Sunday, December 28, 2008

Almost a week ago, my last post touched on the issue of hair and its racial connotations.....I was writing in the airport, after about 2 hours of sleep, while waiting to get on a flight that didn't materialize until more than 6 hours later.

If the post is totally incomprehensible, do forgive me.

I have been thinking a lot about hair issues lately. A couple of weeks ago, Feministing had a post up about body hair. The next day, or two days later, something like that, Womanist Musings talked about hair on women of color. Both really got me thinking.

The Feministing post was one of their "community" postings, which means that it was written and uploaded by one of their readers, not by any of the blog's main authors. She sounded totally obsessed and paranoid about the existence of any and all body hair. The comments, of which there were many, all seemed to look at the issue through the lens of femininity. Do our choices of what to remove make us more womanly? Does the choice not to remove anything make us more feminist? Stuff like that....

It's a constant issue, right? Dominant western culture has told us that body hair is unattractive. Everyone has it, though, so what amount is acceptable? My problem with this discussion, though, is that it ignores the big, giant elephant in the room. The ethnicity/racial issue.

Of the women and girls who commented, the ones who said "Well, yeah, I just decided that I would stop shaving, and you know what, it's been fine" all seemed to end it with "But I'm blond/redheaded/fair."

The ones who expressed insecurity or who felt a need to do a lot of hair removal (or many of them, I should say, not all) would mention their coloring as well, as in "I'm Indian/Middle-Eastern/bi-racial, and so I have to."

It seems to me that the femininity/feminist/womanly reading of the effects of hair totally ignore this feeling that many (myself included) seem to have that light hair is okay, but dark isn't. Or that white girls can get away with it, but the rest of us had better force ourselves into white culture's mould, since we're different enough already.

I don't know if that makes sense, or if that's really how I want to express the weird unsettled-ness that's floating around in my head, but it'll have to do....

My friend Emily responded to the Feministing post with this:

My mother was called many names in seventh grade, like Gorilla Girl. And
Ape. Sometimes the children just made monkey noises. I grew up knowing the
stories of my mother's pain intimately, and the shame of body hair was a
language I spoke fluently for many, many years. The hair on my body is not quite
as voluptuous as the hair I imagine would grow on my mother's body if she ever
stopped shaving. My hair is more brown instead of black, but one can see the
pronounced hairiness of my legs from across a room. Clearly. When I first stopped
shaving my legs I was terribly conflicted. I wanted to be able to choose my body
with hair, but I felt so incredibly ugly. I felt like a freak- some aberration
to the feminine gender. I felt alone when I rode the bus, and embarrassed to
wear skirts. But it got better. Much Better.It has taken a lot of time and a ton
of self-growth and love, but I am proud of my body- my hairy, obese, beautiful
body. I get a lot of reactions to my leg hair, which still shocks me, as I often
forget for a moment why a person would be staring at my legs, and though I
thought in San Francisco I would get less attention than in Michigan, I was very
very wrong. More often than not it amuses me now, which is something that I
hoped would be true 4 years ago, but had never thought possible. I do think there
is a difference between shaving one's body as a preference and being embarrassed
or ashamed of one's body hair. I agree that an individual's choice to
shave/not-shave his/her pubic area is not inherently a feminist issue, but as a
generic issue, I think it most definitely is. Body hair is a part of the body,
and while I embrace body modification wholeheartedly, I cannot in good
conscience embrace the consistent acceptance and systematic continuation of
intense body shame. The fact that millions of adolescents and adults feel they
MUST alter their pubic/facial/body hair in order to be acceptable, attractive,
healthy, un-freakish, and simply without shame, is a pity. My solution? Break out
your skirts, oh hairy-legged people! How do we bring about acceptance? By being
seen. By letting the little girl on the bus see that adults have hair, too!And
this is not just about hairy legs and pits. Bearded Women UNITE!! I wish I had
the guts that the bearded women I've encountered have. Their self-confidence is
inspiring and has helped me to re-shape my perception of the world. On a
practical and personal level, what has helped me? (1) Seek examples of beautiful
hairy people. Watch more Foreign Films (like Lust Caution!) where women are more
likely to have pit hair or body hair in general. Find images of women who have
body hair to help normalize the 'anomaly' for your brain. (2) Find (or
convince!) a friend who doesn't shave. Having a palpable peer who doesn't shave
can help bring some oomph to your efforts- you can go dancing together and risk
raising fists high in solidarity. (3) Start slowly, and become comfortable with
yourself before you unveil your beautiful, hairy body to the world. There's no
rule saying you must shave everything if you shave anything. . . I was really
uncomfortable with pit hair for the longest time- so I let my comfort with my
legs grow first. Take it at your own pace! And the hint about winter is very
true! It's a convenient time to start experimenting. (4) Be patient- exploring
and learning to love a socially unacceptable part of yourself is a lengthy
process! I still encounter days when I feel very iffy about my hairy body, but
those days get farther between as I grow stronger.Over time I have come to see
my act of not-shaving as a reclamation. What ignorant 7th graders at SJV used to
wound my mother in 1968, I have taken and made my own, I have made it a point of

I really admire her courage and bluntness, and really wish that I had the same. I still have to wonder, though, if I'm somehow less committed to overthrowing the dominant image obsessed patriarchal bullshit if I continue with the hair removal routine. Because honestly, I don't have the guts. And I still carry around the feeling that the amount of hair that I naturally have is not remotely accepted, even in crunchy-granola, hippy or dyke circles. And let's not even get started on whether it would be acceptable in opera circles. I don't like Stravinsky enough to spend the rest of my life singing Baba the Turk!

So, yes, there are a lot of hang-ups that I, and many, many others have that are hard to break. They're hard even to discuss, because inevitably someone breaks in with "Well, hair is just unattractive" which is not a belief that you can usually argue someone out of.

Let's be brave and try, though. Let's try to have a discussion that takes into account brown girls and the issue of race as it applies to the issue of feminism.

Let's also suggest things to Kat that will stop her from obsessively yanking out her eyebrows. It's not an "ew, hair!" thing, it's a physical compulsion. When the skin underneath gets dry or irritated, I start to's bad. I've gotten much better, but I've had to resort to rubbing toothache stuff into the skin to numb it and (hopefully) stop the yanking.

travel woes

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm currently stuck at SFO, where I've been since 6am. We were booked on a flight to Vancouver that was supposed to go through Seattle, which is apparently snowed in, or something. Our flight was cancelled, and we're now waiting for standby on a later flight. We were 38th on the standby list, but we're now about 20th, which still sucks, but is much better than before. I think that things have sucked for long enough that the airlines are doing what they can to get as many people out onto flights as possible.

Hopefully I'll get to the Okanagan before Christmas. If not, I'll be really pissed that I spent money on snow boots for nothing.

Oh well, at least I now know that I can darn socks using a pen and waxed dental floss.
(you think I'm kidding, don't you?!?)


I've read some really interesting articles lately, all of which deserve commentary and analysis, but I simply haven't had the energy to delve into them. I finally had to close the gazillions of tabs that I had open, simply because there's no chance of me actually writing about anything really substantive.

I'll point you in some fun directions, though:

If you like Neil Patrick Harris, or are just a nerd who enjoys musical comedy, check out his turn on Sesame Street in the guise of the Fairy Shoe Person. It's very nearly as good as Dr. Horrible.

Next up is a girl who surely has a remarkable future ahead of her. Her name is Zora Howard, and here she recites (performs, declares) the poem "I have Biracial Hair."

This girl kicks some serious ass, and this poem, which I heard right after reading a couple of really intense pieces on the role and impact of hair, both from a racial perspective and a femininity/gender role perspective, made ma laugh and cry, and then both again, and look, what do you know, I'm choked up again......

