately convince another human being that actually as a matter of fucking fact if something I read gives me an ulcer, I'm less likely to read it. I mean it was like the concept of "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" just up and died. It was like marketing never made it to this galaxy.

    The hate is not a change of subject to people like me. The hate is what cost the left its credibility way back when, back when most members of the mainstream media gave their full support and encouragement to the war in Afghanistan . . . .

    You guys don't get it, do you? You blew it then. I was tired of the hand-wringing and the what-iffing and the Chicken-Littling and the jumping at things that go bump in the night three years ago. And what has the response been since then? What has been the response to people largely ignoring this excessively-fearful behavior?--Turn the hate up louder until those ignorant war-crazed creatures have to listen. Turn the hate up to 11.

    I'm not saying Welch is hateful. I'm saying when Miller talks about Democrats "tearing apart" the nation, he's talking about the Soros and the Sontags and the Boyds and all the other loyal little pieces of the Democratic propaganda machine who never waste neither a dime nor a minute savaging All Things Bush/Cheney. And if sometimes a few dead soldiers and terror widows get in the way, why, they're just collateral damage.

    That was the point.

    Look, I'm almost done. Swear. But I can't miss this, Welch's response to Miller's assertion that "it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech:"

    This, my friends, is militaristic bullshit, and if any of you applauded these lines, you ought to be embarrassed.
    Yeah, how dare anyone applaud someone giving his life for his country. Tres tacky.
    It is the Constitution that gave us freedom of speech and assembly,
    No, actually that was the Creator, and I'm sorry if I've just upset any no-God people in the house but really, you gotta take that one up with the Founding Fathers, not me, because that was their idea. The Constitution merely attempted to restrict government from infringing on those unalienable rights, and do I even need to mention that this is something one should grasp before being hired by Reason?
    not our great servicemen and women,
    If you put words like "great" in front of "servicemen" then it balances out your observation that they're not nearly as cool as "reporters, poets, agitators and protesters." Welch learned that in Fairness 101.
    and any politician who doesn't understand that -- while looking back fondly on the military draft, attributing peaceful revolutions to American military buildups, and murmuring with approval at "overriding ... all our private lives" -- should be voted out of office with gusto, and forced to do late-night cable shows with Arianna Huffington.
    I'm pretty sure Miller understands the importance of the Constitution as a document restricting the power and reach of government. I'm pretty sure he gets that. What I'm not sure Welch gets is that it's difficult to exercise freedom of speech at gunpoint, or aboard a plane bound for the North Tower, or at the point of an Exacto blade; which is why the abililty of the military to point guns back at the people who first pointed guns at us does much more to secure and protect those rights than walking around Manhattan with a "God Hates Bush" sign does.
    So, this is why I found it frightening. The phony and monstrous world of militaristic government expansion that Miller conjures up is one I would refuse to live in, though thankfully it won't come to that, and the fact that national politicians who currently run the free world find it persuasive makes me shudder with revulsion.
    "The phony and monstrous world of militaristic government expansion" is one Welch has conjured up, not Miller. You've only to read the transcript to see that.

    Unless you're very tired, very fearful, and very prone to projection.

    UPDATE: I'm cheered to see Reason's RNC blog becoming more reasonable by the minute--hahahahaha! I looked long and hard for the "occasionally funny" commentary promised in the lead, but in the end I was merely reminded that drunk people are never as funny to sober people as they are to each other; I had to content myself with laughing at them. But it felt crummy, like laughing at the guy who vomited in your friend's car that one night.

    *Seriously. He said this. Because, you know, there's nothing that says "True Renegade (TM)" more than a white man busting out the n-word.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:03 PM | Comments (14)

    August 13, 2004

    Humanity: What Was the Point Again?

    People kill me. I was just reading a recipe for a sort of spinach souffle deal, right? Here are the principal ingredients--relax, it's a short list:

  • fresh spinach, 20 ounces
  • eggs, 3
  • cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup
  • butter
  • milk
  • breadcrumbs

    And flour and seasonings, blah blah blah . . . anyway, it's an online recipe. And the average rating by other members of this online community is 4 stars out of 5, so not bad, right?

    So I thought to myself, hey, I know, let's read some reviews and see if anyone's tried it and has any suggestions, because I'm thinking some mushrooms and garlic could really work in this thing, round it out a little bit; but seeing as how I have never made this dish before, I don't want to fuck with the formula too much and risk screwing the whole thing up. So let's see what other amateur cooks out there have to say about the adaptability of this dish.

    (Helpful hint: In the preceding two sentences, all the words following "but" are vital to understanding my eventual point.)

    I started reading the reviews. There are over 100 of them, so I was just skimming to see if anyone else had tried throwing in extra veggies--ordinary, flavor-enhancing, why-they're-practically-condiments veggies like, say, mushrooms or garlic--when I hit the inevitable one-star review. Inevitable, because nothing can ever be perfect in this world, and it's damn sure nothing can ever be perfect on the internet. Someone's always gotta come along and screw up the five-star rating. So I was not surprised to see a review posted by someone rating the recipe 1 star out of 5.

    But this particular one-star reviewer did it with a special . . . ah, not style . . . not grace . . . what's that word I want?

    Oh, right: GALL. Before I reproduce the review in its entirety here, may I invite you to review the aforementioned list of main ingredients?

    Thank you. And now, presenting the one-star review of sheer, unmitigated gall:

    I used 6 oz. of fresh spinach, egg replacer instead of eggs, fat free milk instead of whole milk, swiss cheese instead of cheddar,. I left out the salt,and flour. and used just a sprinkling of dried parsley and added some dried dill. I did not use any butter or margarine. Instead of bread crumbs, I used crushed Ritz(cracked pepper ritz crackers). Instead of layering it, I just mixed everything together except the crackers..those I put on top. I sprayed the pan with Pam. It was delicious. The only drawback some might find is that the bottom of the dish is a little watery but that was not a problem for me. I absolutely loved it!
    She loved it, but she gave it one star--well, there's dumb for you. That's just the stupidity icing on the great cake of imbecility here.

    But what I love is how she left no stone unturned in her quest to make something that was almost completely, but not entirely, unlike the original recipe.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:36 PM | Comments (7)
  • August 10, 2004

    Clinical Impression:

    It's nice, when you're feeling foul and grumpy, to stumble on bits like this:

    Funk legend Rick James—best known for the 1981 hit “Super Freak” before his life tailspun into a living nightmare of wild sex parties, expensive drugs and shooting whoever he felt like—died Friday of Rick James-related illnesses.
    Rick James-related illnesses. I can't find that one in the medical dictionary, which proves only that doctors don't know half as much as they think they do, because you can't tell me that shouldn't be the official diagnosis. You just can't.
    Posted by Ilyka at 02:07 AM | Comments (3)

    July 26, 2004

    Brand New Blog

    Jim Peacock, the wizard behind the curtain at Snooze Button Dreams and (with help from some friends) Zero Intelligence and Memeblog, has a new site up showcasing his anecdotal creative writing: Protomonkey.

    If you're like me, you're probably thinking, "Clearly, this Jim is an overachiever who mucks up the curve for the rest of us, and must therefore be killed at once." And really, as someone who spends too many hours tapping her own skull hoping something, anything post-worthy will fall out, I couldn't agree with you more.

    Problem is, like most overachievers, Jim is awfully good at what he does, and I'd miss his storytelling abilities tremendously if he were killed. So I say we let him live for awhile yet, and see how this Protomonkey thing shakes out.

    Give it a visit here.

    UPDATE: Did I forget to mention that Snooze Button Dreams was a year old Saturday? I did, didn't I? Happy birthday to the only blog out there authored by a guy capable of using the phrase "cremasteric reflex" evocatively in a song parody.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:00 PM | Comments (4)

    July 08, 2004

    That %*&# Is Wearing My Dress!

    Not dress--blog title. These two are wearing the same blog title . . . almost.

    All right now, which one of you copied the other? 'Fess up.

    Catfight! Catfight!

    (Second link via the one-and-only CrabAppleLane.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:52 PM | Comments (4)

    Three Things

    It's nice finding three great posts, the kind you want to mail off to dozens of people immediately, in the space of less than 10 minutes. It almost makes up for the other 90% of the time when blogs are crap, really.

    (Ooh, did I say that out loud?)


  • Sure Lileks is good today, but Treacher on Lileks on Moore is (besides a nasty visual) even more gooder than that:

    Hey look, a rich old asshole is dodging a scrappy, inexperienced young filmmaker and indulging himself with his ill-gotten gains! Yay! Go team! Hey, waitaminnit...

    So I guess that was the "joke"? He's gone from Roger and Me to Me, I'm Now Roger? This is a source of pride, then? Or maybe it's like a meta thing? Or...? As is often the case with Moore, the only coherent message I could find in it is that he's driven by spite.

  • "Happy Deathday, Mr. Despot:" Simon summarizes North Korean progress since the death of their Supreme Eternal Leader. It's a short post.

  • Is it just me or are we Americans, from now until November, perpetually within a week of some dork at National Review writing a handwringing article bemoaning the slavish devotion to the Democratic Party by African Americans? Or is it the diabolical manipulation of African Americans by the Democratic Party? Either way, you can't say the subject doesn't concern them. It's a perpetual favorite because you can spin it either way: The "slavish devotion" version gives white folks an excuse to pat themselves on the back for being so much less gullible than those poor dumb black folks, and the "diabolical manipulation" version gives the Republican leadership an excuse for not trying harder to fix the problem.

    I'm not kidding--NR actually had an article in the print mag before the 2000 election suggesting that maybe the Republican party doesn't get more black votes because . . . because they don't ask for them. And the sad thing is, as stupid as that idea might sound, it's partly true. The Democrats have all the R & B/hip-hop/rap stations covered in ads here. They get out the vote and they play to win--but if Republicans really gave a shit they'd pay three times the going rate for those ads if that's what it took to bump off a DNC spot. So I think it's fair to wonder whether Republicans really do give a shit about picking up minority votes. . . but of course, if you wonder that out loud, you get called a racist.

    Anyway, have some "slavish devotion," NRers:

    Two rich white men gonna save us darkies! Vote Kerry/Edwards! Anyone but Bush!! Guess what... FUCK YOU! President George Bush Jr. punked out the vast majority of the Democratic Party in seeking the authorization for the Iraq War. He called out the Democratic Party and instead of making a stand, they presented their well-fed asses for a "liberal ass-shagging". Made no stand! And now the Kerry/Edwards want to talk about what Bush Jr. is doing wrong in the Iraq situation when they either voted for the authorization for war or did nothing to change their fellow Democrats minds. But they care for we black folks.
    S-Train, you gotta let T-Steel post more often. That was priceless.
    Posted by Ilyka at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
  • June 30, 2004

    No Bloggage

    I'm sorry, but I cannot blog today. I cannot blog because I'm blind. I'm blind because I just rolled my eyes so violently they plumb fell out my damn head.

    "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." Well, if that isn't leftism in a nutshell. It's enough to make you want to throw her down Lileks' staircase*, isn't it?

    *Scroll down to the sentence beginning "A minor political note . . . ", O Ye Lazy Readers!

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:16 PM | Comments (6)

    June 29, 2004

    Combating the Threat of Preschooler Oppression

    Do any of you recall how you felt after the Oklahoma City bombing? Specifically, do you recall how you felt realizing the day care center had been:

    ". . . blown out of the building. It was gone[.]"
    Do you recall how you felt when Timothy McVeigh referred to the 19 dead children as "collateral damage?" When he showed no remorse at all?

    What if no one--or very few--had shown any remorse? What if the outpouring of sympathy, blood, and donations hadn't occurred? What if the news coverage had implied that what happened to the children in that day care had been . . . oh, perhaps not quite deserved . . . but understandable?

    What if? What would you think of the world, of its values, of its ideology, of its core? What would you say had gone wrong? And where? And how? Wouldn't you eventually conclude that the world had turned, somewhere along the line, from loving life to loving death?

    To me, it comes down to this:

    One thing that is absent from the funeral: The cries of revenge on Afik's killers. Complaints that the government isn't protecting the townspeople, yes. Prayers for peace and protection, yes. And statements of determination.

    But no cries of revenge. There is no cult of death in Israel. Jews are taught to revere life. Islamists think that's a weakness. I think it's one of our strengths.

    Palestinian terrorists can fire a rocket into a nursery, but that's okay--they only kill Jews. Only occupiers. Only settlers. Only oppressors (and don't you wish Gere would just stick to the Dalai Lama?). So no worries, right?

    I mean, one four year-old, big whoop. What about the hundreds of Palestinian children, etc., etc. Well, for starters, the Palestinian children should not be brought up like this; nothing could be more abusive than instilling in children a love of hatred, violence, nihilism, and death. But this is not being perpetrated against them by Israel.

    Sderot is not a settlement and a nursery is not a military installation; even Al-Jazeera has managed to correct its earlier labeling of Sderot as a settlement--at least in some places, though not others. I expect the Palestinian Media Center to follow suit about half past . . . never.

    Even if you could wave a wand and abolish Jew hatred in the world, I am not certain it would prevent atrocities like this. The Palestinians demonstrate little ability to cherish their own children; thus I am not convinced they could ever be made to care about Israeli ones.

    But they can start proving me wrong about this any day now. It's an issue about which I'd be delighted to be proven wrong.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)


    A fine roundup of reactions from Iraqi bloggers to their newfound sovereignty. Definitely worth taking a few minutes from your busy day to read, and frankly if I were Michele I'd be tempted to leave that post at the top all week.

    I caught myself grinning like a maniac several times yesterday, usually whenever the news mentioned the transfer of power. I felt pride. Sure, I had nothing to do with it, but on the other hand, I'm fortunate enough to have been born a citizen of a country that ousted a psychotic dictator, and if I can't be happy about that, what exactly can I be happy about?

    Say what you will about Bush, the early handoff was a brilliant, possibly life-saving maneuver. Look, I didn't like a lot of things Clinton did (for one thing, I'll never figure out why Ashcroft is so reviled while only the barest lip service is paid to the freedoms trampled on by Janet Reno), but people, if Bubba had pulled this off I'd have to give him a standing ovation.

    Of course, someone always has to piss on the parade, and if you view the trackbacks to Michele's post it shouldn't be too hard to determine the biggest pisser of them all. Someone start a weblog that's like Kryptonite to crazy, huh?

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

    June 28, 2004

    More Truth Than Parody III

    While I dash around trying to get myself and this apartment cleaned up, permit me to refer you to "Media Upset Over Early Iraq Handover:"

    "Sonofabitch," said ABC News anchorman Sam Donaldson. "Here I had a two-part expose all ready on how everything that has been done in Iraq has been totally wrong, complete with unscientific graphs and everything, and now that's in danger of being scrapped entirely. This just really chaps my ass."
    Includes a nice dig at my least-favorite news "personality" ever. You want to drive me into a hypertensive episode? Put the Today show on. Really, that's all it takes.
    Posted by Ilyka at 05:17 PM | Comments (1)


    You know why Americans are so out of shape? Americans are so out of shape because just when they finally decide that's it, it's time to pursue fitness with all the enthusiasm previously directed in pursuit of potato skins, some other American updates his blog with a post that's all like, "Hey, check this out" and long story short this is why I'm sitting here with my cross-trainers on not exercising a damn thing.

    By the way, I'm aware that this weblog has gone all diary on people and I'm equally aware some of you don't like that (although if you'd been paying attention you'd have noticed that it sort of leaned that way from the very beginning). Anyway, I'm not without sympathy for you complainer types, so here's $0.35. I recommend you call someone who cares collect (they care, right? So they should accept the charges) and insert the coinage elsewhere, if you take my meaning.

    UPDATE: Okay, this guy is good:

    I walk to the back and through the rear door, which opens into a small patio packed to standing room only. A hundred people are crammed like sardines into a forty foot square prison, smoking and drinking and trying like bastards to secure what limited elbow room their allotment will provide.

    You have to laugh. You really do. The best laid plans of ecetera ecetera. Here's a completely empty bar, which the only hundred people in a position to use it aren't allowed, because of a hundred other people who would never step foot in this place because they're at home right now doing crunches, making to-do lists and filing next year's taxes. And here we are, all cramped into a little smoking death camp, in case one of them might walk through the door and want a non-threatening smoke-free environment to themselves. Look, non-smokers, I don't want you to get cancer anymore than you do. But, no, really? Go. Fuck. Yourselves. You couldn't have given us like 10% of the bars? You needed them all? Do you even drink, you pious shits?

    This is why I am against socialism in all its forms, blah-de-de-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, I think by now we all know the script. And by the way, what he's describing is exactly what happened in Dallas a while back, which is why your girl drinks solely in Addison now.

    UPDATE SQUARED, 06/29/2004: In reading the comments to the "Throwdown" post, I find I am not the only person to experience a strange . . . affection for? Bond with? Attachment to? . . . Groktor. Well, at least I'm not alone. There's something about the simple statement "Groktor Seeks Eights" that I just find endlessly hilarious, but then I've been known to get stuck on dumb little things like that.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:31 PM | Comments (2)

    June 27, 2004

    Ripe for Captioning

    This picture here, I mean.

    Off the top of my head: "Well, yeah, maybe you can still see my blackheads, dude, but I can't; so like, how do I even know they really exist? Because reality is like, subjective, man, so--aw dude, you mention that Neutrogena shit one more time . . . ."

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

    June 26, 2004

    Inevitable, Really

    'Cause you know it ain't over 'til you've got the t-shirt.

    (Background and context: Here; also here; and as always, Google is your friend.)

    I can't decide whether or not to say anything more about this. On the one hand, nothing I said would be very nice (but is it ever?) and would be of limited interest; on the other, well, sometimes I just can't keep my damn mouth shut. We'll see.

    UPDATE: I'm afraid the devil on one shoulder done whupped ass on the angel on the other. Click the extended entry for extreme rudeness (but don't say you weren't warned):

    Transexuals truly desire
    To become of the sex they admire
    The web looked like fun
    For a quick "practice run,"
    Without surgeries drastic and dire

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Lines I Wish I'd Written


    It's been right there all this time, begging to be used, and now someone's beat me to it. Damn, damn, and triple-damn.

    RUNNER-UP: "Sugartastic Dick Flex." I don't know, it's just kind of got a ring to it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:27 AM | Comments (0)

    Me for Benevolent Dictator

    I don't think you people have given this idea the consideration it deserves, really I don't. If you'll recall, I promised two things under my kind of fascism: The eradication of cell phones, and the death penalty for oafs who are cruel to animals.

    We might have to rethink the cell phone thing; I don't know. Maybe we could fund designated cell phone zones throughout the nation by raiding the coffers of the DEA (which, under my dictatorship, we are of course abolishing). That way things like this wouldn't happen ever again.

    Anyway, even if you love your cell phone with an all-consuming passion, I still think you should consider making me your (utterly benevolent and rather soft-hearted) dictator. Because you know what I'd do to guys like this (link via Dean's World)?

    First, I'd hold an essay contest.

    The 100 best essayists (as selected by a panel of me, myself, and I--look, it's a dictatorship) on the topic, "What I Think We Should Do to Heartless Shitbags Who Pitch Kittens Out of Moving Vehicles," would then each have a day to spend alone with said shitbag, a whole 24 hours in which to carry out their plans as described in their essays.

    Of course, they'd also be free to improvise, just so long as they left him alive for the next day's winner. That'd be the only rule.

    No cameras. No guards. No ACLU.

    And then, at the end of 100 days, I'd kill him myself. How? I dunno, but I'll tell you this: I'd have had 100 days in which to think about it and steal ideas from my predecessors, so you better believe I'd come up with something good.

    Now doesn't that sound nice?

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:02 AM | Comments (4)

    June 25, 2004

    The Grass is Not Either Always Greener

    Sometimes it's scorched earth on the other side of that there fence.

    Those of you who remember this post will remember that I once said, ah, uncharitable things about my boyfriend's taste in documentaries. And about his politics. And about his grasp of foreign policy.

    Worse, when he got feisty with other weblog authors who I respect enormously, I told him if he didn't pipe down I was going to ban him from commenting here ever again.

    Anyway, I'm linking this as an example to my boyfriend of just how much worse I could have made that for him.

    Don't date someone who blogs, people. Just don't. It's so much easier.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:36 PM | Comments (2)

    Fact-Checking the Caped Crusader

    Via CrabAppleLane, a physician critiques the practice of medicine in Batman comics. I wonder what watching a rerun of ER with this guy is like?

    As Batman watches, the patient’s heart stops. “No” says Batman, and hits the wall in frustration. (“Wham!” says the wall).

    In one of my favorite butchered medical clichés, the doctor runs in and says: “Oh my God, he’s red-lined.” No, he’s flat-lined. Red-lining is something you do to a very fast car or motorcycle. There’s a big difference.

    And in the previous issue it's even better--the cardiac monitor isn't hooked up to the patient anywhere at all, but it's still providing tracings. Did some kid misplace his Etch-a-Sketch, or what?

    By the way, if you read weblogs regularly and ever get bored or stuck in a rut with them, you could do a lot worse than to visit CrabAppleLane and raid Rob's Blog of the Day. He just finds terrific stuff. Bonus: You get to read Rob, who's nailed the reason I cannot stand listening to ESPN radio when they burble on about the NBA's latest fresh-out-of-high-school recruit:

    The spotlight, the stardom, the attention, the adulation, and the microscope are too much for almost anyone. That said, don’t look to me for sympathy if it all goes awry. My sympathy is reserved for the kids who have to wash cars to put themselves through college or have to take a second job to feed their family and pay the mortgage.
    Posted by Ilyka at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)

    Simon Says Reach More Readers

    Have you recently acquired your very own weblog? Are you saddened and frustrated by the dearth of readers? Are you cursing yourself for not having acquired your weblog back in the days when N.Z. Bear used to host the New Weblog Showcase?

    There, there, lil' blogger. Fear not. If your blog is less than three months old you may pimp it via Simon's new and improved New Weblog Showcase Blog.

    And pimp it you should. I know of what I speak. I won the N.Z. Bear contest once long ago and then promptly alienated all the people who voted for me by writing about nothing but feminism for the next two months! It was awesome, dude!

    So don't do like I did. Earn readers the proper way. The Simon way. You'll be glad you did.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:28 AM | Comments (3)

    June 24, 2004

    Best Post Title Ever

    Phil Dennison wonders, "Has anyone seen my Frisbees?"

    (You must click the link in his post to get it, but please establish that you're not prone to nausea first.)

    You know what I think will happen? I think 50 or 100 years from now people will look back at this awful trend towards monster boobage and think what we think now when we read about women cinching themselves into ever-tighter corsets, or men wearing powdered wigs, or leg-o-mutton sleeves, or handlebar mustaches:

    "They actually thought that looked good? Seriously?"

    Or at least that's what I hope. And I'd prefer if we reached that point sooner rather than later, say in five years instead of 50. Or tomorrow. Tomorrow looks good for me, how 'bout yourself?

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

    Desperate Gets You Desperate

    From my dating days I learned only one hard-and-fast rule:

    Don't be desperate.

    But of course, when you're dating, you're breaking that rule all the time. Of course you're desperate! You haven't had any in . . . how long, exactly? Who wouldn't be desperate under those circumstances? It's utterly natural to be desperate!

    So you can't keep that rule perfectly, or even sometimes at all. So you do the next best thing:

    Don't act desperate.

    And you probably don't keep that one very well, either--but at least it's possible to keep it some of the time. At least it's achievable.

    Really, I wasn't going to blog anything today. I have a million bajillion things to do, and with the boyfriend gone I naturally assumed I'd get most of them done, and instead they're just piling up like crazy.

    But someone's always gotta bait me on the battle of the sexes. Thanks, Jim! Love you too!

    Jim's linked a piece by BigWig (of Siflay Hraka) on whether men should make any attempt to scrub themselves up in order to ketch a woman. I mean, that's roughly what it's about, anyway. It's actually a sort of cross-blog dialogue amongst BigWig, Andrew Sullivan, and a female friend of Eugene Volokh's. If I'm reading everyone correctly--and as we all know by now there's no guarantee of that around here--the positions are:

    Andrew Sullivan: When women demand better appearances from straight men, they'll get them--but not until.

    Eugene Volokh's friend: Most single men who can't get a date are dateless for a reason: They aren't willing to do what it takes to get one.

    BigWig: Single men who can't get dates can't do so because they lack the confidence to tell women to go hang.

    I agree and disagree with every single one of these people, naturally. Why pin myself down if I don't have to?

    BigWig takes an amusing, vaguely chest-thumping tone about the whole thing:

    Paying [straight men] to watch [Queer Eye for the Straight Guy] would help. Handing out free beer and hot wings would also be a excellent choice. But, once they're assembled, the group's reaction to the typical "Woman brings in fab five to makeover her man" plot on QE might prove edifying, for it will be along the lines of "Bitch. He should f*cking dump her."

    And he would too, if he wasn't so damn pussy-whipped.

    And that woman might be every bit as much the better for it--but ah, let's not go there just yet, because I agree later on with BigWig here:

    Clothes, teeth, physique and symmetrical features are part of what makes a person appealing, but by far the biggest asset when it comes to attracting the opposite sex is one's mental attitude. To the extent that they think about it all, and they don't think about it a lot--it's a woman's issue, like curtains and cellulite--most straight men are confident they're sexy. It doesn't matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. Blame testosterone, or willful blindness if you like, but that mental attitude is why women end up dating men one step up from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It doesn't matter whether gay men or even other women think he's sexy. What matters is whether he thinks he is--a quality that most straight men have in spades.
    BigWig is absolutely right on that score: Attitude, particularly an attitude of confidence, is everything when it comes to sexy--at least for most women I know.

    Really, I think the same can be said in reverse, too. I have known women who aren't great-looking, who are just sort of hanging out in that limbo between "plain" and "kinda cute when she does her hair like that," but they don't have any trouble at all getting dates. When men approach them, they are courteous, cheerful, and friendly--even if right at that moment they don't feel any of those things. They aren't out to hand the guy his nuts, nor are they simpering doormats. They're right in the sweet spot: Friendly and approachable but not giving it away. In other words, we're right back to the chief rule that applies equally to both sexes:

    Don't act desperate.