Sometime shortly, I will reprint a piece that my friend Emily wrote, on hair and all its implications.

Here ya go:

One thing that occurs to me is that there is no one kind of "biracial hair." I think about "my" pre-k class, the 3 year old class at work that I positively adore (I'm hoping to spend the rest of the year with them, but we'll see). There are no fewer than 5 mixed race kids in a class of about 15. Each one of them has a totally unique "look." Zehlia has loose dark-brown/black curls like mine, Hazel has little teensy corkscrews, Sara's is more like Zora's (down to the two braids), Nikola and Niepa have denser, short, boy looks....And even though Zora's poem describes one kind of what she calls "biracial hair," she's also speaking to everyone who's got that experience of "What the hell is happening up there on my head?!?!"

So anyway, this girl (who's all of about 13, aparently) is rocking pretty righteously....

I hope everyone's holidays are good and fun and warm and dry and safe. I'll try to write again soon, providing I don't lose any fingers in Canada, what with its -25 degree weather (ugh....)

Calling In Gay

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As a continued protest against Proposition 8 and the other anti-gay initiatives across the country, today was chosen to be the "Day Without a Gay." All people (not just LGBT folks) have been encouraged to "call in gay" (instead of sick) to work, and focus instead on service and activism.

Normally I'm all for a protest, especially one that would keep Californians from getting complacent about having had their rights stripped away.

So what am I doing today? Am I skipping work in favor of letter writing, civil disobedience, neighborhood activism?

Nope, I'm teaching 5th grade and trying really, really hard to stay awake all day.

Yeah, I dropped the ball on this one. I guess my service for the day will be to encourage all Americans to do something today to participate in the march towards full and equal rights for all people.

I won't try to tell you what to do. Y'all are smart and can figure it out, but just find something, even if it's a short conversation...

If you want to read more about December 10th ("Day Without a Gay"), go here.

Henceforth, It Is Decreed That Neil Patrick Harris Should ALWAYS Sing

Friday, December 5, 2008

This is no surprise. He was in Rent. But since this summer's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" I've been totally digging Neil Patrick Harris as a musical theater genius. This doesn't disappoint.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Have I really not posted in over two weeks? Man, I lose at this blogging business....

I've had a lack of anything substantive to say, I think, and no energy to come up with something silly or clever.

I had a wonderfully quiet Thanksgiving. Boyfriend and I cooked for ourselves (roast chicken with potatoes in the pan, stuffing, veggies (Brussels sprouts cooked with bacon!), rolls) and did a lot of "social reading." That's when you're together or cuddling or something, but everyone's got a book.

Apparently what I missed by skipping out on my grandmother's gathering was the opportunity to see my cousin's 2 year-old daughter stand up on a chair and belt out songs at the top of her lungs! I'm awfully sad that I missed that.

As soon as I have more than 3 spare minutes, I'll post properly. I still haven't written about Obama's win.....

Meanwhile, it's my b-day! Shameless self promotion!!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm a nerd. A total and complete nerd.

We all know this, but just to solidify my position, here ya go:


Monday, November 17, 2008

So, back early October I sang a couple of masses at St. Mary's College, out in Moraga. I didn't think too much of it, since singers are always doing "church gigs."

Many churches want their choirs to sound better, and the only way to do that is to hire professionals to come in and beef up the sound. This means that many singers are used to going to services for religions that aren't their own.

Usually, I tune out for everything except whatever I need to be singing. I'm pretty lucky in that my usual Sunday gig is at a very liberal Presbyterian church where the message is about diversity, inclusion, social justice....

So anyway, I just got my mail, and found the check from St. Mary's. And I looked down at it, and all of a sudden thought:
"Hm, I'm taking money from an organization that opposes civil rights. I'm taking money from an organization whose clergy can withhold the Eucharist if you vote differently than they think you should...."

I'm really not sure how I feel about taking their money.

Maybe I should have thought of that BEFORE I agreed to do the gigs.....

National No on 8 rally

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yesterday, November 15th, people across the country protested against the passing of proposition 8.

The events were planned so that they would occur more or less simultaneously, which is a cool concept, except if you're in Hawaii and had to protest at 8am on a Saturday!

Despite there being a huge event in San Francisco, I stayed local, and went with some friends to the Oakland Rally for Marriage Equality. I think it was important to show that it's not just the rich boys in the Castro who are angry, but people all over the state and even the country.

Oakland was a smaller affair. I can't find figures on how many people, but maybe 1,000? There were speakers who touched on many facets of the struggle, some chanting, a pair of stilt-walkers who tried to waltz, and a drum circle at the end. One woman read from Audre Lorde's work and her own. It was a very "Oakland" crowd--diverse, economically and racially/ethnically, laid back, and there were loads of families, some clergy members (I don't know from which denominations), young, old, able, disabled....

The most engaging speaker, in my opinion (though they all had great things to say), was new Oakland City Council-person Rebecca Kaplan. She's the first out Lesbian to serve on Oakland's City Council, and she's great. I kind of wish that I still lived in Oakland, so that I could vote for her, but even so, I think that Oakland's in good hands. She's brilliantly smart (actually, she went to MIT with Celeste), a great speaker, down to earth, and hopefully the antidote to some of the smarmy nepotistic crap that seems to come up in Oakland politics sometimes.

Anyway, she talked about how she won by this unexpectedly huge margin, and then heard the prop. 8 results and spent the whole next day crying. She talked about the supreme court ruling that made it possible for convicted murderers to get married, when they had previously not been allowed. She expressed outrage that when it comes to marriage, murderers are welcome, same sex couples are not.

(I cannot find anything about this court decision, so if you happen to know, could you tell me? I'd love to be able to check the specifics)

The crowd was peaceful and respectful, and the atmosphere was laid back and very family friendly. Frank Ogawa plaza is a sunken amphitheater thingy, and there's a wide, flat area at the bottom that was swarming with little kids. They were able to get closest to the speakers, which was cool. One of my favorite signs was "I support all famlies" (yes, spelled like that) which was held by a little girl in a red baseball cap.

The speakers also urged the crowd to be respectful of people of faith, which didn't seem like a problem at this particular rally, but some activists have been attacking religions or the religious, which waters down our hope for acceptance of ALL people, if you ask me....

I carried a sign. It took me ridiculously long to make, considering how simple it is:
Of the 3 friends that were with me, I was the only one who thought to make a sign, so we passed it around and took turns with it....

You can see more pictures of the event here, and read a write-up here. Most Bay Area media seems to be covering San Francisco, which makes sense on the one hand, since it's a bigger city with a bigger rally, but it would be great to get some firm information about how many people were there...

So there you have it. My morning/afternoon of peaceful protest. We couldn't have asked for better weather (it was in the high 70's and sunny), and the terrible winds from the night before died down so there were no fly away signs.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

I've become slightly obsessed with the "Recent Visitors" map in the sidebar of this blog. I can look at where my readers are, and I have to say, if it's accurate, I'm really pleasantly surprised at how many of you there are.

It also leads me to think silly things like "It would be cool to have a reader in Aberdeen....what can I do to up my readership in the north of Scotland."

I did notice that someone is reading from Leicester, England. If you are that person, could you leave a comment or something? My dad's from Leicestershire, you see, and it's fascinating to me that I've got a reader there!

So, anyway, back to your regularly scheduled Saturday...

What the Hell?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Okay, no more miss nice girl.

What is up with Californians? Why is bigotry acceptable?

Yes, bigotry.

There is no viable, civic reason to favor Proposition 8. None.

I'm sick of arguing with words like "fairness" and "no matter what you believe about marriage..." I'm sick of "I respect your oppinion" because I don't.

I do not respect you if you think it is ok to discriminate against someone.
I do not respect you if you know so little about the US government that you don't know that Church and State are supposed to be separate. Unless you're under, oh, about age 14, there's no excuse for that.
I do not respect you if you have no real thought process and just think gays are icky.
I do not respect you if you vote for Obama and think you deserve an "I'm so tolerant" cookie but vote for a measure that screws over people who are different from you.

I'm done being "respectful." I'm really effing pissed.

Ballot Measures

Monday, November 3, 2008

Well, I really dropped the ball.

I have been meaning to blog about the "other" California propositions that have been causing me distress, and, as you can tell from my archive, I haven't done it.

Well, here's a quick roundup:
1) Everyone and her mother knows that I'm very, very opposed to Prop 8. I've been shouting about it for ages. You'll find me tomorrow (Voting Day) out at polling places, volunteering with the campaign.

2) Proposition 4 would require parental consent for teenagers seeking abortions. This one is tricky, because even amongst those who are pro-choice, many still feel as though teenagers are children who should be controlled by their parents.

I, even, kinda feel that if you think of yourself as mature enough to be having sex, you should probably be mature enough to talk to your parents about it. BUT. I say that because my experience has been that I can tell my mom anything about anything. I always have.

I'm weird. My situation is very different than most people.

The bill does not take into account situations of abuse, whether sexual (ie, the cause of the pregnancy) or physical/emotional (ie, the consequences of a pregnancy). It says that a girl can get around it by going before a judge and getting a court order, but what teenager is equipped to deal with the legal system alone?

A campaign representative was interviewed on NPR and her response was: "I don't think that teenage girls are mature enough to decide to have abortions."

It's that simple. They don't think that abortion is a valid choice. period.

If you wouldn't ever choose to terminate a pregnancy, that's fine. That's your choice. If you really think that girls should get their parents' counsel if they're pregnant, that's also fine. Encourage those you know to have open and honest relationships with their children or parents. HOWEVER, don't force young women into harm's way with this law.

3)Proposition 6:
The one that is claiming to be about police and safety and curbing gang violence around the state. Well, that sounds like a good thing, right?

Only it would start us down a very scary road, legally. It would allow for heresay evidence in court, and would allow 14 year olds to be tried (and incarcerated) as adults. Do I even need to explain why those are bad, bad things?

So, there you have it. The other two bills that are making me vaguely sick to my stomach.

Be sure to go vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4th!!!!!

And everyone, say it with me:
"NO ON 8!!!!"

No on 8!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My handful of readers are probably tired of hearing me say this, since I assume you all agree with me:
Vote NO on Proposition 8!!

Do what you can: give money, volunteer, put up a sign, tell your friends!

I had an interesting interchange with the watch repair guy at Longs yesterday. When he gave me back my watch, after replacing the battery, he looked at the "No on 8" button that's pinned to the strap of my bag.
"Why?" He asked (with a really heavy Russian accent)
"Why what?"
"Why vote no on 8?"
"Because it's about rights. Voting "no" is about treating everyone equally under the law. Like the constitution says." I responded. He didn't look convinced.

He went on to tell me about his drive through Sacramento the other day. There was a block where all the houses had "yes on 8" signs except one, which had a "no" sign.
I told him they must have interesting conversations with their neighbors....

Congratulations to that one person or family for stating their position despite what all their neighbors think.

Anyway, keep working for change, everyone!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

I've spent the better part of 3 1/2 days lying on the living room floor, because my back crapped out. Nothing is comfortable, but being horizontal is slightly less awful that any other position....

Geeky Composer Humor

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Claudio Monteverdi, upon receiving the text for some theatrical music that he was supposed to set, decided that he wasn't moved:

I see that the interlocutors are winds, amoretti, zefiretti and sirens, so that many sopranos will be needed; and also that winds – west winds and north winds – have to sing. How, dear sir, if winds do not speak, shall I be able to imitate their speech? And how, by such means, shall I be able to move the passions? Arianna moved us because she was a woman, and Orfeo did the same because he was a man and not a wind … I find that this tale does not move me at all and is even difficult to understand … Arianna inspired in me a true lament, and Orfeo a true prayer, but I do not know what this will inspire in me.

Ha!!!! I'm so amused!

Okay, I'll now retreat back to the article I'm supposed to be writing.....

*Kat sighs as her brain clears of some of its clutter*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My weekend was insane, but mostly positive. My American Bach Soloists audition is over, and since it was a huge weight on my shoulders, I'm pleased. I sang well, too, which is great, and what's even greater is that the director really complimented me.

So yay!

As the brain fog clears more, I will be better able to write coherently. I'd like to disect more of the California ballot propositions. There's some scary stuff to vote on.

At the moment, however, my back is killing me, so I'm going to get out of the computer chair and find an ice-pack.

More "No on 8" news

Friday, October 17, 2008

Steve Bing, a philanthropist and film producer, has issued a challenge grant of $1 Million.  He will match all donations made before Sunday, October 19th.

To my mom and "Molly":  Thank you so much for donating last night!!!  Your donations will be doubled as part of this challenge.

Here is the link to contribute!

Phone Banking

Last night I headed up to the Presbyterian church up the road, which was hosting the Equality for All Campaign's "No on 8" phone bank.

I was nervous, because I'm generally pretty phone-phobic, most especially when I have to call people I don't know. Since a couple of us were new, there was a training session, with objectives (get people to vote no! get them to give money!), some time to practice the script, and then bang! Here's a 3 page list of phone numbers in the 916 area code. Get to it!

It was indeed pretty terrifying. Then it got better, because I realized that only about 1 in 10 calls would yield a conversation, and most of those conversations were "Oh, So-and-So doesn't live here anymore."

By the end of the night, I had spoken with about 5 people who promised to vote no, two who declined to state, and two who said "Actually, I support that initiative."

Pretty good stats, I'd say. We were told not to engage in debates or arguments with likely "yes" voters. We were just to wish them a good night and get off the phone as quickly as possible. You could tell that this was super hard for one guy in the room. I think he was having to physically restrain himself from berating any "yes" voters that he encountered.

When it was "friends and family" time, I got my mom and my bestest friend to donate some money, too, which was great.

In all, it was a really positive experience. I really felt like I participated in a cause that I believe in, and I hope that all of our efforts will successfully block the bill (please, please, please!!!!)

If you're an Oakland/Berkeley person, come phone bank with me next week! Thursdays from 6:30-9:30, St. John's Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave, Berkeley. There might be pizza.

I'm so agitated right now

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm agitated only partly because I'm taking a short break from practicing the hardest, fastest piece of music that I've ever had to cram into my head at the last minute.

The main reason is the bad news on the Prop. 8 front. According to today's Oakland Tribune, the Mormon church has been calling on people and instructing them to donate huge amounts of their income to the "yes on 8" fund. On top of that, my mom drove past the Mormon temple today (she lives right below it) and saw a group of cute, clean cut, ever so trustworthy looking girls holding "yes on 8" signs. LDS folks have raised huge amounts of money (something like $20 million) for that cause.

I simply cannot wrap my head around this. It's making me so angry that I now have a giant pit in my stomach.

I know that some of my Mormon relatives read this blog, and to you I say this:
1. It's not about you. It's not about your traditional lifestyle. Your life will not change if same sex civil marriages continue. You are under no threat whatsoever.
2. It is about rights. It's about the rights of others and their protection under the law.
3. It's not about God. Or religion at all. Or the Church. It's about rights. It's about the rights of others and their protection under the law.

To you, I also say:
Please, please, please have the courage and strength to stand up and say "NO."
Have the strength to determine for yourself what is right and wrong.
Have the courage to confidently live your life according to how you see fit, and let all others do the same.
Realize that there is no way in which same sex civil marriage can be denied on a purely civic argument. The opposition to it (by which I mean the support of proposition 8) is basing all of the arguments on religion.
Have the guts to actually live the separation of church and state that the constitution ensures.