    More BigWig. This is excellent, too:

    Men that don't have this innate confidence end up humiliating themselves eventually, either on something like Queer Eye, or in front of a parade of women who discover that they don't really care for men who twist themselves into knots trying to please them.
    Incidentally, this is precisely why I was arguing with the South African's position that American men are effeminate because American women want them that way. Because in my experience, American women absolutely do not want a doormat (any more than most American men do).

    Have any of you ever dated a truly spineless person? Is it not the saddest thing in the world? I'll tell you a quick story about one (and you guys who know who I'm talking about--shut up, because you know I still think he's one of the most decent human beings on the planet).

    About 10 years ago or so--erp, more actually--I made arrangements to meet a fellow I had been corresponding with via BBS. I had an enormous crush on him sight unseen. We got along famously.

    In other words, this should have been a "gimme."

    We met at a bar by ASU and he said, "You must be Ilyka."

    "Yes--hi! Don?"

    "Yeah. Wow, it's great to meet you! You're probably thinking, 'Ugh, he doesn't look anywhere near as good as I expected' . . . ."

    Men, women, eunuchs, hermaphrodites, friends and neighbors: This is the sentence you should cut off your tongues before uttering, ever.

    Seriously. At least if he'd been about to say that, and had instead suddenly flicked open a switchblade and cut his tongue off in front of me, I'd have had to admire his spirit.

    Instead I was utterly flummoxed, embarrassed, off-balance--and horrified. Honestly, I have to punt to Chris Rock* to explain it (and apologies to anyone who's offended by the f-word):

    A woman knows if she's going to fuck you within the first five minutes of meeting you. Women know right away. Women know on the handshake. As they grip your hand, if they like you, they're thinking, "I'm going to fuck him. I hope he doesn't say anything stupid."
    "I hope he doesn't say anything stupid." EXACTLY. Now he's wrong about the first five minutes; it takes me at least 12. But maybe I'm just slow that way. My point is this:

    There was nothing wrong with this guy. He was tall, lean, attractively dressed. He smelled good. He had beautiful eyes. Maybe I'm an exception here, but possibly even sexier than any of that, he had a sterling command of the English language. He had good grammar! I enjoyed corresponding with him! We had similar interests and tastes!

    This was a gimme. The man went and hosed a gimme. There was nothing wrong with him and if he'd just not--as a friend of mine likes to say--"laid his ass down on the doorstep and invited me to stamp 'WELCOME' on it"--if he'd just not said anything stupid . . .

    . . . well, I probably still wouldn't have banged him that night. But eventually? Who knows? My point is, I'll never know because he had to go and say something stupid, and it changed the way I viewed him immediately and irrevocably.

    Confidence matters enormously to a woman. Don't act desperate.

    So I'm with BigWig on that score. Here's where I think he goes wrong:

    So, for those men who, in the words of Volokh's female friend

    ...don't listen, and won't; they won't get a real job; they're boring but don't want to acknowledge it or do anything about it.

    Keep on keeping on, fellas. Don't pay any attention to a woman who wants you to change before she will condescend to accompany you about town.

    I'm with the spirit of those remarks, but not in this context. In this context I think BigWig has missed the point of Volokh's unnamed correspondent, which is this:

    There is always room for improvement and if you're not getting any romantic action, chances are you could use some.

    Again, that goes for both sexes. A woman who doesn't take care of herself, doesn't expand her horizons, doesn't do anything but go to work and go home and eat raw cookie dough in front of the Lifetime channel, has no one to blame for her datelessness but herself.

    Women at least sort of get this. I've had periods in my life like that. Had about a six-month stretch where my weekly "hot date" was rushing home Wednesday nights to cook up a box of Stove-Top stuffing and scarfing the entire pot down while watching "Melrose Place."

    (Did I say I've never watched soap operas? Oh, well, it doesn't count if they're on at night and star Andrew Shue.)

    But here's the thing: I was in the process of ending a TERRIBLE relationship and didn't care if I never dated another creature on earth again. So I didn't exactly sit there on those nights wondering, why doesn't anyone ever ask me out?

    I knew damn well why no one was asking me out, and I didn't care. That's not what I'm talking about and that's not what Volokh's female friend is talking about. We're talking about guys who do the male equivalent of this and then whine that they can't get a date and it's so unfair because they're such nice guys.

    Hey, I was a nice person, too! I just wasn't very bang-able at the time.

    Are you starting to get the picture? Here's a hint: Economics. Supply and demand. There is simply very little demand for men who:

    . . . don't listen, and won't; they won't get a real job; they're boring but don't want to acknowlege it or do anything about it.
    Anymore than you could expect there to be much demand for women who shuffle indifferently through life and only perk up at the mention of Melrose Place.

    Now here's why I think BigWig went wrong: BigWig is assuming the men this woman is talking about are just like he and his single friends were.

    Dude, I guarantee you they aren't.

    Perhaps it's only my experience, but I've found this general rule of thumb applicable in most situations:

    A guy who says he is or was "hideous," usually isn't.

    A guy who says he is or was "nice," usually isn't.

    BigWig's saying, "Hey, me and my friends weren't any great shakes and look how well we did! And we didn't do it by changing to please women, either! So don't none of y'all change a thing!"

    That's great advice if you want a bunch of sad-sack losers to feel better about themselves, but it's shitty advice if you want them to score.

    You don't get self-esteem by looking at your fat ass in the mirror and thinking, "Some lucky woman's gonna be all over this someday."

    You get self-esteem through self-improvement. You start with an innate belief in yourself--and yes, you must have this even if you really are a fat, dateless loser at the moment; personally the only way I've found to acquire it if you haven't got it is to fake it and act as if you have it already, but your mileage may vary.

    But you start with your innate belief in yourself and then you EXERCISE it, same way you'd exercise anything else you wanted to develop. In other words, you build confidence the same way you build muscles. You start with what you've got and you deliberately apply stress to it to make it grow.

    That means you get out of the house. That means you read some books you mightn't ordinarily read. That means maybe once in awhile you pass up watching the game with your buds in order to do something to improve yourself. If you wanted to develop a six-pack, you'd take game night off to work at the gym. If you wanted to improve your speaking ability, you'd take game night off to take a speech class. If you wanted to improve your ability at anything else in your life, you would make a few sacrifices in order to get it done.

    And I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but dating is exactly the same way. You want to improve your chances, you got to do a little work.

    Or you could just keep doing the same things that aren't and haven't been working, and complain about it.

    What a rather . . . bitchy thing to do.

    UPDATE: ALTERNATE CHICK-SCORING METHODS: Or, if you still insist that things like working out, broadening your interests, and trying to match your shirt to your trousers are such a hassle and such pussy things to do, you could always just do what the gent described in this post does. I'm not saying that'll score you a quality chick, and odds are good you'll have to get a restraining order against her eventually, but if spineless headcases are your thing, why not go on and give it a whirl? Beats trying to get the hot wing sauce out of your neckties, right? Lemme know how the court case comes out in the end!

    *Incidentally, possibly the best dating advice I could give to single men out there is, buy this book. Buy it, read it, live it. Because everything the man says about relations between the sexes is true. Except for the five-minute thing. I'm telling you--12. At least 12.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:17 PM | Comments (4)

    Evil, Wicked, Iniquitous

    Oh my word this is just so WRONG.

    (Background info here (and a dozen or so other places on the web, if not more), and I found the above teaser post by reading this one. Hey, and someone remind me to put Ryan on the blogroll.)

    I'm going to die. If I do not find out all the details of this virtual Payday bar of internet nuttiness, I am just going to up and die. Me, the chick who never watched soap operas. Pathetic!

    UPDATE 06/25/2004: Read the comment thread (yes, the comment thread; it isn't my fault there's no linking by individual comment there) and say it with me: Gotcha! (Ya twisted ass freak!) Also, Layne makes it onto the pages of Ha'aretz (that's "her" Friendster photo on the left there). Not bad for an imaginary woman.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:07 AM | Comments (3)

    June 18, 2004

    Deconstructing Layne

    The things that happen, blogwise, when you take a coupla weeks off: Apparently the weblog I've referred to as "the codependent lesbian train-wreck blog" was, ah, fictional.

    And it's also no more. Some fawning Canuck groupie snagged the domain once it lapsed.

    There are several sites that have roundups on the whole affair, but frankly, none of them sum it up very coherently; discerning what definitely did occur from what may have occurred requires lengthy forays through +300-length comment threads. Who has time for that?

    Oh, wait: I do. At the expense of, let's see: laundry, kitchen prep work, vacuuming, mail-checking, showering . . . .

    I'm bad that way. I love detective stories, number one. Number two, so help me, I totally miss that blog.

    For the uninitiated who are still with me and who care, "Plain Layne" was, ostensibly, a personal blog written by a 27 year-old Minnesotan woman who worked in information technology for a company enigmatically nicknamed "Minicorp."

    Describing it beyond that is difficult, but the phrase "soap opera" comes to mind. You'd read it to find out what happened next, and people, something always happened next. Usually involving lesbians.

    Which made it slightly creepy at times, because I'd be sitting there by my nonlesbian self reading it, and hear the sounds of the boyfriend getting restless on the couch (the sighing, that's a big clue), and finally the question: "What're you reading?"

    "Codependent lesbian train wreck blog."


    "It's this blog, by this girl, and like she's really messed up, and she has a lot of affairs with women, except that I'm not really certain she's actually gay because apparently she was raped a few years back and I think maybe that's put her off men now, so--"

    "Listen, what'd you want to do tonight?"

    And that's when I'd realize, I'm sitting here reading about codependent lesbians while my boyfriend sits driven by the desperation of boredom to reread The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers for the 17th time and like, what does that say about me?

    My boyfriend was always pretty tolerant of the whole thing, though. I think he figured women gotta have their soaps. Now I always disagreed with that notion. I do not, never have, and never will watch soap operas. But you know something, I think it's just that I don't really like television, period. In other words, it's the medium I object to, not the content. Codependent lesbian train wrecks are fine by me, provided you don't cut to commercials in the middle of them.

    Oh, and lose the big hair and the cheesy dialogue, too.

    Anyway, it seems Plain Layne had one other thing in common with daytime drama: She was likely a work of fiction, and possibly the reincarnation of another blogger formerly outed as a fake, Acanit. I'm fairly convinced of that much now, though I didn't particularly want to be. I just wanted my damn train wrecks without having to screw my life up so much that I'd get to see them up close and personal. Can't a girl with a stable, boring life get herself a vicarious train wreck anymore?

    No. No, she can't. She can't because there's always some asshole has to make it his duty to Shine a Light in Dark Places! and Speak the Truth! and Raise the Tough Questions! and Demand an Investigation!

    Props to you, ya jerk. I don't care what your motivations were, I don't care that this was an unintended consequence of your actions, I don't care that you're undoubtedly right about the whole thing. I care about the result. And the result is one less well-written weblog out there, five days after you Shared Your Concerns. Slice it and dice it anyway you like--that's the result. There's no getting around that.

    It wasn't exactly a creative act, but it certainly qualifies as a destructive one. That's what all writers aspire to, right?

    And you know, I never read Plain Layne thinking, "Oh boy oh boy I sure hope Layne's a real live human girl who looks just like her photos 'cause I'd really like to get me some of that" (although this was often an attitude Norton accused male commenters on Layne's site of having, and can you say "projection?"), so why the hell should I care if it's made up? Obviously, I don't. But I do care that it's gone.

    I guess starting an entire blog for the primary purpose of tearing down the work of yet another blog authoress (and hey! How do you know she's real?) just wasn't satisfying enough.

    You see why I take these vacations from weblogging? You see why some days it's like, "Who needs this shit?" Because for every solid creative effort out there you got like, what, 200,000 crapblogs, and too many of those are just devoted to crapping on each other.

    Which I guess you could say is what I'm starting to do here. So I'll stop.

    Hasta la pasta, Layne, and I mean that even if you are a balding Polish male techie with lefty politics and a fertile imagination and a serious lack of actual, versus pretend, nookie in your life. Because I have to grant you this: At least you're one up on Norton.

    See, you can write.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:47 PM

    June 04, 2004

    Job Loss

    The only thing I know for certain in this life is that losing one's job is hell.

    Helen went through the wringer last year and is thankfully now on the upswing with a vengeance and a sweet karmic payoff. Jim just lost his this week, but is remarkably sanguine about it on the surface.

    Still, if you've been there, or even if you haven't, would it kill you to say a few kind words to the guy? Thanks.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:25 PM | Comments (2)

    June 03, 2004

    I Want to Take Her With Me to Central Market

    Snagged from Dr. Alice, it's Diary of a Food Whore. Read it and prepare to fall in internet-love like I just did:

    I got a last minute panic call for a picnic luncheon so I had to buy approximately 10 cases of Coke products this morning. Which, of course, brought all sorts of stares in my direction.

    So I am at the check-out line and two mocha-holding, Louis Voutton purse - sporting snobs were standing behind me in their workout leotards buying their bottled waters and croissant. The were eyeing me as I treated myself by ripping into my new bag of Kookaburra Liquorice (Licorice from Austrailia is THE BEST) and one of them said, "I really will never understand mothers who feed their children soda pop like it's water. The other friend then said, "Oh, I agree. I mean, how much Coke should one family buy in a day?"

    I shit you not.

    I was in pretty good spirits after gnoshing in my chewey licorice so I was going to ignore it but instead I turned, smiled and said, "Yeah. I hate jobless housewives who have nothing better to do than spy in people carts and pass judgement on things they know nothing about. You spilled mocha on your shirt, by the way."

    See, now I never think of great responses like that when I most need them. And when I most need them is pretty much every time I visit what I'm coming to think of as the local YuppieMart.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:26 PM | Comments (2)

    May 26, 2004

    A Domestic Victory

    Please congratulate Michele on finally, FINALLY, closing on her new home. She and her family have been to hell and back to do it.

    As for this blog's current shabby condition . . . I have several disjointed, but soon-to-be-wedded-in-unholy-polygamous-matrimony, ideas simmering around for posts at the moment.

    And no time in which to stir them together. With any luck, maybe I'll find some. Probably about the same day someone else writes just what I wanted to write only, you know, coherently.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)

    May 23, 2004

    A Philosophical Question Motivated By No One in Particular*

    Have you ever noticed the surprising number of people in the world who'll take a reaction of disgust on your part, and turn it into proof positive that they're brave, unflinching soldiers speaking truth to power on their part? Even though, really, it's just that they're assholes? What is that--some misguided self-defense mechanism that nature provides to jerks to prevent them killing themselves from despair at their own jerkiness, or what?

    *Paranoiacs are welcome to speculate that it's really about themselves if it makes them happy to do so, though. I don't want to deprive anyone of a little fun on the weekend. That would be mean.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:40 AM | Comments (10)

    May 20, 2004

    Really, We Could Use the Wood

    I'm afraid this post is essentially an executive summary of a blogfeud. If you're not into that sort of thing . . . [nods at blogroll on left].

    Once upon a time in blogland, Jeff Goldstein gave a thumbs-up to an article by Cathy Young in Reason--a review of the book Insult to Injury: Rethinking Our Responses to Intimate Abuse, by Linda G. Mills.

    Then Jim Peacock of Snooze Button Dreams posted a rebuttal.

    Then all hell broke loose.

    Well, not really. Jim and Jeff remained civil to each other throughout the discussion--but you know how when you were a teenager and your parents went out of town, you'd tell just a couple of friends to stop by Friday night for a kegger? And then, the next thing you knew, the police were banging on your door and announcing you had two minutes to get those 500+ people out of the house before they started busting all of you for minors-in-possession?

    It was kind of like that.

    A'fore long, up come one Mrs. du Toit to Jim's comment section, to offer her take on the matter, which I think can be fairly summed up as "if you stay, you pay." End the abuse by getting out of the relationship, or don't--but don't leave it to the cops to rescue you. I'll grant her remarks points for being relative to the subject under discussion: Should we reevaluate the effectiveness of mandatory arrest laws in incidences of what the government's now taken to calling "intimate partner violence?"

    (Incidentally, if I have mischaracterized Mrs. du Toit's position on the matter, I will welcome a correction from her. Any mischaracterization on my part is inadvertent. And as is always sound practice on the internet, readers are invited to read the whole thing for themselves.)

    Would that some other commenters had stayed with that topic, instead of heading off into the gnarled woods of the California Penal Code. Tree thinkers. It's always the bloody tree thinkers.

    And then along came Helen, who made this remark:

    And Dean? Yeah, I don't read you, and I really don't feel the need to, either. You've been there on the man's side? Well, I've been there on the woman's side. And you and Mrs. Du Toit (again, let me state thus: I find it revolting to be referred to by my spouse's name. I have my own name, thank you) should understand this: if you haven't walked the woman's side, then you just don't understand.
    [Emphasis mine.] Well, the way I see it, you address people the way they prefer to be addressed. That is called politeness. That is called courtesy. Mrs. du Toit prefers to be addressed using her husband's name. That is her choice to make, and that is how she should be addressed by those who respect her decision and practice basic manners.

    And Helen finds it revolting. That, also, is all right. That is her choice to make, and that is how she should not be addressed by those who respect her decision and practice basic manners.

    Unfortunately, that is not how Mrs. du Toit sees Helen's decision. Mrs. du Toit sees it as evidence that Helen is a . . . wait for it . . . FEMINAZI!

    But Mrs. du Toit did not say this to Helen directly. She merely made an example of her weeks after the fact on her own blog, in her introduction to this essay:

    In a comment thread regarding domestic violence I was taken to task for referring to myself as "Mrs du Toit" by (what I would refer to as) a Femi-Nazi. She made some comment that she had a name and was proud to use it, and she'd never refer to herself the way I do.
    Note the subtle inversion; now Helen's remarks are stated to be about Mrs. du Toit, instead of an expression of distaste for the practice of using one's husband's name. Again:
    I find it revolting to be referred to by my spouse's name. I have my own name, thank you
    Yes, it was written in response to Mrs. du Toit. Yes, it expresses dislike of a practice which Mrs. du Toit finds wholly agreeable. But I am not seeing where Mrs. du Toit was "taken to task."

    And that's the lovely thing about not challenging your adversaries directly: You simply wait a week or two, then say what you thought they said, and say it in such a way as to paint yourself the victim. Voila! Victory by default!

    Oh, and by no means should you link the original discussion. Heavens, no. We don't want people reading and judging for themselves, now, do we?

    So if you've read this far--well, if you've read this far, you really ought to talk to your boss about maybe giving you more work to do.

    But you may be wondering what my point is. My point is that conservatives cannot effectively argue in favor of personal responsibility, personal accountability, if they themselves refuse to take any. If, for example, they respond to being called on the carpet for their errors with such fabulous Micah Wrightesque lameosity as this:

    So, the choice of attack on the Bogey Men series [the series of essays of which the first part is linked above--ed.] is my use of the term Femi-Nazi in my composite opening, in the preface. People cannot "get past" that or they are "offended" by name calling, describing it "another form of abuse" thus infering that I am practicing abuse (shoot the messenger).

    Bite me.

    Femi-Nazi is especially meaningful in that context. It denotes a bastardization of Feminism, in which women (most especially women), generally in packs or swarms, will attack another woman because she hasn't conformed to the approved standard—lots of rolled eyes and looking down the nose.

    [Emphasis mine.] "It denotes a bastardization of Feminism"--except that no, it doesn't; not as Mrs. du Toit has used it. Mrs. du Toit has called a specific individual a feminazi, and she has not had even the figurative cojones to do so directly.

    Why's that "directly" part so important? Well, let's ask Mrs. du Toit herself. Here she is in response to a (rather sleazy) attack on her husband in the SBD comment thread:

    You could always e-mail your rebuttals to Kim's essay to him, rather than arguing behind his wife's skirts, if you wanted to discuss his essay, but I take it from your snarky comment here that you're not interested in discussing the writing--you seem interested only in character assasination.
    Ding ding ding!

    You could always have told Helen you thought she was a feminazi directly, Mrs. du Toit.

    You could always have responded to Jim's post about your failure to do so directly, Mrs. du Toit.

    Instead, we get this lengthy help-me-up-onna-this-cross,-O-Jesus,-and-forgive them,-Father,-for-they-know-not-what-they-do-style rationalization:

    Kim and I knew it would happen. We knew the attacks would eventually come, but I had thought carefully about what I was including the series, my pure intentions for writing it, and was ready for it. The ad hominem attacks begin. Enter the Brown Skirts.

    . . .

    I would ask my friends, despite any desires they may have to "stand up" or protect me, please do not play. I knew it would happen. I do not want to empower the battle by fueling it (which is why there are NO LINKS in this post to what anyone else has posted elsewhere in the 'sphere. In some cases, as I did in the Bogey Men series, I drew a composite person to demonstrate a common complaint).

    Note the quick slip-in of a Way Out there at the end: Mrs. du Toit was not referring to Helen, the Individual, but rather to "a composite person." You may be more familiar with composite persons under another moniker commonly given them.

    Helen's no "feminazi," Mrs. du Toit. And really, you shouldn't be surprised people are disgusted with you for calling her one. If personal accountability is as central to your philosophy as you claim, start acting like it.

    Or, y'know, "bite me."

    UPDATE: And while I'm on a tear about personal accountability, let me take some: "Joann," in the comment section to Jim's post, was a sock puppet. Puppetmaster: Me.

    It was childish, irrelevant to the discussion, and rude. For that, Mrs. du Toit, I apologize.

    (As for why I never e-mailed Kim a rebuttal to his essay, that's simple: It's been done better by others.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:47 PM | Comments (6)

    May 19, 2004

    In Other News

    The Voodoo Lounge remains as much a source of joy for me as ever.

    ". . . if that's abuse, I'm going to suffer abuse tonight when I go clubbing." You know something? I think I've had that suffering myself already. Yeah, okay, so my clubbing days are over. Do we need to harp on that aspect of it?

    I don't mean to minimize the chaos at Abu Ghraib--nor do I think Dr. DNA intends that. Certainly, what we did there was no fraternity hazing. (And when exactly IS the Right in America going to figure out that Limbaugh is doing them no favors? He's a liability, not an asset.)

    But as I said in a comment section somewhere, could we have a little perspective?

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

    May 14, 2004

    Dear Every Damn Blogger Speculating About Nick Berg

    Please stop it. It's making me sick. And it's proving that the left has no monopoly on tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.

    And this sorry excuse . . . ? Tell me something: Would any of you blog readers out there accept that explanation (rationalization) from someone at the New York Times?

    I know you wouldn't.

    "I have more information! I just can't share it with you yet!"

    Oh God, oh Lord, would this man please fuck OFF.

    You were all outraged when Daily Kos painted the security contractors as "merceneries," weren't you? Suggested that their deaths meant nothing? Suggested that they deserved it? Oh, so indignant. So disgusted. So righteously outraged.

    Well, passing around the kind of speculation you're passing around about Berg is no better. Oh, I know: No one's actually come out and suggested Berg deserved to die yet. You know better than to do that. You're just "raising questions," knowing that the questions you're raising are likely to lead to one very ugly set of answers.

    I hope you're getting lots of traffic out of being a bunch of lowlife bastards. If only you could all choke on it.

    You're welcome.

    UPDATE 05/15/2004: I have the clarification itch (and the prescription is . . . ?): It is the sensationalist tone and treatment of the subject which enrages me, and the blame for that can be heaped mainly at the feet of one guy: Paul at Wizbang. Thus, the title of this post probably should not have read, "Dear Every Damn Blogger . . . ."

    I am aware of at least two other bloggers who gave the subject the dignity it deserves and exercised appropriate restraint: Ace of Spades, and Venomous Kate. If you're seeking followups to this whole affair, you would do well to check back with either of them.

    For a thorough roundup of material on Nick Berg, keep checking back to Judith Weiss's post at Kesher Talk. It's updated as new information arrives, and actually contains links to several pieces which flatly contradict some of the wilder speculations out there. A little research is a beautiful thing, no?

    Finally: You think this issue bothered me? Fool, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

    An apology to anyone who came here looking for an amusing anecdote 'bout a Pizza Hut. I'm no longer in the mood to write a fun happy story. I'm in the mood to hit things. Can I give you a rain check?

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:06 PM | Comments (16)

    First Class Iraq Analysis

    It's a read and scroll kind of a thing, a scroll and read some more kind of thing. And it won't put you to sleep the way a lot of what passes for (cough) "insight" (cough) in the blog world will.

    Actually, at least 50% of the time, if I read that so-and-so "displays excellent insight into this issue," I find I can usually substitute that so-and-so "is a good buddy of mine, so I'm giving him a pity link" and have it fit. But I'm cynical that way.

    (And now: Would someone with some pull get Ace of Spades an Instalanche already? I think he's a fool to crave it; a spot on the Den Beste blogroll is infinitely more prestigious, particularly as Den Beste isn't running after Wonkette with his tongue hanging out. But I can't say Ace doesn't deserve the spotlight, so please--it's overdue.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:19 AM | Comments (3)

    May 12, 2004

    More Than Two

    Jim Peacock noted yesterday that while five murderers gleefully sawed off the head of Nick Berg to shouts of Allahu Akbar, only two Muslims to date have signed his petition denouncing terrorism.

    Maybe Jim should send the petition link to Zeyad. (Yes, I know Zeyad no longer considers himself Muslim, my darling detail-obsessed people . . . but, gosh! D'ya suppose he might know a few?) Zeyad has no difficulty staking out a position on this:

    So, to distance myself from the shameful hypocritical Arab and Muslim masses. I wish to denounce this barbaric act and the pathetic ideology that fueled it, to disown any person from my part of the world who would justify it, and to offer my sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and countrymen of Nicholas Berg.

    And for Muslims, who are definitely going to say 'this isn't the real Islam':

    "When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives." Surat Mohammed:4

    Grow up, and leave the 7th century.