Protect Everyone's Civil Rights

Californians, make sure that you get out and vote this November. Besides the presidential election, there are some really important measures and propositions, on things like abortion, public housing, and yes, gay marriage.

Voting "yes" on proposition 8 would put a constitutional ban on gay civil marriage. Voting "no" would allow the unions to continue as they have since the CA supreme court voted to legalize them.

There are more and more ads on TV about this one, and the pro-marriage ban ones are very troubling to me. Not only because of their stance, but also because they do not tell the truth. Just about everything in the adverts that I've seen has been false. I don't understand why there are truth in advertising laws for products, but political campaigns can lie all they want. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Let's be absolutely clear:

1. Keeping gay marriage legal would not in any way change the laws on the tax-exempt status of churches.

2. Keeping gay marriage legal would not force churches to perform same-sex ceremonies. We're talking about civil marriage. You know, court house, justice of the peace, being treated equally before the law.

3. Schools would not in any way change their sex-ed curricula or somehow start teaching the "gay lifestyle" as some ads are claiming.

None of these things is true. They are lies. If you want to know what the Supreme Court actually said, Lamda Legal has it here.

The pro proposition 8 ads are trying to scare people. They're lying to California's citizens and twisting the dialog so that it becomes about religion.


Those of us who oppose proposition 8 are striving for civil rights and equality. We are striving to protect everyone equally before the law. Proponents of proposition 8 are somehow threatened by the civil rights of others. They somehow feel that if other groups get rights, they will no longer be all powerful or they will feel threatened.

We've heard that kind of rhetoric before. On racial equality, on inter-racial marriage, on women's rights. There have always been some who fight and drag their feet because they can only see themselves and the privilege, or sense of superiority, that they might lose.

That's not valid. We CANNOT keep discriminating because someone might lose his sense of superiority. That's ridiculous. If you honestly feel threatened by the rights of some couple somewhere else in the state to live their lives together, you have a problem. Your problem is your insecurity with yourself and your own relationships. They will not change in the slightest, I assure you.

I can't stress enough that this measure needs to be defeated. I'm appalled that a constitutional amendment can be written in based on a simple majority. If something passes with 50.5%, it will become a constitutional amendment, even though half of the state disagrees or is harmed by the measure.......

Again, say it with me: This measure must be defeated!!!!!

Here are some things that you can do to help. And please, please, please help:

1. Phone bank to get people out to vote no. Thursday, October 16th (and the two following Thursdays), 6:30-9:30 in the Fireside room at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. 2727 College Ave, Berkeley 94705. They will provide training, but bring your cell phone and charger.

2. Give money (if you can). The pro-prop. 8 crowd has vastly more money than the opposition, much of it coming from churches, much of it coming from out of state. Even though our finances all suck right now, we need to give what we can. Here's some info sent to me by my neighbor:

A little history:
I've been on the Board of Directors at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) for the past 5 years. On May 15th the case that NCLR brought before the California Supreme Court changed history and granted same-sex couples the right to marry. Shortly thereafter, opponents of LGBT rights were able to put Proposition 8 on the November ballot to amend the constitution to take away this hard-won right.
The request:
I am asking you to make a significant financial contribution to defeat Proposition 8.

Right now in California:

  1. Same-sex couples can legally marry.
  2. The California constitution treats all of its citizens equally.
  3. Sexual orientation has the same legal protection given to gender, religion, race, and national origin (i.e., LGBT people are full and equal citizens under state law).

If this initiative were to pass, 1 and 2 are no longer true and 3 is in extreme jeopardy.

While the words of Prop 8 are limited to marriage ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"), it intends to undermine the broad protections recently given to all LGBT Californians.

This week, we found out that Prop 8 is ahead in the Polls 47% to 42%. That's probably a direct result of the fact that last week, 60,000 people donated more than $25 million to the opposition. With all that money, they're trying to "swift boat" and smear us with television ads that tell lies -- that we are attacking children and churches. We can win. But we must match them ad for ad and dollar for dollar.

If ever there were a time to give all we've got to a fight, this is it!

So, if you're ready to stand with me to defeat Prop 8, I need you to make a donation today. If you can't give a lot, please give whatever you can. Please also forward this email for me to other people in your address book. You can donate at the No on Prop 8 website ( or follow in the footsteps of Ann Rostow (a local lesbian journalist) see below:
Show Them The Money

By Ann Rostow
Published: August 14, 2008

I've been exhorting readers to send money to the California campaign against Proposition 8 for weeks and weeks, but to be honest, I haven't gotten around to contributing myself because I've been too "busy" and I've been on vacation. It is now Aug. 13, and I swore to myself I would put my money where my fingers were before I wrote another column. Yet here I am, about to start this week's GLBT news update, and still I have not pulled the trigger on this donation.

So here goes! I'll go first and any of you who have procrastinated along with me can take inspiration in my bold action.

Step one. How much? I've gone back and forth between "painfully high donation" and "enough to clear my conscience donation." In fact, this has been one of my stumbling blocks. Late at night after a couple glasses of wine, I'm ready to mortgage the house for The Cause. Sifting through a pile of bills at three in the afternoon, a modest sum seems more than generous. This morning, I am going for painful. How painful? Worse than a blood donation, but short of major surgery. I am aiming for the mild sprained ankle level. Hey, I'm not talking about the "almost sprained ankle" where you just miss turning it over, hop around for a few minutes and recover in 15. I'm talking about something you have to ice down for a day and a half.

Step two. Where to donate? I am going to donate through the NCLR's political action fund. Every dime ends up in the coffers of the campaign against 8, but I take symbolic pleasure in routing money through the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a terrific organization and the leaders of the legal fight for marriage in California. In fact, I just read that NCLR legal director Shannon Minter won a big national gay legal award, as did San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, his partner in the successful litigation. Just checked. It was the 2008 Dan Bradley Award, to be presented next month by the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association at the annual gay legal convention.

Step three. Remove credit card from wallet. Small twinge accompanies this gesture.

Step four. Access web site. Click on "No on 8." Go down and click on "donate."

Step five. Fill out information. A simple process except for the incessant demand to name an "honoree." I solved that by typing "no honoree," but only after I was repeatedly rapped on my cyber knuckles.


Goodbye, sweet cash. Hello even sweeter feeling of joining the swelling ranks of my GLBT brothers and sisters and our straight allies who are taking some kind of action to win what is surely the most critical battle in our history as a civil rights movement.

Your turn.

We need to be doing whatever we can to oppose this bill and protect everyone's rights!
Right? Right.

Cooking Disasters

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good thing:
Actually getting to see Michelle Obama on the Daily Show. It was funny and smart. Jon Stewart is pretty hilarious.

Bad thing:
Dropping the chef's knife while cutting chives. In order to not get the pointy end through my toe, I jumped. And flailed my arms. Turns out that flailing one's arms while holding a measuring cup full of finely chopped chives causes a shower of said garnish to rain down on everything in the kitchen. Including, of course, yours truly, who had to spend the rest of the evening shaking chives out of my shirt and hair, and once even finding one in between my toes.


Wink, Wink

Friday, October 3, 2008

She winked. Twice. At the camera.

You know who I'm talking about, of course. She Who Must Not Be Named.
She winked. I feel like I'm the only one who noticed this, because in the post-debate analysis and the blogs this morning, no one has mentioned it.

One doesn't wink in a debate! She may as well have walked out in that red, white and blue bikini and said "Okay Boys, who's going to hose me down"!!!!!!!!!!

I'm serious, it was so disgusting.

And the whole thing was a fat slap in the face to all the women in law and politics who have spent ages crafting political personalities and demeanors devoid of sexuality. I guess if you're SWMNBN, then flipping off Hillary Clinton, Sandra Day O'Connor, Nancy Pelosi, Geraldine Ferraro Ruth Bader Ginsberg and countless others is an okay thing to do.