    Incidentally--since apparently it's impossible to consider what happened to Nick Berg as wholly separate from what happened at Abu Ghraib, even though Berg was kidnapped 20 days before the release of the Abu Ghraib photos*, even though Berg is the second American to be decapitated on video and shares one particular trait with the first one, which I am repeatedly told has nothing to do with their deaths, when I am deemed worthy of being told it at all--incidentally, Firas at Iraq & Iraqis has a few questions for the Arab media:

    Here in Baghdad any one can see that the media is talking about Abo Ghraib more than the Iraqis themselves. Its not Iraqis they are crying on they are using this case against the Americans. Please try to answer these questions:

    Is there any prison in the world with out humiliation?
    Did any one talk about Iraqi human rights before April 2003?
    Did any one ask what those people in Abo Ghraib did to be treated like that?
    Can any Arab country open its prisons for any committee?
    Would any one dare to criticize prisons system in any other Arab country?

    Well……Tank you Arabs, we don’t need your voices now, we know how to solve our problems very well, and it’s being solved.

    So let's see: I can't get good reporting over here, they can't get good reporting over there . . . is it 1984 yet? And I don't mean on the damn calendar.

    *Via Tim Blair, who commits more real journalism just as a hobby in one week than Reuters does in one month.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:30 PM | Comments (4)

    May 08, 2004

    Running Infidel Dogs

    One thing I resisted doing all day was looking at the slide show linked by Tim Blair (via Florida Cracker) about the rescue dogs employed on September 11.

    Partly because--maybe wholly because--well, see, I'm not a "dog person." But I don't think you have to be, number one; and number two, I try not to look at it like that. I try to look at it like this: There are people who appreciate animals in their proper context and then . . . well, and then there's PETA, who wants you to have sex with your fully-emancipated "companion animals.".

    But factoring out PETA for a minute and concentrating on the rest of us, I figure it's this way: Dogs? Cats? Ferrets? Iguanas? Hamsters?--It don't matter. There are "animal people," and then . . . and then there are nonanimal people. I have both types of people in my life, and we all get along, mostly.

    But eventually I read this impassioned comment:

    It wasn't just rescue dogs!

    I live upstate and medical facilities, doctors, nurses, etc were all being mobilized. My mom, a retired nurse, was called and asked to standby for the expected thousands of injured.

    Hospitals from Syracuse, Utica, Rome, etc were all poised to spring into action and when it became clear that NO ONE was coming out of there, the depression here was palpable.

    And now I'm thinking I'd like to grant dog lovers this: I think in general, your pets are superior to mine--and mind you, I love my cats.

    But for empathy? For feeling what you're feeling? For following human beings into whatever moods strike them, suckerpunch them, envelop them?

    Nothing beats a dog.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:10 AM | Comments (2)

    May 07, 2004


    It's always the lawyers, isn't it? Yeah, sure, blame the lawyer.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

    May 06, 2004

    Thursday Fluff

    First album you bought, last album you bought? Tell Jim in the comments or, if you have your own blog, post the answers and track it on back to him.

    First album: Saturday Night Fever. Pray, do not mock me. I saved up my allowance for weeks to buy that one. Did I mention my allowance at the time was a quarter per week?

    Furthermore, I have it on CD. So nyah.

    Last album: Acoustic Soul, India.Arie. I'll be honest, I've been meaning to sell it back somewhere. I find it pretty uneven. But I still like "Video."

    And yeah, it's been a while since I've purchased any new CDs. A long, long while.

    Wait, you know something? I'm wrong about the most recently purchased one. I forgot this recording. If we're counting classical, that's the last one I bought.

    UPDATE: Uh, okay, so I guess today isn't Friday. Title changed to reflect the correct day of the week because I am a moron.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:32 PM | Comments (5)

    May 05, 2004

    Where It's At

    Not here, that's for sure. I'm busy.

  • Everything on yourish.com today. Jim was haunted by "Meirav Was Two" (which title keeps calling to my mind an old Harlan Ellison story, "Jeffty Is Five," though the two tales have nothing to do with each other). What I can't get out of my head, though, is the sheer wickedness of the U.N. Yes, wickedness. Any other term is insufficient.

  • Up For Anything has the story of how Pat Tillman met his courageous end, and how he earned the Silver Star.

  • Teenage daughters are hell. Presented without commentary.

  • The Patriette has a report, with photos, from a coworker stationed with the National Guard in Iraq.

  • O Canada! We shut our gates to thee. Via that Dennison fella again, who had it from Jane Galt. Hey, did you know Phil rocks, literally? It's true.

  • I was searching for a good chicken saagwala or saag paneer recipe online the other day, as I don't like the one I've got for chicken saagwala and, basically, I just love what Indians do with spinach. In the course of my search, I found this humorous restaurant-review-slash-chronicle-of-a-breakup: Six Days of Saag Paneer. WARNING: If you are fond of Indian food, reading this will make you very, very hungry.

  • "This Is Why I Don't Visit My South Carolina Relatives: They tend to get into gunfights on the highway."

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:49 PM | Comments (4)
  • May 04, 2004

    Guest Bloggers Solicited

    Kelley of Suburban Blight is seeking guest bloggers while she takes a much-needed, much-deserved break. If you can't help out in that regard--and I am a lousy guest-blogger, seeing as how I scarcely keep this one going--at least wish her a speedy recovery, psychically and physically.

    (An aside: I can't be the only reader who's totally jealous of that garden.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:17 PM | Comments (9)

    'Sad Bloody America'

    Absinthe & Cookies notes a delightful (in the sense that hemorrhagic diarrhea is "delightful") and bravely anonymous screed in the Scotsman today, in which the point seems to be that the U.K. can't even discuss joining the European Union without obsessing about we Yanks.

    Yeah, I don't see what the one has to do with the other really, either. It isn't as though they have an alternative of joining the U.S. Christ, what a 51st state that'd be.

    Anyway, I admire Ith's restraint in taking the article on, given her family history. She was far kinder than I would have been.

    And how would I have been?

    Look: I like the British well enough, but I admit lately, when I hear tourism commercials inviting me to travel to London this summer, part of me's thinking, "No, fuck off. I'll spend my dollars at home, thank you. " Then I remember I don't really have any vacation dollars to spend anyway, but that's a whole other story.

    And that's not fair, perhaps, but you know something? This little habit of trying to "take the piss" out of America is getting staler than week-old crumpets.

    And when you reach the point of stating, in all seriousness, that Russia did more for you in WWII than the U.S. did*, I'm pretty much over considering any further arguments you care to make.

    *Free registration required.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:02 PM | Comments (1)

    May 03, 2004

    I Went. I Saw. I Had to Look Away.

    And go hurl.

    Why do I do it? I know Wonkette is the Carrot Top of the blogosphere. I know this. And yet I go, and I read a line like this:

    Heard on the Hill: Slogan of new Bush-friendly ketchup: "Making Sure Kerry Doesn’t Ketchup to Dubya!"
    Because . . . why? Because it's quicker and cleaner than sticking my finger down my throat? Because nothing else really gives me that "please carve out my eyeballs with a melon-baller now" feeling Wonkette delivers? Is there some void in my existence that demands I fill it with irritating shallow crap? Would that void be better filled by subscribing to US Weekly?

    You know, I think it would. At least US has the fashion police.

    Did she actually come up with that line, or just borrow it from Roll Call?--Who bloody cares? It's like finding a corner of the World Wide Web smeared with feces: At the moment of discovery, is your primary concern finding out whose shit it is? Or are you more concerned with finding out who smeared it all over the walls?

    UPDATE 05/04/2004: For all you fine people who want to play jokes on the Instantman with a Wonkette parody--too late. Wonkette is officially "so five minutes ago." You see, papa's got a brand new bag!

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:35 PM | Comments (25)

    May 02, 2004

    Does This 'Ilyka' Person Do Anything But Hype Things Anymore?

    The short answer is "No." The long answer is, "Well, no, not lately." For one thing, it's a real motivation-killer for me to realize that the worst 10% of what someone else writes is still better than 90% of everything I write, and that brings me to Phil Dennison. A weekly raid of his archives could launch a whole new feature around here: "Wish-I'd-Said-It Sundays," or something. Take it away, Phil:

  • On Spelman College's decision to pressure rapper Nelly into canceling a bone marrow drive, based on objections to the way women are portrayed in his videos: "And what better way to express your feelings on that misogyny than by punishing some cancer victims?" Let me make something clear right now: This is not the kind of feminist I am. Troll the comments of that sexism post all you like, tighty-righties; you will never find anything within it, or within other things I've written on the subject, to link me to this kind of asininity.

  • On Alanis "Okay, So Maybe 'Ironic' Was a Poor Choice of Adjective" Morissette complaining about a bit of U.S. radio censorship that wasn't: "Nobody threated to ban anything, she knew the song probably wouldn't be played without a radio edit, she decided on her own to change it, because she wanted U.S. airplay. It's all aboot the benjamins for her. Glad we got that cleared up. (But by all means, Alanis, if you want to feel like you have some artistic integrity -- although anyone who chose to blow Dave Coulier in a movie theater then write a bitter song about it doesn't have much integrity of any kind -- feel free not to sell your sure-to-be-shitty album to us backwards American hypocritical censors.)"

  • On the exercises conducted by the Pentagon in 2000 that some folks think proved their "Bush Knew!" case: "If anyone is looking for a smoking gun, they're going to have to look elsewhere. I live here. I've seen how much air traffic there is, and how low it comes over residential and business areas. The first time you drive past National up Rt. 1 or the George Washington Parkway, you honestly think those planes are about to land right on the road, on top of your car. A drill like the one the Pentagon ran is absolutely necessary, and proves nothing about who knew what about what." Features an appropriately-labeled link to Atrios.

  • Phil also had the "Hamtramck to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer" story over two weeks before the creator of worlds.

  • Finally, with all due respect to devout Christians everywhere: When you're sitting around wondering why the same liberals who are all about religious tolerance for Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, et. al., are not showing Christianity that same respect and tolerance?--It might, just might, be something to do with bad ideas like this one, about which Phil notes, "Thinking about it more, what a great Christian witness this is for the people pushing this bill -- "I can't give you medical treatment, because you are a sinner in my eyes." Why, it's exactly what Jesus did! By which I mean it's the exact opposite of what Jesus did. But I'm sure he'd be proud of them wanting to preserve their freedom of religion and not have to dispense medication to those nasty queers. He was all about strict adherence to dogma and turning people away." And would someone tell me when the hell Michigan became the state from which all weirdness comes? Dean, what's going on over there?

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:48 PM | Comments (2)
  • April 30, 2004

    I Could, But It Would Just Queue Up An Andy Gibb Song

    A meme I dare not approach. I know my CD player, and I know how often in the past it has betrayed me.

    It's one thing for me to know I'm a dork, and a whole 'nother thing for you people to have within-a-click proof of it.

    (Yeah, I know it says to grab the nearest CD. All the CDs are in the changer, though. Easier just to put it on random.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

    That Was Me

    I don't link Lileks. I figure you either read him already or don't care for him. But this:

    These things we knew: Soviet influence in Central America could be blunted by a complete withdrawl of American support; Ronald Reagan was indifferent to the possibility of nuclear war; Europeans were wise rational Vulcans to our crass carnivorous Earthlings, except for isolated throwback horrors like Margaret Thatcher. All new weapons systems were boondoggles that wouldn’t work and would never be needed, and served as penis substitutes for Jack D. Ripper-type generals who probably went home and poured lighter fluid on toy soldiers, lit them with a Zippo and cackled maniacally. A nuclear freeze was the first step to a safer world, because if everyone had 10,237 ICBMs instead of 10,238 we might be less inclined to use them. The Soviets were our enemy only because we thought they were, which forced them to act like our enemy. Soldiers were brainwashed killbots or gung-ho rapist killbots who signed up only because Reagan had personally shuttered the doors of the local steel mill, depriving them of jobs. Of all wars in human history, Vietnam was the most typical. Higher taxes on the rich resulted in fewer poor people. The inexplicable mulishness of big business was the only thing that held back widespread adoption of solar power.
    That was me, nevermindhowmany years ago.

    It's similar, of course, to P.J. O'Rourke's essay, "Second Thoughts About the 1960s;" at least, the first part:

    What I Believed in the Sixties
    Everything. You name it and I believed it. I believed love was all you need. I believed you should be here now. I believed drugs could make everyone a better person. I believed I could hitchhike to California with thirty-five cents and people would be glad to feed me. I believed Mao was cute. I believed private property was wrong. I believed my girlfriend was a witch. I believed my parents were Nazi space monsters. I believed the university was putting saltpeter in the cafeteria food. I believed stones had souls. I believed the NLF were the good guys in Vietnam. I believed Lyndon Johnson was plotting to murder all the Negroes. I believed Yoko Ono was an artist. I believed Bob Dylan was a musician. . . . I managed to believe Gandhi and H. Rap Brown at the same time. With the exception of anything my mom and dad said, I believed everything.
    And then you grow up, or that's what they used to call it. Now it's called "having second thoughts." I prefer plain old growing up, or, if you want to get dramatic about it, having a head-on collision with a little thing called reality.

    Here's to growing up. We could probably all stand to do more of it than we'd like to admit.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:16 AM | Comments (5)

    April 26, 2004

    Welcome to the Working Week

    Your working week, in all likelihood, but not mine--mine starts on Tuesdays, making Mondays my day off.

    Aha! Do you begin to suspect you're getting a link roundup? Right you are!

  • I have to lead off with Jim Peacock's excellent explanation of how progressive taxation and tax cuts work. Think you don't need any simple explanations of this subject? Think you're an expert? Well, perhaps you are--but you still may be in the market for an easy way to explain it the clueless around you. Go; steal from Jim. It's what I always do and it works wonders.

  • "Kerry's already pulling some Clintonisms that I don't appreciate... 'I didn't inhale' equates with, 'Well I voted for it, before I voted against it.'" Seems Kerry isn't rocking that 18-29 demographic quite as hard as he'd like.

  • Speaking of His Rockingness: You know the offer of a free web page from Kerry is still open, right? (Link snagged from Judith at Kesher Talk.)

  • In the course of trying--vainly--to find the correct spelling of a cardiac drug during work the other night, I ran across this article, outlining research seeming to indicate a link between poverty and obesity (stories were featured on MSNBC and CNN nearly two months ago about it as well). "Great!" I thought. "Now when I'm with some snide little cretin in the Wal-mart and they start off on 'how poor can these people be really, I mean they're all so fat, I mean compare it to what's happening in Rwanda for the love of Mike,' I'll have an answer!" Alas, no. The article starts off sounding reasonable enough and then degenerates to this howler: "Health researchers say Canada is starting to look more like Lithuania [in terms of stress responses] than Sweden these days. They blame the shift to conservative governments."

  • As well they should! Because as every educated person knows, if it weren't for rogue conservative governments, Canada would have the best health care system in the world!

  • Burnout or no burnout, I can second her on this recommendation. It is still a good field. Sadly, I have known too many women who eschew technical majors because they've got it into their heads that math is too hard, or too boring, or both. Look: I can't add or subtract in my head worth a damn, but I could get through differential equations. It's doable, and it's stupid of women to let fear of math stop them. You conquer fear by doing what you're afraid of--just ask Meryl. Now the thing you have to remember--okay, there are two things to remember. First, you know the Thomas Edison quote that his success was merely 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration?--Math is often 100% perspiration, unless you're majoring in it (and then, yes, you will need a little inspiration; but if you're thinking of doing that, you don't need a pep talk from me anyhow). Otherwise, you just work problems and work problems and work more problems and go back and work all the problems again and again, over and over, until it clicks. So that's the first thing. The second thing is, you're going to meet some of the best guys in the world and they will worship you just for being around. It's a fact, period. (Try to overlook that some of them read Star Wars novels as literature. Reading habits can be improved, but character cannot.) So knock it off with the sociology majors already. Or rather, go ahead and major in sociology if you like--but don't come crying to me that you can't find a job that pays worth a damn when you're done.

  • Indirectly, via a winding road begun from Crabapple Lane's Blog of the Day: It seems discussions on women and blogging happen just as regularly on the left. "But of course those discussions occur on the left," a conservative reader might snort. "Those people are all about rectifying imbalance and inequality, real or perceived, among groups. This is in fact a tenet of transnational progressivism, etc." Perhaps, but that's not what's interesting to me about the piece. First, there's the difference in tone from the male bloggers on the left. On the right, the most timid suggestion that women bloggers face difficulties being taken seriously will arouse not just a stern denial that this is so, but in fact an insistence that if it is so, it's because women bloggers aren't very good: "It isn't true, but if it is true, it's your own damned fault." The reaction from men on the left, however, seems to be a sort of muted obstinacy that nonetheless produces the same ultimate result as the reaction on the right: "Oh. Oh, gee, there are some women bloggers out there. Whoops. I should have looked harder before I wrote my last entry, 'Where Are All the Female Bloggers?'" Two months later, they . . . write another post wondering why more women don't get into blogging. This is where the second interesting bit about the post comes in: an analysis of "muscular" vs. "soft" politics. It's not a half-bad explanation. It is, in fact, similar to what I had in mind myself when I told Spoons in an e-mail that I wanted to write a follow-up post on the subject. Of course, that was before the damn post generated my goofiest comment thread ever and, uh, I got like super-bored with it. But not so bored that I couldn't write you another lengthy paragraph here, huh?

  • The link to the transnational progressivism piece briefly mentioned above comes from Steven den Beste, and I should probably thank Ace of Spades for reminding me of it, causing me to read it again.

  • You should consider how many different news sources you got your information from today. Then, you should consider how miserable you'd be if someone took them all away from you and left you with only Al Jazeera. Then, you should do the right thing and help the U.S. Marines correct that situation in Iraq, by donating to the Spirit of America fund request, which you can read about here. And if you want to win fabulous prizes, you should make your donation through The Liberty Alliance. That is all.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:28 PM | Comments (3)
  • April 25, 2004

    Munuviana Has Him. You Don't.

    Ace of Spades HQ has forsaken Blogspot. Praise be Allah Pixy Misa.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:16 AM | Comments (1)

    April 24, 2004

    Shallow Observation

    I hope audio-blogging never takes off in any real way. I just heard some by the author of a blog I occasionally read and now I swear I can never read that blog again.

    Euww. Just . . . euww.

    The nice thing about writing is that if you sound obnoxious (and full of yourself, and convinced of your superior wit, and just a little fucking effete and I mean, like damn), no one needs to know. If you have a zit on your nose, no one needs to know. If you're an amputee, no one needs to know.

    I like it that way. But then, as a 73 year-old retired truck driver who's hoping that recent gastric bypass I had will help me do something about those extra 180 pounds I've been hauling around for most of my life, I suppose I would.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:12 PM | Comments (7)

    That Was Then, This is Now

    Yesterday (love was such an easy game to play . . . .):
    Quoth the venomous one, bored with the topic of sexism in the blogosphere: "Isn't there any news to focus on?"

    Guess not!

    Well, it's all hypothetical anyway, seeing as how there's no such thing as a desert island.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:22 AM | Comments (1)

    April 23, 2004

    This Blog Proudly Supports

    Oh, come on. If you're not curious to find out who I'm backing in the Spirit of America fund drive, just humor me and pretend you are for a minute and click the extended entry already.

    The Liberty Alliance!


    They like kittens!

    And everyone? Rosemary really IS the Queen of All Evil. Of course, when I say "evil," I mean absolutely bribetastic.

    Now go donate before I write another post about sexism. I can do it, you know. I have the technology.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:43 AM | Comments (3)

    April 22, 2004


    (Why yes: I usually AM at least a week behind on blogospheric events. And as a matter of fact I AM going to take the time to explain this as though you'd never heard of the thing before, because even though most of you have, it's important enough that I'm tailoring discussion of it to the "what are you talking about?" crowd.)

    Spirit of America is a not-for-profit organization that raises money to help U.S. citizens--civilian or military--improve the lives of people in other, less fortunate countries. And you know what? That all came out so poorly-worded that I'm just going to crib from their "About" page:

    Spirit of America (SoA) is a nonprofit, charitable organization that helps Americans serving abroad improve the lives of people in need. We enable American military, Foreign Service and reconstruction personnel to submit requests for goods that will help local people. Typically, the requests are for items that established aid organizations and government bureaucracies are not designed to handle and that fall in the gaps between large-scale assistance programs - yet can make an important difference.
    As an example of some of those "goods that will help local people," Spirit of America raised $4,800 to provide dental kits, distributed by U.S. Marines, to Iraqi families in Al Hillah.

    Small thing. But you try not brushing your teeth for three days and see what it does to your outlook on life. You can read about similar Spirit of America efforts on this page.

    More from the "About" page:

    SoA collects the tax-deductible donated funds and procures the goods, or secures the direct donation of the requested goods, and arranges shipment to the requestor. We are now accepting and fulfilling requests from Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not seek, require or accept funding from the U.S. Government.
    [Emphasis mine.] And that emphasis is added to point out one thing: You do not need to support our operations in Iraq to donate to this organization. You would not be helping to fund Halliburton, the CIA, or "merceneries." (Misspelling intentional--and would someone please explain to me why an aspiring political consultant would be so averse to using spell check?) You'd be helping kids brush their damn teeth. If you're against dental hygiene . . . uh, actually, if you're against dental hygiene?--Could you please stand at least six paces away from me. Phew.

    Several blogs have started teams of bloggers to participate in a drive to help Spirit of America raise the money to fund independent television stations and news programming in the Sunni Triangle. Currently, Al Jazeera provides most news in the area. Now, I've got family members who dispute the presence of bias in the U.S. media, and that's one thing. We can have that argument all day long as far as I'm concerned. But there's one thing I flatly refuse to argue with anyone, and that's that Al Jazeera is to objective news reporting as decent Mexican food is to Toronto: They don't get anywhere near each other. But don't take my word for it; see what an Iraqi has to say about Arab media:

    Arab satellite channels reported today that Al-Mustansiriyah university was under siege by US troops. We have a neighbour who is a professor there, so as expected we raced to his house when we had heard about it. We congratulated him for his safety, but he looked significantly surprised and asked us what was up? We told him about the siege. He chuckled at us and said "Oh, you mean that". It turned out there was no siege at all, there was an American patrol in the vicinity of the university, and they had witnessed someone climbing on the clock tower trying to paste a large poster of Muqtada Al-Sadr. The patrol called for backup, entered the campus and hollered for the fellow to come down. They teared the poster and removed a few others close to the university's main entry gates. According to our friend, the whole process didn't take any more than 20 minutes. Just to show how the Arab media conveniently distort events.
    Whether you agree with our presence in Iraq or not, there is no disputing that the current portrayal of events in Iraq is having an effect on how the U.S. is perceived there. People are hearing "occupation forces bombed a mosque;" they are not hearing "occupation forces bombed a mosque filled with gunmen actively firing on them." They are getting (if they are lucky) only half the story.

    We do not, in this country, live in a one-news-source environment. We are lucky to be able to read and watch the news from many sources and compose our views from among them. Iraqis should have the same opportunity.

    The Spirit of America fundraising effort is not to provide Iraqis with "MarineTV." Its stated aim:

    The donated equipment will be the property of the Iraqi stations. The stations can create their own news and choose their own programming with the agreement that they will prohibit airing of anti-coalition messages that incite the local population. The stations also agree to sell airtime at a fair market price so that the Marines can communicate their information efficiently and quickly when needed.

    For example, images were recently broadcast of a mosque in Fallujah damaged during fighting. With these stations the Marines could have provided the full picture by airing video of combatants firing on them from the mosque grounds. These stations would have enabled Iraqis to understand the complete picture. News of reconstruction projects and humanitarian assistance that balances the news of conflict will also be provided on these stations. The stations will be free to criticize the Coalition.

    I think it's a fine cause, obviously, and I hope others will agree and donate.

    That only leaves me one decision: Which blogging team do I join?

    There are three, participating in a mock war to see who can raise the most money. They are:

    The Victory Coalition, led by A Small Victory and Wizbang

    The Liberty Alliance, led by Dean's World

    The Fighting Fusileers, led by Castle Argghhh! (Look, I didn't name them. Don't roll your eyes at me like that.)

    I have pros and cons for all three of 'em, but I'll just list the pros here:

    Victory Coalition:

  • Jim and Meryl are already on board and, well, I love Jim and Meryl. Also, they will be mad at me if I pick someone else's team.
  • Michele has the coolest logos and artwork for it. Cartoon dead girls and Dave Chapelle as Rick James? You can't top that.
  • I'm pretty sure if you took away my access to the ASV comment sections I would suffer DTs. Or get more housework done; I'm not certain which. Anyway, A Small Victory is one of my very favoritest blogs and has been so for, like, forever, and therefore I feel a certain loyalty to it.

    Liberty Alliance:

  • They're in third place. That's a polite way of saying LAST place. I am all about the underdog. Look at that sad little boy. Folks, that ain't right.
  • Dean, UNLIKE CERTAIN OTHER TEAM LEADERS, has me blogrolled. In fact, Dean has me blogrolled despite the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I have said anything remotely nice about him, but I need a calculator for all the times I've called him a chauvinist asshole. Now that's a man.
  • Did I mention Dean has me blogrolled?

    Fighting Fusileers:

  • It's the incentive package I like here. Very generous, and very original. In fact, it's gorgeous. (You people with your puny offers like, "I'll write a post about whatever you want if you donate"--bah! Didn't you learn anything from how swell that tactic worked for Treacher?)
  • I don't know, I've just always thought e-Claire was cool. Maybe I'm a sucker for names that are puns.
  • Castle Argghhh! is a blog by "one of Jonah's military guys." Does this mean they have an "in" with Jonah Goldberg? Have I mentioned that I have a total fangirl crush on Jonah Goldberg? Yeah, I'm not exactly sure why either--but it's probably something to do with his beginning his bio with the line, "First God created pepper-jack cheese, hard pretzels, and beer." I like a man who has his priorities in order.

    So there are good reasons to sign up with all of 'em. And by the end of the day, I'll have decided which.

    Hope the suspense doesn't kill anyone.

    And remember: I am highly bribable. Highly.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:21 PM | Comments (14)
  • April 21, 2004

    Beyond Parody

    In an e-mail to someone the other day, I mocked Instapundit's habit of linking pieces by female bloggers with a "sex hook" attached, i.e.:

    BOTTOMS UP: [Name of female blogger] sees a connection between Iraqi liberation and sodomy.
    But you know something? In retrospect, I needn't have bothered.

    Lest someone get the wrong idea: The issue isn't so much that it's sexist. The issue is that it's stupid and annoying.