Well, it's not.

Banned Book Week

Thursday, October 2, 2008

As RedHeadedMomma and Maggie have said, it's banned book week. The American Library Association compiles lists of the most frequently challenged or banned books, so that we can all make sure to read them.

The ALA explains the difference between challenging and banning a book:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. The positive message of Banned Books Week: Free People Read Freely is that due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

The reasons for many challenges are not surprising, but sad all the same. "Unsuited to age group" is a popular one......No one told that to Maggie's mom, as she recited The Highwayman to her newborn, but rather than being somehow harmed by the poem, it had a hand in shaping the poet she is now.

I would like to thank all the teachers who put banned books on their curricula:
-Judith for Bridge to Terebithia (4th grade English)
-Mr. Nikoloff for To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies (7th grade English)
-Libby for The Outsiders, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Go Ask Alice and probably everything else we read in 8th grade English

Thank you to the English department at the Head-Royce School, for all books and poems and plays, challenged or not:
-Mr. Tiermann for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ( 1st week of 9th grade)
As well as the list of suggested books that included everything from the classics to Cormac McCarthy.
-Mr. Barankin for his gleeful mischieviousness and for Beloved, Huckelberry Finn ( 10th grade), The Children's Hour
Yes, even for Dr. Enelow, who seemed completely evil at the time. His 11th grade Classical Lit course kicked my ass, and only featured 1 banned book (the Bible), but just look at the reading list:
The Odyssey
The Aeneid
The Bible
The Canterbury Tales

I hope you all find time this week to read a banned book, go to the library, talk about litterature, read, or do something creative. If you need a place to start, that won't take more than a few minutes, check out And Tango Makes Three, about the "gay" penguins at the Bronx zoo. It's adorable.

McCain, Lies and other nasty things

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So McCain keeps talking about how Obama wants to raise taxes.

My taxes, however, would more than double (yes, you read that right, MORE THAN DOUBLE) under McCain's proposed plan, as opposed to Obama's.

You can estimate your own taxes, according to the candidates' proposed tax changes here

I don't necessarily object to taxes. I believe that governments have responsibilities to their citizens, and that that costs money. Money that is usually raised via taxes.

I object, however, to lies. I object to smirking and insinuating that Obama "doesn't seem to understand how things work" when in fact Obama is absolutely truthful in saying that his tax plan would give lower taxes to MORE THAN 90% of AMERICANS. The McCain tax plan doesn't start looking better until you make more than $150,000 a year, and even then, it's better by a matter of tens of dollars. I don't know how these plans compare to current rates, frankly, so I can't speak to which one will "lower taxes more."

Maybe I'll think about doing something other than ranting.....

McCain, Corruption and Gambling

Monday, September 29, 2008

Anyone who knows me realizes that my politics lie somewhere to the left of, oh, Hawaii, so it is absolutely no surprise that I really, really, really, really don't like McCain. Actually that would be a huge understatement, but you get the point. I just want to point out, though, that no matter which side of the political spectrum you're on, this kind of thing should not be considered acceptable:

There was an article on the NY Times website on Saturday (which appeared in the Sunday print edition) about McCain and his work in the Indian Affairs Committee in the Senate. He works to regulate the casinos that have sprouted on tribal land. Among other things, of course. The trouble is that apparently he loves gambling, and thinks it's okay to gamble thousands of dollars in the casinos he's supposed to be regulating. He also loves to gamble with lobbyists for the gambling interests, even though he claims to be all anti-lobbyist. And just to show that he's an equal opportunity gambler/corrupt politician, he negotiated a tax break of over $100 Million for Las Vegas casinos.......brilliant, huh?

Here's the first page of text, with the option to register on the NY Times site (free) for the rest:

I know that a couple of my readers are probably much less liberal than I, and might even be thinking that McCain is the way to go. If that describes you, please, please, please take this, and the many other instances of incredible hypocrisy on McCain's part, seriously.

please, please, please.


Just about every publicity information that I saw for the SF MOMA's Frida Kahlo exhibit said "Through the end of September."

Okay, that means that I could go today or tomorrow after work, right?

No, they actually meant "through September 28th." Which is not.the.same!!!!!

I'm annoyed by this.

Act Quickly!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Okay folks, I blogged about this over the summer, but you now only have one day to tell the Department of Health and Human Services what you think about their evil plan. You know, the one that could reclassify birth control as abortion? The one that could allow doctors and pharmacists to deny women their rights, just for shits and giggles?

This would affect poor women, particularly women of color and especially Native American women, significantly. Any woman who gets health care from government programs could be denied birth control, simply because of a change of wording by some Bush goons. That doesn't mean that the rest of the women in the country will be unaffected. Some private insurance companies won't cover birth control, and the HHS plan could open the door for that becoming the norm.

I haven't even mentioned yet that this is another step to erode Roe V. Wade without having to officially repeal it, but yes, there's that too.

I especially love (sarcastically) the absurdity of a party that is supposedly anti-abortion taking steps that could drastically increase the number of unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. That's just brilliant......

ACT TODAY!!!!!!!

Here are your options:
Email the HHS directly and tell them they're dumb (hopefully more articulately than that)

Use the Planned Parenthood form letter (but know that government agencies don't look as closely to form letters as they do to individually worded ones):

Use the ACLU form letter (same warning as with the PP one):

Do it today folks!!!!!!

Memorial for Grandpa

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last weekend we finally had the memorial for Grand-dad. It was definitely time, if not past time. I'll write more about my grandpa and his life, but I'm waiting until I've got some photos to post as well. My cousin H (oops, a different H than the one I stayed with in Seattle) and I are planning a marathon photo-scanning session, after which I'll have more material.

The memorial was low-key. It wasn't a whole funeral or service, just light buffet lunch, with people sharing stories and memories. A priest was there to say a quick prayer. There were some really fun anecdotes from friends of the family, and a nice display that H made of photos and wood carvings that Grandpa had done.

Afterward, I went back into the City with H, her parents and her boyfriend. We went through old photos (there are so many, it's crazy), and laughed about the haircuts that our grandmother gave our dads when they were kids. Hint: if you have 2 little kinky-haired, mixed-race brown boys with pointy heads, don't give them cuts with shaved sides and lots of hair on's decidedly NOT CUTE!

The race topic is one that I need to sort through more thoroughly. Race relations in the UK are complicated and different from what they are in the US. I'm not sure how my family fits into the whole thing....

weekend update

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Well, I'm sick again.....This cold's origin is no mystery, as I'm spending all of September working in the Pre-K class made up entirely of 3 year-olds. Many don't know how to blow their noses on their own, and all seem to have come back from summer vacation with colds.

I was even puked on a few days ago. So yucky.

The sad thing is that I got sick at 3am on Thursday morning, and Boyfriend was due back from Europe Thursday night. His return went something like:

"Hi, babe!!! I'm so glad to be home! I missed you so much! Kisses!"
"...Hi sweedie....I'b sick...."
"That's ok." *he leans in for a kiss*
"A...A.....ATHCHOOOO!!!!!" (I sneeze all over him)

Yeah, what a welcome, eh? I did reassure him that I was enthusiastic on the inside.....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Little snippets of pseudo-political snarking:

Apparently the outfit that Cindy McCain wore to one of the RNC events cost about $300,000. Yes, that comma is in the right place. Her necklace alone was $25,ooo. That's $11,000 more than I made last year. Her watch was almost $5,000, and her dress $3,000 (if it was couture, that's not an unheard-of price...just...insane). The Vanity Fair piece doesn't even tell us how much the earrings (huge diamonds) or shoes cost, so we have to do the subtraction ourselves....

"Why do I care?" You ask.