    And speaking of stupid and annoying, the next person who sends me over to BuzzMachine gets a kick in the head. Apparently now old man Jarvis is on some tear about a "citizen's media" association, or something. You know, so we can filter out all those unethical, irresponsible little people whose willingness to throw the contents of their heads onscreen at any time made blog-reading such a joy in the first place.

    Someone over at The Truth Laid Bear, in the comments to this post, described the formation of such an association as "NECESSARY." Yes, in all caps and everything.

    I remember when companies thought Aeron chairs were NECESSARY, too.

    Ugh. No more blog entries about blogging. It leaves me with such a creepy aftertaste. Worse, I'm afraid I'll start thinking any of it matters, and then where would we be?

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:13 PM | Comments (8)

    I Should Have Done This Ages Ago

    Gone looking for conservative blogs authored by women, I mean. Look at all this time I've been without Whomping Willow! And just look at that willow whomp on Al Franken:

    First of all, we might be right-winged to varying degrees, but most conservatives I know are too damned ornery to agree on much of anything let alone form a conspiracy. Sorry, Al, we're just normal people in possession of common sense, with unlimited access to information and just enough time on our hands to call bullshit when we see it.
    Whomp on.

    It's a shame about Franken; I used to like him, and I still return occasionally to this for a laugh. Why Not Me? was uneven, but had its moments. And I might get some grief for saying so, but Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot is worth reading just for the pranking done to Limbaugh's research assistant.

    But when you're reduced to titling your books Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, your schtick has moved beyond tired and into the grave.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:36 AM | Comments (3)

    April 20, 2004

    Songs That Hurt

    I shouldn't read threads like this. Like it's not enough that I date a guy whose brain is leased out to the jukebox from hell?

    I'll be mentally bopping along to something good, and that's about when he'll bust out with a verse or two from "I Go to Extremes."

    Or "We Built This City."

    Or "Everybody Have Fun Tonight."

    Or--you know something, I'm not giving him any more ideas. His supply of bad songs is inexhaustible, but I don't see why I should go reminding him of ones he hasn't tormented me with in awhile.

    The one I had to get serious with him about--I mean the one that had me four inches from his face screaming "this isn't funny anymore, you asshole!"--wasn't even a proper song. It was the theme to the show Family Ties:

    And there ain't no nothin'
    We can't love each other through
    Find me the man or woman who wrote those lyrics so I can beat that individual. Ain't. No. Nothin'. Look, I have enough trouble forgiving the double preposition in "Live and Let Die." I only manage it because it's a good song. But the theme to Family Ties is a very, very bad song, and so to its creators I say, don't go wreaking triple negatives on my eardrums like that unless you want me to hurt you.

    Note to all those who nominated Alanis Morissette's "Ironic:" Remind me to tell you about the time one of my former employers hired a Chinese-American programmer who liked to code while listening to music, but (a) would not wear headphones and (b) only had four MP3 and (c) would pick one of the four each day and play it on loop for, you know, the full fucking eight hours of the day and finally (d) was placed in the only office with any room in it, namely, mine.

    Luckily for me, he sucked as a developer and was fired soon . . . but not nearly soon enough.

    We don't mention that song, okay? Ever.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:03 PM | Comments (5)

    Quick One

    I'm bad about other people's linkfests, even when I've been graciously included in 'em, so apologies if you've already been there and read 'em . . . but you should know the Snark Hunt and the Cul-de-Sac are back, baby.

    And here I'd like to go on a spiel about is-it-link-whoring-or-isn't-it (short answer: neither the Snark nor the Sac--if you cross them, do you get a Snack?--are link-whore tactics, in my book), but (a) I think I might've done that once on the old blog already and (b) my boyfriend is literally threatening to cut off my fingers if I don't get off the damn computer already.

    I will just say that Kelley's address of the link-whoring topic cracked me up because, people, no one compiles reading material from 170 blogs just to link whore. She works hard for the bloggage, that one.

    As for Kate, well, hell, I think by now we all know the respect I have for her. And she always has a theme (a gourmet one, this time--mmm!). Me, I'm like "hi ppl i cant be arsed to blog today so here go read this." It's pathetic. Meanwhile, Kate is like Martha Stewart if Martha Stewart were neither woefully unsexy nor from Connecticut.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

    April 19, 2004

    Helen Will Know What I Mean

    Amish Tech Support links an article describing a condition called "Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome," in which people who "use vibrating tools for hours on end" may develop "numb fingers especially susceptible to cold," as well as "pain, tingling, [and] numbness."

    Laurence being Laurence, he then wonders what effect this will have on the porn industry.

    I wouldn't worry about it myself. If you've got the vibrating tools, who needs fingers?

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

    April 18, 2004

    The Death of Sexism and Other Myths

    This is long, but it could be longer. This could be a bloody book, but I thought instead I'd keep it (relatively) short and rely instead on those mainstays of the limited vocabulary, cuss words.

    A question to all the retards in the house:

    As a man, do you LIKE it when a woman displays interest in you solely for your money, your position, your earning ability?

    If you haven't got any wealth or status, humor me and imagine if you did. And let's just call it what it is and restate the question thusly:

    Do you like golddiggers?

    How does it make you feel when a woman uses you for money? How does it make you feel when you see one of your male friends being "played" by a woman for his money?

    Okay, we'll break it down further. Word association: What adjectives come to mind at the mention of the following semi-famous women who've had the "golddigger" tag applied to them?

    Courtney Love.

    Yoko Ono.

    Marla Maples Trump.

    Note: I did not ask you whether you'd sleep with any of these women. "I'd hit it" is not an answer. Guys, I already know you'd hit it--every woman on that list including Yoko, and don't try to tell me any different. I've seen debates over whether you'd have an undercover tussle with Hillary Clinton, for God's sake. Hillary. Clinton. So don't tell me Yoko's out of bounds just 'cause she's got a little more leg hair than you do.

    No, I'm just wondering if you could honestly state that you think you would like or respect any of these women.

    All I know is, I don't know a single man out there who could honestly say he'd want to spend two minutes out of the sack with a woman who was just after his money. Well, funny thing: I don't know a single woman out there who'd want to spend two minutes out of the sack with a guy who was just after her body.

    In fact, I know women who cultivate guys who are just after their bodies purely for emergency booty calls. The guys think they're using them. The women know better (one friend described such a night as "cheaper than buying batteries." Work it out; I'll be here when you get done). But there is no "like" or "respect" by either party involved in these setups. The guys leave thinking, "Ho." The women lock the door behind 'em thinking, "Sucker."

    Now what I want you to do is, I want you to summon up that feeling of being worth no more than your wallet, and I want you to fucking get it through your head try to understand that this very I'm-only-as-good-as-my-bank-account feeling is nearly identical to the I'm-only-as-good-as-my-looks feeling an awful lot of women struggle against . . . are you following me here? Okay: I want you to consider all that and then I want you to tell me why the fuck I should celebrate statements like this:

    The reality is that women have a much EASIER time making it in the blogging world than men do. The average male blogger will link a piece written by a female blogger, especially one who's attractive, over an equally well written piece on the same topic by a man, 9 times out of 10.
    You tell me why I should cheer and shout, "Hooray for me! Hooray for womanhood!" "Especially one who's attractive"--and that's supposed to be the good news.

    Here's my radical feminist proposition: How about you just read what folks write and link it based on merit?

    Of course, some of you claim you do exactly that. Like John Hawkins, who says he's "not even sure there are 35 readable blogs written by women on the right side of the blogosphere." What. The fuck. Ever.

    Never mind the teensy possibility that if readable, female-authored conservative blogs are in fact rare, then telling women to perk up and be happy about how much more likely they are to be linked "especially if they're attractive" is maybe not the best way to encourage women to lean right. You guys really don't have any idea how much you turn women off with that shit, do you? You're really that stupid on this one. "Women resent being treated as sex objects" was a basic principle figured out by the Democrats years ago and you're still sticking your fingers in your ears and hollering "I ain't trying to hear that." But no, that's right, it's the Democrats who are stupid.

    Did I say what the fuck ever already? Right, okay. Sorry.

    And I guess I better clarify right now that while the posts I've linked above originally referenced a post at A Small Victory, my words here have nothing to do with that initial post, which has already been misinterpreted by too many, too often. In fact, I don't care what Michele thinks about the argument, such as it is, that Spoons and Hawkins are making. This is solely what I think about those arguments.

    And I think both Hawkins and Spoons, if they desire any claim to intelligence at all, need to recognize the circular logic they're using. "The blogosphere isn't sexist because attractive women actually have a gender advantage when it comes to being linked" is the very definition of sexism. "Sexism" isn't just discrimination on the basis of sex; it's also the act of reducing a complex human being to a set of four circles and a triangle. To borrow from the guy we all love to hate (or rather from his 1992 campaign), it's the objectification, stupid.

    How 'bout if I say a guy driving a Mercedes is likely to be more popular with women than a guy driving an Econoline van: Are you going to dispute that? No? Me neither. But do you like that fact? No? Me neither. But it is how it is. I personally believe 50 more years of increasing financial independence for women will change that; feminism's opponents disagree. But for now, them's the facts on the ground, as it were.

    And it also remains a fact that you guys prefer your female bloggers to do more than just share your political values. You'd prefer that they be attractive, write about sex often, advertise that they have boobies, and make you feel "funny in the pants." And you'll link them often if they meet those criteria, sure--but very, very seldom if they don't.

    How do I know? I know because that fool Hawkins doubts that there are "even 35 readable blogs written by women on the right side of the blogosphere." A man who'd been looking for reading material instead of jerking material would know better.

    I suggest he pry open that charming aperture south of his tailbone, remove his head from it, and expand his reading horizons. I've even given him a partial list to get started.

    Put it down to my nurturing side.

    UPDATE 04/23/2004: Interesting how quickly people will go off on tangents (and sometimes, off the rails completely); comments to this post include discussion of such way-to-miss-the-point subjects as evolutionary development of relations between the sexes, which bloggers are or are not showing their boobies, and the relative lack of women in the sciences--and that's just in these comments. Visit some of the sites who have tracked back, and revel in the speculation that I'm just a fat disgruntled chick, brainwashed by the left, or should maybe start batting for the other team. All fun stuff, sure; but ultimately, one woman sums it up best:

    But yes, there definitely is a difference in the way readers react to male bloggers and female bloggers.

    That is to be expected as it is that way in real life. What I don't appreciate, however, is when it's more often about the looks or body parts than it is about the content and how I should be happy anyone linked to me because I had a photo up.

    That kind of attitude will set me on fire any day of the week no matter who said it and how much I enjoy their writing.

    I don't care if someone notices I'm a female. I'm DAMN proud I'm a female. What I don't appreciate is when I'm treated like a little girl. Fuck. That.

    She claims she's "not the best writer out there," which I'm putting down to modesty. Serenity writes with verve, clarity, and heart. See for yourself.

    (Despite the numbering, these are truly in no particular order--I merely enumerate them because frankly, I'm starting to doubt whether some folks out there have mastered the basics of counting.)

    1. Baldilocks

    2. e-Claire

    3. Electric Venom

    4. The Bitch Girls

    5. Asymmetrical Information

    6. Molly's Musings

    7. On the Third Hand

    8. Jessica's Well

    9. Redsugar Muse

    10. Cut on the Bias

    11. Emuse

    12. Greatest Jeneration

    13. Serenity's Journal

    14. Suburban Blight

    15. Liquid Courage

    16. Res Ipsa Loquitur

    17. Miss Apropos

    18. Angelweave

    19. Across the Atlantic

    20. Big Arm Woman

    21. She Who Will Be Obeyed

    22. TulipGirl

    23. Julie Neidlinger

    24. Absinthe & Cookies

    25. Dizzy Girl

    26. LilacRose

    27. Annika's Journal

    28. Mamamontezz

    29. The Patriette

    30. The Irish Lass

    31. Mad Minerva

    32. Yale Diva

    33. OkieMinnie Me

    34. Little Miss Attila

    35. Small Dead Animals

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:44 PM | Comments (33)

    April 12, 2004

    Do I Feel Her on That or Do I FEEL Her on That?

    I was actually going to just do up an open-thread post on the subject of--well, look, it was just a one-liner, really:

    "Premise: Nick Denton is to blogging as Dick Clark is to rock-and-roll. Discuss."

    But then I realized I didn't really have anything else to offer, and posting just a snarky inside-blogging remark like that would be so . . . so . . . Wonkette.

    Well, minus the sodomy, I mean.

    I wouldn't give a fig about Wonkette, but then when I see things like this, I get really irked and my penchant for bad analogies goes into overdrive.

    See, I figure if blogging is anything, it's punk. It's putting the creativity back in the hands of the fans instead of the starmakers. It's the big finger to the media, in the same way that the Sex Pistols were the big finger to prog-rock dinosaurs and dirty, dirty hippies.

    If you look at it like that, you realize you have to make a decision: Are you playing for the bucks or are you playing for the fans?

    I'm not saying you can't do both to an extent. On the other end of the spectrum from Wonkette you've got bloggers who moan that their work is e'er unappreciated, overlooked, forsaken--when the sad fact of the matter is, their work just isn't very good. Or, alternately, their work's not bad, but they won't do the things you have to do to get noticed.

    I tried getting my boyfriend into blogging. He immediately complained that no one read him. I said, you've been at this for three days. Give it time.

    A week later, same thing: No one reads him. No one links him. I said, do you give any links OUT? You gotta give to get, honey bunches of oats. Do you try to leave comments at other bloggers' sites, not to whore your work, but to provide a little feedback while still getting your name out there? Are you approaching this cooperatively, or are you approaching this ivory-tower style?

    So I understand that you have to try to hit a happy medium, where you're focused enough on gathering readers that you'll send the trackback, leave the comment, maybe even drop an e-mail . . . but not so focused on it that you become a total whore.

    But I think at some point, and especially if you're female . . . at some point you have to accept that a certain portion of the crowd--a LARGE portion of the crowd--just wants the schlock. A certain portion of the crowd just wants Justin Timberlake to rip your bra off in public.

    So what? You don't have to play to them.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:29 PM | Comments (12)

    April 09, 2004

    Linking with Reservations

    Feministe has an open thread going about abortion. I'll link it, but I want to make something very clear first:

    I don't know if I have an especially diverse blogroll or readership or not, but I do know that I have a few of you who are socially conservative. And I have mad, mad love for y'all, even if we don't always agree with each other on every little thing. And you've all been consistently respectful and mannerly in sharing your opinions with me, and that basically backs up a little generalization I've come to subscribe to over the years, which is: In general, once a discussion heats up, you're safer counting on conservatives to stay civil than you are counting on liberals to do so.

    But that's "in general." Sadly, it just isn't always true.

    So what I'm asking here is, if you want to participate in the thread, for the love of all that is holy behave. Do not go over there and bring the hate. If I find out you went to Ms. Lauren's site and started calling everyone a feminazi babykiller and you got there from here, it will be the last time you have access to this site, period. Are we clear? I am trying to link to what has thus far been a very civil, if a bit one-sided in viewpoint, discussion. I am not trying to start a holy war.

    If I know anything from reading Feministe, it's that Ms. Lauren is scrupulously fair. In fact, I'll just steal a comment she left in that thread:

    By the way I do have a specific intent in asking these questions, almost purely of curiosity and not allowing myself any judgement. I wish there were more anti-abortion answers, to be honest, because that is the side I'm most curious about. There has been something on my mind lately and I'm looking for a sounding board.
    [Emphasis added.]

    So make your case, whatever it is, but don't get any ideas about denouncing nobody over there, all right? Prove my silly generalizations right and don't be a dick.

    The whole thing actually reminded me of a little quote from old P.J.:

    No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal point of view.
    It will come as no surprise to most of you that your girl is more of a callous pragmatist than a devout Christian.

    Anyway: Go, have at it--and be good. I'm so not kidding about that last part.

    Oh, and if you have issues with my answers to her questions, you bring that up with me here. As in, "here, not there." Capisce?

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:32 PM | Comments (4)

    April 05, 2004

    More Truth Than Parody II

    It's "The Passion of the Kos," via Yehudit in the comments at Little Green Footballs:

    Our men and women in uniform are there under orders, trying to make the best of an impossible situation. They are merely the uneducated cow-dice in Bush's slaughterhouse Yahtze cup, too naively dumb to realize that those empty recruiter promises of junior college and free Humvees were just deathbait. The war is not their fault, and I will always defend their bovine honor and brave stupidity to the end of my days.

    Keep on keepin' on, Iowahawk.

    (I now return to trying to keep this a Kos-free weblog from here on out. Sad enough that the whole affair's end result has been to produce juvenile catfight fantasies for the terminally nerdy.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

    Go Away

    It's my day off today and I can't be bothered with you people. It's not that I don't love you all madly. It's that I just need some space. Okay? Okay?! Can I please just have my space now?

    Ahem. Anyway, a link roundup:

    This is hilarious: Swirlspice presents the Sunday Night Sex Show drinking game. I'm adding this to my growing list of reasons I need to get cable.

    At Amish Tech Support, Laurence Simon asks: "Did I miss the brutal crime wave of drag queens ruthlessly injecting themselves with silicone, causing a grave risk to the safety of the public at large?" Well. I guess we all did, then.

    How to write like a wanker: Tim Blair offers a prime example. I mean, I'm talking serious Morford territory here, but with worse punctuation. You have to read it; it doesn't even matter whether you know anything about Australian politics, and you know why that is? Because repeated mentions of The Artist Continually Known as Meat Loaf automatically create comedy gold. That's why. And if you don't agree you're just wrong.

    I owe tremendous thanks to another Australian for not only providing me with a 100%-journalspace-free web site, but also for providing me with links on the subject of Type C/Type M arguments. What the hell am I talking about? Well, you start here to find out. And then you read a dissenting opinion here, and then you read a rebuttal to the dissent here, and then you start studying for the exam I am going to give later on about it. Number-2 pencils only.

    I like Dean's update on alcoholism and AA, because it's reminded me of a similar phenomenon I see with diet and nutrition: people get positively religious about The Best Way to Improve Oneself. I'm going to argue that this is a larger problem than just AA; try, for example, telling people that using this low-carbohydrate diet, you successfully lost 50 pounds over the course of about 18 months, successfully kept that weight off for another seven years, then proceeded to gain it back, foolishly, by increasing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Now, to me, the obvious conclusion to draw from this is that limiting carbohydrates helps me lose weight safely and effectively. But you'd be surprised how many others think the logical conclusion is that low-carb diets don't work and are unhealthy for you and by the way, Dr. Atkins was obese. Ohhhh-kay. These are the kind of people I back away from slowly--and I haven't even brought up the rabidly Atkins-indoctrinated who shriek that I cannot possibly lose weight on that diet when that diet never puts you into ketosis, and that the only way into fit-and-trim heaven is through Our Lord and Savior, Dr. Robert C. Atkins.

    Anyway, Dean's final question seems well worth asking to me: "is the goal to get people into AA, or is it to help them?" I suppose if I were to rework that for my own purposes, I'd ask, "Is the goal to get people to eat what you tell them to, or is it to help them lose weight?"

    Dumb things found via b3ta: an animated pigeon story I can't stop watching, though I don't know why exactly that is; a very odd game that proves, again, that the Japanese have too much time on their hands (for the lazy, the solution is here--scroll down to "WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?"); and--no, on second thought, that was about it.

    Finally, Helen went to Terezin, and I think you should read about it, and I can't really say anything more about it than that. Go. Go now.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

    April 03, 2004

    Repost, Or, Jim Asks Too Nicely to be Refused

    (It's the stepchild of the cousin of the incredible disappearing post from last night, back from the dead. Thanks go to the usual suspects.)

    I wasn't going to say anything about the dustup at Daily Kos because I felt it had been covered better and more thoroughly elsewhere.

    But something flashed into my head just now that won't go away. Now you know I can stretch analogies to the breaking point and this isn't any different, so bear with me a minute while I try to lay it out.

    As revenge for this incident, I made my boyfriend rent Nighthawks the other night. This is an almost-forgotten 1981 film about a terrorist. It stars two guys. One of them is Sylvester Stallone. If you guessed that he's the one I have a huge crush on, you don't know me at all.

    No, the whole point of Nighthawks is Rutger Hauer. This is the guy Anne Rice had in mind for the role of Lestat in Interview with the Vampire. Instead, she got Tom Cruise and a whole boatload of money to do an about-face of her earlier criticism of that casting choice, and claim that Tom Cruise "is my Lestat." And of course he isn't, but--look, let's not get me started on that asshole Tom Cruise when I've got Rutger to think about. Talk about a thrill kill.

    Anyway, there's a scene where Hauer has a bunch of people, including wives and family members of some UN diplomats, trapped on the Roosevelt Island sky car. And he gives them a little lecture, and forgive me for being too lazy to look it up (if it's even available) so I can quote it perfectly for you, but the gist of it is this:

    "I work for the oppressed. I care about the downtrodden and helpless. I don't care about you people, the privileged."

    And then he blows a woman's brains out.

    What I don't like about the entry that appeared on Daily Kos is that he expressed precisely that sentiment.

    In other words, Kos sounds just like a bad 1981 film terrorist.

    And he won't apologize for it because he thinks he has the moral high ground here. He stands for the oppressed! The downtrodden! The helpless!

    No, you don't, Mr. Zuniga. Because the most oppressed, most downtrodden, most helpless, most victimized thing you can be in this life is an individual human being. And there were four of those murdered in Fallujah.

    There are more individual human beings out there with more individual stories in them than a small mind like yours could ever imagine.

    Remember that the next time you claim that we can overlook the lives of a few in favor of others more oppressed. Because that begs one question:

    Who decides who's oppressed enough to merit living?

    As for this:

    Oh, they're [the right wing] doing their best to turn me into the devil,
    No, darlin'. Your own words did that.

    Just fancy anyone lifting a finger to help do what you've done so effectively all by yourself.

    But this is how it must be for you because this is the logic you live by. You must demonstrate that you are oppressed, that you are victimized, that you are downtrodden, in order for your life to have value. For you, it is not that you were endowed with certain unalienable rights--for then you would have to extend acknowledgement of those rights to others. Then you would have to acknowledge their humanity. Then you would have to feel guilt and shame for your callous remarks of the other day. Then you would have to acknowledge your own culpability, and then you might feel moved to make amends for it.

    You would be a better person for doing so, I believe. But you would lose that intoxicating sense of how ultimately just and right you are. You would be faced with your own humanity and its inherent fallibility.

    No, it can only be that you would have rights, you would have justice, you would have morality, if only all those miserable oppressive pigs didn't keep trying to rob you of them.

    It has to be this way for you. Otherwise, you might have to count yourself among the privileged. And then you might be tempted to blow your own brains out, because everyone knows the privileged have no humanity:

    They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
    Get used to seeing those words everywhere, Kos. Get used to seeing them again and again and again. And when you tire of seeing them, remember this:

    George W. Bush did not write them.

    Donald Rumsfeld did not write them.

    Dick Cheney did not write them.

    Condoleeza Rice did not write them.

    Halliburton did not write them.

    The right wing did not write them.

    You wrote them.

    And maybe, if you ever want to take a break from lying underneath the jackboots of oppression, you could acknowledge that properly, without excuses, without justifications, and with an apology to the families of those you dismissed.

    But I won't hold my breath waiting for it.

    ONE REALLY STUPID UPDATE: I just realized that last night's version of this included a link to the creator of worlds, and that I'm still listed in the trackbacks for it. So here's the link. Peace be upon him, indeed.

    AN UPDATE I CAN'T RESIST even though we've probably all had enough of this already: It's a fisking to end all fiskings. "You've neutered yourself and are too numb to feel it." Terrific--my male cats now have a reason to be jealous of Kos.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:19 PM | Comments (10)

    April 02, 2004

    L is Other People

    I'm going to contribute to the Letter of the Day today (albeit a little late) 'cause, frankly, I got nothing else at the moment, and I've been lucky enough to run across three posts from others who hit it out of the park. So let's go:

    L is for lying--submit your instance of Bush doing so to Jim and win the Snooze Button Dreams "Find the Lie Challenge." (Read the rules!)

    L is for the lump in my throat I got reading this. I hate when she makes me cry like that.

    L is for letting the voices of moderate Muslims be heard. Yes, I believe there are many of them. And yes, I know I gave Jim two of these. You would too if you had any appreciation for what a hell of a guy he is.

    That's your lovely link roundup for Friday. Have a good weekend!

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:43 PM | Comments (2)

    March 31, 2004

    The Bright Side of Life

    Iraq has its first battered women's shelter. What a shame that the greatest patron of Iraqi women, Uday Hussein, isn't around to see it, huh?

    Oh, but right . . . that doesn't matter. All that matters is BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED. I'll just keep repeating that to myself until my brains turn to gruel and run out both my ears and I fall over dead. Which I'll have done, of course, because BUSH LIED! BUSH LIED AND I DIED! You know something? I'm calling the mortuary right now. I want to make sure they get that on my tombstone. They take reservations, right?

    I just know some smartass is going to point out that the shelter is being opened by an Iraqi Communist Workers subsidiary, and so we can't very well thank Mr. Selected-not-Elected for that. Oh, can't we? Let's see: How many competing political parties did there used to be in Iraq again? Saddam got what percentage of the vote the last time around?

    Well. I'll just thank the U.S. military for turning Uday into hamburger, then. Is that okay with you?

    Or have you got some super-complicated conspiracy theory involving Noam Chomsky, the CIA, Donald Rumsfeld, Skull & Bones, and a troupe of dancing midgets* that proves we never really killed him at all or, if we did, it was a bad--no, a terrible--no, an outright evil thing? Like the very evilest evil thing ever perpetrated in the history of evil? Like more evil than what went down in Nicaragua? Okay . . . I don't actually know what happened in Nicaragua, and frankly, neither do the leftist jokers of the world--but I figure since they're always dying to tell people all about it regardless, working themselves up to the point that they sweat right through their patchouli-soaked Rage Against the Machine t-shirts, that I'd throw that in there to humor them. Um, Sandinista! and all that.

    *Actually, I understand they prefer to be referred to as "little people." Sorry about that, midgets.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)