Well, because people who spend that kind of money on clothing and jewelry can hardly be counted upon to keep regular folks' best interests in mind. Also, people who spend that kind of money on clothing have no right to call the other side "elitist," especially if the wife of the other side's candidate shops at "White House Black Market" where research tells me that no dress costs more than $200.


Katha Politt's article "Lipstick on a Wingnut" (published in the Nation) is great. You can read it here:
In it, she proposes the "Olympics of Hypocrisy."

The supremely interesting Liza Cowan found a piece unearthing the truth about Sarah Palin. She's Dolores Umbridge in disguise!!! (okay, if you're not a Harry Potter fan, you're so confused right now....) Here's the blogger who has thoroughly examined the situation:

I'm poking about on the Obama campaign site, trying to figure out what I can do to help, since giving money is totally out of the question at the moment (and for all the forseeable moments....). I'm slightly discouraged, because it seems like the majority of volunteering involves getting on the phone (hate it!) to call people in swing states and try to convince them to vote Obama/Biden. I hate getting unsolicited calls, so I'm going to assume that most other people do too, and I don't know if I can handle being that person who calls and disrupts dinner or something....Ideas?

More commercials

Friday, September 12, 2008

Um......I just saw an advert for some pill that promises "Maximum Strength Male Enhancement"


**kat shudders**

I think I need to watch less television!

Are you joking???

I saw a commercial the other day for high fructose corn syrup.

...No, I'm not joking.

Can you believe it? How on earth is that allowed on the air?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This is how I feel this morning:

Did I mention that it's back to work I go?

Pictures from the Accademia

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why is it that the photographer who came to our show got beautiful shots of everyone else in the program, but I look like I'm horribly surprised and/or trying to eat a huge sandwich???
Check it out for yourselves (and laugh your heads off that I look like such a nob!!):

Update: There's actually one more picture from my scene, which is less freaky-looking, but it's from the dress rehearsal, so the director is in it as well:

Vacation time is over, it's back to school for all

I'm finally back from Washington state!
The workshop was amazing. I learned a lot, worked with some really cool people, and had a good time. We prepared scenes from 17th Century operas, had movement classes every morning, and got to explore the Queen Anne and Fremont neighborhoods of Seattle. The scenes were lots of fun, the movement classes wonderful, and the local eateries tasty.

It was in the midst of all this, however, that I realized that my paycheck had not been deposited. So it was an exercise in credit card over-use, which is not great. I still haven't worked up the nerve to check my CC balance, to find out exactly how much damage I did. I wasn't being frivolous at all, though, I just needed to eat! And since there was a kitchen but no utensils or cooking vessels, I couldn't make much more than cereal and sandwiches.

After the program ended, I went up to Redmond, WA to stay with my cousin H. She's got a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a new baby. I worked on my child-wrangling a little and helped around the house. I was hoping to get her freezer stocked with homemade, easily reheat-able meal options, but I didn't mangage it. Sorry H!

I think I'm deciding that trying to do all of those things on one's own is impossible. She's got a husband, but even so. It seems that there's more work than 2 humans (well, 1 when he's at work) can reasonably accomplish. If I'm ever a mom, I will likely be demanding help from anyone within shouting distance....

I was completely without news and information during this time (except for little snippets of internet time while at H's house), so I'm feeling rather out of the loop. It wasn't until the last day of August that I found out that Obama had chosen Joe Biden as his running mate, and the whole "OMG Sara Palin has a pregnant daughter" hoopla missed me completely as well. I have to say, though, that I'm not feeling bad about taking a break from news and ranting and stuff. It was refreshing to completely devote my brain to music. For a few days I couldn't figure out why I was so tired, but then it occured to me that one doesn't usually spend ALL DAY in rehearsal, so that level of concentration is not what most people are used to.

So yeah, it's back to work I go. Pre-K until the end of the month. I don't like working every day, but I need to this month, so that I can get back on track with finances. Boyfriend is out of town till the 18th, so I'm on my own and a little bored when I'm home....Stop by and entertain me?

The anti-wedding

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Have you ever heard of an anti-wedding planner?

This article is really funny:

hey there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm up in Seattle, and I do have internet access after all, but I don't have a lot of time in which to use this priviledge. I did get a chance to check stuff today, and when I went to the blog Feministing, I noticed that the top post is based on an email that I sent them. About why there are cheerleaders at the Olympics. Oh yes, you read it right. Cheerleaders. In teeny bikinis. At the Olympics.
So. Gross.

Here's the Feministing take on it:

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Update: in the two minutes since I wrote this I realized that I told you about the cheerleaders a few days ago....sorry!!

Leavin' on a Jetplane

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm off to Seattle this afternoon for the Accademia d'Amore/Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera workshop. I'll be there ten days, then I head out to the outskirts of the city to my cousin's house for several days, where I'll put my child-wrangling skills to good use.

There won't be any kind of computer lab at the workshop, so since I don't have a laptop, I will probably not get to blog or email much. I'm not sure what I'll do without internet....I might have to actually talk to people! Gasp!

In the meantime, if you need to imagine a patented Kat rant, how bout this: Olympic Cheerleaders.
Yep, they exist, but you don't see them on TV. Apparently people raised a stink after the last games, so instead of getting rid of the cheerleaders, they just hid them from the TV viewing public. This asswipe blogger thinks that we should see more of them. You may fill in the rest of the rant yourself, cuz I have to go pack (did I mention that I leave in 1.5 hours??! Ack!).

Love and Hugs!

Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The obituary is finished and published. The version that got printed, however, is different from the draft that my cousin Hannah and I wrote. Our version was much better written, frankly. And didn't contain horrendous typos. You do have to pay per line, though, so maybe the mortuary edited it to take up less space? Still, though, punctuation is there for a reason, and you can't just leave it out.

I'm a little mad about that, but you can read up about my granddad here.

Meanwhile, I never did get around to writing about the show that I just finished. There were some interesting things, some wacky ones and some frustrating ones. One of the other singers is an arts journalist, and she was asked to write a piece about the show for the LA times. It features 2 large pictures of me!

The article describes the learning processes in use for very early music. In this case, Ordo Virtutum (The order of the virtues) is from the mid-12th century. To further complicate things, the choreography was based on Kathak classical dance (from northern India), and none of us was used to that kind of movement.

Here's a link to the article, along with one of the pics of me (with a hand coming out of my head--I'm the one in green and gold). The other picture is only in the print version. I'm standing with my music "looking pensive" or something, but really I think I was chewing my nail when the photog snapped the shot! Also notice that I'm wearing skeleton earrings.....don't ask....

more on grief

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I looked at obituaries today, to get models for what I should write for my granddad. No one ever says "dies," have you noticed that? It's always "passed away." I hate "passed away." It's quite possibly the weirdest and least specific term ever and it bugs me. Also, it sounds too much like "passed off," as though your loved one is being shoved off on someone else. Yuck.

On Death and Grief

Friday, August 8, 2008

Last year, when my godmother died, I experienced the Greek Orthodox approach. The services are designed to force you to grieve. And grieve. And grieve. And then you grieve some more, until there's nothing left. And then you eat.

My granddad died last night. He was English, and a Methodist, so I won't have that experience.

Instead I spent 3 hours today watching "Six Feet Under."

Am I the most morbid person on earth?


Monday, August 4, 2008

Gah, I say.
I've just finished my article for tomorrow's edition of San Francisco Classical Voice. It was hard. Why was it hard? Because I forced myself to be polite.

"Molly," T.d'A. and I drove down to hear Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio in San Jose. It was part of the Midsummer Mozart Festival.

You can read about the opera here or here. The second one has sound clips.

Here's what I would have said if I were being honest:

If you're a theater, say, the California Theater in San Jose, you should know that having one person in the box office is dumb. Really effing dumb. If you're a theater and you notice that the line stretches more than a block down the street, you should get your head out of your ass get more people into the box office to deal with that. Furthermore, if you're a theater whose box office/will call line stretches that far at 7:25, you hold the curtain until at least some of the audience is seated. You don't start the overture with a nearly empty theater and you MOST CERTAINLY don't bitch at your patrons for their "late arrival" when they've been in line outside for an hour.

George Cleve rocks. I'm not saying that because he's a friend of my dad's, nor because I'm kissing up (I want to work for him at some point), but because he's a really good conductor. He especially rocks at Mozart (which is good, considering his concert series is called the Midsummer MOZART Festival). A lot of the time he conducts from memory (without a score in front of him), which is about as bad-ass as you can get. The orchestra rocked out. He hires some awesome musicians. He hires less awesome singers.

The guy singing Belmonte sucked. Yeah, he was handsome, but his singing was really muffled and covered, and his acting was wooden. In the last act, he had one part on one duet that actually sounded okay, but generally yuck.

The woman singing Konstanze had way too big and hefty a voice for the role. She had the high notes, but the medium high ones were really splat-y and her lower register wasn't supported. Her hands were really creepy, and you should never, ever, ever, ever sing with both arms out to the sides. Unless you're playing Jesus in a passion play and you're on a cross. She, obviously, was not.

The Pedrillo was listed as an Adler Fellow, which seems incomprehensible to me, since his singing was so forced and pinched. His acting was very good, though, and he was funny.

The Blonde was very good, on the whole. She aced that "petite spitfire with claws" thing, and was perky and energetic. Her first aria was remarkably grounded, considering it's high, hard, and happens immediately upon entering the stage. Her second one was a little unsupported, but nicely acted and interesting.

The Osmin, a big bear of a character, was amazing. This guy sounded great, all resonant and deep and yummy. I'm a sucker for a good bass voice. He was also hilarious.

I couldn't hear the chorus over the orchestra, so I didn't mention them in my review. I figured that no good could come of that....

The staging was simple, but very humourous and fun. I would have had a good time, overall, had the logistics not been so horrible. It's always fun to see something with friends and then snark all the way home. But maybe my friends and I are just really mean.....

Woman hating of a strange new scale

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Last evening, very stupidly, I clicked on a Yahoo story called "The Best and Worst Summer Barbecue Foods. I'm not sure why I did this, but it's possible that I was lured in by the photo of a hot dog. It's also possible that I was temporarily inhabited by pod people....

It explained that hot dogs are better than burgers because there are fewer calories, and the portion size is predetermined for you. It should have been a warning when I came across the sentence "And if you're among the half of Americans who slather their hamburger buns with mayo..."Because apparently, mayonnaise is an evil super villain food that will kill you in your sleep.

Oh, but it gets worse. They continue to tell you to "eat this, not that." In fact, apparently the writer has a whole book with that title, devoted to telling you that you're a stupid, fat piece of shit, and only his book will save you from eternal damnation. Charming, ne?

The last paragraph starts off offensively enough with "If you absolutely must cave in and eat something sweet, choose an ice-cream sandwich." Ok, fair enough, I like ice-cream sandwiches, cuz, you know, who doesn't? But still, I wasn't aware that that was a personal failing.

The food that you absolutely must avoid, though, is apple pie. At this point I'll just quote, because it's so unbelievable.

Don’t be fooled by the wholesome association with "mom." Think "Eve," instead, and eternal damnation. The crust that holds those innocent apple slices is fashioned from lard and refined flour, and the fruit floats in a thick ooze of sugar sludge. Pie has more calories than an 8 oz sirloin and more sugar than most candy bars — and that’s not even counting that big scoop of vanilla ice cream you’re likely to flop next to the slice.


Eternal damnation from pie. Eating pie is akin to the acts of that terrible whore-ible creature Eve, whose feminine failing made us all fat.

Or something.

Also, what the hell kind of pie is this guy encountering?? Lard in a crust? I'm sure that somewhere that has happened, but who bakes with lard these days? I wouldn't even know where to buy lard if I had to!! Also, "thick ooze of sugary sludge"? I don't think I've ever eaten a pie filled with oozing sludge.

So, um, yeah, I'm wishing death on this "writer." The comment section is gross, with all sorts of people claiming to be enlightened by this shit, but one user gets the Kat stamp of approval. She or He says:

One more stupid article by the fat police. Get lost! I'll eat what I want. I'm 85 and nothing will hurt me much.
Thank you, anonymous Yahoo user. You are actually a reasonable human in a sea of stupidity.

User John, however, needs to be hit over the head with a roll of organic, locally made goat cheese made from the milk of grass fed goats, containing a zillion yummy, delicious calories:

Any article that shows food choices and their respective calories and fat is a good article. Americans need education about the foods they eat. The more they know about what they're eating, the easier it will be to make good food choices. Keep articles like this coming!

Um, education? How is comparing desert to original sin education? Moron.

I haven't found any way to contact the authors of the article, in order to lay on some criticisms.

I have more to say about body issues and such, and will do that shortly...
Happy Sunday! Eat some pie!

Template Changes

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm messing around with templates and colors....Please let me know what you like and what you don't. In general, I really liked my old template, but it always bugged me that there were those huge, hot-pink stripes on the sides.

I'd love to have something interesting and creative, that doesn't look like the general Blogger templates.....thoughts?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day three of sitting on my ass in the reception office of the school where I work......soooo bored....
There's construction going on in the office upstairs, which means lots of dust and noise, which means my throat, nose and head are unhappy. There's almost no one around, just a couple of administrators' underlings, and no actual work for me to do. Basically, I'm being paid to wait for the phone to ring.
If you're in the area, and are free around lunch time, come entertain me! Please?!

Update to this morning's post

Monday, July 21, 2008

Senator Hillary Clinton has written a petition against the Health and Human Services Department attempt to call birth control abortion. She's written an article about it, which you can read at Huffington Post and RH Reality Check.
Here's the petition:

They want to do what? How? Are you sure?

Friday, July 18, 2008

I've been trying to write about this for days, but I keep getting stuck because I don't know how to spell "ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHSSSSHHHTTTTTRRRRAAAAUUUGGHH!!!!!" know, that thing that Macauly Culkin did in Home Alone?

Because it seems that the Department of Health and Human services wants to change the labeling for contraceptives. They want to classify hormonal birth control as.....wait for it....wait for it....abortion!

Yes, the Bush administration's trained chimps, I mean minions, I mean idiots...oh well, I'll just go on...are trying to say that contraception is the same as abortion. "What thar fook?" You ask?
This same group, on its website today, released the results of study showing that the birth rate among teenagers is increasing. And yet they want to get rid of birth control.

I know, right, this sounds so ridiculous? Why on earth would they do such a thing?

The answer: So that they can remove contraception from the list of things that get federal funding. Among other things. Like making sure that pharmacists don't have to go against "their conciences" by allowing other people to live their lives the way they choose.

The other question is how. How on earth would they manage it?

The answer: By claiming that life begins at conception (fertilization) and therefore all fertilized eggs are people too.

Here's the thing. The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both contend that pregnancy begins with implantation, that is, when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. Basically, so does the rest of science. It's impossible to test when an egg has been fertilized, and not only that, but a large number of fertilized eggs never implant, whether or not contraception is involved. Something like 50% of all fertilized eggs never turn into pregnancies. Some studies say that as many as 80 % of all fertilized eggs never implant. Therefore, claiming that fertilization is the beginning of life is ridiculous, since in so many cases, fertilization doesn't lead to pregnancy.

That's kind of beside the point, though. The people supporting this argument don't care about science. The Bush administration has shown over and over that it doesn't care about science, and this is no different. It's something that affects so many of us, though, that we can't let it happen.

Here's the insult to add to the injury:
It's where the HHS tells you what to do if you think you've been discriminated against based on gender or sex!!! Um, you mean like your policy that screws over women and takes them back to the dark ages??

Here are a couple of links to letter writing campaigns against this decision:

Here are some more coherent, better researched write ups of this horrendous plan:

And some information on how pregnancy happens (heheh...not that kind of info, silly!)

More Beaker for your pleasure

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It seems that the most popular part of the Muppets 4th of July song was Beaker. Beaker rocks, so I'll further amuse you with more.

This time, Beaker takes a more serious, classical turn. Beethoven has never sounded so good:

Neither has Bizet:

Enjoy your Thursday, and thanks to Celeste for sending me these!!!

E avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma.....update

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What I said on Saturday night:
Just back from Berkeley Opera's Tosca. Considering that I don't like Puccini, and can only barely stand Tosca, it was pretty awesome. Must go start on the review now....I'll be back in 36 hours, when I'm done!
Today: I managed to finish my article early, and under the maximum number or words, so yay! And it looks like the editing was done sparingly this time....sometimes the end result is very different from what I actually write....

If you're a Bay Area person, I recommend seeing Tosca. Despite her 1st act hairdo, which is totally horrible. I don't remember why I forgot to mention it in my piece....oh well. With the hat they made her wear, the hair probably didn't fit any other way...

Oh, and Ariodante was a bit uneven, but mostly fantastic. Susan Graham sang her despair aria while curled in a ball on the floor, facing away from the audience. She let out some of the most incredible singing I've ever heard......

Got Hope?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I just saw an Obama bumper sticker saying "Got hope?"

Increasingly, I don't. I want to. I want, more than almost anything, to get a Democrat in the White House. I want a president who's smarter than a 5 year old, who grasps complicated concepts, who cares about something other than winning the "I'm mightier" pissing contest.

Help us, Barack Obama, you're our only hope.

This week, though, he seems to have decided that kissing right-wing-nut-jobs' asses is somehow helpful. Either that or he's really a lot more conservative than anyone realizes. Or his inexperience is showing......or all 3.

Obama gave an interview for the Christian magazine Relevant. That in itself is pretty strange. Or would be, had Obama not said this week that he wants federal funds to go to religious "faith based" organizations.

"Relevant" magazine is "a multimedia company whose purpose is to impact culture and show that a relationship with God is relevant and essential to a fulfilled life."

So, in this article, Obama discusses abortion, specifically late-term abortion. Both the interviewer and Obama use the term "partial-birth abortion." This is not a medical term, and was invented by the pro-life extremists. That's the first sign that this interview is worrisome.

As if using the uber-right's terminology (rather than informed, medical terminology) isn't enough of a problem, Obama jumps into a totally worthless debate. He falls into the trap by even holding a discussion about late-term abortion. I'll get to that in a minute. This is what he has to say about late-term abortion. It's a direct quote, not a paraphrase:

I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.

Here are the problems with that statement:

1) He thinks that the government should define the occasions in which it's appropriate to perform a late term abortion. I don't see any way in which it's possible for the government to predict any or all of the instances in which such a procedure would be medically necessary.
2) He thinks that these reasons must be physically necessary. "Mental distress" doesn't count. Again, how can a government determine the mental distress? He's basically saying that "health" means physical health and that mental health is inconsequential. People have been working for years to get the medical community to realize that mental health is real and serious and that it impacts a life as much as physical health.

Here are the larger problems:

1) He's having this discussion in the 1st place. Why is that a problem?
This whole interview seems to be saying that late term abortions are happening all the time and that women are having them willy-nilly just for fun.

Total. Myth.

Anti-abortions activists will tell you that Roe v. Wade allows abortions right up to birth. Also a total myth. It states that after viability, abortion may only be provided "where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother." Therefore, any additional ban or discussion thereof is redundant and useless.

The actual statistics say that late-term abortions account for less than 1% of all abortions. Furthermore, there are only 2 clinics in the US that will perform them, though I don't know if there are doctors in other hospitals that will do the procedure in an emergency. 3rd trimester abortions have only happened in wanted pregnancies, in cases in which maternal or foetal health are in serious jeopardy.

Since the procedure is already regulated, rare, and done only in such serious medical emergencies, it's ridiculous for a presidential candidate (or any half-way intelligent person) to frame the argument as if this is a pressing issue to be discussed and decided.

I'm frustrated that Obama fell into the trap. It's important to resist the framework set up by the Christian Right. Their framework is faulty, not scientifically based and illogical. If we continue to allow discussions that use their vocabulary, we'll never get anywhere.

I really wish that Obama had realized that and had supported the "change" he seems so fond of.

A few days later, Barack Obama felt the need to explain what he said. It's just as troubling as the original article:

My only point is this -- historically I have been a strong believer in a women's right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family. And it is. I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions.

In the past there has been some fear on the part of people who, not only people who are anti-abortion, but people who may be in the middle, that that means that if a woman just doesn't feel good then that is an exception. That's never been the case.

I don't think that is how it has been interpreted. My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don't think that's how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don't think that's how the courts have interpreted it and I think that's important to emphasize and understand.

Okay, let's dissect Obama's response:
A woman cannot choose on her own, but rather "with her doctor and her pastor." In other words, the little lady can only choose with the help of some strong, sensible men.....great.....

Next: "I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions."
You have, have you? Well, that's funny because we just determined that THE LAW already limits late-term abortions to instances in which life/health are at risk. Therefore a ban is totally unnecessary.

I will grant him that the middle paragraph is accurate. People do fear that those horrible murderous women are destroying foetuses for fun. Their fears are baseless, though, and we need to work to give facts and accurate information, not stock their anxiety.

Last paragraph: "It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue." What part of LIFE AND HEALTH IN JEOPARDY do you not understand???? Feeling blue? Are you joking? A woman goes to her doctor and says "doc, I'm 23 weeks pregnant and I'm feeling blue." The response is not going to be "okay, well, it's abortion time." Not by any stretch of the imagination!!!

I would really like to think that Obama can help steer this country in a new direction, away from the politics of fear, away from a secular government being run by religious extremists, and away from having leaders who don't understand simple concepts. I would really like to think that he can.

I hope he can. I think he's got to stop trying to kiss up to groups that will never vote for him, stop trying to please everyone by diluting his stances on things that he supports (or opposes) and think before he speaks.

Sunday Odds and Ends

The NASA website has photos of Mars, taken by the Phoenix lander. Check them out, they're super cool!

For 4th of July I made Cook's Illustrated's recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes. They were beyond delicious, and I could easily have eaten them all day. Fortunately, there were fewer cupcakes than there were people at G's barbecue, so I didn't have to worry about making myself sick on chocolate!

We're off to see Ariodante at the Opera today. I can't wait! It features Susan Graham and Ruth Ann Swenson. Susan Graham is my idol, when it comes to singing. If I could wake up one day and spend a little bit of time in her life, I'd be overjoyed. Ruth Ann is a wonderful soprano, who is elegant and charming on stage, with a great voice and great acting skills. then she opens her mouth to talk and out comes the broadest Long-Island accent you've ever heard. It's hysterical.
They've gotten rave reviews, I love them both, and I'm very excited.....and thanks to student rush tickets procured on Boyfriend's student id, I can almost afford it!


Friday, July 4, 2008

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That Muppets rock.

Summer (updated)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Considering how little I'm doing this summer, you would think that I would write more. Unfortunately, though, every time I read something interesting, or get an idea for a post, I file it under "things I'll get to later." Wherein later means.....uh.....never.

I'll get started by sharing the best photo I've ever seen. I have no idea who these girls were or why they were playing ukuleles in bathing suits and heels. They seem to be having a great time, though:
(from the Library of Congress)

I don't know why this picture didn't load yesterday.....

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